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England has recently started a new paediatric influenza vaccine programme using a live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). There is uncertainty over how well the vaccine protects against more severe end-points. A test-negative case–control study was used to estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) in vaccine-eligible children aged 2–16 years of age in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalisation in England in the 2015–2016 season using a national sentinel laboratory surveillance system. Logistic regression was used to estimate the VE with adjustment for sex, risk-group, age group, region, ethnicity, deprivation and month of sample collection. A total of 977 individuals were included in the study (348 cases and 629 controls). The overall adjusted VE for all study ages and vaccine types was 33.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.3–54.6) after adjusting for age group, sex, index of multiple deprivation, ethnicity, region, sample month and risk group. Risk group was shown to be an important confounder. The adjusted VE for all influenza types for the live-attenuated vaccine was 41.9% (95% CI 7.3–63.6) and 28.8% (95% CI −31.1 to 61.3) for the inactivated vaccine. The study provides evidence of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing hospitalisation due to laboratory-confirmed influenza in children in 2015–2016 and continues to support the rollout of the LAIV childhood programme.
Antioxidants have been always used to improve post-slaughter meat quality in broilers subjected to stress. Forsythia suspensa extract (FSE), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, is generally regarded as a natural source of antioxidants. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that FSE could protect post-slaughter breast muscles against oxidative injury induced by dexamethasone (DEX) mimicking chronic physiological stress in poultry production. Average daily gain and feed efficiency of poultry were suppressed by DEX and improved by FSE (P < 0.05). Dexamethasone caused the decrease in the redness value and the increase in the lightness and yellowness values and drip loss of the breast muscles (P < 0.05), and FSE had the converse effects (P < 0.05). Dietary FSE supplementation decreased monounsaturated fatty acid (FA) and increased polyunsaturated FA in breast muscles of broilers (P < 0.05). In addition, FSE decreased malondialdehyde and carbonyl content in the breast muscles of DEX-treated broilers (P < 0.05). The inhibition of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl in the breast muscles was decreased by DEX and increased by FSE (P < 0.05). Total-antioxidant capacity and glutathione peroxidase activity in the breast muscles were decreased in birds subjected to DEX and increased in birds supplemented with FSE (P < 0.05). Totally, DEX suppressed growth performance and induced breast muscle oxidative injury in broilers, and FSE supplementation improved antioxidant capacity to attenuate these adverse effects. Therefore, FSE could be a potential natural antioxidant to alleviate oxidative injury of the breast muscles in broilers and to improve the meat quality for human consumption.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
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.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an evidence-based treatment program for people with severe mental illness developed in high-income countries. We report the first randomized controlled trial of ACT in mainland China.
Sixty outpatients with schizophrenia with severe functional impairments or frequent hospitalizations were randomly assigned to ACT (n = 30) or standard community treatment (n = 30). The severity of symptoms and level of social functioning were assessed at baseline and every 3 months during the 1-year study. The primary outcome was the duration of hospital readmission. Secondary outcomes included a pre-post change in symptom severity, the rates of symptom relapse and gainful employment, social and occupational functioning, and quality of life of family caregivers.
Based on a modified intention-to-treat analysis, the outcomes for ACT were significantly better than those of standard community treatment. ACT patients were less likely to be readmitted [3.3% (1/30) v. 25.0% (7/28), Fisher's exact test p = 0.023], had a shorter mean readmission time [2.4 (13.3) v. 30.7 (66.9) days], were less likely to relapse [6.7% (2/30) v. 28.6% (8/28), Fisher's exact test p = 0.038], and had shorter mean time in relapse [3.5 (14.6) v. 34.4 (70.6) days]. The ACT group also had significantly longer times re-employed and greater symptomatic improvement and their caregivers experienced a greater improvement in their quality of life.
Our results show that culturally adapted ACT is both feasible and effective for individuals with severe schizophrenia in urban China. Replication studies with larger samples and longer duration of follow up are warranted.
Background: Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the synaptic scaffolding gene SHANK2 are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, their impact on the function of human neurons is unknown. Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from affected individuals permits generation of live neurons to answer this question. Methods: We generated iPSCs by reprogramming dermal fibroblasts of neurotypic and ASD-affected donors. To isolate the effect of SHANK2, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out SHANK2 in control iPSCs and correct a heterozygous nonsense mutation in ASD-affected donor iPSCs. We then derived cortical neurons from SOX1+ neural precursor cells differentiated from these iPSCs. Using a novel assay that overcomes line-to-line variability, we compared neuronal morphology, total synapse number, and electrophysiological properties between SHANK2 mutants and controls. Results: Relative to controls, SHANK2 mutant neurons have increased dendrite complexity, dendrite length, total synapse number (1.5-2-fold), and spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (sEPSC) frequency (3-7.6-fold). Conclusions: ASD-associated heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in SHANK2 increase synaptic connectivity among human neurons by increasing synapse number and sEPSC frequency. This is partially supported by increased dendrite length and complexity, providing evidence that SHANK2 functions as a suppressor of dendrite branching during neurodevelopment.
