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Both blood- and milk-based biomarkers have been analysed for decades in research settings, although often only in one herd, and without focus on the variation in the biomarkers that are specifically related to herd or diet. Biomarkers can be used to detect physiological imbalance and disease risk and may have a role in precision livestock farming (PLF). For use in PLF, it is important to quantify normal variation in specific biomarkers and the source of this variation. The objective of this study was to estimate the between- and within-herd variation in a number of blood metabolites (β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and serum IGF-1), milk metabolites (free glucose, glucose-6-phosphate, urea, isocitrate, BHB and uric acid), milk enzymes (lactate dehydrogenase and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase)) and composite indicators for metabolic imbalances (Physiological Imbalance-index and energy balance), to help facilitate their adoption within PLF. Blood and milk were sampled from 234 Holstein dairy cows from 6 experimental herds, each in a different European country, and offered a total of 10 different diets. Blood was sampled on 2 occasions at approximately 14 days-in-milk (DIM) and 35 DIM. Milk samples were collected twice weekly (in total 2750 samples) from DIM 1 to 50. Multilevel random regression models were used to estimate the variance components and to calculate the intraclass correlations (ICCs). The ICCs for the milk metabolites, when adjusted for parity and DIM at sampling, demonstrated that between 12% (glucose-6-phosphate) and 46% (urea) of the variation in the metabolites’ levels could be associated with the herd-diet combination. Intraclass Correlations related to the herd-diet combination were generally higher for blood metabolites, from 17% (cholesterol) to approximately 46% (BHB and urea). The high ICCs for urea suggest that this biomarker can be used for monitoring on herd level. The low variance within cow for NAGase indicates that few samples would be needed to describe the status and potentially a general reference value could be used. The low ICC for most of the biomarkers and larger within cow variation emphasises that multiple samples would be needed - most likely on the individual cows - for making the biomarkers useful for monitoring. The majority of biomarkers were influenced by parity and DIM which indicate that these should be accounted for if the biomarker should be used for monitoring.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Unbalanced metabolic status in the weeks after calving predisposes dairy cows to metabolic and infectious diseases. Blood glucose, IGF-I, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) are used as indicators of the metabolic status of cows. This work aims to (1) evaluate the potential of milk mid-IR spectra to predict these blood components individually and (2) to evaluate the possibility of predicting the metabolic status of cows based on the clustering of these blood components. Blood samples were collected from 241 Holstein cows on six experimental farms, at days 14 and 35 after calving. Blood samples were analyzed by reference analysis and metabolic status was defined by k-means clustering (k=3) based on the four blood components. Milk mid-IR analyses were undertaken on different instruments and the spectra were harmonized into a common standardized format. Quantitative models predicting blood components were developed using partial least squares regression and discriminant models aiming to differentiate the metabolic status were developed with partial least squares discriminant analysis. Cross-validations were performed for both quantitative and discriminant models using four subsets randomly constituted. Blood glucose, IGF-I, NEFA and BHB were predicted with respective R2 of calibration of 0.55, 0.69, 0.49 and 0.77, and R2 of cross-validation of 0.44, 0.61, 0.39 and 0.70. Although these models were not able to provide precise quantitative values, they allow for screening of individual milk samples for high or low values. The clustering methodology led to the sharing out of the data set into three groups of cows representing healthy, moderately impacted and imbalanced metabolic status. The discriminant models allow to fairly classify the three groups, with a global percentage of correct classification up to 74%. When discriminating the cows with imbalanced metabolic status from cows with healthy and moderately impacted metabolic status, the models were able to distinguish imbalanced group with a global percentage of correct classification up to 92%. The performances were satisfactory considering the variables are not present in milk, and consequently predicted indirectly. This work showed the potential of milk mid-IR analysis to provide new metabolic status indicators based on individual blood components or a combination of these variables into a global status. Models have been developed within a standardized spectral format, and although robustness should preferably be improved with additional data integrating different geographic regions, diets and breeds, they constitute rapid, cost-effective and large-scale tools for management and breeding of dairy cows.
