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Welfare and management of calves is of increasing interest and also influences performance of these animals in later life. The aim of this study was to assess management and environmental conditions under which pre-weaned dairy calves are reared on commercial Irish dairy farms. We included 47 spring-calving, pasture-based herds in this study. Herd and animal-specific data, such as mortality rate, age and breed, were gathered from all participants via the HerdPlus® database. Information pertaining to management practices was collected by conducting an interview with the principal calf rearer, while an assessment of calf housing facilities was conducted to identify conditions calves were reared in. The environmental assessment included measurements of space allowance per calf, as well as feeding equipment hygiene. To assess calf behaviour video observations were used, while accounting for the number of calves present in a group and the space available per calf. Faecal samples were also collected to determine the presence of enteric pathogens among calves. To compare calf space allowance, group size and presence of enteric pathogens early and late in the calving season each farm was visited twice. Calf mortality was not associated with either herd size, space allowance per calf or post-colostrum feeding practices. Higher calf mortality was identified among herds which reported experiencing an on-set of calf pneumonia during weeks 8 to 10 of the calving season. This study demonstrates that factors associated with calf welfare on commercial Irish dairy farms (e.g. space allowance, mortality rate) are independent of herd size. Some management practices however, such as methods used for treating health issues can affect rates of calf mortality experienced. Calf mortality, for example, was lower in herds which treated diarrhoea cases by administering electrolytes, while continuing to offer milk. Behavioural observations indicate that smaller group sizes could promote expression of positive behaviours, potentially resulting from an overall improvement in welfare. Space allowance per calf was not associated with observed behaviour frequencies. We also identified that similar rates of calf mortality are experienced across herds of different sizes.
Frowning expresses negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness. According to the facial feedback hypothesis, suppression of frowning will also diminish the corresponding negative emotions. Hence, mood improvement has been observed in patients who underwent treatment of glabellar frown lines with botulinum neurotoxin. This observation suggests the possibility that the intervention may be employed for the management of psychiatric disorders associated with negative emotions. Preliminary data from an open case series indicate that the intervention might improve the symptoms of depression.
Aims & objectives
To test whether an onabotulinumtoxinA injection into the glabellar region is benefical as an adjunctive treatment of major depression within a clinical trial.
We used a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study design (n = 30; ClinicalTrials.gov, number, NCT00934687).
We show that a single onabotulinumtoxinA treatment shortly leads to a strong and sustained improvement in partly chronic major depression that did not respond sufficiently to previous treatment. As for the primary end-point, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) six weeks after treatment compared to baseline, scores of onabotulinumtoxinA recipients showed 37.9% (8.34 points) more improvement than those of placebo-treated participants (F = 12.30, p = 0.002, η2 = 0.31, d = 1.28).
Our findings support the concept that the facial musculature not only expresses, but also regulates, mood states. As it stands, treatment of glabellar frown lines with botulinum neurotoxin can be considered for depressed patients with the objective of inducing mood-lifting effects.
A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
The increasing attention for global warming is likely to contribute to the introduction of policies or other incentives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to livestock production, including dairy. The dairy sector is an important contributor to GHG emissions. Clinical mastitis (CM), an intramammary infection, results in reduced milk production and fertility, increases culling and mortality of cows and, therefore, has a negative impact on the efficiency (output/input) of milk production. This may increase GHG emissions per unit of product. Our objective was to estimate the impact of CM in dairy cows on GHG emissions of milk production for the Dutch situation. A dynamic stochastic simulation model was developed to simulate the dynamics and losses of CM for individual lactations. Cows receive a parity (1 to 5+), a milk production and a calving interval (CI). Based on the parity, cows have a risk of CM, with a maximum of three cases in a lactation. Pathogens causing CM were classified as gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, or other. Based on the parity and pathogen combinations, cows had a reduced milk production, discarded milk, prolonged CI and a risk of removal (culling and mortality) that reduce productivity of dairy cows and therefore increase GHG emissions per unit of product. Using life cycle assessment, emissions of GHGs were estimated from cradle to farm gate for processes along the milk production chain that are affected by CM. Processes included were feed production, enteric fermentation, and manure management. Emissions of GHGs were expressed as kg CO2 equivalents per ton of fat-and-protein-corrected milk (kg CO2e/t FPCM). Emissions of cows with CM increased on average by 57.5 (6.2%) kg CO2e/t FPCM compared with cows without CM. This increase was caused by removal (39%), discarded milk (38%), reduced milk production (17%) and prolonged CI (6%). The GHG emissions increased by 48 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with one case of CM, by 69 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with two cases of CM and by 92 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with three cases of CM compared with cows without CM. Preventing CM can be an effective strategy for farmers to reduce GHG emissions and can contribute to sustainable development of the dairy sector, because this also can improve the income of farmers and the welfare of cows. The impact of CM on GHG emissions, however, will vary between farms due to environmental conditions and management practices.
