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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.
Gac is a dioecious tropical and perennial climber. The fruit is a rich source of carotenoids and is used in traditional cuisine and medicine. Improving propagation methods using simple techniques would increase production and improve conservation in regional areas. This study evaluated temperature requirements for seed germination, the use of rooting hormones to strike female cuttings and the grafting of female scions onto seedling rootstock. Seed germination was optimised between 25 and 35 °C, with a maximum germination percentage of 91% at 30 °C. However, increasing storage time from 6 to 18 months under laboratory conditions (21 ± 1°C and 60% relative humidity) reduced germination and this was associated with seed weight loss, highlighting the need to develop storage guidelines, particularly for the higher temperature and humidity conditions where Gac is grown. Survival of softwood cuttings was improved from 53 to 77% with indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) (3–5 g/L) and semi-hardwood cuttings did not require IBA treatment. Both splice and wedge grafting techniques achieved a survival rate > 53% and with the youngest rootstock (4 and 8 weeks) this increased to > 85%. Further work could investigate the production potential of crops using cuttings and grafted plants.
The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of either hearing, vision or dual sensory impairment on depressive symptoms and to identify subgroups that are vulnerable and significantly affected.
Data from the 2006–2014 Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA) were used and a total of 5832 individuals were included in this study. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D10) scale. Sensory impairment was assessed according to the levels of self-reported hearing or vision, which were categorised as either good (excellent, very good or good) or poor (fair or poor). The changes in hearing or vision from records of previous survey were investigated. Changes from good to poor, which indicates new onset, were defined as hearing impairment or vision impairment. Interactions of changes in hearing and vision were considered in the analysis. Dual sensory impairment was indicated when hearing impairment and vision impairment both developed at the same time. Demographic, socioeconomic and health-related factors were considered as potential confounders and were adjusted for in the generalised estimating equation model.
Individuals with hearing impairment demonstrated significantly more severe depressive symptoms [β = 0.434, standard errors (s.e.) = 0.097, p < 0.001] than those who had good hearing. Those with vision impairment also showed significantly elevated depressive symptoms (β = 0.253, s.e. = 0.058, p < 0.001) than those with good vision. When the interactions between hearing and vision were considered, participants with dual sensory impairment showed significantly more severe depressive symptoms (β = 0.768, s.e. = 0.197, p < 0.001) than those with good hearing and vision. The effect of a single and dual sensory impairment on depressive symptoms was significant in both sexes and across age groups, except for vision impairment in male participants.
Hearing, vision and dual sensory impairment are significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Our results suggest that treatment or rehabilitation of either hearing or vision impairment would help prevent depression.
This study evaluated the annual prevalence of anogenital warts (AGW) caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and analysed the trend in annual per cent changes (APC) by using national claims data from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment of Korea, 2007–2015. We also estimated the socio-economic burden and co-morbidities of AGW. All analyses were performed based on data for primary A63.0, the specific diagnosis code for AGW. The socio-economic cost of AGW was calculated based on the direct medical cost, direct non-medical cost and indirect cost. The overall AGW prevalence and socio-economic burden has increased during the last 9 years. However, the prevalence of AGW differed significantly by sex. The female prevalence increased until 2012, and decreased thereafter (APC + 3·6%). It would fall after the introduction of routine HPV vaccination, principally for females, in Korea. The male prevalence increased continuously over time (APC + 11·6%), especially in those aged 20–49 years. Referring to the increasing AGW prevalence and its disease burden, active HPV infection control surveillance and prevention in males are worth consideration.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause serious respiratory infections, second only to influenza virus. In order to know RSV's genetic changes we examined 4028 respiratory specimens from local hospital outpatients in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea over six consecutive years by real-time one-step RT–PCR; 183 patients were positive for RSV infection. To investigate the specific distribution of RSV genotypes, we performed partial sequencing of the glycoprotein gene. Of the 131 RSV-A specimens sequenced, 61 (43·3%) belonged to the ON1 genotype, 66 (46·8%) were NA1 genotype, 3 (2·1%) were GA5 genotype, and 1 (0·7%) belonged to the GA1 genotype. Of the 31 RSV-B specimens sequenced, 29 were BA9 genotype (87·9%) and 2 were BA10 genotype (6·1%). The most common clinical symptoms were fever, cough, nasal discharge, and phlegm; multiple logistic regression analysis showed that RSV-positive infection on pediatric patients was strongly associated with cough (OR = 2·8, 95% CI 1·6–5·1) and wheezing (OR = 2·8, 95% CI 1·7–4·4). The ON1 genotype was significantly associated with phlegm (OR = 11·8, 95% CI 3·8–46·7), while the NA1 genotype was associated with the pediatric patients’ gender (males, OR = 2·4, 95% CI 1·1–5·4) and presence of chills (OR = 5·1, 95% CI 1·1–27·2). RSV subgroup B was showed association with nasal obstruction (OR = 4·6, 95% CI 1·2–20·0). The majority of respiratory virus coinfections with RSV were human rhinovirus (47·2%). This study contributes to our understanding of the molecular epidemiological characteristics of RSV, which promotes the potential for improving RSV vaccines.
