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Maternal systemic inflammation during pregnancy may restrict embryo−fetal growth, but the extent of this effect remains poorly established in undernourished populations. In a cohort of 653 maternal−newborn dyads participating in a multi-armed, micronutrient supplementation trial in southern Nepal, we investigated associations between maternal inflammation, assessed by serum α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein, in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and newborn weight, length and head and chest circumferences. Median (IQR) maternal concentrations in α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein in the first and third trimesters were 0.65 (0.53–0.76) and 0.40 (0.33–0.50) g/l, and 0.56 (0.25–1.54) and 1.07 (0.43–2.32) mg/l, respectively. α1-acid glycoprotein was inversely associated with birth size: weight, length, head circumference and chest circumference were lower by 116 g (P = 2.3 × 10−6), and 0.45 (P = 3.1 × 10−5), 0.18 (P = 0.0191) and 0.48 (P = 1.7 × 10−7) cm, respectively, per 50% increase in α1-acid glycoprotein averaged across both trimesters. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, gestational age, nutritional and socio-economic status and daily micronutrient supplementation failed to alter any association. Serum C-reactive protein concentration was largely unassociated with newborn size. In rural Nepal, birth size was inversely associated with low-grade, chronic inflammation during pregnancy as indicated by serum α1-acid glycoprotein.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
Wave loading on marine structures is the major external force to be considered in the design of such structures. The accurate prediction of the nonlinear high-order components of the wave loading has been an unresolved challenging problem. In this paper, the nonlinear harmonic components of hydrodynamic forces on a bottom-mounted vertical cylinder are investigated experimentally. A large number of experiments were conducted in the Danish Hydraulic Institute shallow water wave basin on the cylinder, both on a flat bed and a sloping bed, as part of a European collaborative research project. High-quality data sets for focused wave groups have been collected for a wide range of wave conditions. The high-order harmonic force components are separated by applying the ‘phase-inversion’ method to the measured force time histories for a crest focused wave group and the same wave group inverted. This separation method is found to work well even for locally violent nearly-breaking waves formed from bidirectional wave pairs. It is also found that the
th-harmonic force scales with the
th power of the envelope of both the linear undisturbed free-surface elevation and the linear force component in both time variation and amplitude. This allows estimation of the higher-order harmonic shapes and time histories from knowledge of the linear component alone. The experiments also show that the harmonic structure of the wave loading on the cylinder is virtually unaltered by the introduction of a sloping bed, depending only on the local wave properties at the cylinder. Furthermore, our new experimental results reveal that for certain wave cases the linear loading is actually less than 40 % of the total wave loading and the high-order harmonics contribute more than 60 % of the loading. The significance of this striking new result is that it reveals the importance of high-order nonlinear wave loading on offshore structures and means that such loading should be considered in their design.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has been shown to be involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced immune responses in many mammal cells. Here, we suggest that the mTOR pathway is involved in the intestinal inflammatory responses evoked by LPS treatment in chicken embryos. The intestinal tissue from Specific pathogen free chick embryos was cultured in the presence of LPS for 2 h. Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytokines, and protein levels of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), mTOR and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) were determined. The results showed that LPS treatment increased sIgA concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. The mRNA levels of interleukine (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 were upregulated by LPS treatment (P<0.05). Lipopolysaccharide increased the phosphorylation of Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAPK and NF-κB (P<0.05) while decreasing the phosphorylation level of mTOR (P<0.05). Supplementation of leucine at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mM dose-dependently decreased sIgA production. Leucine supplementation at 40 mM restored the phosphorylation level of mTOR and p70S6K while suppressing the phosphorylation levels of NF-κB (P<0.05) and partially down-regulating the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and JNK. The transcription of IL-6 was significantly decreased by leucine supplementation. These results suggested that leucine could alleviate LPS-induced inflammatory responses by down-regulating NF-κB signaling pathway and evoking mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway, which may involve in the regulation of the intestinal immune system in chicken embryos.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
This study aims to investigate the climate–malaria associations in nine cities selected from malaria high-risk areas in China. Daily reports of malaria cases in Anhui, Henan, and Yunnan Provinces for 2005–2012 were obtained from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Generalized estimating equation models were used to quantify the city-specific climate–malaria associations. Multivariate random-effects meta-regression analyses were used to pool the city-specific effects. An inverted-U-shaped curve relationship was observed between temperatures, average relative humidity, and malaria. A 1 °C increase of maximum temperature (Tmax) resulted in 6·7% (95% CI 4·6–8·8%) to 15·8% (95% CI 14·1–17·4%) increase of malaria, with corresponding lags ranging from 7 to 45 days. For minimum temperature (Tmin), the effect estimates peaked at lag 0 to 40 days, ranging from 5·3% (95% CI 4·4–6·2%) to 17·9% (95% CI 15·6–20·1%). Malaria is more sensitive to Tmin in cool climates and Tmax in warm climates. The duration of lag effect in a cool climate zone is longer than that in a warm climate zone. Lagged effects did not vanish after an epidemic season but waned gradually in the following 2–3 warm seasons. A warming climate may potentially increase the risk of malaria resurgence in China.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
Dilute magnetic semiconductors are attractive due to their potential in spintronic devices. In this work, vanadium doped ZnO system has been studied to see its future as a dilute magnetic semiconductor. Vanadium doped ZnO thin films where vanadium percentage is 2, 3, and 5% are deposited by pulsed laser technique (PLD). The lattice parameter c derived from the (002) diffraction peak increases as vanadium content increases, suggesting vanadium substitution for Zn in ZnO lattice. Photoluminescence (PL) measurements at low temperature shows the emission peak at 3.30 eV which hint toward p-type doping in ZnO. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results show that vanadium exists in V2+ and V4+ valence state, which is in agreement with the XRD and PL results and support the vanadium doped ZnO phase. The ferromagnetic behavior also supports the formation of vanadium doped ZnO phase in thin film samples.
