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Terracing is found widely in the Mediterranean and in other hilly and mountainous regions of the world. Yet while archaeological attention to these ‘mundane’ landscape features has grown, they remain understudied, particularly in Northern Europe. Here, the authors present a multidisciplinary study of terraces in the Breamish Valley, Northumberland. The results date their construction to the Early to Middle Bronze Age, when they were built by cutting back the hillside, stone clearance and wall construction. Environmental evidence points to their use for cereal cultivation. The authors suggest that the construction and use of these terraces formed part of an Early to Middle Bronze Age agricultural intensification, which may have been both demographically and culturally driven.
The present study aims to assess the relationship between consumer perception and on-farm assessment of animal welfare performed using the Animal Needs Index 35L (ANI). Two tie-stall, 2 straw yard and 2 cubicle farms were scored by trained assessors using the ANI and filmed to produce six 3.5 min videos. Each of them contained 4 clips: barn overall view, feeding, milking and individual animals. Ten untrained observers were asked to elicit terms describing how they perceived the observed farming systems to affect animal welfare using Free Choice Profiling (FCP). Data from FCP were subjected to Generalised Procrustes Analysis (GPA). GPA showed a significant consensus among observers. Observers characterised the first dimension with terms ranging from constrictive to comfortable conditions and the second one in terms of cleanliness/dirtiness. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was conducted using the scores of the farms on the first two dimensions of GPA and the data gathered through the ANI. The first dimension of GPA (Comfortable), ANI's sheet 1 (Locomotion), sheet 2 (Social interaction) and sheet 6 (Total score) showed high loadings on the first component of PCA, whereas the second dimension of GPA (Clean), sheet 3 (Flooring) and sheet 4 (Stockmanship) were correlated with the second component of PCA. We concluded that FCP may be used to elicit lay person perception of welfare-related characteristics of dairy cattle farming systems, thus providing a tool to study the relationships between consumer perception and on-farm assessment of animal welfare.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the intra-observer repeatability of some animal-related variables which could be used in welfare-assessment protocols at farm level. Recordings were performed on seven dairy farms (four for cattle and three for buffaloes). The animals were observed on three occasions at three-week intervals. The variables collected for each animal were behaviour during milking (stepping and kicking), avoidance distance, lameness, and cleanliness. For each farm and each variable, intra-observer repeatability was computed using the Kendall coefficient of concordance (W). A ratio between the variance of the animal and the sum of the latter with the error variance was also calculated using a model of analysis of variance with one factor (animal), to give a further measure of repeatability. These two methods yielded similar results. In particular, in dairy cattle, a high repeatability for avoidance distance, stepping, lameness and cleanliness was observed, whereas for buffaloes avoidance distance and stepping were the repeatable variables.
Given the absence of a ‘Golden Standard’ for the objective determination of welfare, the collection and interpretation of data involving different parameters is essential for assessing the well-being of farm animals. The choice of parameters and the relative weights assigned to each of them are crucial for the outcome of the assessment. Both elements involve a certain degree of subjectivity. In this paper we discuss the basics of different methods used to integrate welfare parameters, focussing on the issue of scientific objectivity. We begin by addressing parameter selection, the assignment of parameter weightings or rankings and the qualifications necessary for ‘experts’ designing and applying the methodology. Five different approaches to integrating parameters are then discussed. The paper does not state a preference for any method, but aims to encourage discussion of key elements involved with the on-farm assessment of welfare.
This study aims to investigate the relationship between human behaviour, buffalo behaviour and prevalence of oxytocin injection at milking. The research was carried out on 17 buffalo farms. On each farm the stockperson's behaviour toward the buffaloes and the buffaloes' behaviour were observed during one afternoon's milking. Stockperson's behaviour was observed from collection of the animals in the waiting area to exit from the milking parlour. The following variables were recorded: number of positive, neutral and negative interactions. The number of steps and kicks were recorded from the entrance to the milking parlour to the removal of cups whenever the stockperson was less than 0.5 m from the animal. The prevalence of oxytocin injection at milking was recorded on two separate occasions with a 5-month interval to obtain a measure of the long-term consistency of this variable. Significant correlations were found between stepping and kicking, stepping and prevalence of oxytocin injection, kicking and prevalence of oxytocin injection and stockperson positive interactions and kicking. These results indicate that stockperson behaviour is related to buffalo behaviour at milking and the latter to the use of oxytocin injections. In addition, prevalence of oxytocin injection proved to be highly reliable when re-tested five months later.