The initial period of lactation in domestic ruminants is usually characterised by both hyperphagia and negative energy balance (Barber et al, 1997). The factors regulating the hyperphagia of lactation are not well understood. Leptin is a peptide hormone which is secreted by adipocytes, and which acts on a number of neuropeptides and receptors in the hypothalamus to regulate appetite and energy balance (Spiegelman and Flier, 2001). The aim of this study was to investigate the role of leptin in the hyperphagia of lactation in sheep.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Low mass, main sequence stars like our Sun exhibit a wide variety of rotational and magnetic states. Observational and theoretical advances have led to a renewed emphasis on understanding the rotational and magnetic evolution of sun-like stars has become a pressing problem in stellar physics. We use global 3D convection and convective dynamo simulations in rotating spherical shells and with realistic stellar stratification to explore the behavior of “middle-aged” stars. We show that for stars with slightly less rotational influence than our Sun a transition occurs from solar-like (fast equator, slow poles) to anti-solar (slow equator, fast poles) differential rotation. We investigate this transition using two different treatments for the upper boundary of our simulations and we hypothesize that this transition from solar-like to anti-solar differential rotation may be responsible for observations of anomalously rapid rotation for stars older than our Sun.
Virtual reality surgical simulation of mastoidectomy is a promising training tool for novices. Final-product analysis for assessing novice mastoidectomy performance could be limited by a peak or ceiling effect. These may be countered by simulator-integrated tutoring.
Twenty-two participants completed a single session of self-directed practice of the mastoidectomy procedure in a virtual reality simulator. Participants were randomised for additional simulator-integrated tutoring. Performances were assessed at 10-minute intervals using final-product analysis.
In all, 45.5 per cent of participants peaked before the 60-minute time limit. None of the participants achieved the maximum score, suggesting a ceiling effect. The tutored group performed better than the non-tutored group but tutoring did not eliminate the peak or ceiling effects.
Timing and adequate instruction is important when using final-product analysis to assess novice mastoidectomy performance. Improved real-time feedback and tutoring could address the limitations of final product based assessment.
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbiota has been identified as an important reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) that can be horizontally transferred to pathogenic species. Maternal GIT microbes can be transmitted to the offspring, and recent work indicates that such transfer starts before birth. We have used culture-independent genetic screenings to explore whether ARGs are already present in the meconium accumulated in the GIT during fetal life and in feces of 1-week-old infants. We have analyzed resistance to β-lactam antibiotics (BLr) and tetracycline (Tcr), screening for a variety of genes conferring each. To evaluate whether ARGs could have been inherited by maternal transmission, we have screened perinatal fecal samples of the 1-week-old babies’ mothers, as well as a mother–infant series including meconium, fecal samples collected through the infant’s 1st year, maternal fecal samples and colostrum. Our results reveal a high prevalence of BLr and Tcr in both meconium and early fecal samples, implying that the GIT resistance reservoir starts to accumulate even before birth. We show that ARGs present in the mother may reach the meconium and colostrum and establish in the infant GIT, but also that some ARGs were likely acquired from other sources. Alarmingly, we identified in both meconium and 1-week-olds’ samples a particularly elevated prevalence of mecA (>45%), six-fold higher than that detected in the mothers. The mecA gene confers BLr to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and although its detection does not imply the presence of this pathogen, it does implicate the young infant’s GIT as a noteworthy reservoir of this gene.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Studies have suggested that total intake of trans-fatty acids (TFA) is positively associated with changes in body weight and waist circumference, whereas intake of TFA from ruminant dairy and meat products (R-TFA) has not been associated with weight gain. However, these previous studies are limited by self-reported measures of body weight and waist circumference or by a cross-sectional design. The objective of the present study was to investigate if R-TFA intake was associated with subsequent changes in anthropometry (body weight, waist and hip circumference) measured by technicians and body composition (body fat percentage).
