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Welfare and management of calves is of increasing interest and also influences performance of these animals in later life. The aim of this study was to assess management and environmental conditions under which pre-weaned dairy calves are reared on commercial Irish dairy farms. We included 47 spring-calving, pasture-based herds in this study. Herd and animal-specific data, such as mortality rate, age and breed, were gathered from all participants via the HerdPlus® database. Information pertaining to management practices was collected by conducting an interview with the principal calf rearer, while an assessment of calf housing facilities was conducted to identify conditions calves were reared in. The environmental assessment included measurements of space allowance per calf, as well as feeding equipment hygiene. To assess calf behaviour video observations were used, while accounting for the number of calves present in a group and the space available per calf. Faecal samples were also collected to determine the presence of enteric pathogens among calves. To compare calf space allowance, group size and presence of enteric pathogens early and late in the calving season each farm was visited twice. Calf mortality was not associated with either herd size, space allowance per calf or post-colostrum feeding practices. Higher calf mortality was identified among herds which reported experiencing an on-set of calf pneumonia during weeks 8 to 10 of the calving season. This study demonstrates that factors associated with calf welfare on commercial Irish dairy farms (e.g. space allowance, mortality rate) are independent of herd size. Some management practices however, such as methods used for treating health issues can affect rates of calf mortality experienced. Calf mortality, for example, was lower in herds which treated diarrhoea cases by administering electrolytes, while continuing to offer milk. Behavioural observations indicate that smaller group sizes could promote expression of positive behaviours, potentially resulting from an overall improvement in welfare. Space allowance per calf was not associated with observed behaviour frequencies. We also identified that similar rates of calf mortality are experienced across herds of different sizes.
Frowning expresses negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness. According to the facial feedback hypothesis, suppression of frowning will also diminish the corresponding negative emotions. Hence, mood improvement has been observed in patients who underwent treatment of glabellar frown lines with botulinum neurotoxin. This observation suggests the possibility that the intervention may be employed for the management of psychiatric disorders associated with negative emotions. Preliminary data from an open case series indicate that the intervention might improve the symptoms of depression.
Aims & objectives
To test whether an onabotulinumtoxinA injection into the glabellar region is benefical as an adjunctive treatment of major depression within a clinical trial.
We used a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study design (n = 30; ClinicalTrials.gov, number, NCT00934687).
We show that a single onabotulinumtoxinA treatment shortly leads to a strong and sustained improvement in partly chronic major depression that did not respond sufficiently to previous treatment. As for the primary end-point, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) six weeks after treatment compared to baseline, scores of onabotulinumtoxinA recipients showed 37.9% (8.34 points) more improvement than those of placebo-treated participants (F = 12.30, p = 0.002, η2 = 0.31, d = 1.28).
Our findings support the concept that the facial musculature not only expresses, but also regulates, mood states. As it stands, treatment of glabellar frown lines with botulinum neurotoxin can be considered for depressed patients with the objective of inducing mood-lifting effects.
A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
The increasing attention for global warming is likely to contribute to the introduction of policies or other incentives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to livestock production, including dairy. The dairy sector is an important contributor to GHG emissions. Clinical mastitis (CM), an intramammary infection, results in reduced milk production and fertility, increases culling and mortality of cows and, therefore, has a negative impact on the efficiency (output/input) of milk production. This may increase GHG emissions per unit of product. Our objective was to estimate the impact of CM in dairy cows on GHG emissions of milk production for the Dutch situation. A dynamic stochastic simulation model was developed to simulate the dynamics and losses of CM for individual lactations. Cows receive a parity (1 to 5+), a milk production and a calving interval (CI). Based on the parity, cows have a risk of CM, with a maximum of three cases in a lactation. Pathogens causing CM were classified as gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, or other. Based on the parity and pathogen combinations, cows had a reduced milk production, discarded milk, prolonged CI and a risk of removal (culling and mortality) that reduce productivity of dairy cows and therefore increase GHG emissions per unit of product. Using life cycle assessment, emissions of GHGs were estimated from cradle to farm gate for processes along the milk production chain that are affected by CM. Processes included were feed production, enteric fermentation, and manure management. Emissions of GHGs were expressed as kg CO2 equivalents per ton of fat-and-protein-corrected milk (kg CO2e/t FPCM). Emissions of cows with CM increased on average by 57.5 (6.2%) kg CO2e/t FPCM compared with cows without CM. This increase was caused by removal (39%), discarded milk (38%), reduced milk production (17%) and prolonged CI (6%). The GHG emissions increased by 48 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with one case of CM, by 69 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with two cases of CM and by 92 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with three cases of CM compared with cows without CM. Preventing CM can be an effective strategy for farmers to reduce GHG emissions and can contribute to sustainable development of the dairy sector, because this also can improve the income of farmers and the welfare of cows. The impact of CM on GHG emissions, however, will vary between farms due to environmental conditions and management practices.
