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The pig industry faces many animal welfare issues. Among these, biting behaviour has a high incidence. It is indicative of an existing problem in biters and is a source of physical damage and psychological stress for the victims. We categorize this behaviour into aggressive and non-aggressive biting, the latter often being directed towards the tail. This review focusses specifically on predisposing factors in early life, comprising the prenatal and postnatal periods up to weaning, for the expression of aggressive and non-aggressive biting later in life. The influence of personality and coping style has been examined in a few studies. It varies according to these studies and, thus, further evaluation is needed. Regarding the effect of environmental factors, the number of scientific papers is low (less than five papers for most factors). No clear influence of prenatal factors has been identified to date. Aggressive biting is reduced by undernutrition, cross-fostering and socialization before weaning. Non-aggressive biting is increased by undernutrition, social stress due to competition and cross-fostering. These latter three factors are highly dependent on litter size at birth. The use of familiar odours may contribute to reducing biting when pigs are moved from one environment to another by alleviating the level of stress associated with novelty. Even though the current environment in which pigs are expressing biting behaviours is of major importance, the pre-weaning environment should be optimized to reduce the likelihood of this problem.
This study evaluated in a rigorous 18-month randomized controlled trial the efficacy of an enhanced vocational intervention for helping individuals with a recent first schizophrenia episode to return to and remain in competitive work or regular schooling.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) was adapted to meet the goals of individuals whose goals might involve either employment or schooling. IPS was combined with a Workplace Fundamentals Module (WFM) for an enhanced, outpatient, vocational intervention. Random assignment to the enhanced integrated rehabilitation program (N = 46) was contrasted with equally intensive clinical treatment at UCLA, including social skills training groups, and conventional vocational rehabilitation by state agencies (N = 23). All patients were provided case management and psychiatric services by the same clinical team and received oral atypical antipsychotic medication.
The IPS–WFM combination led to 83% of patients participating in competitive employment or school in the first 6 months of intensive treatment, compared with 41% in the comparison group (p < 0.005). During the subsequent year, IPS–WFM continued to yield higher rates of schooling/employment (92% v. 60%, p < 0.03). Cumulative number of weeks of schooling and/or employment was also substantially greater with the IPS–WFM intervention (45 v. 26 weeks, p < 0.004).
The results clearly support the efficacy of an enhanced intervention focused on recovery of participation in normative work and school settings in the initial phase of schizophrenia, suggesting potential for prevention of disability.
Full thickness rotator cuff tears (RCT) and the associated muscle degeneration that results due to this injury presents a significant clinical burden. The prevention or recovery from this degeneration requires the synchronized behavior of many cells that participate in regeneration. Strategies that tune the inflammatory cascade that is initiated after injury serves as a powerful way to influence tissue repair. Here, we use the local, sustained delivery of the immunomodulatory small molecule FTY720 to examine whether the recruitment of pro-regenerative myeloid cells affects the healing outcome. We find that PLGA microparticles have an atrophic effect on the muscle that is ameliorated with the release of FTY720. However, the inability of FTY720 delivery to induce pro-regenerative monocyte and macrophage recruitment and our findings demonstrating enrichment of CD4+ T cells suggest that effects of this small molecule are context dependent and that the underlying mechanisms behind this RCT associated muscle degeneration require further studies.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
In beef cattle, feeding behaviour and activity are associated with feed efficiency and methane (CH4) emissions. This study aimed to understand the underlying traits responsible for the contribution of cattle behaviour to individual differences in feed efficiency, performance and CH4 emissions. A total of 84 steers (530±114 kg BW) of two different breeds (crossbreed Charolais and Luing) were used. The experiment was a 2×2×3 factorial design with breed, basal diets (concentrate v. mixed) and dietary treatments (no additive, calcium nitrate or rapeseed cake) as the main factors. The individual dry matter intake (DMI; kg) was recorded daily and the BW was measured weekly over a 56-day period. Ultrasound fat depth was measured on day 56. Based on the previous data, the indexes average daily gain, food conversion and residual feed intake (RFI) were calculated. The frequency of meals, the duration per visit and the time spent feeding per day