A radiocarbon (14C) dating technique with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was applied to estimate the year of death and the year of birth of unidentified human remains. Because many of the samples have been preserved in formaldehyde, it was necessary to evaluate the influence of formaldehyde on carbon ages. Samples intentionally preserved in formaldehyde during the known period were measured, and their Δ14C values were compared with results obtained from fresh samples. The influence of formaldehyde on soft tissue was 14 times larger than that on cortical bone. Unfortunately, an effective method for removing the influence of formaldehyde has not yet been found. 14C ages could be obtained only from the samples not preserved in formaldehyde. The years of birth were determined by the ages of the dentin samples, while the years of death were determined by the ages of the bone and soft tissue samples. Multiple sampling from a body provides an advantage in determination of one of two possible ages of a sample obtained using the bomb peak. Victims of the Korean War were ascertained by the year of death. The year of death and the age at death of unidentified bodies were also determined for forensic investigation.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production has been very rare in serotype K1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 strains, which are well-known invasive community strains. Among 92 ESBL-producing strains identified in 218 isolates from nine Asian countries, serotype K1 K. pneumoniae strains were screened. Two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Singapore and Indonesia were determined to be serotype K1 and ST23. Their plasmids, which contain CTX-M-15 genes, are transferable rendering the effective transfer of ESBL resistance plasmids to other organisms.
We have observed A14C concentrations in the northern hemisphere temperate region in the bomb pulse period, using cross-dated tree ring samples. The tree-ring samples were taken from one 70-year-old and two 50-year-old red pines (Pinus densiflora) on Mt Chiak, Korea and from a 50-year-old red pine (Pinus densiflora) on Mt Kyeryong, Korea. Twenty-two tree-ring samples from four red pines ranging from 1950 to 2000 AD were pretreated to obtain holo-cellulose, combusted to CO2 by an element analyzer (EA) and converted to graphite for δ14C measurement using the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility at Seoul National University. Our results for δ14C showed good agreement with those measured by other researchers at similar latitudes. The observed steady decrease of δ14C from 1965 to 2000 AD is described by a single exponential function with a lifetime τ = 15.99 ± 0.43 yr. This lifetime is similar to that of the high-latitude region in Europe.
To characterize meal patterns across ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study.
Cross-sectional study utilizing dietary data collected through a standardized 24 h diet recall during 1995–2000. Eleven predefined intake occasions across a 24 h period were assessed during the interview. In the present descriptive report, meal patterns were analysed in terms of daily number of intake occasions, the proportion reporting each intake occasion and the energy contributions from each intake occasion.
Twenty-seven centres across ten European countries.
Women (64 %) and men (36 %) aged 35–74 years (n 36 020).
Pronounced differences in meal patterns emerged both across centres within the same country and across different countries, with a trend for fewer intake occasions per day in Mediterranean countries compared with central and northern Europe. Differences were also found for daily energy intake provided by lunch, with 38–43 % for women and 41–45 % for men within Mediterranean countries compared with 16–27 % for women and 20–26 % for men in central and northern European countries. Likewise, a south–north gradient was found for daily energy intake from snacks, with 13–20 % (women) and 10–17 % (men) in Mediterranean countries compared with 24–34 % (women) and 23–35 % (men) in central/northern Europe.
We found distinct differences in meal patterns with marked diversity for intake frequency and lunch and snack consumption between Mediterranean and central/northern European countries. Monitoring of meal patterns across various cultures and populations could provide critical context to the research efforts to characterize relationships between dietary intake and health.
Δ14C values of leaves of deciduous trees provide a means to map the regional-scale fossil fuel ratio in the atmosphere. We collected a batch of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba Linnaeus, a deciduous tree) leaf samples from across Korea in the month of July in both 2010 and 2011 to obtain the regional distribution of Δ14C. The Δ14C values of the samples were measured using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM). The average of the Δ14C values from clean air sites in Korea in 2011 measured slightly lower than the average of Δ14C values in 2010. Distribution maps of Δ14C of 2011 and 2010 in Korea were made based on a series of Δ14C values of ginkgo leaf samples from Korea using the Geostatistical and Spatial analyst tools in ESRI's ArcMap software. The distribution maps of Δ14C showed that Δ14C values in the western part of Korea are lower than those in the eastern part of Korea. This is because the western part of Korea is densely populated and contains many industrial complexes, and also because westerly winds from China, containing CO2 from fossil fuel use, blow into Korea. We compared the distribution maps of 2010 and 2011 and tried to find traces of the Fukushima power plant accident in Japan.
An acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreak was reported in May 2013 in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. Eight students who had eaten breakfast on 21 May 2013 at a high-school restaurant exhibited AGE symptoms. Our case-control study showed that a strong association was observed between AGE symptoms and fermented oyster consumption. Virological studies also indicated that noroviruses (NoVs) were detected from both clinical samples and fermented oyster samples, and multiple different genotypes (genogroups GII.4, GII.11 and GII.14) of NoVs were present in both samples. The nucleotide sequence similarity between the strains found in the clinical samples and those in the fermented oysters was more than 99·5%. Therefore, to prevent further outbreaks, proper management of raw oysters is necessary and the food industry should be aware of the risk of viral gastroenteritis posed by fermented oysters contaminated with NoVs.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic, relapsing mental illness. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors block serotonin transporters (SERTs) and are the mainstay of treatment for OCD. SERT abnormalities are reported in drug-free patients with OCD, but it is not known what happens to SERT levels during treatment. This is important as alterations in SERT levels in patients under treatment could underlie poor response, or relapse during or after treatment. The aim of the present study was first to validate a novel approach to measuring SERT levels in people taking treatment and then to investigate SERT binding potential (BP) using [11C]DASB PET in patients with OCD currently treated with escitalopram in comparison with healthy controls.
Twelve patients and age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled. The patients and healthy controls underwent serial PET scans after administration of escitalopram and blood samples for drug concentrations were collected simultaneously with the scans. Drug-free BPs were obtained by using an inhibitory Emax model we developed previously.
The inhibitory Emax model was able to accurately predict drug-free SERT BP in people taking drug treatment. The drug-free BP in patients with OCD currently treated with escitalopram was significantly different from those in healthy volunteers [Cohen's d = 0.03 (caudate), 1.16 (putamen), 1.46 (thalamus), −5.67 (dorsal raphe nucleus)].
This result extends previous findings showing SERT abnormalities in drug-free patients with OCD by indicating that altered SERT availability is seen in OCD despite treatment. This could account for poor response and the high risk of relapse in OCD.
Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013–2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4–6.9], P=.006 and 50–64 years, 2.5 [1.3–4.9], P=.007; reference age 18–49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1–3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9–37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2–1.4], P<.001).
Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013–2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1251–1260
Rare earth (e.g., Eu, Er, Yb, Tm) doped Y2O3 nanocrystals are promising fluorescent bioimaging agents which can overcome well known problems of currently used organic dyes like photobleaching, phototoxicity, and light scattering. Furthermore, the alternative quantum dots (QDs) composed of heavy metals (e.g., CdSe) possess inherently low biocompatibility due to the heavy metal content. In the present work, monodisperse spherical Y2O3:Eu3+ nanocrystals were successfully synthesized by microwave assisted urea precipitation method followed by thermochemical treatment. This is a green, fast and reproducible synthesis method, which is surfactant and hazardous precursors free. The as prepared particles were non-aggregated, spherical particles with a narrow size distribution. The calcined particles have a polycrystalline structure preserving the monodispersity and the spherical morphology of the as prepared particles. After calcination of Y(OH)CO3:Eu3+ precursors at 900°C for 2 hours, a highly crystalline cubic Y2O3 structure was obtained. The Y2O3:Eu3+ spherical particles showed a strong red emission peak at 613nm due to the 5D0–7F2 forced electric dipole transition of Eu3+ ions under UV excitation (235 nm) as revealed by the photoluminescence analysis (PL). The effect of reaction time on size and photoluminescence properties of calcined particles and also the effect of reaction temperature and pressure on the size and the yield of the precipitation process have been studied. The intense red fluorescent emission, excellent stability and potential low toxicity make these QDs promising for applications in bio-related areas such as fluorescence cell imaging or fluorescence bio labels.
The protein survivin (Sur) has been considered as a potential cancer biomarker due to its involvement in disrupting normal cell cycle by stimulating proliferation and inhibiting cell apoptosis. In this work, we have focused on exploring novel platforms for sensitive monitoring of Sur expression, based on molecular beacons and protein modulation of plasmon-controlled fluorescence. In this framework, we show that Sur can be employed in gating the resonance energy transfer (gRET) between fluorescein isothiocyanate probe dye (FITC) and plasmonic citrate-capped gold nanoparticles (AuNP@Cit). Furthermore, we have designed fluorescent dye-bearing molecular beacons (MBs) targeting nucleotides of the survivin mRNA. The antisense oligonucleotide complementary to the target sequence, inserted in the loop area of the hairpin MB structure, has enabled the fluorescence turn-ON MB switching in the presence of the target, thus signaling the high Sur mRNA levels and enhanced Sur protein expression.
Fe-Co-B was identified as a potential candidate for the development of high-frequency sensors and high-frequency actuators. To fabricate high-frequency magnetostrictive resonators, Fe-Co-B magetostrictive thin films were prepared by combining electrochemical deposition and microfabrication processes. It is crucial to obtain thin films with proper microstructure and composition. Results showed that Fe-rich Fe-Co-B thin films exhibited better resonance behavior than those with Co-rich and equiatomic Fe and Co compositions. It is also found that the deposition condition plays an important role on the performance of the films. Fe55Co28B17 thin films were fabricated under the same current density for different times. The films exhibited nanocrystalline structure, circular nodules as surface morphology and good resonance behavior. Fe/Co ratio on surface and cross section slightly decreased with increasing the deposition time. The resonance frequency slightly increased and the Q value was found to decrease with increasing deposition time.