Oocyte gene expression is a well controlled event that promotes gamete competence to undergo maturation, fertilization, and to support early embryo development, directly affecting reproductive outcomes. Considering that in vivo controlled ovarian stimulation or in vitro maturation (IVM) for the acquisition of mature oocytes has distinct implications for gene expression, we sought to evaluate the effects of these procedures on the expression of competence-related genes in single-cell oocytes. Healthy Nelore cows of reproductive age were synchronized to harvest in vivo matured oocytes; ovaries from slaughtered animals were used to obtain cumulus–oocyte complexes that were in vitro matured. Single-cell gene expression was performed using TaqMan Low-Density Arrays and 42 genes were evaluated. In silico analysis of protein interactions and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis was performed. Reduced gene expression was observed for 24 targets in IVM oocytes when compared with those of in vivo matured oocytes (P < 0.05). Differences ranged from 1.5-fold to 4.8-fold higher in in vivo oocytes and the BMP15 (5.28), GDF9 (6.23), NOBOX (7.25), HSPA8 (7.85) and MSX1 (11.00) showed the greatest fold increases. The strongest score of functional interactions was observed between the CDC20 and CKS2, with the differentially expressed gene CDC20 being the main marker behind GO enrichment. IVM negatively affected the expression of important genes related to oocyte competency, and showed higher expression levels in in vivo matured oocytes. In vivo controlled ovarian stimulation may be a better strategy to achieve proper oocyte competence and increase the success of assisted reproductive technologies.
Community engagement (CE) is critical for advancing health equity and a key approach for promoting inclusive clinical and translational science. However, it requires a workforce trained to effectively design, implement, and evaluate health promotion and improvement strategies through meaningful collaboration with community members. This paper presents an approach for designing CE curricula for research, education, clinical care, and public health learners. A general pedagogical framework is presented to support curriculum development with the inclusion of community members as facilitators or faculty. The overall goal of the curriculum is envisioned as enabling learners to effectively demonstrate the principles of CE in working with community members on issues of concern to communities to promote health and well-being. We highlight transformations needed for the commonly used critical service-learning model and the importance of faculty well-versed in CE. Courses may include didactics and practicums with well-defined objectives and evaluation components. Because of the importance of building and maintaining relationships in CE, a preparatory phase is recommended prior to experiential learning, which should be guided and designed to include debriefing and reflective learning. Depending on the scope of the course, evaluation should include community perspectives on the experience.
Background: PET imaging of [11C]ABP688 shows reduced hippocampal mGluR5 availability in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) patients, however the relation with post-surgical outcomes is unclear. Here, we tested whether [11C]ABP688 binding in hippocampal subfields vulnerable to glutamate excitotoxicity is related to post-surgical outcome. Methods: [11C]ABP688-PET was obtained from 31 unilateral MTLE patients and 30 controls. Hippocampal subfields were automatically segmented into 1) CA1-3, 2) CA4/dentate gyrus (DG), 3) Subiculum and manually corrected. Partial volume corrected [11C]ABP688 non-displaceable binding potential (BPND) was calculated in the subfields and compared between seizure-free and non-seizure-free patients. Results: [11C]ABP688 BPND was significantly reduced in ipsilateral CA1-3 & CA4/DG (p<0.001) compared to controls. No difference was seen in Subiculum. Ipsilateral CA1-3 [11C]ABP688 BPND was lower in seizure-free (p=0.012; Engel Ia, n=13) vs non-seizure- free (Engel Ic-III, n=10) patients, and this effect was independent of subfield volume. In a subset of patients with [18F]FDG-PET, CA1-3 [11C]ABP688 BPND was significantly lower in seizure-free patients (p=0.03), while no difference was found for [18F]FDG uptake. Conclusions: Reduced CA1-3 mGluR5 availability was associated with post-surgical seizure-freedom independent of atrophy and hypometabolism. Thus, [11C]ABP688-PET may offer a potential biomarker for surgical outcomes and may be particularly relevant for pre-surgical workup in MRI- and [18F]FDG-negative MTLE patients.
