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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 this study was to determine effects of a low-level supplementation of dietary fibres on the colonic mucosal barrier function, antioxidant enzyme defense and immunity. C57BL/6J mice (six weeks of age, 8 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 polymerization=8) or KGM+Inulin (1% w/w each). Fresh feces were collected on d 19-21 for analyses of short-chain fatty acid and microflora. Mice were sacrificed on d 22 after fasting. Segments of colon tissues were processed for histological procedure and stained for acidic mucins and tight junction protein marker ZO-1. The remaining tissues were processed to determine gene expressions of mucin 2, tight junction proteins, antioxidant enzymes and cytokines. The plasma TNF-α and IL-10 level were also measured to investigate the systemic effects of dietary fibres. 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, GPX, GST, catalase, and IL-10. In addition, all fibre treatments increased fecal butyrate and probiotics, and plasma IL-10 concentrations. In conclusion, supplementation of low-level, 2% (w/w), of KGM and inulin was sufficient to enhance the mucosal barrier function and anti-inflammatory status.
This paper investigates a wideband and low axial ratio circularly polarized (CP) antenna, which is composed of a monopole on a novel polarization rotating reflective surface (PRRS) based on a corner-truncated artificial magnetic conductor (AMC) structure. By adjusting the dimensions of truncated corner properly, the PRRS has two polarization rotation (PR) frequency points. Then, a large PR band of 18% (5.55–6.65 GHz) can be achieved with two adjacent PR frequency points coming together. The profile of the newly PRRS is only0.04λ0. With corner-truncated AMC-based PRRS loading, a measured impedance bandwidth of 1.8 GHz (5.4–7.2 GHz) and the 3 dB axial ratio bandwidth of 1 GHz (5.55–6.65 GHz) could be obtained by the monopole antenna and validated by measurements. The values of AR were well below 1 dB at most of the CP region, which show a perfect CP performance. Moreover, the proposed antenna has exhibited a large axial ratio beamwidth in both the xoz- and yoz-planes and a peak gain of 6.1 dBic within the operational bandwidth.
Evidence regarding the relationships between the socioeconomic status and
long-term outcomes of individuals with bipolar affective disorder (BPD)
We aimed to estimate the effects of baseline socioeconomic status on
A national cohort of adult participants with newly diagnosed BPD was
identified in 2008. The effects of personal and household socioeconomic
status were explored on outcomes of hospital treatment, mortality and
healthcare costs, over a 3-year follow-up period (2008–2011).
A total of 7987 participants were recruited. The relative risks of
hospital treatment and mortality were found elevated for the ones from
low-income households who also had higher healthcare costs. Low premium
levels did not correlate with future healthcare costs.
Socioeconomic deprivation is associated with poorer outcome and higher
healthcare costs in BPD patients. Special care should be given to those
with lower socioeconomic status to improve outcomes with potential
benefits of cost savings in the following years.
Apathy is a condition characterized by a lack of motivation that manifests in emotional, behavioral, and cognitive domains. Although previous studies have indicated that apathy is associated with frontal lesions, few studies have focused on the different subdomains of apathy, and no in vivo human biochemical data have been obtained to examine the neurochemical changes related to apathy in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thus, we investigated the frontal neurochemical alterations related to apathy among patients with AD using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS).
Apathy was assessed through the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES). 1H MRS was performed to measure neurochemical metabolite levels in the anterior cingulate region and right orbitofrontal region. Associations between neurochemical metabolites and the total score and subscores of each domain of the AES were analyzed.
Altogether, 36 patients completed the study. Patients with lower N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios (NAA/Cr) in the anterior cingulate region demonstrated higher total apathy scores (β = −0.56, p = 0.003) with adjustments for age, gender, educational level, dementia severity, and depression severity. In a further analysis, a lower NAA/Cr in the anterior cingulate region was associated with all subdomains of apathy, including cognition (β = −0.43, p = 0.028), behavior (β = −0.55, p = 0.002), and emotion (β = −0.50, p = 0.005). No statistically significant associations were discovered in the right orbitofrontal region.
Our results suggest that apathy, in each of its cognitive, behavioral, or emotional subdomains is associated with brain neurochemical alterations in the anterior cingulate region. Abnormal neuronal integrity over the anterior cingulate cortex may exhibit a central role in causing all aspects of apathy in patients with AD.
The prevalence of CHD has been well described worldwide except in Tibet. This study aimed to illustrate the prevalence and composition of CHD in Tibetan children according to altitude.
