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Uranium–35 wt.% zirconium (U–35 wt.% Zr) alloy was annealed for 1 h and 24 h at 650 °C and characterized to understand the early-stage microstructure evolution. Dendritic microstructure with fine (∼300 nm in length) α-U precipitates clustered between dendrite branches were observed in the 1-h annealed sample. After 24-h annealing at 650 °C, the α-U precipitates coarsened, and the dendritic microstructure disappeared because of microstructure homogenization. Furthermore, microchemical homogenization observed with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis suggests that α-U precipitates are approaching thermodynamic equilibrium in the 24-h annealed sample. The findings from this study have potential impacts on the manufacturing and computer modeling of metallic nuclear fuel.
B vitamins (including folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12) and methionine are essential for methylation reactions, nucleotide synthesis, DNA stability and DNA repair. However, epidemiological evidence among Chinese population is limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate B vitamins and methionine in relation to colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population. A case-control study was conducted from July 2010 to April 2019. A total of 2502 patients with colorectal cancer were recruited along with 2538 age (5-year interval) and sex matched controls. Dietary data was collected by using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence interval (CI). The intake of folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 was inversely associated with colorectal cancer risk. The multivariable ORs for the highest quartile versus the lowest quartile were 0.62 (95%CI 0.51, 0.74; Ptrend < 0.001) for folate, 0.46 (95%CI 0.38, 0.55; Ptrend < 0.001) for vitamin B2, 0.55 (95%CI 0.46, 0.76; Ptrend < 0.001) for vitamin B6 and 0.72 (95%CI 0.60, 0.86; Ptrend < 0.001) for vitamin B12, respectively. No statistically significant association was found between methionine intake and colorectal cancer risk. Stratified analysis by sex showed that the inverse associations between vitamin B12 and methionine intake and colorectal cancer risk were found only among women. This study indicated that higher intake of folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 was associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer in Chinese population.
The authors propose an alternative route to circumvent the limitation of neutron flux using the recent deep learning super-resolution technique. The feasibility of accelerating data collection has been demonstrated by using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) data collected from the EQ-SANS instrument at Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). Data collection time can be reduced by increasing the size of binning of the detector pixels at the sacrifice of resolution. High-resolution scattering data is then reconstructed by using a deep learning-based super-resolution method. This will allow users to make critical decisions at a much earlier stage of data collection, which can accelerate the overall experimental workflow.
We conduct numerical simulations to investigate the formation and evolution of drops and vortex rings of particle-laden fingers in double-diffusive convection in stably stratified environments. We show that the temporal evolution can be divided into double diffusion, acceleration and deceleration phases. The acceleration phase is a result of the vanishing temperature perturbation in the drop during the descent in the layer of uniform temperature. The drop decelerates because it transforms into a vortex ring. A theoretical drag model is presented to predict the speed of the spherical drop with the low drop Reynolds number. By formulating the boundary condition based on the vorticity, our drag model gives a more general form of the drag coefficient for small spherical drops and shows good agreement in predicting the drag coefficient. Drops with five particle sizes are compared, and it is found that although the greater vertical settling enhances vertical transport, the final state differs little among the various sizes. Comparison of our drag model with the simulation results under various bulk conditions and previous experimental results shows good model predictability. Finally, a comparison with the salt-finger case shows that the diffusive nature of the dissolved scalar field, along with the wake effect, can result in an apparent loss of mass from the drop and a permanent presence of the connection between the drop and its parent finger. This makes the observed detachment of the particle-laden drop much less likely in the salt-finger case.
Several studies suggested a potential role of viral infection in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the association between herpes zoster and PD was not investigated well till now.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 13 083 patients aged ≥45 years with herpes zoster and 52 332 (1:4) age-/sex-matched controls were enrolled between 1998 and 2008 and followed to the end of 2011. Those who developed PD during the follow-up period were identified.
The Cox regression analysis with adjustment of demographic characteristics, health system utilization, and comorbidities demonstrated that patients with herpes zoster had an increased risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.43-2.28) of developing PD in later life compared to the control group. Sensitivity tests after excluding the first year (HR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.16-1.93) and first 2-year (HR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.10-1.88) observation periods showed consistent results.
