Ijmker T.,VU University Amsterdam |
Ijmker T.,EC Development |
Lamoth C.J.,University of Groningen |
Houdijk H.,VU University Amsterdam |
And 4 more authors.
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Year: 2014
Background: Balance control during walking has been shown to involve a metabolic cost in healthy subjects, but it is unclear how this cost changes as a function of postural threat. The aim of the present study was to determine the influence of postural threat on the energy cost of walking, as well as on concomitant changes in spatiotemporal gait parameters, muscle activity and perturbation responses. In addition, we examined if and how these effects are dependent on walking speed. Methods. Healthy subjects walked on a treadmill under four conditions of varying postural threat. Each condition was performed at 7 walking speeds ranging from 60-140% of preferred speed. Postural threat was induced by applying unexpected sideward pulls to the pelvis and varied experimentally by manipulating the width of the path subjects had to walk on. Results: Results showed that the energy cost of walking increased by 6-13% in the two conditions with the largest postural threat. This increase in metabolic demand was accompanied by adaptations in spatiotemporal gait parameters and increases in muscle activity, which likely served to arm the participants against a potential loss of balance in the face of the postural threat. Perturbation responses exhibited a slower rate of recovery in high threat conditions, probably reflecting a change in strategy to cope with the imposed constraints. The observed changes occurred independent of changes in walking speed, suggesting that walking speed is not a major determinant influencing gait stability in healthy young adults. Conclusions: The current study shows that in healthy adults, increasing postural threat leads to a decrease in gait economy, independent of walking speed. This could be an important factor in the elevated energy costs of pathological gait. © 2014 IJmker et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Visser C.,University of Pretoria |
Van Marle-Koster E.,University of Pretoria |
Snyman M.A.,EC Development |
Bovenhuis H.,Wageningen University |
Crooijmans R.P.M.A.,Wageningen University
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2013
This study aimed to identify chromosomal regions associated with genetic variation in pre-weaning growth traits in Angora goats. A genome-wide scan was performed by genotyping 1042 offspring from 12 half-sib families using 88 microsatellite caprine markers covering 1368cM. Phenotypes were recorded at birth (BW) and weaning (WW) and analysed using GridQTL software. A total of six putative QTL were detected on six different chromosomes, all at chromosome-wide significance level. Four QTL were identified for BW on CHI 4, 8, 17 and 27 and two QTL for WW on CHI 16 and 19. QTL effects ranged from -0.32 to 0.25 in units of residual standard deviation in different families. Some of these QTL correspond to chromosomes where QTL associated with growth have been identified in other species. These chromosomal segments hold potential to influence weight gain in young goats. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Weihs M.,EC Development |
Meyer-Weitz A.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Sahara J | Year: 2014
Despite South African mid-sized companies' efforts to offer HIV counselling and testing (HCT) in the workplace, companies report relatively poor uptake rates. An urgent need for a range of different interventions aimed at increasing participation in workplace HCT has been identified. The aim of this study was to explore qualitatively the influence of a lottery incentive system (LIS) as an intervention to influence shop-floor workers' workplace HIV testing behaviour. A qualitative study was conducted among 17 shop-floor workers via convenience sampling in two mid-sized South African automotive manufacturing companies in which an LIS for HCT was implemented. The in-depth interviews employed a semi-structured interview schedule and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The interviews revealed that the LIS created excitement in the companies and renewed employees' personal interest in HCT. The excitement facilitated social interactions that resulted in a strong group cohesion pertaining to HCT that mitigated the burden of HIV stigma in the workplace. Open discussions allowed for the development of supportive social group pressure to seek HCT as a collective in anticipation of a reward. Lotteries were perceived as a supportive and innovative company approach to workplace HCT. The study identified important aspects for consideration by companies when using an LIS to enhance workplace HIV testing. The significance of inter- and intra-player dialogue in activating supportive social norms for HIV testing in collectivist African contexts was highlighted. © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.
