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Evidence suggests that eating nuts may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study was intended to pool the data of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) available to determine if pistachios confer a beneficial effect on anthropometric indices, inflammatory markers, endothelial dysfunction, and blood pressure. Without language restriction, PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library and Web of Science were searched for articles published from the earliest records to June 2019 investigating the effect of pistachio consumption on inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and hypertension. Mean difference (MD) was pooled using a random-effects model. The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool was used to evaluate the quality of the studies. The meta-analysis of 13 RCTs with 563 participants indicated that pistachio consumption significantly decreased systolic blood pressure (SBP) (MD: -2.12 mmHg, 95% CI: -3.65 to -0.59, p=0.007), whereas changes in flow-mediated dilation (MD: 0.94 %, 95% CI: -0.99 to 2.86, p=0.813), diastolic blood pressure (MD: 0.32 mmHg, 95% CI: -1.37 to 2.02, p=0.707), C-reactive protein (MD: 0.00 mg/l, 95% CI: -0.21 to 0.23, p=0.942), tumor necrosis factor alpha (MD: -0.09 pg/ml, 95% CI: -0.38 to 0.20, p=0.541), body weight (MD: 0.09 kg, 95% CI: -0.38 to 0.69, p=0.697), body mass index (MD: 0.07 kg/m2, 95% CI: -0.16 to 0.31, p=0.553) and waist circumference (MD: 0.77 cm, 95% CI: -0.09 to 1.64, p=0.140) were not statistically significant. This systematic review and meta-analysis suggested the efficacy of pistachio consumption to reduce SBP levels. However, further large-scale studies are needed to confirm these results.
Annual grass weeds reduce profits of wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest. The very-long-chain fatty acid elongase (VLCFA)-inhibiting herbicides S-metolachlor and dimethenamid-P could expand options for control of annual grasses, but are not registered in wheat due to crop injury. Our studies evaluated a safener, fluxofenim, applied to wheat seed for protection of nineteen soft white winter wheat varieties from S-metolachlor, dimethenamid-P and pyroxasulfone herbicides, investigated the response of six varieties (UI Sparrow, LWW 15-72223, UI Magic CL+, Brundage 96, UI Castle CL+ and UI Palouse CL+) to incremental doses of fluxofenim, established fluxofenim dose required to optimally protect the varieties from VLCFA-inhibiting herbicides, and assessed the impact of fluxofenim dose on glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity in three wheat varieties (UI Sparrow, Brundage 96 and UI Castle CL+). Fluxofenim increased the biomass of four varieties treated with S-metolachlor or dimethenamid-P herbicides and one variety treated with pyroxasulfone. Three varieties showed tolerance to the herbicides regardless of the fluxofenim treatment. Estimated fluxofenim doses resulting in 10% biomass reduction of wheat ranged from 0.55 g ai kg-1 seed to 1.23 g ai kg-1 seed. Fluxofenim doses resulting in 90% increased biomass to S-metolachlor, dimethenamid-P, and pyroxasulfone ranged from 0.07 to 0.55, 0.09 to 0.73, and 0.30 to 1.03 g ai kg-1 seed, respectively. Fluxofenim at 0.36 g ai kg-1 seed increased GST activity in UI Castle CL+, UI Sparrow and Brundage 96 by 58%, 30% and 38%, respectively. These results suggest that fluxofenim would not damage wheat seedlings up to 3x the rate labeled for sorghum, and fluxofenim protects soft white winter wheat varieties from S-metolachlor, dimethenamid-P or pyroxasulfone injury at the herbicide rates evaluated.
Hydrogen lithography has been used to template phosphine-based surface chemistry to fabricate atomic-scale devices, a process we abbreviate as atomic precision advanced manufacturing (APAM). Here, we use mid-infrared variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (IR-VASE) to characterize single-nanometer thickness phosphorus dopant layers (δ-layers) in silicon made using APAM compatible processes. A large Drude response is directly attributable to the δ-layer and can be used for nondestructive monitoring of the condition of the APAM layer when integrating additional processing steps. The carrier density and mobility extracted from our room temperature IR-VASE measurements are consistent with cryogenic magneto-transport measurements, showing that APAM δ-layers function at room temperature. Finally, the permittivity extracted from these measurements shows that the doping in the APAM δ-layers is so large that their low-frequency in-plane response is reminiscent of a silicide. However, there is no indication of a plasma resonance, likely due to reduced dimensionality and/or low scattering lifetime.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a high demand on personal protective equipment, including disposable N95 masks. Given the need for mask reuse, we tested the feasibility of vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), ultraviolet light (UV), and ethanol decontamination strategies on N95 mask integrity and the ability to remove the infectious potential of SARS-CoV-2.
