Vytautas Magnus University
Recent publications
Background Sleep is important for healthy functioning in children. Numerous genetic and environmental factors, from conception onwards, may influence this phenotype. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation have been proposed to underlie variation in sleep or may be an early-life marker of sleep disturbances. We examined if DNA methylation at birth or in school age is associated with parent-reported and actigraphy-estimated sleep outcomes in children. Methods We meta-analysed epigenome-wide association study results. DNA methylation was measured from cord blood at birth in 11 cohorts and from peripheral blood in children (4–13 years) in 8 cohorts. Outcomes included parent-reported sleep duration, sleep initiation and fragmentation problems, and actigraphy-estimated sleep duration, sleep onset latency and wake-after-sleep-onset duration. Results We found no associations between DNA methylation at birth and parent-reported sleep duration (n = 3658), initiation problems (n = 2504), or fragmentation (n = 1681) (p values above cut-off 4.0 × 10–8). Lower methylation at cg24815001 and cg02753354 at birth was associated with longer actigraphy-estimated sleep duration (p = 3.31 × 10–8, n = 577) and sleep onset latency (p = 8.8 × 10–9, n = 580), respectively. DNA methylation in childhood was not cross-sectionally associated with any sleep outcomes (n = 716–2539). Conclusion DNA methylation, at birth or in childhood, was not associated with parent-reported sleep. Associations observed with objectively measured sleep outcomes could be studied further if additional data sets become available.
The role of society to mitigate climate change is particularly important. However, generations, different age cohorts are differently related to and concerned about climate change. The main criticism of the young generation is that they talk about climate change a lot but do not behave in a climate-friendly manner. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to analyze the difference of climate change perception, responsibility and climate-friendly behavior among Baby Boomer generation, Generations X, Y and Z in all European Union (EU) countries. After applying the Chi-square test, the results showed that younger people in the EU tend to have the perception of climate change more often than their older counterparts. Moreover, people from younger generations tend to place responsibility of solving climate change on the business/industrial sectors and environmental groups more often than the preceding generations do. Furthermore, more of young people assumed personal responsibility, used environmentally friendly alternatives to personal cars, and considered carbon footprint before purchasing a product, as opposed to older generations. However, the youth separated waste and decreased the use of disposable items less comparing with older generations. Applying binary logistic regression, the results showed that climate change perception and placement of responsibility on environmental groups positively and statistically significantly influenced all climate-friendly actions of the youth. Personal responsibility statistically significantly decreased probability of all climate-friendly actions. Responsibility placement on the government and business/industrial sectors reduced the probability to carry out waste reduction behavior. Thus, this study revealed that young people are not always climate-friendly, and this study provides the insights into how to promote climate-friendly behavior among youths.
With the publication of the European Green Deal, the European Union has committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. The envisaged reductions of direct greenhouse gases emissions are seen as technically feasible, but if a wrong path is pursued, significant unintended impacts across borders, sectors, societies and ecosystems may follow. Without the insights gained from an impact assessment framework reaching beyond the techno-economic perspective, the pursuit of direct emission reductions may lead to counterproductive outcomes in the long run. We discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the creation and use of an integrated assessment framework built to inform the European Commission on the path to decarbonisation. The framework is peculiar in that it goes beyond existing ones in its scope, depth and cross-scale coverage, by use of numerous specialised models and case studies. We find challenges of consistency that can be overcome by linking modelling tools iteratively in some cases, harmonising modelling assumptions in others, comparing model outputs in others. We find the highest added value of the framework in additional insights it provides on the technical feasibility of decarbonisation pathways, on vulnerability aspects and on unintended environmental and health impacts on national and sub-national scale.
