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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the sprinkler cycle and flow rate on physiological, behavioural, and productive responses in dairy buffaloes. Nine Nili Ravi lactating buffaloes were subjected to three sprinkler cycles and two flow rates using a double replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design. The flow rates were 1.25 and 2 l/min, and the sprinkler cycles (minutes water on/off, number of cycles/h) were: 3/3, 10 cycles; 3/6, 7 cycles and 3/9, 5 cycles. The showering was applied from 0800 till 1630 h daily. In the first square of 21 d, each of the three sprinkler cycles was applied using a 1.25 l/min flow rate for 7 d per cycle. In the later square, the same treatments (sprinkler cycles) were applied using the 2 l/min flow rate. The average temperature humidity index during the study period was 85.7 ± 3.8 (Mean ± sd). The result showed that the 3/3 treatment group had lower body temperature and respiration rate than the other groups. The buffaloes in the 3/3 group produced 0.5 and 0.7 kg more milk with 1.4 and 2.4% more fat than the 3/6 and the 3/9 treatment groups, respectively. Similarly, the 2 l/min flow rate had a lower core body temperate and respiration rate and higher milk yield than the 1.25 l/min group. The 3/3 showering cycle with a 2 l/min flow rate appeared effective in improving physiological responses and milk yield in dairy buffaloes.
The aim of the research reported in this Research Communication was to apply the 5-point body condition scoring (BCS) system to dairy buffaloes and subjectively validate it by assessing the intra- and inter-assessor agreement. For this purpose, the BCS system developed for dairy cows was applied to buffaloes. A total of 230 Nili Ravi buffaloes of varying parity, lactation stages and pregnancy status were enrolled from the Buffalo Research Institute, Pattoki, Pakistan. Four observers independently assigned BCS values to each enrolled buffalo in two phases, as follows: (1) during phase I, the assessors were trained for BCS assessment using a BCS chart developed by Elanco Animal Health Ltd.; and (2) during phase II, the assessors were trained using live buffaloes for BCS assessment. Kappa statistics (kw) were used to determine the intra- and inter-assessor agreement. The results revealed that the exact overall inter- and intra-assessor agreement was moderate (kw = 0.48–0.55) and increased to substantial levels after training on live animals (kw = 0.63–0.87). Furthermore, the intra- and inter-assessor exact agreement was higher (kw = 0.57–0.58) for buffaloes tied to the mangers compared to the buffaloes standing in the loafing area (kw = 0.50). The inter-assessor agreements within 0.25 and 0.5 points were almost perfect (kw = 0.97–1.0). The current results suggested that the 5-point BCS system (using a scale from 1 to 5 with 0.25 increments) had substantial agreement for assessment and repeatability when applied to buffaloes.
Experiments were conducted to study in vitro maturation of prepubertal goat oocytes and their developmental potential after chemical activation. In Experiment 1, cumulus–oocytes complexes collected from the ovaries of prepubertal goats slaughtered at a local abattoir were matured in vitro in TCM-199-based medium supplemented with 10 µg/ml luteinizing hormone (LH) (treatment 1) or 10 µg/ml LH + 0.1 mM l-cysteine (treatment 2). In Experiment 2, mature oocytes were activated with either 5 µM ionomycin or 7% ethanol. After 18 h, some oocytes were randomly fixed and stained to evaluate their chromatin status, while others were cultured in embryo culture medium to study their further development. In Experiment 3, oocytes activated with 5 µM ionomycin were cultured for 7 days in one of the four different culture media [Charles Rosenkrans medium (CR-1), TCM-199, potassium simplex optimization medium (KSOM) and synthetic oviductal fluid (SOF)] to study their developmental potential. The maturation rate in control, treatment 1, and treatment 2 media did not differ from each other (P > 0.05). However, the lowest degeneration of oocytes was observed in treatment 3 (P < 0.05) when compared with the other two groups. The proportion of activated oocytes was higher, while non-activated oocytes were lower in ionomycin group when compared with the group activated with ethanol (P < 0.05). The proportions of oocytes cleaved were 65.7, 56.8, 61.0 and 54.4% in CR-1, TCM-199, KSOM and SOF medium, respectively, with no significant difference. However, further development of cleaved oocytes was better in KSOM followed by SOF.
