2,626 research outputs found

    Advancing Computer Skills for Burmese Refugees in Worcester

    Get PDF
    The goals of our project were to develop a computer literacy program for the youth of the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP) to help them assimilate and prepare for college and future employment, and to create a website for the youth that they use to share their interests, ideas, stories, and culture. To realize these goals, we performed background research and repeatedly visited WRAP to interact with and learn from the youth and volunteers there. We assessed the computer literacy levels of the youth to develop effective teaching tools for them. Through collaboration with various WRAP stakeholders and youth, we created four teaching modules for WRAP that allow its volunteers to teach its youth computer skills, and designed a youth-oriented website for WRAP to use and maintain

    In Vitro Gas, Methane, and Carbon Dioxide Productions of High Fibrous Diet Incubated With Fecal Inocula From Horses in Response to the Supplementation With Different Live Yeast Additives

    Get PDF
    Yeast supplementation of horse diets can influence nutrient digestibility and microbiota dynamics in the horse hindgut. In some in vitro [6] and in vivo [4] studies, yeast addition to the diets improved digestion of low-quality forages. It has been shown that yeast supplementation can alter the microbial environment by increasing the total number of hindgut microorganisms [7]. As a result, feed digestion in the hindgut can be enhanced, especially that of the fiber fraction, most likely due to increased numbers of cellulolytic bacteria in the hindgut [8]. In contrast, other studies have reported no effect of yeast addition to equine diets on nutrient digestibility in vitro [7] or in vivo [9].In a randomized block design experiment, the effect of fecal inocula from horses supplemented with live yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in diets containing 50% oat straw on in vitro total gas (gas production [GP]), methane (CH4), and carbon dioxide (CO2) productions as indicators of hindgut activity was assessed. Three commercial products of S. cerevisiae were tested (1) Biocell F53 (YST53), (2) Procreatin 7 (YST07), and (3) Biosaf SC47 (YST047). For the incubations, each product was added at 0 (control without yeast addition), 2, or 4 mg/g dry matter (DM). Fecal inocula for incubations with each treatment was obtained from Quarter Horse mares fed the same yeast additives for 15 days, resulting in four different fecal inocula (FI53, FI07, FI47, and FI00). The fecal content mixed with the culture media were used to inoculate three identical runs of incubation in bottles containing 1-g DM of substrate (a mixture of concentrate and oat straw [1:1 DM]). The GP, CH4, and CO2 productions were measured at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 24, and 48 hours postincubation. Addition of additives YST53 and YST07 at 2 mg/g DM resulted in higher asymptotic GP (linear effect, P ¼.021) and GP during the first 12 hours of incubation (linear effect, P <.05) compared with control without yeast addition, with the highest value being for the dose 2 mg/g DM with the fecal inoculum FI53. The additive YST47 at all doses with fecal inoculum FI47 had lower GP (linear effect, P < .05) at different incubation hours compared with control. The additive YST53 increased GP, CH4, and fermentation kinetics at the dose 2 mg/g DM with decreasing CH4 production by 78% at 4 mg/g DM at 24 hours of incubation. Addition of YST53 at 2 and 4 mg/g DM with fecal inoculum FI53 enhanced fermentation kinetics (P < .05) compared with control and other additives at different doses. It can be concluded that the yeast additive Biocell F53 was the most effective at doses of 2 and 4 mg/g DM compared with other Saccharomyces strains to attain a more favorable hindgut fermentation to digest fibrous roughages by horses

    Multiple effects of silymarin on the hepatitis C virus lifecycle

    Get PDF
    Silymarin, an extract from milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and its purified flavonolignans have been recently shown to inhibit hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, both in vitro and in vivo. In the current study, we further characterized silymarin's antiviral actions. Silymarin had antiviral effects against hepatitis C virus cell culture (HCVcc) infection that included inhibition of virus entry, RNA and protein expression, and infectious virus production. Silymarin did not block HCVcc binding to cells but inhibited the entry of several viral pseudoparticles (pp), and fusion of HCVpp with liposomes. Silymarin but not silibinin inhibited genotype 2a NS5B RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity at concentrations 5 to 10 times higher than required for anti-HCVcc effects. Furthermore, silymarin had inefficient activity on the genotype 1b BK and four 1b RDRPs derived from HCV-infected patients. Moreover, silymarin did not inhibit HCV replication in five independent genotype 1a, 1b, and 2a replicon cell lines that did not produce infectious virus. Silymarin inhibited microsomal triglyceride transfer protein activity, apolipoprotein B secretion, and infectious virion production into culture supernatants. Silymarin also blocked cell-to-cell spread of virus. CONCLUSION: Although inhibition of in vitro NS5B polymerase activity is demonstrable, the mechanisms of silymarin's antiviral action appear to include blocking of virus entry and transmission, possibly by targeting the host cell