An outbreak of acute hepatitis recently occurred in a nursing home in Zhejiang Province, China. The objectives of this study were to confirm the outbreak and identify the aetiology, source and transmission patterns. All residents and staff in or near the nursing home during the period from 1 October 2014 to 21 May 2015 were investigated regarding hygiene and for epidemiological information including water and food (eating meat especially pork products). Serum and stool specimens were collected for detection of hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies using ELISA and RNA using RT–PCR. Samples that were RNA positive were genotyped. Of 185 senior residents and 24 staff in the nursing home, there were 37 laboratory-confirmed cases during the outbreak. Of these cases, 12 patients (three deaths) were symptomatic with jaundice, a common clinical symptom for hepatitis E infection. HEV strains were isolated from three cases and they formed a single cluster within genotype 4d. A case-control study was conducted to investigate potential risk factors for the outbreak and the results revealed that cases more often washed their dishes and rinsed their mouths using tap water than the controls (P < 0·05). Based on hygiene investigation and meteorological information, it is likely that HEV-infected sewage and faeces contaminated the water network on rainy days. Collectively, these results suggest that the outbreak of HEV genotype 4 infection was most likely caused by contaminated tap water rather than food.
While radiocarbon is widely applied in dating ancient samples, recent studies reveal that 14C concentrations in modern samples can also yield precise ages due to the atmospheric testing of thermonuclear devices between 1950 and 1963. 14C concentrations in both enamel and organic matter of 13 teeth from 2 areas in China were examined to evaluate and improve this method of forensic investigation. Choosing enamel near the cervix of the tooth can reduce the error caused by the difference between the sample formation time and whole enamel formation time because tooth enamel formations take a long time to complete. A proper regional data set will be helpful to get an accurate result when calculating the age of the sample (T1) by the CALIBomb program. By subtracting the enamel formation time (t), the birth date of an individual (T2) can be confirmed by enamel F14C from 2 teeth formed at different ages. Calculated enamel formation dates by 14C concentration are basically consistent with corresponding actual values, with a mean error of 1.9 yr for all results and 0.2 yr for the samples formed after AD 1960. This method is more effective for dating samples completed after AD 1960. We also found that 14C concentrations in organic matter of tooth roots are much lower than atmospheric concentrations in root formation years, suggesting that the organic material keeps turning over even after tooth formation is complete. This might be a potential tool for identification of death age to extract a proper component for 14C dating. We also observed that δ13C values between hydroxyapatite and organic matter indicate that isotopic fractionation during the biomineralization is 8–9%‰ more positive in mineral fractions than in organic matter.
Flexible electronics has emerged as a very promising field, in particular,wearable, bendable, and stretchable strain sensors with high sensitivity which could be used for human motion detection, sports performance monitoring, etc. In this paper, a highly stretchable and sensitive strain sensor composed of reduced graphene oxide foam and elastomer composite is fabricated by assembly and followed by a polymer immersing process. The strain sensor has demonstrated high stretchability and sensitivity. Furthermore, the device was employed for gauging muscle-induced strain which results in high sensitivity and reproducibility. The developed strain sensors showed great application potential in fields of biomechanical systems.
A fractional model generalized from the Zener model is proposed for the prediction of temperature-dependent free recovery behaviors of amorphous shape memory polymers (SMPs). This model differs from the Zener model in that it involves nonlinear differential equations of fractional, not integer, order. The theoretical solution based on this fractional model is utilized to simulate the isothermal and nonisothermal free recovery of an amorphous SMP compared with the one based on the Zener model. The results show a reasonable improvement in the prediction of the strain recovery response of SMP by the fractional calculus method.
