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Rapid advances in ‘omics’ technologies have paved the way forward to an era where more ‘precise’ approaches – ‘precision’ nutrition – which leverage data on genetic variability alongside the traditional indices, have been put forth as the state-of-the-art solution to redress the effects of malnutrition across the life course. We purport that this inference is premature and that it is imperative to first review and critique the existing evidence from large-scale epidemiological findings. We set out to provide a critical evaluation of findings from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in the roadmap to precision nutrition, focusing on GWAS of micronutrient disposition. We found that a large number of loci associated with biomarkers of micronutrient status have been identified. Mean estimates of heritability of micronutrient status ranged between 20 and 35 % for minerals, 56–59 % for water-soluble and 30–70 % for fat-soluble vitamins. With some exceptions, the majority of the identified genetic variants explained little of the overall variance in status for each micronutrient, ranging between 1·3 and 8 % (minerals), <0·1–12 % (water-soluble) and 1·7–2·3 % for (fat-soluble) vitamins. However, GWAS have provided some novel insight into mechanisms that underpin variability in micronutrient status. Our findings highlight obvious gaps that need to be addressed if the full scope of precision nutrition is ever to be realised, including research aimed at (i) dissecting the genetic basis of micronutrient deficiencies or ‘response’ to intake/supplementation (ii) identifying trans-ethnic and ethnic-specific effects (iii) identifying gene–nutrient interactions for the purpose of unravelling molecular ‘behaviour’ in a range of environmental contexts.
We propose a new framework to evaluate input–output amplification properties of nonlinear models of wall-bounded shear flows, subject to both square integrable and persistent disturbances. We focus on flows that are spatially invariant in one direction and whose base flow can be described by a polynomial, e.g. streamwise-constant channel, Couette and pipe flows. Our methodology is based on the notion of dissipation inequalities in control theory and provides a single unified approach for examining flow properties such as energy growth, worst-case disturbance amplification and stability to persistent excitations (i.e. input-to-state stability). It also enables direct analysis of the nonlinear partial differential equation rather than of a discretized form of the equations, thereby removing the possibility of truncation errors. We demonstrate how to numerically compute the input–output properties of the flow as the solution of a (convex) optimization problem. We apply our theoretical and computational tools to plane Couette, channel and pipe flows. Our results demonstrate that the proposed framework leads to results that are consistent with theoretical and experimental amplification scalings obtained in the literature.
To investigate the effect of a written prayer technique on the anxiety of mothers of children with cancer.
This clinical trial recruited 90 mothers of children with cancer admitted to the Medical Centre of Tehran. Using a convenience sampling method, we randomly assigned the participants to two groups: control (n = 45) and intervention (n = 45). Data were collected through the Spielberger's anxiety scale and a demographic questionnaire. Maternal anxiety was measured before the intervention, immediately after the three-day intervention, and five weeks after the intervention. We used a writing technique in the intervention and control groups for 20 minutes over three consecutive days. In the intervention group, participants wrote down their sincere desires and wishes that they demanded from God without any worry or stress. The control group spent 20 minutes writing their normal daily schedules; for example, feeding their children or changing their children's clothes. During the three consecutive days of intervention, we asked both groups not to worry about grammar or spelling errors. Finally, the data were analyzed using descriptive and analytical statistical methods.
A statistically significant difference was observed between the two groups (intervention and control mean, 34.9 ± 9.9 and 47.9 ± 16.2, respectively) relative to anxiety after the intervention (p < 0.001). After five weeks, the intervention group continued to exhibit significantly reduced anxiety compared with the control group (intervention and control mean, 34.7 ± 9.6 and 48.5 ± 16.4; p < 0.001).
Significance of results
The written prayer technique appears to be an effective, efficient, cost-effective, and practical method for reducing anxiety in mothers of children with cancer.