    Effect of organic selenium-enriched yeast supplementation in finishing sheep diet on carcasses microbiological contamination and meat physical characteristics

    Get PDF
    The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of feeding Pelibuey sheep on diet supplemented with different doses of organic selenium (Se)-enriched yeast on carcasses microbiological contamination and meat physical characteristics. The experiment was conducted during the finishing stage of 18 female sheep and lasted for 60 days. In a complete randomized design, sheep were distributed to one of three treatments: the control without Se-yeast (T1), the control supplemented with Se-yeast at 0.35 mg Se/kg DM (T2), and control supplemented with Se-yeast at 0.60 mg Se/kg DM (T3). The yeast product used was Selyeast 3000TM yeast (LFA Lesaffre, Toluca, Mexico) with a Se concentration of 3000 ppm (mg/kg). Lambs were slaughtered at the end of the experiment at an average weight of 39.5±4.41 kg and samples were taken for microbiological analysis. There were no differences between treatments (P>0.05) and the aerobic plate counts for T1, T2 and T3 had indexes of 0.10, 0.08 and 0.08 log10 CFU/cm2 , respectively. Total coliform counts obtained were 0.13, 0.10 and 0.09 log10 CFU/cm2 for T1, T2 and T3, respectively, and the faecal coliform counts were 0.09 log10 CFU/cm2 for T1, 0.06 log10 CFU/cm2 for T2 and 0.07 log10 CFU/cm2 for T3. No significant effects (P>0.05) were observed for carcasses physical characteristics of microbial growth, initial and ultimate pH and temperature, colour values and water holding capacity. It can therefore be concluded that organic Se-enriched yeast did not affect carcasses bacterial proliferation or meat physical characteristics.The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support to Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) Key Project 00000000011623

    Response of a low elevation carbonate lake in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) to climatic and human forcings

    Get PDF
    The importance of climate change, specifically drought, across the Maya region in the northern Neotropics, remains a topic of lively debate. Part of this discussion hinges on the coherency of response to climatic variability across different archives and proxies. In this paper we present a 6600-year palaeolimnological record from Yaal Chac, a carbonate lake (known locally as a cenote) in the northern lowlands of the Yucatan Peninsula, 2‰), but show no covariation with δ13C. A major transition occurs at ca. 4360 cal yr BP, with a change to generally more organic sediments and increased variability in all proxies. Although direct evidence for anthropogenic activity in the Yaal Chac catchment is limited, it seems feasible that human impact was affecting the system. Comparison with other records from the Northern Maya lowlands and the wider region shows little coherence in the mid Holocene, when Yaal Chac seems to have been quite stable, but possibly responsive to increased climatic seasonality, driving the production of seasonal laminae. In the late Holocene, when the climate was generally more variable, there is more coherence between Yaal Chac and other regional records, including the so called Pan Caribbean Dry Period (3500–2500 cal yr BP) and the droughts of the late Pre-Classic period (1800–1600 cal yr BP). The Yaal Chac record shows no evidence of drought at the time of either the Maya ‘hiatus’ or the Maya ‘collapse’ of the Terminal Classic, but does record drying from the 14th to 19th centuries CE, in keeping with other proxy and historical records. This new record from Yaal Chac highlights the spatial variability of responses to climate forcings and the importance of recognising individual system sensitivity

    Taking Healthy Steps: rationale, design and baseline characteristics of a randomized trial of a pedometer-based internet-mediated walking program in veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    Full text link
    Abstract Background Low levels of physical activity are common in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a sedentary lifestyle is associated with poor outcomes including increased mortality, frequent hospitalizations, and poor health-related quality of life. Internet-mediated physical activity interventions may increase physical activity and improve health outcomes in persons with COPD. Methods/Design This manuscript describes the design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial that tests the effectiveness of Taking Healthy Steps, an Internet-mediated walking program for Veterans with COPD. Taking Healthy Steps includes an uploading pedometer, a website, and an online community. Eligible and consented patients wear a pedometer to obtain one week of baseline data and then are randomized on a 2:1 ratio to Taking Healthy Steps or to a wait list control. The intervention arm receives iterative step-count feedback; individualized step-count goals, motivational and informational messages, and access to an online community. Wait list controls are notified that they are enrolled, but that their intervention will start in one year; however, they keep the pedometer and have access to a static webpage. Discussion Participants include 239 Veterans (mean age 66.7 years, 93.7% male) with 155 randomized to Taking Healthy Steps and 84 to the wait list control arm; rural-living (45.2%); ever-smokers (93.3%); and current smokers (25.1%). Baseline mean St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire Total Score was 46.0; 30.5% reported severe dyspnea; and the average number of comorbid conditions was 4.9. Mean baseline daily step counts was 3497 (+/- 2220). Veterans with COPD can be recruited to participate in an online walking program. We successfully recruited a cohort of older Veterans with a significant level of disability including Veterans who live in rural areas using a remote national recruitment strategy. Trial registration Clinical Trials.gov NCT01102777http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/109506/1/12890_2014_Article_479.pd

