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To determine the clinical significance of arachnoid cysts.
The scans of 6978 patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging of the internal acoustic meatus for unilateral cochleovestibular symptoms were retrospectively reviewed. We identified the scans with arachnoid cysts, and assessed the statistical associations between the laterality, location and size of the arachnoid cyst, the laterality of symptoms, the patients’ age and gender.
In a total of 37 arachnoid cysts identified in 36 patients (0.5 per cent), no associations were identified between the laterality of symptoms and the laterality of the arachnoid cyst, regardless of its size or location. There were no significant associations between the location of the arachnoid cyst and the age (p = 0.99) or gender of the patient (p = 0.13), or size (p = 0.656) or side of the cyst (p = 0.61). None of the cysts with repeat imaging scans (17 cysts) demonstrated growth.
Our results suggest that most, if not all, arachnoid cysts are of no clinical significance. Given their indolent behaviour, even serial imaging is not essential.
The implementation of advanced multi-level modulation schemes such as quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK) in contrast to the conventional on–off keying is crucial to further boost the terahertz (THz) communications speed. Thereby, carrier phase noise reduction in the THz range is one of the key goals that need to be urgently achieved. In this paper, the photonic-based THz sources and the phase noise problem are briefly summarized. Then, a low phase-noise photonic source based on the stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) optical fiber cavity is first applied for a 300-GHz-band QPSK wireless communication link. The highest data rate at forward-error-correction limited condition was 15 Gbaud utilizing the SBS-based photonic source with a small transmit power of ~ −36 dBm. Its transmission characteristics are evaluated and compared with the conventional optical frequency comb generator (OFCG)-based source at 5 Gbaud. The proposed SBS-based photonic source has been proven to offer better performances than the OFCG-based source with respect to the phase noise, optical carrier to noise ratio, and bit error rate in communications.
The output of many healthy physiological systems displays fractal fluctuations with self-similar temporal structures. Altered fractal patterns are associated with pathological conditions. There is evidence that patients with bipolar disorder have altered daily behaviors.
To test whether fractal patterns in motor activity are altered in patients with bipolar disorder, we analyzed 2-week actigraphy data collected from 106 patients with bipolar disorder type I in a euthymic state, 73 unaffected siblings of patients, and 76 controls. To examine the link between fractal patterns and symptoms, we analyzed 180-day actigraphy and mood symptom data that were simultaneously collected from 14 patients.
Compared to controls, patients showed excessive regularity in motor activity fluctuations at small time scales (<1.5 h) as quantified by a larger scaling exponent (α1 > 1), indicating a more rigid motor control system. α1 values of siblings were between those of patients and controls. Further examinations revealed that the group differences in α1 were only significant in females. Sex also affected the group differences in fractal patterns at larger time scales (>2 h) as quantified by scaling exponent α2. Specifically, female patients and siblings had a smaller α2 compared to female controls, indicating more random activity fluctuations; while male patients had a larger α2 compared to male controls. Interestingly, a higher weekly depression score was associated with a lower α1 in the subsequent week.
Our results show sex- and scale-dependent alterations in fractal activity regulation in patients with bipolar disorder. The mechanisms underlying the alterations are yet to be determined.