Methods and results
In the first part, we prospectively recruited 7088 unselected Tibetan children (4–17 years) from south-west Tibet. The total prevalence of CHD increased from 4.6/1000 below 4200 m to 13.4/1000 above 4700 m, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.3:3.1. The total prevalence and female prevalence of patent ductus arteriosus increased more than 10-fold. Females living above 4700 m had exceptionally high prevalence of patent ductus arteriosus (14.9/1000). The prevalence of atrial septal defect was comparable among different altitudes (3.3–3.8/1000). The prevalence of ventricular septal defect was 1.3/1000 below 4700 m, and no cases were found above this altitude. In the second part, we retrospectively reviewed the clinical data of 383 CHD children in Tibet and 73 children at lower altitudes. The percentage of isolated ventricular septal defect decreased from 54.8 to 3.1%, and the percentage of isolated patent ductus arteriosus increased from 8.2 to 68.4% with elevation. Children living below 4200 m (10.4–13.7%) had a larger proportion of complex CHD than those above this altitude (2.0–3.1%). Of the 20 Tibetan children with complex CHD, 14 (70.0%) lived below 4200 m.
A wide variation in CHD prevalence and composition existed in Tibetan children among different altitudes.
The hydrobaric effect on photoactivity of titanium dioxide (TiO2) fabricated by cathodic deposition in an aqueous solution was evaluated in this study. When the applied pressure was increased to 35 MPa, the water-splitting performance was improved by almost fourfold of the performance of the TiO2 prepared at atmospheric pressure. The surface states effect was significant in the deposited TiO2, which was exploited to affect the charges recombination of TiO2, and thereby enhance the resultant photoelectrochemical water-splitting performance. The hydrobaric cathodic deposition could be extended to fabrication of other metal oxides to eliminate the negative influence from the high-temperature process.
Recent studies have suggested an association between vitamin D and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); however, some results are subject to debate. This study was carried out to evaluate the correlation between NAFLD and vitamin D in men and women in East China. The data were obtained from a cross-sectional study that focused on the health and metabolic status of adults in sixteen areas of East China. According to ultrasonic assessments, the patients were divided into normal and NAFLD groups. Demographic characteristics and biochemical measurements were obtained. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to explore the association. In total, 5066 subjects were enrolled, and 2193 (43·3 %) were diagnosed with NAFLD; 84·56 % of the subjects showed vitamin D deficiency. Subjects with high vitamin D levels had a lower prevalence of NAFLD, particularly male subjects. Within the highest quartile of vitamin D levels, the prevalence of NAFLD was 40·8 %, whereas the lowest quartile of vitamin D levels showed a prevalence of 62·2 %, which was unchanged in women across the vitamin D levels. Binary logistic analysis showed that decreased vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of NAFLD (OR 1·54; 95 % CI 1·26, 1·88). This study suggests that vitamin D levels are significantly associated with NAFLD and that vitamin D acts as an independent factor for NAFLD prevalence, particularly in males in East China. Vitamin D interventional treatment might be a new target for controlling NAFLD; elucidating the mechanism requires further research.
Introduction: The mortality of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and its associated risk factors among clinically definite PD patients in China has been rarely investigated. Our study aimed to identify the mortality rates and predictors of death in PD patients in China. Methods: 157 consecutive, clinically definite PD patients from the urban area of Shanghai were recruited from a central hospital based movement disorder clinic in 2006. All patients were regularly followed up at the clinic until December 31, 2011, or death. Mortality and associations with baseline demographics, health and medical factors were then determined within the cohort. Results: After 5 years, 11(7%) patients had died. The standardised mortality ratio was 0.62 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.07, P=0.104). The main causes of death were pneumonia (54.5%, 6/11) and digestive disorders (18.2%, 2/11), respectively. Age at onset, independent living, the mini mental state examination score, the Parkinson’s disease sleep scale score and the Epworth sleepiness scale score at baseline were statistically significantly different between the survival group and the deceased group (P<0.05). Across all participants, risk factors for death included low mini mental state examination score, and high Epworth sleepiness scale score according to a binary variable logistic regression analysis. Conclusions: This study confirms the similar survival of patients with PD to the control population up to a follow-up of 5 years. Interventions tailored to potential risk factors associated with death may offer further benefits.
It is common for patients to experience positive and negative psychological changes (e.g., posttraumatic growth or demoralization) after being diagnosed with cancer. Although demoralization and posttraumatic growth are both related to meaning-making, little attention has been paid to the associations among these concepts. The current study investigated the relationship between demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making (focusing on sense-making and benefit-finding during the experience of illness) in cancer patients.
Some 200 cancer patients (with lung cancer, lymphoma, or leukemia) at the MacKay Memorial Hospital in New Taipei completed the Demoralization Scale–Mandarin Version (DS–MV), the Chinese Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (CPTGI), and a self-designed questionnaire for assessing sense-making and benefit-finding.
