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Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
Temperature resulting from the joule heating power and the turn-on and turn-off dissipation of high-power, high-frequency applications is the root cause of their thermal instability, electrical performance degradation, and even thermal-fatigue failure. Thus, the study presents thermal and electrical characterizations of the power MOSFET module packaged in SOT-227 under natural convection and forced convection through three-dimensional (3D) thermal-electric (TE) coupled field analysis. In addition, the influences of some key parameters like electric loads, ambient conditions, thermal management considerations (heat sink, heat spreader) and operation conditions (duty cycle and switching frequency) on the power loss and thermal performance of the power module are addressed. The study starts from a suitable estimation of the power losses, where the conduction losses are calculated using the temperature- and gate-voltage-dependent on-state resistance and drain current through the device, and the switching losses are predicted based on the ideal switching waveforms of the power MOSFETs applied. The effectiveness of the theoretical predictions in terms of device’s power losses and temperatures is demonstrated through comparison with the results of circuit simulation and thermal experiment.
Recent advances in techniques to generate static ultra-high pressure (>100 GPa) in the diamond anvil cell have significantly enhanced our understanding of the properties of solids under these extreme conditions. In order to characterize the structure of solids at these pressures, X-ray diffraction using synchrotron radiation has become an invaluable tool. Since the highest pressures are attained at the expense of sample volume (~ 100 μm3) , it is best to use the intense radiation available from a synchrotron to study the very small samples used in ultra-high pressure studies. Even with the intense x-ray beams currently available, it is still often desirable to focus the x-ray beam to increase the available flux. We have developed a focusing system which uses multilayer coated spherical mirrors. With this system, intense x-ray beams with sizes smaller than 10 μm by 10 μm can be achieved at a synchrotron radiation beamline. Previously, we used the focusing system for x-ray microprobe experiments.
X-ray microscopy is a field that has developed rapidly in recent years. Two different approaches have been used. Zone plates have been employed to produce focussed beams with sizes as low as 0.07 pm for x-ray energies below 1 keV. Images of biological materials and elemental maps for major and minor low Z have been produced using above and below absorption edge differences. At higher energies collimators and focussing mirrors have been used to make small diameter beams for excitation of characteristic K— or L-x rays of all elements in the periodic
The aim of the study was to investigate any association between extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR) and intestinal flora of <30-week-old preterm infants. A total of 59 preterm infants were assigned to EUGR (n=23) and non-EUGR (n=36) groups. Intestinal bacteria were compared by using high-throughput sequencing of bacterial rRNA. The total abundance of bacteria in 344 genera (7568 v. 13,760; P<0.0001) and 456 species (10,032 v. 18,240; P<0.0001) was significantly decreased in the EUGR group compared with the non-EUGR group. After application of a multivariate logistic model and adjusting for potential confounding factors, as well as false-discovery rate corrections, we found four bacterial genera with higher and one bacterial genus with lower abundance in the EUGR group compared with the control group. In addition, the EUGR group showed significantly increased abundances of six species (Streptococcus parasanguinis, Bacterium RB5FF6, two Klebsiella species and Microbacterium), but decreased frequencies of three species (one Acinetobacter species, Endosymbiont_of_Sphenophorus_lev and one Enterobacter_species) compared with the non-EUGR group. Taken together, there were significant changes in the intestinal microflora of preterm infants with EUGR compared to preterm infants without EUGR.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
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.
This study investigates numerically the performance of applying aerospike nozzle in a hydrogen peroxide mono-propellant propulsion system. A set of governing equations, including continuity, momentum, energy and species conservation equations with extended k-ε turbulence equations, are solved using the finite-volume method. The hydrogen peroxide mono-propellant is assumed to be fully decomposed into water vapor and oxygen after flowing through a catalyst bed before entering the nozzle. The aerospike nozzle is expected to have high performance even in deep throttling cases due to its self-compensating characteristics in a wide range of ambient pressure environments. The results show that the thrust coefficient efficiency (Cf,η) of this work exceeds 90% of the theoretical value with a nozzle pressure ratio (PR) in the range of 20 ~ 45. Many complex gas dynamics phenomena in the aerospike nozzle are found and explained in the paper. In addition, performance of the aerospike nozzle is compared with that of the bell-shape nozzle.
