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GABRB2, the gene for β2 subunit of the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor, is known to display two splicing isoforms in the brain, namely β2L containing Exon 10 and β2S devoid of Exon 10. Previously, the expressions of these isoforms were correlated with both schizophrenia and various sequence polymorphisms of the gene. in the present study, a series of deletions made on Intron 9 of a minigene construct affected the expression of Exon 10, and generated additional splicing variations suggesting the existence of additional splicing variants of β2subunit. A search among brain cDNAs uncovered the two novel short forms: β2S1which is devoid of Exons 10 and 11 and bears an extended Exon 9, and β2S2 which is devoid of Exon 10 and bears a shortened Exon 11.Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, performed with a cohort of 31 schizophrenics, 30 bipolar disorder and 31 controls of US population, showed that the level of β2S2 was significantly decreased in bipolar disorder, and marginally decreased in schizophrenia, while β2S1 was marginally increased in both of these psychotic disorders. Significant genotypic effects of rs1816071, rs1816072 and rs187269 on β2S2 level were observed in male schizophrenic and bipolar patients. These findings pointed to the neighborhood of Exon 10 as an alternate-splicing hot-spot, and underlined the relevance of β2 subunit isoforms to the etiology of psychotic disorders.
Suicide is a global issue among the elderly, but few studies have explored the experiences of suicide ideation in older Asian psychiatric outpatients.
The purposes of this study were to explore triggers of suicide ideation among older first onset cases in psychiatric outpatients in Taiwan and their reasons for not executing suicide.
Older psychiatric outpatients (N=24) were recruited by convenience from one medical centre and one regional hospital in northern Taiwan. Data were collected in individual interviews using a semi-structured guide and analysed by content analysis.
Suicide ideation was triggered by illness and physical discomfort, conflicts with family members/friends, illness of family members, death of family members/friends, and loneliness. Participants’ reasons for not executing suicide were family members’ and friends’ support, receiving treatment, finding a way to shift their attention, fear of increasing pressure on one’s children, religious beliefs, and not knowing how to execute suicide.
Understanding these identified triggers of suicide ideation may help psychiatrists open a channel for conversation with their elderly clients and more readily make their diagnosis. Understanding these identified protective factors against executing suicide can help psychiatrists not only treat depression, but also enhance protective factors for their clients.
Excessive alcohol use has been associated with health, social and legal problems. Studies of alcohol-drinking problems have mainly focused on patients with alcohol-drinking problems and few studies have focused on their family members. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of family members of problem-drinker patients about their own hazardous or harmful alcohol-drinking behaviours.
In this qualitative descriptive study, participants were recruited from three hospitals randomly selected from northern and central Taiwan (2:1). Hazardous-drinker patients and their family members were screened using the Chinese version AUDIT. AUDIT scores > 8 indicated harmful or hazardous drinkers. Data were collected in individual, audiotaped, in-depth interviews using an interview guide. Verbatim interview transcripts were analysed using ATLAS.ti, version WIN 7.0.
The sample of 35 family members with hazardous or harmful drinking behaviours perceived that their own alcohol-drinking behaviours were related to six major patterns: family habits, leisure activities with friends, work pressures, personal taste, a way to forget one's problems and to express happiness.
We recommend that programs to prevent harmful or hazardous drinking should emphasize understanding standard amounts of alcohol in alcoholic beverages, recommended amounts of alcohol consumption for males and females, knowledge about the long-term effects of excessive alcohol consumption; offer strategies to resist social pressure to drink; and build positive strategies for coping with stress.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
To report an outbreak of measles with epidemiological link between Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and a hospital.
Epidemiological investigations, patients’ measles serology, and phylogenetic analysis of the hemagglutinin (H) and nucleoprotein (N) genes of measles virus isolates were conducted.
In total, 29 HKIA staff of diverse ranks and working locations were infected with measles within 1 month. Significantly fewer affected staff had history of travel than non–HKIA-related measles patients [10 of 29 (34.5%) vs 28 of 35 (80%); P < .01]. Of 9 airport staff who could recall detailed exposure history, 6 (66.7%) had visited self-service food premises at HKIA during the incubation period, where food trays, as observed during the epidemiological field investigation, were not washed after use. Furthermore, 1 airport baggage handler who was admitted to hospital A before rash onset infected 2 healthcare workers (HCWs) known to have 2 doses of MMR vaccination with positive measles IgG and lower viral loads in respiratory specimens. Infections in these 2 HCWs warranted contact tracing of another 168 persons (97 patients and 71 HCWs). Phylogenetic comparison of H and N gene sequences confirmed the clonality of outbreak strains.