Glucocorticoids (GCs) are counterregulatory hormones with broad effects on the digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, but the underlying molecular mechanisms of these effects remain unclear. The present experiment was conducted to investigate the main expression sites of nutrient transporters and the effects of GCs on the gene expression of these transporters in the rabbit small intestine. The results showed that peptide transporter 1 (PepT1), facultative amino acid transporter (rBAT), neutral amino acid transporter (B0AT), excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3), sodium-glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) and glucose transporter 5 (GLUT5) were mainly expressed in the distal segment, glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) and fatty-acid-binding protein 4 (FATP4) were mainly expressed in the proximal segment and cationic amino acid transporter 1 (CAT1) was mainly expressed in the middle segment of the rabbit small intestine. In addition, we analysed the effects of 3 h (short-term) or 7 days (long-term) dexamethasone (DEX) treatment on the gene expression of most nutrient transporters. The results showed that short-term DEX treatment significantly decreased PepT1, B0AT, EAAT3, rBAT and SGLT1 expressions in all small intestinal segments, while it significantly decreased GLUT2 in the duodenum and FATP4 in the duodenum and ileum (P < 0.05). Long-term DEX treatment also significantly decreased PepT1, CAT1, B0AT, EAAT3, rBAT and SGLT1 in all small intestinal segments and significantly decreased GLUT2 in the jejunum and FATP4 in the ileum (P < 0.05). In conclusion, DEX could decrease the gene expression of most nutrient transporters (except GLUT5) and affect the transport of intestinal amino acids, monosaccharides and fatty acids.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) enters latency after primary infection and can reactivate periodically with virus excreted in body fluids which can be called shedding. CMV shedding during the early stage of pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcome. The shedding pattern in healthy seropositive women who plan to have babies has not been well characterised. Vaginal swabs, urine and blood were collected from 1262 CMV IgG-positive women who intended to have babies and tested for CMV DNA by fluorogenic quantitative PCR method. Serum IgM was also detected. The association between sociodemographic characteristics and CMV shedding prevalence was analysed. Among 1262 seropositive women, 12.8% (161/1262) were detected CMV DNA positive in at least one body fluid. CMV DNA was more frequently detected in vaginal secretion (10.5%) than in urine (3.2%) and blood (0.6%) also with higher viral loads (P < 0.00). CMV shedding was more likely detected in IgM-positive women than IgM-negative women (29.5% (13/44) vs. 12.2% (148/1218); OR 3.03, 95% CI 1.55–5.93; P = 0.001). CMV shedding in vaginal secretion was highly correlated with shedding in urine, the immune state of IgM, the adverse pregnant history and younger age. CMV shedding was more commonly detected in vaginal secretion than in urine or blood with higher viral loads among healthy seropositive women of reproductive age. Further studies are needed to figure out whether the shedding is occasional or continuous and whether it is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The fatty acid composition of chicken’s meat is largely influenced by dietary lipids, which are often used as supplements to increase dietary caloric density. The underlying key metabolites and pathways influenced by dietary oils remain poorly known in chickens. The objective of this study was to explore the underlying metabolic mechanisms of how diets supplemented with mixed or a single oil with distinct fatty acid composition influence the fatty acid profile in breast muscle of Qingyuan chickens. Birds were fed a corn-soybean meal diet supplemented with either soybean oil (control, CON) or equal amounts of mixed edible oils (MEO; soybean oil : lard : fish oil : coconut oil = 1 : 1 : 0.5 : 0.5) from 1 to 120 days of age. Growth performance and fatty acid composition of muscle lipids were analysed. LC-MS was applied to investigate the effects of CON v. MEO diets on lipid-related metabolites in the muscle of chickens at day 120. Compared with the CON diet, chickens fed the MEO diet had a lower feed conversion ratio (P < 0.05), higher proportions of lauric acid (C12:0), myristic acid (C14:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1n-7), oleic acid (C18:1n-9), EPA (C20:5n-3) and DHA (C22:6n-3), and a lower linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) content in breast muscle (P < 0.05). Muscle metabolome profiling showed that the most differentially abundant metabolites are phospholipids, including phosphatidylcholines (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamines (PE), which enriched the glycerophospholipid metabolism (P < 0.05). These key differentially abundant metabolites – PC (14:0/20:4), PC (18:1/14:1), PC (18:0/14:1), PC (18:0/18:4), PC (20:0/18:4), PE (22:0/P-16:0), PE (24:0/20:5), PE (22:2/P-18:1), PE (24:0/18:4) – were closely associated with the contents of C12:0, C14:0, DHA and C18:2n-6 in muscle lipids (P < 0.05). The content of glutathione metabolite was higher with MEO than CON diet (P < 0.05). Based on these results, it can be concluded that the diet supplemented with MEO reduced the feed conversion ratio, enriched the content of n-3 fatty acids and modified the related metabolites (including PC, PE and glutathione) in breast muscle of chickens.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
A large proportion of older adults are affected by impaired glucose metabolism. Previous studies with fish protein have reported improved glucose regulation in healthy adults, but the evidence in older adults is limited. Therefore, we wanted to assess the effect of increasing doses of a cod protein hydrolysate (CPH) on postprandial glucose metabolism in older adults. The study was a double-blind cross-over trial. Participants received four different doses (10, 20, 30 or 40 mg/kg body weight (BW)) of CPH daily for 1 week with 1-week washout periods in between. The primary outcome was postprandial response in glucose metabolism, measured by samples of serum glucose and insulin in 20 min intervals for 120 min. The secondary outcome was postprandial response in plasma glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Thirty-one subjects aged 60–78 years were included in the study. In a mixed-model statistical analysis, no differences in estimated maximum value of glucose, insulin or GLP-1 were observed when comparing the lowest dose of CPH (10 mg/kg BW) with the higher doses (20, 30 or 40 mg/kg BW). The estimated maximum value of glucose was on average 0·28 mmol/l lower when the participants were given 40 mg/kg BW CPH compared with 10 mg/kg BW (P = 0·13). The estimated maximum value of insulin was on average 5·14 mIU/l lower with 40 mg/kg BW of CPH compared with 10 mg/kg BW (P = 0·20). Our findings suggest that serum glucose and insulin levels tend to decrease with increasing amounts of CPH. Due to preliminary findings, the results require further investigation.
