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Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) provide a renewable source of energy through the redox reaction of hydrogen and oxygen gas; however, operation relies on a costly platinum catalyst layer. This study investigates how electrospun catalyst layers may be employed to increase the surface area:volume ratio for catalysis to optimize PEMFC performance. When preparing electrospinning solutions, several base polymers were evaluated in varying concentrations to optimize fiber formation, with poly(acrylic acid) found to be preferable at a 12 wt% concentration. Ultimately, PEMFCs with electrospun catalyst layers achieved a 108% increase in power output compared to those air-sprayed.
A greater understanding of the rumen microbiota and its function may help find new strategies to improve feed efficiency in cattle. This study aimed to investigate whether the cattle breed affects specific ruminal taxonomic microbial groups and functions associated with feed conversion ratio (FCR), using two genetically related Angus breeds as a model. Total RNA was extracted from 24 rumen content samples collected from purebred Black and Red Angus bulls fed the same forage diet and then subjected to metatranscriptomic analysis. Multivariate discriminant analysis (sparse partial least square discriminant analysis (sPLS-DA)) and analysis of composition of microbiomes were conducted to identify microbial signatures characterizing Black and Red Angus cattle. Our analyses revealed relationships among bacterial signatures, host breeds and FCR. Although Black and Red Angus are genetically similar, sPLS-DA detected 25 bacterial species and 10 functions that differentiated the rumen microbial signatures between those two breeds. In Black Angus, we identified bacterial taxa Chitinophaga pinensis, Clostridium stercorarium and microbial functions with large and small subunits ribosomal proteins L16 and S7 exhibiting a higher abundance in the rumen microbiome. In Red Angus, nonetheless, we identified the poorly characterized bacterial taxon Oscillibacter valericigenes with a higher abundance and pathways related to carbohydrate metabolism. Analysis of composition of microbiomes revealed that C. pinensis and C. stercorarium exhibited a higher abundance in Black Angus compared to Red Angus associated with FCR, suggesting that these bacterial species may play a key role in the feed conversion efficiency of forage-fed bulls. This study highlights how the discovery of signatures of bacterial taxa and their functions can be used to harness the full potential of the rumen microbiome in Angus cattle.
Malnutrition and acute kidney injury (AKI) are common complications in hospitalized patients, and both increase mortality; however, the relationship between them is unknown. This is a retrospective propensity score matching study enrolling 46,549 inpatients, aimed to investigate the association between Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 (NRS-2002) and AKI, and to assess the ability of NRS-2002 and AKI in predicting prognosis. In total, 37,190 (80%) and 9,359 (20%) patients had NRS-2002 scores < 3 and ≥ 3, respectively. Patients with NRS-2002 scores ≥ 3 had longer lengths of stay (12.6±7.8 days vs. 10.4±6.2 days, P < 0.05), higher mortality rates (9.6% vs. 2.5%, P<0.05), and higher incidence of AKI (28% vs. 16%, P < 0.05) than normal nutritional patients. The NRS-2002 showed a strong association with AKI, that is, the risk of AKI changed in parallel with the score of the NRS-2002. In short- and long-term survival, patients with a lower NRS-2002 score or who did not have AKI achieved a significantly lower risk of mortality than those with a high NRS-2002 score or AKI. Univariate Cox regression analyses indicated that both the NRS-2002 and AKI were strongly related to long-term survival (area under the curve (AUC) 0.79 and 0.71) and that the combination of the two showed better accuracy (AUC 0.80) than the individual variables. In conclusion, malnutrition can increase the risk of AKI, and both AKI and malnutrition can worsen the prognosis, that the undernourished patients who develop AKI yield far worse prognosis than normal nutritional patients.