A 6-year follow-up study. Information on dietary intake was collected through diet history interviews, and anthropometric and bioelectrical impedance measurements were obtained by trained technicians at baseline (1987–1988) and at follow-up (1993–1994). Multiple regression with cubic spline modelling was used to analyse the data.
Copenhagen County, Denmark.
Two hundred and sixty-seven men and women aged 35–65 years from the Danish MONICA (MONItoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular diseases) cohort.
The median R-TFA intake was 1·3 g/d (5th, 95th percentile: 0·4, 2·7 g/d) or 0·6 % of the total energy intake (5th, 95th percentile: 0·2, 1·1 %). No significant associations were observed between R-TFA intake and changes in body weight, waist and hip circumference or body fat percentage.
R-TFA intake within the range present in the Danish population was not significantly associated with subsequent changes in body size, shape or composition and the 95 % confidence intervals indicate that any relevant associations are unlikely to have produced these observations.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
An increasing number of children are exhibiting features of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) including abdominal fatness, hypertension, adverse lipid profile and insulin resistance. Healthy eating practices during school hours may improve the cardiometabolic profile, but there is a lack of evidence. In the present study, the effect of provision of school meals rich in fish, vegetables and fibre on a MetS score (primary outcome) and on individual cardiometabolic markers and body composition (secondary outcomes) was investigated in 834 Danish school children. The study was carried out as a cluster-randomised, controlled, non-blinded, cross-over trial at nine schools. Children aged 8–11 years received freshly prepared school lunch and snacks or usual packed lunch from home (control) each for 3 months. Dietary intake, physical activity, cardiometabolic markers and body composition were measured at baseline and after each dietary period. The school meals did not affect the MetS score (P= 1·00). However, it was found that mean arterial pressure was reduced by 0·4 (95 % CI 0·0, 0·8) mmHg (P= 0·04), fasting total cholesterol concentrations by 0·05 (95 % CI 0·02, 0·08) mmol/l (P= 0·001), HDL-cholesterol concentrations by 0·02 (95 % CI 0·00, 0·03) mmol/l, TAG concentrations by 0·02 (95 % CI 0·00, 0·04) mmol/l (both P< 0·05), and homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance by 0·10 (95 % CI 0·04, 0·16) points (P= 0·001) compared with the control diet in the intention-to-treat analyses. Waist circumference increased 0·5 (95 % CI 0·3, 0·7) cm (P< 0·001), but BMI z-score remained unaffected. Complete-case analyses and analyses adjusted for household educational level, pubertal status and physical activity confirmed the results. In conclusion, the school meals did not affect the MetS score in 8–11-year-olds, as small improvements in blood pressure, TAG concentrations and insulin resistance were counterbalanced by slight undesired effects on waist circumference and HDL-cholesterol concentrations.
Previous studies have suggested that the intake of trans-fatty acids (TFA) plays a role in the development of obesity. The proportions of adipose tissue fatty acids not synthesised endogenously in humans, such as TFA, usually correlate well with the dietary intake. Hence, the use of these biomarkers may provide a more accurate measure of habitual TFA intake than that obtained with dietary questionnaires. The objective of the present study was to investigate the associations between the proportions of specific TFA in adipose tissue and subsequent changes in weight and waist circumference (WC). The relative content of fatty acids in adipose tissue biopsies from a random sample of 996 men and women aged 50–64 years drawn from a Danish cohort study was determined by GC. Baseline data on weight, WC and potential confounders were available together with information on weight and WC 5 years after enrolment. The exposure measures were total trans-octadecenoic acids (18 : 1t), 18 : 1 Δ6-10t, vaccenic acid (18 : 1 Δ11t) and rumenic acid (18 : 2 Δ9c, 11t). Data were analysed using multiple regression with cubic spline modelling. The median proportion of total adipose tissue 18 : 1t was 1·52 % (90 % central range 0·98, 2·19) in men and 1·47 % (1·01, 2·19) in women. No significant associations were observed between the proportions of total 18 : 1t, 18 : 1 Δ6-10t, vaccenic acid or rumenic acid and changes in weight or WC. The present study suggests that the proportions of specific TFA in adipose tissue are not associated with subsequent changes in weight or WC within the exposure range observed in this population.