Despite good herd immunity with overall seroprevalence of >95% against measles, major outbreaks of measles occurred among HKIA staff having daily contact with many international pssengers. Lessons from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and measles outbreaks suggested that an airport can be a strategic epidemic center. Pre-exanthem transmission of measles from airport staff to HCWs with secondary vaccine failure poses a grave challenge to hospital infection control.
A liver transplant recipient developed hospital-acquired symptomatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6a infection 14 months post transplant.
Standard outbreak investigation.
Patient chart review, interviews of patients and staff, observational study of patient care practices, environmental surveillance, blood collection simulation experiments, and phylogenetic study of HCV strains using partial envelope gene sequences (E1–E2) of HCV genotype 6a strains from the suspected source patient, the environment, and the index patient were performed.
Investigations and data review revealed no further cases of HCV genotype 6a infection in the transplant unit. However, a suspected source with a high HCV load was identified. HCV genotype 6a was found in a contaminated reusable blood-collection tube holder with barely visible blood and was identified as the only shared item posing risk of transmission to the index case patient. Also, 14 episodes of sequential blood collection from the source patient and the index case patient were noted on the computerized time log of the laboratory barcoding system during their 13 days of cohospitalization in the liver transplant ward. Disinfection of the tube holders was not performed after use between patients. Blood collection simulation experiments showed that HCV and technetium isotope contaminating the tip of the sleeve capping the sleeved-needle can reflux back from the vacuum-specimen tube side to the patient side.
A reusable blood-collection tube holder without disinfection between patients can cause a nosocomial HCV infection. Single-use disposable tube holders should be used according to the recommendations by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and World Health Organization.
This paper investigates the focal location effects on the penetration depth of molten region surrounding a paraboloid of revolution-shaped cavity (i.e. keyhole of this model) irradiated by a moving focused energy beam, which profile of intensity is assumed to be Gaussian distribution. Considering the momentum balance at the base of the keyhole, a quasi-steady-state thermal model relative to a constant-speed moving high-energy beam and paraboloid of revolution-shaped cavity is developed in a parabolic coordinate system. The analytical solution is obtained for this model with the adiabatic condition directly set on the workpiece surface for semi-infinite domain instead of the image method for infinite domain using the separation-of-variables method. The analytical solution of this model gives a reasonable prediction for the cavity temperatures. The predicted relation of the penetration depth to the focal location agrees with the available measured data. The effects of focal convergence angle and spot size on the penetration depth are also discussed.
Chemical wet etching on c-plane sapphire wafers by three etching solutions (H3PO4, H2SO4, and H3PO4/H2SO4 mixing solution) was studied. Among these etching agents, the mixing H3PO4/H2SO4 solution has the fastest etching rate (1.5 μm/min). Interestingly, we found that H2SO4 does not etch the c-plane sapphire wafer in thickness; instead, a facet pyramidal pattern is formed on the c-plane sapphire wafer. GaN light-emitting diode (LED) epitaxial structure was grown on the sapphire wafer with the pyramidal pattern and the standard flat sapphire wafer. X-ray diffraction and photoluminescence measurement show that the pyramidal pattern on the sapphire wafer improved crystalline quality but augmented the compressive stress level in the GaN LED epilayer. The horizontal LED chips fabricated on the pyramidal-patterned sapphire wafer have a larger light output than the horizontal LED chips fabricated on the standard flat sapphire wafer by 20%.
The Taiwan-America Occultation Survey (TAOS) aims to determine the number of small icy bodies in the outer reach of the Solar System by means of stellar occultation. An array of 4 robotic small (D=0.5 m), wide-field (f/1.9) telescopes have been installed at Lulin Observatory in Taiwan to simultaneously monitor some thousand of stars for such rare occultation events. Because a typical occultation event by a TNO a few km across will last for only a fraction of a second, fast photometry is necessary. A special CCD readout scheme has been devised to allow for stellar photometry taken a few times per second. Effective analysis pipelines have been developed to process stellar light curves and to correlate any possible flux changes among all telescopes. A few billion photometric measurements have been collected since the routine survey began in early 2005. Our preliminary result of a very low detection rate suggests a deficit of small TNOs down to a few km size, consistent with the extrapolation of some recent studies of larger (30–100 km) TNOs.
