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The main objective of this secondary analysis was to describe the nutritional status of the Better Outcomes in Labour Difficulty (BOLD) project study population and determine possible associations between maternal nutritional status (as reflected by maternal BMI at the time of birth) and severe neonatal outcomes (SNO). We also analysed previous and index maternal pathologies to determine associations with neonatal outcomes. We used the classification designed by Atalah for maternal BMI and compared with the Hyperglycaemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome study one. To describe the nutritional status of this population, figures of distribution and test of normality related to weight and BMI were presented for the women and their babies. To explore the association between maternal BMI data and SNO, the χ2 test was performed. To identify a maternal characteristic or a group of characteristics that could predict SNO, we used Fisher’s exact test using previous maternal pathology collected in the BOLD project as well as that in the index pregnancy. In this study, BMI at the time of birth was not associated with neonatal near miss or death. We found that previous maternal obesity, diabetes and chronic hypertension were associated with SNO. Maternal pathology in the index pregnancy such as other obstetric haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, anaemia and gestational diabetes was associated with SNO.
Although the tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum) is the most cultivated native fish species in Brazil, estimated breeding values for growth traits are rarely used for selection of superior individuals in commercial fingerling production. This study aimed to estimate the (co)variance components of growth traits. Body weight, length and width of 2500 tambaqui were determined at tagging and at 6 and 12 months after tagging in a commercial breeding programme in Brazil. Heritability estimates were low for traits measured at tagging (0.10 to 0.19) and moderate to high for traits measured at 6 and 12 months (0.23 to 0.81). Common full-sib effects were high at tagging (>73%), low at 6 months and negligible at 12 months. Positive genetic correlations were found among growth traits at 12 months (0.84 to 0.99) and between growth traits at 6 and 12 months (0.80 to 0.92). These results show that animal selection can be performed at 6 months after tagging. Expected genetic gains for growth traits ranged from 8% to 31%. A simulation of the sex ratio was performed, as individuals did not reach sexual maturity during the experimental period. Because of the sexual dimorphism, more accurate heritability estimates were obtained when considering the female proportion to be 90% in the high-weight group. The findings indicate that it is possible to obtain considerable genetic gains in growth by selecting for growth traits. The development of a tool to determine the sex of animals at early stages can improve the response to selection in tambaqui.
To estimate the nutritional requirements of hair sheep, knowledge about the animal’s weight and its relationships with growth performances is essential. A study was carried with the objective to establish the relationships between BW, fasting BW (FBW), empty BW (EBW), average daily gain (ADG) and empty BW gain (EBWG) for hair sheep in growing and finishing phases in Brazilian conditions. Databases were obtained from 32 studies, for a total of 1145 observations; there were 3 sex classes (non-castrated male, castrated male and female) and 2 feeding systems (pasture and feedlot). The most representative breeds in the database were Santa Ines (n = 473), Morada Nova (n = 70) and Brazilian Somali (n = 47). The other animals in the database were crossbreeds (n = 555). The FBW (kg), EBW and EBWG (kg/day) were estimated according to linear regression. A random coefficient model was adopted, considering the study as a random effect and including the possibility of covariance between the slope and the intercept. The coefficients obtained from the linear regression of the FBW against the BW, EBW against the FBW and EBWG against the ADG did not differ between sex class (P > 0.05) and genotype (P > 0.05). The equations generated to estimate FBW from the BW, EBW from the FBW and EBWG from the ADG are as follows: FBW = −0.5470 (±0.2025) + 0.9313(±0.019) × BW, EBW = −1.4944 (±0.3639) + 0.8816 (±0.018) × FBW and EBWG = 0.906 (±0.019) × ADG, respectively. The low mean squared error values found in the cross-validation confirmed the reliability of these equations. Considering a sheep with a BW of 30 kg and a 100 g ADG, the estimated FBW, EBW and EBWG calculated using the generated equations are 27, 22.65 and 0.090 kg, respectively. In conclusion, the generated equations can be used in growing hair sheep. The validation procedure applied to the generated equations showed that its use for hair sheep seems to be appropriate.
