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Worldwide, there is a trend towards increased herd sizes, and the animal-to-stockman ratio is increasing within the beef and dairy sectors; thus, the time available to monitoring individual animals is reducing. The behaviour of cows is known to change in the hours prior to parturition, for example, less time ruminating and eating and increased activity level and tail-raise events. These behaviours can be monitored non-invasively using animal-mounted sensors. Thus, behavioural traits are ideal variables for the prediction of calving. This study explored the potential of two sensor technologies for their capabilities in predicting when calf expulsion should be expected. Two trials were conducted at separate locations: (i) beef cows (n = 144) and (ii) dairy cows (n = 110). Two sensors were deployed on each cow: (1) Afimilk Silent Herdsman (SHM) collars monitoring time spent ruminating (RUM), eating (EAT) and the relative activity level (ACT) of the cow, and (2) tail-mounted Axivity accelerometers to detect tail-raise events (TAIL). The exact time the calf was expelled from the cow was determined by viewing closed-circuit television camera footage. Machine learning random forest algorithms were developed to predict when calf expulsion should be expected using single-sensor variables and by integrating multiple-sensor data-streams. The performance of the models was tested using the Matthew’s correlation coefficient (MCC), the area under the curve, and the sensitivity and specificity of predictions. The TAIL model was slightly better at predicting calving within a 5-h window for beef cows (MCC = 0.31) than for dairy cows (MCC = 0.29). The TAIL + RUM + EAT models were equally as good at predicting calving within a 5-h window for beef and dairy cows (MCC = 0.32 for both models). Combining data-streams from SHM and tail sensors did not substantially improve model performance over tail sensors alone; therefore, hour-by-hour algorithms for the prediction of time of calf expulsion were developed using tail sensor data. Optimal classification occurred at 2 h prior to calving for both beef (MCC = 0.29) and dairy cows (MCC = 0.25). This study showed that tail sensors alone are adequate for the prediction of parturition and that the optimal time for prediction is 2 h before expulsion of the calf.
In 785 mother–child (50% male) pairs from a longitudinal epidemiological birth cohort, we investigated associations between inflammation-related epigenetic polygenic risk scores (i-ePGS), environmental exposures, cognitive function, and child and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. We examined prenatal and postnatal effects. For externalizing problems, one prenatal effect was found: i-ePGS at birth associated with higher externalizing problems (ages 7–15) indirectly through lower cognitive function (age 7). For internalizing problems, we identified two effects. For a prenatal effect, i-ePGS at birth associated with higher internalizing symptoms via continuity in i-ePGS at age 7. For a postnatal effect, higher postnatal adversity exposure (birth through age 7) associated with higher internalizing problems (ages 7–15) via higher i-ePGS (age 7). Hence, externalizing problems were related mainly to prenatal effects involving lower cognitive function, whereas internalizing problems appeared related to both prenatal and postnatal effects. The present study supports a link between i-ePGS and child and adolescent mental health.
Emerging research in epigenetics has shown that there is variability in how environmental exposures “get under the skin” through mechanisms like DNA methylation to influence gene expression that may lead to differential adaptations to stress. This is the first study to examine prospectively the relationship between DNA methylation at birth and resilience to prenatal environmental stressors in several domains (conduct, hyperactivity, emotional problems, and global symptomatology) in middle childhood. We focused on DNA methylation in the vicinity of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene as it has been previously associated with impairments in social–cognitive processes that may underlie a wide range of childhood psychopathology. Participants were 91 youth exposed to pre- and postnatal adversity with established conduct problem trajectories drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Consistent with our hypothesis, OXTR DNA methylation was predictive of resilience in the conduct problems domain in middle childhood. DNA methylation profiles did not predict resilience in domains of emotional, hyperactivity, and global symptomatology, suggesting a potential role for OXTR in the development of conduct problems in particular. However, individuals who were resilient to conduct problems were also broadly resilient across multiple domains. Therefore, future research should elucidate the biological pathways between OXTR DNA methylation and gene expression and its relation to impairments in social behavior.
Early-onset conduct problems (CP) are a key predictor of adult criminality and poor mental health. While previous studies suggest that both genetic and environmental risks play an important role in the development of early-onset CP, little is known about potential biological processes underlying these associations. In this study, we examined prospective associations between DNA methylation (cord blood at birth) and trajectories of CP (4–13 years), using data drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Methylomic variation at seven loci across the genome (false discovery rate < 0.05) differentiated children who go on to develop early-onset (n = 174) versus low (n = 86) CP, including sites in the vicinity of the monoglyceride lipase (MGLL) gene (involved in endocannabinoid signaling and pain perception). Subthreshold associations in the vicinity of three candidate genes for CP (monoamine oxidase A [MAOA], brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], and FK506 binding protein 5 [FKBP5]) were also identified. Within the early-onset CP group, methylation levels of the identified sites did not distinguish children who will go on to persist versus desist in CP behavior over time. Overall, we found that several of the identified sites correlated with prenatal exposures, and none were linked to known genetic methylation quantitative trait loci. Findings contribute to a better understanding of epigenetic patterns associated with early-onset CP.
