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Reliable and affordable technology for collecting and managing livestock production process information is being developed. The advances in data measurement, collection and transfer technology enable us to retrieve information from one or more remote sites to be processed and managed centrally. This opens up the opportunity to advance from open loop, prescriptive production to closed loop systems where factors influencing the actual performance of animals are used to modify and improve their production parameters (feed, environment, medication). We strive from producing animals by predicting what is needed using outdated data, to measuring what is actually happening as they grow, processing this information and acting to optimise animal performance by modifying production parameters in real time.
This paper describes commercially available systems that make possible the retrieval, collection, processing and distribution of near real time production information. Various aspects of production management using this technology are discussed, and examples of how it can be applied to monitor water usage, how it relates to pig performance and how energy usage can be influenced, are considered.
Integrated management systems (IMS) for pig production are one means by which the industry will be able to meet tight product specifications while satisfying society's demands to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production. The systems are based on modern theories of process control that have been proven in other industries but have yet to be applied to pig production. The initial application will be growth of the finishing pig but other stages of production, e.g. the gestating sow, may also be managed using an IMS. In the longer term, control of environmental processes within pig housing may also be amenable to an IMS but will undoubtedly reveal – and provide the opportunity to resolve – the conflicts between financial and environmental pressures in modern pig production. Other applications are envisaged and include active control of pig behaviour as well as disease.
Nutritional management of pigs to optimise growth demands pig-specific, time-specific and place-specific determination and provision of nutritional requirement. These elements need to be incorporated into response prediction models that operate in a real-time (not retrospective) closed-loop control environment. This implies appropriate means for the on-line measurement of response to change in nutrient provision, and the simultaneous means for manipulation of feeding level and feed quality. The paper describes how response prediction modelling and response measurement may now be achieved. Optimisation may be pursued with mixed objectives, including those of production efficiency and environmental protection.
Systems to measure gas production to study digestion kinetics have been developed at several locations. The system developed at Cornell University and the rationale behind its evolution are described with an emphasis on whether venting after each observation is necessary and on choice of sensors. Different non-linear-models used to fit gas production data are discussed with an emphasis on the dual-pool logistic model. The third section of the paper includes a theoretical discussion on how gas data can be integrated with data on passage to predict ruminal digestibility. The final section addresses the practical applications of these gas data and ways in which they can be used in models like the Cornell net carbohydrate and protein system. Also included are evaluations of ensiled and freeze-dried samples from the same source as an indication of how gas systems can be used to evaluate the soluble fractions of forages.
Previous work has shown that dimensional information derived from visual images can be used to accurately estimate pig growth, in terms of size and shape (Doeschl et al, 2004). The use of visual images to derive accurate estimates of weight could be very useful information in the commercial environment within and across the livestock industries. The objective of the current study was to examine a small number of digital images of finished beef cattle to ascertain if digital image analysis (DIA) has potential to predict the liveweight (LW) of the animals at slaughter.
Recent analysis pointed towards visual imaging analysis (VIA), which yields pig body size measures and shape indices from two-dimensional visual images of living pigs, as a potential technique for estimating fat and lean content in pig carcasses (Doeschl et al., 2004). The present analysis further explored the potential of using VIA body size and shape indices as indicators of the proportion of lean and fat in various carcass joints, either alone or in combination with ultrasonic backfat depth of the live animal. Due to increasing interest in the shape of retail cuts in the meat industry, the association between VIA size measures and the dimensions of the longissimus dorsi and gluteobiceps muscles is also assessed.
The 3D shape of live animals plays an important role in achieving good husbandry and in selecting breeding stock. Many shape features are subtle and cannot be extracted from 2D images. With 3D data, it would be possible to extract cross-sectional areas and volumes, and to measure features such as the squareness of the back muscles, which are known indicators of lean muscle mass (Whittemore 1998). However, there is currently no simple method to measure 3D shape in live animals. In this work a system has been developed for freezing the motion of a pig using flash photography and processing the images to extract the 3D surface shape. The imaging system is based on stereo photogrammetry. Three stereo pods, each consisting of two digital cameras, were set up at perpendicular directions in order to cover the whole of a cuboidal imaging volume. The imaging volume dimensions were 1300 mm long × 900 mm high × 700 mm deep. The imaging system was calibrated prior to capturing the pig images. Multiresolution correlation-based stereo matching (Siebert and Urquhart, 1994) was used to establish correspondences between the left and right images in each stereo pair. The output of the stereo matching of each pod was a 2.5D range image. These range images were integrated into a 3D model.
