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While a significant amount of literature has been published on the theoretical and empirical basis of task-based language teaching (TBLT) as an educational framework for teaching second and foreign languages, few studies have described entire task-based programs. This chapter reports on a case study in which we describe the inception, design, implementation and evaluation of a task-based, Spanish foreign language program at Qingdao University in China. The program is the result of an international partnership between an American university and a Chinese university, whereby Chinese students receive a dual degree in Spanish as a foreign language. A detailed needs analysis was conducted and informed the design of the program, which includes the application process, tasks, and several community-based initiatives. We also report on how we do teacher-training and professional development collaboration, our challenges, and how we have worked to overcome those challenges. All in all, teacher and student satisfaction, student job placement, and community engagement indicate that the program is meeting students’ real-world needs for Spanish and is serving the Qingdao community. We conclude by discussing implications for implementing a fully task-based program in China, the nation’s first university-level TBLT program for Spanish foreign language learning and teaching.
The mid-latitude Westerlies (MLW) are one of the most important atmospheric circulation systems in the Northern Hemisphere, exerting a huge influence on the climate of the region downwind, and thus on vegetation, water resources, and human wellbeing. However, the seasonal variation of the MLW during the Holocene is not yet been fully understood, especially when its contribution is the most important. Here, we used end-member (EM) modeling analysis of the grain-size distributions of a high-altitude aeolian sedimentary sequence (4452 m a.s.l.) from the Yarlung Zangbo River valley in the southern Tibetan Plateau to reveal variations in the winter MLW during the Holocene. Analysis of seasonal differences in modern atmospheric circulation suggests that the southern Tibetan Plateau was heavily influenced by the mid-latitude Westerlies at the 400, 500, and 600 hPa levels in winter, while it was seldom influenced at these levels in summer. Four grain-size end-members are identified, representing distinct aerodynamic environments, of which EM1 (modal grain size 8.1 μm) can be used as a proxy of the winter MLW. A reconstruction of the variation of the winter MLW during the Holocene based on EM1 revealed that a weaker winter MLW occurred during the Early to Middle Holocene, and a stronger winter MLW during the Middle to Late Holocene. Overall, we suggest that this change in the winter MLW was closely related to the insolation/temperature/pressure gradient between low and high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere.
This study examined the change in dementia literacy and dementia worry over a 5-year span among older Chinese Americans living in Arizona.
Design, setting, participants, and measurement:
This study used survey data collected among a purposive sample of 703 community-dwelling Chinese Americans aged 55 years or older living in the metropolitan areas of Phoenix, Arizona, from 2013 to 2017. The average age of participants was 73.1 (SD = 8.7) and 64.2% were female. Dementia literacy was measured by dementia knowledge (knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia) and dementia beliefs (biased attitude toward dementia). Dementia worry was measured by assessing participants’ fear toward and concerns of developing dementia.
Regression analyses found dementia knowledge decreased (p < 0.05) and dementia beliefs remained unchanged (p > 0.05) from 2013 to 2017 among participants. Dementia worry only increased among those who lived alone. Significant correlates of dementia worry included low formal education level, depressive symptoms, and family conflict.
Public health education targeting older Chinese Americans should aim to enhance dementia knowledge and to rectify their biased attitudes toward dementia. Psychosocial education or counseling should be available to older Chinese Americans who present dementia worry, particularly for those who live alone. More studies using diverse study designs, such as a longitudinal design, are needed to examine change in dementia literacy and worry among this population.
Understanding factors associated with post-discharge sleep quality among COVID-19 survivors is important for intervention development.
This study investigated sleep quality and its correlates among COVID-19 patients 6 months after their most recent hospital discharge.
Healthcare providers at hospitals located in five different Chinese cities contacted adult COVID-19 patients discharged between 1 February and 30 March 2020. A total of 199 eligible patients provided verbal informed consent and completed the interview. Using score on the single-item Sleep Quality Scale as the dependent variable, multiple linear regression models were fitted.
Among all participants, 10.1% reported terrible or poor sleep quality, and 26.6% reported fair sleep quality, 26.1% reported worse sleep quality when comparing their current status with the time before COVID-19, and 33.7% were bothered by a sleeping disorder in the past 2 weeks. After adjusting for significant background characteristics, factors associated with sleep quality included witnessing the suffering (adjusted B = −1.15, 95% CI = −1.70, −0.33) or death (adjusted B = −1.55, 95% CI = −2.62, −0.49) of other COVID-19 patients during hospital stay, depressive symptoms (adjusted B = −0.26, 95% CI = −0.31, −0.20), anxiety symptoms (adjusted B = −0.25, 95% CI = −0.33, −0.17), post-traumatic stress disorders (adjusted B = −0.16, 95% CI = −0.22, −0.10) and social support (adjusted B = 0.07, 95% CI = 0.04, 0.10).