were taken as feeding behaviour measures. Daily activity was measured using the number of steps, the number of standing bouts and the time standing per day. Agonistic interactions (including the number of contacts, aggressive interactions, and displacements per day) between steers at the feeders were assessed as indicators of dominance. Temperament was assessed using the crush score test (which measures restlessness when restrained) and the flight speed on release from restraint. Statistical analysis was performed using multivariate regression models. Steers that spent more time eating showed better feed efficiency (P=0.039), which can be due to greater secretion of saliva. Feeding time was longer with the mixed diet (P<0.001), Luings (P=0.009) and dominant steers (P=0.032). Higher activity (more steps) in the pen was associated with poorer RFI, possibly because of higher energy expenditure for muscle activity. Frequent meals contributed to a reduction in CH4 emissions per kg DMI. The meal frequency was higher with a mixed diet (P<0.001) and increased in more temperamental (P=0.003) and dominant (P=0.017) steers. In addition, feed intake was lower (P=0.032) in more temperamental steers. This study reveals that efficiency increases with a longer feeding time and CH4 emissions decrease with more frequent meals. As dominant steers eat more frequently and for longer, a reduction in competition at the feeder would improve both feed efficiency and CH4 emissions. Feed efficiency can also be improved through a reduction in activity. Selection for calmer cattle would reduce activity and increase feed intake, which may improve feed efficiency and promote growth, respectively.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Livestock production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so will play a significant role in the mitigation effort. Recent literature highlights different strategies to mitigate GHG emissions in the livestock sector. Animal welfare is a criterion of sustainability and any strategy designed to reduce the carbon footprint of livestock production should consider animal welfare amongst other sustainability metrics. We discuss and tabulate the likely relationships and trade-offs between the GHG mitigation potential of mitigation strategies and their welfare consequences, focusing on ruminant species and on cattle in particular. The major livestock GHG mitigation strategies were classified according to their mitigation approach as reducing total emissions (inhibiting methane production in the rumen), or reducing emissions intensity (Ei; reducing CH4 per output unit without directly targeting methanogenesis). Strategies classified as antimethanogenic included chemical inhibitors, electron acceptors (i.e. nitrates), ionophores (i.e. Monensin) and dietary lipids. Increasing diet digestibility, intensive housing, improving health and welfare, increasing reproductive efficiency and breeding for higher productivity were categorized as strategies that reduce Ei. Strategies that increase productivity are very promising ways to reduce the livestock carbon footprint, though in intensive systems this is likely to be achieved at the cost of welfare. Other strategies can effectively reduce GHG emissions whilst simultaneously improving animal welfare (e.g. feed supplementation or improving health). These win–win strategies should be strongly supported as they address both environmental and ethical sustainability. In order to identify the most cost-effective measures for improving environmental sustainability of livestock production, the consequences of current and future strategies for animal welfare must be scrutinized and contrasted against their effectiveness in mitigating climate change.
Blazar OJ 287 is one of the best observed extragalactic objects. It's historical light curve goes back to 1890′s. Based on the historical behaviour Sillanpää et al. (1988) showed that OJ 287 displays large periodic outbursts, with a period of 11.7 years. We have monitored OJ 287 intensively for two years, during the OJ-94 project. This project was created for monitoring OJ 287 during its predicted new outburst in 1994. In the data archive we have over 7000 observations on OJ 287, in the radio, infrared and optical bands. This data archive contains the best ever obtained light curves for any extragalactic object. The optical light curve shows continuous variability down to time scales of tens of minutes. The variability observed in OJ 287 can be broken down to (at least) four different categories:
The Llanherne telescope is a meridian transit instrument with an instantaneous bandwidth of two octaves in the range 35 to 150 MHz, and was constructed primarily for studying the low frequency properties of pulsars. The antenna is a 78 × 156 metre filled aperture phased array comprising 4096 wire dipole elements arranged in a 64 × 64 matrix. Uniform illumination of the elements produces a single pencil beam response which is scanned electronically along the meridian from Declination -90° to +30°. The beamwidth at 100 MHz is 1 degree in right ascension and two degrees sec(Dec.) in declination and varies proportionally with wavelength, giving a transit time of 4 sec(Dec) × 100/f(MHz) minutes between half power points.