Patients with herpes zoster were more likely to develop PD in later life compared to the controls. Additional studies are necessary for validating our results and to clarify the underlying pathophysiology between herpes zoster and PD.
The effects of dietary vitamin D, Ca and dairy products intakes on colorectal cancer risk remain controversial. The present study investigated the association between these dietary intakes and the risk of colorectal cancer in Guangdong, China. From July 2010 to December 2018, 2380 patients with colorectal cancer and 2389 sex- and age-matched controls were recruited. Dietary intake data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a validated FFQ. Unconditional multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate the OR and 95 % CI after adjusting for various confounders. Higher dietary vitamin D and Ca intakes were associated with 43 and 52 % reductions in colorectal cancer risk, with OR of 0·57 (95 % CI 0·46, 0·70) and 0·48 (95 % CI 0·39, 0·61), respectively, for the highest quartile (v. the lowest quartile) intakes. A statistically significant inverse association was observed between total dairy product intake and colorectal cancer risk, with an adjusted OR of 0·32 (95 % CI 0·27, 0·39) for the highest v. the lowest tertile. Subjects who drank milk had a 48 % lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who did not (OR 0·52, 95 % CI 0·45, 0·59). The inverse associations of dietary vitamin D, Ca, total dairy products and milk intakes with the risk of colorectal cancer were independent of sex and cancer site. Our study supports the protective effects of high dietary vitamin D, Ca and dairy products intakes against colorectal cancer in a Chinese population.
Although the literature documents low executive functions and sleep deficits in individuals with autism spectrum disorder or subclinical autistic traits, no study has simultaneously examined their relationships in the general child population. This study aimed to examine whether autistic traits impacted real-world executive functions through insufficient sleep in a nationally representative sample of children.
This was a national survey of 6832 primary and secondary school students, aged 8–14 years old, with equal sex distribution (3479 boys, 50.8%). Parents reported their child's nocturnal sleep duration and the need for sleep to maintain their daytime function and the Social Responsiveness Scale and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) for their children's autistic traits and real-world executive functions, respectively.
We found that autistic traits exerted indirect effects on real-world executive functions through sleep deficits, independent of sex, and age. Moreover, such an indirect effect was observed only from restricted and repetitive behaviors to executive functions through sleep deficits, but not in the other components of autistic traits (i.e. social communication and interaction).
Our novel findings underscore the importance of sleep and autistic traits in executive functions and suggest potential mechanisms that may underlie the observed correlational structure among autistic behaviors, sleep deficits, and low executive function performance.
Both konjac glucomannan (KGM) and inulin oligosaccharide have been shown to improve bowel function, but their effects on the mucosal barrier function and immunity are not fully understood. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of a low-level supplementation of dietary fibres on the colonic mucosal barrier function, antioxidant enzyme defence and immunity. C57BL/6J mice (6 weeks of age, eight per group) were randomly assigned to consume one of the following diets: control or control diet supplemented with 2 % (w/w) of KGM, inulin oligosaccharide (degree polymerisation = 8) or KGM+inulin (1 %, w/w each (K+I)). Fresh faeces were collected on days 19–21. Mice were killed on day 22 after fasting. Segments of colon tissues were processed for histological procedure and stained for acidic mucins and tight junction protein marker zona occludin-1 (ZO-1). The remaining tissues were processed to determine the gene expression of mucin 2, tight junction proteins, antioxidant enzymes and cytokines. The plasma cytokines were measured. Results indicated that KGM, inulin and K+I significantly increased the mucosal layer thickness, mucin density (granule number/crypt) and gene expression of Muc2 as compared with the control. All fibre treatments increased the gene expressions of ZO-1, occludin, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione S-transferase π, catalase and IL-10. In addition, all fibre treatments increased faecal butyrate and probiotics, and plasma IL-10 concentrations. In conclusion, supplementation of low-level, 2 % (w/w), of K+I was sufficient to enhance the mucosal barrier function and anti-inflammatory status.