To understand the production factors that affect conclusive parameters of sow herd performance can improve the use of the resources and profitability of farm. The objective of this study was to identify associations and quantify the effects of a set of factors related to piglet weight at weaning (PWW), kilograms of piglets weaned per sow per year (kgPWSY) and sow feed conversion (SFC). Data from 150 farms were collected, for a total study population of 135 168 sows, including gilt replacement, breeding (mating), gestation and farrowing/lactation phases. A questionnaire focusing on reproductive performance, management, facilities, feeding, health and biosafety was administered. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess associations among factors with each of the three dependent variables. Increased duration of lactation was positively associated with PWW, kgPWSY and SFC. The increase in the number of live born pigs per litter was positively associated with kgPWSY and with SFC. Farms with higher PWW had farrowing room humidifiers, did not surgically castrate male piglets and used quaternary ammonia compounds for farrowing room disinfection. Farms with higher kgPWSY used lined ceilings in farrowing rooms and winter feeds with higher CP percentages in gestation; they also had more farrowings per sow per year. Sow feed conversion was worse in farms with partly slatted floors during gestation, in farms feeding lactating sows six times a day or ad libitum and farms with a higher sow-handler ratio. This study indicates that farms can increase PWW and kgPWSY and improve the SFC by changing one or more management, biosafety and feeding practices or facilities as well as by focusing on improving several performance parameters, particularly increasing the duration of lactation and the number of live born pigs per litter.
Since behavioural adjustments are an important line of defence against thermal stress, either due to their energy efficiency or to efficiency at preventing overheating, we aimed to evaluate whether broilers fed different maize particle sizes adjusted their behaviour to deal with heat stress challenges. At several times a day, the behaviour of 220 naked neck broilers was evaluated. These broilers were fed with isonutritive diets containing maize with different geometric mean diameters (GMD): 605 and 2280 μm. The thermal environment was monitored during the experiment. Panting and open wings were the only behaviours that showed differences between the times of day (P < 0.05). However, GMD showed a significant effect on feed intake and panting (P < 0.05). The interaction between GMD and time of day was significant only on panting (P < 0.05). Although no daily variation was observed, the highest feed intake was observed in broilers fed the diet containing maize with a GMD of 2280 μm. Less than 5% of the broilers were observed drinking water during the day. Open wings was the behavioural adjustment most used by broilers from 10:00 h, and remained elevated until 14:00 h for both GMDs. The birds panted more when fed the diet containing maize with a GMD of 2280 μm. In conclusion, broilers adjust their behaviour to dissipate excess body heat from the environment and as a result of feed intake. Coarse particles of maize in the diet increase the thermal challenge of broilers since the environment also provides stressful thermal conditions.
This study evaluated the effects of rosuvastatin in vivo on toxoplasmosis chronic infection. Thirty-five Swiss mice were orally infected (ME-49 strain). After 50 days, the mice were separated into five groups: GI – non-infected, GII – infected, GIII – infected and treated with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine (12.5 + 50 mg kg−1 body weight day−1), GIV and GV – infected and treated with rosuvastatin 10 and 40 mg kg−1 body weight day−1, respectively. After 21 days, we collected blood, liver, lungs, femoral biceps and brain were removed for Toxoplasma gondii DNA quantification by qPCR and histopathological analysis. GIV and GV did not present premature death or clinical changes, and the hepatic enzyme levels were lower compared to GI. Toxoplasma gondii DNA was detected mainly in brain and muscle, but the parasite load was significantly lower in GV compared to GII brains (P < 0.05). Histopathological changes were observed in brains, with T. gondii cysts as well as an inflammatory condition, including necrosis areas in GII and GIII. These data confirm active infection with tissue injury. This inflammatory condition was attenuated in the groups treated with rosuvastatin, especially R40 (GV). Our findings demonstrated the in vivo action of rosuvastatin in reducing cerebral parasitic load and indicate that this drug may interfere in chronic toxoplasmosis.
