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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.
A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of
in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity
at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of
focused to intensities
Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is an acute infectious disease caused by serotypes of the enterovirus (EV) family. HFMD reinfection occurs commonly in lack of cross-protection between different EV serotypes. In this study, we investigated the hazards of HFMD reinfection using Cox-proportional hazard model. Retrospective data of 95 209 HFMD cases in Wuhan during 2008–2015 was used. Kaplan–Meier survival methods and Cox-proportional hazard model were used to estimate the hazard probabilities. Of the all HFMD cases, about 2% experienced reinfection (1842/95 209). Kaplan–Meier curves revealed the reinfection risk sharply increased before 40 months from first infection. Higher hazards of reinfection were detected among those who were males, aged 3 years and below, scattered children, belonging to urban areas and first infected with coxsackievirus (CV)-A16 compared with their respective counterparts. Cox-proportional hazard model suggested that gender, age, group, living area and serotypes of first infection had significant effect on reinfection even after adjusting for potential confounding effects of other selected factors considered in the study. These results indicate that boys aged 3 years and below, especially those living in urban areas and first infected with CV-A16 are more prone to reinfection. Interventions should be imposed on these high-risk populations.
Influenza is a long-standing public health concern, but its transmission remains poorly understood. To have a better knowledge of influenza transmission, we carried out a detailed modelling investigation in a nosocomial influenza outbreak in Hong Kong. We identified three hypothesised transmission modes between index patient and other inpatients based on the long-range airborne and fomite routes. We considered three kinds of healthcare workers’ routine round pathways in 1140 scenarios with various values of important parameters. In each scenario, we used a multi-agent modelling framework to estimate the infection risk for each hypothesis and conducted least-squares fitting to evaluate the hypotheses by comparing the distribution of the infection risk with that of the attack rates. Amongst the hypotheses tested in the 1140 scenarios, the prediction of modes involving the long-range airborne route fit better with the attack rates, and that of the two-route transmission mode had the best fit, with the long-range airborne route contributing about 94% and the fomite route contributing 6% to the infections. Under the assumed conditions, the influenza virus was likely to have spread via a combined long-range airborne and fomite routes, with the former predominant and the latter negligible.
Fermented soybean meal (FSM), which has lower anti-nutritional factors and higher active enzyme, probiotic and oligosaccharide contents than its unfermented form, has been reported to improve the feeding value of soybean meal, and hence, the growth performance of piglets. However, whether FSM can affect the bacterial and metabolites in the large intestine of piglets remains unknown. This study supplemented wet-FSM (WFSM) or dry-FSM (DFSM) (5% dry matter basis) in the diet of piglets and investigated its effects on carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the piglets’ large intestines. A total of 75 41-day-old Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire piglets with an initial BW of 13.14±0.22 kg were used in a 4-week feeding trial. Our results showed that the average daily gain of piglets in the WFSM and DFSM groups increased by 27.08% and 14.58% and that the feed conversion ratio improved by 18.18% and 7.27%, respectively, compared with the control group. Data from the prediction gene function of Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) based on 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing showed that carbohydrate metabolism function families in the WFSM and DFSM groups increased by 3.46% and 2.68% and that the amino acid metabolism function families decreased by 1.74% and 0.82%, respectively, compared with the control group. These results were consistent with those of other metabolism studies, which showed that dietary supplementation with WFSM and DFSM increased the level of carbohydrate-related metabolites (e.g. 4-aminobutanoate, 5-aminopentanoate, lactic acid, mannitol, threitol and β-alanine) and decreased the levels of those related to protein catabolism (e.g. 1,3-diaminopropane, creatine, glycine and inosine). In conclusion, supplementation with the two forms of FSM improved growth performance, increased metabolites of carbohydrate and reduced metabolites of protein in the large intestine of piglets, and WFSM exhibited a stronger effect than DFSM.
The human retina is supplied by two vascular systems: the highly vascular choroidal, situated behind the retina; and the retinal, which is dependent on the restriction that the light path must be minimally disrupted. Between these two circulations, the avascular retinal layers depend on diffusion of metabolites through the tissue. Oxygen supply to these layers may be threatened by diseases affecting microvasculature, for example diabetes and hypertension, which may ultimately cause loss of sight.
An accurate model of retinal blood flow will therefore facilitate the study of retinal oxygen supply and, hence, the complications caused by systemic vascular disease. Here, two simple models of the blood flow and exchange of hydrogen with the retina are presented and compared qualitatively with data obtained from experimental measurements. The models capture some interesting features of the exchange and highlight effects that will need to be considered in a more sophisticated model and in the interpretation of experimental results.
A liquid chromatography mass spectrometry method for determination of clothianidin in brown rice, straw, rice hull, paddy water and paddy sediment was developed and residue levels were determined in the different components. The limit of quantification was set at 0·01 mg/kg for the matrices studied. Clothianidin degradation in straw, paddy water and soil was studied, and clothianidin residues in brown rice, straw, hull and paddy soil were determined. Concurrent recoveries were between 85·6 and 92·5%, with relative standard deviations ranging from 1·3 to 6·8% at three fortification levels between 0·01 and 5·0 mg/kg. The half-lives in straw, paddy water and paddy sediment were found to be 1·9–4·9, 4·1–5·0 and 4·9–6·3 days, respectively. The maximum residues in brown rice, straw, hull and paddy soil samples were 0·38, 1·88, 1·38 and 0·14 mg/kg, respectively.