Snyman M.A.,EC Development
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2010
The effect of doe age, body weight and different management systems, as practiced in various Angora goat studs, on reproductive performance of does was investigated. The data used were collected from 2000 to 2004 on 12 Angora goat studs kept under different management systems. The data set analysed for this study contained data of 6271 does, each with a varying number of kidding opportunities. This amounted to 14644 doe records where each record included body weight before mating, body weight at scanning (ultrasound scanning for pregnancy diagnosis) and all reproductive performance data. There was a wide range pertaining to reproductive performance among the various studs. Apart from a high kid mortality rate, which is regarded by breeders as the most important factor contributing to low weaning percentages, nearly 20% of the does did not conceive or lost their foetuses before birth. Body weight of does before mating ranged from 13.0kg to 59.6kg (average= 34.6kg) among animals, while body weight at scanning ranged from 18.0kg to 67.0kg (average= 38.6kg). All reproductive parameters recorded had a typical inverted U-shaped relationship with age of dam, where the 2- and 3-year-old does and does older than 9 years of age fared significantly worse than the 4- to 9-year-old does. Management system had a significant influence on reproductive performance of does in the different studs. Higher reproductive rates were recorded under those management systems where additional or supplementary feeding at various stages of the reproductive cycle were supplied. Body weights before mating and at scanning had significant positive relationships with reproduction. For every kilogram increase in body weight before mating, 0.0237 and 0.0218 more kids will be born and weaned, respectively. Body weights before mating of young does that were kept on pastures until 18 months of age were higher than those of maiden does in the other management systems, resulting in higher reproductive rates. Number of kids scanned, born and weaned per maiden doe at first kidding increased with an increase in body weight at first mating. From the results it is evident that body weight, age of the doe and management system all have a significant effect on the reproduction of Angora goats. © South African Society for Animal Science.
Snyman M.A.,EC Development
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2012
The data used for this study consisted of 27 485 kid records, the progeny of 599 sires and 10 077 dams, and were collected on the 2000- to 2009-born kids of 11 Angora goat studs. Variance and covariance components and ratios pertaining to direct additive genetic variation, maternal additive genetic variation, maternal permanent environmental variation, and the relationship between direct and maternal effects for birth weight (BW; kg), weaning weight (WW; kg) and body weight at 8, 12 and 16 months (W8, W12 and W16; kg) were estimated with the ASReml program. Direct additive heritability estimates of 0.22, 0.20, 0.12, 0.34 and 0.58 were obtained for BW, WW, W8, W12 and W16, respectively. Maternal heritabilities were 0.10, 0.09, 0.03 and 0.06 for BW, WW, W8 and W12, respectively, while maternal environmental effects of 0.13, 0.11, 0.06 and 0.04 were estimated for the latter traits, respectively. An unfavourable correlation of -0.38 was obtained between direct and maternal genetic effects for BW. Low to medium positive direct genetic correlations were estimated between birth weight and body weights recorded at a later stage in life. High positive direct genetic correlations were estimated among WW, W8, W12 and W16. The maternal genetic correlations obtained between birth weight and the other body weights were medium to high. Phenotypic correlations among the traits ranged from low to high. Genetic trends of body weight at different ages indicate that although not many breeders use objective measurement as a selection tool, body weight increased slightly in the 11 studs over the 10-year study period. Since reproduction and body weight should be included in a selection programme for Angora goats, the relationship between the direct and maternal additive effects should be clarified. The importance of a sufficiently structured and related pedigree, especially on the part of the dams and maternal grand dams, has been highlighted in this study. As this is one of the constraints of this data set, data collection in the Angora goat industry should continue until a suitably structured data set has been built up that could be used to estimate multi-trait breeding values for the industry.
Snyman M.A.,EC Development
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2010
The data used for this study were collected in 12 different Angora goat studs from 2000 to 2004. Data collected on 17534 kids born alive in the different studs were included in the analyses. Average pre-weaning mortality rate was 11.5% and ranged from 8.6% to 16.5% (of the 17534 kids born alive, 2018 kids died between birth and weaning at four months of age). Mortality rate in male kids was higher than that recorded for female kids (11.9% vs. 11.1%). When comparing the management systems followed from mating up until weaning in the different studs with the corresponding pre-weaning mortality rates, it is obvious that there was no discernible trend. Of the 2018 deaths recorded, the probable cause for only 601 (29.8%) deaths was known. The most important problems were predators, small, unthrifty kids who needed help with suckling, does having little or no milk and does abandoning their kids. When combining the latter three causes with udder problems (3.5%), 35.7% of pre-weaning mortalities was due to these causes. Birth weight and sex of the kid had a significant influence on pre-weaning mortality rate. Single-born kids had the lowest mortality rate (10%), followed by twin-born (13%) and triplet-born (22%) kids. Despite large differences in mortality rate recorded between sires within flocks, a heritability of 0.04± 0.01 was estimated for pre-weaning mortality rate. This low overall heritability could be attributed to the fact that causes of mortality differed considerably among kids and many of these causes may have no genetic background. © South African Society for Animal Science.