Many plant traits might explain the different ecological and network roles of fruit-eating birds. We assessed the relationship of plant productivity, fruit traits (colour, seed size and nutritional quality) and dietary specialization, with the network roles of fruit-eating birds (number of partners, centrality and selectivity) in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. We classified bird species according to their dietary specialization into three categories: obligate, partial and opportunistic fruit-eating birds. To test if network roles changed according to dietary specialization, fruit productivity and traits, we used a generalized linear model analysis. The selected 14 species of plant interacted with 52 bird species, which consumed 2199 fruits. The most central and generalist fruit-eating bird, Turdus albicolis, interacted with plants that produced more fruits, such as Miconia cinerascens, and had, on average, larger seeds, such as Myrcia splendens. The most selective birds interacted with fruits with a higher concentration of lipids and less intense colour, and plants that produced fewer fruits. Obligate fruit-eating birds, such as Patagioenas plumbea, were more selective than partial and opportunistic birds. Different plant traits are therefore related to the different network roles of fruit-eating birds in the Atlantic Forest, which are also dependent on bird dietary specialization.
Intake in sugar-rich diets can be limited either via rumen fill or excessive rumen fermentation and source of non-fibre carbohydrate (NFC) in the diet can affect both factors. The aim of the current study was to quantify the effect of partially replacing ground maize (GM) with steam-rolled maize (SRM) or pelleted citrus pulp (PCP) at two concentrate levels in sugarcane-based diets on digestibility, rumen ecosystem and metabolism of Nellore steers. Six rumen-cannulated steers were assigned to a 6 × 6 Latin square, replicated in time, in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement of treatments with two levels of concentrate (600 or 800 g concentrate/kg dry matter [DM]) and three NFC sources. Each steer within a period was considered an experimental unit. Feeding more concentrate increased total tract digestibility of organic matter and decreased fibre intake and passage rate. It also reduced rumen populations of Fibrobacter succinogenes and Streptococcus bovis and increased Ruminococcus flavefaciens. Substituting PCP for GM increased rumen pH, acetic acid and organic matter digestibility. Feeding PCP also reduced R. flavefaciens and R. amylophilus rumen populations. Substituting SRM for GM increased starch digestibility and rumen propionic acid, but decreased rumen ammonia concentration. Feeding SRM increased rumen populations of Megasphaera elsdenii with the high-concentrate diet but reduced Ruminococcus albus populations at both concentrate levels. In conclusion, partial replacement of GM by PCP decreased intake in sugar-rich diets, while increasing total tract neutral detergent fibre digestibility. Replacement of GM with SRM increases rumen fermentation and total tract digestibility of starch.
Replacing ground maize (GM) with steam-rolled maize typically increases feed efficiency in maize-silage-based diets. However, little is known about optimal carbohydrate supplementation in sugarcane silage-based diets. The objective was to quantify the effect of partially replacing GM with steam-rolled maize (SRM) or pelleted citrus pulp (PCP) at two concentrate levels (600 or 800 g/kg DM) in sugarcane-based diets on feeding behaviour, performance and blood parameters of finishing Nellore bulls. One hundred and eight young bulls were allocated to 36 pens in a randomized block design and fed for 84 d. Feeding 800 g/kg concentrate decreased time spending eating and ruminating, but improved G:F ratio, hot carcass weight and carcass dressing, compared to 600 g/kg concentrate. Bulls fed SRM and PCP diets with 600 g/kg concentrate had lower intake compared to GM. Both final weight and average daily gain decreased when bulls were fed PCP and SRM with 600 g/kg concentrate compared to GM diets, and when fed with PCP and 800 g/kg concentrate. Substituting PCP for GM decreased gain efficiency, carcass weight, rumination time and intake efficiency, indicating that the bulls consumed less feed per hour spent eating. Substituting SRM for GM increased backfat thickness and blood urea concentration. In conclusion, the replacement of GM with PCP reduces intake and enhances selection against large particles, decreasing rumination, performance and final carcass weight and dressing. Replacement of GM with SRM increases blood urea and fat deposition, with no impact on performance.