Disposable N95 masks, including medical grade (1860, 1870+) and industrial grade (8511) masks, were treated by VHP, UV, and ethanol decontamination. Mask degradation was tested using a quantitative respirator fit testing. Pooled clinical samples of SARS-CoV-2 were applied to mask samples, treated, and then either sent immediately for real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or incubated with Vero E6 cells to assess for virucidal effect.
Both ethanol and UV decontamination showed functional degradation to different degrees while VHP treatment showed no significant change after two treatments. We also report a single SARS-CoV-2 virucidal experiment using Vero E6 cell infection in which only ethanol treatment eliminated detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
We hope our data will guide further research for evidenced-based decisions for disposable N95 mask reuse and help protect caregivers from SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens.
Introduction: Blood transfusions continue to be a critical intervention in patients presenting to emergency departments (ED). Improved understanding of the adverse events associated with transfusions has led to new research to inform and delineate transfusion guidelines. The Nova Scotia Guideline for Blood Component Utilization in Adults and Pediatrics was implemented in June 2017 to reflect current best practice in transfusion medicine. The guideline includes a lowering of the hemoglobin threshold from 80 g/L to 70 g/L for transfusion initiation, to be used in conjunction with the patient's hemodynamic assessment before and after transfusions. Our study aims to augment understanding of transfusion guideline adherence and ED physician transfusing practices at the Halifax Infirmary Emergency Department in Nova Scotia. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on one third of all ED visits involving red-cell transfusions for one year prior to and one year following the guideline implementation. A total of 350 charts were reviewed. The primary data abstracted for the initial transfusion, and subsequent transfusion if applicable, from each reviewed chart included clinical and laboratory data reflective of the transfusion guideline. Based on these data, the transfusion event was classified one of three ways: indicated based on hemoglobin level, indicated based on patient's symptomatic presentation, or unable to determine if transfusion indicated based on charting. Results: The year before guideline implementation, the total number of transfusions initiated at a hemoglobin of between 71-80 was 31 of 146 total transfusions. This number dropped by 23.6% to 22 of 136 in the year following guideline implementation. The number of single-unit transfusions increased by 28.0% from 47 of 146 in the year prior to 56 of 136 in the year after guideline implementation. The initial indication for transfusion being unable to be determined based on charting provided increased by 120%. The indication for subsequent transfusions being unable to be determined based on charting increased by 1500% (P < 0.05). Conclusion: These data suggest that implementing transfusion guidelines effectively reduced the number of transfusions given in the ED setting and increased the number of single-unit transfusions administered. However, the data also suggest the need for better education around transfusion indications and proper documentation clearly outlining the rationale behind the decision to transfuse.
Introduction: CTAS is a validated five-level triage score utilized in EDs across Canada and internationally. Moderate interrater reliability between prehospital paramedic and triage nurse application of CTAS during clinical practice has been found. This study is the first assessment of the variation in distribution of CTAS scores with increasing departmental pressure as measured by the NEDOCs scale comparing triage allocations made by triage nurses with those made by triage paramedics. Methods: We conducted a retrospective, observational cohort study of EDIS data of all patients triaged in the Halifax Infirmary Emergency Department from January 1, 2017-May 30, 2017 and January 1, 2018 - May 30, 2018. CTAS score assignment by nursing and paramedic triage staff were compared with increasing levels of ED overcrowding, as determined by the department NEDOCS score. Results: Nurses were more likely to assign higher acuity scores in all situations of department crowding; there was a 3% increased probability that a nurse, as compared to a paramedic, would triage as emergent when the ED was not overcrowded (Pearson chi-square(1) = 4.21, p < 0.05, Cramer's v = 0.028, n = 5314), and a 10% increased probability that a nurse, as compared to a paramedic, would triage a patient as emergent when EDs were overcrowded (Pearson chi-square(1) = 623.83, p < 0.001, Cramer's v = 0.11, n = 56 018). Conclusion: Increasing levels of ED overcrowding influence triage nurse CTAS score assignment towards higher acuity to a greater degree than scores assigned by triage paramedics.