Visual imaging systems provide daily plan (overhead) measurements of pigs. These allow monitoring and control of pig growth, as is essential to production efficiency. Schofield et al., 1999 suggest that size measurements can provide accurate estimates of live weight, but a description of growth in terms of size and shape may also give a direct quantification of body form and value. This report presents analyses of the growth of pigs of two commercial breed types in terms of live weight, body plan area and ham width, and examines the relationship between observed body shapes of living pigs and their dissected body composition.
Integrated management systems (IMS) for pigs offer the prospects of optimising meat production and minimising nitrogenous pollution through closed-loop control of pig growth by nutritional control (Whittemore, et al., 2001). Such an IMS requires a real-time sensor system, a nutritional model which is optimised in response to data collected in by the sensor system, and a control system which uses forward predictions of the model to predict the nutritional regime required to satisfy growth and pollution targets. An experiment was carried out to determine the accuracy to which a novel IMS system can direct pig weight gain and fatness towards preset targets through nutritional control.
The purpose of an integrated management system is to optimise both pig performance and environmental protection. A major impediment to this process has been the inability to measure and control the production process in real time, for specific and contemporary pig batches. Optimisation thus requires in-line measurement of pig growth performance, together with the means to change performance with adjustments to feed quantity and quality. This report deals with the use of visual image analysis (VIA) to provide the first of these; measurement of growth. VIA determines, continuously and in-line, the size and shape of the plan view of the pig as it stands at the feeder. Three seminal questions are here addressed. (i) can VIA be used to provide a reliable measure of pig weight, and (ii) how many days are required to elapse before a change in size can be reliably determined and how does the VIA system compare with daily weighing by a conventional weigh-scale, and (iii) can VIA sort pigs according to their shape?
Depression and pain are leading causes of global disability. However, there is a paucity of multinational population data assessing the association between depression and pain, particularly among low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where both are common. Therefore, we investigated this association across 47 LMICs.
Community-based data on 273 952 individuals from 47 LMICs were analysed. Multivariable logistic and linear regression analyses were performed to assess the association between the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision depression/depression subtypes (over the past 12 months) and pain in the previous 30 days based on self-reported data. Country-wide meta-analysis adjusting for age and sex was also conducted.
The prevalence of severe pain was 8.0, 28.2, 20.2, and 34.0% for no depression, subsyndromal depression, brief depressive episode, and depressive episode, respectively. Logistic regression adjusted for socio-demographic variables, anxiety and chronic medical conditions (arthritis, diabetes, angina, asthma) demonstrated that compared with no depression, subsyndromal depression, brief depressive episode, and depressive episode were associated with a 2.16 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.83–2.55], 1.45 (95% CI 1.22–1.73), and 2.11 (95% CI 1.87–2.39) increase in odds of severe pain, respectively. Similar results were obtained when a continuous pain scale was used as the outcome. Depression was significantly associated with severe pain in 44/47 countries with a pooled odds ratio of 3.93 (95% CI 3.54–4.37).
Depression and severe pain are highly comorbid across LMICs, independent of anxiety and chronic medical conditions. Whether depression treatment or pain management in patients with comorbid pain and depression leads to better clinical outcome is an area for future research.
Knowledge of ENT is important for many doctors, but undergraduate time is limited. This study aimed to identify what is thought about ENT knowledge amongst non-ENT doctors, and the key topics that the curriculum should focus on.
Doctors were interviewed about their views of ENT knowledge amongst non-ENT doctors, and asked to identify key topics. These topics were then used to devise a questionnaire, which was distributed to multiple stakeholders in order to identify the key topics.
ENT knowledge was generally thought to be poor amongst doctors, and it was recommended that undergraduate ENT topics be kept simple. The highest rated topics were: clinical examination; when to refer; acute otitis media; common emergencies; tonsillitis and quinsy; management of ENT problems by non-ENT doctors; stridor and stertor; otitis externa; and otitis media with effusion.
This study identified a number of key ENT topics, and will help to inform future development of ENT curricula.
It has been observed that mental disorders, such as psychosis, are more common for people in some ethnic groups in areas where their ethnic group is less common. We set out to test whether this ethnic density effect reflects minority status in general, by looking at three situations where individual characteristics differ from what is usual in a locality.
Using data from the South East London Community Health study (n = 1698) we investigated associations between minority status (defined by: ethnicity, household status and occupational social class) and risk of psychotic experiences, common mental disorders and parasuicide. We used a multilevel logistic model to examine cross-level interactions between minority status at individual and neighbourhood levels.