Studies investigating the underlying mechanisms of hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia suggest that an imbalance in top-down expectations v. bottom-up processing underlies these errors in perception. This study evaluates this hypothesis by testing if individuals drawn from the general population who have had auditory hallucinations (AH) have more misperceptions in auditory language perception than those who have never hallucinated.
We used an online survey to determine the presence of hallucinations. Participants filled out the Questionnaire for Psychotic Experiences and participated in an auditory verbal recognition task to assess both correct perceptions (hits) and misperceptions (false alarms). A hearing test was performed to screen for hearing problems.
A total of 5115 individuals from the general Dutch population participated in this study. Participants who reported AH in the week preceding the test had a higher false alarm rate in their auditory perception compared with those without such (recent) experiences. The more recent the AH were experienced, the more mistakes participants made. While the presence of verbal AH (AVH) was predictive for false alarm rate in auditory language perception, the presence of non-verbal or visual hallucinations were not.
The presence of AVH predicted false alarm rate in auditory language perception, whereas the presence of non-verbal auditory or visual hallucinations was not, suggesting that enhanced top-down processing does not transfer across modalities. More false alarms were observed in participants who reported more recent AVHs. This is in line with models of enhanced influence of top-down expectations in persons who hallucinate.
Household surveys are one of the most commonly used tools for generating insight into rural communities. Despite their prevalence, few studies comprehensively evaluate the quality of data derived from farm household surveys. We critically evaluated a series of standard reported values and indicators that are captured in multiple farm household surveys, and then quantified their credibility, consistency and, thus, their reliability. Surprisingly, even variables which might be considered ‘easy to estimate’ had instances of non-credible observations. In addition, measurements of maize yields and land owned were found to be less reliable than other stationary variables. This lack of reliability has implications for monitoring food security status, poverty status and the land productivity of households. Despite this rather bleak picture, our analysis also shows that if the same farm households are followed over time, the sample sizes needed to detect substantial changes are in the order of hundreds of surveys, and not in the thousands. Our research highlights the value of targeted and systematised household surveys and the importance of ongoing efforts to improve data quality. Improvements must be based on the foundations of robust survey design, transparency of experimental design and effective training. The quality and usability of such data can be further enhanced by improving coordination between agencies, incorporating mixed modes of data collection and continuing systematic validation programmes.