The unique phenotypic and genetic aspects of obsessive-compulsive (OCD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS) are not well characterized. Here, we examine symptom patterns and heritability of OCD and ADHD in TS families.
OCD and ADHD symptom patterns were examined in TS patients and their family members (N = 3494) using exploratory factor analyses (EFA) for OCD and ADHD symptoms separately, followed by latent class analyses (LCA) of the resulting OCD and ADHD factor sum scores jointly; heritability and clinical relevance of the resulting factors and classes were assessed.
EFA yielded a 2-factor model for ADHD and an 8-factor model for OCD. Both ADHD factors (inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms) were genetically related to TS, ADHD, and OCD. The doubts, contamination, need for sameness, and superstitions factors were genetically related to OCD, but not ADHD or TS; symmetry/exactness and fear-of-harm were associated with TS and OCD while hoarding was associated with ADHD and OCD. In contrast, aggressive urges were genetically associated with TS, OCD, and ADHD. LCA revealed a three-class solution: few OCD/ADHD symptoms (LC1), OCD & ADHD symptoms (LC2), and symmetry/exactness, hoarding, and ADHD symptoms (LC3). LC2 had the highest psychiatric comorbidity rates (⩾50% for all disorders).
Symmetry/exactness, aggressive urges, fear-of-harm, and hoarding show complex genetic relationships with TS, OCD, and ADHD, and, rather than being specific subtypes of OCD, transcend traditional diagnostic boundaries, perhaps representing an underlying vulnerability (e.g. failure of top-down cognitive control) common to all three disorders.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
This study aimed to test the expression of maspin in invasive fungal rhinosinusitis and explore its value in diagnosing invasive fungal rhinosinusitis.
Forty-two fungal rhinosinusitis cases (12 invasive and 30 non-invasive) were selected as the experimental group, and 30 chronic rhinosinusitis cases comprised the control group. Maspin expression was assessed in nasal mucous membrane specimens by immunohistochemical staining.
Compared with the control group, maspin expression was down-regulated in the fungal rhinosinusitis group (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the staining score for maspin was lowest in the invasive fungal rhinosinusitis group, as compared with both the non-invasive fungal rhinosinusitis group and the control group (p < 0.05). A maspin staining score of 5.70 was the critical value for diagnosis of invasive fungal rhinosinusitis, with sensitivity and specificity of 91.7 per cent and 88.3 per cent, respectively.
The results of this study suggest that the maspin staining score may be a biomarker for effective and rapid diagnosis of invasive fungal rhinosinusitis.
Worldwide 350 million people suffer from major depression, with the majority of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. We examined the patterns, correlates and care-seeking behaviour of adults suffering from major depressive episode (MDE) in China.
A nationwide study recruited 512 891 adults aged 30–79 years from 10 provinces across China during 2004–2008. The 12-month prevalence of MDE was assessed by the Modified Composite International Diagnostic Interview-short form. Logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of MDE associated with socio-economic, lifestyle and health-related factors and major stressful life events.
Overall, 0.7% of participants had MDE and a further 2.4% had major depressive symptoms. Stressful life events were strongly associated with MDE [adjusted OR 14.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7–15.7], with a dose–response relationship with the number of such events experienced. Family conflict had the highest OR for MDE (18.9, 95% CI 16.8–21.2) among the 10 stressful life events. The risk of MDE was also positively associated with rural residency (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4–1.7), low income (OR 2.3, 95% CI 2.1–2.4), living alone (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.3–3.0), smoking (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3–1.6) and certain other mental disorders (e.g. anxiety, phobia). Similar, albeit weaker, associations were observed with depressive symptoms. Among those with MDE, about 15% sought medical help or took psychiatric medication, 15% reported having suicidal ideation and 6% reported attempting suicide.
Among Chinese adults, the patterns and correlates of MDE were generally consistent with those observed in the West. The low rates of seeking professional help and treatment highlight the great gap in mental health services in China.
The present study investigated alteration of brain resting-state activity induced by antidepressant treatment and attempted to investigate whether treatment efficacy can be predicted at an early stage of pharmacological treatment.
Forty-eight first-episode medication-free patients diagnosed with major depression received treatment with escitalopram. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was administered prior to treatment, 5 h after the first dose, during the course of pharmacological treatment (week 4) and at endpoint (week 8). Resting-state activity was evaluated in the course of the 8-week treatment and in relation to clinical improvement.
Escitalopram dynamically modified resting-state activity in depression during the treatment. After 5 h the antidepressant induced a significant decrease in the signal in the occipital cortex and an increase in the dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal cortices and middle cingulate cortex. Furthermore, while remitters demonstrated more obvious changes following treatment, these were more modest in non-responders suggesting possible tonic and dynamic differences in the serotonergic system. Changes after 5 h in the caudate, occipital and temporal cortices were the best predictor of clinical remission at endpoint.