Metazoan parasite communities can experience temporal structural changes related to seasonal and/or local variations in several biotic and abiotic environmental factors. However, few studies have addressed this issue in tropical regions, where changes in water temperature are less extreme than in temperate regions, so the factors or processes that can generate variations in these parasite communities are as yet unclear. We quantified and analysed the parasite communities of 421 Lutjanus peru (Nichols & Murphy, 1922) collected from Acapulco Bay in Guerrero, Mexico, over a four-year period (August 2018 to April 2021), to identify any interannual variation due to local biotic and abiotic factors influenced by natural oceanographic phenomena, such as El Niño–Southern Oscillation, or La Niña. Twenty-five metazoan parasite taxa were recovered and identified: seven Digenea species; two Monogenea; one Cestoda; one Acanthocephala; four Nematoda; and ten of Crustacea (seven Copepoda and three Isopoda). The digeneans and copepods were the best represented parasite groups. The parasite communities were characterized by a high numerical dominance of helminth larvae. Species richness at the component community level (13 to 19 species) was similar to reported richness in other Lutjanus spp. The parasite communities of L. peru had a high variability in species composition, but low aggregate variability (e.g. species diversity), suggesting that structure of these communities may be quite stable over time. A clear interannual variation pattern was not observed, suggesting that parasite species of this host may respond differently to variations in environmental factors. Interannual variations were possibly caused by a combination of biotic (i.e. host feeding behaviour and body size) and local abiotic factors (influenced by climatic anomalies) which generated notable changes in the infection levels of several component species.
Background: PET imaging of [11C]ABP688 shows reduced hippocampal mGluR5 availability in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) patients, however the relation with post-surgical outcomes is unclear. Here, we tested whether [11C]ABP688 binding in hippocampal subfields vulnerable to glutamate excitotoxicity is related to post-surgical outcome. Methods: [11C]ABP688-PET was obtained from 31 unilateral MTLE patients and 30 controls. Hippocampal subfields were automatically segmented into 1) CA1-3, 2) CA4/dentate gyrus (DG), and 3) Subiculum and manually corrected. Partial volume corrected [11C]ABP688 non-displaceable binding potential (BPND) was calculated in the subfields and compared between seizure-free and non-seizure-free patients. Results: [11C]ABP688 BPND was significantly reduced in ipsilateral CA1-3 & CA4/DG (p<0.001) compared to controls. No difference was seen in Subiculum. Ipsilateral CA1-3 [11C]ABP688 BPND was lower in seizure-free (p=0.012; Engel Ia, n=13) vs non-seizure-free (Engel Ic-III, n=10) patients, and this effect was independent of subfield volume. In a subset of patients with [18F]FDG-PET, CA1-3 [11C]ABP688 BPND was significantly lower in seizure-free patients (p=0.03), while no difference was found for [18F]FDG uptake. Conclusions: Reduced CA1-3 mGluR5 availability was associated with post-surgical seizure-freedom independent of atrophy and hypometabolism. Thus, [11C]ABP688-PET may offer a potential biomarker for surgical outcomes and may be particularly relevant for pre-surgical workup in MRI- and [18F]FDG-negative MTLE patients.
Although a large number of studies have shown brain volumetric differences between men and women, only a few investigations to date have analyzed brain tissue volumes in representative samples of the general elderly population.
