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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Predicting mental workload of pilots can provide cockpit designers with useful information to reduce the possibility of pilot error and cost of training, improve the safety and performance of systems, and increase operator satisfaction. We present a theoretical model of mental workload, using information theory, based on review investigations of how effectively task complexity, visual performance, and pilot experience predict mental workload. The validity of the model was confirmed based on data collected from pilot taxiing experiments. Experiments were performed on taxiing tasks in four different scenarios. Results showed that predicted values from the proposed mental workload model were highly correlated to actual mental workload ratings from the experiments. The findings indicate that the proposed mental workload model appears to be effective in the prediction of pilots’ mental workload over time.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
The Centro de Laseres Pulsados in Salamanca, Spain has recently started operation phase and the first user access period on the 6 J 30 fs 200 TW system (VEGA 2) already started at the beginning of 2018. In this paper we report on two commissioning experiments recently performed on the VEGA 2 system in preparation for the user campaign. VEGA 2 system has been tested in different configurations depending on the focusing optics and targets used. One configuration (long focal length
cm) is for underdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a low density gas-jet generating electron beams (via laser wake field acceleration mechanism) with maximum energy up to 500 MeV and an X-ray betatron source with a 10 keV critical energy. A second configuration (short focal length
cm) is for overdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a
thick Al target generating a proton beam with a maximum energy of 10 MeV and temperature of 2.5 MeV. In this paper we present preliminary experimental results.
Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei is the largest urban agglomeration in northern China, but the spatiotemporal patterns and risk factors concerning hepatitis B virus (HBV) incidence in this area have been unclear. The present study aimed to reveal the spatiotemporal epidemiological features of HBV infection and quantify the association between HBV infection and socio-economic risk factors. The data on HBV cases in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei from 2007 to 2012 was collected for each county. The Bayesian space–time hierarchy model and the GeoDetector method were used to reveal spatiotemporal patterns and detect risk factors. High-risk regions were mainly distributed in the underdeveloped rural areas in the north and mid-south of the study region, while low-risk regions were mainly distributed in the urban and western areas. The HBV annual incidence rate decreased substantially over the 6-year period, dropping from 7.34/105 to 5.51/105. Compared with this overall trend, 38.5% of high-risk counties showed a faster decrease, and 35.9% of high-risk counties exhibited a slower decrease. Meanwhile, 29.7% of low-risk counties had a faster decrease, and 44.6% of low-risk counties exhibited a slower decrease. Socio-economic factors were strongly associated with the spatiotemporal patterns and variation. The population density and gross domestic product per capita were negatively associated with HBV transmission, with determinant powers of 0.17 and 0.12, respectively. The proportion of primary industry and the number of healthcare workers were positively associated with the disease incidence, with determinant powers of 0.11 and 0.8, respectively. The interactive effect between population density and the other factors exerted a greater influence on HBV transmission than that of these factors measured independently.
An adverse early life environment is associated with increased cardiovascular disease in offspring. Work in animal models has shown that maternal undernutrition (UN) during pregnancy leads to hypertension in adult offspring, with effects thought to be mediated in part via altered renal function. We have previously shown that growth hormone (GH) treatment of UN offspring during the pre-weaning period can prevent the later development of cardiometabolic disorders. However, the mechanistic basis for these observations is not well defined. The present study examined the impact of GH treatment on renal inflammatory markers in adult male offspring as a potential mediator of these reversal effects. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a chow diet fed ad libitum (CON) or at 50% of CON intake (UN) during pregnancy. All dams were fed the chow diet ad libitum during lactation. CON and UN pups received saline (CON-S/UN-S) or GH (2.5 µg/g/day; CON-GH/UN-GH) from postnatal day 3 until weaning (p21). Post-weaning males were fed a standard chow diet for the remainder of the study (150 days). Histological analysis was performed to examine renal morphological characteristics, and gene expression of inflammatory and vascular markers were assessed. There was evidence of renal hypotrophy and reduced nephron number in the UN-S group. Tumour necrosis factor-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), intercellular adhesion molecular-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 gene expression was increased in UN-S offspring and normalized in the UN-GH group. These findings indicate that pre-weaning GH treatment has the potential to normalize some of the adverse renal and cardiovascular sequelae that arise as a consequence of poor maternal nutrition.