A minimally invasive biopsy technique was evaluated for udder tissue collection in dairy cows with Escherichia coli mastitis. Meanwhile, the effect of taking repeated liver and udder biopsies on the systemic and local acute phase response (APR) of the dairy cows was investigated during the disease. The cows were divided into a biopsy group (B) (n = 16) and a no-biopsy group (NB) (n = 16) and were sampled in the acute disease stage and in the recovery stage. The cows’ pre-disease period served as a control period for establishing baseline values for the investigated parameters. A total of 32 Holstein-Friesian cows were inoculated with 20 to 40 colony-forming units (cfu) of E. coli in one front quarter at 0 hour. Liver biopsies were collected at −144, 12, 24 and 192 h, and udder biopsies were collected at 24 and 192 h post E. coli inoculation (PI) using a minimally invasive biopsy technique. Effects of combined biopsying were investigated by recording production traits, clinical response, and measuring inflammatory milk and blood parameters: E. coli, somatic cell count, milk amyloid A (MAA) levels, white blood cell count, polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leukocyte numbers and serum amyloid A levels at several time points. E. coli inoculation changed all production parameters and the clinical and inflammatory response in all cows except one that was not infected. Combined biopsying had no constant or transient effect on the daily feed intake, the clinical responsiveness or the blood parameters, but affected the daily milk yield and some milk parameters transiently, that is, the presence of blood in milk, increased E. coli counts and MAA levels during the acute disease stage. Combined biopsying had no effect on the parameters in the recovery stage apart from the presence of blood in the milk. In conclusion, although, a minimally invasive biopsy technique was used, tissue damages could not be avoided when biopsying and they transiently affected the inflammatory parameters in the mammary gland. Nevertheless, we believe combined biopsying of liver and udder is as an acceptable approach to study the systemic and local APR in dairy cows during E. coli mastitis, if the timing of biopsying and other types of sampling is planned accordingly.
The collaborative London based non-governmental organization network ELRHA (Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance) supports partnerships between higher education institutions and humanitarian organizations worldwide with the objective to enhance the professionalization of the humanitarian sector. While coordination and control of the humanitarian sector has plagued the response to every major crisis, concerns highlighted by the 2010 Haitian earthquake response further catalyzed and accelerated the need to ensure competency-based professionalization of the humanitarian health care work force. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative sponsored an independent survey of established academically affiliated training centers in North America that train humanitarian health care workers to determine their individual training center characteristics and preferences in the potential professionalization process. The survey revealed that a common thread of profession-specific skills and core humanitarian competencies were being offered in both residential and online programs with additional programs offering opportunities for field simulation experiences and more advanced degree programs. This study supports the potential for the development of like-minded academic affiliated and competency-based humanitarian health programs to organize themselves under ELRHA's regional “consultation hubs” worldwide that can assist and advocate for improved education and training opportunities in less served developing countries.
Burkle Jr FM, WallsAE, HeckJP, SorensenBS, CranmerHH, JohnsonK, LevineAC, KaydenS, CahillB, VanRooyenMJ. Academic Affiliated Training Centers in Humanitarian Health, Part I: Program Characteristics and Professionalization Preferences of Centers in North America. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013:28(2):1-8.