Immiscible displacement in porous media is common in many practical applications. Under quasi-static conditions, the process is significantly affected by disorder of the porous media and the wettability of the pore surface. Previous studies have focused on wettability effects, but the impact of the interplay between disorder and contact angle is not well understood. Here, we combine microfluidic experiments and pore-scale simulations with theoretical analysis to study the impact of disorder on the quasi-static displacement from weak imbibition to strong drainage. We define the probability of overlap to link the menisci advancements to displacement patterns, and derive a theoretical model to describe the lower and upper bounds of the cross-over zone between compact displacement and capillary fingering for porous media with arbitrary flow geometry at a given disorder. The phase diagram predicted by the theoretical model shows that the cross-over zone, in terms of contact angle range, expands as the disorder increases. The diagram further identifies four zones to elucidate that the impact of disorder depends on wettability. In zone I, increasing disorder destabilizes the patterns, and in zone II, a stabilizing effect plays a role, which is less significant than that in zone I. In the other two zones, invasion morphologies are compact and fingering, respectively, independent of both contact angle and disorder. We evaluate the proposed diagram using pore-scale simulations, experiments in this work and in the literature, confirming that the diagram can capture the effect of disorder on displacement under different wetting conditions. Our work extends the classical phase diagrams and is also of practical significance for engineering applications.
Estimating the robot state within a known map is an essential problem for mobile robot; it is also referred to “localization”. Even LiDAR-based localization is practical in many applications, it is difficult to achieve global localization with LiDAR only for its low-dimension feedback, especially in environments with repetitive geometric features. A sensor-fusion-based localization system is introduced in this paper, which has the capability of addressing the global localization problem. Both LiDAR and vision sensors are integrated, making use of the rich information introduced by vision sensor and the robustness from LiDAR. A hybrid grid-map is built for global localization, and a visual global descriptor is applied to speed up the localization convergence, combined with a pose refining pipeline for improving the localization accuracy. Also, a trigger mechanism is introduced to solve kidnapped problem and verify the relocalization result. The experiments under different conditions are designed to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach, as well as a comparison with the existing localization systems. According to the experimental results, our system is able to solve the global localization problem, and the sensor-fusion mechanism in our system has an improved performance.
The present epidemiological study aimed to evaluate the association of serum electrolyte levels with hypertension in a population with a high-salt diet.
Secondary analysis of epidemiology data from the Northeast China Rural Cardiovascular Health Study conducted in 2012–2013. Blood pressure and hypertension status were analysed for association with serum sodium, potassium, chloride, total calcium, phosphate and magnesium levels using regression models.
High-salt diet, rural China.
Adult residents in Liaoning, China.
In total 10 555 participants were included, of whom 3287 had incident hypertension (IH) and 1655 had previously diagnosed hypertension (PDH). Fifty-six per cent of participants had electrolyte disturbance. Sixty-two per cent of hypercalcaemic participants had hypertension, followed by hypokalaemia (56 %) and hypernatraemia (54 %). Only hypercalcaemia showed significant associations with both IH (OR=1·70) and PDH (OR=2·25). Highest serum calcium quartile had higher odds of IH (OR=1·58) and PDH (OR=1·64) than the lowest quartile. Serum sodium had no significant correlation with hypertension. Serum potassium had a U-shaped trend with PDH. Highest chloride quartile had lower odds of PDH than the lowest chloride quartile (OR=0·65). Highest phosphate quartile was only associated with lower odds of IH (OR=0·75), and the higher magnesium group had significantly lower odds of IH (OR=0·86) and PDH (OR=0·77).
We have shown the association of serum calcium, magnesium and chloride levels with IH and/or PDH. In the clinical setting, patients with IH may have concurrent electrolyte disturbances, such as hypercalcaemia, that may indicate other underlying aetiologies.
