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A simple and effective strategy is proposed for fabricating honeycomb-patterned ethyl cellulose (EC) films via a combination of the dip-coating and breath figure methods under a wide humidity range (40–90%). A mixture of toluene and methanol as a volatile solvent/nonsolvent pair was used to effectively control the surface morphology. Additionally, honeycomb patterns were successfully formed via dip-coating under a low humidity (relative humidity less than 40%), when water was directly added into the mixed solution. The important factors that influenced the morphology of EC honeycomb-patterned films were investigated, such as the humidity, solution concentration, and the withdrawal speed during dip-coating. The pore sizes could be controlled by changing the film-formation conditions. Water contact angle enables a transition from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. The possible mechanisms of honeycomb pattern formation are discussed. The fabrication of an ordered honeycomb-patterned film in a cost-effective and convenient manner will have broad application potential in the future.
The present study aimed to investigate the association of the Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI) and its 6-year change with hypertension risk and compare the ability of CVAI and other obesity indices to predict hypertension based on the Rural Chinese Cohort Study. Study participants were randomly recruited by a cluster sampling procedure, and 10 304 participants ≥18 years were included. Modified Poisson regression was used to derive adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95 % CI. We identified 2072 hypertension cases during a median of 6·03 years of follow-up. The RR for the highest v. lowest CVAI quartile were 1·29 (95 % CI 1·05, 1·59) for men and 1·53 (95 % CI 1·22, 1·91) for women. Per-sd increase in CVAI was associated with hypertension for both men (RR 1·09, 95 % CI 1·02, 1·16) and women (RR 1·14, 95 % CI 1·06, 1·22). Also, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value for hypertension was higher for CVAI than the four other obesity indices for both sexes (all P < 0·05). Finally, per-sd increase in CVAI change was associated with hypertension for both men (RR 1·26, 95 % CI 1·16, 1·36) and women (RR 1·23, 95 % CI 1·15, 1·30). Similar results were observed in sensitivity analyses. CVAI and its 6-year change are positively associated with hypertension risk. CVAI has better performance in predicting hypertension than other visceral obesity indices for both sexes. The current findings suggest CVAI as a reliable and applicable predictor of hypertension in rural Chinese adults.
Identifying effective treatments is a critical issue for Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). The pathological amyloid deposits of AD result in disruption of the balance between long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) of neuronal cells and synaptic plasticity. Brain stimulation in dementia research, especially with relatively safe tDCS, has been taken seriously recently. In theory, tDCS affects long-term synaptic plasticity through LTP and LTD, thereby improving cognitive ability. Recently, an increasing number of studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of tDCS in AD and concluded a positive therapeutic effect. Currently, there are no studies of tDCS for AD in Taiwan. In this study, we investigate the effects of tDCS in AD.
Using a double-blind, randomized and sham- controlled trial design, Sixteen AD aged 55-90 years (8 active, mean age 73.88 and 8 sham, mean age 74.75) were included in the study. AD diagnostics is according to DSM-5 criteria. The CDR ratings of AD participants ranged from 0.5 to 2. All subjects completed ten consecutive daily sessions in which they received either an active or a sham tDCS over the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (anodal) and a cathodal electrode on the right supraorbital area. In each session, we applied a current intensity of 2 mA and an electrode size of 35 cm2 for 30 min in the active group. All subjects received a series of neuropsychological tests, which included CDR, MMSE, CASI and WCST, before and after these treatment sessions on the first day and 4 weeks later. Chi- square test, Wilcoxon signed ranks test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to assess the differences in participant demographic characteristics and to compare the differences among groups.
The active group showed significant improvement in total correct item, Conceptual level Responses (reflecting insight into the correct sorting principles), Categories Completed (reflecting overall success), and Trials to complete first categories (reflecting initial conceptual ability) of WCST 4 weeks later after the final stimulation. There were no statistically significant differences between before and after the 10-session course for the sham group.
tDCS stimulation improves cognitive operation and Conceptual Ability of AD.
Supported by (1) medical research grants CMRPG3C0041/42 from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and NRRPG2H0031 from Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan to Chemin Lin (2) NMRPG3G6031/32 from Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan to Shwu-Hua, Lee (3) the KKHo International Charitable Foundation to Tatia Lee.