Studies investigating the underlying mechanisms of hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia suggest that an imbalance in top-down expectations v. bottom-up processing underlies these errors in perception. This study evaluates this hypothesis by testing if individuals drawn from the general population who have had auditory hallucinations (AH) have more misperceptions in auditory language perception than those who have never hallucinated.
We used an online survey to determine the presence of hallucinations. Participants filled out the Questionnaire for Psychotic Experiences and participated in an auditory verbal recognition task to assess both correct perceptions (hits) and misperceptions (false alarms). A hearing test was performed to screen for hearing problems.
A total of 5115 individuals from the general Dutch population participated in this study. Participants who reported AH in the week preceding the test had a higher false alarm rate in their auditory perception compared with those without such (recent) experiences. The more recent the AH were experienced, the more mistakes participants made. While the presence of verbal AH (AVH) was predictive for false alarm rate in auditory language perception, the presence of non-verbal or visual hallucinations were not.
The presence of AVH predicted false alarm rate in auditory language perception, whereas the presence of non-verbal auditory or visual hallucinations was not, suggesting that enhanced top-down processing does not transfer across modalities. More false alarms were observed in participants who reported more recent AVHs. This is in line with models of enhanced influence of top-down expectations in persons who hallucinate.
Household surveys are one of the most commonly used tools for generating insight into rural communities. Despite their prevalence, few studies comprehensively evaluate the quality of data derived from farm household surveys. We critically evaluated a series of standard reported values and indicators that are captured in multiple farm household surveys, and then quantified their credibility, consistency and, thus, their reliability. Surprisingly, even variables which might be considered ‘easy to estimate’ had instances of non-credible observations. In addition, measurements of maize yields and land owned were found to be less reliable than other stationary variables. This lack of reliability has implications for monitoring food security status, poverty status and the land productivity of households. Despite this rather bleak picture, our analysis also shows that if the same farm households are followed over time, the sample sizes needed to detect substantial changes are in the order of hundreds of surveys, and not in the thousands. Our research highlights the value of targeted and systematised household surveys and the importance of ongoing efforts to improve data quality. Improvements must be based on the foundations of robust survey design, transparency of experimental design and effective training. The quality and usability of such data can be further enhanced by improving coordination between agencies, incorporating mixed modes of data collection and continuing systematic validation programmes.