Perinatal maternal high-fat diet (HFD) increases susceptibility to obesity and fatty liver diseases in adult offspring, which can be attenuated by the potent hypolipidaemic action of fish oil (FO), an n-3 PUFA source, during adult life. Previously, we described that adolescent HFD offspring showed resistance to FO hypolipidaemic effects, although FO promoted hepatic molecular changes suggestive of reduced lipid accumulation. Here, we investigated whether this FO intervention only during the adolescence period could affect offspring metabolism in adulthood. Then, female Wistar rats received isoenergetic, standard (STD: 9 % fat) or high-fat (HFD: 28·6 % fat) diet before mating, and throughout pregnancy and lactation. After weaning, male offspring received the standard diet; and from 25 to 45 d old they received oral administration of soyabean oil or FO. At 150 d old, serum and hepatic metabolic parameters were evaluated. Maternal HFD adult offspring showed increased body weight, visceral adiposity, hyperleptinaemia and decreased hepatic pSTAT3/STAT3 ratio, suggestive of hepatic leptin resistance. FO intake only during the adolescence period reduced visceral adiposity and serum leptin, regardless of maternal diet. Maternal HFD promoted dyslipidaemia and hepatic TAG accumulation, which was correlated with reduced hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1a content, suggesting lipid oxidation impairment. FO intake did not change serum lipids; however, it restored hepatic TAG content and hepatic markers of lipid oxidation to STD offspring levels. Therefore, we concluded that FO intake exclusively during adolescence programmed STD offspring and reprogrammed HFD offspring male rats to a healthier metabolic phenotype in adult life, reducing visceral adiposity, serum leptin and hepatic TAG content in offspring adulthood.
The objective of the current paper was to apply mixed models to adjust the growth curve of quail lines for meat and laying hens and present the rates of instantaneous, relative and absolute growth. A database was used with birth weight records up to the 148th day of female quail of the lines for meat and posture. The models evaluated were Brody, Von Bertalanffy, Logistic and Gompertz and the types of residues were constant, combined, proportional and exponential. The Gompertz model with the combined residue presented the best fit. Both strains present a high correlation between the parameters asymptotic weight (A) and average growth rate (k). The two strains presented a different growth profile. However, growth rates allow greater discernment of growth profiles. The meat line presented a higher growth rate (6.95 g/day) than the lineage for laying (3.65 g/day). The relative growth rate was higher for lineage for laying (0.15%) in relation to the lineage for meat (0.13%). The inflection point of both lines is on the first third of the growth curve (up to 15 days). All results suggest that changes in management or nutrition could optimize quail production.