Suicide rate tends to peak in old age, and major depression is the most salient risk factor for late-life suicide. However, few studies have focused on the neuroscientific facet of suicide in the context of late-life depression (LLD).
We recruited 114 participants of LLD (28 with history of suicide attempt and 86 without) and 47 elderly controls. They received MRI scanning and behavioral assessment. White matter hyperintensity (WMH) was quantified by an automated segmentation algorithm and graph theoretical analysis was applied to resting-state fMRI. We used ANCOVA to compare group difference in WMH loading and multivariate generalized linear model to compare global and local topological parameters in fMRI signals, controlling for demographics. Partial correlation was conducted between imaging parameters and behavioral data in group of suicide attempters.
We found significant higher WMH in suicide attempters than those of LLD without suicide attempts and elderly controls (F =7.091; p = 0.001). Suicide attempters also had increased betweenness centrality (BC) in right superior occipital gyrus (SOG) (Bonferroni corrected), right precuneus (False positive corrected) and right superior temporal gyrus (uncorrected) and decreased BC in left hippocampus (uncorrected). In suicide attempters, higher BC in right SOG correlated with higher WMH, higher depression severity, higher illness awareness and insight, and lower cognitive function (digit backward), while higher BC in right precuneus correlated with higher decrease awareness and insight and higher cognitive function (digit backward).
Resonating with the vascular hypothesis in LLD, higher WMH was found in those having history of suicide attempts. However, the re-organized brain topology changes are related with divergent cognitive function and convergent heightened disease insight.
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the primary staple crop in Taiwan, and it can be grown twice a year. The prevalent subspecies grown in Taiwan is Japonica, and a transplanting system is used for rice production. Although the transplanting system is known for efficient weed control at the seedling stage, weedy red rice (WRR, O. sativa f. spontanea) infestation is progressively being reported. Fieldwork and previous studies have suggested that WRR infestation in Taiwan is probably related to growers’ operating practices and their perception of WRR. However, no data are available for a detailed investigation. The present study aimed to collect data on rice growers’ backgrounds, farming practices, and perceptions of WRR to quantify and characterize the patterns of farming operations for rice growers in Taiwan and to investigate factors contributing to WRR infestation. We collected 408 questionnaires completed by rice growers from 17 counties covering all rice production regions in Taiwan. The growers’ median age was 51 to 60 yr, and 75% of respondents had paddies from 0.25 to 2.75 ha in size, which corresponded with nationwide data for farmers’ backgrounds. In general, growers applied similar farming practices for both cropping seasons. Most respondents did not notice WRR infestation or consider it to be a problem: only 9.8% noticed a moderate to severe infestation of WRR in their fields. The major perceived causes of WRR infestation was seed impurity (55.1%) or cultivar degeneration (18.6%). Correlation analysis and farming patterns estimated with a nonnegative matrix factorization algorithm showed that WRR contamination rate was due to the use of dry or wet tillage. The present study provides the first quantitative and qualitative evidence of rice production practices and growers’ perceptions of WRR infestation in Taiwan.
Studies have suggested an association between metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases and major depressive disorder (MDD). However, the risk of metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases in the unaffected siblings of patients with MDD remains uncertain. Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 22,438 unaffected siblings of patients with MDD and 89,752 age-/sex-matched controls were selected and followed up from 1996 to the end of 2011. Individuals who developed metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases during the follow-up period were identified. Compared with the controls, the unaffected siblings of patients with MDD had a higher prevalence of metabolic diseases, such as hypertension (5.0% vs. 4.5%, p = 0.007), dyslipidemia (5.6% vs. 4.8%, p < 0.001), and obesity (1.7% vs. 1.5%, p = 0.028), and cerebrocardiovascular diseases, such as ischemic stroke (0.6% vs. 0.4%, p < 0.005) and ischemic heart disease (2.1% vs. 1.7%, p < 0.001). Logistic regression analyses revealed that the unaffected siblings of patients with MDD were more likely to develop hypertension, dyslipidemia, ischemic stroke, and ischemic heart diseases during the follow-up period than the controls. Our study revealed a familial coaggregation between MDD and metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases. Additional studies are required to investigate the shared pathophysiology of MDD and metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases.