The transition period is the most critical period in the lactation cycle of dairy cows. Extended lactations reduce the frequency of transition periods, the number of calves and the related labour for farmers. This study aimed to assess the impact of 2 and 4 months extended lactations on milk yield and net partial cash flow (NPCF) at herd level, and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of fat- and protein-corrected milk (FPCM), using a stochastic simulation model. The model simulated individual lactations for 100 herds of 100 cows with a baseline lactation length (BL), and for 100 herds with lactations extended by 2 or 4 months for all cows (All+2 and All+4), or for heifers only (H+2 and H+4). Baseline lactation length herds produced 887 t (SD: 13) milk/year. The NPCF, based on revenues for milk, surplus calves and culled cows, and costs for feed, artificial insemination, calving management and rearing of youngstock, was k€174 (SD: 4)/BL herd per year. Extended lactations reduced milk yield of the herd by 4.1% for All+2, 6.9% for All+4, 1.1% for H+2 and 2.2% for H+4, and reduced the NPCF per herd per year by k€7 for All+2, k€12 for All+4, k€2 for H+2 and k€4 for H+4 compared with BL herds. Extended lactations increased GHG emissions in CO2-equivalents per t FPCM by 1.0% for All+2, by 1.7% for All+4, by 0.2% for H+2 and by 0.4% for H+4, but this could be compensated by an increase in lifespan of dairy cows. Subsequently, production level and lactation persistency were increased to assess the importance of these aspects for the impact of extended lactations. The increase in production level and lactation persistency increased milk production of BL herds by 30%. Moreover, reductions in milk yield for All+2 and All+4 compared with BL herds were only 0.7% and 1.1% per year, and milk yield in H+2 and H+4 herds was similar to BL herds. The resulting NPCF was equal to BL for All+2 and All+4 and increased by k€1 for H+2 and H+4 due to lower costs for insemination and calving management. Moreover, GHG emissions per t FPCM were equal to BL herds or reduced (0% to −0.3%) when lactations were extended. We concluded that, depending on lactation persistency, extending lactations of dairy cows can have a positive or negative impact on the NPCF and GHG emissions of milk production.
LiGAPS-Beef (Livestock simulator for Generic analysis of Animal Production Systems – Beef cattle) is a generic, mechanistic model designed to quantify potential and feed-limited growth, which provides insight in the biophysical scope to increase beef production (i.e. yield gap). Furthermore, it enables identification of the bio-physical factors that define and limit growth, which provides insight in management strategies to mitigate yield gaps. The aim of this paper, third in a series of three, is to evaluate the performance of LiGAPS-Beef with independent experimental data. After model calibration, independent data were used from six experiments in Australia, one in Uruguay and one in the Netherlands. Experiments represented three cattle breeds, and a wide range of climates, feeding strategies and cattle growth rates. The mean difference between simulated and measured average daily gains (ADGs) was 137 g/day across all experiments, which equals 20.1% of the measured ADGs. The root mean square error was 170 g/day, which equals 25.0% of the measured ADGs. LiGAPS-Beef successfully simulated the factors that defined and limited growth during the experiments on a daily basis (genotype, heat stress, digestion capacity, energy deficiency and protein deficiency). The simulated factors complied well to the reported occurrence of heat stress, energy deficiency and protein deficiency at specific periods during the experiments. We conclude that the level of accuracy of LiGAPS-Beef is acceptable, and provides a good basis for acquiring insight in the potential and feed-limited production of cattle in different beef production systems across the world. Furthermore, its capacity to identify factors that define or limit growth and production provides scope to use the model for yield gap analysis.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
The expected increase in the global demand for livestock products calls for insight in the scope to increase actual production levels across the world. This insight can be obtained by using theoretical concepts of production ecology. These concepts distinguish three production levels for livestock: potential (i.e. theoretical maximum) production, which is defined by genotype and climate only; feed-limited production, which is limited by feed quantity and quality; and actual production. The difference between the potential or limited production and the actual production is the yield gap. The objective of this paper, the first in a series of three, is to present a mechanistic, dynamic model simulating potential and feed-limited production for beef cattle, which can be used to assess yield gaps. A novelty of this model, named LiGAPS-Beef (Livestock simulator for Generic analysis of Animal Production Systems – Beef cattle), is the identification of the defining factors (genotype and climate) and limiting factors (feed quality and available feed quantity) for cattle growth by integrating sub-models on thermoregulation, feed intake and digestion, and energy and protein utilisation. Growth of beef cattle is simulated at the animal and herd level. The model is designed to be applicable to different beef production systems across the world. Main model inputs are breed-specific parameters, daily weather data, information about housing, and data on feed quality and quantity. Main model outputs are live weight gain, feed intake and feed efficiency (FE) at the animal and herd level. Here, the model is presented, and its use is illustrated for Charolais and Brahman × Shorthorn cattle in France and Australia. Potential and feed-limited production were assessed successfully, and we show that FE of herds is highest for breeds most adapted to the local climate conditions. LiGAPS-Beef also identified the factors that define and limit growth and production of cattle. Hence, we argue the model has scope to be used as a tool for the assessment and analysis of yield gaps in beef production systems.