There is a scarcity of specialist trainers and supervisors for psychosocial interventions in low- and middle-income countries. A cascaded model of training and supervision was developed to sustain delivery of an evidence-based peer-delivered intervention for perinatal depression (the Thinking Healthy Programme) in rural Pakistan. The study aimed to evaluate the model.
Mixed methods were employed as part of a randomised controlled trial of the intervention. Quantitative data consisted of the peers' competencies assessed during field training and over the implementation phase of the intervention, using a specially developed checklist. Qualitative data were collected from peers and their trainers through 11 focus groups during the second and third year of intervention rollout.
Following training, 43 peers out of 45 (95%) achieved at least a ‘satisfactory’ level of competency (scores of ⩾70% on the Quality and Competency Checklist). Of the cohort of 45 peers initially recruited 34 (75%) were retained over 3 years and showed sustained or improved competencies over time. Qualitatively, the key factors contributing to peers' competency were use of interactive training and supervision techniques, the trainer–peer relationship, and their cultural similarity. The partnership with community health workers and use of primary health care facilities for training and supervision gave credibility to the peers in the community.
The study demonstrates that lay-workers such as peers can be trained and supervised to deliver a psychological intervention using a cascaded model, thus addressing the barrier of scarcity of specialist trainers and supervisors.
The purpose of this study is the verification of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) head neck treatment planning with one-dimensional and two-dimensional (2D) dosimeters using imaging and radiation oncology core (IROC) Houston head & neck (H&N) phantom.
The image of the H&N phantom was obtained by computed tomography scan which was then transferred to Pinnacle@3 treatment planning system (TPS) for treatment planning. The contouring of the target volumes and critical organ were done manually and dose constraints were set for each organ according to IROC prescription. The plan was optimised by adoptive convolution algorithm to meet the IROC criteria and collapse cone convolution algorithm calculated the delivered doses for treatment. Varian Clinac 2110 was used to deliver the treatment plan to the phantom, the process of irradiation and measurement were repeated three times for reproducibility and reliability. The treatment plan was verified by measuring the doses from thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) and GafChromic external beam therapy 2 films. The agreement between the planned and delivered doses were checked by calculating the percentage dose differences, analysing their isodose line profiles and 2D gamma maps.
The average percent dose difference of 1·8% was obtained between computed doses by TPS and measured doses from TLDs, however these differences were found to be higher for organ at risk. The film dose profile was well in agreement with the planned dose distribution with distance to agreement of 1·5 mm. The gamma analysis of the computed and recorded doses passed the criteria of 3%/3 mm with passing percentages of >96%, which shows successful authentication of delivered doses for IMRT.
IMRT pre-treatment validation can be done with IROC anthropomorphic phantoms, which is essential for the delivery of modulated radiotherapies. It was concluded that films and TLDs can be used as quality assurance tools for IMRT.
To verify dose delivery and quality assurance of volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) for head and neck (H&N) cancer.
The Imaging and Radiation Oncology Core Houston (IROC-H) H&N phantom with thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) and films, were imaged with computed tomography scan and the reconstructed image was transferred to pinnacle treatment planning system (TPS). On TPS, the planning target volume (PTV), secondary target volume (STV) and organ at risk (OAR) were delineated manually and a treatment plan was made. The dose constraints were determined for the concerned organs according to IROC-H prescription. The treatment plan was optimised using adoptive convolution algorithm to improve dose homogeneity and conformity. The dose calculation was performed using C.C Convolution algorithm and a Varian True Beam linear accelerator was used to deliver the treatment plan to the H&N phantom. The delivered radiation dose to the phantom was measured through TLDs and GafChromic external beam radiotherapy 2 (EBT2) films. The dosimetric performance of the VMAT delivery was studied by analysing percent dose difference, isodose line profile and gamma analysis of the TPS-computed dose and linac-delivered doses.