Accurate quantification of urban soil organic carbon (SOC) is essential for understanding anthropogenic changes and further guiding effective city managements. Visible and near infrared (vis–NIR) spectroscopy can monitor the SOC content in a time- and cost-effective manner. However, processes and mechanisms dominating the relationships between SOC and spectral data in urban soils remain unknown. The main objective of this paper was to evaluate whether multiple stratification strategies (i.e., based on land-use/land-cover [LULC], pH, and spectral clustering) resulted in better predicted performance for SOC compared to the non-stratified (global) models. Results showed that regarding the non-stratified models, the convolutional neural network (CNN) model exhibited the best performance (validation R² = 0.73), followed by Cubist (validation R² = 0.66) and memory-based learning (validation R² = 0.65). After LULC stratification, Cubist model achieved the best prediction (validation R² = 0.76), improving the value of ratio of performance to interquartile distance by 0.11 compared to the global CNN model. Areas with high SOC values were mainly located in the city center. Stratification by LULC class is a promising strategy for addressing the impact of the soil-landscape diversity and complexity on vis–NIR spectral estimation of SOC in urban soil spectral library.
Studies of universals of culture identify hundreds of human behaviours, features, and patterns of interactions, which can be found in any culture. The present article aims to identify and describe a small number of key universals, which are only necessary for a culture to emerge but for its progressive development as well. The theory of culture as an aggression control system is put forth identifying three such universals. First, to enhance cooperation, all cultures require impulse control of their members. The most important impulse to control is aggression. Second, all cultures have social structures to exercise such impulse control. Third, effective control of ingroup aggression is an important resource for development of a cultural group, providing some cultural groups advantage over others. While the path towards reduction of physical ingroup aggression seems clear, certain challenges remain, such as balancing different aspects of security, control of non-physical aggression, and intergroup aggression.
The aim of this study was to understand how training and playing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic affected the performance of Euroleague Basketball players. Using a non-participant observation analysis, the study compared the seasons before the lockdown (2018-2019 and 2019-2020; pre-pandemic) with the season after restart (2020-2021; pandemic). Paired t-tests and Wilcoxon tests were applied for variables with normal and non-normal distributions, respectively. The results revealed significant changes (p < 0.05) in several offensive and defensive performance-related variables during pandemic times (without attendance): free throw attempts, free throw percentage, turnovers, three-point attempt rate, fouls (small effect sizes, ESs), points, and possessions (trivial ES). The pre-pandemic HA (70%) significantly decreased after the lockdown, with games played with no crowd (∼51%; p = 0.018, large ES). The one-sample t-test showed that the HA after the COVID-19 interruption was not significantly greater than 50%, indicating that the HA did not endure during the pandemic condition. Although significant differences between home and away teams were found for most performance-related variables (excepting turnovers) in both pre-pandemic and pandemic conditions, variations of the relative HA were only significant for free throw attempts (large ES), points (medium ES), and turnovers (medium ES). The results of this study showed that performance variables were affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. Thus, these findings may help coaches, players, and referees to counteract unwanted competitive events and improve their overall performance, regardless of the contextual/situational circumstances encountered.
The introduction of environmentally friendly technologies is becoming increasingly necessary to combat global warming and air pollution in cities. The concept of eco-logistics is seen as an effective approach to the manage-ment of materials and related flows in order to reduce environmental and economic damage to the environment. The sustainable development of green supply chains is based on the use of environmentally friendly types of vehicles, reduction of energy and other resources consumption, optimization of transport and technological processes in delivery systems. As part of the development of green supply chain, it is proposed to transport goods by freight trams, which eliminates the need for heavy trucks in the city, improves traffic conditions and reduces the environmental impact of transport. The research was conducted for the city of Poznan. The distribution system of the city of Poznan operates in conditions of stochastic demand for deliveries from clients and the risk of lack of sufficient supplies in distribution centers. To take into account the specificity of the distribution system of cargo delivery in conditions of uncertainty and risk, a simulation model of the organization of the material flows within the transport system of the city of Poznan has been proposed. The result of simulation is the optimal as-signment of clients to the distribution centers, as well as the value of total mileage with the load, which is a ran-dom variable. It is assumed that the random variable is distributed according to the normal distribution law. The results were calculated and compared for two variants, i.e. for constant demand and sufficient quantity of cargo in distribution centers, and for variable demand and uncertainty conditions, e.g. insufficient cargo quantity in distribution centers. The purpose of the paper is to develop a simulation model for planning supplies of small consignments of goods by trams implementing green logistics concept with variable demand for transportation. After a short introduction of the problem, the literature review related to the concept of green logistics and re-quirements of transport and distribution system are presented in section 2. In section 3, the research problem and research methodology are described. Section 4 provides the results of assignment of clients to distribution cen-ters. The paper ends with concluding remarks.