The model LiGAPS-Beef (Livestock simulator for Generic analysis of Animal Production Systems – Beef cattle) has been developed to assess potential and feed-limited growth and production of beef cattle in different areas of the world and to identify the processes responsible for the yield gap. Sensitivity analysis and evaluation of model results with experimental data are important steps after model development. The first aim of this paper, therefore, is to identify which parameters affect the output of LiGAPS-Beef most by conducting sensitivity analyses. The second aim is to evaluate the accuracy of the thermoregulation sub-model and the feed intake and digestion sub-model with experimental data. Sensitivity analysis was conducted using a one-at-a-time approach. The upper critical temperature (UCT) simulated with the thermoregulation sub-model was most affected by the body core temperature and parameters affecting latent heat release from the skin. The lower critical temperature (LCT) and UCT were considerably affected by weather variables, especially ambient temperature and wind speed. Sensitivity analysis for the feed intake and digestion sub-model showed that the digested protein per kg feed intake was affected to a larger extent than the metabolisable energy (ME) content. Sensitivity analysis for LiGAPS-Beef was conducted for ¾ Brahman×¼ Shorthorn cattle in Australia and Hereford cattle in Uruguay. Body core temperature, conversion of digestible energy to ME, net energy requirements for maintenance, and several parameters associated with heat release affected feed efficiency at the herd level most. Sensitivity analyses have contributed, therefore, to insight which parameters are to be investigated in more detail when applying LiGAPS-Beef. Model evaluation was conducted by comparing model simulations with independent data from experiments. Measured heat production in experiments corresponded fairly well to the heat production simulated with the thermoregulation sub-model. Measured ME contents from two data sets corresponded well to the ME contents simulated with the feed intake and digestion sub-model. The relative mean absolute errors were 9.3% and 6.4% of the measured ME contents for the two data sets. In conclusion, model evaluation indicates the thermoregulation sub-model can deal with a wide range of weather conditions, and the feed intake and digestion sub-model with a variety of feeds, which corresponds to the aim of LiGAPS-Beef to simulate cattle in different beef production systems across the world.
Mineral phosphorus (P) used to fertilise crops is derived from phosphate rock, which is a finite resource. Preventing and recycling mineral P waste in the food system, therefore, are essential to sustain future food security and long-term availability of mineral P. The aim of our modelling exercise was to assess the potential of preventing and recycling P waste in a food system, in order to reduce the dependency on phosphate rock. To this end, we modelled a hypothetical food system designed to produce sufficient food for a fixed population with a minimum input requirement of mineral P. This model included representative crop and animal production systems, and was parameterised using data from the Netherlands. We assumed no import or export of feed and food. We furthermore assumed small P soil losses and no net P accumulation in soils, which is typical for northwest European conditions. We first assessed the minimum P requirement in a baseline situation, that is 42% of crop waste is recycled, and humans derived 60% of their dietary protein from animals (PA). Results showed that about 60% of the P waste in this food system resulted from wasting P in human excreta. We subsequently evaluated P input for alternative situations to assess the (combined) effect of: (1) preventing waste of crop and animal products, (2) fully recycling waste of crop products, (3) fully recycling waste of animal products and (4) fully recycling human excreta and industrial processing water. Recycling of human excreta showed most potential to reduce P waste from the food system, followed by prevention and finally recycling of agricultural waste. Fully recycling P could reduce mineral P input by 90%. Finally, for each situation, we studied the impact of consumption of PA in the human diet from 0% to 80%. The optimal amount of animal protein in the diet depended on whether P waste from animal products was prevented or fully recycled: if it was, then a small amount of animal protein in the human diet resulted in the most sustainable use of P; but if it was not, then the most sustainable use of P would result from a complete absence of animal protein in the human diet. Our results apply to our hypothetical situation. The principles included in our model however, also hold for food systems with, for example, different climatic and soil conditions, farming practices, representative types of crops and animals and population densities.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a candidate biomarker for major depressive disorder (MDD), but it is unclear how peripheral CRP levels relate to the heterogeneous clinical phenotypes of the disorder.