News Article | December 6, 2011
The European Commission this morning announced that it has opened formal antitrust proceedings to investigate whether a number of international ebook publishers have engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in Europe, “possibly with the help of Apple” (which offers an e-book storefront called iBooks). According to the press release, the opening of proceedings means that the EC will “treat the case as a matter of priority”. The publishers that were identified in the announcement of the antitrust probe are Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing, France), Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany). The Commission says it will, in particular, investigate whether these publishers and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would “have the object or the effect of restricting competition” in the European Union or in the European Economic Area (EEA). The commission is also looking into “agency agreements” between the publishers and e-book retailers, in collaboration with the UK Office of Fair Trading. The EC says it is concerned whether some of the publishers’ and Apple’s practices “may breach EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices”. The opening of the proceedings follows unannounced inspections that were carried out by the Commission at the premises of several e-book publishers in March 2011. Serious stuff, in other words. Update: Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt on why Europe is targeting Apple and not Amazon. Brussels, 06 December 2011 – The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings to investigate whether international publishers Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing, France), Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany) have, possibly with the help of Apple, engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in the European Economic Area (EEA)1, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will treat the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA. The Commission is also examining the character and terms of the agency agreements entered into by the above named five publishers and retailers for the sale of e-books. The Commission has concerns, that these practices may breach EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU). The duration of antitrust investigations depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence. In March 2011, the Commission carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in the e-book publishing sector in several Member States (see MEMO/11/126). To date, the Commission and the UK Office of Fair Trading have investigated in parallel and in close cooperation whether arrangements for the sale of e-books may breach competition rules. Before the Commission opened formal proceedings, the OFT had closed its investigation on grounds of administrative priority. The OFT has made a substantial contribution to the ebooks investigation and will continue to co-operate closely with the Commission going forward. Article 101 of the TFEU prohibits agreements and concerted practices which may affect trade and prevent or restrict competition. The implementation of this provision is defined in the Antitrust Regulation (Council Regulation No 1/2003) which can be applied by the Commission and by the national competition authorities of EU Member States. The legal base for the Commission’s opening of formal proceedings is Article 11(6) of the Antitrust Regulation (Council Regulation No 1/2003). Article 11(6) of the Antitrust Regulation provides that the initiation of proceedings by the Commission relieves the competition authorities of the Member States of their competence to also apply EU competition rules to the practices concerned. Article 16(1) further provides that national courts must avoid giving decisions, which would conflict with a decision contemplated by the Commission in proceedings that it has initiated. The Commission has informed the companies and the competition authorities of the Member States that it has opened proceedings in this case.
News Article | December 3, 2012
The European Commission has proposed new rules to improve public-sector website accessibility for disabled people, describing the current situation as “dire” — with only one-third of Europe’s 761,000 public-sector and government websites described as fully accessible. The proposed Directive on the accessibility of public-sector bodies’ websites would introduce “mandatory EU standardised accessibility features” from the end of 2015 — covering 12 types of websites (see list below) but with governments encouraged to apply the features to all their digital services. Examples of accessibility features include audio descriptions of images for visually impaired people, and written captions for audio files for hearing-impaired users. There are clear benefits beyond the obvious one of raising accessibility rates for Europe’s 80 million citizens with disabilities, and the 87 million Europeans aged over 65. The EC notes that a single set of accessibility rules would mean developers could offer products and services across the entire European Union “without extra adaptation costs and complications.” Part of the reason for low levels of web accessibility to date is a lack of clarity around the meaning of the term, according to the EC, so it also wants the proposed directive to establish rules covering technical specs, methodology for assessment, reporting and bottom-up testing. It notes that a European standard that includes web accessibility based on internationally recognised and technology-neutral guidelines is under development within the “European Commission Mandate 376” — and could be available as early as 2014. This is based on the Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements Level AA in version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Here’s the full list of websites that will fall under the proposed EU Directive on accessibility The proposed Directive will go to the EU’s Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for adoption. After that European Union member states would have to put national rules and regulations in place by June 30, 2014. The EC notes that 21 Member States already have national laws or measures on web accessibility but describes progress as “slow”.