The study objective was to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus colonisation in the nares and oropharynx of healthy persons and identify any risk factors associated with such S. aureus colonisation. In total 263 participants (177 adults and 86 minors) comprising 95 families were enrolled in a year-long prospective cohort study from one urban and one rural county in eastern Iowa, USA, through local newspaper advertisements and email lists and through the Keokuk Rural Health Study. Potential risk factors including demographic factors, medical history, farming and healthcare exposure were assessed. Among the participants, 25.4% of adults and 36.1% minors carried S. aureus in their nares and 37.9% of adults carried it in their oropharynx. The overall prevalence was 44.1% among adults and 36.1% for minors. Having at least one positive environmental site for S. aureus in the family home was associated with colonisation (prevalence ratio: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.07–1.66). The sensitivity of the oropharyngeal cultures was greater than that of the nares cultures (86.1% compared with 58.2%, respectively). In conclusion, the nares and oropharynx are both important colonisation sites for healthy community members and the presence of S. aureus in the home environment is associated with an increased probability of colonisation.
Background: Registered EEG technologists (RETs) are trained in both the technical aspects of EEG and in preliminary EEG interpretation. However, there is little research evaluating the accuracy of EEG interpretation by RETs. Methods: Retrospective study of consecutive routine EEG recordings performed at SickKids Hospital. Preliminary reports by RETs and final reports by neurophysiologists were compared in 5 domains: background activity, focal abnormalities, ictal and inter-ictal epileptiform discharges and summary. Results: 500 EEG recordings were analyzed. Sensitivity and specificity of RET reports was high for the assessment of background (85%, 93%), focal slowing (84%, 93%) and inter-ictal epileptiform discharges (92%, 90%). RET reports identified ictal EEG patterns in 32 cases vs. 29 cases identified by neurophysiologists. RET reports were 100% accurate for noting no EEG change for all of 11 cases with non-epileptic events. Conclusions: Preliminary EEG reports by RETs were sensitive and specific for all EEG domains analyzed. In the majority of cases, the preliminary interpretation made by the RET was concordant with the final report of the neurophysiologist. Given these findings, RETs may be able to participate in the screening of routine EEG recordings in order to enhance the productivity of busy EEG laboratories.
This study compared the pattern of radiation induced parotid changes between conventional (ConRT) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients.
56 adult NPC patients treated with IMRT (n=28) and conventional radiotherapy (n=28) were recruited. CT scans were acquired before radiotherapy, at 10th, 20th and 30th fractions, and 3 months after treatment. Parotid gland was delineated in the corresponding CT slices and its mean dose was calculated. The volumetric and geometric changes of the parotid gland at various time intervals were compared against the pre-treatment structure set. The pattern of changes was compared between the two techniques.
The mean parotid dose of IMRT (37.5±9.5 Gy) was significantly lower than ConRT (49.1±7.4 Gy). The parotid gland volume, DICE similarity coefficient and lateral dimension of patient head gradually decreased during the radiotherapy course and partially recovered in 3 months post-treatment. The differences between two groups were not significant until at 3 month after treatment, where IMRT showed significantly better volume recovery.