    Labrador retrievers under primary veterinary care in the UK: demography, mortality and disorders

    Get PDF
    Abstract Background Labrador retrievers are reportedly predisposed to many disorders but accurate prevalence information relating to the general population are lacking. This study aimed to describe demography, mortality and commonly recorded diseases in Labrador retrievers under UK veterinary care. Methods The VetCompass™ programme collects electronic patient record data on dogs attending UK primary-care veterinary practices. Demographic analysis covered all33,320 Labrador retrievers in the VetCompass™ database under veterinary care during 2013 while disorder and mortality data were extracted from a random sample of 2074 (6.2%) of these dogs. Results Of the Labrador retrievers with information available, 15,427 (46.4%) were female and 15,252 (53.6%) were male. Females were more likely to be neutered than males (59.7% versus 54.8%, P <  0.001). The overall mean adult bodyweight was 33.0 kg (SD 6.1). Adult males were heavier (35.2 kg, SD 5.9 kg) than adult females (30.4 kg, SD 5.2 kg) (P <  0.001). The median longevity of Labrador retrievers overall was 12.0 years (IQR 9.9–13.8, range 0.0–16.0). The most common recorded colours were black (44.6%), yellow (27.8%) and liver/chocolate (reported from hereon as chocolate) (23.8%). The median longevity of non-chocolate coloured dogs (n = 139, 12.1 years, IQR 10.2–13.9, range 0.0–16.0) was longer than for chocolate coloured animals (n = 34, 10.7 years, IQR 9.0–12.4, range 3.8–15.5) (P = 0.028). Of a random sample of 2074 (6.2%) Labrador retrievers under care in 2013 that had full disorder data extracted, 1277 (61.6%) had at least one disorder recorded. The total number of dogs who died at any date during the study was 176. The most prevalent disorders recorded were otitis externa (n = 215, prevalence 10.4%, 95% CI: 9.1–11.8), overweight/obesity (183, 8.8%, 95% CI: 7.6–10.1) and degenerative joint disease (115, 5.5%, 95% CI: 4.6–6.6). Overweight/obesity was not statistically significantly associated with neutering in females (8.3% of entire versus 12.5% of neutered, P = 0.065) but was associated with neutering in males (4.1% of entire versus 11.4% of neutered, P < 0.001). The prevalence of otitis externa in black dogs was 12.8%, in yellow dogs it was 17.0% but, in chocolate dogs, it rose to 23.4% (P < 0.001). Similarly, the prevalence of pyo-traumatic dermatitis in black dogs was 1.1%, in yellow dogs it was 1.6% but in chocolate dogs it rose to 4.0% (P = 0.011). Conclusions The current study assists prioritisation of health issues within Labrador retrievers. The most common disorders were overweight/obesity, otitis externa and degenerative joint disease. Males were significantly heavier females. These results can alert prospective owners to potential health issues and inform breed-specific wellness checks

    Characterization of a Novel Fusion Protein from IpaB and IpaD of Shigella spp. and Its Potential as a Pan-Shigella Vaccine

    Get PDF
    Shigellosis is an important disease in the developing world, where about 90 million people become infected with Shigella spp. each year. We previously demonstrated that the type three secretion apparatus (T3SA) proteins IpaB and IpaD are protective antigens in the mouse lethal pulmonary model. In order to simplify vaccine formulation and process development, we have evaluated a vaccine design that incorporates both of these previously tested Shigella antigens into a single polypeptide chain. To determine if this fusion protein (DB fusion) retains the antigenic and protective capacities of IpaB and IpaD, we immunized mice with the DB fusion and compared the immune response to that elicited by the IpaB/IpaD combination vaccine. Purification of the DB fusion required coexpression with IpgC, the IpaB chaperone, and after purification it maintained the highly α-helical characteristics of IpaB and IpaD. The DB fusion also induced comparable immune responses and retained the ability to protect mice against Shigella flexneri and S. sonnei in the lethal pulmonary challenge. It also offered limited protection against S. dysenteriae challenge. Our results show the feasibility of generating a protective Shigella vaccine comprised of the DB fusion