Nickel has been widely used as an under-bump metallization (UBM) material in the microelectronics industry. The solid-state reaction between the eutectic SnAg solder bumps and three thicknesses of Ni/Cu UBM was investigated, with 5 μm-Cu/3 μm-Ni, 3 μm-Cu/2 μm-Ni, and 0 μm-Cu/1 μm-Ni. It was found that the shear strength of the solder bumps decreased after the solid-state aging at 150 °C for 200 h, and it did not change much after it was prolonged for 500 and 1000 h. Aging of the Ag3Sn intermetallic compound (IMC) and grain growth of the solder are responsible for the decrease in the shear strength. Furthermore, the shear test results indicated that the fracture mode switched from ductile to brittle for the solder bumps with 1 μm Ni after aging longer than 200 h, causing the strength of the solder to decrease abruptly. This is attributed to the consumption of the peripheral Ni layer after the solid-state aging for 1000 h. The Ni consumption rate was measured to be 0.02 μm/h1/2 at 150 °C.
Polymorphous Si nanowires (SiNWS) have been successfully synthesized on Si wafer by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) at 440°C, using silane as the Si source and Au as the catalyst. To grow the polymorphous SiNWS preannealing the Si substrate with Au film at 1100 °C is needed. The diameters of Si nanowires range from 15 to 100 nm. The structure, morphology and chemical composition of the SiNWS have been characterized by high resolution x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, as well as energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. A few interesting nanowires with Au nanoclusters uniformly distributed in the body of the wire were also produced by this technique.
CoPt-C and FePt-C nanocomposite thin films were prepared by a pulsed filtered vacuum arc deposition technique. Thermal annealing was performed in vacuum at various temperatures. The dependence of the magnetic properties on the carbon fraction and annealing temperature was studied. Both x-ray diffraction and magnetic force microscopy analyses confirmed the formation of nano-crystallites of face-centered-tetragonal phase of CoPt or FePt in the carbon matrix after annealing at a sufficiently high temperature. For the film with a particular composition of Fe43Pt35C22, the coercivity and the grain size were observed to increase with increasing annealing temperature, up to a value of 3.5 kOe at an annealing temperature of 650°C, and with a grain size about 10.5 nm.
The self-constructed Super-Light telescope of the National Central University is now ready for open use. Systematic studies of RR Lyraes stars and other variables are outlined and some preliminary results are introduced.
This paper presents new findings regarding the effects of precursor drop size and concentration on product particle size and morphology in ultrasonic spray pyrolysis. Large precursor drops (diameter >30 μm) generated by ultrasonic atomization at 120kHz yielded particles with holes. Precursor drops 6-9 μm in diameter, generated by an ultrasonic nebulizer at 1.65MHz and 23.5W electric drive power, yielded uniform spherical particles 150nm in diameter under proper control of heating rate and precursor concentration. Moreover, air-assisted ultrasonic spray pyrolysis at 120kHz and 2.3W yielded spherical particles of which nearly half were smaller than those produced by the ultrasonic spray pyrolysis of the 6-9 μm precursor drops, despite the much larger precursor drop sizes (28 μm peak diameter versus 7 μm mean diameter). These particles are much smaller than those predicted by the conventional one particle per drop mechanism, suggesting that a vapor condensation mechanism may also be involved in spray pyrolysis. It may be concluded that through this new mechanism air-assisted ultrasonic spray pyrolysis can become a viable process for mass production of nanoparticles.
Cells recognize and interact with the extracellular matrix (ECM) through heterodimeric receptors known as integrins. The objective of our work is to immobilize integrin-stimulating peptides to bone-contacting implants in order to control cellular activity and response.
