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Poultry production is an important way of enhancing the livelihoods of rural populations, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As poultry production in LMICs remains dominated by backyard systems with low inputs and low outputs, considerable yield gaps exist. Intensification can increase poultry productivity, production and income. This process is relatively recent in LMICs compared to high-income countries. The management practices and the constraints faced by smallholders trying to scale-up their production, in the early stages of intensification, are poorly understood and described. We thus investigated the features of the small-scale commercial chicken sector in a rural area distant from major production centres. We surveyed 111 commercial chicken farms in Kenya in 2016. We targeted farms that sell the majority of their production, owning at least 50 chickens, partly or wholly confined and provided with feeds. We developed a typology of semi-intensive farms. Farms were found mainly to raise dual-purpose chickens of local and improved breeds, in association with crops and were not specialized in any single product or market. We identified four types of semi-intensive farms that were characterized based on two groups of variables related to intensification and accessibility: (i) remote, small-scale old farms, with small flocks, growing a lot of their own feed; (ii) medium-scale, old farms with a larger flock and well located in relation to markets and (iii) large-scale recently established farms, with large flocks, (iii-a) well located and buying chicks from third-party providers and (iii-b) remotely located and hatching their own chicks. The semi-intensive farms we surveyed were highly heterogeneous in terms of size, age, accessibility, management, opportunities and challenges. Farm location affects market access and influences the opportunities available to farmers, resulting in further diversity in farm profiles. The future of these semi-intensive farms could be compromised by several factors, including the competition with large-scale intensive farmers and with importations. Our study suggests that intensification trajectories in rural areas of LMICs are potentially complex, diverse and non-linear. A better understanding of intensification trajectories should, however, be based on longitudinal data. This could, in turn, help designing interventions to support small-scale farmers.
Implementation of genome-scale sequencing in clinical care has significant challenges: the technology is highly dimensional with many kinds of potential results, results interpretation and delivery require expertise and coordination across multiple medical specialties, clinical utility may be uncertain, and there may be broader familial or societal implications beyond the individual participant. Transdisciplinary consortia and collaborative team science are well poised to address these challenges. However, understanding the complex web of organizational, institutional, physical, environmental, technologic, and other political and societal factors that influence the effectiveness of consortia is understudied. We describe our experience working in the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER) consortium, a multi-institutional translational genomics consortium.
A key aspect of the CSER consortium was the juxtaposition of site-specific measures with the need to identify consensus measures related to clinical utility and to create a core set of harmonized measures. During this harmonization process, we sought to minimize participant burden, accommodate project-specific choices, and use validated measures that allow data sharing.
Identifying platforms to ensure swift communication between teams and management of materials and data were essential to our harmonization efforts. Funding agencies can help consortia by clarifying key study design elements across projects during the proposal preparation phase and by providing a framework for data sharing data across participating projects.
In summary, time and resources must be devoted to developing and implementing collaborative practices as preparatory work at the beginning of project timelines to improve the effectiveness of research consortia.
Recent infection testing algorithms (RITA) for HIV combine serological assays with epidemiological data to determine likely recent infections, indicators of ongoing transmission. In 2016, we integrated RITA into national HIV surveillance in Ireland to better inform HIV prevention interventions. We determined the avidity index (AI) of new HIV diagnoses and linked the results with data captured in the national infectious disease reporting system. RITA classified a diagnosis as recent based on an AI < 1.5, unless epidemiological criteria (CD4 count <200 cells/mm3; viral load <400 copies/ml; the presence of AIDS-defining illness; prior antiretroviral therapy use) indicated a potential false-recent result. Of 508 diagnoses in 2016, we linked 448 (88.1%) to an avidity test result. RITA classified 12.5% of diagnoses as recent, with the highest proportion (26.3%) amongst people who inject drugs. On multivariable logistic regression recent infection was more likely with a concurrent sexually transmitted infection (aOR 2.59; 95% CI 1.04–6.45). Data were incomplete for at least one RITA criterion in 48% of cases. The study demonstrated the feasibility of integrating RITA into routine surveillance and showed some ongoing HIV transmission. To improve the interpretation of RITA, further efforts are required to improve completeness of the required epidemiological data.
Sexual minority youth have elevated suicidal ideation and self-harm compared with heterosexual young people; however, evidence for mediating mechanisms is predominantly cross-sectional. Using a longitudinal design, we investigated self-esteem and depressive symptoms as mediators of increased rates of suicidal ideation or self-harm (SISH) among sexual minority youth, and the roles of childhood gender nonconformity (CGN) and sex as moderators of these relationships.
In total, 4274 youth from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort reported sexual orientation at age 15 years, and past-year SISH at age 20 years. Self-esteem and depressive symptoms were assessed at ages 17 and 18 years, respectively. CGN was measured at 30–57 months. Covariates included sociodemographic variables and earlier measures of mediator and outcome variables. Mediation pathways were assessed using structural equation modelling.