Similar parotid gland size and location changes were observed during the treatment course in both ConRT and IMRT. However IMRT demonstrated better parotid volume recovery after treatment.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
Over the last 40 years, many types of population genetic markers have been used to assess the population structure of the pest moth species Helicoverpa armigera. While this species is highly vagile, there is evidence of inter-continental population structure. Here, we examine Z-chromosome molecular markers within and between Chinese and Australian populations. Using 1352 polymorphic sites from 40 Z-linked loci, we compared two Chinese populations of moths separated by 700 km and found virtually no population structure (n = 41 and n = 54, with <1% of variation discriminating between populations). The levels of nucleotide diversity within these populations were consistent with previous estimates from introns in Z-linked genes of Australian samples (π = 0.028 vs. 0.03). Furthermore, all loci surveyed in these Chinese populations showed a skew toward rare variants, with ten loci having a significant Tajima's D statistic, suggesting that this species could have undergone a population expansion. Eight of the 40 loci had been examined in a previous study of Australian moths, of which six revealed very little inter-continental population structure. However, the two markers associated with the Cyp303a1 locus that has previously been proposed to be a target of a selective sweep, exhibited allele structuring between countries. Using a separate dataset of 19 Australian and four Chinese moths, we scanned the molecular variation distributed across the entire Z-chromosome and found distinct blocks of differentiation that include the region containing Cyp303a1. We recommend some of these loci join those associated with insecticide resistance to form a set of genes best suited to analyzing population structure in this global pest.
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.
The origin and characteristics of near-microcoulomb multi-MeV electrons accelerated by short pulse lasers interacting with near-critical density plasma in self-formed channels are studied using three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. According to the analysis on interaction phenomena and electron dynamics, the dominant mechanism turns out to be direct laser acceleration, which ensures the outstanding energy coupling. Additionally, self-channeling is found to be a decisive factor for the acceleration performance, as electrons obtain ultra-high energy through betatron resonance inside the channels. In our findings, by using a relativistic short laser pulse and near-critical plasma, a large amount of energetic electrons can be generated, presenting a promising and accessible route to ultraintense, high-spatial-resolution radiation pulses.
Cognitive reserve (CR) has been associated with better cognitive function and lower risk of depression in older people, yet it remains unclear whether CR moderates the association between mood and cognition. This study aimed to investigate whether a comprehensive indicator of CR, including education, occupation and engagement in cognitive and social activities, acts as a moderator of this association.
This was a cross-sectional study utilising baseline data from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study II (CFAS II), a large population-based cohort of people aged 65+ in England. Complete data on the measures of CR, mood and cognition were available for 6565 dementia-free individuals. Linear regression models were used to investigate the potential modifying effect of CR on the association between cognition and mood with adjustment for age, sex and missing data.
Levels of CR did moderate the negative association between mood and cognition; the difference in cognition between those with and without a clinical level mood disorder was significantly smaller in the middle (−2.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) −3.65 to −0.90) and higher (−1.30; 95% CI −2.46 to −0.15) CR groups compared with the lower CR group (−4.01; 95% CI −5.53 to −2.49). The individual components of CR did not significantly moderate the negative association between mood and cognition.
These results demonstrate that CR, indexed by a composite score based on multiple indicators, can moderate the negative association between lowered mood and cognition, emphasising the importance of continuing to build CR across the lifespan in order to maintain cognitive health.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and identifying effective treatment strategies is crucial for the control of depression. Well-conducted systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses can provide the best evidence for supporting treatment decision-making. Nevertheless, the trustworthiness of conclusions can be limited by lack of methodological rigour. This study aims to assess the methodological quality of a representative sample of SRs on depression treatments.
A cross-sectional study on the bibliographical and methodological characteristics of SRs published on depression treatments trials was conducted. Two electronic databases (the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects) were searched for potential SRs. SRs with at least one meta-analysis on the effects of depression treatments were considered eligible. The methodological quality of included SRs was assessed using the validated AMSTAR (Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews) tool. The associations between bibliographical characteristics and scoring on AMSTAR items were analysed using logistic regression analysis.
A total of 358 SRs were included and appraised. Over half of included SRs (n = 195) focused on non-pharmacological treatments and harms were reported in 45.5% (n = 163) of all studies. Studies varied in methods and reporting practices: only 112 (31.3%) took the risk of bias among primary studies into account when formulating conclusions; 245 (68.4%) did not fully declare conflict of interests; 93 (26.0%) reported an ‘a priori’ design and 104 (29.1%) provided lists of both included and excluded studies. Results from regression analyses showed: more recent publications were more likely to report ‘a priori’ designs [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09–1.57], to describe study characteristics fully (AOR 1.16, 95% CI 1.06–1.28), and to assess presence of publication bias (AOR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06–1.19), but were less likely to list both included and excluded studies (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.81–0.92). SRs published in journals with higher impact factor (AOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04–1.25), completed by more review authors (AOR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.24) and SRs on non-pharmacological treatments (AOR 1.62, 95% CI 1.01–2.59) were associated with better performance in publication bias assessment.
