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Schizotypy refers to schizophrenia-like traits below the clinical threshold in the general population. The pathological development of schizophrenia has been postulated to evolve from the initial coexistence of ‘brain disconnection’ and ‘brain connectivity compensation’ to ‘brain connectivity decompensation’.
In this study, we examined the brain connectivity changes associated with schizotypy by combining brain white matter structural connectivity, static and dynamic functional connectivity analysis of diffusion tensor imaging data and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data. A total of 87 participants with a high level of schizotypal traits and 122 control participants completed the experiment. Group differences in whole-brain white matter structural connectivity probability, static mean functional connectivity strength, dynamic functional connectivity variability and stability among 264 brain sub-regions of interests were investigated.
We found that individuals with high schizotypy exhibited increased structural connectivity probability within the task control network and within the default mode network; increased variability and decreased stability of functional connectivity within the default mode network and between the auditory network and the subcortical network; and decreased static mean functional connectivity strength mainly associated with the sensorimotor network, the default mode network and the task control network.
These findings highlight the specific changes in brain connectivity associated with schizotypy and indicate that both decompensatory and compensatory changes in structural connectivity within the default mode network and the task control network in the context of whole-brain functional disconnection may be an important neurobiological correlate in individuals with high schizotypy.
In this paper, the generation of relativistic electron mirrors (REM) and the reflection of an ultra-short laser off the mirrors are discussed, applying two-dimension particle-in-cell simulations. REMs with ultra-high acceleration and expanding velocity can be produced from a solid nanofoil illuminated normally by an ultra-intense femtosecond laser pulse with a sharp rising edge. Chirped attosecond pulse can be produced through the reflection of a counter-propagating probe laser off the accelerating REM. In the electron moving frame, the plasma frequency of the REM keeps decreasing due to its rapid expansion. The laser frequency, on the contrary, keeps increasing due to the acceleration of REM and the relativistic Doppler shift from the lab frame to the electron moving frame. Within an ultra-short time interval, the two frequencies will be equal in the electron moving frame, which leads to the resonance between laser and REM. The reflected radiation near this interval and corresponding spectra will be amplified due to the resonance. Through adjusting the arriving time of the probe laser, a certain part of the reflected field could be selectively amplified or depressed, leading to the selective adjustment of the corresponding spectra.
Antibiotics are designed to affect gut microbiota and subsequently gut homeostasis. However, limited information exists about short- and long-term effects of early antibiotic intervention (EAI) on gut homeostasis (especially for the small intestine) of pigs following antibiotic withdrawal. We investigated the impact of EAI on specific bacterial communities, microbial metabolites and mucosal immune parameters in the small intestine of later-growth-stage pigs fed with diets differing in CP levels. Eighteen litters of piglets were fed creep feed with or without antibiotics from day 7 to day 42. At day 42, pigs within each group were offered a normal- or low-CP diet. Five pigs per group were slaughtered at days 77 and 120. At day 77, EAI increased Enterobacteriaceae counts in the jejunum and ileum and decreased Bifidobacterium counts in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). Moreover, tryptamine, putrescine, secretory immunoglobulin (Ig) A and IgG concentrations in the ileum and interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA and protein levels in the jejunum and ileum were decreased in pigs with EAI (P < 0.05). At day 120, EAI only suppressed Clostridium cluster XIVa counts in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). These results suggest that EAI has a short-term effect on specific bacterial communities, amino acid decarboxylation and mucosal immune parameters in the small intestine (particularly in the ileum). At days 77 and 120, feeding a low-CP diet affected Bifidobacterium, Clostridium cluster IV, Clostridium cluster XIVa and Enterobacteriaceae counts in the jejunum or ileum (P < 0.05). Moreover, feeding a low-CP diet increased the concentrations of Igs in the jejunum and decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines levels in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). At day 120, feeding a low-CP diet increased short-chain fatty acid concentrations, reduced ammonia and spermidine concentrations and up-regulated genes related to barrier function in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). These results suggest that feeding a low-CP diet changes specific bacterial communities and intestinal metabolite concentrations and modifies mucosal immune parameters. These findings contribute to our understanding on the duration of the impact of EAI on gut homeostasis and may provide basis data for nutritional modification in young pigs after antibiotic treatment.