Monitoring milk quality traits and the classification of raw milk are important steps for generating high-quality dairy products. Given the important roles of the BRG1/BRM-associated factor 60c (BAF60c) gene in the regulation of physiological growth and production, the objective of the current study was to analyse the association between the BAF60c gene and milk quality and establish a gene-based method for pre-evaluating raw milk quality. For this purpose, DNA was isolated from 507 milk samples and genotyped using the polymerase chain reaction-restricted fragment length polymorphism method. Milk quality traits including milk protein percentage (MPP), milk fat percentage (MFP), lactose percentage (LP) and total solids content (TSC) were also evaluated from the same 507 milk samples. The newly found 6060 T > C mutation of the BAF60c gene was associated significantly with MPP and LP, but not with MFP and TSC. The results demonstrated that this mutation could be used for the pre-evaluation of MPP and LP; therefore, raw milk could be graded according to different genotypes.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
In ovo feeding (IOF) of l-arginine (Arg) can affect growth performance of broilers, but the response of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth is unclear, and the mechanism involved in protein deposition remains unknown. Hense, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth and protein-deposited signalling in post-hatch broilers. A total of 720 fertile eggs were collected from 34-week-old Arbor Acres breeder hens and distributed to three treatments: (1) non-injected control group; (2) 7.5 g/l (w/v) NaCl diluent-injected control group; (3) 0.6 mg Arg/egg solution-injected group. At 17.5 days of incubation, fertile eggs were injected 0.6 ml solutions into the amnion of the injected groups. Upon hatching, 80 male chicks were randomly assigned to eight replicates of 10 birds each and fed ad libitum for 21 days. The results indicated that IOF of Arg increased relative breast muscle weight compared with those of control groups at hatch, 3-, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In the Arg-injected group, the plasma total protein and albumen concentrations were higher at 7- and 21-day post-hatch than those of control groups (P<0.05). The alanine aminotransferase activity in Arg group was higher at hatch than that of control groups (P<0.05). The levels of triiodothyronine at four time points and thyroxine hormones at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch in Arg group were higher than those of control groups (P<0.05). In addition, IOF of Arg increased the amino acid concentrations of breast muscle at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In ovo feeding of Arg also enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin, ribosomal protein S6 kinase-1 and eIF4E-bindingprotein-1 messenger RNA expression levels at hatch compared with those of control groups (P<0.05). It was concluded that IOF of Arg treatment improved breast muscle growth, which might be associated with the enhancement of protein deposition.
Honeybee foraging can transfer exogenous genes from genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) to closely related plants, which not only induces potential ecological risks but also contaminates non-GM seeds or honey products with GM ingredients. These events may lead to international trade disputes. Chinese honeybees (Apis cerana cerana Fabricius) and a herbicide (glufosinate)-resistant GM strain of B. napus (Z7B10) were studied to examine the effects of honeybee short-range foraging on oilseed rape gene flow and honey ingredients. Results showed variable frequencies of gene flow between GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars, with the highest frequency under nylon net isolation with artificially stocked honeybees, the lowest frequency under nylon net isolation alone, and an intermediate frequency under natural pollination, suggesting the important role of honeybee foraging in gene flow frequency. Additionally, GM pollen grains were found in honey collected from honeybees foraging on both GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars. The phosphinothricin acetyltransferase protein was also detected in both unbroken pollen-containing and pollen-free honey by protein testing strips, suggesting that honeybee foraging on GM oilseed rape could lead to contamination with GM ingredients. Overall, the results provide a direct scientific basis for the ecological risk assessment and safety management of GM oilseed rape.
Aphelinus mali (Haldeman) is an effective natural enemy of woolly apple aphid (WAA), Eriosoma lanigerum (Hausmann). Previous studies have found that, with WAA from Shandong Province (Qingdao) as the host, there are significant differences in various biological characteristics between a Shandong clade and Liaoning clade of A. mali. The ability of the Shandong clade to control this aphid was significantly higher than that of the Liaoning clade in Shandong Province. In order to determine whether differences were caused by better adaptation of the Shandong parasitoid clade to the population of the host in that province or if it represents a more general fitness of this clade to control the host regardless of location, we compared the same parasitoid clades with hosts from Hebei Province. We found no significant differences in the developmental threshold temperature, effective accumulated temperature, fecundity, longevity, and oviposition period of the two clades, but the duration of host searching of the Shandong clade was significantly longer than that of the Liaoning clade. The instantaneous attack rate, the control ability (a/Th), the search parameter (Q) of the Shandong clade (0.0946, 0.543, 0.0725) of A. mali were higher than that of the Liaoning clade (0.0713, 0.382, 0.0381), and therefore, with WAA from Hebei Province as the host, the host adaptability of the Shandong clade of A. mali was not worse than that of the Liaoning clade, while the pest control ability of the Shandong clade was still greater than that of the Liaoning clade.