We investigated differences in gray matter (GM), white matter (WM) and intracranial volumes (ICVs) between sexes in individuals above 66 years old using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Using FreeSurfer version 5.3, we automatically obtained the ICVs, GM and WM volumes from MRI datasets of 84 men and 92 women. To correct for interindividual variations in ICV, GM and WM volumes were adjusted with a method using the residuals of a least-square-derived linear regression between raw volumes and ICVs. We then performed an ANCOVA comparing men and woman including age and years of schooling as confounding factors.
Women had a lower socioeconomic status overall and fewer years of schooling than men. The comparison of unadjusted brain volumes showed larger GM and WM volumes in men. After the ICV correction, the adjusted volumes of GM and WM were larger in women.
After the ICV correction and taking into account differences in socioeconomic status and years of schooling, our results confirm previous findings of proportionally larger GM in women, as well as larger WM volumes. These results in an elderly population indicate that brain volumetric differences between sexes persist throughout the aging process. Additional studies combining MRI and other biomarkers are warranted to identify the hormonal and molecular bases influencing such differences.
The objectives of this study were to evaluate the cross-cultural measurement equivalence of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) for children aged 1–2 years and to analyse the quality of nutrition of preterm infants. This was a cross-sectional study with 106 premature infants attended in two specialised outpatient clinics of university hospitals. The quality of the diet was analysed through an adapted HEI to meet the dietary recommendations of Brazilian children aged 1–2 years. Food consumption was measured by 24-h recalls. The reliability of the instrument was evaluated by internal consistency analysis and inter-observer reliability using Cronbach’s α coefficient and κ with quadratic ponderation. The construct validity was evaluated by principal component analysis and by Spearman’s correlation coefficient with total energy and consumption of some groups’ food. The diet quality was considered adequate when the total HEI score was over 80 points. Cronbach’s α was 0·54. Regarding inter-observer reliability, ten items showed strong agreement (κ > 0·8). The item scores had low correlations with energy consumed (r ≤ 0·30), and positive and moderate correlation of fruit (r 0·67), meat (r 0·60) and variety of diet (r 0·57) with total scores. When analysing the overall quality of the diet, most patients need improvement (median 78·7 points), which can be attributed to low total vegetable intake and the presence of ultraprocessed foods in the diet. The instrument showed auspicious psychometric properties, being promising to evaluate the quality of the diet in children aged 1–2 years.
Community-based physical activity programs, such as the Recreovía, are effective in promoting healthy behaviors in Latin America. To understand Recreovías’ challenges and scalability, we characterized its social network longitudinally while studying its participants’ social cohesion and interactions. First, we constructed the Main network of the program’s Facebook profile in 2013 to determine the main stakeholders and communities of participants. Second, we studied the Temporal network growth of the Facebook profiles of three Recreovía locations from 2008 to 2016. We implemented a Time Windows in Networks algorithm to determine observation periods and a scaling model of cities’ growth to measure social cohesion over time. Our results show physical activity instructors as the main stakeholders (20.84% nodes of the network). As emerging cohesion, we found: (1) incremental growth of Facebook users (43–272 nodes), friendships (55–2565 edges), clustering coefficient (0.19–0.21), and density (0.04–0.07); (2) no preferential attachment behavior; and (3) a social cohesion super-linear growth with 1.73 new friendships per joined user. Our results underscore the physical activity instructors’ influence and the emergent cohesion in innovation periods as a co-benefit of the program. This analysis associates the social and healthy behavior dimensions of a program occurring in natural environments under a systemic approach.
The impact of Idiopathic Parkinson Disease (IPD) in patient’s sexual health is still a matter of debate. Clinicians should have a concern about the sexual function of their patients with IPD.
To evaluate sexual health of patients with IPD.
We randomly select a group of IPD patients and a group of healthy controls. We used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) to assess sexual function. To evaluate depression and anxiety we used Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and Beck Depression Index (BDI).