Small intestinal epithelium homeostasis involves four principal cell types: enterocytes, goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to affect enterocyte differentiation. This study determined the effect of dietary EGF on goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglet small intestine and potential mechanisms. Forty-two weaned piglets were used in a 2 × 3 factorial design; the major factors were time post-weaning (days 7 and 14) and dietary treatment (0, 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF supplementation). The numbers of goblet and enteroendocrine cells were generally greater with the increase in time post-weaning. Moreover, the supplementation of 200 µg/kg EGF increased (P < 0.01) the number of goblet and enteroendocrine cells in villus and crypt of the piglet small intestine as compared with the control. Dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of differentiation-related genes atonal homologue 1, mucin 2 and intestinal trefoil factor 3 messenger RNA (mRNA) as compared with the control. Piglets fed 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF diet had increased (P < 0.05) abundances of growth factor-independent 1, SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor and pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 mRNA, but decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of E74 like ETS transcription factor 3 mRNA as compared with the control. Animals receiving 400 µg/kg EGF diets had enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of neurogenin3 and SRY-box containing gene 9 mRNA as compared with the control. The mRNA abundance and protein expression of lysozyme, a marker of Paneth cell, were also increased (P < 0.05) in those animals. As compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF increased the abundance of EGF receptor mRNA and the ratio of non-phospho(p)-β-catenin/β-catenin (P < 0.05) in villus epithelial cells at days 7 and 14. This ratio in crypt epithelial cells was higher (P < 0.05) on the both 200 and 400 µg/kg EGF groups during the same period. Our results demonstrated that dietary EGF stimulated goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglets during the post-weaning period, partly through EGFR and Wnt/β-catenin signalling.
Nonhuman primate (NHP) studies are crucial to biomedical research. NHPs are the species most similar to humans in lifespan, body size, and hormonal profiles. Planning research requires statistical power evaluation, which is difficult to perform when lacking directly relevant preliminary data. This is especially true for NHP developmental programming studies, which are scarce. We review the sample sizes reported, challenges, areas needing further work, and goals of NHP maternal nutritional programming studies. The literature search included 27 keywords, for example, maternal obesity, intrauterine growth restriction, maternal high-fat diet, and maternal nutrient reduction. Only fetal and postnatal offspring studies involving tissue collection or imaging were included. Twenty-eight studies investigated maternal over-nutrition and 33 under-nutrition; 23 involved macaques and 38 baboons. Analysis by sex was performed in 19; minimum group size ranged from 1 to 8 (mean 4.7 ± 0.52, median 4, mode 3) and maximum group size from 3 to 16 (8.3 ± 0.93, 8, 8). Sexes were pooled in 42 studies; minimum group size ranged from 2 to 16 (mean 5.3 ± 0.35, median 6, mode 6) and maximum group size from 4 to 26 (10.2 ± 0.92, 8, 8). A typical study with sex-based analyses had group size minimum 4 and maximum 8 per sex. Among studies with sexes pooled, minimum group size averaged 6 and maximum 8. All studies reported some significant differences between groups. Therefore, studies with group sizes 3–8 can detect significance between groups. To address deficiencies in the literature, goals include increasing age range, more frequently considering sex as a biological variable, expanding topics, replicating studies, exploring intergenerational effects, and examining interventions.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
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.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
While assessing the environmental impact of nuclear power plants, researchers have focused their attention on radiocarbon (14C) owing to its high mobility in the environment and important radiological impact on human beings. The 10 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China that adopted helium as primary coolant and graphite spheres containing tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) coated particles as fuel elements. A series of experiments on the 14C source terms in HTR-10 was conducted: (1) measurement of the specific activity and distribution of typical nuclides in the irradiated graphite spheres from the core, (2) measurement of the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant, and (3) measurement of the amount of 14C discharged in the effluent from the stack. All experimental data on 14C available for HTR-10 were summarized and analyzed using theoretical calculations. A sensitivity study on the total porosity, open porosity, and percentage of closed pores that became open after irradiating the matrix graphite was performed to illustrate their effects on the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant and activity amount of 14C in various deduction routes.
