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Sleep and circadian timing shifts later during adolescence, conflicting with early school start times, and resulting in circadian misalignment. Although circadian misalignment has been linked to depression, substance use, and altered reward function, a paucity of experimental studies precludes the determination of causality. Here we tested, for the first time, whether experimentally-imposed circadian misalignment alters the neural response to monetary reward and/or response inhibition.
Healthy adolescents (n = 25, ages 13–17) completed two in-lab sleep schedules in counterbalanced order: An ‘aligned’ condition based on typical summer sleep-wake times (0000–0930) and a ‘misaligned’ condition mimicking earlier school year sleep-wake times (2000–0530). Participants completed morning and afternoon functional magnetic resonance imaging scans during each condition, including monetary reward (morning only) and response inhibition (morning and afternoon) tasks. Total sleep time and circadian phase were assessed via actigraphy and salivary melatonin, respectively.
Bilateral ventral striatal (VS) activation during reward outcome was lower during the Misaligned condition after accounting for the prior night's total sleep time. Bilateral VS activation during reward anticipation was lower during the Misaligned condition, including after accounting for covariates, but did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Right inferior frontal gyrus activation during response inhibition was lower during the Misaligned condition, before and after accounting for total sleep time and vigilant attention, but only during the morning scan.
Our findings provide novel experimental evidence that circadian misalignment analogous to that resulting from school schedules may have measurable impacts on healthy adolescents' reward processing and inhibition of prepotent responses.
Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) can reduce the production efficiency and impair the welfare of cattle, potentially in all production systems. The aim of this study was to characterise measurable postmortem observations from divergently managed intensive beef finishing farms with high rates of concentrate feeding. At the time of slaughter, we obtained samples from 19 to 20 animals on each of 6 beef finishing units (119 animals in total) with diverse feeding practices, which had been subjectively classified as being high risk (three farms) or low risk (three farms) for SARA on the basis of the proportions of barley, silage and straw in the ration. We measured the concentrations of histamine, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lactate and other short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in ruminal fluid, LPS and SCFA in caecal fluid. We also took samples of the ventral blind sac of the rumen for histopathology, immunohistopathology and gene expression. Subjective assessments were made of the presence of lesions on the ruminal wall, the colour of the lining of the ruminal wall and the shape of the ruminal papillae. Almost all variables differed significantly and substantially among farms. Very few pathological changes were detected in any of the rumens examined. The animals on the high-risk diets had lower concentrations of SCFA and higher concentrations of lactate and LPS in the ruminal fluid. Higher LPS concentrations were found in the caecum than the rumen but were not related to the risk status of the farm. The diameters of the stratum granulosum, stratum corneum and of the vasculature of the papillae, and the expression of the gene TLR4 in the ruminal epithelium were all increased on the high-risk farms. The expression of IFN-γ and IL-1β and the counts of cluster of differentiation 3 positive and major histocompatibility complex class two positive cells were lower on the high-risk farms. High among-farm variation and the unbalanced design inherent in this type of study in the field prevented confident assignment of variation in the dependent variables to individual dietary components; however, the CP percentage of the total mixed ration DM was the factor that was most consistently associated with the variables of interest. Despite the strong effect of farm on the measured variables, there was wide inter-animal variation.
The Australian continent is large and therefore exhibits a range of very different climatic zones. Broadly, the continent is characterised by arid climatic regimes: four-fifths of the landmass receiving an annual rainfall of less than 600 mm (Figure 12.1) and one-half of the continent receiving less than 300 mm. These arid and semi-arid regions form the greatest proportion of inland Australia, and are fringed by narrow, wet and temperate climatic zones along the southwestern, southern and eastern coastal zones (Figure 12.1). Tropical monsoonal rainfall characterises the northern coastal zones. Compared to other continents on Earth, Australia has by far the lowest average rainfall. This low precipitation rate is coupled with a high evaporation rate meaning that surface water availability is also anomalously low compared to global averages. Average annual temperature also shows significant variation (Figure 12.1) and in most areas there is also a high diurnal variation in temperature.
It is well known, however, that the currently arid areas of inland Australia were significantly wetter in the geological past, from the early Cenozoic (a period of geological time from c. 65 Ma until the present day; Gradstein et al. 2004) until at least the early Miocene (c. 23 Ma) (e.g. Kershaw et al. 1994; Martin 2006). Much of our current knowledge of climate change from the early Cenozoic to the present is deduced from observed variations in the isotopic signature of marine sediments (e.g. deMenocal 1995; Lisiecki and Raymo 2005; Raymo et al. 2006) as well as the distribution, chemistry and palynological assemblages of terrestrial and marine sediments and sedimentary rocks.