News Article | January 8, 2013
The European Parliament has issued two draft reports (here and here) on the reform of European data protection rules, proposed by the European Commission last January, expressing “full support for a coherent and robust data protection framework with strong end enforceable rights for individuals” — and stressing the need for “a high level of protection for all data processing activities in the European Union to ensure more legal certainty, clarity and consistency”, according to an EC memo issued today. The memo notes that the European Parliament supports the objectives of its proposed reform — namely: The EC cites research indicating that the majority of Internet users are worried about giving away too much personal data online. This increasing mistrust of online services is a factor the Commission believes could undermine the region’s digital economy — unless robust, transparent and consistent data protection rules are established by reforming existing European data protection rules. Among the key points in the European Parliament’s draft reports are support for replacing the current 1995 Data Protection Directive with a “directly applicable Regulation with a single set of rules on data protection”; and support in principle for the EC’s proposal for a “one-stop-shop” for companies operating in multiple EU countries/consumers wanting to complain about a company established in a country other than their own. The memo notes that the European Parliament wants to “create a powerful and independent EU data protection agency entrusted with taking legally binding decisions vis-à-vis national data protection authorities”. It is also supportive of strengthening users’ rights — encouraging the use by companies of pseudonymous and anonymous data, and further proposing to strengthen the concept of “explicit consent” for data to be legally processed by asking companies to use “clear and easily comprehensible language” — a principle it also wants to see applied to privacy policies. On the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ — a clause that has its critics, such as Facebook — the Parliament is proposing “further reinforcing” the “right to erase one’s data if there are no legitimate grounds to retain it” by “asking companies which have transferred data to third parties without a legitimate legal basis to make sure these data are actually erased”. A spokeswoman for the Commission told TechCrunch that the Parliament is taking a “more strict” stance on the right to be forgotten portion of the EC’s proposed reform. The Parliament is proposing an amendment to the EC’s wording — changing the proposed ‘right to be forgotten’ to a ‘right to erasure and to be forgotten’ [amendment 34 of the Albrecht report]. Commenting on the Parliament’s reports, Facebook’s Erika Mann, Head of EU Policy in Brussels, said: “We welcome the thoughtful approach of the rapporteur on many issues. However, we are concerned that some aspects of the report do not support a flourishing European Digital Single Market and the reality of innovation on the Internet – which is inescapably global in nature, and which includes important partners like the US. We will be examining these proposals closely in the coming weeks.” Elsewhere, the Parliament’s draft reports are also in agreement with the proposal that EU rules must apply if personal data of individuals in the EU is handled abroad by companies which are not established in the Union — even if they are providing free (rather than paid for) services. The EC spokeswoman said the Parliament’s view on “territorial scope” is also more strict than the EC’s proposal. “They want a powerful data protection agency and they have created new categories of data (pseudonymised and anonymised data for example),” she added. The memo also notes that the Parliament is supportive of the need for independent national data protection authorities which are “well-equipped to better enforce the EU rules at home”. It also welcomes the EC’s proposal to empower national authorities to fine companies that violate EU data protection rules. Viviane Reding, EC Commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, tweeted today she’s “looking forward to swift adoption by both EP [European Parliament] and Council” of the new data protection rules. Adding in a second tweet: The draft reports will be discussed by the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee on January 10. The EC added that it will “continue to work very closely with the rapporteurs of the European Parliament and with the Council to support the Parliament and the Irish EU Presidency in their endeavour to achieve a political agreement on the data protection reform by the end of the Irish Presidency”. The full EC memo follows below. MEMO/13/4 EUROPEAN COMMISSION MEMO Brussels, 8 January 2013 Commission welcomes European Parliament rapporteurs’ support for strong EU data protection rules European Parliament rapporteurs today presented two draft reports on the reform of the EU’s data protection rules proposed by the European Commission just a year ago (see IP/12/46 and MEMO/12/41). In their reports, Jan-Philipp Albrecht, rapporteur for the proposed Data Protection Regulation for the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament, and, Dimitrios Droutsas, rapporteur for the proposed Data Protection Directive for the law enforcement sector, express their full support for a coherent and robust data protection framework with strong end enforceable rights for individuals. They also stress the need for a high level of protection for all data processing activities in the European Union to ensure more legal certainty, clarity and consistency. “The protection of personal data is a fundamental right for all Europeans. Opinion polls show that individuals do not always feel in full control of their data. Policy makers and companies must therefore do better,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. “I am glad to see that the European Parliament rapporteurs are supporting the Commission’s aim to strengthen Europe’s data protection rules which currently date back to 1995 – preInternet age. A strong, clear and uniform legal framework will help unleashing the potential of the Digital Single Market and foster economic growth, innovation and job creation in Europe.” In their reports on the Commission’s proposals for a general Data Protection Regulation