COVID-19 survivors reported poor sleep quality. Interventions and support services to improve sleep quality should be provided to COVID-19 survivors during their hospital stay and after hospital discharge.
Depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment often coexisted in the elderly. This study investigates the effect of late-life depressive symptoms on risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
A total of 14,231 dementia- and MCI free participants aged 60+ from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe were followed-up for 10 years to detect incident MCI. MCI was defined as 1.5 standard deviation (SD) below the mean of the standardized global cognition score. Depressive symptoms were assessed by a 12-item Europe-depression scale (EURO-D). Severity of depressive symptoms was grouped as: no/minimal (score 0–3), moderate (score 4–5), and severe (score 6–12). Significant depressive symptoms (SDSs) were defined as EURO-D score ≥ 4.
During an average of 8.2 (SD = 2.4)-year follow-up, 1,352 (9.50%) incident MCI cases were identified. SDSs were related to higher MCI risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.26, 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.10–1.44) in total population, individuals aged 70+ (HR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.14–1.61) and women (HR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.08–1.51) in Cox proportional hazard model adjusting for confounders. In addition, there was a dose–response association between the severity of depressive symptoms and MCI incidence in total population, people aged ≥70 years and women (p-trend <0.001).
Significant depressive symptoms were associated with higher incidence of MCI in a dose–response fashion, especially among people aged 70+ years and women. Treating depressive symptoms targeting older population and women may be effective in preventing MCI.
The relationship between SFA consumption and the risk of overweight/obesity remains unclear. Epidemiological evidence is lacking among Chinese population. This study aimed to investigate the association between individual dietary SFA intake and the risk of overweight/obesity in Chinese adults. Data from 8465 adults with BMI < 24 kg/m2 at entry in the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1989–2011) were analysed. Three-day 24-h dietary records were used to collect dietary data. Cox proportional hazards regression models were constructed to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % CI for the risk of developing overweight or obesity. A total of 3171 incident cases of overweight/obesity were identified (1649 for women and 1522 for men) during a median of 11 years of follow-up. Compared with the lowest category, the intake of total SFA (TSFA) showed no significant association with the risk of overweight/obesity. However, an increased risk of overweight/obesity was observed with a higher intake of medium chain SFA (MCSFA) (Ptrend = 0·004), especially decanoic acid (10:0) (HR was 1·25 (95 % CI 1·10, 1·42) comparing the highest category with the reference group; Ptrend < 0·001), whereas an inverse relationship was observed for hexanoic acid (6:0) consumption; compared with non-consumers, 6:0 intake was associated with 32 % lower risk of overweight/obesity (HR: 0·68 (95 % CI 0·56, 0·84); Ptrend < 0·001). Overall, the intake of subtypes of MCSFA but not TSFA was associated with the risk of overweight/obesity. Increasing hexanoic acid (6:0) and limiting decanoic acid (10:0) consumption may be protective for overweight/obesity among Chinese population.
The relationship between dietary nut intake and hyperuricemia risk remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between different nut intake and hyperuricemia risk with a cross-sectional study.
A semi-quantitative FFQ was adopted to collect dietary information. Biochemical and anthropometric parameters were measured by standard methods. Multivariate-adjusted logistic regression models were implemented to analyse the relationship between individual nut intake and hyperuricemia risk.
Qingdao University in Shandong Province, China.
During 2018–2019, a total of 14 056 undergraduates (6862 males and 7194 females) aged 15–25 years participated in the study.
After adjusting for multiple confounding factors, compared with the lowest quartile, the highest quartile intakes of pine nut (95 % CI (0·51, 0·98)) was significantly associated with 29 % reduction in hyperuricemia risk, the highest quartile intake of walnut (OR = 0·78; 95 % CI (0·58, 1·05)) was marginally negatively associated with hyperuricemia risk.
The present study showed that the relationships between intakes of different nuts and hyperuricemia risk were different. Increased dietary intakes of walnut and pine nut are negatively associated with the hyperuricemia.
This study analyzed the effects of the day of trophectoderm (TE) biopsy and blastocyst grade on clinical and neonatal outcomes. The results showed that the implantation and live birth rates of day 5 (D5) TE biopsy were significantly higher compared with those of D6 TE biopsy. The miscarriage rate of the former was lower than that of the latter, but there was no statistically significant difference. Higher quality blastocysts can achieve better implantation and live birth rates. Among good quality blastocysts, the implantation and live birth rates of D5 and D6 TE biopsy were not significantly different. Among fair quality and poor quality blastocysts, the implantation and live birth rates of D5 TE biopsy were significantly higher compared with those of D6 TE biopsy. Neither blastocyst grade nor the day of TE biopsy significantly affected the miscarriage rate. Neonatal outcomes, including newborn sex, gestational age, preterm birth, birth weight and low birth weight in the D5 and D6 TE biopsies were not significantly different. Both blastocyst grade and the day of TE biopsy must be considered at the same time when performing preimplantation genetic testing–frozen embryo transfer.