We conducted a 9-d seismic experiment in October 2015 at Laohugou Glacier No. 12. We identified microseismic signals using the short-term/long-term average trigger algorithm at four stations and classified them as long and short-duration events based on waveform, frequency, duration and magnitude characteristics. Both categories show systematical diurnal trends. The long-duration events are low-frequency tremor-like events that mainly occurred during the daytime with only several events per day. These events lasted tens of seconds to tens of minutes and are likely related to resonance of daytime meltwater. The dominant short-duration events mostly occurred during the night time with a peak occurrence frequency of ~360 h−1. Their short-duration (<0.2 s), high frequency (20–100 Hz) and dominance of Rayleigh waves are typical of events for near-surface crack opening. A strong negative correlation between the hourly event number and temperature change rate suggests that the occurrence of night-time events is controlled by the rate of night-time cooling. We estimated the near-surface tensile stress due to thermal contraction at night to be tens of kilopascals, which is enough to induce opening of surface cracks with pre-existing local stress concentrations, although we cannot exclude the effect of refreezing of meltwater produced during the day.
Magnesium is a biodegradable material that has potential application in cardiovascular stent development: its excellent mechanical properties and blood compatibility make it highly useful in interventional therapy. Nevertheless, the following shortcomings restrict its further application: antihyperplasia function and promoting surface endothelialization. In this study, we immobilized a specific link peptide of endothelial cells, Arg-Glu-Asp-Val (REDV), onto polydopamine (PDA)-deposited Mg–Zn–Y–Nd alloy surface via covalent reaction to improve the growth of the endothelial cells. The PDA/REDV coating with optimized parameters maintained the good blood compatibility of the Mg–Zn–Y–Nd alloy at the biomimetic speed of the blood flow and significantly inhibited the growth of the vascular smooth muscle cells and macrophage attachment/activation, which indicated its better functions in antihyperplasia and anti-inflammation. In particular, the PDA/REDV coating not only showed consistent results in promoting the attachment of endothelial cells as reported elsewhere, but also displayed the ability of enhancing the viability of endothelial cells (or inhibiting apoptosis), suggesting its pro-endothelialized function through different pathways. In summary, this PDA/REDV coating addressed the above-mentioned shortcomings of the magnesium alloy, which may promise its wider application.
Mach reflection in steady supersonic flow with two incident shock waves is studied. The second incident shock wave is produced by an additional deflection of the wedge lower surface, at some point ensuring that the two incident shock waves would intersect at the reflecting surface in case of normal reflection. Both theory and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) are used to study the flow structure and the influence of the second incident shock wave. The overall flow configuration, in case of Mach reflection, is shown to be composed of a triple shock structure, a shock/shock interaction structure and a shock/slipline reflection structure. Similar phenomenon, triggered by a high downstream pressure, has been observed before numerically, but not studied theoretically. The second incident shock wave reflects over the slipline to deflect the slipline more towards the reflecting surface, increasing thus the Mach stem height, advancing the transition of regular reflection to Mach reflection of the first incident shock wave, and causing an inverted Mach reflection below the usual von Neumann condition. A Mach stem height model built for a weak second incident shock wave is used to study the influence of the second incident shock wave on the Mach stem height. Both theory and CFD predict a maximum of the Mach stem height at some additional wedge deflection angle.
'Missing wedge' problem exists in some kind of CT imaging situations, such as electron microscopy, x-ray nano-CT image, etc. Method such as iterative reconstruction algorithms, total variation based method were applied to improve the reconstruction quality, but the 'missing wedge' artifacts are still inevitable. In this paper, a method based on image processing technique was proposed to locate the 'missing wedge' artifacts in CT reconstruction. The result showed good performance on locating the artifacts, which also showed the potential in CT reconstruction and image analysis in nano-CT.
The soft X-ray Microscopy beamline BL07W at National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory is devoted to cryo nano-tomography for biological applications in the water window (284 - 530 eV) and for imaging of nanomaterials from 200 to 2500 eV. An ellipsoidal capillary used as condense to focus monochromatic light onto the sample. Two Ni zone plate (ZP) lenses made by Zeiss with 40 nm and 25 nm outer most zone widths, respectively, are available, giving spatial resolution in 2D of down to 40 nm and 30 nm, respectively. Hydrated biological specimens had been imaged in the water window photon energy range without chemical fixation, dehydration, chemical staining and physical sectioning. In addition, other applications such as nanomaterials imaging had been demonstrated.