In this study, the biomass of winter wheat was estimated by using hyperspectral data obtained from a hyperspectral camera on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Every two bands from the hyperspectral data were selected to calculate two kinds of vegetation indexes: the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Ratio Vegetation Index (RVI). Linear models were established between winter wheat biomass and those indexes, and coefficient of determination R2 was used to draw the two-dimensional distribution of R2 values. The comparison between NDVI and RVI for pixel covered by soil and wheat showed that RVI is more efficient to mask the influence from soil than NDVI. For calculating the NDVI, optimal bands are located mainly around 820 nm and 725 nm to 750 nm. For assessing RVI, the wavelength range from 820 to 832 nm, 794 to 808 nm, 770 to 788 nm, 725 nm to 750 nm and 890 nm for RVI are most suitable. Those optimal bands can achieve a coefficient of determination R2 higher than 0.88 by using the linear regression model in the study.
Bacillary dysentery continues to be a major health issue in developing countries and ambient temperature is a possible environmental determinant. However, evidence about the risk of bacillary dysentery attributable to ambient temperature under climate change scenarios is scarce. We examined the attributable fraction (AF) of temperature-related bacillary dysentery in urban and rural Hefei, China during 2006–2012 and projected its shifting pattern under climate change scenarios using a distributed lag non-linear model. The risk of bacillary dysentery increased with the temperature rise above a threshold (18·4 °C), and the temperature effects appeared to be acute. The proportion of bacillary dysentery attributable to hot temperatures was 18·74% (95 empirical confidence interval (eCI): 8·36–27·44%). Apparent difference of AF was observed between urban and rural areas, with AF varying from 26·87% (95% eCI 16·21–36·68%) in urban area to −1·90% (95 eCI −25·03 to 16·05%) in rural area. Under the climate change scenarios alone (1–4 °C rise), the AF from extreme hot temperatures (>31·2 °C) would rise greatly accompanied by the relatively stable AF from moderate hot temperatures (18·4–31·2 °C). If climate change proceeds, urban area may be more likely to suffer from rapidly increasing burden of disease from extreme hot temperatures in the absence of effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of creatine pyruvate (CrPyr) on the hatchability, growth performance and energy status of embryos and broilers (Arbor Acres) were investigated. Five treatments were arranged as non-injected treatment (Control), 0.6 ml physiological saline (0.75%) injected treatment (Saline), and IOF treatments injected with 0.6 ml physiological saline (0.75%) containing 3, 6 or 12 mg CrPyr (CrPyr3, CrPyr6 or CrPyr12) into the amnion per fertile egg on day 17.5 of incubation. After hatching, 80 male chicks from each treatment with similar weight close to the average BW of their pooled group were selected and randomly assigned into eight replicates of 10 chicks each. The results showed that the hatchability was not affected among groups, whereas the hatching weight of broilers in CrPyr12 was significantly higher than the control and saline groups (P<0.05). At 21 day post-hatch, the BWs of broilers in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 were increased relative to the control and saline groups (P<0.05). Chickens in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 exhibited higher BW gain and feed intake than the control and saline groups during 8 to 21 days post-hatch and the entire experiment period (P<0.05). Compared with the control and saline groups, the total and relative weight of pectoral muscle of embryos or chickens were greater in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 at 19th day of incubation (19 E), hatch, 3 and 21 days post-hatch (P<0.05). The concentrations of glucose and glycogen in liver were increased in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 at 19 E and hatch (P<0.05). Neither glycogen nor glucose concentration in pectoral muscle was altered among treatments (P>0.05). Irrespective of dosage, the concentrations of creatine and phosphocreatine, and activities of creatine kinase in embryos were enhanced in CrPyr treatments at 19 E when compared with the control and saline groups (P<0.05). The activities of glucose-6-phosphatase in liver in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 treatments were higher than the control and saline groups at 19 E (P<0.05). In conclusion, these results indicated that IOF of CrPyr, especially at the level of 12 mg/egg, could improve energy status of embryos and hatchlings, which was useful for enhancing hatching weight, BW and pectoral muscle weight until the end of the experiments at 21 days post-hatch in broilers.