Schizophrenia has been primarily conceptualized as a disorder of high-order cognitive functions with deficits in executive brain regions. Yet due to the increasing reports of early sensory processing deficit, recent models focus more on the developmental effects of impaired sensory process on high-order functions. The present study examined whether this pathological interaction relates to an overarching system-level imbalance, specifically a disruption in macroscale hierarchy affecting integration and segregation of unimodal and transmodal networks.
We applied a novel combination of connectome gradient and stepwise connectivity analysis to resting-state fMRI to characterize the sensorimotor-to-transmodal cortical hierarchy organization (96 patients v. 122 controls).
We demonstrated compression of the cortical hierarchy organization in schizophrenia, with a prominent compression from the sensorimotor region and a less prominent compression from the frontal−parietal region, resulting in a diminished separation between sensory and fronto-parietal cognitive systems. Further analyses suggested reduced differentiation related to atypical functional connectome transition from unimodal to transmodal brain areas. Specifically, we found hypo-connectivity within unimodal regions and hyper-connectivity between unimodal regions and fronto-parietal and ventral attention regions along the classical sensation-to-cognition continuum (voxel-level corrected, p < 0.05).
The compression of cortical hierarchy organization represents a novel and integrative system-level substrate underlying the pathological interaction of early sensory and cognitive function in schizophrenia. This abnormal cortical hierarchy organization suggests cascading impairments from the disruption of the somatosensory−motor system and inefficient integration of bottom-up sensory information with attentional demands and executive control processes partially account for high-level cognitive deficits characteristic of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is considered a polygenic disorder. People with schizophrenia and those with genetic high risk of schizophrenia (GHR) have presented with similar neurodevelopmental deficits in hemispheric asymmetry. The potential associations between neurodevelopmental abnormalities and schizophrenia-related risk genes in both schizophrenia and those with GHR remains unclear.
To investigate the shared and specific alternations to the structural network in people with schizophrenia and those with GHR. And to identify an association between vulnerable structural network alternation and schizophrenia-related risk genes.
A total of 97 participants with schizophrenia, 79 participants with GHR and 192 healthy controls, underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans at a single site. We used graph theory to characterise hemispheric and whole-brain structural network topological metrics. For 26 people in the schizophrenia group and 48 in the GHR group with DTI scans we also calculated their schizophrenia-related polygenic risk scores (SZ-PRSs). The correlations between alterations to the structural network and SZ-PRSs were calculated. Based on the identified genetic–neural association, bioinformatics enrichment was explored.
There were significant hemispheric asymmetric deficits of nodal efficiency, global and local efficiency in the schizophrenia and GHR groups. Hemispheric asymmetric deficit of local efficiency was significantly positively correlated with SZ-PRSs in the schizophrenia and GHR groups. Bioinformatics enrichment analysis showed that these risk genes may be linked to signal transduction, neural development and neuron structure. The schizophrenia group showed a significant decrease in the whole-brain structural network.
The shared asymmetric deficits in people with schizophrenia and those with GHR, and the association between anomalous asymmetry and SZ-PRSs suggested a vulnerability imaging marker regulated by schizophrenia-related risk genes. Our findings provide new insights into asymmetry regulated by risk genes and provides a better understanding of the genetic–neural pathological underpinnings of schizophrenia.
Mesanophrys sp. is a newly identified parasitic ciliate infecting farmed swimming crab. To demonstrate the correlation between parasite development and environmental conditions, this study aimed to investigate the effect of temperature, salinity, pH and frequency of passage of parasite on survival, growth and body size of Mesanophrys sp. in vitro. The results revealed that survival, population density and growth rate of the parasite were highest at 12°C and decreased with increasing temperature from 16 to 26°C. In addition, the survival, population density and growth rate of Mesanophrys sp. were high at 20‰. When salinity was adjusted to levels lower (0–10‰) and higher (40–60‰) than 20‰, the parasite's survival and growth rate gradually declined. The optimal pH for parasite survival was 8.0, whereas its survival was inhibited at <4.5 or >9.5. Our result also showed that parasite body proportions (length:width) were significantly smaller at the highest temperature compared to the lower temperature, whereas different salinities had no significant effect. Furthermore, we introduced dynamic parasite culture systems in vitro where Mesanophrys sp. was cultured in medium-containing culture plates through continually reducing and halving the old medium into fresh. Application of this optimized dilution timing technique with fresh medium and sub-cultured enabled a continuous culture of parasites. Under this optimized condition, the highest population density and exponential growth rate of the parasite were achieved than that of a control group. This study will help to understand the ciliated parasite infection dynamics and provides new possibilities for in vitro parasite-associated studies.