The transition period is the most critical period in the lactation cycle of dairy cows. Extended lactations reduce the frequency of transition periods, the number of calves and the related labour for farmers. This study aimed to assess the impact of 2 and 4 months extended lactations on milk yield and net partial cash flow (NPCF) at herd level, and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of fat- and protein-corrected milk (FPCM), using a stochastic simulation model. The model simulated individual lactations for 100 herds of 100 cows with a baseline lactation length (BL), and for 100 herds with lactations extended by 2 or 4 months for all cows (All+2 and All+4), or for heifers only (H+2 and H+4). Baseline lactation length herds produced 887 t (SD: 13) milk/year. The NPCF, based on revenues for milk, surplus calves and culled cows, and costs for feed, artificial insemination, calving management and rearing of youngstock, was k€174 (SD: 4)/BL herd per year. Extended lactations reduced milk yield of the herd by 4.1% for All+2, 6.9% for All+4, 1.1% for H+2 and 2.2% for H+4, and reduced the NPCF per herd per year by k€7 for All+2, k€12 for All+4, k€2 for H+2 and k€4 for H+4 compared with BL herds. Extended lactations increased GHG emissions in CO2-equivalents per t FPCM by 1.0% for All+2, by 1.7% for All+4, by 0.2% for H+2 and by 0.4% for H+4, but this could be compensated by an increase in lifespan of dairy cows. Subsequently, production level and lactation persistency were increased to assess the importance of these aspects for the impact of extended lactations. The increase in production level and lactation persistency increased milk production of BL herds by 30%. Moreover, reductions in milk yield for All+2 and All+4 compared with BL herds were only 0.7% and 1.1% per year, and milk yield in H+2 and H+4 herds was similar to BL herds. The resulting NPCF was equal to BL for All+2 and All+4 and increased by k€1 for H+2 and H+4 due to lower costs for insemination and calving management. Moreover, GHG emissions per t FPCM were equal to BL herds or reduced (0% to −0.3%) when lactations were extended. We concluded that, depending on lactation persistency, extending lactations of dairy cows can have a positive or negative impact on the NPCF and GHG emissions of milk production.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Guidelines for a healthy diet aim to decrease the risk of chronic diseases. It is unclear as to what extent a healthy diet is also an environmentally friendly diet. In the Dutch sub-cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, the diet was assessed with a 178-item FFQ of 40 011 participants aged 20–70 years between 1993 and 1997. The WHO’s Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) score and the Dutch Healthy Diet index 2015 (DHD15-index) were investigated in relation to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, land use and all-cause mortality risk. GHG emissions were associated with HDI scores (−3·7 % per sd increase (95 % CI −3·4, −4·0) for men and −1·9 % (95 % CI −0·4, −3·4) for women), with DASH scores in women only (1·1 % per sd increase, 95 % CI 0·9, 1·3) and with DHD15-index scores (−2·5 % per sd increase (95 % CI −2·2, −2·8) for men and −2·0 % (95 % CI −1·9, −2·2) for women). For all indices, higher scores were associated with less land use (ranging from −1·3 to −3·1 %). Mortality risk decreased with increasing scores for all indices. Per sd increase of the indices, hazard ratios for mortality ranged from 0·88 (95 % CI 0·82, 0·95) to 0·96 (95 % CI 0·92, 0·99). Our results showed that adhering to the WHO and Dutch dietary guidelines will lower the risk of all-cause mortality and moderately lower the environmental impact. The DASH diet was associated with lower mortality and land use, but because of high dairy product consumption in the Netherlands it was also associated with higher GHG emissions.
The objective of this study was to estimate the economic impact of subclinical ketosis (SCK) in dairy cows. This metabolic disorder occurs in the period around calving and is associated with an increased risk of other diseases. Therefore, SCK affects farm productivity and profitability. Estimating the economic impact of SCK may make farmers more aware of this problem, and can improve their decision-making regarding interventions to reduce SCK. We developed a dynamic stochastic simulation model that enables estimating the economic impact of SCK and related diseases (i.e. mastitis, metritis, displaced abomasum, lameness and clinical ketosis) occurring during the first 30 days after calving. This model, which was applied to a typical Dutch dairy herd, groups cows according to their parity (1 to 5+), and simulates the dynamics of SCK and related diseases, and milk production per cow during one lactation. The economic impact of SCK and related diseases resulted from a reduced milk production, discarded milk, treatment costs, costs from a prolonged calving interval and removal (culling or dying) of cows. The total costs of SCK were €130 per case per year, with a range between €39 and €348 (5 to 95 percentiles). The total costs of SCK per case per year, moreover, increased from €83 per year in parity 1 to €175 in parity 3. Most cows with SCK, however, had SCK only (61%), and costs were €58 per case per year. Total costs of SCK per case per year resulted for 36% from a prolonged calving interval, 24% from reduced milk production, 19% from treatment, 14% from discarded milk and 6% from removal. Results of the sensitivity analysis showed that the disease incidence, removal risk, relations of SCK with other diseases and prices of milk resulted in a high variation of costs of SCK. The costs of SCK, therefore, might differ per farm because of farm-specific circumstances. Improving data collection on the incidence of SCK and related diseases, and on consequences of diseases can further improve economic estimations.