Achieving the asymptotic tracking control of electrically driven robot manipulators is a challenging problem due to approximation/modelling error arising from parametric and non-parametric uncertainty. Thanks to the specific property of Taylor series systems as they are universal approximators, this research outlines two robust control schemes using an adaptive Taylor series system for robot manipulators, including actuators' dynamics. First, an indirect adaptive controller is designed such as to approximate an uncertain continuous function by using a Taylor series system in the proposed control law. Second, a direct adaptive scheme is established to employ the Taylor series system as a controller. In both controllers, not only a robustifying term is constructed using the estimation of the upper bound of approximation/modelling error, but the closed-loop stability, as well as the asymptotic convergence of joint-space tracking error and its time derivative, is ensured. Due to the design of the Taylor series system in the tracking error space, our technique clearly has an advantage over fuzzy and neural network-based control methods in terms of the small number of tuning parameters and inputs. The proposed methods are simple, model free in decentralized forms, no need for uncertainty bounding functions and perfectly capable of dealing with parametric and non-parametric uncertainty and measurement noise. Finally, simulation results are introduced to confirm the efficiency of the proposed control methods.
Very recently, we added water to a dry texturized starter diet and found substantial improvements in calf performance during summer, leading to the hypothesis that the wet starter diet would also benefit calf performance during winter. Forty-five 3-day-old male Holstein calves (BW 43.4±3.4 kg) were blocked by initial BW and distributed randomly to one of three starter diets (1 calf per pen; 15 pens per treatment) that differed only in moisture content as 90%, 75% and 50% dry matter (DM; DM90, DM75 and DM50, respectively). The starter diet comprised 55.1% ground ingredients (soybean meal, barley and corn gluten meal), 21.9% whole corn, 10% rolled barley and 10% chopped alfalfa hay. The mean ambient temperature averaged 2.1±0.9°C during the 70-day experiment. Calves were weaned at day 50 of the study. Although starter feed intake remained unaffected by treatment, the calves receiving DM75 and DM50 consumed more starter feed (DM basis) than those receiving DM90 diet during the first 20 days of the experiment. Body weight at weaning exhibited a quadratic response with the heaviest weaning weight (76.8 kg) occurring when calves consumed DM75 diet. Adding water to the dry starter diet tended to linearly increase final BW. Average daily gain during the pre- (0.67 kg/day) and post-weaning (1.22 kg/day) periods was the greatest for calves receiving DM75 and DM50, respectively. Although feed efficiency during the pre-weaning and overall periods did not differ across the treatments, a quadratic effect was detected in the post-weaning feed efficiency, with the lowest value being observed with DM75 diet. No difference was noted on skeletal growth parameters measured on days 50 and 70. Adding water to the dry starter diet linearly increased total volatile fatty acids concentration in the rumen. No difference among treatments existed in calf behavior recorded on days 35 and 70. As moisture content of the starter diet increased, the extent of sorting for long particles (>2 mm) and against fine particles (<0.125 mm) decreased. During the 70-day winter trial, adding water to the dry texturized starter diet with 10% chopped alfalfa hay resulted in a higher feed intake during the first weeks of life, a quadratic tendency toward improved growth rate during the pre-weaning period, and possibly a more functional rumen fermentation. A wet starter diet with 75% DM in the physical form offered in this study can be recommended to improve calf performance during winter.
Frequency- and time-domain characteristics as well as indoor propagation channel impulse response of a compact dual band-notched ultra-wideband (UWB) slot antenna are investigated in this paper. The antenna consists of a narrow rectangular radiation patch and a rectangular wide slot in the modified ground plane. A pair of L-shaped stubs are connected to the radiation patch to obtain band-notched property in WLAN band and a narrow straight stub is placed on the back side of the substrate to create band-notched characteristics in X-band downlink satellite communication system. Moreover, two small parasitic strips are added to the radiation patch to enhance the bandwidth (BW) of the antenna up to 14 GHz. A comprehensive study on time-domain and indoor propagation channel characteristics of the proposed antenna is also presented throughout the paper. A ray-tracing approach based on geometrical optics is applied to analyze the indoor channel characteristics. The designed antenna not only has a wide BW and compact size but also has appropriate radiation and time-domain characteristics over the antenna operating BW. The measured and simulated results are in good agreement. These advantages make the proposed antenna as a desirable option for UWB impulse radio applications.