Recently, there has been growing concern over the potential impact of CO2 concentration and temperature on herbicide efficacy. The aim of the study was to examine the influence of single elevated CO2 (400 vs. 800 ppm) and elevated CO2 in combination with temperature (21 °C vs. 25 °C) on the effects of auxin herbicide 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) (0.5–2 × field recommended rate) to wild mustard (Sinapis arvensis L.) grown in mixed-culture with spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). MCPA had a detrimental effect on aboveground and belowground biomass, content of chlorophylls, enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and induced oxidative stress. The significant decline in photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration with MCPA dose was detected. Elevated CO2 reinforced MCPA efficacy on S. arvensis: sharper decline in biomass, photosynthetic rate and antioxidant enzymes and more pronounced lipid peroxidation were detected. Under elevated CO2 and temperature, MCPA efficacy to control S. arvensis dropped due to herbicide dilution because of increased root:shoot ratio, higher activity of antioxidants and less pronounced oxidative damage. Reinforced MCPA impact on weeds under elevated CO2 resulted in higher H. vulgare biomass, while decreased MCPA efficacy under elevated CO2 and temperature reduced H. vulgare biomass.
When temperature in the leaf gas exchange system changes, the thermodynamic parameters describing the condition of moist air also change. A temperature change of 1 oC in plant leaf tissues leads to a change in partial water vapour pressure of 144 Pa in the gas exchange cavities. Then a temperature decrease of 1 oC in a plant leaf produces 0.897 g of condensate, from 1 m3 of air in leaf ventilation cavities on the surface. When the temperature of plant leaves in the leaf ventilation system changes, the total water vapor state on the inner surface of the leaves changes, and the water vapor state in the stomatal cavities changes. The thickness of the formed condensate film on the plant leaf canal wall surfaces depends on the canal diameter and temperature change. The paper presents information about the mechanism of water formation and thermodynamic processes in the plant leaf gas exchange system participating in the process of assimilation. The formation and change of the internal surfaces of the stomatal cavities of the water film sheet allow the participation of chemical processes in the assimilation of CO2 emissions from the environment.
The race is on to achieve an important level of efficiency in the attainment of a circular economy in agriculture especially with the aim of sustainable nitrogen management. This cycle in the agricultural sector cuts across livestock farming, agriculture-induced waste generation, recycling and utilization, energy generation, crop production, ecosystem protection and environmental management through the mitigation of climate changes. In this work, we assess the process and functionalities of livestock waste generated from the piggery farm and their combinations with other by-products such as biochar and ash in comparison with mineral fertilization as sources of nitrogen applied in agricultural soil. The experiment was performed in a controlled environment with wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) grown in a neutral and an acidic soil. Pig manure was used as the primary feedstock, fed and processed to biogas and nutrient-rich digestate by the anaerobic digestion process. The results revealed that the co-amendments of pig manure digestate with biochar and ash had complimentary positive effect on measured indices such as mobile potassium, phosphorus, biomass yield and nitrogen use efficiency. The mineral nitrogen fertilizer significantly induced carbon dioxide emissions from day 35 when compared to emissions from the organic amendments. In contrast, the organic amendments influenced nitrous oxide emissions from the onset till day 30 before flattening out. The individual combination of pig manure digestate with biochar and ash had a negative influence on enzymatic activity (dehydrogenase). Soil microbial biomass carbon was induced across all treatments in both soil types. Pig manure digestate + ash and pig manure digestate had 32.1 and 48.8% soil microbial biomass increase in neutral soil and acidic soil, respectively. Overall, the processing and application of single-use amendment or in combination with biochar and ash holds huge potential in the optimization of nitrogen and carbon efficiency towards sustainable soil management via improving soil quality, carbon sequestration and climate change.
