Appropriate response to companions' emotional signals is important for all social creatures. The emotional expressions of humans and non-human animals have analogies in their form and function, suggesting shared evolutionary roots, but very little is known about how animals other than primates view and process facial expressions. In primates, threat-related facial expressions evoke exceptional viewing patterns compared with neutral or positive stimuli. Here, we explore if domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have such an attentional bias toward threatening social stimuli and whether observed emotional expressions affect dogs' gaze fixation distribution among the facial features (eyes, midface and mouth). We recorded the voluntary eye gaze of 31 domestic dogs during viewing of facial photographs of humans and dogs with three emotional expressions (threatening, pleasant and neutral). We found that dogs' gaze fixations spread systematically among facial features. The distribution of fixations was altered by the seen expression, but eyes were the most probable targets of the first fixations and gathered longer looking durations than mouth regardless of the viewed expression. The examination of the inner facial features as a whole revealed more pronounced scanning differences among expressions. This suggests that dogs do not base their perception of facial expressions on the viewing of single structures, but the interpretation of the composition formed by eyes, midface and mouth. Dogs evaluated social threat rapidly and this evaluation led to attentional bias, which was dependent on the depicted species: threatening conspecifics' faces evoked heightened attention but threatening human faces instead an avoidance response. We propose that threatening signals carrying differential biological validity are processed via distinctive neurocognitive pathways. Both of these mechanisms may have an adaptive significance for domestic dogs. The findings provide a novel perspective on understanding the processing of emotional expressions and sensitivity to social threat in non-primates.
Vitamin D deficiency has been described as being pandemic, but serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] distribution data for the European Union are of very variable quality. The NIH-led international Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) has developed protocols for standardizing existing 25(OH)D values from national health/nutrition surveys.
This study applied VDSP protocols to serum 25(OH)D data from representative childhood/teenage and adult/older adult European populations, representing a sizable geographical footprint, to better quantify the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Europe.
The VDSP protocols were applied in 14 population studies [reanalysis of subsets of serum 25(OH)D in 11 studies and complete analysis of all samples from 3 studies that had not previously measured it] by using certified liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry on biobanked sera. These data were combined with standardized serum 25(OH)D data from 4 previously standardized studies (for a total n = 55,844). Prevalence estimates of vitamin D deficiency [using various serum 25(OH)D thresholds] were generated on the basis of standardized 25(OH)D data.
An overall pooled estimate, irrespective of age group, ethnic mix, and latitude of study populations, showed that 13.0% of the 55,844 European individuals had serum 25(OH)D concentrations <30 nmol/L on average in the year, with 17.7% and 8.3% in those sampled during the extended winter (October-March) and summer (April-November) periods, respectively. According to an alternate suggested definition of vitamin D deficiency (<50 nmol/L), the prevalence was 40.4%. Dark-skinned ethnic subgroups had much higher (3- to 71-fold) prevalence of serum 25(OH)D <30 nmol/L than did white populations.
Vitamin D deficiency is evident throughout the European population at prevalence rates that are concerning and that require action from a public health perspective. What direction these strategies take will depend on European policy but should aim to ensure vitamin D intakes that are protective against vitamin D deficiency in the majority of the European population.
The origin and evolution of the domestic dog remains a controversial question for the scientific community, with basic aspects such as the place and date of origin, and the number of times dogs were domesticated, open to dispute. Using whole genome sequences from a total of 58 canids (12 gray wolves, 27 primitive dogs from Asia and Africa, and a collection of 19 diverse breeds from across the world), we find that dogs from southern East Asia have significantly higher genetic diversity compared to other populations, and are the most basal group relating to gray wolves, indicating an ancient origin of domestic dogs in southern East Asia 33 000 years ago. Around 15 000 years ago, a subset of ancestral dogs started migrating to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, arriving in Europe at about 10 000 years ago. One of the out of Asia lineages also migrated back to the east, creating a series of admixed populations with the endemic Asian lineages in northern China before migrating to the New World. For the first time, our study unravels an extraordinary journey that the domestic dog has traveled on earth.Cell Research advance online publication 15 December 2015; doi:10.1038/cr.2015.147.
Vegetarian and vegan diets have become more popular among adolescents and young adults. However, few studies have investigated the nutritional status of vegans, who may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies.
To compare dietary intake and nutritional status of Finnish long-term vegans and non-vegetarians.
Dietary intake and supplement use were estimated using three-day dietary records. Nutritional status was assessed by measuring biomarkers in plasma, serum, and urine samples. Vegans' (n = 22) data was compared with those of sex- and age-matched non-vegetarians (n = 19).
All vegans adhered strictly to their diet; however, individual variability was marked in food consumption and supplementation habits. Dietary intakes of key nutrients, vitamins B12 and D, were lower (P < 0.001) in vegans than in non-vegetarians. Nutritional biomarker measurements showed lower concentrations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3), iodine and selenium (corrected for multiple comparisons, P < 0.001), Vegans showed more favorable fatty acid profiles (P < 0.001) as well as much higher concentrations of polyphenols such as genistein and daidzein (P < 0.001). Eicosapentaenoic acid proportions in vegans were higher than expected. The median concentration of iodine in urine was below the recommended levels in both groups.
Long-term consumption of a vegan diet was associated with some favorable laboratory measures but also with lowered concentrations of key nutrients compared to reference values. This study highlights the need for nutritional guidance to vegans.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate pain intensity and kinetic variables in dogs with hip dysplasia (HD) treated with acupuncture, carprofen, or a placebo. DESIGN Randomized, controlled clinical study. ANIMALS 54 HD-affected dogs and 16 healthy dogs. PROCEDURES Seven HD-affected dogs were removed from the study. Dogs with HD were treated in a blinded manner for 30 days with acupuncture (once weekly for 5 sessions; n = 15), carprofen (4.4 mg/kg [2.0 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h; n = 16), or placebo capsules containing lactose (1 mg/kg [0.45 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h; n = 16). Dogs were evaluated 2 weeks and immediately before (baseline) and 2, 4, and 6 weeks after the onset of treatment. Owners evaluated the dogs' pain intensity with 2 validated questionnaires and a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain and evaluated degree of lameness with a VAS for locomotion. Kinetics of the hind limbs were also evaluated. Sixteen HD-free dogs were used to assess the evaluation protocol. RESULTS Owners' assessments revealed that outcomes of the 3 treatments did not differ significantly. The Canine Brief Pain Inventory and VAS pain intensity assessments were decreased from baseline at weeks 4 and 6, respectively, but only in acupuncture-treated dogs. The locomotion VAS values were decreased at week 4 in acupuncture-treated and carprofen-treated dogs. Kinetic evaluation findings did not differ among the groups or over time. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Neither acupuncture nor carprofen was significantly different from placebo. Acupuncture and carprofen reduced the degree of subjectively evaluated lameness, and acupuncture was associated with a decrease in validated chronic pain scores.