- 1. Efficiency of greenhouse gas emission reduction measures in sheep farming
The livestock sector is a major contributor to anthropogenic GHG emissions. Due to their digestive characteristics, ruminants, including sheep, are one of the most important sources of GHG emissions in agriculture. Therefore, in order to meet the ambitious targets set by the green course, it is essential to identify key measures to reduce GHG emissions and ensure the efficient development of sustainable production without compromising animal productivity and welfare. A number of studies have been carried out to explain the effectiveness of such measures in the dairy cattle sector, and intensive research is being launched in the beef cattle sector as well, but very little research has been done in the sheep sector and key questions remain. Therefore, identifying key measures to reduce GHG emissions from sheep and their effectiveness remains one of the key challenges for sustainable agricultural development and meeting climate change commitments.
Scientific supervisor dr. Violeta Juškienė
- 2. Studies on the effects of biologically active substances on the reproductive performance of rams
Reproductive efficiency is one of the key factors determining profitability in animal husbandry. Artificial insemination is an essential method for animal production industry, enabling the introduction of valuable reproductive and productive genetic backgrounds into breeding programs and the efficient use of the most genetically valuable rams. However, insemination with frozen-thawed sperm is not widely used in sheep breeding due to reduced pregnancy rate and more sophisticated insemination methods. The high sensitivity of ram sperm to cryopreservation reduces their survival and transport in the female reproductive tract highlighting the need for improved semen quality, cryosurvival and freezing methods in this species. The aim of the research is to investigate the effect of various biologically active substances on the productive and reproductive properties of rams and to evaluate the changes in sperm cryofreezability.
Scientific supervisor dr. Artūras Šiukščius
- 3. Combined effects of environmental pollution and meteorological factors on cardiovascular mortality in urban middle-aged and elderly population
The health problems of middle-aged and older people are becoming more and more relevant, as the number of older people in the world has been increasing in recent years. Major CVD, as ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke remains one of the major causes of disability and mortality in the middle-aged and elderly. As the age increases, the risk of developing various chronic non-infectious and other metabolic diseases increases and at the same time increases the risk of CVD mortality. In the world due to unhealthy life style there are a relatively high prevalence of risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases, especially of CVD, among the middle-aged and elderly population. Among the risk factors for CVD, lifestyle risk factors predominate, but there are other risk factors for the increase in the number of CVD. Other chronic metabolic conditions that aggravate the course of CVD and worsen the prognosis of CVD also contribute to middle age and older age. The unfavorable external environment (outdoor pollution and adverse meteorological conditions) is also contributing to the increasing mortality from CVDs, which further increases the risk of CVD mortality. In some urbanized countries life expectancy due to environmental pollution reduces about 10 years. Particulate matter levels, nitrogen and sulfur oxide levels, carbon monoxide, benzene, and ozone levels can determine the rapid effects of CVD finding and increase the risk of CVD death. With increasing levels of particulate matter, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, levels of carbon monoxide, benzene and ozone in ambient air, which may lead to faster exposure to CVDs and an increased risk of death from CVDs. Individuals with multiple chronic diseases, middle-aged and older individuals, females are at higher risk of developing CVD and dying from CVD. Adverse meteorological conditions may also increase the impact of environmental pollution on the risk of CVD diseases and increase the risk of CVD mortality. The combined effects of air pollution and adverse meteorological factors on the risk of mortality from CVD will be investigated. This work will aim to identify the major meteorological and air pollution determinants on mortality from CVD (mortality from IHD, stroke and others CVD), to develop models for mortality risk assessment and prognosis for CVD mortality, considering the factors analyzed and to develop recommendations for reducing mortality from CVD in the middle-aged and elderly population. Reducing mortality from CVD could effectively reduce health care costs for middle and older people. This work will have practical implications for improving the quality of life of middle and older people and for taking preventive measures to reduce health risks.
Supervisor: prof. R. Radišauskas, MD, Phd. Institute of Cardiology, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
4. Overweight and obesity in the pediatric population aged 7 to 18 years: risk factors and the role of weight change in predicting the risk of chronic disease.
Epidemiological studies suggest that human health, its strengthening depends on the attitudes of healthy life, which are formed in childhood, adolescence and youth, and if this does not happen, the initial first risk factors of chronic diseases appear during these periods of life. The researchers state that the risk factors occurring at a young age become even more pronounced at maturity and cause the development of many chronic diseases. Some of them – cardiovascular diseases, which the morbidity is the largest in the world at the present time. Overweight and obesity – one of the main risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, so early identification of elevated body weight and clarification and correction of its risk factors can be the guarantee of a long and productive life. The aim of the study: to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among schoolchildren aged 7 to 18 years, to analyse possible demographic, lifestyle, behavioural, genetic risk factors and to assess the significance of changes in body weight for arterial blood pressure. Most of the data from 3,800 children and adolescents of the aforementioned age have been collected for the planned dissertation. Anthropometric measurements were performed to assess overweight and obesity. Height, weight, waist, hip, neck, mid-upper arm circumferences were measured, and body fat and muscle percentages were determined. Schoolchildren completed questionnaires for identifying and assessing of the risk factors. The final stage of the research will be carried out, and the saliva of the schoolchildren will be collected for genetic research. It would be very interesting to collect similar data from the doctoral student’s country and to compare the countries’ relevance of the problem, dietary principles, and other risk factors for obesity and increased ABP.
Supervisor of the dissertation: doc. dr. Virginija Dulskienė, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Medical Academy, Institute of Cardiology