Maternal supraphysiological estradiol (E2) environment during pregnancy leads to adverse perinatal outcomes. However, the influence of oocyte exposure to high E2 levels on perinatal outcomes remains unknown. Thus, a retrospective cohort study was conducted to explore the effect of high E2 level induced by controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) on further outcomes after frozen embryo transfer (FET). The study included all FET cycles (n = 10,581) between 2014 and 2017. All cycles were categorized into three groups according to the E2 level on the day of the human Chorionic Gonadotropin trigger. Odds ratios (ORs) and their confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the association between E2 level during COH and pregnancy outcomes and subsequent neonatal outcomes. From our findings, higher E2 level was associated with lower percentage of chemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth as well as increased frequency of early miscarriage. Preterm births were more common among singletons in women with higher E2 level during COH (aOR1 = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.22–3.06; aOR2 = 2.05, 95% CI: 1.33–3.06). Incidence of small for gestational age (SGA) was more common in both singletons (aOR1 = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.30–3.11; aOR2 = 2.51, 95% CI: 1.69–3.74) and multiples (aOR1 = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.03–2.45; aOR2 = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.05–3.84) among women with relatively higher E2 level. No association was found between high E2 level during COH and the percentage of macrosomia or large for gestational age. In summary, oocyte exposure to high E2 level during COH should be brought to our attention, since the pregnancy rate decreasing and the risk of preterm birth and SGA increasing following FET.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has spread widely and leads to high disease burden in many countries. However, relative transmissibility from male to female individuals remains unclear. HFMD surveillance database was built in Shenzhen City from 2013 to 2017. An intersex transmission susceptible–infectious–recovered model was developed to calculate the transmission relative rate among male individuals, among female individuals, from male to female and from female to male. Two indicators, ratio of transmission relative rate (Rβ) and relative transmissibility index (RTI), were developed to assess the relative transmissibility of male vs. female. During the study period, 270 347 HFMD cases were reported in the city, among which 16 were death cases with a fatality of 0.0059%. Reported incidence of total cases, male cases and female cases was 0.0057 (range: 0.0036–0.0058), 0.0052 (range: 0.0032–0.0053) and 0.0044 (range: 0.0026–0.0047), respectively. The difference was statistically significant between male and female (t = 3.046, P = 0.002). Rβ of male vs. female, female vs. female, from female to male vs. female and from male to female vs. female was 7.69, 1.00, 1.74 and 7.13, respectively. RTI of male vs. female, female vs. female, from female to male vs. female and from male to female vs. female was 3.08, 1.00, 1.88 and 1.43, respectively. Transmissibility of HFMD is different between male and female individuals. Male cases seem to be more transmissible than female.
Previous studies have shown that the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet might contribute to managing risk factors of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but evidence is limited. We examined the association of DASH diet score (DASH-DS) with NAFLD, as well as the intermediary effects of serum retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4), serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), serum TAG, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and BMI.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study. Dietary data and lifestyle factors were assessed by face-to-face interviews and the DASH-DS was then calculated. We assessed serum RBP4, hs-CRP and TAG and calculated HOMA-IR. The presence and degree of NAFLD were determined by abdominal sonography.
Guangzhou Nutrition and Health Study participants, aged 40–75 years at baseline (n 3051).
After adjusting for potential covariates, we found an inverse association between DASH-DS and the presence of NAFLD (Ptrend = 0·009). The OR (95 % CI) of NAFLD for quintiles 2–5 were 0·78 (0·62, 0·98), 0·74 (0·59, 0·94), 0·69 (0·55, 0·86) and 0·77 (0·61, 0·97), respectively. Path analyses indicated that a higher DASH-DS was associated with lower serum RBP4, hs-CRP, TAG, HOMA-IR and BMI, which were positively associated with the degree of NAFLD.
Adherence to the DASH diet was independently associated with a marked lower prevalence of NAFLD in Chinese adults, especially in women and those without abdominal obesity, and might be mediated by reducing RBP4, hs-CRP, TAG, HOMA-IR and BMI.