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
Impulsivity is a core feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and is most frequently measured using self-rating scales. There is a need to find objective, valid and reliable measures of impulsivity. This study aimed to examine performance of participants with BPD compared with healthy controls on delay and probabilistic discounting tasks and the stop-signal task (SST), which are objective measures of choice and motor impulsivity, respectively.
A total of 20 participants with BPD and 21 healthy control participants completed delay and probabilistic discounting tasks and the SST. They also completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), a self-rating measure of impulsivity.
Participants with BPD showed significantly greater delay discounting than controls, manifest as a greater tendency to accept the immediately available lesser reward rather than waiting longer for a greater reward. Similarly they showed significantly greater discounting of rewards by the probability of payout, which correlated with past childhood trauma. Participants with BPD were found to choose the more certain and/or immediate rewards, irrespective of the value. On the SST the BPD and control groups did not differ significantly, demonstrating no difference in motor impulsivity. There was no significant difference between groups on self-reported impulsivity as measured by the BIS.
Measures of impulsivity show that while motor impulsivity was not significantly different in participants with BPD compared with controls, choice or reward-related impulsivity was significantly affected in those with BPD. This suggests that choice impulsivity but not motor impulsivity is a core feature of BPD.
In nature, biomolecules guide the formation of hierarchically-ordered, lightweight, inorganic-organic composites such as corals, shells, teeth and bones. M13 bacteriophage has been used to mimic bio-inspired material development due to its rigid, nanoscale rod-like morphology. Liquid-crystalline monolayers of genetically engineered phage have been used to template crystallization of thin layers of inorganic and metallic materials. We have created thin films composed of engineered M13 phage capable of binding inorganic components. We employed both a dip-cast and a drop-cast film fabrication method on both smooth and rough gold, silica and glass casting surfaces to create thin films and 3D structures of various degrees of hierarchical order. We have found the engineered M13 phage and the inorganic mineral significantly affected both film morphology and the mechanical properties of the film. Similarly, film fabrication parameters such as solution chemistry, temperature, and pulling speed affected film properties. Using a calcium phosphate biomineralized 4E phage, film thickness increased linearly with the number of layers/dips in the phage solution. The stiffness of these composites (Young's modulus) were >80 GPa for mineralized, multilayer films. These materials are an order of magnitude stiffer than the biological equivalent collagen. Stiffness, however, does not appear to increase in a multilayer film beyond a saturation point. Ultimately, we have developed a platform for phage-based bio-composites for developing high performance materials.
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.
White matter (WM) abnormalities are proposed as potential endophenotypic markers of bipolar disorder (BD). In a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) voxel-based analysis (VBA) study of families multiply affected with BD, we previously reported that widespread abnormalities of fractional anisotropy (FA) are associated with both BD and genetic liability for illness. In the present study, we further investigated the endophenotypic potential of WM abnormalities by applying DTI tractography to specifically investigate tracts implicated in the pathophysiology of BD.
Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were acquired from 19 patients with BD type I from multiply affected families, 21 of their unaffected first-degree relatives and 18 healthy volunteers. DTI tractography was used to identify the cingulum, uncinate fasciculus (UF), arcuate portion of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), corpus callosum, and the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC). Regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effect of participant group and genetic liability on FA and radial diffusivity (RD) in each tract.
We detected a significant effect of group on both FA and RD in the cingulum, SLF, callosal splenium and ILF driven by reduced FA and increased RD in patients compared to controls and relatives. Increasing genetic liability was associated with decreased FA and increased RD in the UF, and decreased FA in the SLF, among patients.
WM microstructural abnormalities in limbic, temporal and callosal pathways represent microstructural abnormalities associated with BD whereas alterations in the SLF and UF may represent potential markers of endophenotypic risk.
Harsh parenting practices and negative parental feelings may be
environmental risk factors for low self-control in children. Children may
also evoke certain parenting reactions.
To investigate the longitudinal relationship between parenting and
self-control, as well as associated outcomes within the monozygotic (MZ)
twin differences framework.
Longitudinal MZ twin differences analysis was conducted on a community
sample of 5184 twins using data from ages 3, 4, 7 and 9 years. Outcomes
related to self-control and parenting were analysed at age 12 years.
Non-shared environmental effects of parenting on the development of
self-control and an evocative effect of child self-control on parenting
were found. Harsh parenting predicted conduct problems for both boys and
girls. Self-control at age 9 predicted conduct problems and emotional
difficulties at age 12.
Parenting and child self-control affect one another, highlighting the
potential of early interventions that target parents and children
Isolates of Salmonella typhimurium, recovered over a 9-month period from a child with gastroenteritis, were characterized by biotyping, phage-typing and plasmid-profile analysis. Because the data from the different methods were discrepant, it was difficult to establish whether her infection was due to a single strain that had changed character in vivo or was due to recurrent infections with different, unrelated strains. Restriction-enzyme fingerprinting of the plasmids from the different isolates provided an explanation for the initial discrepancy and highlighted a source of potential confusion in epidemiological studies.