Structural development in the prime sector has led to increasing herd sizes and new barn systems, followed by less summer grazing for dairy cows in Denmark. Effects of grazing on single welfare measures in dairy cows – for example, the presence of integument alterations or mortality – have been studied under different conditions. However, the effect of grazing on welfare, conceptualised as the multidimensional physical and mental state of the animal, has not yet been studied in contemporary cubicle loose-housing systems. The aim of our study was to investigate, based on a Welfare Quality® inspired multidimensional dairy cow welfare assessment protocol, the within-herd effect of summer grazing compared with winter barn housing in Danish dairy herds with cubicle free-stall systems for the lactating cows. Our hypothesis was that cow welfare in dairy herds was better during summer grazing than during full-time winter housing. Furthermore, we expected improved welfare with an increase in daily summer grazing hours. In total, 41 herds have been visited once in the winter and once in the summer of 2010 to assess their welfare status with 17 different animal- and resource-based welfare measures. A panel of 20 experts on cattle welfare and husbandry evaluated the relative weight of the 17 welfare measures in a multidimensional assessment scheme. They estimated exact weights for a priori constituted severe compared with moderate scores of welfare impairment concerning each measure, as well as relevance of the measures in relation to each other. A welfare index (WI; possible range 0 to 5400) was calculated for each herd and season with a higher index indicating poorer welfare. The within-herd comparison of summer grazing v. winter housing considered all the 17 measures. The mean WI in summer was significantly lower (better) than in winter (mean 2926 v. 3330; paired t-test P = 0.0001) based on a better state of the integument, claw conformation and better access to water and food. Body condition and faeces consistence were worse in summer. Many daily grazing hours (range average above 3 to 9 h) turned out to be more beneficial than few daily grazing hours (range average above 9 to 21 h) for the welfare of the dairy herds. In conclusion, this study reports a positive within-herd effect of summer grazing on dairy cow welfare, where many daily grazing hours were more beneficial than few daily grazing hours.
Structural changes lead to increasing sizes of dairy herds and a reduction in grazing use. Thus, cows spend more time in the barn and become more exposed to the barn environment. The cubicle surface can result in damages of the cows’ hock joint integument. Pasture is generally seen as a beneficial environment for cows. We hypothesized that a higher number of daily grazing hours reduce the probability of hock joint alterations in dairy cows from large herds. In total, 3148 lactating cows from 36 grazing and 20 zero-grazing dairy herds, with an average herd size of 173 cows, were assessed individually on one randomly selected body side for alterations in hock integument (score 0 for no alterations or hairless areas <2 cm, 1 for at least one hairless area of ⩾2 cm, 2 for lesion or swelling). The cows were further assessed for lameness and cleanliness. Information on breed, parity and days in milk per cow was extracted from a national database. Cubicle surface was evaluated for each herd. Daily grazing hours 30 days before herd visits were recorded by the stockmen and later categorized as follows: zero hours (zero-grazing), few hours (3 to 9) and many hours (>9 to 21). The effects of daily grazing hours and other potential cow and herd-level risk factors were evaluated for their impact on hock integument alterations using a logistic analysis with a multi-level model structure. The probability for hock integument alterations such as hair loss, lesions or swellings decreased with increasing amount of grazing hours (odds of 3 to 9 h 2.2 times and odds of >9 to 21 h 4.8 times lower than of zero-grazing). The probability for only lesions or swellings decreased with >9 to 21 grazing hours (odds 2.1 times) but not with 3 to 9 h (odds 1.0 times) compared with zero-grazing. Lameness, hard cubicle surface and Danish Holstein v. other breeds showed an increasing effect on the probability for integument alterations. Increase in days in milk only showed an increasing effect on the probability for lesions and swellings. We concluded that a long daily stay on pasture is most beneficial for the hock joint integument of a dairy cow.
Inspired by Franks’ classification of irreducible shifts of finite type, we provide a short list of allowed moves on graphs that preserve the stable isomorphism class of the associated
-algebras. We show that if two graphs have stably isomorphic and simple unital algebras then we can use these moves to transform one into the other.