Accurate elemental quantification of materials by X-ray detection techniques in electron microscopes or microprobes can only be carried out if the appropriate mass absorption coefficients (MACs) are known. With continuous advancements in experimental techniques, databases of MACs must be expanded in order to account for new detection limits. Soft X-ray emission spectroscopy (SXES) is a characterization technique that can detect emitted X-rays whose energies are in the range of 10 eV to 2 keV by using a varied-line-spaced grating. Transitions producing soft X-rays can be detected and accurate MACs are required for use in quantification. This work uses Monte Carlo modeling coupled with multivoltage SXES measurements in an electron probe micro-analyzer (EPMA) to compute MACs for the L2,3-M and Li Kα transitions in a variety of aluminum alloys. Electron depth distribution curves obtained by the software MC X-ray are used in a parametrized fitting equation. The MACs are calculated using a least-squares regression analysis. It is shown that X-ray distribution cross-sections at such low energies need to take into account additional contributions, such as Coster–Kronig transitions, Auger yields, and wave function effects in order to be accurate.
The etiology of depression remains poorly understood. Changes in blood lipid levels were reported to be associated with depression and suicide, however study findings were mixed.
We performed a two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) analysis to investigate the causal relationship between blood lipids and depression phenotypes, based on large-scale GWAS summary statistics (N = 188 577/480 359 for lipid/depression traits respectively). Five depression-related phenotypes were included, namely major depression (MD; from PGC), depressive symptoms (DS; from SSGAC), longest duration and number of episodes of low mood, and history of deliberate self-harm (DSH)/suicide (from UK Biobank). MR was conducted with inverse-variance weighted (MR-IVW), Egger and Generalised Summary-data-based MR (GSMR) methods.
There was consistent evidence that triglyceride (TG) is causally associated with DS (MR-IVW β for one-s.d. increase in TG = 0.0346, 95% CI 0.0114–0.0578), supported by MR-IVW and GSMR and multiple r2 clumping thresholds. We also observed relatively consistent associations of TG with DSH/suicide (MR-Egger OR = 2.514, CI 1.579–4.003). There was moderate evidence for positive associations of TG with MD and the number of episodes of low mood. For HDL-c, we observed moderate evidence for causal associations with DS and MD. LDL-c and TC did not show robust causal relationships with depression phenotypes, except for weak evidence that LDL-c is inversely related to DSH/suicide. We did not detect significant associations when depression phenotypes were treated as exposures.
This study provides evidence to a causal relationship between TG, and to a lesser extent, altered cholesterol levels with depression phenotypes. Further studies on its mechanistic basis and the effects of lipid-lowering therapies are warranted.
At present, analysis of diet and bladder cancer (BC) is mostly based on the intake of individual foods. The examination of food combinations provides a scope to deal with the complexity and unpredictability of the diet and aims to overcome the limitations of the study of nutrients and foods in isolation. This article aims to demonstrate the usability of supervised data mining methods to extract the food groups related to BC. In order to derive key food groups associated with BC risk, we applied the data mining technique C5.0 with 10-fold cross-validation in the BLadder cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants study, including data from eighteen case–control and one nested case–cohort study, compromising 8320 BC cases out of 31 551 participants. Dietary data, on the eleven main food groups of the Eurocode 2 Core classification codebook, and relevant non-diet data (i.e. sex, age and smoking status) were available. Primarily, five key food groups were extracted; in order of importance, beverages (non-milk); grains and grain products; vegetables and vegetable products; fats, oils and their products; meats and meat products were associated with BC risk. Since these food groups are corresponded with previously proposed BC-related dietary factors, data mining seems to be a promising technique in the field of nutritional epidemiology and deserves further examination.
Previously the GABA(A) receptor beta-2 subunit gene GABRB2 was found to be associated with schizophrenia (SCZ). for SNPs and haplotypes in GRBRB2, the associations with bipolar disorder (BPD), the functional consequences on GABRB2 expression and their relationship to demographic and clinical characteristics in BPD and SCZ remain to be elucidated.