We have previously demonstrated that cysteine (C) containing peptides self-assemble onto gold-coated substrates. Investigations have focused on the RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp) peptide sequence since it is found in several bone ECM proteins. Gold was first coated onto glass coverslips by evaporation and the peptide was applied in a 0.22 mM solution. Contact angle and surface plasmon resonance verified RGDC peptide attachment and formation of a monolayer.
Rat calvarial osteoblasts isolated from six-day-old rat pups were used from passages one to three. Cell attachment at 20 minutes is 100% greater on RGDC than on CG (control peptides) or plain gold surfaces. Cells on RGDC also stain positively for vinculin, a protein which is present in focal adhesions (functional structures into which integrins assemble) whereas surfaces without integrin stimulating peptides do not. Scanning electron micrographs show cells to be more spread and have more processes at 20 minutes, 1, 3, and 24 hours on RGDC. Live video images of these surfaces from zero to three hours after plating confirmed earlier and greater cell spreading on RGDC.
Ongoing in vitro experiments are investigating the long-term response of osteoblasts to RGDC and other immobilized peptides in terms of differentiation, matrix production, and integrin expression.
Low-dose high resolution electron microscopy (HREM) is a useful technique for elucidating the structure of zeolites. In recent years a number of zeolite structures have been solved using combinations of different characterization techniques including adsorption measurements, powder x-ray diffraction and low-dose high resolution electron microscopy (for example see ref. 2). We have used these techniques to study the structure of a novel zeolite material. However, great care must be exercised when interpreting data from these techniques in terms of crystal structural units. In this particular case, the structure was recently determined using single crystal x-ray diffraction and showed some surprises.
Details of the synthesis of this zeolite are given elsewhere. The high adsorption capacity suggested that this zeolite possessed two interpenetrating channels (either a 10 and a 12 ring or two 12 ring channels). X-ray powder diffraction showed the material to be monoclinic with a= 18.5Å, b= 13.4 Å, c= 7.6 Å β = 101.5°).
In order to clarify the taxonomic status of the Taenia saginata-like tapeworm in East Asia, the morphological characteristics of the adult and cysticercus of classical T. saginata (American, Swiss and Poland strains) and the Taiwan Taenia were compared in the present study. The morphologic characteristics of these two parasites are very similar. The protoscolex of cysticercus of the Taiwan Taenia has a sunken rostellum while that of classical T. saginata has only an apical pit. In addition, the rostellum of the Taiwan Taenia cysticercus is usually surrounded by two rows of rudimentary hooklets. However, this structure is rarely found in classical T. saginata. Based on the results of molecular studies and morphological characteristics, the T. saginata-like tapeworm in East Asia represents a subspecies of T. saginata, named T. saginata asiatica
Single layers of ZnSe, ZnSxSe1−x., and Znl−y.MnySxSe1−x., were grown on the GaAs(001). Realtime reflection high energy electron diffraction was used to study the initial growth of ZnSe(001) on GaAs(001) under different conditions. Exposure of the GaAs substrate to Se flux before growth led to three-dimensional growth, whereas exposure to Zn flux led to two dimensional-growth. ZnSxSe1−x., and Znl−y.MnySxSe1−x., (energy gap less than 2.9 eV) layers with the lattice constant closely matched to that of GaAs have been grown with a good reproducibility.
The angular magnetic field dependence of the critical current density JC(θ) of epitaxial YBa2Cu3O7 thin films is presented in the temperature regime close to Tc. The high temperature behavior of Jc(θ) shows features that are significantly different from the earlier observations at lower temperatures. A comparison between the films on (100) LaAlO3 and (100) yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) indicates significant differences that may be attributed to the differences in the microstructure of the films on the two substrates. In particular, the observation of enhanced pinning in the films on YSZ may be due to the pinning effects of the low angle grain boundaries present in these films.
In the preparation of YBa2Cu3Oy (Y-123) superconductor, the coprecipitation method was frequently used in various solution systems due to advantages such as good homogeneity, low reaction temperature, fine and uniform particle size, easy scale-up, and economical concerns. In this paper, a detailed study of different competitive reactions such as dissociation, precipitation, complex formation, and association involving metal ions, oxalate ion, and diethylamine species is performed. The study aids in understanding the precipitation and yields an optimal coprecipitation condition for the title system. A series of experiments are also conducted which confirm that the as-derived optimal condition may be extensively applied to other systems.