Background The problem of underestimating the burden of mental health-related mortality is widely discussed in the public health literature. Relevant scientific evidence from societies experiencing the largest burden of mental health mortality is important for better understanding global and national mental health challenges and improving policies. Three Baltic States - Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia - are countries in the Central and Eastern European region that experienced post-soviet transition trauma and showed among the highest suicide and alcohol-related mortality rates in Europe. This study aimed to examine the change in the burden of mental health-related mortality in three Baltic States in the context of consistent growth in life expectancy in 2007-2018. Methods We calculated age-standardized years of life lost due to specific mental health-related causes of death in three Baltic countries from 2007 to 2018. Four mental health-related causes of death groups were analyzed: (i) all mental and behavioural disorders; (ii) intentional self-harm; (iii) main substance use-related causes of death; and (iv) external causes of death. The number of deaths came from the WHO Mortality Database; population exposures were extracted from the Human Mortality Database. Results We found that the proportion of age-standardized years of life lost due to mental disorders was relatively low in all three countries. It varied from 0.2% for females in Lithuania in 2009 to 2.4% for males in Estonia in 2007. However, the proportion of age-standardized years of life lost from self-harm and substance use remained high. In 2018, the proportion of age-standardized years of life lost due to self-harm was highest among males in Lithuania (4.1%) while the highest proportion due to substance use-related causes of death was among males in Estonia (7.3%). Conclusions Our findings indicate that the burden of mental health-related mortality remained high and showed divergent temporal changes across the three countries. In the context of the Baltic States and other post-soviet countries, fractions of various external causes of death and alcohol-related causes of death should be considered in assessing the total burden of mental health-related mortality.
Increasing environmental pollution is driving an increase in the production and use of biofuels. The cost price of biodiesel could be reduced by using low-quality oilseeds unfit for human consumption and by applying the simultaneous oil extraction and transesterification process, avoiding the oil pressure stage. The purpose of this study was to investigate the enzymatic biofuel production process (in situ) by using rapeseed with high oil acidity for simultaneous oil extraction and transesterification with a mixture of butanol and mineral diesel fuel. The investigation of the in situ process was performed using a mixture of butanol and mineral diesel and the most effective biocatalyst Lipozyme TL IM was selected. The novelty of this paper consists of the fact that mineral diesel was used as the oil extractant, and the amount chosen was such that, at the end, a mixture of fuel with a ratio 9:1 of mineral diesel to biodiesel was be produced. The experiments were carried out using ground rapeseeds under laboratory conditions. The efficiency of oil extraction was investigated by the FTIR spectrometry method, and the efficiency of transesterification was determined by the gas chromatography method. It was found that the optimal reaction duration was 7 h, reaction temperature was 40 °C, and lipase content was 6% (from the oil content in rapeseed). An oil extraction efficiency of 99.92 ± 0.04 (w/w) was observed at these conditions. A transesterification degree of 99.08 ± 0.08% (w/w) met with the requirements of the standards for biodiesel fuel. The physical and chemical properties of the produced fuel mixture met the requirements of the standards for mineral diesel and biodiesel; therefore, it can be used in diesel engines.