Investigation into the phenomenon of resistive switching, a reversible change in electrical resistance by the application of a voltage bias, has given rise to the device fabrication, DC electrical testing, and cross sectional TEM/EELS characterization of nanoscale resistive switching devices. Typically, resistive switching devices are composed of a thin oxide layer between two conductive electrodes where applied bias can alter the resistance states. In a cross-bar array, nonlinearity of device I-V relation is a highly desirable characteristic that helps to mitigate the sneak path current leakage issue. Negative differential resistance (NDR) switching behavior offers such nonlinearity and has been observed in TaOx nanoscale devices utilizing certain electrode materials. To investigate this phenomenon, nanodevices were fabricated by sputtering TaOx onto TiN nanovias capped Nb electrodes. Cross sectional TEM/EELS were performed to reveal the physical and chemical changes in these devices to explore possible origins of nonlinear behavior when these top electrode materials are utilized with TaOx films.
Resistive switching, a reversible change in electrical resistance of a dielectric layer through the application of a voltage bias, has propelled a field of research to form improved non-volatile memory device. Tantalum oxide has been investigated as the dielectric component of resistive switching devices as a leading candidate for a few years. Presented here is a structural and chemical investigation of TaOx devices with 55nm in diameter in the virgin, forming on, and switched off (reset) states for comparison using cross sectional TEM techniques including HRTEM, and EELS to gain further understanding of this material system. The nanodevices imaged in this study were switched below 100µA. Unique features found in this study are in agreement with previous hypotheses made by various researchers based on X-ray fluorescence microscopy of micron-scale devices, indicating a variation in oxygen concentration around the switching area.
Due to its wide band-gap, Al2O3 is known to have a moderate leakage current and a good dielectric strength . Moreover, this dielectric has a fair permittivity and so constitutes interesting candidate as dielectric for Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM) capacitor. Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) allows obtaining a dense and thin Al2O3 amorphous layer. ALD limits problems of interlayer diffusion because Al2O3 is deposited underneath 400°C  which is essential when MIM are co-integrated with temperature sensitive structures.
The aim of our investigation is to attempt to tie aluminum oxide properties dielectric with reliability from the help of capacitors of the entire wafer. In this way, conduction mechanism analysis and capacitance measurements were statistically led on the wafer. We particularly focus our study on the quantification of defects and their influence on the leakage current in planar capacitor. Firstly, to estimate the fixed oxide charges densities in the bulk of Al2O3 and to analyze conduction mechanism, Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) (Al/Al2O3/HR-Si) is developed. Then, a MIM stack (Al/TiN/Al2O3/TiN/HR-Si) is developed in order to evaluate the leakage current and the electrical reliability of thin films Al2O3 based MIM capacitors. Different performances are observed according to the area on the wafer. That could be explained by the quality of the Al2O3 layer and the interfaces between TiN and the oxide.
Constitutive models based on fractional calculus are utilized to investigate the viscoelastic response of thermally activated shape memory polymers (SMPs). Fractional calculus-based viscoelastic equations are fitted to experimental data existing in literature compared with traditional viscoelastic models. In addition, a fractional rheology model is applied to simulate the isothermal recovery of an amorphous SMP. The fit results show a significant improvement in the description of the strain recovery response of SMP by the fractional calculus method.
Astronomical telescopes continue to demand high-endurance high-reflectivity silver mirrors that can withstand years of exposure in earth-based observatory environments. The University of California Observatories Astronomical Coatings Lab has undertaken development of protected silver coatings suitable for telescope mirrors that maintain high reflectivity at wavelengths from 340 nm through the mid-infrared spectrum. We present promising results of enhanced corrosion barriers using plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) of aluminum oxide (AlOx) as a top barrier layer. Novel coating recipes developed with ion-assisted electron beam deposition (IAEBD) of materials including yttrium fluoride and oxides of yttrium, tantalum, and silicon are used to compare the endurance of physical vapor deposition-grown barriers with PEALD-grown barriers of similar thickness. Samples of these mirror coatings were covered with conformal layers of AlOx deposited by PEALD using trimethylaluminum as a metal precursor and plasma-activated oxygen as an oxidant gas. Samples of coating recipes with and without PEALD oxide undergo aggressive high temperature/high humidity (HTHH) environmental testing in which samples are exposed to an environment of 80% humidity at 80°C for ten days in a simple test set-up. HTHH testing show visible results suggesting that the PEALD oxide offers enhanced robust protection against chemical corrosion and moisture from an accelerated aging environment. Mirror samples are further characterized by reflectivity/absorption before and after deposition of oxide coatings. AlOx is suitable for many applications and has been the initial material choice for this study.