Family coaggregation of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia have been presented in previous studies. The shared genetic and environmental factors among psychiatric disorders remain elusive.
This nationwide population-based study examined familial coaggregation of major psychiatric disorders in first-degree relatives (FDRs) of individuals with ASD. Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database was used to identify 26 667 individuals with ASD and 67 998 FDRs of individuals with ASD. The cohort was matched in 1:4 ratio to 271 992 controls. The relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of ADHD, ASD, BD, MDD and schizophrenia were assessed among FDRs of individuals with ASD and ASD with intellectual disability (ASD-ID).
FDRs of individuals with ASD have higher RRs of major psychiatric disorders compared with controls: ASD 17.46 (CI 15.50–19.67), ADHD 3.94 (CI 3.72–4.17), schizophrenia 3.05 (CI 2.74–3.40), BD 2.22 (CI 1.98–2.48) and MDD 1.88 (CI 1.76–2.00). Higher RRs of schizophrenia (4.47, CI 3.95–5.06) and ASD (18.54, CI 16.18–21.23) were observed in FDRs of individuals with both ASD-ID, compared with ASD only.
The risk for major psychiatric disorders was consistently elevated across all types of FDRs of individuals with ASD. FDRs of individuals with ASD-ID are at further higher risk for ASD and schizophrenia. Our results provide leads for future investigation of shared etiologic pathways of ASD, ID and major psychiatric disorders and highlight the importance of mental health care delivered to at-risk families for early diagnoses and interventions.
Neuroimaging characteristics have demonstrated disrupted functional organization in schizophrenia (SZ), involving large-scale networks within grey matter (GM). However, previous studies have ignored the role of white matter (WM) in supporting brain function.
Using resting-state functional MRI and graph theoretical approaches, we investigated global topological disruptions of large-scale WM and GM networks in 93 SZ patients and 122 controls. Six global properties [clustering coefficient (Cp), shortest path length (Lp), local efficiency (Eloc), small-worldness (σ), hierarchy (β) and synchronization (S) and three nodal metrics [nodal degree (Knodal), nodal efficiency (Enodal) and nodal betweenness (Bnodal)] were utilized to quantify the topological organization in both WM and GM networks.
At the network level, both WM and GM networks exhibited reductions in Eloc, Cp and S in SZ. The SZ group showed reduced σ and β only for the WM network. Furthermore, the Cp, Eloc and S of the WM network were negatively correlated with negative symptoms in SZ. At the nodal level, the SZ showed nodal disturbances in the corpus callosum, optic radiation, posterior corona radiata and tempo-occipital WM tracts. For GM, the SZ manifested increased nodal centralities in frontoparietal regions and decreased nodal centralities in temporal regions.
These findings provide the first evidence for abnormal global topological properties in SZ from the perspective of a substantial whole brain, including GM and WM. Nodal centralities enhance GM areas, along with a reduction in adjacent WM, suggest that WM functional alterations may be compensated for adjacent GM impairments in SZ.
We aimed to describe the clinical features in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. We studied 134 critically ill COVID-19 cases from 30 December 2019 to 20 February 2020 in an intensive care unit (ICU) at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Demographics, underlying diseases, therapy strategies and test results were collected and analysed from patients on admission, admission to the ICU and 48 h before death. The non-survivors were older (65.46 (s.d. 9.74) vs. 46.45 (s.d. 11.09)) and were more likely to have underlying diseases. The blood group distribution of the COVID-19 cases differed from that of the Han population in Wuhan, with type A being 43.85%; type B, 26.92%; type AB, 10% and type O, 19.23%. Non-survivors tend to develop more severe lymphopaenia, with higher C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, procalcitonin, D-dimer levels and gradually increased with time. The clinical manifestations were non-specific. Compared with survivors, non-survivors more likely to have organ function injury, and to receive mechanical ventilation, either invasively or noninvasively. Multiple organ failure and secondary bacterial infection in the later period is worthy of attention.