To explore CRP in MDD and its phenotypic associations.
We recruited 102 treatment-resistant patients with MDD currently experiencing depression, 48 treatment-responsive patients with MDD not currently experiencing depression, 48 patients with depression who were not receiving medication and 54 healthy volunteers. High-sensitivity CRP in peripheral venous blood, body mass index (BMI) and questionnaire assessments of depression, anxiety and childhood trauma were measured. Group differences in CRP were estimated, and partial least squares (PLS) analysis explored the relationships between CRP and specific clinical phenotypes.
Compared with healthy volunteers, BMI-corrected CRP was significantly elevated in the treatment-resistant group (P = 0.007; Cohen's d = 0.47); but not significantly so in the treatment-responsive (d = 0.29) and untreated (d = 0.18) groups. PLS yielded an optimal two-factor solution that accounted for 34.7% of variation in clinical measures and for 36.0% of variation in CRP. Clinical phenotypes most strongly associated with CRP and heavily weighted on the first PLS component were vegetative depressive symptoms, BMI, state anxiety and feeling unloved as a child or wishing for a different childhood.
CRP was elevated in patients with MDD, and more so in treatment-resistant patients. Other phenotypes associated with elevated CRP included childhood adversity and specific depressive and anxious symptoms. We suggest that patients with MDD stratified for proinflammatory biomarkers, like CRP, have a distinctive clinical profile that might be responsive to second-line treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Declaration of interest
S.R.C. consults for Cambridge Cognition and Shire; and his input in this project was funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellowship (110049/Z/15/Z). E.T.B. is employed half time by the University of Cambridge and half time by GlaxoSmithKline; he holds stock in GlaxoSmithKline. In the past 3 years, P.J.C. has served on an advisory board for Lundbeck. N.A.H. consults for GlaxoSmithKline. P.d.B., D.N.C.J. and W.C.D. are employees of Janssen Research & Development, LLC., of Johnson & Johnson, and hold stock in Johnson & Johnson. The other authors report no financial disclosures or potential conflicts of interest.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Pastoralists have traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), which is important for their livelihoods and for policies and interventions. Pastoralism is under pressure, however, which may result in a decline of pastoral lifestyle and its related TEK. We, therefore, addressed the following objectives (i) to inventorise and assess how pastoralists characterise and value soils and forages in their environment, (ii) to analyse how soil, forage and livestock (i.e. cattle) characteristics relate to herding decisions and (iii) to determine whether TEK underlying herding decisions differs across generations. Data were collected through focus groups and individual interviews with 72 pastoralists, belonging to three generations and to three agro-ecological zones. Using a three-point scale (high, medium, low), four grasses and three tree forages were assessed in terms of nutritional quality for milk, meat, health and strength. Using their own visual criteria, pastoralists identified five different soils, which they selected for herding at different times of the year. Pastoralists stated that Pokuri was the best soil because of its low moisture content, whereas Karaal was the worst because forage hardly grows on it. They stated that perennials, such as Andropogon gayanus and Loxoderra ledermannii, were of high nutritional quality, whereas annuals such as Andropogon pseudapricus and Hyparrhenia involucrata were of low nutritional quality. Afzelia africana was perceived of high quality for milk production, whereas Khaya senegalensis had the highest quality for meat, health and strength. Pastoralists first used soil, then forage and finally livestock characteristics in their herding decisions. Pastoralists’ TEK was not associated with their generations, but with their agro-ecological zones. This study suggests that pastoralists had common and detailed TEK about soils, forages and livestock characteristics, underlying their herding decisions. To conclude, pastoralists use a holistic approach, combining soil, vegetation and livestock TEK in herding decisions. Such TEK can guide restoration or improvement of grazing lands, and land use planning.