To characterize meal patterns across ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study.
Cross-sectional study utilizing dietary data collected through a standardized 24 h diet recall during 1995–2000. Eleven predefined intake occasions across a 24 h period were assessed during the interview. In the present descriptive report, meal patterns were analysed in terms of daily number of intake occasions, the proportion reporting each intake occasion and the energy contributions from each intake occasion.
Twenty-seven centres across ten European countries.
Women (64 %) and men (36 %) aged 35–74 years (n 36 020).
Pronounced differences in meal patterns emerged both across centres within the same country and across different countries, with a trend for fewer intake occasions per day in Mediterranean countries compared with central and northern Europe. Differences were also found for daily energy intake provided by lunch, with 38–43 % for women and 41–45 % for men within Mediterranean countries compared with 16–27 % for women and 20–26 % for men in central and northern European countries. Likewise, a south–north gradient was found for daily energy intake from snacks, with 13–20 % (women) and 10–17 % (men) in Mediterranean countries compared with 24–34 % (women) and 23–35 % (men) in central/northern Europe.
We found distinct differences in meal patterns with marked diversity for intake frequency and lunch and snack consumption between Mediterranean and central/northern European countries. Monitoring of meal patterns across various cultures and populations could provide critical context to the research efforts to characterize relationships between dietary intake and health.
The major impact of the livestock sector on the environment may be reduced by feeding agricultural co-products to animals. Since the last decade, co-products from biodiesel production, such as rapeseed meal (RSM), became increasingly available in Europe. Consequently, an increase in RSM content in livestock diets was observed at the expense of soybean meal (SBM) content. Cultivation of SBM is associated with high environmental impacts, especially when emissions related to land use change (LUC) are included. This study aims to assess the environmental impact of replacing SBM with RSM in finishing pig diets. As RSM has a lower nutritional value, we assessed the environmental impact of replacing SBM with RSM using scenarios that differed in handling changes in nutritional level. Scenario 1 (S1) was the basic scenario containing SBM. In scenario 2 (S2), RSM replaced SBM based on CP content, resulting in reduced energy and amino acid content, and hence an increased feed intake to realize the same growth rate. The diet of scenario 3 (S3) was identical to S2; however, we assumed that pigs were not able to increase their feed intake, leading to reduced growth performance. In scenario 4 (S4), the energy and amino acid content were increased to the same level of S1. Pig performances were simulated using a growth model. We analyzed the environmental impact of each scenario using life-cycle assessment, including processes of feed production, manure management, piglet production, enteric fermentation and housing. Results show that, expressed as per kg of BW, replacing SBM with RSM in finishing pig diets marginally decreased global warming potential (GWP) and energy use (EU) but decreased land use (LU) up to 12%. Between scenarios, S3 had the maximum potential to reduce the environmental impact, due to a lower impact per kg of feed and an increased body protein-to-lipid ratio of the pigs, resulting in a better feed conversion ratio. Optimization of the body protein-to-lipid ratio, therefore, might result in a reduced environmental impact of pig production. Furthermore, the impact of replacing SBM with RSM changed only marginally when emissions related to direct (up to 2.9%) and indirect LUC (up to 2.5%) were included. When we evaluated environmental impacts of feed production only, which implies excluding other processes along the chain as is generally found in the literature, GWP decreased up to 10%, including LUC, EU up to 5% and LU up to 16%.