Familial monozygotic (MZ) twinning reports are rare around the world, and we report a four-generation pedigree with seven recorded pairs of female MZ twins. Whole-genome sequencing of seven family members was performed to explore the featured genetic factors in MZ twins. For variations specific to MZ twins, five novel variants were observed in the X chromosome. These candidates were used to explain the seemingly X-linked dominant inheritance pattern, and only one variant was exonic, located at the 5′UTR region of ZCCHC12 (chrX: 117958597, G > A). Besides, consistent mitochondrial DNA composition in the maternal linage precluded roles of mitochondria for this trait. In this pedigree, autosomes also contain diverse variations specific to MZ twins. Pathway analysis revealed a significant enrichment of genes carrying novel SNVs in the epithelial adherens junction-signaling pathway (p = .011), contributed by FGFR1, TUBB6, and MYH7B. Meanwhile, TBC1D22A, TRIOBP, and TUBB6, also carrying similar SNVs, were involved in the GTPase family-mediated signal pathway. Furthermore, gene-set enrichment analysis for 533 genes covered by copy number variations specific to MZ twins illustrated that the tight junction-signaling pathway was significantly enriched (p < .001). Therefore, the novel changes in the X chromosome and the provided candidate variants across autosomes may be responsible for MZ twinning, giving clues to increase our understanding about the underlying mechanism.
Cell's sub-cellular architecture and function can be revealed by Cryo soft X-ray tomography (Cryo-SXT) and Cryo-fluorescence microscopy (Cryo-FM) respectively. To understand the connection between cells' structure and function, correlative Cryo-SXT and Cryo-FM has been applied. Here we introduce a semiautomatic precise alignment and fusion technology of Cryo-SXT and Cryo-fluorescence microscopy.
In this paper, we introduce a lower extremity exoskeleton CUHK-EXO that is developed to help paraplegic patients, who have lost the motor and sensory functions of their lower limbs to perform basic daily life motions. Since the sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit (STS) motion is the first step for paraplegic patients toward walking, analysis of the exoskeleton's applicability to the STS motion assistance is performed. First, the human-exoskeleton system (HES) is modeled as a five-link model during the STS motion, and the center of pressure (COP) on the ground and center of gravity of the whole system are calculated. Then, a description of the CUHK-EXO hardware design is presented, including the mechatronics design and actuator selection. The COP position is an important factor indicating system balance and wearer's comfort. Based on the COP position, a trajectory online modification algorithm (TOMA) is proposed for CUHK-EXO to counteract disturbances, stabilize system balance, and improve the wearer's comfort in the STS motion. The results of STS motion tests conducted with a paraplegic patient demonstrate that CUHK-EXO can provide a normal reference pattern and proper assistive torque to support the patient's STS motion. In addition, a pilot study is conducted with a healthy subject to verify the effectiveness of the proposed TOMA under external disturbances before future clinical trials. The testing results verify that CUHK-EXO can counteract disturbances, and help the wearer perform the STS motion safely and comfortably.
Background: This study assesses the value of the video head impulse test (vHIT) for early diagnosis of vestibular neuritis (VN) among acute vertigo. Methods: Thirty-three cases of vestibular neuritis (VN), 96 patients with other acute vertigo (AV), and 50 cases of normal controls used vHIT to quantitatively test a pair of horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflection (VOR) gains, two pairs of vertical VOR gains, and the corresponding three pairs of VOR gain asymmetry. The peculiarity of VOR gains in VN and the differences between VN and other AV, normal controls by vHIT, were collected and analyzed. Results: There were statistically significant differences in the three pairs of VOR gains asymmetry between VN and other AV, and normal controls (P<0.01). The sensitivity was 87.9% and specificity was 94.3% in differentiating VN from normal and other acute vertigo by vHIT. Conclusions: This study shows vHIT has advantages in the diagnosis of VN in acute vertigo with good sensitivity and specificity and indicates a widespread clinical application.