In this paper new materials and substrate approaches are discussed which have potential to provide (Al)GaN buffers with a better crystal quality, higher critical electrical field, or thickness and have the potential to offer co-integration of GaN switches at different reference potentials, while maintaining lower wafer bow and maintaining complementary metal–oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatibility. Engineered silicon substrates, silicon on insulator (SOI) and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)-matched substrates have been investigated and benchmarked with respect to each other. SOI and CTE-matched offer benefits for scaling to higher voltage, while a trench isolation process combined with an oxide interlayer substrate allows co-integration of GaN components in a GaN-integrated circuit (IC).
Previous studies have demonstrated that type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) could be triggered by an early childhood infection. Whether maternal infection during pregnancy is associated with T1DM in offspring is unknown. Therefore, we aimed to study the association using a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eighteen studies including 4304 cases and 25 846 participants were enrolled in this meta-analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were synthesised using random-effects models. Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the robustness of associations. Overall, the pooled analysis yielded a statistically significant association between maternal infection during pregnancy and childhood T1DM (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.07–1.62). Furthermore, six studies that tested maternal enterovirus infection showed a pooled OR of 1.54 (95% CI 1.05–2.27). Heterogeneity from different studies was evident (I2 = 70.1%, P < 0.001) and was mainly attributable to the different study designs, ascertaining methods and sample size among different studies. This study provides evidence for an association between maternal infection during pregnancy and childhood T1DM.
Plant height and lodging resistance can affect rice yield significantly, but these traits have always conflicted in crop cultivation and breeding. The current study aimed to establish a rapid and accurate plant type evaluation mechanism to provide a basis for breeding tall but lodging-resistant super rice varieties. A comprehensive approach integrating plant anatomy and histochemistry was used to investigate variations in flexural strength (a material property, defined as the stress in a material just before it yields in a flexure test) of the rice stem and the lodging index of 15 rice accessions at different growth stages to understand trends in these parameters and the potential factors influencing them. Rice stem anatomical structure was observed and the lignin content the cell wall was determined at different developmental stages. Three rice lodging evaluation models were established using correlation analysis, multivariate regression and artificial radial basis function (RBF) neural network analysis, and the results were compared to identify the most suitable model for predicting optimal rice plant types. Among the three evaluation methods, the mean residual and relative prediction errors were lowest using the RBF network, indicating that it was highly accurate and robust and could be used to establish a mathematical model of the morphological characteristics and lodging resistance of rice to identify optimal varieties.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Seed shape (SS) affects the yield and appearance of soybean seeds significantly. However, little detailed information has been reported about the quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting SS, especially SS components such as seed length (SL), seed width (SW) and seed thickness (ST), and their mutual ratios of length-to-weight (SLW), length-to-thickness (SLT) and weight-to-thickness (SWT). The aim of the present study was to identify QTL underlying SS components using 129 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between Dongnong46 and L-100. Phenotypic data were collected from this population after it was grown across nine environments. A total of 213 simple sequence repeat markers were used to construct the genetic linkage map, which covered approximately 3623·39 cM, with an average distance of 17·01 cM between markers. Five QTL were identified as being associated with SL, five with SW, three with ST, four with SLW, two with SLT and three with SWT. These QTL could explain 1·46–22·16% of the phenotypic variation in SS component traits. Three QTL were identified in more than six tested environments three for SL, two for SW, one for ST, two for SLW and one for SLT. These QTL have great potential value for marker-assistant selection of SS in soybean seeds.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a public health concern that frequently occurs in pregnant mammals and neonatal offspring. Ferrous N-carbamylglycinate chelate (Fe-CGly) is a newly designed iron fortifier with proven effects in iron-deficient rats and weanling piglets. However, the effects of this new compound on pregnant mammals are unknown. Therefore, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of Fe-CGly on sow reproductive performance and iron status of both sows and neonatal piglets. A total of 40 large-white sows after second parity were randomly assigned to two groups (n=20). They were receiving a diet including 80 mg Fe/kg as FeSO4 or Fe-CGly, respectively, from day 85 of gestation to parturition. The serum (day 110 of pregnancy) and placentas of sows were sampled. Litter size, mean weight of live born piglets, birth (live) litter weight, number of live born piglets, and the number of