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D<25 nmol/l) is extremely common in Western-dwelling South Asians but evidence regarding vitamin D supplement usage in this group is very limited. This work identifies demographic, dietary and lifestyle predictors associated with vitamin D supplement use.
Cross-sectional analysis of baseline vitamin D supplement use data.
UK Biobank cohort.
In total, 8024 South Asians (Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani), aged 40–69 years.
Twenty-three per cent of men and 39 % of women (P<0·001) (22 % of Bangladeshis, 32 % of Indians, 25 % of Pakistanis (P<0·001)) took a vitamin-D-containing supplement. Median vitamin D intakes from diet were low at 1·0–3·0 µg/d, being highest in Bangladeshis and lowest in Indians (P<0·001). Logistic regression modelling showed that females had a higher odds of vitamin D supplement use than males (OR=2·02; 95 % CI 1·79, 2·28). A lower supplement usage was seen in younger persons (40–60 years v. >60 years: OR=0·75; 95 % CI 0·65, 0·86) and in those living outside Greater London (OR=0·53 to 0·77), with borderline trends for a lower BMI, higher oily fish intake and higher household income associated with increased odds of vitamin D supplement use.
Vitamin D supplements were not used by most South Asians and intakes from diet alone are likely to be insufficient to maintain adequate vitamin D status. Public health strategies are now urgently required to promote the use of vitamin D supplements in these specific UK South Asian subgroups.
Microwave and millimeter-wave reflectometry is one of the potential techniques for the diagnosis and detection of biological abnormalities, such as subcutaneous masses or cancerous tumors in human body. In this paper, a high-quality microwave sensor based on planar misrostrip resonator is designed, fabricated, and successfully tested with different kinds of biological samples. The proposed sensor has unique properties such as small size, simple fabrication, non-contact with a sample, excellent de-coupling from surroundings, and high microwave power is directly coupled into the tissue. Two experiments are performed for the detection of visible and hidden “lipoma” (fat masses), and minimum size of “lipoma” that is diagnosed by the sensor is obtained as well. In this regard, a two-dimensional image of hidden “lipomas” with amplitude contrast about 30 dB and frequency shifts contrast about 60 MHz at a λ/10 (at 13.5 GHz) stand-off distance is provided. Finally, a measurement scenario for the detection of skin cancer based on the artificial model using different layers of raw chicken with different water content is described. Results show that the proposed microscope is easy to fabricate and provide a low-cost solution for fast and accurate skin cancer detection.
To examine the potential links between activity spaces, the food retail environment and food shopping behaviours for the population of young, urban adults.
Participants took part in the Canada Food Study, which collected information on demographics, food behaviour, diet and health, as well as an additional smartphone study that included a seven-day period of logging GPS (global positioning system) location and food purchases. Using a time-weighted, continuous representation of participant activity spaces generated from GPS trajectory data, the locations of food purchases and a geocoded food retail data set, negative binomial regression models were used to explore what types of food retailers participants were exposed to and where food purchases were made.
Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax, Canada.
Young adults aged 16–30 years (n 496). These participants were a subset of the larger Canada Food Study.
Demographics, household food shopper status and city of residence were significantly associated with different levels of exposure to various types of food retailers. Food shopping behaviours were also statistically significantly associated with demographics, the activity space-based food environment, self-reported health and city of residence.
The study confirms that food behaviours are related to activity space-based food environment measures, which provide a more comprehensive accounting of food retail exposure than home-based measures. In addition, exposure to food retail and food purchasing behaviours of an understudied population are described.
The constrained coverage path planning addressed in this paper refers to finding an optimal path traversed by a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to maximize its coverage on a designated area, considering the time limit and the feasibility of the path. The UAV starts from its current position to assess the condition of a new entry to the area. Nevertheless, the UAV needs to comply with the coverage task, simultaneously and therefore, it is likely that the optimal policy would not be the shortest path in such a condition, since a wider area can be covered through a longer path. From the other side, along with a longer path, the UAV may not reach to the target in due time. In addition, the speed of UAV is assumed to be constant and as a result, a feasible path needs to be smooth enough to support this assumption. The problem is modeled as an Epsilon-constraint optimization in which a coverage function has to be maximized, considering the constraints on the length and the smoothness of the path. For this purpose, a new genetic path planning algorithm with adaptive operator selection is proposed to solve such a complicated constrained optimization problem. The proposed approach has been compared to some classical approaches like, a modified version of the Artificial Potential Field and a modified version of Dijkstra's algorithm (a graph-based approach). All the methods are implemented and tested in different scenarios and their performances are evaluated via the simulation results.