Blue honeysuckle berries are a rich source of polyphenols with strong antioxidant properties. The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of organic and conventional cultivation on the polyphenols, antioxidant and allergenic potency of blue honeysuckle berry cultivars: ‘No 30′, ‘Jolanta’ and ‘Indygo’ in two growing seasons. Identification of individual polyphenols was performed using the HPLC method; the total polyphenols content and antioxidant activity were determined by spectrophotometric methods. The determination of allergic potency was tested by ELISA. In the second year of the study the total polyphenols were significantly higher in organic blue honeysuckle than in the conventional blue honeysuckle. In both growing seasons, the ‘Indygo’ cv. was characterized by the highest concentration of all bioactive compounds 3241.9 mg and 3787.2 mg per 100 g−1 D.W. A strong correlation was found between the polyphenol content and the antioxidant activity for organic fruit in both years, as well as for allergenic potency. Contrary to the best bioactive properties was ‘Indigo’ cv., with the highest allergenic potency (108.9 and 139.2 ng g−1 D.W.). The lowest content of specific allergens was found in the ‘No 30′ cv. Since honeysuckle is still a new cultivated plant, information about its allergenic potency is insufficient.
The aim of this study was to compare the effects of different Small-Sided games (SSG) formats and simulated match handball training (SMHT) on handball player’s physical performance and game activity profile. Twenty-four youth female handball players (age: 16.2 ± 1.5 years) participated in this study. The study was conducted during the first part of the competitive handball season and lasted for 10 weeks with 2 sessions per week in non-consecutive days: 1 week of pretesting, 8 weeks of specific training, and 1 week of post-testing. A two-group parallel randomized, pre- to post-test design was used to compare 2 different training groups: SSG training group (n = 12) and SMHT group (n = 12). The results showed larger improvements in drop jump height, jump power, absolute and relative anaerobic alactic power and 10 m sprint performances following the SSG training compared with the SMHT (p<0.05, η p ² = ranging from 0.219 to 0.368). Game performance characteristics showed significant effect in SSD training in average sprint distance, total number of sprints and time between sprints (p<0.05, η p ² = ranging from 0.08 to 0.292). The results of this study show that handball SSGs represent an adequate in-season strategy to promote a wide range of physical adaptations with improvements in running and jumping performance. This represents important information for coaches, since SSGs develop handball players’ physical profiles while replicating tactical and technical features of the game. Nevertheless, simulated match training may be judiciously used to improve players’ aerobic performance.
The inclusion of undersown cover crops in crop rotations and the use of biopesticides are essential for the long-term sustainability of the agroecosystem in organic farming. We hypothesized that biopesticides and undersown cover crops (crimson (incarnate) clover (Trifolium incarnatum Broth.), hairy (winter) vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and winter rye (Secale cereale L.)) are likely to have a positive impact on soil agrophysical and biological properties. Soil shear strength, soil aggregate–size distribution, plant root dry biomass and number and biomass of earthworms were determined at the end of the plant growing season. We concluded that the application of biopesticides and growing of undersown cover crops decreased soil shear strength and increased the percentage of macro-aggregates (0.25–10 mm) in the plough layer. In the plots with cover crops, plant root biomass was found to be significantly higher by a factor of 1.9 to 3.5, compared to the plots without cover crops. The application of biopesticides and undersown cover crops did not significantly affect the number and biomass of earthworms in the soil. The abundance of earthworms was more influenced by meteorological conditions.
The aim of the study was to examine the mediating role that work motivation plays in the relationship between perceived work addiction of parents and their adult child’s work addiction. The sample was comprised of 537 participants working in different Lithuanian organizations that were selected on the basis of the convenience principle. Data were collected by means of online self-administered questionnaires. To test a mediation model, a structural equation modeling was performed. It was found that perceived work addiction of both mother and father was related to higher levels of work addiction of their adult child. The results also indicated that perceived work addiction of the father was related to increased work addiction in an adult child through higher levels of extrinsic motivation as a partial mediator. The indirect effect of perceived work addiction of the mother (via extrinsic motivation) was not significant. As was expected, the indirect relationship between work addiction in parents and their adult child via intrinsic motivation was not significant. This study demonstrates that integrating both family-related and motivational variables may provide relevant insights into the nature of and mechanisms underlying work addiction and that studies in this field deserve to be further developed in future research.