Guidelines for a healthy diet aim to decrease the risk of chronic diseases. It is unclear as to what extent a healthy diet is also an environmentally friendly diet. In the Dutch sub-cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, the diet was assessed with a 178-item FFQ of 40 011 participants aged 20–70 years between 1993 and 1997. The WHO’s Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) score and the Dutch Healthy Diet index 2015 (DHD15-index) were investigated in relation to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, land use and all-cause mortality risk. GHG emissions were associated with HDI scores (−3·7 % per sd increase (95 % CI −3·4, −4·0) for men and −1·9 % (95 % CI −0·4, −3·4) for women), with DASH scores in women only (1·1 % per sd increase, 95 % CI 0·9, 1·3) and with DHD15-index scores (−2·5 % per sd increase (95 % CI −2·2, −2·8) for men and −2·0 % (95 % CI −1·9, −2·2) for women). For all indices, higher scores were associated with less land use (ranging from −1·3 to −3·1 %). Mortality risk decreased with increasing scores for all indices. Per sd increase of the indices, hazard ratios for mortality ranged from 0·88 (95 % CI 0·82, 0·95) to 0·96 (95 % CI 0·92, 0·99). Our results showed that adhering to the WHO and Dutch dietary guidelines will lower the risk of all-cause mortality and moderately lower the environmental impact. The DASH diet was associated with lower mortality and land use, but because of high dairy product consumption in the Netherlands it was also associated with higher GHG emissions.
The objective of this study was to estimate the economic impact of subclinical ketosis (SCK) in dairy cows. This metabolic disorder occurs in the period around calving and is associated with an increased risk of other diseases. Therefore, SCK affects farm productivity and profitability. Estimating the economic impact of SCK may make farmers more aware of this problem, and can improve their decision-making regarding interventions to reduce SCK. We developed a dynamic stochastic simulation model that enables estimating the economic impact of SCK and related diseases (i.e. mastitis, metritis, displaced abomasum, lameness and clinical ketosis) occurring during the first 30 days after calving. This model, which was applied to a typical Dutch dairy herd, groups cows according to their parity (1 to 5+), and simulates the dynamics of SCK and related diseases, and milk production per cow during one lactation. The economic impact of SCK and related diseases resulted from a reduced milk production, discarded milk, treatment costs, costs from a prolonged calving interval and removal (culling or dying) of cows. The total costs of SCK were €130 per case per year, with a range between €39 and €348 (5 to 95 percentiles). The total costs of SCK per case per year, moreover, increased from €83 per year in parity 1 to €175 in parity 3. Most cows with SCK, however, had SCK only (61%), and costs were €58 per case per year. Total costs of SCK per case per year resulted for 36% from a prolonged calving interval, 24% from reduced milk production, 19% from treatment, 14% from discarded milk and 6% from removal. Results of the sensitivity analysis showed that the disease incidence, removal risk, relations of SCK with other diseases and prices of milk resulted in a high variation of costs of SCK. The costs of SCK, therefore, might differ per farm because of farm-specific circumstances. Improving data collection on the incidence of SCK and related diseases, and on consequences of diseases can further improve economic estimations.
Current theories on diversity–disease relationships describe host species diversity and species identity as important factors influencing disease risk, either diluting or amplifying disease prevalence in a community. Whereas the simple term ‘diversity’ embodies a set of animal community characteristics, it is not clear how different measures of species diversity are correlated with disease risk. We therefore tested the effects of species richness, Pielou's evenness and Shannon's diversity on bovine tuberculosis (bTB) risk in cattle in the Afar Region and Awash National Park between November 2013 and April 2015. We also analysed the identity effect of a particular species and the effect of host habitat use overlap on bTB risk. We used the comparative intradermal tuberculin test to assess the number of bTB-infected cattle. Our results suggested a dilution effect through species evenness. We found that the identity effect of greater kudu – a maintenance host – confounded the dilution effect of species diversity on bTB risk. bTB infection was positively correlated with habitat use overlap between greater kudu and cattle. Different diversity indices have to be considered together for assessing diversity–disease relationships, for understanding the underlying causal mechanisms. We posit that unpacking diversity metrics is also relevant for formulating disease control strategies to manage cattle in ecosystems characterized by seasonally limited resources and intense wildlife–livestock interactions.