Being Black in an area where this was less common (10%) was associated with higher odds of psychotic experiences [odds ratio (OR) 1.34 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.67], and attempted suicide (OR 1.84 95% CI 1.19–2.85). Living alone where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of psychotic experiences (OR 2.18 95% CI 0.91–5.26), while being in a disadvantaged social class where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of attempted suicide (OR 1.33 95% CI 1.03–1.71). We found no evidence for an association with common mental disorders.
The relationship between minority status and mental distress was most apparent when defined in terms of broad ethnic group but was also observed for individual household status and occupational social class.
Studies have linked ethnic differences in depression rates with neighbourhood ethnic density although results have not been conclusive. We looked at this using a novel approach analysing whole population data covering just over one million GP patients in four London boroughs.
Using a dataset of GP records for all patients registered in Lambeth, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham in 2013 we investigated new diagnoses of depression and antidepressant use for: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, black Caribbean and black African patients. Neighbourhood effects were assessed independently of GP practice using a cross-classified multilevel model.
Black and minority ethnic groups are up to four times less likely to be newly diagnosed with depression or prescribed antidepressants compared to white British patients. We found an inverse relationship between neighbourhood ethnic density and new depression diagnosis for some groups, where an increase of 10% own-ethnic density was associated with a statistically significant (p < 0.05) reduced odds of depression for Pakistani [odds ratio (OR) 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70–0.93], Indian (OR 0.88, CI 0.81–0.95), African (OR 0.88, CI 0.78–0.99) and Bangladeshi (OR 0.94, CI 0.90–0.99) patients. Black Caribbean patients, however, showed the opposite effect (OR 1.26, CI 1.09–1.46). The results for antidepressant use were very similar although the corresponding effect for black Caribbeans was no longer statistically significant (p = 0.07).
New depression diagnosis and antidepressant use was shown to be less likely in areas of higher own-ethnic density for some, but not all, ethnic groups.
Evidence suggests that there is a greater prevalence of pain, particularly chronic pain, in the older than in the younger population. This review looks at how dementia affects older people's ability to report pain, and indicates that pain is poorly assessed and managed in people living with dementia, in particular in care and acute settings. The review also reports findings from two recent studies looking at ways of improving the assessment and management of pain in acute settings. Multi-dimensional, patient-centred approaches to assessing and managing pain in those living with dementia are required, and future research should focus on innovative and practical approaches that can be applied in care home and acute settings.
The ability to controllably position individual phosphorus dopant atoms in silicon sur-faces is a critical first step in creating nanoscale electronic devices in silicon, for example a phosphorus in silicon quantum computer. While individual P atom placement in Si(001) has been achieved, the ability to routinely position P atoms in Si for large-scale device fabrication requires a more detailed understanding of the physical and chemical processes leading to P atom incorporation. Here we present an atomic-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy study of the interaction of the P precursor molecule phosphine (PH3) with the Si(001) surface. In particular, we present the direct observation of PH3 dissociation and diffusion on Si(001) at room temperature and show that this dissociation is occasionally complete, leaving a P monomer bound to the surface. Such surface bound P monomers are important because they are the most likely entry point for P atoms to incorporate into the substrate surface at elevated temperature.
Despite international concern about unregulated predictive genetic testing, there are surprisingly few data on both the determinants of community interest in such testing and its psychosocial impact.
A large population-based public survey with community-dwelling adults (n=1046) ascertained through random digit dialling. Attitudes were assessed by structured interviews.
The study found strong interest in predictive genetic testing for a reported susceptibility to depression. Once the benefits and disadvantages of such testing had been considered, there was significantly greater interest in seeking such a test through a doctor (63%) compared to direct-to-consumer (DTC; 40%) (p<0.001). Personal history of mental illness [odds ratio (OR) 2.58, p<0.001], self-estimation of being at higher than average risk for depression (OR 1.92, p<0.001), belief that a genetic component would increase rather than decrease stigma (OR 1.62, p<0.001), and endorsement of benefits of genetic testing (OR 3.47, p<0.001) significantly predicted interest in having such a test.
Despite finding attitudes that genetic links to mental illness would increase rather than decrease stigma, we found strong community acceptance of depression risk genotyping, even though a predisposition to depression may only manifest upon exposure to stressful life events. Our results suggest that there will be a strong demand for predictive genetic testing.