Demoralization was negatively correlated with posttraumatic growth, sense-making, benefit-finding, and time-since-diagnosis. Multiple regression analysis showed that meaning-making had different effects on demoralization and posttraumatic growth. The interactions of sense-making with either benefit-finding or time-since-diagnosis significantly predicted demoralization. Individuals with relatively higher sense-making and benefit-finding or shorter time-since-diagnosis experienced less demoralization.
Significance of Results:
The suffering of cancer may turn on the psychological process of demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making in patients. Cancer patients who evidenced higher posttraumatic growth experienced less demoralization. Trying to identify positive changes in the experience of cancer may be a powerful way to increase posttraumatic growth. As time goes by, patients experienced less demoralization. Facilitating sense-making can have similar effects. Cancer patients with less benefit-finding experience higher demoralization, but sense-making buffers this effect.
Unawareness of deficits is common and is associated with poor outcomes in Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, little is known about correlated neurobiochemical changes.
Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to examine neurobiochemical correlates of unawareness of deficits as assessed by the Dementia Deficit Scale in 36 patients with AD. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy spectra were acquired from the anterior cingulate area and right orbitofrontal area. Concentrations of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), total creatine, and other neurometabolites were calculated.
Nineteen (52.8%) participants had relative unawareness of deficits. This condition was negatively correlated with NAA/creatine in the anterior cingulate area (β = −0.36, p = 0.025) and positively correlated with NAA/creatine in the right orbitofrontal area (β = 0.41, p = 0.009) after controlling for dementia severity.
These findings suggest unawareness of deficits in AD was associated with the altered neurochemical metabolites in the anterior cingulate area and right orbitofrontal area. However, the two areas might have opposite neuronal functions in unawareness of deficits.
In order to determine the transference of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bacillaceae) (Bt) insecticidal protein in the food chain, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect Bt insecticidal protein levels in transgenic Bt cotton (GK12, New variety 33B and SGK321), Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) fed on the Bt cotton varieties, and two natural enemies of S. exigua, Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) and Microplitis pallidipes Szépligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). The results showed that Bt insecticidal protein was found not only in cotton leaves, but also in the body and excrement of S. exigua and the bodies of both C. carnea and M. pallidipes. Bt toxin was detected in S. exigua larvae of all the examined instars (second, third, fourth, and fifth) that fed on transgenic cotton varieties and the Bt toxin level was the highest in the body of the second instar. In addition, the Bt toxin content in the excrement of the second instar was lower than that in the older ones. After the natural enemies C. carnea and M. pallidipes preyed/parasitised the S. exigua larvae that fed on transgenic cotton, Bt toxin was found in both the predator and parasite. This research indicates that Bt protein can be transferred through the food chain and to natural enemies of various predatory habits.
Asians and Pacific Islanders have higher circulating serum ferritin (SF) compared with Caucasians but the clinical significance of this is unclear. There is a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in Taiwanese Indigenous than Han Chinese. Genetically, Indigenous are related to Austronesians and account for 2 % of Taiwan's population. We tested the hypothesis that accumulation of Fe in the body contributes to the ethnic/racial disparities in MetS in Taiwan.
A population-based, cross-sectional study.
National Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan and Penghu Island.
A total of 2638 healthy adults aged ≥19 years. Three ethnic groups were included.
Han Chinese and Indigenous people had comparable levels of SF. Austronesia origin was independently associated with MetS (OR = 2·61, 95 % CI 2·02, 3·36). After multiple adjustments, the odds for MetS (OR = 2·49, 95 % CI 1·15, 5·28) was significantly higher among Indigenous people in the highest SF tertile compared with those in the lowest tertile. Hakka and Penghu Islanders yielded the lowest risks (OR = 1·08, 95 % CI 0·44, 2·65 and OR = 1·21, 95 % CI 0·52, 2·78, respectively). Indigenous people in the highest SF tertile had increased risk for abnormal levels of fasting glucose (OR = 2·34, 95 % CI 1·27, 4·29), TAG (OR = 1·94, 95 % CI 1·11, 3·39) and HDL-cholesterol (OR = 2·10, 95 % CI 1·18, 3·73) than those in the lowest SF tertile.
Our results raise the possibility that ethnic/racial differences in body Fe store susceptibility may contribute to racial and geographic disparities in MetS.