Sexual minority youth (almost 12% of the sample) were three times more likely than heterosexual youth to report past-year SISH (95% confidence interval 2.43–3.64) at 20 years. Two mediation pathways were identified: a single mediator pathway involving self-esteem and a multiple-mediated pathway involving self-esteem and depressive symptoms. Although CGN was associated with past-year SISH, it did not moderate any mediation pathways and there was no evidence for moderation by sex.
Lower self-esteem and increased depressive symptoms partly explain the increased risk for later suicidal ideation and self-harm in sexual minority youth. Preventive strategies could include self-esteem-enhancing or protecting interventions, especially in female sexual minority youth, and treatment of depression.
Extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB) poses a threat to public health due to its complicated, expensive and often unsuccessful treatment. A cluster of three XDR TB cases was detected among foreign medical students of a Romanian university. The contact investigations included tuberculin skin testing or interferon gamma release assay, chest X-ray, sputum smear microscopy, culture, drug susceptibility testing, genotyping and whole-genome sequencing (WGS), and were addressed to students, personnel of the university, family members or other close contacts of the cases. These investigations increased the total number of cases to seven. All confirmed cases shared a very similar WGS profile. Two more cases were epidemiologically linked, but no laboratory confirmation exists. Despite all the efforts done, the source of the outbreak was not identified, but the transmission was controlled. The investigation was conducted by a team including epidemiologists and microbiologists from five countries (Finland, Israel, Romania, Sweden and the UK) and from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Our report shows how countries can collaborate to control the spread of XDR TB by exchanging information about cases and their contacts to enable identification of additional cases and transmission and to perform the source investigation.
The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) conducts population-based surveillance for Campylobacter infection. For 2010 through 2015, we compared patients with Campylobacter jejuni with patients with infections caused by other Campylobacter species. Campylobacter coli patients were more often >40 years of age (OR = 1·4), Asian (OR = 2·3), or Black (OR = 1·7), and more likely to live in an urban area (OR = 1·2), report international travel (OR = 1·5), and have infection in autumn or winter (OR = 1·2). Campylobacter upsaliensis patients were more likely female (OR = 1·6), Hispanic (OR = 1·6), have a blood isolate (OR = 2·8), and have an infection in autumn or winter (OR = 1·7). Campylobacter lari patients were more likely to be >40 years of age (OR = 2·9) and have an infection in autumn or winter (OR = 1·7). Campylobacter fetus patients were more likely male (OR = 3·1), hospitalized (OR = 3·5), and have a blood isolate (OR = 44·1). International travel was associated with antimicrobial-resistant C. jejuni (OR = 12·5) and C. coli (OR = 12) infections. Species-level data are useful in understanding epidemiology, sources, and resistance of infections.
Laboratory tasks to delineate anxiety disorder features are used to refine classification and inform our understanding of etiological mechanisms. The present study examines laboratory measures of response inhibition, specifically the inhibition of a pre-potent motor response, in clinical anxiety. Data on associations between anxiety and response inhibition remain inconsistent, perhaps because of dissociable effects of clinical anxiety and experimentally manipulated state anxiety. Few studies directly assess the independent and interacting effects of these two anxiety types (state v. disorder) on response inhibition. The current study accomplished this goal, by manipulating state anxiety in healthy and clinically anxious individuals while they complete a response inhibition task.
The study employs the threat-of-shock paradigm, one of the best-established manipulations for robustly increasing state anxiety. Participants included 82 adults (41 healthy; 41 patients with an anxiety disorder). A go/nogo task with highly frequent go trials was administered during alternating periods of safety and shock threat. Signal detection theory was used to quantify response bias and signal-detection sensitivity.
There were independent effects of anxiety and clinical anxiety on response inhibition. In both groups, heightened anxiety facilitated response inhibition, leading to reduced nogo commission errors. Compared with the healthy group, clinical anxiety was associated with excessive response inhibition and increased go omission errors in both the safe and threat conditions.
Response inhibition and its impact on go omission errors appear to be a promising behavioral marker of clinical anxiety. These results have implications for a dimensional view of clinical anxiety.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
CZT is a semiconductor material that promises to be a good candidate for uncooled gamma radiation detectors. However, to date, technological difficulties in production of large size defect-free CZT crystals are yet to be overcome. The most common problem is accumulation of tellurium precipitates as microscopic inclusions. These inclusions influence the charge collection through charge trapping and electric field distortion. The common work-around solutions are to fabricate pixelated detectors by either grouping together many small volume CZT crystals to act as individual detectors, or to deposit a pixelated grid of electrical contacts on a larger, but defective, crystal, and selectively collect charge. These solutions are satisfactory in an R&D environment, but are unsuitable for mass production and commercial development. Our modeling effort is aimed at quantifying the various contributions of tellurium inclusions in CZT crystals to the charge generation, transport, and collection, as a function of inclusions size, position, and concentration. We model the energy deposition of gamma photons in the sensitive volume of the detector using LANL’s MCNP code. The electron-hole pairs produced at the energy deposition sites are then transported through the defective crystal and collected as integral charge at the electrical contact sites using CERN’s Garfield software package. The size and position distribution of tellurium inclusions is modeled by sampling experimentally measured distributions of such inclusions on a variety of commercially-grown CZT crystals using IR microscopy and image processing software packages.