The variable stiffness actuator (VSA) is helpful to realize the post-collision safety strategies for safe human–robot interaction.1 The stiffness of the robot will be reduced to protect the user from injury when the collision between the robot and human occurs. However, The VSA has a mechanism limit constraint that can cause harm to users even if the stiffness is minimized. Accordingly, in this article, a concept combining danger index and robust fault detection and isolation is presented and applied to active–passive variable stiffness elastic actuator (APVSEA). APVSEA can actively change joint stiffness with the change of danger index. Experimental results show that this concept can effectively confirm the fault mode and provide additional protection measures to ensure the safety of users when the joint stiffness has been adjusted to the minimum.
A novel g-C3N4 nanoparticle@porous g-C3N4 (CNNP@PCN) composite has been successfully fabricated by loading g-C3N4 nanoparticles on the porous g-C3N4 matrix via a simply electrostatic self-assembly method. The composition, morphological structure, optical property, and photocatalytic performance of the composite were evaluated by various measurements, including XRD, SEM, TEM, Zeta potential, DRS, PL, FTIR, and XPS. The results prove that the nanolization of g-C3N4 leads to an apparent blueshift of the absorption edge, and the energy band gap is increased from 2.84 eV of porous g-C3N4 to 3.40 eV of g-C3N4 nanoparticle (Fig. 6). Moreover, the valence band position of the g-C3N4 nanoparticle is about 0.7 eV lower than that of porous g-C3N4. Therefore, the photo-generated holes and electrons in porous g-C3N4 can transfer to the conduction band of g-C3N4 nanoparticle, thereby obtaining higher separation efficiency of photo-generated carriers as well as longer carrier lifetime. Under visible-light irradiation, 6CNNP@PCN exhibits the highest photocatalytic performance (Fig. 8) on MB, which is approximately 3.4 times as that of bulk g-C3N4.
Ancient cities are excellent spatiotemporal indicators for the study of historical human activities and environmental change. The ancient city of Sanchahe is located at the southern margin of the Mu Us Desert, China. It is an ideal location for studying the complex relationships between historical desertification and human activities. Field observations of the ancient city walls, a well, and a spring, as well as 14C dating, grain size, spatial analysis of archaeological sites, and analyses of historical seismicity, indicated that neotectonics may have contributed to crustal uplift and accelerated fluvial incision of the Wuding River. This rapid incision caused a decline in groundwater levels, which is an important reason for the irreversible environmental degradation around Sanchahe city over the past 800 yr. This study provides new evidence for such environmental degradation and may contribute to a better understanding of historical desertification in the Mu Us Desert.
Studies have suggested the detrimental effects of obesity and systemic inflammation on the cognitive function of patients with bipolar or major depressive disorder. However, the complex associations between affective disorder, obesity, systemic inflammation, and cognitive dysfunction remain unclear.
Overall, 110 patients with affective disorder (59 with bipolar I disorder and 51 with major depressive disorder) who scored ≥61 on the Global Assessment of Functioning and 51 age- and sex-matched controls were enrolled. Body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 was defined as obesity or overweight. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines—including interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and C-reactive protein (CRP)—were measured, and cognitive function was assessed using various methods, including the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and go/no-go task.
Patients with bipolar I disorder or major depressive disorder were more likely to be obese or overweight, had higher CRP and TNF-α levels, and had greater executive dysfunction in the WCST than the controls. TNF-α level (P < .05) but not affective disorder diagnosis or obesity/overweight was significantly associated with cognitive function deficits, although obesity/overweight and diagnosis were significantly associated with increased TNF-α level.
Our findings may indicate that proinflammatory cytokines, but not obesity or overweight, have crucial effects on cognitive function in patients with bipolar I disorder or major depressive disorder, although proinflammatory cytokines and obesity or overweight were found to be strongly associated. The complex relationships between affective disorder diagnosis, proinflammatory cytokine levels, obesity or overweight, and cognitive function require further investigation.
Additive manufacturing has enabled the development of lightweight lattice structures, which are widely used in orthopedic implant, aerospace and filtration fields. The traditional method of optimizing part build orientation has been unable to meet the demand for lightweight lattice parts. This paper proposes a novel method to obtain an optimum build orientation for lightweight lattice parts based on selective laser melting by considering two factors at a time, namely processability of lattice structures and the surface quality of functional features. First, the overhang structure area model for the evaluation of the processability of lattice structures is established; then, mesh segmentation and feature level classification of the lightweight part frame are carried out. On this basis, the adaptive feature roughness model for the evaluation of the surface quality of functional features is established; finally, a multicriteria genetic algorithm is used to solve the build orientation optimization problem of lightweight lattice parts to obtain a Pareto optimal set.