Aggression at regrouping is a common issue in pig farming. Skin lesions are genetically and phenotypically correlated with aggression and have been shown to have a significant heritable component. This study predicts the magnitude of reduction in complex aggressive behavioural traits when using lesion numbers on different body regions at two different time points as selection criteria, to identify the optimum skin lesion trait for selection purposes. In total, 1146 pigs were mixed into new social groups, and skin lesions were counted 24 h (SL24h) and 3 weeks (SL3wk) post-mixing, on the anterior, centre and posterior regions of the body. An animal model was used to estimate genetic parameters for skin lesion traits and 14 aggressive behavioural traits. Estimated breeding values (EBVs) and phenotypic values were scaled and standardised to allow direct comparison across multiple traits. Individuals with SL24h and SL3wk EBVs in the least aggressive 10% of the population were compared with the population mean to predict the expected genetic and phenotypic response in aggressive behaviour to selection. At mixing, selection for low anterior lesions was predicted to affect substantially more behavioural traits of aggressiveness than lesions obtained on other body parts, with EBVs between −0.21 and −1.17 SD below the population mean. Individuals with low central SL24h EBVs also had low EBVs for aggressive traits (−0.33 to −0.55). Individuals with high SL3wk EBVs had low EBVs for aggression at mixing (between −0.24 and −0.53 SD below the population mean), although this was predicted to affect fewer traits than selection against SL24h. These results suggest that selection against anterior SL24h would result in the greatest genetic and phenotypic reduction in aggressive behaviour recorded at mixing. Selection for increased SL3wk was predicted to reduce aggression at mixing; however, current understanding about aggressive behaviour under stable social conditions is insufficient to recommend using this trait for selection purposes.
To limit tail biting incidence, most pig producers in Europe tail dock their piglets. This is despite EU Council Directive 2008/120/EC banning routine tail docking and allowing it only as a last resort. The paper aims to understand what it takes to fulfil the intentions of the Directive by examining economic results of four management and housing scenarios, and by discussing their consequences for animal welfare in the light of legal and ethical considerations. The four scenarios compared are: ‘Standard Docked’, a conventional housing scenario with tail docking meeting the recommendations for Danish production (0.7 m2/pig); ‘Standard Undocked’, which is the same as ‘Standard Docked’ but with no tail docking, ‘Efficient Undocked’ and ‘Enhanced Undocked’, which have increased solid floor area (0.9 and 1.0 m2/pig, respectively) provision of loose manipulable materials (100 and 200 g/straw per pig per day) and no tail docking. A decision tree model based on data from Danish and Finnish pig production suggests that Standard Docked provides the highest economic gross margin with the least tail biting. Given our assumptions, Enhanced Undocked is the least economic, although Efficient Undocked is better economically and both result in a lower incidence of tail biting than Standard Undocked but higher than Standard Docked. For a pig, being bitten is worse for welfare (repeated pain, risk of infections) than being docked, but to compare welfare consequences at a farm level means considering the number of affected pigs. Because of the high levels of biting in Standard Undocked, it has on average inferior welfare to Standard Docked, whereas the comparison of Standard Docked and Enhanced (or Efficient) Undocked is more difficult. In Enhanced (or Efficient) Undocked, more pigs than in Standard Docked suffer from being tail bitten, whereas all the pigs avoid the acute pain of docking endured by the pigs in Standard Docked. We illustrate and discuss this ethical balance using numbers derived from the above-mentioned data. We discuss our results in the light of the EU Directive and its adoption and enforcement by Member States. Widespread use of tail docking seems to be accepted, mainly because the alternative steps that producers are required to take before resorting to it are not specified in detail. By tail docking, producers are acting in their own best interests. We suggest that for the practice of tail docking to be terminated in a way that benefits animal welfare, changes in the way pigs are housed and managed may first be required.
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.