We had 83 IPD patients, and 69 controls. Male patients had lower total IIEF scores than controls (p< 0,001). The analysis of linear regression shows a relationship between the IIFE and the duration of the disease, the patient age and the BDI score (R=0,72; Adjusted R square=0,49, p< 0,001) when adjusted to the variables: realization of deep brain cirurgy of subthalamic nucleus (DBS-STN) stage of the disease, BSI score, dopaminergic treatment, treatment with antidepressives and antipsychotics. The IFSF didn’t show differences between the cases and the controls. Patients had higher BSI and BDI scores than controls (p< 0,001).
Male IPD patients had an impairment of sexual function predicted by disease duration, patient age and BDI scores. Sexual function should be assessed in these patients
While the efficacy of family psychoeducational interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia is now well documented, few data are available on its efficacy in major depression. This study aimed to verify the effectiveness of a family psychoeducational intervention according to the Falloon model on patients’ clinical status, social functioning and lifestyle and on relatives’ burden and social network.
The study was coordinated by the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Naples SUN and carried out in 7 Italian mental health centres. In each centre, 8 patients with major depression and their relatives were recruited if they fulfilled the following criteria: a) diagnosis of unipolar major depression according to the DSM-IV; b) aged between 18 and 65 years; c) in charge to the local mental health centre for at least 6 months; d) at least one depressive episode in the last two years; e) living with at least one relative aged between 18 and 70 years.
Recruited families have been randomly allocated to the experimental group, which received the psychoducational intervention for 6 months, or to the control group, which received the treatment as usual plus an informative brief intervention.
22 families have been treated with the experimental intervention and 22 with the control one. At the end of the intervention, patients’ clinical status and life-style significantly improved in the treated group, as well as family objective burden and social contacts.
Family psychoeducational intervention are useful in reducing personal and family difficulties caused by depression and in improving patients’ lifestyles.
To characterize the safety and tolerability of desvenlafaxine succinate (DVS) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
Pooled data from 7 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies were analyzed. Adult outpatients with DSM-IV MDD received DVS or placebo for 8 weeks. Four studies employed flexible dosing of DVS (100-200mg/d [1 study]; 200-400mg/d [3 studies]); 3 studies evaluated fixed doses (100/200/400mg/d [1 study]; 200/400mg/d [2 studies]). Vital signs and treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were evaluated. In the fixed-dose subset of studies, dose-related effects were analyzed.
The overall safety population consisted of 2014 patients (DVS: n=1211; placebo: n=803); 60% were women. Adverse events were responsible for discontinuations in 4% of placebo-treated patients and 15% of DVS-treated patients. Discontinuation rates increased with dose (10% with 100mg/d to 17% with 400mg/d) in the subset of fixed-dose studies. TEAEs were consistent with the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class. Nausea was generally mild to moderate with a median duration less than or = to 6 days; the incidence decreased to placebo-like rates after week 1. With all doses of DVS, small but statistically significant changes in mean blood pressure were observed. Mean changes in pulse rate and the proportion of potentially clinically important increases in sustained elevations in supine diastolic blood pressure were higher for patients receiving 200/400mg/d than among placebo-treated subjects; values for these parameters with the 100mg/d dose did not differ from placebo.
DVS treatment exhibited a safety and tolerability profile that was generally consistent with the SNRI class.
Pathways to care and duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) strongly influence the long-term outcome of schizophrenia.
To investigate pathways to care, duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and treatments received by a sample of individuals aged between 18 and 35 years meeting diagnostic criteria for psychosis.
Pathways to care and DUP were explored by an “ad-hoc” schedule administered to patients and caregivers.
The sample consists of 30 patients. The first episode of psychosis, which occurred at 19.7 (± 4.7) years, was characterized by negative symptoms and disorganized behaviours in more than half of the sample, suicide attempts (28%) and hospital admissions (26%). DUP was 41.6 ± 60.4 weeks, being longer than that reported in international literature. In 76% of cases patients’ relatives asked for a first contact with health professionals, referring the patients to psychiatrists (34% of cases), general practitioners (31%), neurologists (21%) or psychologists (13%). When professionals other than psychiatrists were contacted, the interval between the contact and receipt of appropriate psychiatric treatment (according to the current guidelines) was particularly long (15.2 ± 32.1 weeks). 34% of patients were treated with a monotherapy of psychotropic drugs: 24% with antipsychotics, 7% with anxiolytics and 3% with antidepressants; 48% received a poly-pharmacotherapy. 35% were treated with psychotherapy (in most of the cases cognitive-behavioural therapy), which was the only treatment for 18% of patients.