This study aims to ascertain the long-term epidemic trends of malaria and evaluates the probability of achieving the eradication goal by 2020 in China. Data on malaria incidence and deaths were extracted from the China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention. The epidemic trends by sex, age and spatial distribution and predictions of malaria were estimated by using Joinpoint and Poisson regressions. From 1950 to 2016, 227 668 374 malaria cases were reported in China, with an annualised average incidence of 337.02 (336.98–337.07, 95% confidence interval (CI)) per 100 000 population. The incidence decreased with an average annual per cent change (AAPC) of −11.4% (−16.6 to −6.0). There were 36 085 malaria deaths, with an annualised average mortality of 0.534 (0.529–0.540) per 1 000 000 population. The mortality decreased with an AAPC of −8.7% (−13.7 to −3.4). The predicted number of malaria cases and deaths for 2020 is 2 562 and 10, respectively, and zero for indigenous cases. The disease burden of malaria dramatically decreased in China. Though, the goal of malaria elimination is realistic by 2020 in China, routine clinical and entomological surveillance should be continually conducted, especially for the cross-border areas and imported malaria cases.
Whether the first-degree relatives (FDRs) of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have an increased risk of the major psychiatric disorders, namely schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), remains unclear.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database with the whole population sample size (n = 23 258 175), 89 500 FDRs, including parents, offspring, siblings, and twins, of patients with OCD were identified in our study. The relative risks (RRs) of major psychiatric disorders were assessed among FDRs of patients with OCD.
FDRs of patients with OCD had higher RRs of major psychiatric disorders, namely OCD (RR 8.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.68–8.57), bipolar disorder (RR 2.85, 95% CI 2.68–3.04), MDD (RR 2.67, 95% CI 2.58–2.76), ASD (RR 2.38, 95% CI 2.10–2.71), ADHD (RR 2.19, 95% CI 2.07–2.32), and schizophrenia (RR 1.97, 95% CI 1.86–2.09), compared with the total population. Different familial kinships of FDRs, such as parents, offspring, siblings, and twins consistently had increased risks for these disorders. In addition, a dose-dependent relationship was found between the numbers of OCD probands and the risk of each major psychiatric disorder.
The FDRs, including parents, offspring, siblings, and twins, of patients with OCD have a higher risk of OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, MDD, ADHD, and ASD. The familial co-aggregation of OCD with OCD and other major psychiatric disorders was existent in a dose-dependent manner. Given the increased risks of psychiatric disorders, medical practitioners should closely monitor the mental health of the FDRs of patients with OCD.
The earliest colonisation of oceanic islands by Homo sapiens occurred ~50 000–30 000 years ago in the Western Pacific, yet how this was achieved remains a matter of debate. With a focus on East Asia, the research presented here tests the hypothesis that bamboo rafts were used for these early maritime migrations. The authors review the evidence for Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia as the context for an experimental archaeology project to build two bamboo watercraft. Sea trials demonstrate the unsuitability of bamboo, at least in East Asia, indicating that more sophisticated and durable vessels would have been required to traverse the Kuroshio Current.
Consumption of a high-fat diet increases fat accumulation and may further lead to inflammation and hepatic injuries. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of Camellia oleifera seed extract (CSE) on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). After a 16-week NAFLD-inducing period, rats were assigned to experimental groups fed an NAFLD diet with or without CSE. At the end of the study, we found that consuming CSE decreased the abdominal fat weight and hepatic fat accumulation and modulated circulating adipokine levels. We also found that CSE groups had lower hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β protein expressions. In addition, we found that CSE consumption may have affected the gut microbiota and reduced toll-like receptor (TLR)-4, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88, toll/IL-1 receptor domain-containing adaptor-inducing interferon-β (TRIF) expression and proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in the liver. Our results suggest that CSE may alleviate the progression of NAFLD in rats with diet-induced steatosis through reducing fat accumulation and improving lipid metabolism and hepatic inflammation.
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.