The current study compared beef production, quality and fatty acid (FA) profiles of yearling steers fed a control diet containing 70 : 30 red clover silage (RCS) : barley-based concentrate, a diet containing 11% sunflower seed (SS) substituted for barley, and diets containing SS with15% or 30% wheat dried distillers’ grain with solubles (DDGS). Additions of DDGS were balanced by reductions in RCS and SS to maintain crude fat levels in diets. A total of two pens of eight animals were fed per diet for an average period of 208 days. Relative to the control diet, feeding the SS diet increased (P<0.05) average daily gain, final live weight and proportions of total n-6 FA, non-conjugated 18:2 biohydrogenation products (i.e. atypical dienes) with the first double bond at carbon 8 or 9 from the carboxyl end, conjugated linoleic acid isomers with the first double bond from carbon 7 to 10 from the carboxyl end, t-18:1 isomers, and reduced (P<0.05) the proportions of total n-3 FA, conjugated linolenic acids, branched-chain FA, odd-chain FA and 16:0. Feeding DDGS-15 and DDGS-30 diets v. the SS diet further increased (P<0.05) average daily gains, final live weight, carcass weight, hot dressing percentage, fat thickness, rib-eye muscle area, and improved instrumental and sensory panel meat tenderness. However, in general feeding DGGS-15 or DDGS-30 diets did not change FA proportions relative to feeding the SS diet. Overall, adding SS to a RCS-based diet enhanced muscle proportions of 18:2n-6 biohydrogenation products, and further substitutions of DDGS in the diet improved beef production, and quality while maintaining proportions of potentially functional bioactive FA including vaccenic and rumenic acids.
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars have been developed to express higher levels of leaf water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), but expression of this ‘high sugar’ trait varies between environments and is likely to be further influenced by the extent of plant re-growth. The herbage WSC concentration and the ratio of WSC to crude protein (WSC : CP) in high sugar cultivars AberMagic and SF Joule were therefore compared with a control cultivar, Arrow, under cool temperate Tasmanian conditions and two defoliation interval treatments. The irrigated cultivars were subjected to defoliation at either the 1·5-leaf or 3-leaf stage of re-growth, and additional components of nutritive value (fibre concentrations and metabolizable energy content) and dry matter (DM) yields were measured throughout a 12-month period (March 2011 to March 2012). The high sugar trait was consistently expressed in AberMagic, which under both the 1·5-leaf and 3-leaf stages defoliation intervals, displayed the highest WSC concentration (mean 194 and 247 mg/g DM, respectively, compared with 153 and 178 mg/g DM for Arrow) and highest WSC : CP ratio (mean 0·74 and 1·29, respectively, compared with 0·58 and 0·85 for Arrow). Defoliation at the 3-leaf stage of regrowth ensured greater expression of the high sugar trait in both AberMagic and SF Joule, as measured by the increase in WSC concentration and WSC : CP ratio as a result of increasing defoliation interval. The strength and consistency of trait expression in AberMagic under the 3-leaf stage defoliation interval warrants further research to investigate its effect on rumen nitrogen (N) partitioning and milk production in this environment.
Tail biting is a serious animal welfare and economic problem in pig production. Tail docking, which reduces but does not eliminate tail biting, remains widespread. However, in the EU tail docking may not be used routinely, and some ‘alternative’ forms of pig production and certain countries do not allow tail docking at all. Against this background, using a novel approach focusing on research where tail injuries were quantified, we review the measures that can be used to control tail biting in pigs without tail docking. Using this strict criterion, there was good evidence that manipulable substrates and feeder space affect damaging tail biting. Only epidemiological evidence was available for effects of temperature and season, and the effect of stocking density was unclear. Studies suggest that group size has little effect, and the effects of nutrition, disease and breed require further investigation. The review identifies a number of knowledge gaps and promising avenues for future research into prevention and mitigation. We illustrate the diversity of hypotheses concerning how different proposed risk factors might increase tail biting through their effect on each other or on the proposed underlying processes of tail biting. A quantitative comparison of the efficacy of different methods of provision of manipulable materials, and a review of current practices in countries and assurance schemes where tail docking is banned, both suggest that daily provision of small quantities of destructible, manipulable natural materials can be of considerable benefit. Further comparative research is needed into materials, such as ropes, which are compatible with slatted floors. Also, materials which double as fuel for anaerobic digesters could be utilised. As well as optimising housing and management to reduce risk, it is important to detect and treat tail biting as soon as it occurs. Early warning signs before the first bloody tails appear, such as pigs holding their tails tucked under, could in future be automatically detected using precision livestock farming methods enabling earlier reaction and prevention of tail damage. However, there is a lack of scientific studies on how best to respond to outbreaks: the effectiveness of, for example, removing biters and/or bitten pigs, increasing enrichment, or applying substances to tails should be investigated. Finally, some breeding companies are exploring options for reducing the genetic propensity to tail bite. If these various approaches to reduce tail biting are implemented we propose that the need for tail docking will be reduced.