Imidazoles present a tunable, versatile and economical platform for the development of novel liquid solvents and polymer membranes for CO2 capture. An overview of our studies in this area is presented, with emphasis on characterization of structure-property relationships in imidazole-based materials through both experimental and computational studies. To this end, a growing library of systematically varied imidazole compounds has been synthesized using only commercial available starting materials and straightforward reactions. Using this library of compounds, we have sought to understand and develop predictive models for thermophysical properties relating to process design, including: density, viscosity, vapor pressure, pKa and CO2 absorption capacity. Furthermore, we have discovered that imidazoles are stable in the presence of SO2 and can form reversible 1:1 adducts, which can be beneficial as SO2 is typically present at ppm levels alongside CO2 in flue gas from coal-fired power plants.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is found in many food sources and plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system. Animal studies have shown that choline status pre- and postnatally can have long-lasting effects on attention and memory; however, effects in human subjects have not been well studied. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between plasma concentrations of free choline and its related metabolites in children and their neurodevelopment in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study, an ongoing longitudinal study assessing the development of children born to mothers with high fish consumption during pregnancy. Plasma concentrations of free choline, betaine, dimethylglycine (DMG), methionine and homocysteine and specific measures of neurodevelopment were measured in 210 children aged 5 years. The children's plasma free choline concentration (9·17 (sd 2·09) μmol/l) was moderately, but significantly, correlated with betaine (r 0·24; P= 0·0006), DMG (r 0·15; P= 0·03), methionine (r 0·24; P= 0·0005) and homocysteine (r 0·19; P= 0·006) concentrations. Adjusted multiple linear regression revealed that betaine concentrations were positively associated with Preschool Language Scale – total language scores (β = 0·066; P= 0·04), but no other associations were evident. We found no indication that free choline concentration or its metabolites, within the normal physiological range, are associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes in children at 5 years of age. As there is considerable animal evidence suggesting that choline status during development is associated with cognitive outcome, the issue deserves further study in other cohorts.
Childhood obesity is a growing problem worldwide. In recent years, out-of-home (OH) eating has been highlighted as one of the many factors contributing to the obesogenic environment. This review seeks to identify a range of existing guidelines for the provision of healthy food options for families who eat OH frequently. Nationally available nutrition policies were identified using targeted and untargeted searches of the internet to identify established strategies for providing food for children in the family eating out sector in America (US), Australia, Canada and the WHO's European Region (EUR). These were categorised on the basis of eleven pre-defined criteria including: family eating out sector included as stakeholder; inclusion of children's food OH; cost strategies for healthier food choices; provision of nutrition information for customers; nutrition training of catering staff; and monitoring and evaluation structures. Fifty-five policies were reviewed, of which 71% addressed children's food served OH, but principally only for food available in schools. Two voluntary programmes, from Colorado and Slovenia, were identified as possible best practice models as they met a majority of the evaluation criteria. The most frequently used strategy by policies to promote healthier eating OH was the provision of nutrition information on menus, while monitoring and evaluation plans were poorly incorporated into any OH strategies, thus raising issues about their effectiveness. This review has identified a range of initiatives that could be employed to make healthier eating OH more accessible for families. However, to establish best practice guidelines for healthier OH food choices further investigations are required.
Larger portion sizes (PS) may be inciting over-eating and contributing to obesity rates. Currently, there is a paucity of data on the effectiveness of serving size (SS) guidance. The aims of the present review are to evaluate SS guidance; the understanding, usability and acceptability of such guidance, its impact on consumers and potential barriers to its uptake. A sample of worldwide SS guidance schemes (n 87) were identified using targeted and untargeted searches, overall these were found to communicate various inconsistent and often conflicting messages about PS selection. The available data suggest that consumers have difficulty in understanding terms such as ‘portion size’ and ‘serving size’, as these tend to be used interchangeably. In addition, discrepancies between recommended SS and those present on food labels add to the confusion. Consumers generally understand and visualise SS best when expressed in terms of household measures rather than actual weights. Only a limited number of studies have examined the direct impact of SS guidance on consumer behaviour with equivocal results. Although consumers recognise that guidance on selecting SS would be helpful, they are often unwilling to act on such guidance. The challenge of achieving consumer adherence to SS guidance is formidable due to several barriers including chronic exposure to larger PS, distorted consumption norms and perceptions, the habit of ‘cleaning one's plate’ and language barriers for ethnic minorities. In conclusion, the impact of SS guidance on consumers merits further investigation to ensure that future guidance resonates with consumers by being more understandable, usable and acceptable.
To assess the nutritional adequacy of Seychellois children in relation to nutrients reported to be important for cognitive development.
Dietary intakes were assessed by 4 d weighed food diaries and analysed using dietary analysis software (WISP version 3·0; Tinuviel Software, UK). Individual nutrient intakes were adjusted to usual intakes and, in order to investigate adequacy, were compared with the UK Estimated Average Requirements for children aged 4–6 years.
Children 5 years old were followed up as part of the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS), located in the high-fish-consuming population of Mahé, Republic of Seychelles.
Analysis was carried out on a sample of 229 children (118 boys, 111 girls).
Children consumed a diet of which fortified cereal and milk products contributed the most to nutrient intakes. The majority (≥80 %) of children met requirements for several nutrients important for child development including Fe, folate and Se. Adjusted dietary intakes of Cu, Zn, iodine, niacin and vitamin A were below the Estimated Average Requirement or Recommended Nutrient Intake. Mean adjusted energy intakes (boys 4769 kJ/d (1139·84 kcal/d), girls 4759 kJ/d (1137·43 kcal/d)) were lower than the estimated energy requirement (boys 5104 kJ/d (1220 kcal/d), girls 5042 kJ/d (1205 kcal/d)) for 88 % of boys and 86 % of girls.
Nutrition was adequate for most children within the SCDNS cohort. Low intakes of some nutrients (including Zn, niacin and vitamin A) could reflect nutritional database inaccuracies, but may require further investigation. The study provides valuable information on the adequacy of intakes of nutrients which could affect the growth and development of Seychellois children.