Background: In Canada, injuries represent 21% of Emergency Department (ED) visits. Faced with occupational injuries, physicians may feel pressured to provide urgent imaging to facilitate expedited return to work. There is not a body of literature to support this practice. Twenty percent of adult ED injuries involve workers compensation. Aim Statement: Tacit pressures were felt to impact imaging rates for patients with workplace injuries, and our aim was to determine if this hypothesis was accurate. We conducted a quality review to assess imaging rates among injuries suffered at work and outside work. A secondary aim was to reduce the harm resulting from non-value-added testing. Measures & Design: Information was collected from the Emergency Department Information System on patients with acute injuries over the age of 16-years including upper limb, lower limb, neck, back and head injuries. Data included both workplace and non-work-related presentations, Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) levels and age at presentation. Imaging included any of X-ray, CT, MRI, or Ultrasound ordered in EDs across the central zone of Nova Scotia from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2019. A total of 282,860 patient-encounters were included for analysis. Comparison was made between patients presenting under the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) and those covered by the Department of Health and Wellness (DOHW). Imaging rates for all injuries were also trended over this ten-year period. Evaluation/Results: In patients between 16 and 65-years, the WCB group underwent more imaging (55.3% of visits) than did the DOHW group (43.1% of visits). In the same cohort, there was an overall decrease of over 10% in mean imaging rates for both WBC and DOHW between the first five-year period (2009-2013) and the second five-year study period (2013-2018). Imaging rates for WCB and DOHW converged with each decade beyond 35 years of age. No comparison was possible beyond 85-years, due to the absence of WCB presentations. Discussion/Impact: Patients presenting to the ED with workplace injuries are imaged at a higher rate than those covered by the DOHW. Campaigns promoting value-added care may have impacted imaging rates during the ten-year study period, explaining the decline in ED imaging for all injuries. While this 10% decrease in overall imaging is encouraging, these preliminary data indicate the need for further education on resource stewardship, especially for patients presenting to the ED with workplace injuries.
Introduction: Inhaled low dose methoxyflurane (MEOF) was recently approved in Canada for the short-term relief of moderate to severe acute pain associated with trauma or interventional medical procedures in conscious adult patients. ADVANCE-ED is an ongoing phase IV, prospective open label study undertaken to generate real-world evidence to complement the global clinical development program through evaluation of the effectiveness of low dose MEOF in Canadian emergency departments (EDs). Methods: This multi-centre study is enrolling adult (≥18 yrs) patients with moderate to severe acute pain (NRS0-10 ≥ 4) associated with minor trauma. To address limitations from the pivotal study, this study allows patients who were excluded in the pivotal trials: namely, those with severe (≥7) pain, and those using OTC or stably dosed analgesics for other conditions, including chronic pain. Eligible patients receive a single treatment of up to 2 x 3 mL MEOF (2nd 3 mL to be provided only upon request), self-administered by the patient under medical supervision. Rescue medication is permitted at any time, if required. Results: Here we describe the patient demographics and treatment satisfaction (Global Medication Performance, GMP) at 50% enrolment (n = 49). Mean (SD) patient age is 48.0 (17.1) yrs and 55.1% are female. Mean pain (SD) reported at enrolment is 8.3 (1.5), with 73.4% of patients with NRS0-10 ≥ 8. Injuries are overwhelmingly limb trauma (87.8%). The most common type is sprain/strain (40.8%), followed by fracture (32.7%). At 5 minutes post-start of administration (STA) of MEOF, 80.4% of patients reported pain relief; this increased to 91.3% at 15 minutes, and 100% of patients reported pain relief by 30 minutes post-STA. GMP was assessed as “good”, “very good” or “excellent” by ≥80% of patients both 20 minutes post-start of administration (STA) of MEOF (83.3%) and at discharge (85.8%). When asked to what extent their expectation of pain relief had been met, 32.7% responded good, 26.5% responded “very good” and 22.4% responded “excellent”. Three quarters of enrolled patients (75.5%) did not require rescue medication. The most common (≥5%) treatment-related adverse events were dizziness (n = 14, 28.6%) and euphoric mood (n = 4, 8.2%). No serious adverse events have been reported. Conclusion: Based on 50% of the patients enrolled in this prospective, open label study, responses to inhaled low-dose MEOF are within expectation for both effectiveness and tolerability.