still-born piglets, mummies, and weak-born piglets were recorded. Once delivered, eight litters were randomly selected from the 20 litters per treatment, and one new-born male piglet (1.503±0.142 kg) from each selected litter was slaughtered within 3 h after birth from the selected litters, without colostrum ingestion. The serum, longissimus muscle, liver and kidneys of the piglets were collected. The iron status of the serum samples and the messenger RNA level of iron-related genes in the placenta, liver and kidney were analyzed. The results showed that litter weight of live born piglets was higher (P=0.030) in the Fe-CGly group (19.86 kg) than in the FeSO4 group (17.34 kg). Fe-CGly significantly increased placental iron concentration (P<0.05) of sows. It also significantly increased iron saturation and reduced the total iron-binding capacity of piglets (P<0.05) at birth. However, the results revealed that supplementation of Fe-CGly in sows reduced liver and kidney iron concentration of neonatal piglets (P<0.05), indicating decreased iron storage. In addition, the concentration of iron in the colostrum was not significantly changed. Therefore, the present results suggested that replacement of maternal FeSO4 supplement with Fe-CGly in the late-gestating period for sows could improve litter birth weight, probably via enhanced iron transportation in the placenta.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
Prior research has typically found a negative relationship between chronic pain and memory, and we examined whether cognitive control processes (e.g. reflection and rumination) moderated this relationship in individuals with Chiari malformation Type I (CM). CM is a neurological condition in which the cerebellar tonsils descend into the medullary and upper cervical spine regions potentially resulting in severe headaches and neck pain.
CM patients who had (n = 341) and had not (n = 297) undergone decompression surgery completed the McGill Pain Questionnaire-Short Form-Revised (SF-MPQ-2), the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), and the Rumination-Reflection Questionnaire (RRQ). Immediate recall scores were compared to those of 102 healthy controls, and delayed recall performance was compared across other variables within the CM group.
CM patients performed more poorly on immediate recall than did controls. Within CM patients, we observed main effects for reflection and age, and a pain x reflection x surgical status (surgery v. no surgery) interaction in which non-decompressed individuals with low levels of pain and high levels of reflection showed superior delayed recall relative to non-decompressed individuals with higher pain and all decompressed individuals.
CM patients show an immediate recall deficit relative to controls, regardless of surgical status. High levels of reflection were associated with better delayed recall performance in non-decompressed CM patients with lower pain levels. High levels of chronic pain may overwhelm increased focused attention abilities, but higher levels of reflection partially overcome the distracting effects of pain and this may represent a type of resilience.
Upgraded heating and current drive (H/CD) systems have been equipped on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST). With the upgraded H/CD systems, the operation space of EAST is extended, and the ability to achieve higher performance is improved. In this paper, a 0.5 dimension transport code named Minute Embedded Tokamak Integrated Simulator (METIS) is applied to predict the EAST operation space and to assess the current drive capability of the 4.6 GHz lower hybrid current drive system. Predictive simulation of several EAST scenarios, including steady-state high confinement mode (H-mode), advanced regime, high normalized beta and high electron temperature, are also performed with the available H/CD systems. The simulation results provide a guidance for forthcoming advanced EAST experiments.
The role of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the pathogenesis of liver disease has recently gained much interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in patients with liver disease from three cities in Shandong and Henan provinces, China. A case–control study was conducted from December 2014 to November 2015 and included 1142 patients with liver disease and 1142 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected from all individuals and were examined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. Information on the demographics, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics of the participants was collected from the medical records and by the use of a questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG was 19·7% in patients with liver disease compared with 12·17% in the controls. Only 13 patients had anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies compared with 12 control individuals (1·14% vs. 1·05%, respectively). The highest seroprevalence was detected in patients with liver cancer (22·13%), followed by hepatitis patients (20·86%), liver cirrhosis patients (20·42%), and steatosis patients (20%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that consumption of raw meat (odds ratio (OR) = 1·32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·01–1·71; P = 0·03) and source of drinking water from wells (OR = 1·56; 95% CI 1·08–2·27; P = 0·01) were independent risk factors for T. gondii infection in liver disease patients. These findings indicate that T. gondii infection is more likely to be present in patients with liver disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed toward health education of populations at high risk of T. gondii infection and measures should be taken to protect vulnerable patients with liver disease.