In a factory population the occurrence of reactions to tetanus toxoid was recorded after 6740 injections. The incidence of general reactions was 0·3 % and of local reactions 2·6%. The local reaction rate to the first injection of the basic immunization course was 0·9%, to the second injection 2·7%, and to the third injection 7·4%. To booster injections the rate was 1·6%. The local reaction rate was appreciably higher in women than in men – 14·4 % and 5·7 % respectively in the case of the third injection – and the incidence among women increased with age.
Tetanus vaccine containing 10 Lf of toxoid caused fewer reactions than one containing 20 Lf, but a reduction in the content of aluminium adjuvant did not affect the reaction rate.
Almost all reactors were found to have a satisfactory serum antitoxin concentration at the time of the reaction or developed a satisfactory immunity within 1–6 months.
Skin tests were made in 32 hypersensitive patients. Neither the diluent, thiomersal preservative, nor the culture medium appeared to be responsible for hypersensitivity. The degree of hypersensitivity elicited by a special highly purified toxoid was only very slightly less than that elicited by the commercially pure toxoid. It is suggested that reactions are largely due to the toxoid antigen itself rather than to impurities or other components of the vaccine.
Human respiratory tract chlamydial infections have been studied in Cambridge-shire for many years, but until recently we have been unable to distinguish between infection with Chlamydia psittaci Or Chlamydia pneumoniae (TWAR). In this study, we have employed the micro-immunofluorescence (micro-IF) test for this purpose and to look for the relative incidence of C. psittaci and C. pneumoniae infections in Cambridgeshire. Among 50 patients with community-acquired respiratory tract symptoms whose serum samples had Chlamydia complement fixation test titres ≥ 64, 25 had evidence of recent C. psittaci or C. pneumoniae infection. Nineteen (76%) of the 25 patients had evidence of recent C. psittaci infection and of these 16 (84%) had recently had contact with birds. Six patients (24%) had evidence of recent C. pneumoniae infection, and of these, only two (33% had recently had contact with birds). While C. psittaci was grown from several of the birds associated with human C. psittaci infection, it was not cultured from any of the birds in contact with the two human C. pnemoniae cases.
Consistent observation of raised rates of psychoses among Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups may possibly be explained by their lower socio-economic status
To test whether risk for psychoses remained elevated in BME populations compared with the White British, after adjustment for age, gender and current socio-economic status
Population-based study of first-episode DSM–IV psychotic disorders, in individuals aged 18–64 years, in East London over 2 years
All BME groups had elevated rates of a psychotic disorder after adjustment for age, gender and socio-economic status. For schizophrenia, risk was elevated for people of Black Caribbean (incidence rate ratios (IRR)=3.1, 95% CI 2.1–4.5) and Black African (IRR=2.6, 95% CI 1.8–3.8) origin, and for Pakistani (IRR=3.1, 95% CI 1.2–8.1) and Bangladeshi (IRR=2.3, 95% CI 1.1–4.7) women. Mixed White and Black Caribbean (IRR=7.7, 95% CI 3.2–18.8) and White Other (IRR=2.1, 95% CI 1.2–3.8) groups had elevated rates of affective psychoses (and other non-affective psychoses)
Elevated rates of psychoses in BME groups could not be explained by socio-economic status, even though current socio-economic status may have overestimated the effect of this confounder given potential misclassification as a result of downward social drift in the prodromal phase of psychosis. Our findings extended to all BME groups and psychotic disorders, though heterogeneity remains
To investigate the biochemical components of egg-hatch in the body louse, Pediculus humanus, egg-shell-washings (ESW) were collected during the first 2 h post-hatching and analysed by gelatin SDS-PAGE. These ESW contained proteases with molecular mass in the range of 25–100 kDa; the most abundant proteases were ~25 kDa. The 3 main regions of protease activity in the one-dimensional gelatin SDS-PAGE gels resolved to at least 23 distinct regions of protease activity when analysed by two-dimensional gelatin SDS-PAGE, with iso-electric points spread over the entire 3 to 10 pH range. Mechanistic characterization indicated that the ESW contained proteases of the metallo-class, inhibited by both 1,10-phenanthroline and EDTA. Several protease inhibitors were tested for their ability to inhibit louse egg-hatch in vitro. The metalloprotease inhibitor 1,10-phenanthroline and the aminopeptidase inhibitor bestatin significantly inhibited (P<0·05) louse egg-hatch (100% and 58%, respectively). The presence of metalloproteases at the time of egg-hatch and the inhibition of egg-hatch in P. humanus by metalloprotease inhibitors suggests a crucial role for these proteases in the hatching of this medically important parasite.
The stellar populations of a galaxy are a fossil record of its formation and evolution and the various physical processes involved. Therefore, studying the resolved stellar populations of nearby galaxies can provide important constraints on their structure, formation, and evolution. To that end, we have obtained VI photometry with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope for three fields at deprojected radii Rdp ∼ 9 − 13 kpc (∼ 4 − 6 visual scale lengths) along M33's southeast minor axis. We present results for the star formation history (SFH) of these fields based on the technique of synthetic CMD fitting.