The methodological quality of included SRs is disappointing. Future SRs should strive to improve rigour by considering of risk of bias when formulating conclusions, reporting conflict of interests and authors should explicitly describe harms. SR authors should also use appropriate methods to combine the results, prevent language and publication biases, and ensure timely updates.
Retreatment of tuberculosis (TB) often fails in China, yet the risk factors associated with the failure remain unclear. To identify risk factors for the treatment failure of retreated pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients, we analyzed the data of 395 retreated PTB patients who received retreatment between July 2009 and July 2011 in China. PTB patients were categorized into ‘success’ and ‘failure’ groups by their treatment outcome. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between treatment outcome and socio-demographic as well as clinical factors. We also created an optimized risk score model to evaluate the predictive values of these risk factors on treatment failure. Of 395 patients, 99 (25·1%) were diagnosed as retreatment failure. Our results showed that risk factors associated with treatment failure included drug resistance, low education level, low body mass index (<18·5), long duration of previous treatment (>6 months), standard treatment regimen, retreatment type, positive culture result after 2 months of treatment, and the place where the first medicine was taken. An Optimized Framingham risk model was then used to calculate the risk scores of these factors. Place where first medicine was taken (temporary living places) received a score of 6, which was highest among all the factors. The predicted probability of treatment failure increases as risk score increases. Ten out of 359 patients had a risk score >9, which corresponded to an estimated probability of treatment failure >70%. In conclusion, we have identified multiple clinical and socio-demographic factors that are associated with treatment failure of retreated PTB patients. We also created an optimized risk score model that was effective in predicting the retreatment failure. These results provide novel insights for the prognosis and improvement of treatment for retreated PTB patients.
Tuberculosis (TB) affects people globally and is being reconsidered as a serious public health problem in China. Reliable forecasting is useful for the prevention and control of TB. This study proposes a hybrid model combining autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) with a nonlinear autoregressive (NAR) neural network for forecasting the incidence of TB from January 2007 to March 2016. Prediction performance was compared between the hybrid model and the ARIMA model. The best-fit hybrid model was combined with an ARIMA (3,1,0) × (0,1,1)12 and NAR neural network with four delays and 12 neurons in the hidden layer. The ARIMA-NAR hybrid model, which exhibited lower mean square error, mean absolute error, and mean absolute percentage error of 0·2209, 0·1373, and 0·0406, respectively, in the modelling performance, could produce more accurate forecasting of TB incidence compared to the ARIMA model. This study shows that developing and applying the ARIMA-NAR hybrid model is an effective method to fit the linear and nonlinear patterns of time-series data, and this model could be helpful in the prevention and control of TB.
A compact hybrid rocket motor design that incorporates a dual-vortical-flow (DVF) concept is proposed. The oxidizer (nitrous oxide, N2O) is injected circumferentially into various sections of the rocket motor, which are sectored by several solid fuel “rings” (made of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, HTPB) that are installed along the central axis of the motor. The proposed configuration not only increases the residence time of the oxidizer flow, it also implies an inherent “roll control” capability of the motor. Based on a DVF motor geometry with a designed thrust level of 11.6 kN, the characteristics of the turbulent reacting flow within the motor and its rocket performance were analyzed with a comprehensive numerical model that implements both real-fluid properties and finite-rate chemistry. Data indicate that the vacuum specific impulse (Isp) of the DVF motor could reach 278 s. The result from a preliminary ground test of a lab-scale DVF hybrid rocket motor (with a designed thrust level of 3,000 N) also shows promising performance. The proposed DVF concept is expected to partly resolve the issue of scalability, which remains challenging for hybrid rocket motors development.