Inclusion of legume in grass pastures optimizes protein values of the forage and promotes improved digestibility. Therefore, we hypothesized that finishing steers on a novel combination of legumes and grass pasture would produce carcasses with acceptable traits when compared to carcasses from steers finished in feedlot systems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of finishing steers on three systems including: grazing legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover (PAST), grazing PAST plus supplementation with whole corn grain (14 g/kg BW (SUPP)), and on a feedlot-confined system with concentrate only (28 g/kg BW, consisting of 850 g/kg of whole corn grain and 150 g/kg of protein–mineral–vitamin supplement (GRAIN)) on growth performance of steers, carcass traits and digestive disorders. Eighteen steers were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments and finished for 91 days. Data regarding pasture and growth performance were collected during three different periods (0 to 28, 29 to 56 and 57 to 91 days). Subsequently, steers were harvested to evaluate carcass traits, presence of rumenitis, abomasitis and liver abscesses. The legume–grass pasture provided more than 19% dry matter of protein. In addition, pasture of paddocks where steers were assigned to SUPP and PAST treatments showed similar nutritional quality. When compared to PAST, finishing on SUPP increased total weight gain per hectare, stocking rate, daily and total weight gains. The increase of weight gain was high to GRAIN than SUPP and PAST. Steers finished on GRAIN had high hot carcass weight, fat thickness and marbling score when compared to PAST. However, these attributes did not differ between GRAIN and SUPP. Abomasum lesions were more prevalent in steers finished on GRAIN when compared to PAST. Results of this research showed that it is possible to produce carcasses with desirable market weight and fat thickness by finishing steers on legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover. Moreover, supplementing steers with corn when grazing on legume–grass pasture produced similar carcass traits when compared to beef fed corn only.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
The aim of this study was to establish a functional freezing–thawing protocol for epididymal sperm of collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu L., 1758) by comparing different extenders. The epididymal sperm from 12 sexually mature males was recovered by retrograde flushing using Tris-based or coconut water-based (ACP®-116c) extenders. After initial evaluation, samples were diluted and frozen with the same extenders to which 20% egg yolk and 6% glycerol were added. After 2 weeks, thawing was performed at 37°C/60 s and sperm motility, vigour, morphology, functional membrane integrity, sperm viability, sperm plasma membrane integrity, and a computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) were assessed. In addition, to evaluate the survival of frozen–thawed sperm, a thermal resistance test (TRT) was executed. Samples preserved using Tris were in better condition compared with those preserved using ACP®, showing higher values for most assessments performed, including CASA and the TRT (P<0.05). After determining Tris to be the better of the two extenders, additional samples were thawed using different thawing rates (37°C/60 s, 55°C/7 s, 70°C/8 s). Sperm thawed at 37°C/60 s had the greatest preservation (P<0.05) of viability (54.1 ± 5.9%) and functional membrane integrity (43.2 ± 5.4%), and had higher values for various CASA parameters. In conclusion, we suggest the use of a Tris-based extender added to egg yolk and glycerol for the cryopreservation of epididymal sperm obtained from collared peccaries. In order to achieve better post-thawing sperm quality, we suggest that samples should be thawed at 37°C/60 s.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship of four TNF-α SNP with inflammatory biomarkers and plasma fatty acids (FA), and the interaction among them in a population-based, cross-sectional study in São Paulo, Brazil. A total of 281 subjects, aged >19 and <60 years, participated in a cross-sectional, population-based study performed in Brazil. The following SNP spanning the TNF-α gene were genotyped: -238G/A (rs361525), -308G/A (rs1800629), -857C/T (rs1799724) and -1031T/C (rs1799964). In all, eleven plasma inflammatory biomarkers and plasma FA profile were determined. To analyse the interaction between TNF-α SNP and plasma FA, a cluster analysis was performed to stratify individuals based on eleven inflammatory biomarkers into two groups used as outcome: inflammatory (INF) and non-inflammatory clusters. The -238A allele carriers had higher TNF-α (P=0·033), IL-6 (P=0·013), IL-1β (P=0·037), IL-12 (0·048) and IL-10 (P=0·010) than the GG genotype. The -308A allele carriers also had lower levels of plasma palmitoleic acid (P=0·009), oleic acid (P=0·039), total MUFA (P=0·014), stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) activity index-16 (P=0·007), SCD-18 (P=0·020) and higher levels of PUFA (P=0·046) and DHA (P=0·044). Significant interactions modifying the risk of belonging to the INF cluster were observed with inflammatory cluster as outcome between -857C/T and plasma α-linolenic acid (P=0·026), and also between -308G/A and plasma stearic acid (P=0·044) and total SFA (P=0·040). Our study contributes to knowledge on TNF-α SNP and their association with inflammatory biomarker levels, plasma FA and the interaction among them, of particular interest for the Brazilian population.