Compliant robots, a class of so-called soft robots, made from elastomeric materials, require flexible or stretchable sensors for functional sophistication beyond that of open-loop controls and actuations. These robots have expanded the scope of research in robotics from fast, strong, and precise industrial manufacturing toward new needs of adaptation and safety—the realm of human–robot interactions (HRIs). HRIs include circumstances ranging from existing tasks such as vacuum cleaning to the far-reaching goal of direct contact with the heart for ventricular assist devices, and wearable robots as an intermediate task for force-augmenting exoskeletons. Toward these goals, many efforts are being made to impart sensation for feedback control via flexible or stretchable sensors that can be integrated with the soft bodies of these robots without hindering their motion or reducing their safety. This article briefly reviews the key techniques and tradeoffs for designing and fabricating these sensors. We describe the sensors that our research group uses for fluidically powered soft robots. We conclude with some perspectives about future directions of sensing integration for improved autonomy and interaction with humans in close proximity.
It is well known that energy plays an important role in sow growth and development. Increasing the utilization of lipids will be beneficial to sows. Emulsifiers are substances which stabilize mixtures and prevent oil and water from separating, thereby enhancing the digestion of lipids. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of dietary emulsifier (lysophospholipids (LPL)) supplementation in diets differing in fat contents on growth performance, nutrient digestibility and milk composition in lactating sows, as well as performance and fecal score in piglets. A total of 32 multiparous sows (Landrace×Yorkshire) were used in a 21-day experiment. On day 110 of gestation, sows were weighed and moved into the farrowing facility, randomly assigned in a 2×2 factorial arrangement according to their BW with two levels of LPL (0 and 30 mg/kg) and two levels of fat (4.75% and 2.38% fat; 13.66 and 13.24 MJ/kg). BW loss and backfat thickness loss were decreased (P<0.05) by LPL supplementation. Backfat thickness at weaning was higher (P<0.05) in sows fed LPL supplementation diets. The apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter, nitrogen, gross energy and crude fat in sows fed LPL diets was increased (P<0.05) compared with those fed non-LPL diets. Sows fed the high-fat diets had higher (P<0.05) milk fat on day 10 and milk lactose on day 20 than those fed the low-fat diets. Milk fat and lactose concentrations in LPL supplementation treatments was increased (P<0.05) compared with non-LPL treatments on day 10 and day 20, respectively. Positive interaction effects (P<0.05) between fat and LPL were observed for milk fat concentration on day 10. In conclusion, LPL addition decreased BW loss and backfat thickness loss, improved nutrient digestibility and milk fat as well as milk lactose concentrations. In addition, there was a complementary positive effect of dietary fat and LPL supplementation on milk fat concentration in lactating sows.
Outbreaks of acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC) – a rapidly progressing and highly contagious infection – often occur in schools during summer and autumn. We used dynamic modelling to evaluate the efficacy of interventions to control AHC outbreaks in schools. A susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model was built to simulate AHC outbreaks in Chinese schools, with isolation or school closure added into the model. We used outbreak data from the period 2004–2015 in our models to estimate the effective reproduction number and assess the efficacy of interventions. The median effective reproduction number (uncontrolled) of AHC outbreaks was 7·00 (range 1·77–25·87). The median effective reproduction number (controlled) of AHC outbreaks was 0·16 (range 0·00–2·28). Intervention efficacy is affected by the timing of isolation; earlier isolation is associated with a lower morbidity peak and smaller total attack rate (TAR). School closures were not effective; TARs were almost 100% and did not change even when different school closure durations were adopted. Isolation and school closure as a combined intervention strategy was used to simulate outbreak control, but the efficacy was the same as isolation alone. An isolation programme could be an effective primary intervention during AHC outbreaks in schools. However, school closure is not recommended.
In tritrophic ‘plants–herbivores–natural enemies’ systems, there are relatively few reports concerning the role(s) of kairomones in pupal parasitism. Chouioia cunea Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an endoparasitic chalcid wasp, parasitizes pupae of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea Drury). The role of host-related kairomones was investigated using electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral techniques. Chemicals from some host stages (pupae) and host by-products (frass), induced arrestment behavior of female parasitoids, while chemicals from prepupae, were inactive. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles collected from pupae, frass and prepupae using solid-phase microextration revealed seven compounds with carbon chain lengths ranging from C4 to C20. All of the chemicals elicited significant EAG responses in C. cunea. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays demonstrated a significant positive response of mated female C. cunea to 1-dodecene. These data provide a better understanding of the host location mechanisms of pupal parasitoid.