Introduction: As the population of Canadian cities grows, public policy planners frequently base predictions of future demand on population trends. We aimed to discover the relationship between demographically defined ED visit rate (EDVR) trends in an academic ED with corresponding population trends in the catchment area. Methods: We used administrative data to conduct a retrospective cohort time series to analyze per capita EDVR trends based on CTAS, age, gender and housing status for the period 2006-2015. These were adjusted for population growth using age-gender standardized rates from 2011 census data. All EDVR and Standardized estimates were extrapolated for 100,000 population. Results: There were 646 731 visits during the study period, increasing by 25.6% from 56 757 in 2006 to 71 289 in 2015, with an annual incremental linear trend of 1893/year (CI:1593-2192). The highest CTAS2 EDVR increase, 521/year, (95%CI: 433-608) was by non-homeless patients older than 49. CTAS2 visits and the rate in all non-homeless patients increased by 335/year, (95% CI 280-391), while homeless patients less than 30 showed the highest CTAS2 EDVR annual rate incremease (1183/year, CI:1448-2218). From 2008-2015, the annual linear per capita CTAS5 EDVR declined by 121/year (CI:79-163). The population of adults in Halifax increased by1.2%/yr with a linear trend of 4149/year (CI:4012-4287). The highest linear increasing trend was for those older than 49 (2604/year CI:2494-2714), followed by 30-50-year old group (1223/year, CI:1138-1309) with the lowest trend for those aged less than 30 (322/year,CI:170-473). Standardized and non-standardized rate decline (CTAS5) and incline (CTAS2) were statistically similar and were not influenced by population changes. The population older than 49 increased by 38% over the 10 year period, whereas the CTAS2 visit change increased by 250%. If the CTAS2 EDVR trend continues, this rate in 2027 will double that of 2015, even if the population in the catchment area remains stable. Conclusion: EDVR trends show an increase in CTAS2 visits driven chiefly by older patients. This trend exceeds the trend suggested by Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and is significantly more than predicted by population demographic changes. Healthcare administrators will need to bear these disparities in mind as they prepare for future ED capabilities.
Introduction: Patients frequently present to the Emergency Department (ED) with predictable complications associated with radiation and chemotherapy for active cancer. Care alternatives have been proposed to reduce ED visits; however, no systematic review related to ED presentations has been completed. The objective of this scoping review was to examine the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce ED visits among patients receiving active cancer treatment. Methods: A comprehensive literature search involving nine electronic databases and the grey literature was completed. Inclusion criteria considered studies assessing the impact of any intervention to reduce ED utilization among patients with active cancer. Two reviewers independently assessed relevance and inclusion; disagreements were resolved through third party adjudication. Dichotomous and continuous outcomes were summarized as risk ratio (RR) or mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using a random-effects model, wherever appropriate. Results: From 3303 citations, a total of 25 studies were included. Interventions identified in these studies comprised: routine and symptom-based patient follow-up, oncology outpatient clinics, early symptom detection, comprehensive inpatient management, hospital at home, and patient navigators. Six out of eight studies assessing oncology outpatient clinics reported a decrease in the proportion of patients presenting to the ED. A meta-analysis of three of these studies did not demonstrate reduction in ED utilization (RR 0.78; 95% CI: 0.56 to 1.08; I2 = 77%) when comparing oncology outpatient clinics to standard care; however, sensitivity analysis removing one study reporting rare events supported a decrease in ED visits (RR 0.86; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.99; I2 = 47%). Three studies assessing patient follow-up interventions showed no difference in ED utilization (RR 0.69; 95% CI: 0.38 to 1.25; I2 = 86%). Conclusion: A variety of interventions designed to mitigate ED presentations by patients receiving active cancer treatment have been developed and evaluated. Limited evidence suggests that an oncology outpatient clinic may be an effective strategy to reduce ED utilization; however, additional high-quality studies are needed.