Case-control analysis was performed for association study of GABRB2 with BPD, and its mRNA expression in postmortem BPD brains was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. Quantitative trait analysis was subsequently employed to assess the covariate effects of demographic and clinical characteristics on genotypic correlation of GABRB2 expression in SCZ and BPD.
Significant association of GABRB2 with BPD and reduction in GABRB2 mRNA expression in BPD brains were observed in the present study. Duration of illness (DOI) was found to be a significant covariate for the correlation of the disease-associated SNPs rs1816071, rs1816072 and rs187269 with GABRB2 expression in both SCZ and BPD. for individuals with homozygous major genotypes of these SNPs, while GABRB2 expression increased with age in the controls, it decreased with DOI and age in SCZ, and with DOI in BPD. with age of onset as covariate, these three SNPs were significantly correlated with antipsychotic dosage in SCZ.
These results have thus revealed correlations of GABRB2 SNPs and expression not only with the occurrence of SCZ and BPD, but also with the clinical characteristics of patients, therefore providing support for a shared etiological role played by the gene in both diseases.
Increasing evidence supports that 5HTTLPR polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene(5HTTLPR) might associate to bipolar disorder and affective temperaments as measured by TEMPS-A. But the results are discrepant, furthermore, there are no data from Chinese population.
The present study was designed to investigate association between 5HTTLPR and bipolar disorder and affective temperaments of patients with bipolar disorder in the specific Chinese population and add new evidence to the field.
There hundred and five patients with bipolar disorder and 272 normal controls were included in the present case-control study⌧Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego -autoquestionnaire version (TEMPS-A) in Chinese was used to assess affective temperament. Chi-square test, T test, Nonparametric test and ANOVA were employed to explore association between 5HTTLPR polymorphism and bipolar disorder and affective temperament of patients with bipolar disorder.
5-HTTLPR L/S polymorphism was associated with bipolar disorder in female (genotype χ2 = 6.769⌧P = 0.034⌧allele χ2 = 6.028⌧P = 0.014) and the S allele was associated with anxious temperament (t = 8.248⌧P = 0.005) in patients with bipolar disorder. the LA allele of 5-HTTLPR rs25531 A/G polymorphism was associated with hyperthymic temperament in patients with bipolar disorder (Z = −2.205⌧P = 0.027).
5-HTTLPR might have an effect on the prevalence of bipolar disorder in female and regulate affective temperaments of patients with bipolar disorder in some degree in Chinese population.
Bioinformatic investigations indicate that has-mir-206 (microRNA-206, miRNA-206) could regulate BDNF protein synthesis by interfering with BDNF mRNA translation, which is disrupted in bipolar disorder (BPD).
This study is to investigate whether miRNA-206 gene variants were associated with BPD susceptibility in a Han Chinese population.
342 patients who met DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder type I (BPD-I) or type II (BPD-II) and 386 matched health controls were enrolled into this study. the miRNA-206 gene and +/-500bp were selected for gene sequencing. for the case-control genetic comparisons, differences in the genotype and allele distributions between patients and controls were examined using Pearson's χ2 test.
Gene sequencing showed that there are two polymorphisms rs16882131(C/T) and rs62408583 (A/C) located at the upstream of miRNA-206 gene, which are complete linkage disequilibrium. the association analysis showed that there was no significant difference for genotype frequencies (χ2 = 2.075, df = 2, P = 0.354) or for allele frequencies (χ2 = 0.041, df = 1, P = 0.839) between BPD patients and controls. Similarly, no significant difference was found between BPD-I patients and controls (genotype χ2 = 1.411, df = 2, P = 0.494; allele χ2 = 0.380, df = 1, P = 0.538). However, there was significant difference between BPD-II patients and controls (genotype χ2 = 7.933, df = 2, P = 0.019; allele χ2 = 5.403, df = 1, P = 0.020).
Our findings do not support that BPD susceptibility was associated with miRNA-206 gene polymorphisms in the studied Han Chinese population. the association between miRNA-206 gene polymorphisms and bipolar disorder type II is needed to be carefully interpreted. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the involvement miRNA-206 in the pathophysiology of BPD.
Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatry disorder with high heritability. Schizophrenic patients with early age at onset trend to have more genetic component and thus may be an attractive subpopulation for genetic studies. Brain-derived neurotrophimc factor (BDNF) is considered as candidate gene for schizophrenia. A single nucleotide polymorphism (BDNF Val66Met) was reported to be associated with schizophrenia, although discrepancy remains. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and schizophrenia using an early onset sample in Chinese Han population. Our sample consisted of 353 schizophrenic patients with onset before age 18 and 394 healthy age and sex matched controls. All subjects were ethnically homogenous Han Chinese origin. No significant differences of genotype or allele distribution were identified between the patients and controls. However, the Met allele was significantly associated with an earlier age at onset in male schizophrenic patients (Kaplan-Meier log-rank test P = 0.005), but not in females (P = 0.289). The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism has an important effect on the age at onset of schizophrenia in a gender-specific manner, and this may provided a significant genetic clue for the etiology of schizophrenia. Therefore, further studies are required to uncover the exact role of BDNF in the development of schizophrenia.
Life events and accompanying psychological and behavioral reactions frequently have an impact upon people's daily lives and are believed to predispose them to disease. Psychological stressors impact many physiological and pathological disease outcomes, including mental illness. Positive social interactions have in turn been shown to exert powerful beneficial effects on health outcomes and longevity.
The Objective of this study was to analyze the relationships of Psychological Distress, Social Support, and Mental Fitness among patients of mental health services.
This article aims to discuss the evidence supporting the mediating effect of social support between psychological stress and mental health.
This study was performed on patients who visited the mental health services in Daejeon from October to December 2011. In total, 395 patients were evaluated with Mental Fitness Scale, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale(KPDS), and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support(MSPSS).
Correlations among variables of psychological distress and social support on subordinate variable of mental fitness of patients were significant. The result of the regression analysis, psychological distress and social support have a positively significant influence on mental fitness of patients. social support showed mediating effects between psychological distress and mental fitness.
These results suggest that health care providers ought to seek social support for patients, in order to provide positive mental fitness of patients.
The present study compared the expression profile and made the classification with the leukocytes by using whole-genome cRNA microarrays among patients with SSD, major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls.
Gene expression profiling was conducted in peripheral blood leucocytes from drug-free first-episode subjects with SSD, MDD, and matched controls (8 subjects in each group) using global mRNA expression arrays. Support vector machines (SVMs) were utilized for training and testing on candidate signature expression profiles from signature selection step.
We identified SSD and MDD gene signatures from blood-based gene expression profile and build a SSD- MDD disorder model with higher predictive power. Firstly, we identified 63 differentially expressed SSD signatures in contrast to control (P <= 5.0E-4) and 30 differentially expressed MDD signatures in contrast to control, respectively. Then, 123 gene signatures were identified with significantly differential expression level between SSD and MDD. Secondly, in order to conduct priority selection for biomarkers for SSD and MDD together, we selected top gene signatures from each group of pair-wise comparison results, and merged the signatures together to generate better profiles used for clearly classify SSD and MDD sets in the same time. In details, we tried different combination of signatures from the three pair-wise compartmental results and finally determined 48 gene expression signatures with 100% accuracy.
Blood cell-derived RNA may have significant value for performing diagnostic functions and identifying disease biomarkers in SSD and MDD. These 48 gene model could classify SSD, MDD, and healthy controls.
To study the relationship between insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R)and subsyndromal symptomatic depression (SSD).
In this case-control study, real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) with TaqMan MGB was used to analyzing the differences of IGF1R gene mRNA expression in peripheral leukocytes between subsyndromal symptomatic depression group(n = 47) and healthy controls(n = 52). At the same time Hamilton Depression Rating Scale -17(HAMD17) were assessed.
IGF1R gene mRNA expression was 0.21 ± 0.11 in SSD group, 0.56 ± 0.37 in healthy group, and there was significant difference between both groups on IGF1R expression(z = 39.54, P < 0.001). the expression levels of IGF1R in SSD patients was not correlated with Hamilton score(r = −0.292, p = 0.275).
This study suggested that the decreased expression of IGF1R were related with the pathophysiology of SSD.
Extensive research indicates that obesity, defined by a body mass index (BMI) greater or equal to 30, is common in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs and is frequently associated with carbohydrate and lipid abnormalities leading to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. In contrast, the metabolic health of overweight patients (BMI = 25–29.9) without metabolic syndrome or diabetes has not been thoroughly investigated.