The Australia Telescope and Anglo-Australian Telescope were used in May 2000 to record the radio and optical emissions from the dMe flare star Proxima Centauri. Eight bright optical flares over a two-day interval resulted in no detectable excess short-term radio emission at 1.38 and 2.50 GHz. However, a slowly declining 1.38 GHz emission over the two-day interval was nearly 100% right circular polarised and was restricted to a relatively narrow bandwidth with total intensity (I) and circular polarisation (V) varying significantly over the 104 MHz receiver bandwidth. These are the first observations to show that highly-polarised narrowband flare star emission can persist for several days. This signature is attributed to sources of coherent radio emission in the star's corona. Similarities with various solar radio emissions are discussed; however, it is not possible with the existing observations to distinguish between fundamental plasma emission and electron–cyclotron maser emission as the responsible mechanism.
Depression and anxiety disorders (ADs) are highly co-morbid, but the reason for this co-morbidity is unclear. One possibility is that they predispose one another. An informative way to examine interactions between disorders without the confounds present in patient populations is to manipulate the psychological processes thought to underlie the pathological states in healthy individuals. In this study we therefore asked whether a model of the sad mood in depression can enhance psychophysiological responses (startle) to a model of the anxiety in ADs. We predicted that sad mood would increase anxious anxiety-potentiated startle responses.
In a between-subjects design, participants (n=36) completed either a sad mood induction procedure (MIP; n=18) or a neutral MIP (n=18). Startle responses were assessed during short-duration predictable electric shock conditions (fear-potentiated startle) or long-duration unpredictable threat of shock conditions (anxiety-potentiated startle).
Induced sadness enhanced anxiety- but not fear-potentiated startle.
This study provides support for the hypothesis that sadness can increase anxious responding measured by the affective startle response. This, taken together with prior evidence that ADs can contribute to depression, provides initial experimental support for the proposition that ADs and depression are frequently co-morbid because they may be mutually reinforcing.
Maternal nutritional status before and during pregnancy is important for the growth and development of the fetus. The effects of pre-pregnancy nutrition (estimated by maternal size) are well documented. There is little information in today's Western society on the effect of maternal nutrition during pregnancy on the fetus. The aim of the study was to describe dietary patterns of a cohort of mothers during pregnancy (using principal components analysis with a varimax rotation) and assess the effect of these dietary patterns on the risk of delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) baby. The study was a case–control study investigating factors related to SGA. The population was 1714 subjects in Auckland, New Zealand, born between October 1995 and November 1997, about half of whom were born SGA ( ≤ 10th percentile for sex and gestation). Maternal dietary information was collected using FFQ after delivery for the first and last months of pregnancy. Three dietary patterns (traditional, junk and fusion) were defined. Factors associated with these dietary patterns when examined in multivariable analyses included marital status, maternal weight, maternal age and ethnicity. In multivariable analysis, mothers who had higher ‘traditional’ diet scores in early pregnancy were less likely to deliver a SGA infant (OR = 0·86; 95 % CI 0·75, 0·99). Maternal diet, particularly in early pregnancy, is important for the development of the fetus. Socio-demographic factors tend to be significantly related to dietary patterns, suggesting that extra resources may be necessary for disadvantaged mothers to ensure good nutrition in pregnancy.
This case control study investigated environmental factors in 74 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease (MD). In children aged under 5, passive smoking in the home (30 or more cigarettes daily) was associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 7.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.46–38.66). ORs increased both with the numbers of cigarettes smoked and with the number of smokers in the household, suggesting a dose–response relationship. MD in this age group was also significantly associated with household overcrowding (more than 1.5 persons per room) (OR 6.0, 95% CI 1.10–32.8), with kisses on the mouth with 4 or more contacts in the previous 2 weeks (OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.09–5.56), with exposure to dust from plaster, brick or stone in the previous 2 weeks (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.07–4.65); and with changes in residence (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.0–8.99), marital arguments (OR 3.0, 95 % CI 1.26–7.17) and legal disputes in the previous 6 months (OR 3.10, 95% CI 1.24–7.78). These associations were independent of social class. Public health measures to lower the prevalence of cigarette smoking by parents of young children may reduce the incidence of MD. The influence of building dust and stressful life events merits further investigation.
A μ-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting chlamydia-specific IgM was developed by use of the heat stable, lipopolysaccharide group-specific antigen and an alkaline phosphatase-labelled anti-chlamydia group-specific monoclonal antibody conjugate. The test was used to study the serological response in chlamydial respiratory tract infection among patients with acute respiratory tract symptoms in Cambridgeshire during the past 7 years. Results were compared with those of the complement fixation test (CFT) in routine use as well as those of a whole inclusion indirect immunofluorescence (WIF) test for IgM. Correlation between results of the μ-capture ELISA and those of the WIF test was 87·5%.