151 research outputs found

    The impact of self-help groups on pastoral women’s empowerment and agency: A study in Nigeria

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    Abstract While women in pastoralist communities are key stakeholders in the production of milk and dairy products for income generation, they are largely ignored in other areas of development such as health. The need to involve women self-help groups, in pastoralist areas in both animal health and human health development programmes, is essential, particularly given the high incidence of zoonotic diseases in these communities (Maudlin I, Eisler MC and Welburn SC, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1530):2777-2787, 2009). Understanding the process and impact of social networks on livelihoods is essential for any development programme that aims to prevent and control zoonotic diseases. This study examines the roles and responsibilities of women self-help groups in Kachia Grazing Reserve and Bokkos, Jos Plateau, Nigeria. The findings show that groups promoting social, physical and psychological health strongly motivated women’s involvement in self-help groups. Self-help activities showed commitment to effect a change in their livelihoods, despite constraining environmental, cultural and social factors. Engagement of women’s self-help groups in livestock development programmes offers a powerful instrument for driving forward the One Health practice in pastoralist communities, promoting human, animal and environmental health and well-being

    A rapid phenotype change in the pathogen Perkinsus marinus was associated with a historically significant marine disease emergence in the eastern oyster

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    The protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus, which causes dermo disease in Crassostrea virginica, is one of the most ecologically important and economically destructive marine pathogens. The rapid and persistent intensification of dermo in the USA in the 1980s has long been enigmatic. Attributed originally to the effects of multi-year drought, climatic factors fail to fully explain the geographic extent of dermo’s intensification or the persistence of its intensified activity. Here we show that emergence of a unique, hypervirulent P. marinus phenotype was associated with the increase in prevalence and intensity of this disease and associated mortality. Retrospective histopathology of 8355 archival oysters from 1960 to 2018 spanning Chesapeake Bay, South Carolina, and New Jersey revealed that a new parasite phenotype emerged between 1983 and 1990, concurrent with major historical dermo disease outbreaks. Phenotypic changes included a shortening of the parasite’s life cycle and a tropism shift from deeper connective tissues to digestive epithelia. The changes are likely adaptive with regard to the reduced oyster abundance and longevity faced by P. marinus after rapid establishment of exotic pathogen Haplosporidium nelsoni in 1959. Our findings, we hypothesize, illustrate a novel ecosystem response to a marine parasite invasion: an increase in virulence in a native parasite

    Evaluating the Ability of Constructed Intertidal Eastern Oyster (\u3ci\u3eCrassostrea virginica\u3c/i\u3e) Reefs to Address Shoreline Erosion in South Carolina

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    The application of nature-based solutions to address shoreline erosion and the loss of salt marsh in coastal South Carolina has centered around the creation of intertidal oyster (Crassostrea virginica) reefs that act as natural breakwaters. The installation of such living shoreline materials often results in a rapid accumulation of fine sediments, followed by wild oyster recruitment to suitable materials, and then more gradually the growth of salt marshes (primarily Spartina alterniflora). Leveraging more than two decades of oyster reef restoration and living shorelines research at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, this study quantitatively assessed performance rates for both percent oyster cover and marsh protection in relation to reef age. Determining such rates will serve to inform the expectations of prospective adopters of living shorelines as to the timeframes of some of the biological processes, as measures of performance success, that will occur following material installation. Performance success was investigated in terms of recruitment of oysters to installed materials and the creation of new marsh habitat or protection of existing marsh from erosion. Reef age was an important determinant of reef “success”, with significant relationships between reef age and both performance success metrics. Percent oyster cover reached 40% by two years post-installation and 50% by four years post-installation, indicative of high rates of oyster recruitment. The relative marsh protection rate of living shorelines compared to unprotected reference plots was 0.4 m yr-1 Reef performance differed based on bank substrate firmness, bank width, shoreline morphology, and location relative to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Firmer bank substrate was associated with greater percent oyster cover. Broader bank width was associated with greater marsh protection. Higher percent oyster cover measurements were observed on straight, natural shorelines and reefs located along the ICW. Reefs located on the ICW were also associated with greater marsh protection than reefs at non-ICW sites. Further, this study demonstrates that bagged oyster shell reefs are capable of providing shoreline protection services for more than a decade and can endure multiple intense storm events. The results of this study were also used to facilitate the implementation of new living shoreline regulations in coastal South Carolina in the hope of broadening adoption of this approach to addressing shoreline erosion and salt marsh habitat loss