To assess the metabolic health of overweight patients receiving antipsychotic drugs.
We compared standard metabolic parameters (BMI; waist circumference; hemoglobin A1c; fasting lipids; and fasting and post-challenge glucose and insulin) of normal weight, overweight and obese individuals from a consecutive cohort of antipsychotic-treated patients without metabolic syndrome and/or diabetes.
Compared with the normal weight subjects (n = 286), overweight patients (n = 212) had higher fasting insulin resistance as assessed with the homeostatic model (P = 0.023), insulin secretion during the oral glucose tolerance test (P = 0.0037), triglycerides (P = 0.0004) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = 0.0089), and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = 0.0014). The obese (n = 50) were different from the overweight subjects only with respect to higher post-challenge insulin levels (P = 0.0002). The average fasting glucose, post-challenge glucose, and hemoglobin A1c, severity of psychiatric disorders and antipsychotics used were similar in the three groups.
Overweight (BMI = 25–29.9) patients receiving antipsychotics are metabolically closer to the obese than to normal weight counterparts. The findings suggest that interventions promoting weight loss and metabolic health are required for overweight patients even in the absence of metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
Flax seed meal (FSM) is rich in various nutrients, especially CP and energy, and can be used as animal protein feed. In animal husbandry production, it is a long-term goal to replace soybean meal (SBM) in animal feed with other plant protein feed. However, studies on the effects of replacing SBM with FSM in fattening sheep are limited. The aim of this experiment was to study the effects of replacing a portion of SBM with FSM on nutrient digestibility, rumen microbial protein synthesis and growth performance in sheep. Thirty-six Dorper × Small Thin-Tailed crossbred rams (BW = 40.4 ± 1.73 kg, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned into four groups. The dietary treatments (forage/concentrate, 45 : 55) were isocaloric according to the nutrient requirements of rams. Soybean meal was replaced with FSM at different levels (DM basis): (1) 18% SBM (18SBM), (2) 12% SBM and 6% FSM (6FSM), (3) 6% SBM and 12% FSM (12FSM) and (4) 18% FSM (18FSM). The rams were fed in individual pens for 60 days, with the first 10 days for adaptation to diets, and then the digestibility of nutrients was determined. There was no significant difference in DM intake, but quadratic (P < 0.001) effects on the average daily gain and feed efficiency were detected, with the highest values in the 6FSM and 12FSM groups. For DM and NDF digestibility, quadratic effects were observed with the higher values in the 6FSM and 12FSM groups, but the digestibility of CP linearly decreased with the increase in FSM in the diet (P = 0.043). There was a quadratic (P < 0.001) effect of FSM inclusion rate on the estimated microbial CP yield. However, the values of intestinally absorbable dietary protein decreased linearly (P < 0.001). For the supply of metabolisable protein, both the linear (P = 0.001) and quadratic (P = 0.044) effects were observed with the lowest value in the 18FSM group. Overall, the results indicated that SBM can be effectively replaced by FSM in the diets of fattening sheep and the optimal proportion was 12.0% under the conditions of this experiment.
This paper proposes a fault-tolerant control (FTC) method based on fast fault observer (FFO) to solve the problem of actuator gain loss fault and stuck fault for hypersonic vehicles. Firstly, an input-output feedback linearisation model is presented that considers parametric uncertainties, control input saturation, disturbances and actuator faults. Secondly, the above factors are defined as an integrated fault item, and an improved fast fault observer is designed to estimate the integrated fault in real time. Finally, the fault-tolerant controller is constructed based on the sliding mode and fault estimation. In case of unknown faults, the effects of gain loss fault or stuck fault happen on elevators and the engine can be quickly processed, Also, the asymptotically stable tracking of the flight output reference command is completed to achieve fault-tolerant control. The final simulation experiment verifies the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Most older adults perceive themselves as good drivers; however, their perception may not be accurate, and could negatively affect their driving safety. This study examined the accuracy of older drivers’ self-awareness of driving ability in their everyday driving environment by determining the concordance between the perceived (assessed by the Perceived Driving Ability [PDA] questionnaire) and actual (assessed by electronic Driving Observation Schedule [eDOS]) driving performance. One hundred and eight older drivers (male: 67.6%; age: mean = 80.6 years, standard deviation [SD] = 4.9 years) who participated in the study were classified into three groups: underestimation (19%), accurate estimation (29%), and overestimation (53%). Using the demographic and clinical functioning information collected in the Candrive annual assessments, an ordinal regression showed that two factors were related to the accuracy of self-awareness: older drivers with better visuo-motor processing speed measured by the Trail Making Test (TMT)-A and fewer self-reported comorbid conditions tended to overestimate their driving ability, and vice versa.