Livestock production is a major consumer of fresh water, and the influence of livestock production on global fresh water resources is increasing because of the growing demand for livestock products. Increasing water use efficiency of livestock production, therefore, can contribute to the overall water use efficiency of agriculture. Previous studies have reported significant variation in livestock water productivity (LWP) within and among farming systems. Underlying causes of this variation in LWP require further investigation. The objective of this paper was to identify the factors that explain the variation in LWP within and among farming systems in Ethiopia. We quantified LWP for various farms in mixed-crop livestock systems and explored the effect of household demographic characteristics and farm assets on LWP using ANOVA and multilevel mixed-effect linear regression. We focused on water used to cultivate feeds on privately owned agricultural lands. There was a difference in LWP among farming systems and wealth categories. Better-off households followed by medium households had the highest LWP, whereas poor households had the lowest LWP. The variation in LWP among wealth categories could be explained by the differences in the ownership of livestock and availability of family labor. Regression results showed that the age of the household head, the size of the livestock holding and availability of family labor affected LWP positively. The results suggest that water use efficiency could be improved by alleviating resource constraints such as access to farm labor and livestock assets, oxen in particular.
In the European Rosetta project three separate, previously developed, ICT systems were improved and integrated to create one modular system that helps community-dwelling people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia in different stages of the disease. The system aims to support them in daily functioning, monitor (deviations from) patterns in daily behaviour and to automatically detect emergency situations. The study aimed to inventory the end users’ needs and wishes regarding the development and design of the new integrated Rosetta system, and to describe the to be developed Rosetta system.
Qualitative user-participatory design with in total 50 persons: 14 people with dementia, 13 informal carers, 6 professional carers, 9 dementia experts, 7 care partners within the project, and 1 volunteer. In the Netherlands user focus group sessions were performed and in Germany individual interviews. Dementia experts were consulted by means of a questionnaire, an expert meeting session, and interviews.
Persons with dementia and informal carers appreciated the following functionalities most: help in cases of emergencies, navigation support and the calendar function. Dementia experts rated various behaviours relevant to monitor in order to detect timely changes in functioning, e.g. eating, drinking, going to the toilet, taking medicine adequately, performance of activities and sleep patterns. No ethical issues regarding the use of sensors and cameras were mentioned.
The user participatory design resulted in valuable input from persons with dementia, informal carers and professional carers/dementia experts, based on which a first prototype Rosetta system was built.
Infectious gastroenteritis causes a considerable burden of disease worldwide. Effective control should be targeted at diseases with the highest burden and costs. Therefore, an accurate understanding of the relative importance of the different microorganisms is needed. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence and aetiology of gastroenteritis in adults requiring hospital admission in The Netherlands. Five hospitals enrolled patients admitted with gastroenteritis for about 1 year during the period May 2008 to November 2009. Participants completed questionnaires and provided a faecal sample. The hospital completed a clinical questionnaire. In total, 44 adults hospitalized for gastroenteritis were included in the study. The cases had serious symptoms, with 31% subsequently developing kidney failure. One or more pathogens were found in 59% of cases. Overall, rotavirus (22%) was the most common infection. Co-infections were observed relatively often (22%). This study emphasizes that rotavirus can also cause serious illness in adults.
The Sculptor dwarf Spheroidal is a Milky Way satellite with a dominant old (>10 Gyr) population that displays at least two distinct stellar populations. We present new sensitive imaging data from CTIO/MOSAIC and make a detailed study of the stellar populations of Sculptor, including the main sequence turnoff (MSTO) properties. We present the Star Formation History (SFH) and Metallicity Distribution Function (MDF) of the Sculptor dSph and find that a well-defined radial gradient is present not only in metallicity but now also in age.
The NIR Ca II triplet has proven to be an important tool for quantitative spectroscopy. Here we present results of synthetic spectral analysis for the Ca II triplet for low-metallicity red giant stars, combined with observational data. Our results start to deviate strongly from the widely-used and linear empirical calibrations below [Fe/H] = −2. We provide a new calibration for Ca II triplet studies which is valid down until [Fe/H] = −4 and apply this new calibration to current data sets. We suggest that the classical dwarf galaxies are not so devoid of extremely low-metallicity stars as was previously thought and discuss preliminary results and possibilities for follow-up observations of these extremely low-metallicity candidates.