Disclosing the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to a patient is controversial. There is significant stigma associated with a diagnosis of AD or dementia in China, but the attitude of the society toward disclosure of such a diagnosis had not been formally evaluated prior to our study. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the attitude toward disclosing an AD diagnosis to patients in China with cognitive impairment from their caregivers, and the factors that may affect their attitude.
We designed a 17-item questionnaire and administered this questionnaire to caregivers, who accompanied patients with cognitive impairment or dementia in three major hospitals in Shanghai, China. The caregiver's attitude toward disclosing the diagnosis of AD as evaluated by the questionnaire was compared to that of disclosing the diagnosis of terminal cancer.
A majority (95.7%) of the 175 interviewed participants (mean 14.2 years of education received) wished to know their own diagnosis if they were diagnosed with AD, and 97.6% preferred the doctor to tell their family members if they were diagnosed with AD. If a family member of the participants suffered from AD, 82.9% preferred to have the diagnosis disclosed to the patient. “Cognitive impairment” was the most accepted term by caregivers to disclose AD diagnosis in Chinese.
This study suggests most of the well-educated individuals in a Chinese urban area favored disclosing the diagnosis when they or their family members were diagnosed with AD.
The present work focuses on the deformation and recovery mechanisms of aged monoclinic U–Nb alloy under tension and load–unload cycle testing using in situ X-ray diffraction (XRD). The U–6.2wt% Nb (U–6.2Nb) alloy was prepared and aged at 200 °C, and then underwent tensile testing followed by the in situ XRD. The experimental results indicate that the change of diffraction peaks can serve to accurately characterize the macroscopic deformation and recovery. Compared with the as-quenched alloy, the aged U–6.2Nb alloy displays different behavior during deformation and subsequent recovery. Phase transformation competes with twin rearrangement to dominate the deformation and recovery between elastic stage and slip stage of the alloy. The lattice plane relationship between α″ and γ° during phase transformation has also been given.
As a well-known phosphatized Lagerstätte, the Ediacaran Weng'an biota in central Guizhou Province of South China contains diverse acanthomorphic acritarchs, algal thalli, tubular microfossils as well as various spheroidal fossils. These fossils provide crucial palaeontological evidence for the radiation of multicellular eukaryotes after the termination of the Neoproterozoic global glaciation. While the Weng'an biota is generally considered as early Ediacaran in age on the basis of phosphorite Pb–Pb isochron ages ranging from 572 Ma to 599 Ma, the reliability and accuracy of these age data have been questioned and some geologists have proposed that the Weng'an biota may be younger than 580 Ma instead. Here we report a SIMS zircon U–Pb age of 609 ± 5 Ma for a tuffaceous bed immediately above the upper phosphorite unit in the Doushantuo Formation at Zhangcunping, Yichang, South China. Litho-, bio- and chemostratigraphic correlations suggest that the upper phosphorite unit at Zhangcunping can be well correlated with the upper phosphorite unit at Weng'an, which is the main horizon of the Weng'an biota. We therefore conclude that the Weng'an biota could be as old as 609 ± 5 Ma.
The high-cycle fatigue (HCF) behavior is significantly affected by surface roughness, especially for high strength metal FV520B-I. However, with surface roughness effect, neither the fatigue property, nor the high-cycle fatigue life model about FV520B-I with surface roughness has been reported. In this paper, designed fatigue experiment using the specimen with different surface roughness is presented to study the effectiveness of the roughness to the fatigue. The observations of the fatigue crack initiation sites and the crack propagation. Then the high cycle fatigue behavior of FV520B-I affected by surface roughness is analyzed. The existing very-high-cycle fatigue life model is not well-fit for high-cycle fatigue model of FV520B-I. A NEW high-cycle fatigue life prediction model of FV520B-I, taking surface roughness as a main effective variable is proposed. The model is built up by a comprehensive use of experimental data and the traditional fatigue modeling theory. The new finding between the fatigue strength coefficient and stress amplitude, with surface roughness, is adopted, leading to a NEW modified life prediction model. Study on fatigue model of FV520B-I with surface roughness is a very beneficial effort in fatigue theory and fatigue engineering development.