Recurrence risk of congenital anomalies--the impact of paternal, social, and environmental factors: a population-based study in Denmark. (1/245)

The authors investigated the recurrence risk of congenital anomalies as a function of changes in genetic and environmental factors in single births following the birth of a child with an anomaly. The study is a population-based historical follow-up using the Danish Medical Birth registry, hospital discharge diagnoses, and Statistic Denmark's Fertility Database. The investigators identified 8,671 women who gave birth to a child with a diagnosed malformation between 1980 and 1992 and had a subsequent birth. Following the birth of an affected infant, 474 (5.5%) women gave birth to another child with a malformation, 155 of which (1.8%) were similar to the malformation of the older sib or half sib. When the father changed between the two births, the risk of a similar anomaly was significantly reduced (odds ratio (OR) = 0.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.11, 0.65). Higher social status at enrollment was associated with a lower recurrence risk (OR = 0.67, 95% CI 0.45, 0.99, for the middle status group and OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.30, 0.81, for the highest status group), independently of partner change. A rise in social status between the two births was marginally associated with a decline in the recurrence risk. No variation in the recurrence risk associated with change of municipality or occupation was seen.  (+info)

Use of trainer animals to improve performance and health of newly arrived feedlot calves. (2/245)

Four trials were conducted to determine the efficacy of using trainer animals to improve the health and performance of newly arrived feedlot calves. For all trials, trainer animals were given 3 wk to adapt to the feedlot before arrival of the feeder calves and initiation of the trials. Trainer animals were present with newly received feedlot calves for 14 d after arrival and then were removed from the pens for the remaining 14 d of the experiments. In Trial 1, trainer animals were six crossbred beef steers and six mature cull beef cows. Newly received calves were allotted to 18 pens with 10 calves/pen. Six pens contained a trainer steer and six pens contained a trainer cow. Similar procedures were used for the subsequent three trials, except 12 trainer cows and 24 pens were used, and in Trial 4 half of the calves were allotted to pasture paddocks for 14 d before placement in their feedlot pens. During wk 1 of Trial 1, calves with trainer cows and steers gained weight more rapidly (P < .10) than those without a trainer animal (1.12 vs .67 kg/d, respectively). During wk 2, this trend was reversed and overall gains did not differ (P > .20) among treatment groups. Morbidity was 16.7 for control calves, 28.3% for calves with trainer steers, and 8.3% for calves with trainer cows. Four of six trainer steers required antibiotic treatment for respiratory disease. On d 1, a greater (P < .05) percentage of calves in the trainer cow group (81.7%) were observed eating during the first 30 min after feeding compared with either the steer trainer group (60%) or the control group containing no trainer animal (48.3%). This trend continued on d 2 but was not evident on d 3 or 7. In Trial 2, overall gains were 10% greater (P < .06) and final BW was higher (P < .01) for calves with trainer cows than for those without trainers. Trainer cows resulted in a substantial reduction (P < .01) in calf morbidity compared with calves housed alone. In Trial 3, trainer cows did not improve performance or health of newly received calves. More (P < .07) calves with trainers than without were eating 5 min after feeding on d 1, 2, 4, and 8. In Trial 4, the presence of trainer cows the first 2 wk did not affect (P > .27) gains. However, calves placed on pasture after arrival had lower (P < .03) gains during wk 1 than those housed in the feedlot. Calves placed in pasture paddocks upon arrival had more than twice (P < .01) the incidence of morbidity of those placed directly in the feedlot. In these trials, trainer cows had a significant effect on eating behavior of newly received calves, but health and performance benefits were variable.  (+info)

Complex social structure, alliance stability and mating access in a bottlenose dolphin 'super-alliance'. (3/245)

Large brain size in mammals has been related to the number and complexity of social relationships, particularly social alliances within groups. The largest within-group male alliance known outside of humans is found in a social network (> 400) of Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Shark Bay Western Australia. Members of this dolphin 'super-alliance' cooperate against other alliances over access to females. Males within the super-alliance form temporary trios and occasionally pairs in order to consort with individual females. The frequent switching of alliance partners suggests that social relationships among males within the super-alliance might be relatively simple and based on an equivalence rule', thereby allowing dolphins to form large alliances without taxing their 'social intelligence'. The equivalence model predicts that the 14 males in the super-alliance should not exhibit differences in alliance stability or partner preferences. However, data from 100 consortships do not support the equivalence hypothesis. The 14 males exhibited striking differences in alliance stability and partner preferences suggesting that the super-alliance has a complex internal structure. Further, within the super-alliance, alliance stability correlates with consortship rate, suggesting that differentiated relationships within the super-alliance are based on competition for access to females.  (+info)

Evolution of cooperation through indirect reciprocity. (4/245)