Clinical manifestations of acute bronchiolitis (AB) vary from minimal disease to severe respiratory failure. The response to respiratory viral infections is possibly influenced by genetic polymorphisms linked to the regulation of the inflammatory response. In the present study, we investigated whether interleukin-8 (IL-8) and interleukin-17 (IL-17) genetic variants are associated with the severity of AB. A group of Brazilian infants hospitalized with AB and a control group (infants with no or mild AB, without hospitalization) were genotyped for four IL-8/IL-17 variations. For replication, we studied an Argentinean population sample of infants with mild and severe AB. IL-8 polymorphism (rs 2227543) and IL-17 (rs2275913) variants showed significant associations with the severity of AB. The effect of the IL-8 variation could be replicated in the Argentinean sample. This finding suggests that IL-8 variations may influence the severity of AB in young infants. Further genetic association studies in low- or middle-income populations are necessary with the aim of expanding knowledge in this area.
Mathematical models are important tools to estimate nutritional requirements and animal growth. Very few calf models generated from other countries with different feeding programs, environment and production systems have been evaluated. The objective of this paper is to evaluate two calf models: (i) the National Research Council (NRC) in 2001 and (ii) the updates published by Van Amburgh and Drackley in 2005 and inputted into Agricultural Modeling and Training Systems (AMTS, version 3.5.8). Data from 16 previous studies involving 51 diets for dairy calves under tropical conditions (n=485 calves, initial BW 37.5±4.35 kg and weaning weight of 62.0±10.16 kg) were used. The calves were fed with whole milk, milk replacer or fermented colostrum, plus starter (20.9±1.78% of CP). The accuracy of the average daily gain (ADG) prediction was evaluated by mean bias, mean square prediction error (MSPE), concordance correlation coefficient, bias correction factor (Cb), and regression between the observed and predicted values. The ADG observed from birth to weaning was 0.452±0.121 kg/day. Calves fed with whole milk had greater ADG compared with calves fed milk replacer (0.477 v. 0.379 kg/day) during the milk-feeding period. When all data were pooled (n=51 diets), predictions had a mean bias of −0.019 and 0.068 kg/day for energy-allowable gain using NRC and AMTS models, respectively. The regression equation between observed and predicted values obtained from energy of diets showed an intercept different from zero (P<0.0001) and slope that differed from unity (P<0.0001). In a second evaluation, when calves were fed only milk replacer, the energy-allowable gain from AMTS showed the lowest mean bias (0.008 kg/day) and 82.1% of the MSPE value originated from random errors. The lowest MSPE, the higher Cb value and no significant slope bias (P>0.05) indicate that the AMTS growth model resulted in accurate predictions for calves fed with milk replacer. However, within these latter two approaches, the goodness of fit (R2) was low, representing low precision. The weight gain estimated by the energy available from the diet was overestimated by 19 g/day when calculated by the NRC and underestimated by 68 g/day when calculated by AMTS. The reasons for this discrepancy need to be understood, for only then new models could be developed and parameterized to estimate animal performance in tropical conditions more accurately and precisely.
Autonomic diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications of type 1 diabetes mellitus, and studies using heart rate variability to investigate these individuals have shown inconclusive results regarding autonomic nervous system activation.
To investigate the dynamics of heart rate in young subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus through nonlinear and linear methods of heart rate variability.
We evaluated 20 subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus and 23 healthy control subjects. We obtained the following nonlinear indices from the recurrence plot: recurrence rate (REC), determinism (DET), and Shanon entropy (ES), and we analysed indices in the frequency (LF and HF in ms2 and normalised units – nu – and LF/HF ratio) and time domains (SDNN and RMSSD), through analysis of 1000 R–R intervals, captured by a heart rate monitor.
There were reduced values (p<0.05) for individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus compared with healthy subjects in the following indices: DET, REC, ES, RMSSD, SDNN, LF (ms2), and HF (ms2). In relation to the recurrence plot, subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus demonstrated lower recurrence and greater variation in their plot, inter-group and intra-group, respectively.
Young subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus have autonomic nervous system behaviour that tends to randomness compared with healthy young subjects. Moreover, this behaviour is related to reduced sympathetic and parasympathetic activity of the autonomic nervous system.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.