Nanosilver is an environment-friendly, harmless alternative of traditional disinfectants which can be potentially applied in the sericulture industry. However, the effects of nanosilver on the intestinal bacterial community of the silkworms (Bombyx mori L.) are unclear. In this study, Illumina MiSeq high-throughput sequencing technology was used to assess the intestinal bacterial community in both male and female silkworms while treated with different concentrations of nanosilver. We found that nanosilver significantly influenced the composition of silkworm intestinal bacterial community on the different taxonomic levels. Most conspicuously, the abundance of Firmicutes was increased by the treatment of 20 mg L−1 nanosilver but decreased by that of 100 mg L−1 nanosilver at the phylum level. The same trend was observed in Bacilli at the class level and in Enterococcus at the genus level. In some extreme cases, application of nanosilver eliminated the bacterium, e.g., Brevibacillus, but increased the population of several other bacteria in the host intestine, such as Blautia, Terrisporobacter, Faecalibacterium, and some bacteria could only be found in nanosilver treatment groups, e.g., Dialister. In addition, although nanosilver generally showed negative effects on the cocooning rate in a dose-dependent manner, we found that 20 mg L−1 nanosilver treatment significantly increased the body weight of silkworms and did not show negative effects on the survival rate. These results indicated that the intestinal bacteria community of silkworm larvae was significantly changed after nanosilver treatment which might consequently influence host growth and development.
To explore whether and how group cognitive-behavioural therapy (GCBT) plus medication differs from medication alone for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
Hundred and seventy patients were randomly assigned to the GCBT plus duloxetine (n=89) or duloxetine group (n=81). The primary outcomes were Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) response and remission rates. The explorative secondary measures included score reductions from baseline in the HAMA total, psychic, and somatic anxiety subscales (HAMA-PA, HAMA-SA), the Hamilton Depression Scale, the Severity Subscale of Clinical Global Impression Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning, and the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 4-week, 8-week, and 3-month follow-up.
At 4 weeks, HAMA response (GCBT group 57.0% vs. control group 24.4%, p=0.000, Cohen’s d=0.90) and remission rates (GCBT group 21.5% vs. control group 6.2%, p=0.004; d=0.51), and most secondary outcomes (all p<0.05, d=0.36−0.77) showed that the combined therapy was superior. At 8 weeks, all the primary and secondary significant differences found at 4 weeks were maintained with smaller effect sizes (p<0.05, d=0.32−0.48). At 3-month follow-up, the combined therapy was only significantly superior in the HAMA total (p<0.045, d=0.43) and HAMA-PA score reductions (p<0.001, d=0.77). Logistic regression showed superiority of the combined therapy for HAMA response rates [odds ratio (OR)=2.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02−4.42, p=0.04] and remission rates (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.27−6.16, p=0.01).
Compared with duloxetine alone, GCBT plus duloxetine showed significant treatment response for GAD over a shorter period of time, particularly for psychic anxiety symptoms, which may suggest that GCBT was effective in changing cognitive style.
As a wide-reaching institutional reform, China's fiscal decentralization was launched in the early 1980s to encourage provincial economic growth by granting more financial autonomy to provincial governments. In this paper, the impact of fiscal decentralization on China's environmental quality is investigated both theoretically and empirically. A neoclassical model is developed based on the primary characteristics of China's fiscal decentralization. Using provincial panel data for the period 1995-2015, a two-equation regression model is employed to empirically verify the three propositions of the theoretical model: (1) there exists an inverted-U shaped relationship between fiscal decentralization and GDP per capita; (2) fiscal decentralization is positively related to GDP per capita at the steady state; (3) there is an inverted-U shaped Environmental Kuznets Curve relationship between pollution emissions and economic growth.
In this article we examine whether and how changes in personal bankruptcy laws, viewed as a shock to employees’ expected personal wealth, affect corporate policies. Following a reform in personal bankruptcy laws that limits individuals’ access to bankruptcy protection, firms more affected by this regulation reform increase labor costs, reduce investment, and engage in less risk taking. The effects are stronger when employees have more bargaining power. Furthermore, firms in industries characterized by high unemployment risk reduce leverage. These results support the view that firms choose more conservative policies to mitigate employees’ expected welfare losses.
We examine the effects of a temporary suspension of short-sale price tests on the options market. Consistent with the notion that put option trading substitutes for short selling, we find a significant reduction in put option volume. In addition, pressure on put option prices significantly declines, violations of the put-call parity become significantly less frequent, and option volume becomes less informed. Our findings add clarity to a long-standing debate on whether investors use options to circumvent equity short-selling restrictions.