How can cooperation through indirect reciprocity evolve and what would it be like? This problem has previously been studied by simulating evolution in a small group of interacting individuals, assuming no gene flow between groups. In these simulations, certain 'image scoring' strategies were found to be the most successful. However, analytical arguments show that it would not be in an individual's interest to use these strategies. Starting with this puzzle, we investigate indirect reciprocity in simulations based on an island model. This has an advantage in that the role of genetic drift can be examined. Our results show that the image scoring strategies depend on very strong drift or a very small cost of giving help. As soon as these factors are absent, selection eliminates image scoring. We also consider other possibilities for the evolution of indirect reciprocity. In particular, we find that the strategy of aiming for 'good standing' has superior properties. It can be an evolutionarily stable strategy and, even if not, it usually beats image scoring. Furthermore, by introducing quality variation among individuals into the model, we show that the standing strategy can be quality revealing, adding a new dimension to indirect reciprocity. Finally, we discuss general problems with currently popular modelling styles.  (+info)

Theoretical and perceived balance of power inside Spanish public hospitals. (5/245)

BACKGROUND: The hierarchical pyramid inside Spanish public hospitals was radically changed by the Health Reform Law promulgated in 1986. According to it, the manpower of the hospitals was divided into three divisions (Medical, Nursing, General Services/Administration), which from then on occupied the same level, only subject to the general manager. Ten years after the implementation of the law, the present study was designed in order to investigate if the legal changes had indeed produced a real change in the balance of power inside the hospitals, as perceived by the different workers within them. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was administered to 1,027 workers from four different public hospitals (two university-based and two district hospitals). The participants belonged to all divisions, and to all three operative levels (staff, supervisory and managerial) within them. The questionnaire inquired about the perceived power inside each division and hierarchical level, as well as about that of the other divisions and hierarchical levels. RESULTS: Every division attributed the least power to itself. The Nursing and the Administrative division attributed the highest power to the physicians, and these attributed the highest power to the General Services/Administrative division. All hierarchical levels (including the formal top of the pyramid) attributed significantly more power to the other than to them. CONCLUSIONS: More than ten years after the implementation of the new law, the majority of workers still perceive that the real power within the hospitals is held by the physicians (whereas these feel that it has shifted to the administrators). No division or hierarchical level believes it holds any significant degree of power, and this carries with it the danger of also not accepting any responsibility.  (+info)

The organisational and human resource challenges facing primary care trusts: protocol of a multiple case study. (6/245)

BACKGROUND: The study is designed to assess the organisational and human resource challenges faced by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). Its objectives are to: specify the organisational and human resources challenges faced by PCTs in fulfilling the roles envisaged in government and local policy; examine how PCTs are addressing these challenges, in particular, to describe the organisational forms they have adopted, and the OD/HR strategies and initiatives they have planned or in place; assess how effective these structures, strategies and initiatives have been in enabling the PCTs to meet the organisational and human resources challenges they face; identify the factors, both internal to the PCT and in the wider health community, which have contributed to the success or failure of different structures, strategies and initiatives. METHODS: The study will be undertaken in three stages. In Stage 1 the key literature on public sector and NHS organisational development and human resources management will be reviewed, and discussions will be held with key researchers and policy makers working in this area. Stage 2 will focus on detailed case studies in six PCTs designed to examine the organisational and human resources challenges they face. Data will be collected using semi-structured interviews, group discussion, site visits, observation of key meetings and examination of local documentation. The findings from the case study PCTs will be cross checked with a Reference Group of up to 20 other PCG/Ts, and key officers working in organisational development or primary care at local, regional and national level. In Stage 3 analysis of findings from the preparatory work, the case studies and the feedback from the Reference Group will be used to identify practical lessons for PCTs, key messages for policy makers, and contributions to further theoretical development.  (+info)

Influence of gene action across different time scales on behavior. (7/245)

Genes can affect natural behavioral variation in different ways. Allelic variation causes alternative behavioral phenotypes, whereas changes in gene expression can influence the initiation of behavior at different ages. We show that the age-related transition by honey bees from hive work to foraging is associated with an increase in the expression of the foraging (for) gene, which encodes a guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKG). cGMP treatment elevated PKG activity and caused foraging behavior. Previous research showed that allelic differences in PKG expression result in two Drosophila foraging variants. The same gene can thus exert different types of influence on a behavior.  (+info)

Gender-based barriers to primary health care provision in Pakistan: the experience of female providers. (8/245)

In common with several countries in South Asia, the Pakistan government health system has introduced cadres of community-based female health and family planning workers as a response to gender-based constraints on women's access to services. However, the recruitment, training and retention of such female workers has been difficult. This finding points to the obvious but neglected fact that female health workers must operate within the same gender systems that necessitate their appointment in the first place. The present study used qualitative methods to increase our understanding of the experience of female staff working at the community level and in particular the gender-based constraints that they face. Important problems identified include: abusive hierarchical management structures; disrespect from male colleagues; lack of sensitivity to women's gender-based cultural constraints; conflict between domestic and work responsibilities; and poor infrastructural support. The findings highlight the interconnectedness of women's public and private lives and the interplay of class and gender hierarchies in the patterning of women's employment experiences. The study's conclusions suggest ways in which the organizational functioning of the government health services might be modified to better facilitate the work of female staff.  (+info)