The very high temperature reactor (VHTR) is a development of the high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) and one of the six proposed Generation IV reactor concept candidates. The 10 MW high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China. A sampling system for the measurement of carbon-14 (14C) was established in the helium purification system of the HTR-10 primary loop, which could sample 14C from the coolant at three locations. The results showed that activity concentration of 14C in the HTR-10 primary coolant was 1.2(1) × 102 Bq/m3 (STP). The production mechanisms, distribution characteristics, reduction routes, and release types of 14C in HTR-10 were analyzed and discussed. A theoretical model was built to calculate the amount of 14C in the core of HTR-10 and its concentration in the primary coolant. The activation reaction of 13C has been identified to be the dominant 14C source in the core, whereas in the primary coolant, it is the activation of 14N. These results can supplement important information for the source term analysis of 14C in HTR-10 and promote the study of 14C in HTGRs.
Although application of organic fertilizers has become a recommended way for developing sustainable agriculture, it is still unclear whether above-ground and below-ground crops have similar responses to chemical fertilizers (CF) and organic manure (OM) under the same farming conditions. The current study investigated soil quality and crop yield response to fertilization of a double-cropping system with rapeseed (above-ground) and sweet potato (below-ground) in an infertile red soil for 2 years (2014–16). Three fertilizer treatments were compared, including CF, OM and organic manure plus chemical fertilizer (MCF). Organic fertilizers (OM and MCF) increased the yield of both above- and below-ground crops and improved soil biochemical properties significantly. The current study also found that soil-chemical properties were the most important and direct factors in increasing crop yields. Also, crop yield was affected indirectly by soil-biological properties, because no significant effects of soil-biological activities on yield were detected after controlling the positive effects of soil-chemical properties. Since organic fertilizers could not only increase crop yield, but also improve soil nutrients and microbial activities efficiently and continuously, OM application is a reliable agricultural practice for both above- and below-ground crops in the red soils of China.
To assess the extent of error present in self-reported weight data in the Women’s Health Initiative, variables that may be associated with error, and to develop methods to reduce any identified error.
Prospective cohort study.
Forty clinical centres in the USA.
Women (n 75 336) participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS) and women (n 6236) participating in the WHI Long Life Study (LLS) with self-reported and measured weight collected about 20 years later (2013–2014).
The correlation between self-reported and measured weights was 0·97. On average, women under-reported their weight by about 2 lb (0·91 kg). The discrepancies varied by age, race/ethnicity, education and BMI. Compared with normal-weight women, underweight women over-reported their weight by 3·86 lb (1·75 kg) and obese women under-reported their weight by 4·18 lb (1·90 kg) on average. The higher the degree of excess weight, the greater the under-reporting of weight. Adjusting self-reported weight for an individual’s age, race/ethnicity and education yielded an identical average weight to that measured.
Correlations between self-reported and measured weights in the WHI are high. Discrepancies varied by different sociodemographic characteristics, especially an individual’s BMI. Correction of self-reported weight for individual characteristics could improve the accuracy of assessment of obesity status in postmenopausal women.