Introduction: Choosing Wisely Nova Scotia (CWNS), an affiliate of Choosing Wisely Canada™ (CWC), aims to address unnecessary care and testing through literature-informed lists developed by various disciplines. CWC has identified unnecessary head CTs among the top five interventions to question in the Emergency Department (ED). Zyluk (2015) determined the Canadian CT Head Rule (CCHR) as the most effective clinical decision rule in adults with minor head injuries. To better understand the current status of CCHR use in Nova Scotia, we conducted a retrospective audit of patient charts at the Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Center, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Methods: Our mixed methods design included a literature review, retrospective chart audit, and a qualitative audit-feedback component with participating physicians. The chart audit applied the guidelines for adherence to the CCHR and reported on the level of compliance within the ED. Analysis of qualitative data is included here, in parallel with in-depth to contextualize findings from the audit. Results: 302 charts of patients having presented to the surveyed site were retrospectively reviewed. Of the 37 cases where a CT head was indicated as per the CCHR, a CT was ordered 32 (86.5%) times. Of the 176 cases where a CT head was not indicated, a CT was not ordered 155 (88.1%) times. Therefore, the CCHR was followed in 187 (87.8%) of the total 213 cases where the CCHR should be applied. Conclusion: Our study reveals adherence to the CCHR in 87.8% of cases at this ED. Identifying contextual factors that facilitate or hinder the application of CCHR in practice is critical for reducing unnecessary CTs. This work has been presented to the physician group to gain physician engagement and to elucidate enablers and barriers to guideline adherence. In light of the frequency of CT heads ordered EDs, even a small reduction would be impactful.
Introduction: The Cunningham reduction method for anterior shoulder dislocation offers an atraumatic alternative to traditional reduction techniques without the inconvenience and risk of procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA). Unfortunately, success rates as low as 27% have limited widespread use of this method. Inhaled methoxyflurane (I-MEOF) offers a rapidly administered, minimally invasive option for short-term analgesia. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of studying whether I-MEOF increased success rates for atraumatic reduction of anterior shoulder dislocation. Methods: A convenience sample of 20 patients with uncomplicated anterior shoulder dislocations were offered the Cunningham reduction method supported by methoxyflurane analgesia under the guidance of an advanced care paramedic. Operators were instructed to limit their attempt to the Cunningham method. Outcomes included success rate without the requirement for PSA, time to discharge, and operator and patient satisfaction with the procedure. Results: 20 patients received I-MEOF and an attempt at Cunningham reduction. 80% of patients were male, median age was 38.6 (range 18-71), and 55% were first dislocations of that joint. 35% (8/20 patients) had reduction successfully achieved by the Cunningham method under I-MEOF analgesia. The remainder proceeded to closed reduction under PSA. All patients had eventual successful reduction in the ED. 60% of operators reported good to excellent satisfaction with the process, with inadequate muscle relaxation being identified as the primary cause of failed initial attempts. 80% of patients reported good to excellent satisfaction. Conclusion: Success with the Cunningham technique was marginally increased with the use of I-MEOF, although 65% of patients still required PSA to facilitate reduction. The process was generally met with satisfaction by both providers and patients, suggesting that early administration of analgesia is appreciated. Moreover, one-third of patients had reduction achieved atraumatically without need for further intervention. A larger, randomized study may identify patient characteristics which make this reduction method more likely to be successful.