In recent years a number of scholars have proposed more or less detailed schemas of the formation of the Zoroastrian ritual. These schemas offer accounts of the arrangement of the texts in the liturgy, the process of its formation, and even its function from an endogenous perspective. One way or another, they argue that the official Zoroastrian liturgy is an integrated ritual with a coherent text, and that the function of the ritual and the intention behind the arrangement of the texts can be determined by means of philological, literary and comparative analyses. The questions of formation and meaning of the Zoroastrian liturgy these scholars have placed on the agenda are important not only for the study of Zoroastrianism but also for the history of religions and ritual theory. I consider their accounts with respect to the texts they invoke and the methods they use, and show that their arguments suffer from fatal flaws.
Late Cenozoic basalts of the Bazman volcanic field, Makran volcanic arc of
southern Iran, contain two types of plagioclase feldspar phenocrysts with
significant textural and compositional differences. The most common type is
rather homogeneous with only weak zoning and maximum An content of 83 mol.%.
The less common type of phenocryst exhibits complex zoning and, other than
rims, is close in composition and similar in texture to those of associated
andesites. This type of plagioclase phenocryst is characterized by an
engulfed core with oscillatory zoning, which is overgrown by sieve-textured,
moderately zoned mantle, and a relatively narrow rim. In both rock types,
the An content of the core is between 40 and 63 mol.% with abrupt
fluctuations. No significant correlation between An content and MgO, FeO,
SrO and BaO is apparent in the core of phenocrysts in basalts. Anorthite
content of the core of phenocrysts in andesites inversely correlates with
SrO and BaO. The mantle of plagioclase phenocrysts in both rock types is
characterized by sharp increases of An (up to 41 mol.%), MgO, and FeO, in
the contact with the core. Anorthite correlates positively with MgO and FeO
in the mantle, but correlation between An and SrO and BaO is not evident. It
is assumed that plagioclase phenocrysts originally crystallizing from the
host andesitic magma were interrupted by mixing with a hotter, juvenile
basaltic magma. The resulting changes in temperature, composition, and
H2O content of the surrounding melt caused compositional
zonation, and the development of resorption in the cores and sieve texture
in the mantles. As the An contents of the rims of the phenocrysts resemble
the average An content of the groundmass plagioclases in both rock types, it
is thought that the two involved magmas gained their independent physical
identity before the formation of compositionally-distinct rims of
Durum wheat (Triticum durum) is one of the most important cereal crops in the Mediterranean region; however, its cultivation suffers from low yield due to environmental constrains. The main objectives of this study were to (i) assess genotype × environment (GE) interaction for grain yield in rainfed durum wheat and to (ii) analyse the relationships of GE interaction with genotypic/meteorological variables by the additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) model. Grain yield and some related traits were evaluated in 25 durum wheat genotypes (landrace, breeding line, old and new varieties) in 12 rainfed environments differing in winter air temperature. The AMMI analysis of variance indicated that the environment had highest contribution (84.3% of total variation) to the variation in grain yield. The first interaction principal component axis (IPCA1) explained 77.5% of GE interaction sum of squares (SS), and its effect was 5.5 times greater than the genotype effect, indicating that the IPCA1 contributed remarkably to the total GE interaction. Large GE interaction for grain yield was detected, indicating specific adaptation of genotypes. While the postdictive success method indicated AMMI-4 as the best model, the predictive success one suggested AMMI-1. The AMMI biplot analysis confirmed a rank change interaction among the locations, indicating the presence of strong and unpredictable rank-change location-by-year interactions for locations. In contrast to landraces and old varieties, the breeding lines with high yield performance had high phenotypic plasticity under varying environmental conditions. Results indicated that the GE interaction was associated with the interaction of heading date, plant height, rainfall, air temperature and freezing days.