The electrode materials for VRFB should possess higher electric conductivity, corrosion resistance and hydrophilic properties in sulfuric acid. The characteristics of the electrode materials affect the stability and the energy efficiency of VRFB. Carbon materials are the best suited for VRFB applications. In this study, the calcined treatment, acid treatment and ozone treatment were used to modify the surface of carbon papers. The redox reaction of [VO]2+/[VO2]+ on the modified carbon papers was evaluated by cyclic voltammetry (CV). The surface compositions of carbon materials were analyzed by X-ray photoelectron spectrometry (XPS). The experimental results reveal that three oxidative methods enhance the redox reaction of [VO]2+/[VO2]+. The calcined treatments and acid treatments also enhanced hydrolysis reaction. The mole ratio of O/C apparently increased, but the binding energy of C1s and O1s were not chemically shifted in the acid treatment. The intensity of binding energy of O1s, between 532 eV and 534 eV, apparently increased in the ozone and calcined treatments. The Ox treated samples were more hydrophilic than the Oz treated samples. In the Ox treated samples, the decrease of Rct value indicates that was contributed from the redox reaction of [VO]2+/[VO2]+ and hydrolysis reaction. It does not completely benefit the energy efficiency of VRFB. The 5 x 5 cm2 modified carbon papers were used as electrode materials in the VRFB. The voltage efficiency, coulomb efficiency and energy efficiency reached 93 %, 90 % and 83 %, respectively, at a current density of 12 mA．cm-2 at 0.8-1.8 V.
The stability of the negative electrode electrolyte affects the efficiency and capacity of energy storage in the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) system. To explore the stability of vanadium electrolytes, the study prepared five types of V(II) electrolytes that were exposed to air in a fixed open area and monitored the charge state of vanadium ions over time by UV/Visible spectrophotometer. This study succeeded in preparing pure V(II) electrolytes. Five characteristics are found in the UV/Visible spectra, respectively, during the oxidation process from V(II) electrolytes to V(III) electrolytes and V(III) electrolytes to V(IV) electrolytes. The experimental results show that the oxidation rate of a solution of 1 M V(II) electrolytes to V(III) electrolytes and 1 M V(III) electrolytes to V(IV) electrolytes under an atmosphere of air is 4.79 and 0.0089 mol/h per square meter. The oxidation rates of 0.05-1 M V(II) electrolytes to V(III) electrolytes are approximately 96-538 times than that of V(III) electrolytes to V(IV) electrolytes.
Owing to energy conservation of waste heat, Lead telluride, PbTe, based materials have promising good thermoelectric properties around a range of middle temperature (Fig. 1, from 300 to 600°C), due to their high melting point, fine chemical stability, and the high figure of merit Z. The general physical properties and factors affecting the figure of merit have been reviewed. This research is focused on the n-type of PbTe materials and collocated with analysis of densities, hardness, elastic modulus, and thermoelectric properties thermoelectric figure of merit ZT=GS2T/κ (where G is electrical conductivity, S is Seebeck coefficient , T is absolute temperature, and κ is thermal conductivity). Room temperature hardness and Young’s modulus are measured by nano-indentation. In this study, the hot-press compacts under the pressure of 4 ton/cm2 can reach the maximum density about 8.2 g/cm3, and hardness and elastic modulus are 0.6 GPa and 70 GPa, respectively. The figure of merit value (ZT) of PbTe in low temperature (around 340°C) was found about 1 with carrier concentration above 1019 cm−3. These results also indicate that the powder metallurgy parameters provide potentialities for further increase of the high efficiency of energy conversion in PbTe materials.
Boron-doped, single (∼54 nm) or double (∼21 + 54 nm) Si1−xGex layers were epitaxially grown on 300-mm-diameter p−-Si(100) device wafers with 20 nm technology node design features, by ultrahigh vacuum chemical vapor deposition. The Si1−xGex/Si wafers were annealed in the temperature range of 950–1050 °C for 60 s to investigate the effect of annealing on possible changes of Ge content and Si stress near the Si1−xGex/Si interface. High spectral resolution, micro-Raman spectroscopy was used as a nondestructive characterization technique with five excitation wavelengths of 363.8, 441.6, 457.9, 488.0, and 514.5 nm. Ge diffusion and generation of compressive stress at the Si1−xGex/Si interface were measured on all annealed wafers. Ge diffusion and the accumulation of compressive Si stress after annealing showed significantly different behaviors between single- and double-layer Si1−xGex/Si wafers. Raman characterization results were compared with secondary ion mass spectroscopy and high-resolution x-ray diffraction results.
Fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs) with a size in the range of 10 – 100 nm have been produced by ion irradiation and annealing, and isolated by differential centrifugation. Single particle spectroscopic characterization with confocal fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy indicates that they are photostable and useful as an alternative to far-red fluorescent proteins for bioimaging applications. We demonstrate the application by performing in vivo imaging of bare and bioconjugated FND particles (100 nm in diameter) in C. elegans and zebrafishes and exploring the interactions between this novel nanomaterial and the model organisms. Our results indicate that FNDs can be delivered to the embryos of both organisms by microinjection and eventually into the hatched larvae in the next generation. No deleterious effects have been observed for the carbon-based nanoparticles in vivo. The high fluorescence brightness, excellent photostability, and nontoxic nature of the nanomaterial have allowed long-term imaging and tracking of embryogenesis in the organisms.