Introduction: As part of our audit and feedback process, Emergency Physicians (EP) are provided feedback on flow metrics and resource utilization. We analysed the relationship between two specific metrics (adjusted workload measurement (AWM), with the number of patients seen per hour adjusted according to CTAS, and percentage of revisits within 72 hours and diagnostic imaging use. Unfortunately, we are unable to evaluate quality of care, nor appropriateness of DI indication at this stage. Methods: We used data from 86 physicians at an academic ED, from June 1, 2015 to May31, 2017. The Data Envelope Analysis (DEA) model incorporated performance quality measures as outputs and efficiency measures as inputs. DEA is a method widely used in physician performance analysis. The method provides a score (optimal performance efficiency-OPE) for each EP based on maximization of the performance (AWM) in proportion to the combination of efficient use of resources, diagnostic imaging (DI). The score was used to regress against demographic characteristics and training. Results: The median AWM was 6.8 (quartiles Q1-Q3 = 6.4-7.4) with the median diagnostic imaging use of percentages of CT (median = 10.1, 8.6-11.9), US (median = 4.7, 3.6-5.6) and x-ray (80, 74-84). The EPs who had highest AWM combined with least use of DI (OPE = 100%), provided median AWM of 9.1 (range 8.9-9.7) with percentage CT, US and x-ray medians at 5.8% (range 5.8-6.2), 2.7% (range 2.4-3.6) and 59% (range 59-72). These provided benchmarks for optimal performance indicators. We found statistically significant differences of OPE scores based on gender (men 4.1 times higher, p < 0.001) and degree (RCPS < CCFPEM, Other < CCFPEM, p < 0.001). Overall AWM diminishes at the rate of 14% (95%CI: 9-20%) for a combination of 100 DI tests ordered. In order to reach the optimal level of performance, to reach an OPE of 100%, the median CT use percentage needs to be reduced by 6% (quartile range 3.9- 7.7%), US by 2.2% (quartile range 1.5-3.4%) and x-rays by 37.2% (quartile range: 26.8-44.3%). Return visit rates were not associated with DI use, possibly due to homogeneity in the percentage of return visits. Conclusion: We found significant performance variations in terms of average workload measurement in proportion to the weighted average of diagnostic imaging use, with increased use of DI being associated with decreasing AWM. Percentage of return visits does not appear to be useful as a performance indicator.
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) research in psychiatry mostly excludes left-handed participants. We recruited left-handed people with a bulimic disorder and found that stimulation of the left prefrontal cortex may result in different effects in left- and right-handed people. This highlights the importance of handedness and cortex lateralisation for rTMS.
The current study aimed to understand the mediating and/or moderating role of prenatal hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function in the association between maternal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and child internalizing and externalizing behavior problems at age 4. The influence of timing and child sex were also explored. Participants were 248 mother–child dyads enrolled in a prospective longitudinal cohort study (the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Study). Maternal ACEs were retrospectively assessed while maternal self-reported depression and diurnal salivary cortisol were assessed prospectively at 6–26 weeks gestation (T1) and 27–37 weeks gestation (T2). Maternal report of child internalizing and externalizing problems was assessed at 4 years (T3). Results revealed that there was a negative indirect association between maternal ACEs and child internalizing behavior via a higher maternal cortisol awakening response (CAR). Maternal diurnal cortisol slope moderated the association between maternal ACEs and child behavior problems. Some of these effects were dependent on child sex, such that higher ACEs and a flatter diurnal slope at T1 was associated with more internalizing behavior in female children and more externalizing behavior in male children. There were timing effects such that the mediating and moderating effects were strongest at T1.
In Australia, free-range egg production pullets are typically reared indoors, but adult layers get outdoor access. This new environment may be challenging to adapt to, which could impair egg production and/or egg quality. Adaptation might be enhanced through rearing enrichments. We reared 1386 Hy-Line Brown® chicks indoors with three treatments across 16 weeks: (1) a control group with standard litter housing conditions, (2) a novelty group providing novel objects that changed weekly, and (3) a structural enrichment group with custom-designed structures to partially impair visibility across the pen and allow for vertical movement. Pullets were transferred to a free-range system at 16 weeks of age with daily outdoor access provided from 25 until 64 weeks. Daily egg production at different laying locations (large nests, small nests and floor), weekly egg weights and egg abnormalities were recorded from 18 to 64 weeks old. External and internal egg quality parameters of egg weight, shell reflectivity, albumen height, haugh unit, yolk colour score, shell weight and shell thickness were measured at 44, 52, 60 and 64 weeks. There was a significant interaction between rearing treatment and nest box use on hen-day production from weeks 18 to 25 (P < 0.0001) with the novelty hens laying the most eggs and the control hens the fewest eggs in the nest box. Similarly, from 26 to 64 weeks, the novelty hens laid more eggs in the large nest boxes and fewer eggs on the floor than both the structural and control hens (P < 0.0001). Egg weight and abnormalities increased with age (P < 0.0001), but rearing treatment had no effect on either measure (both P ≥ 0.19). Rearing treatment affected shell reflectivity and yolk colour with the control hens showing paler colours across time relative to the changes observed in the eggs from enriched hens. The novelty hens may have established nest box laying patterns as they were more accustomed to exploring new environments. The differences in egg quality could be related to stress adaptability or ranging behaviour. This study shows that enriching environments during rearing can have some impacts on production parameters in free-range hens.