The percent dose difference of 3.8% was observed between the planned and measured doses of TLDs and a 1.5-mm distance to agreement (DTA) was observed by comparing isodose line profiles. Passed the gamma criteria of 3%/3 mm was with good percentages.
The dosimetric performance of VMAT delivery for a challenging H&N radiotherapy can be verified using TLDs and films embedded in an anthropomorphic H&N phantom.
Accurate three-dimensional dosimetry is essential in modern radiotherapy techniques such as volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). In this research work, the PRESAGE® dosimeter was used as quality assurance (QA) tool for VMAT planning for head and neck (H&N) cancer.
Material and method
Computer tomography (CT) scans of an Image Radiation Oncology Core (IROC) H&N anthropomorphic phantom with both IROC standard insert and PRESAGE® insert were acquired separately. Both CT scans were imported into the Pinnacle (9.4 version) TPS for treatment planning, where the structures [planning target volume (PTV), organs at risk) and thermoluminescent detectors (TLDs) were manually contoured and used to optimise a VMAT plan. Treatment planning was done using VMAT (dual arc: 182°–178°, 178°–182°). Beam profile comparisons and gamma analysis were used to quantify agreement with film, PRESAGE® measurement and treatment planning system (TPS) calculated dose distribution.
The average ratio of TLD measured to calculated doses at the four PTV locations in the H&N phantom were between 0·95 to 0·99 for all three VMAT deliveries. Dose profiles were taken along the left–right, the anterior–posterior and superior–inferior axes, and good agreement was found between the PRESAGE® and Pinnacle profile. The mean value of gamma results for three VMAT deliveries in axial and sagittal planes were found to be 94·24 and 93·16% when compared with film and Pinnacle, respectively. The average values comparing the PRESAGE® results and dose values calculated on Pinnacle were observed to be 95·29 and 94·38% in the said planes, respectively, using a 5%/3 mm gamma criteria.
The PRESAGE® dose measurements and calculated dose of pinnacle show reasonable agreement in both axial and sagittal planes for complex dual arc VMAT treatment plans. In general, the PRESAGE® dosimeter is found to be a feasible QA tool of VMAT plan for H&N cancer treatment.
The objective of this paper is to examine the impact of the Health Service Research Project of the Pakistan Medical Research Council (PMRC) on mothers and infants in Budhni village, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan.
Information from the PMRC records on the socioeconomic and demographic situation over the last 10 years and anthropometric measurements made on all infants from 1986–96 were collected and analysed.
The demographic data showed a number of changes, namely a reduction in birth rate and improvements in perinatal, neonatal, infant and child mortality rates. Literacy in the village was poor (27 and 39% literate in 1986 and 1996, respectively) and female literacy showed no improvement (14%). Improvements in sanitation and in the water supply introduced by the PMRC had limited success, as clean water was subsequently contaminated by unclean hands and utensils, and 50% of the population continued to use open fields for sanitation. In 1986 only 27% of children 0–5 years were vaccinated, but by 1996, 96% of children had completed polio, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) and bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination programmes and 95% of women of child-bearing age were vaccinated against tetanus. Protection against tetanus reduced neonatal deaths and from 1333 onwards there have been no further cases.
Anthropometric data for the period 1986–96 for infants (0–24 months) showed that at birth the majority of infants were close to the 50th National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) centile for weight and length, and only 5% of birth-weights were less than 2.5 kg. Growth charts showed faltering in length and weight and by 24-months length in both boys and girls was below the 3rd NCHS centile and weights were just above.
Reductions in child mortality have occurred over the period 1986–96. However, the slow progress in adopting hygienic practices, despite health education, and the low literacy rates, particularly in women, may hamper continued improvement.
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