The increasing production of renewable gases has been driving attention to perennial energy crop production, particularly the problem of choosing an attractive and effective way to produce the supply chain from the farmer to the biogas plant. The production of perennial energy crops for renewable gases may provide an excellent chance for a sustained bioeconomy and help to minimize the total environmental effect of the section. This study aims to demonstrate the scenarios associated with the production of five perennial energy crops, namely, Miscanthus, Switchgrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Common Sainfoin, and Lucerne, for renewable gases in the supply chain. The investigation was carried out utilizing cost-benefit methodology, during which a net benefit identification was executed by comparing the internal rate of return (IRR), payback period (PBT), and net present value (NPV), in addition to the benefit-cost ratio (RBC). According to the results, the best and most attractive perennial energy crops for biogas production include Miscanthus and Switchgrass. Perennial Ryegrass, Common Sainfoin, and Lucerne are not attractive crops for the supply chain of renewable gases. The earned revenue is too small to cover the costs of cultivation.
Though journalism remains relevant in many European democracies, it is not the dominant source of news for many groups of people. Newly arising dynamic mediated communication ecosystems run on user engagement and information choices, which require informed agency. Training of such a capability is assumed on the side of professional journalism. In the small Baltic nations, however, market-driven problems act as a permanent risk factor against both the democratic functioning of media and engaging the citizenry. The Baltic publics experience the deficiency of public arenas for their exercises in trust and confidence, and exposures of feelings of social solidarity.
Increasing species diversity is considered a promising strategy to mitigate the negative impacts of global change on forests. However, the interactions between regional climate conditions and species-mixing effects on climate-growth relationships and drought resistance remain poorly documented. In this study, we investigated the patterns of species-mixing effects over a large gradient of environmental conditions throughout Europe for European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), two species with contrasted ecological traits. We hypothesized that across large geographical scales, the difference of climate-growth relationships and drought resistance between pure and mixed stands would be dependent on regional climate. We used tree ring chronologies derived from 1143 beech and 1164 pine trees sampled in 30 study sites, each composed of one mixed stand of beech and pine and of the two corresponding pure stands located in similar site conditions. For each site and stand, we used Bootstrapped Correlation Coefficients (BCCs) on standardized chronologies and growth reduction during drought years on raw chronologies to analyze the difference in climate-tree growth relationships and resistance to drought between pure and mixed stands. We found consistent large-scale spatial patterns of climate-growth relationships. Those patterns were similar for both species. With the exception of the driest climates where pure and mixed beech stands tended to display differences in growth correlation with the main climatic drivers, the mixing effects on the BCCs were highly variable, resulting in the lack of a coherent response to mixing. No consistent species-mixing effect on drought resistance was found within and across climate zones. On average, mixing had no significant effect on drought resistance for neither species, yet it increased pine resistance in sites with higher climatic water balance in autumn. Also, beech and pine most often differed in the timing of their drought response within similar sites, irrespective of the regional climate, which might increase the temporal stability of growth in mixed compared to pure stands. Our results showed that the impact of species mixing on tree response to climate did not strongly differ between groups of sites with distinct climate characteristics and climate-growth relationships, indicating the interacting influences of species identity, stand characteristics, drought events characteristics as well as local site conditions.
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3,719 members
Robert van Voren
  • Department of Political Science
Vytautas Tamutis
  • Botanical Garden Division of Dendrology and Phytopathology Sciences
Tomas Krilavičius
  • Faculty of Informatics
Audrius Maruska
  • Instrumental Analysis Open Access Centre
Vida Mildaziene
  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences
Kaunas, Lithuania