Temporary excavations during the construction of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland exposed a clay-rich fault gouge in Dalradian Supergroup psammite. The gouge coincides with the mapped trace of the subvertical Sronlairig Fault, a feature related in part to the Great Glen and Ericht–Laidon faults, which had been interpreted to result from brittle deformation during the Caledonian orogeny (c. 420–390 Ma). Exposure of this mica-rich gouge represented an exceptional opportunity to constrain the timing of the gouge-producing movement on the Sronlairig Fault using isotopic analysis to date the growth of authigenic (essentially synkinematic) clay mineralization. A series of fine-size separates was isolated prior to K–Ar analysis. Novel, capillary-encapsulated X-ray diffraction analysis was employed to ensure nearly perfect, random orientation and to facilitate the identification and quantification of mica polytypes. Coarser size fractions are composed of greater proportions of the 2M1 illite polytype. Finer size fractions show increasing proportions of the 1M illite polytype, with no evidence of 2M1 illite in the finest fractions. A series of Illite Age Analysis plots produced excellent R2 values with calculated mean ages of 296 ± 7 Ma (Late Carboniferous–Early Permian) for the oldest (2M1) illite and 145 ± 7 Ma (Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous) for the youngest (1M) illite. The Late Carboniferous–Early Permian (Faulting event 1) age may represent resetting of earlier-formed micas or authigenesis during dextral displacement of the Great Glen Fault Zone (GGFZ). Contemporaneous WNW(NW)–ESE(SE) extension was important for basin development and hydrocarbon migration in the Pentland Firth and Moray Firth regions. The Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous (Faulting event 2) age corresponds with Moray Firth Basin development and indicates that the GGFZ and related structures may have acted to partition the active extension in the Moray Firth region from relative inactivity in the Pentland Firth area at this time. These new age dates demonstrate the long-lived geological activity on the GGFZ, particularly so in post-Caledonian times where other isotopic evidence for younger tectonic overprints is lacking.
Oats can be processed in a variety of ways ranging from minimally processed such as steel-cut oats (SCO), to mildly processed such as large-flake oats (old fashioned oats, OFO), moderately processed such as instant oats (IO) or highly processed in ready-to-eat oat cereals such as Honey Nut Cheerios (HNC). Although processing is believed to increase glycaemic and insulinaemic responses, the effect of oat processing in these respects is unclear. Thus, we compared the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses elicited by 628 kJ portions of SCO, OFO, IO and HNC and a portion of Cream of Rice cereal (CR) containing the same amount of available-carbohydrate (23 g) as the oatmeals. Healthy males (n 18) and females (n 12) completed this randomised, cross-over trial. Blood was taken fasting and at intervals for 3 h following test-meal consumption. Glucose and insulin peak-rises and incremental AUC (iAUC) were subjected to repeated-measures ANOVA using Tukey’s test (two-sided P<0·05) to compare individual means. Glucose peak-rise (primary endpoint, mean (sem) mmol/l) after OFO, 2·19 (sem 0·11), was significantly less than after CR, 2·61 (sem 0·13); and glucose peak-rise after SCO, 1·93 (sem 0·13), was significantly less than after CR, HNC, 2·49 (sem 0·13) and IO 2·47 (sem 0·13). Glucose iAUC was significantly lower after SCO than CR and HNC. Insulin peak rise was similar among the test meals, but insulin iAUC was significantly less after SCO than IO. Thus, the results show that oat processing affects glycaemic and insulinaemic responses with lower responses associated with less processing.