    Serum methylarginines and spirometry-measured lung function in older adults

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    Rationale: Methylarginines are endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitors that have been implicated in animal models of lung disease but have not previously been examined for their association with spirometric measures of lung function in humans. Objectives: This study measured serum concentrations of asymmetric and symmetric dimethylarginine in a representative sample of older community-dwelling adults and determined their association with spirometric lung function measures. Methods: Data on clinical, lifestyle, and demographic characteristics, methylated arginines, and L-arginine (measured using LC-MS/MS) were collected from a population-based sample of older Australian adults from the Hunter Community Study. The five key lung function measures included as outcomes were Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second, Forced Vital Capacity, Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second to Forced Vital Capacity ratio, Percent Predicted Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second, and Percent Predicted Forced Vital Capacity. Measurements and Main Results: In adjusted analyses there were statistically significant independent associations between a) higher asymmetric dimethylarginine, lower Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second and lower Forced Vital Capacity; and b) lower L-arginine/asymmetric dimethylarginine ratio, lower Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second, lower Percent Predicted Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second and lower Percent Predicted Forced Vital Capacity. By contrast, no significant associations were observed between symmetric dimethylarginine and lung function. Conclusions: After adjusting for clinical, demographic, biochemical, and pharmacological confounders, higher serum asymmetric dimethylarginine was independently associated with a reduction in key measures of lung function. Further research is needed to determine if methylarginines predict the decline in lung function

    Detection of Cosmic Structures using the Bispectrum Phase. II. First Results from Application to Cosmic Reionization Using the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array

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    Characterizing the epoch of reionization (EoR) at z6z\gtrsim 6 via the redshifted 21 cm line of neutral Hydrogen (HI) is critical to modern astrophysics and cosmology, and thus a key science goal of many current and planned low-frequency radio telescopes. The primary challenge to detecting this signal is the overwhelmingly bright foreground emission at these frequencies, placing stringent requirements on the knowledge of the instruments and inaccuracies in analyses. Results from these experiments have largely been limited not by thermal sensitivity but by systematics, particularly caused by the inability to calibrate the instrument to high accuracy. The interferometric bispectrum phase is immune to antenna-based calibration and errors therein, and presents an independent alternative to detect the EoR HI fluctuations while largely avoiding calibration systematics. Here, we provide a demonstration of this technique on a subset of data from the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) to place approximate constraints on the brightness temperature of the intergalactic medium (IGM). From this limited data, at z=7.7z=7.7 we infer "1σ1\sigma" upper limits on the IGM brightness temperature to be 316\le 316 "pseudo" mK at κ=0.33\kappa_\parallel=0.33 "pseudo" hh Mpc1^{-1} (data-limited) and 1000\le 1000 "pseudo" mK at κ=0.875\kappa_\parallel=0.875 "pseudo" hh Mpc1^{-1} (noise-limited). The "pseudo" units denote only an approximate and not an exact correspondence to the actual distance scales and brightness temperatures. By propagating models in parallel to the data analysis, we confirm that the dynamic range required to separate the cosmic HI signal from the foregrounds is similar to that in standard approaches, and the power spectrum of the bispectrum phase is still data-limited (at 106\gtrsim 10^6 dynamic range) indicating scope for further improvement in sensitivity as the array build-out continues.Comment: 22 pages, 12 figures (including sub-figures). Published in PhRvD. Abstract may be slightly abridged compared to the actual manuscript due to length limitations on arXi