These results emphasize the need to train health professionals on diagnosis and treatment of first episode psychosis. DUP may be reduced by anti-stigma campaigns among general population.
Number and procedures of involuntary hospital admissions vary in Europe according to the different socio-cultural contexts. The European Commission has funded the EUNOMIA study in 12 European countries in order to develop European recommendations for good clinical practice in involuntary hospital admissions. The recommendations have been developed with the direct and active involvement of national leaders and key professionals, who worked out national recommendations, subsequently summarized into a European document, through the use of specific categories. The need for standardizing the involuntary hospital admission has been highlighted by all centers. In the final recommendations, it has been stressed the need to: providing information to patients about the reasons for hospitalization and its presumable duration; protecting patients’ rights during hospitalization; encouraging the involvement of family members; improving the communication between community and hospital teams; organizing meetings, seminars and focus-groups with users; developing training courses for involved professionals on the management of aggressive behaviors, clinical aspects of major mental disorders, the legal and administrative aspects of involuntary hospital admissions, on communication skills. The results showed the huge variation of involuntary hospital admissions in Europe and the importance of developing guidelines on this procedure.
Studies on the efficacy of psychoeducational family intervention in patients with depression and their relatives are scarce. the effectiveness of this intervention in major depression has not been adequately investigated, probably because it is considered to be less burdensome by mental health professionals compared to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This study aims to test the efficacy of a psychoeducational family intervention on: 1) clinical status and social functioning of patients with major depression; 2) family burden and social network. the study has been carried out in 7 Italian mental health centers; 8 families in each center were randomly recruited and allocated to receive a psychoeducational intervention or an informative one. Fourty-four families were examined: 22 from the experimental group and 22 from the control group. A significative reduction in symptoms (p < 0.05), social functioning (p < 0.05), practical burden (p < 0.01), psychological burden (p < 0.05), and an improvement of social contacts (p < 0.05) and of professional support (p < 0.01) have been observed in patients; a significant reduction of practical burden (p < 0,01) and an improvement of social contacts (p < 0.01) and professional support (p < 0.01) have been found in their relatives. the results of this study outline that psychoeducational family intervention is effective in reducing family burden, improving relationships between family members and alleviating family distress. This intervention should be included in the routine management of patients with depression and their relatives.
There has been an increased interest on the role of urban security and fear of crime on mental health of the general population, but there are not studies about this among patients with minor psychiatric disorders.
Assess patients’ fear of crime and perceived urban insecurity.
1) evaluate the association between perceived urban insecurity and crime, and minor psychiatric disorders;
2) identify subgroups of patients with high levels of perceived urban insecurity and fear of crime.
A sample of 24 patients with depressive or anxiety disorders attending outpatient services was collected. Patients consenting to the study underwent a battery of psychometric instruments. This study is part of a national multicentric study that enrolled 426 subjects.
The sample was mainly composed by females (83%), cohabiting (58%), employed (54%). Patients were more frequently diagnosed with dysthymia (54%) had an average GAF score of 73 (SD=8,44), an average GHQ-12 of 17.33 (SD =3,95). 41% reported high level of insecurity or fear and 58% stated that their worries were increased compared to 10 years earlier. Reported reasons for this were mostly ‘decrease of social security’ and ‘loss of values’. 12.5% of the sample reported of having been victim of a theft or vandalism.
The results of this study are not only useful to understand the role of fear of crime in the onset and relapses of minor psychiatric disorders, but they can also help to plan psychiatrists’ and Public Health's interventions in order to prevent them.