and a Directive for the law enforcement sector the Members of the European Parliament support the proposed package approach. They stress the need to advance negotiations swiftly on both instruments at the same time. The European Parliament rapporteurs, building on previous reports by the European Parliament such as the Axel Voss report (MEMO/11/489), support the objectives of the reform, which are: to establish a comprehensive approach to data protection, to strengthen online privacy rights and to do away with the current fragmentation of 27 different national data protection laws which are costly and burdensome for businesses operating on Europe’s single market. Some of the amendments which the rapporteurs of the Parliament are proposing in their reports aim at reinforcing individuals’ rights, including the right to be forgotten. Some of the key points of the rapporteurs’ reports include: • The need to replace the current 1995 Data Protection Directive with a directly applicable Regulation. A single set of rules on data protection, valid across the EU will remove unnecessary administrative requirements for companies and can save businesses around €2.3 billion a year. • The support in principle for the Commission’s proposal to have a “one-stop shop” for companies that operate in several EU countries and for consumers who want to complain against a company established in a country other than their own. To ensure consistency in the application of EU data protection rules, the European Parliament rapporteur wants to create a powerful and independent EU data protection agency 2 entrusted with taking legally binding decisions vis-à-vis national data protection authorities. • Support for the strengthening of users’ rights: they encourage the use by companies of pseudonymous and anonymous data; they further propose strengthening the concept of explicit consent for data to be legally processed by asking companies to use clear and easily comprehensible language (also with regards to privacy policies); the ‘Albrecht-report’ proposes further reinforcing the “right to be forgotten” (the right to erase one’s data if there are no legitimate grounds to retain it) by asking companies which have transferred data to third parties without a legitimate legal basis to make sure these data are actually erased. • The European Parliament rapporteurs agree with the European Commission’s proposal that EU rules must apply if personal data of individuals in the EU is handled abroad by companies which are not established in the Union. According to the amendments proposed it would be sufficient that a company aims at offering its goods or services to individuals in the EU. An actual payment from the consumer to the company is not needed to trigger the application of the data protection regulation. • The European Parliament rapporteurs stress the need to have independent national data protection authorities which are well-equipped to better enforce the EU rules at home. The ‘Albrecht-report’ provides guidance as to the staffing and resourcing of these authorities and welcomes the Commission’s proposal to empower them to fine companies that violate EU data protection rules. • On the delegated acts foreseen in the Regulation (also known as ‘Commission empowerments’ or acts which ensure that if, in practice, more specific rules are necessary, they can be adopted without going through a long legislative process): the European Parliament rapporteur wants to drastically reduce the number of delegated acts by including, among others, more detailed provisions in the text of the Regulation itself. The European Commission has recently shown its openness to such an approach (see SPEECH/12/764). • On the Directive that will apply general data protection principles and rules to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, the rapporteur agrees with the Commission’s proposal to extend the rules to both domestic and cross-border transfers of data. The report also aims to strengthen data protection further by enhancing individuals’ rights, giving national data protection authorities greater and more harmonised enforcement powers and by obliging them to cooperate in cross-border cases. The European Parliament’s LIBE Committee will discuss the draft reports on 10 January. The European Commission will continue to work very closely with the rapporteurs of the European Parliament and with the Council to support the Parliament and the Irish EU Presidency in their endeavour to achieve a political agreement on the data protection reform by the end of the Irish Presidency. Background In the digital age, the collection and storage of personal information are essential. Data is used by all businesses – from insurance firms and banks to social media sites and search engines. In a globalised world, the transfer of data to third countries has become an important factor in daily life. There are no borders online and cloud computing means data may be sent from Berlin to be processed in Boston and stored in Bangalore. 74% of Europeans think that disclosing personal data is increasingly part of modern life, but at the same time, 72% of Internet users are worried that they give away too much personal data. They feel they are not in complete control of their data. Fading trust in online services and tools holds back the growth of the digital economy and Europe’s digital single market. 3 On 25 January 2012 the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy. The Commission’s proposals update and modernise the principles enshrined in the 1995 Data Protection Directive to bring them into the digital age. They include a proposal for a Regulation setting out a general EU framework for data protection and a proposal for a Directive on protecting personal data processed for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences and related judicial activities (IP/12/46). The Commission proposals follow up on the European Parliament report by Axel Voss (MEMO/11/489) which called on the Commission to reform European data protection rules. The right to the protection of personal data is explicitly recognised by Article 8 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and by the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty provides a legal basis for rules on data protection for all activities within the scope of EU law under Article 16 (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).