This study revealed the possibility of using the measurement of resting-state neural changes a few hours after acute administration of antidepressant to identify individuals likely to remit after a few weeks of treatment.
Background: Stroke is often preceded by transient symptoms. Although global stroke rates have been shown to be declining, previous studies have reported inconsistent temporal trends of transient ischemic attacks (TIA). The objective of the current study is to report the temporal trends of TIA admissions and outcomes in Canada over the last 11 years. Methods: We conducted a complete population cohort study using a national administrative database to study the temporal trend of age- and sex-adjusted TIA admission rates in Canada from 2003 to 2013. We also determined the rates of TIA and stroke diagnoses in the emergency department in the province of Ontario during the same period. We used multivariable analyses to study discharge location after acute hospitalization as well as 90-day stroke and/or TIA readmission rates. Results: Of 425,799 admissions to an acute care hospital for all stroke and TIA, 71,443 (16.8%) were TIA. The age- and sex-standardized rates of TIA admission decreased significantly during the study period from 30.0 to 20.6 per 100,000 (p<0.0001). In Ontario, decreasing TIA admissions is mirrored by decreasing rates of TIA directly discharged from the emergency department (55.1 to 46.8 per 100,000, p = 0.002). The odds of 90-day readmission rates for stroke or TIA are also decreasing (adjusted odds ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.96-0.99). Conclusions: We show that TIA admission rates have declined in the past 11 years in Canada, reflecting improved vascular risk reduction and stroke care. Future studies to confirm our findings on improved stroke or TIA recurrence rates are necessary.
H9 avian influenza virus played a key role during generation of the novel H7N9 virus. A surveillance programme was conducted to assess the H9 virus in relation to the risk of H7N9 virus contamination in the environment. Risk of H7N9 virus contamination in the presence of H9 virus was higher than without (adjusted odds ratio 4·49, 95% confidence interval 3·79–5·31). Adjusted odds ratios of the H7N9 virus associated with co-presence of H9 virus and interacting factors were 4·93 (rural vs. urban area), 46·80 (live poultry markets vs. other premises), 6·86 (Huzhou vs. Hangzhou prefecture), 40·67 (year 2015 vs. 2013), and 9·63 (sewage from cleaning poultry vs. poultry faeces). Regular surveillance on gene variability of H7N9 and H9 viruses should be conducted and extra measures are needed to reduce co-circulation of H7N9 and H9 viruses in the environment.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.
EVA foams, like all other polymers, also exhibit strain-rate effects and hysteresis. However, currently available approaches for predicting the mechanical response of polymeric foam subjected to an arbitrarily imposed loading history and strain-rate effect are highly limited. Especially, the strain rates in the intermediate rate domain (between 100 and 102 s–1) are extremely difficult to study. The use of data generated through the drop tower technique for implementation in constitutive equations or numerical models has not been considered in past studies. In this study, an experiment including a quasi-static compression test and drop impact tests with a high speed camera was conducted. An inverse analysis technique combined with a finite element model for material parameter identification was developed to determine the stress–strain behavior of foam at different specific strain rates. It was used in this study to simulate multiple loading and unloading cycles on foam specimens, and the results were compared with experimental measurements.
Twenty-two annually banded samples of coral from 1977 to 1998 were collected from Daya Bay, South China Sea, and bomb 14C concentrations were determined. The interannual variation of coral Δ14C is controlled mainly by oceanic factors. In ENSO years, the coastwise upwelling current of the South China Sea has been intensified; hence, the coral Δ14C displays its minimum value. The interannual variation curve of Δ14C in coral bears a relationship with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) curves: the correlation coefficient between Δ14C and (SOI)w is 0.43 and the correlation coefficient between Δ14C and (SOI)y is 0.27. The coral Δ14C has no remarkable response to the variation of solar radiation energy. In the past 20 yr or so, the general situation and oceanic thermal structure of the South China Sea are still stable even though interannual variations in atmosphere-sea interaction and upwelling current driven by the tropical energy have occurred.
In the past triennium members of the Commission 20 have been very active in studying positions and motions of minor planets, comets and satellites including rings by observational and theoretical investigations, as it is described in this report In fact observers have been producing tremendous amount of astrometric data, much more than we could imagine twenty years ago, when we heard many complains and appeals to observers for needs of more observations, particularly, for minor planets and satellites. Technically, several new devices to detect faint objects and to measure their positions more effectively, have been developed. Theoreticians have faced many interesting and important problems to explain observational facts with several powerful methods developed recently.
Interest in minor planets and comets continued to grow during the triennium, sparked in part by the highly successful 1983 mission of the Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) as well as by activities associated with the return of P/Halley and the first spacecraft missions to comets. A trial of the Astrometry Network of the International Halley Watch (IHW) on P/Crommelin was quite successful. Yet with an increasing need for precise ephemerides, there continued to be concern for acquisition and timely reporting of astrometric observations of even the best known comets.