Women are more likely to be admitted to nursing home after stroke than men. Differences in patient characteristics and outcomes by sex after institutionalization are less understood. We examined sex differences in the characteristics and care needs of patients admitted to nursing home following stroke and their subsequent survival.
We identified patients with stroke newly admitted to nursing home between April 2011 and March 2016 in Ontario, Canada, with follow-up until March 2018 using linked administrative data. We calculated prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the primary outcomes of dependence for activities of daily living, cognitive impairment, frailty, health instability, and symptoms of depression or pain, comparing women to men. The secondary outcome was all-cause mortality.
Among 4831 patients, 60.9% were women. Compared to men, women were older (median age [interquartile range, IQR]: 84 [78, 89] vs. 80 [71, 86]), more likely to be frail (prevalence ratio 1.14, 95% CI [1.08, 1.19]), have unstable health (1.45 [1.28, 1.66]), and experience symptoms of depression (1.25 [1.11, 1.40]) or pain (1.21 [1.13, 1.30]), and less likely to have aggressive behaviors (0.87 [0.80, 0.94]). Overall median survival was 2.9 years. In a propensity-score-matched cohort, women had lower mortality than men (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI [0.77, 0.94]), but in the age-stratified survival analysis, the survival advantage in women was limited to those aged 75 years and older.
Despite lower subsequent mortality, women admitted to nursing home after stroke required more care than men. Pain and depression are two treatable symptoms that disproportionately affect women.
Optimal stroke care requires access to resources such as neuroimaging, acute revascularization, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention services, which may not be available in rural areas. We aimed to determine geographic access to stroke care for residents of rural communities in the province of Ontario, Canada.
We used the Ontario Road Network File database linked with the 2016 Ontario Acute Stroke Care Resource Inventory to estimate the proportion of people in rural communities, defined as those with a population size <10,000, who were within 30, 60, and 240 minutes of travel time by car from stroke care services, including brain imaging, thrombolysis treatment centers, stroke units, stroke prevention clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and endovascular treatment centers.
Of the 1,496,262 people residing in rural communities, the majority resided within 60 minutes of driving time to a center with computed tomography (85%), thrombolysis (81%), a stroke unit (68%), a stroke prevention clinic (74%), or inpatient rehabilitation (77.0%), but a much lower proportion (32%) were within 60 minutes of driving time to a center capable of providing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT).
Most rural Ontario residents have appropriate geographic access to stroke services, with the exception of EVT. This information may be useful for jurisdictions seeking to optimize the regional organization of stroke care services.
As an important dimensionless parameter for the vortex formation process, the general form of the formation time defined by Dabiri (Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., vol. 41, 2009, pp. 17–33) is refined so as to provide better normalization for various vortex generator configurations. Our proposed definition utilizes the total circulation over the entire flow domain rather than that of the forming vortex ring alone. It adopts an integral form by considering the instantaneous infinitesimal increment in the formation time so that the effect of temporally varying properties of the flow configuration can be accounted for properly. By including the effect of buoyancy, the specific form of the general formation time for the starting forced plumes with negative and positive buoyancy is derived. A theoretical prediction based on the Kelvin–Benjamin variational principle shows that the general formation time manifests the invariance of the critical time scale, i.e. the formation number, under the influence of a source–ambient density difference. It demonstrates that the general formation time, based on the circulation production over the entire flow field, could take into account the effect of various vorticity production mechanisms, such as from a flux term or in a baroclinic fluid, on the critical formation number. The proposed definition may, therefore, serve as a guideline for deriving the specific form of the formation time in other types of starting/pulsatile flows.