Few studies have assessed the characteristics of spousal psychopathologies among parents of schoolchildren with and without psychological disorders (PD) in China.
Parental symptoms were measured using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) in 275 mothers and 278 fathers of 298 schoolchildren with PDs diagnosed in a population survey and in 825 mothers and 834 fathers of 894 schoolchildren without PDs as a 1:3 matched comparison group. Spousal GHQ scores were compared. Childhood PD type, presence of childhood comorbidities, and multiple parental and family characteristics were examined as predictors for parental GHQ scores by multiple linear regression analyses.
The GHQ scores were significantly higher among mothers and fathers of children with any PD. Maternal GHQ scores were higher than paternal scores and significantly correlated with paternal GHQ scores in both groups. Spousal GHQ, personal PD history, and childhood PD comorbidity were significant independent predictors of both parents’ GHQ scores. There were also significant associations among parental chronic disease, low family income, and paternal and maternal GHQ score, as well as among low maternal education, less common disorder (LCD) prevalence in children and maternal GHQ score. The rate of GHQ score ≥3 for both parents was significantly higher in the study group than the control group (15.1 vs.7.0%).
Parents of children with any PD type demonstrate significantly elevated psychopathologies, and psychopathology tends to occur concomitantly and resemble that of the other spouse. Screening and treatment of parental psychiatric symptoms will benefit all family members.
Battery-casing sealing is the key factor for secure travel of new energy vehicles. We constructed a relatively accurate mechanical-simulation model by selecting a constitutive model, analyzing the influence of thermal elongation, verifying the grid-independence and comparing numerically by the pressure-measurement film on the basis of studying the physical performance of a certain type of sealing material that had been used in battery-casings after aging. Based on a porous-media model and combined with changes of macroscopic and microscopic contact characteristics of materials at different times after aging, the evolution rule of sealing performance with time was analyzed quantitatively by calculating the leakage. By analyzing the structure of circular arc bulge on the surface of sealing material, the radius of circular arc bulge with better sealing performance was obtained, which could reduce the leakage of sealing structure during the material’s lifecycle.
Characterizing the whole genetic architecture of drought tolerance (DT) is a persistent challenge for the breeders. Here we developed a half-sib population comprising of 404 lines of two recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations with M8206 as the joint parent (M8206 × TongShan and ZhengYang × M8206) and tested for its DT under sand culture. The population was sequenced using restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing filtered with minor allele frequency ≥0.01; 55,936 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained and assembled into 6137 SNPLDBs (SNP linkage disequilibrium blocks). The restricted two-stage multi-locus genome-wide association analysis characterized with error and false-positive control identified 40 QTLs with 93 alleles on an average of 34.75% of the phenotypic variance (PV) collectively for relative root length (RRL) and relative shoot length (RSL) that served as potential DT indicators. Among these, eight loci corresponded to previously reported QTLs, whereas 32 loci were therefore novel. The identified QTLs with their corresponding alleles for RRL and RSL were organized into QTL-allele matrices, depicting the comprehensive DT genetic architecture of the three parents/half-sib population. From the matrices, we predicted the possible best/optimal genotype with weighted average value (WAV) 1.553 over two indicators, while for the top 10 single crosses among RILs with 95th percentile WAV was 1.218–1.257, transgressive over the parents (0.693–0.794) yet much less than 1.553. From the detected QTL-allele system, 65 potential candidate genes collectively for both indicators explaining on an average of 24.41% PV were annotated and χ2-tested as a DT candidate gene system involving nine biological processes.
Background:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important nosocomial pathogen associated with intrinsic and acquired resistance mechanisms to major classes of antibiotics. To better understand clinical risk factors for drug-resistant P. aeruginosa infection, decision-tree models for the prediction of fluoroquinolone and carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa were constructed and compared to multivariable logistic regression models using performance characteristics. Methods: In total, 5,636 patients admitted to 4 hospitals within a New York City healthcare system from 2010 to 2016 with blood, respiratory, wound, or urine cultures growing PA were included in the analysis. Presence or absence of drug-resistance was defined using the first culture of any source positive for P. aeruginosa during each hospitalization. To train and validate the prediction models, cases were randomly split (60 of 40) into training and validation datasets. Clinical decision-tree models for both fluoroquinolone and carbapenem resistance were built from the training dataset using 21 clinical variables of interest, and multivariable logistic regression models were built using the 16 clinical variables associated with resistance in bivariate analyses. Decision-tree models were optimized using K-fold cross validation, and performance characteristics between the 4 models were compared. Results: From 2010 through 2016, prevalence of fluoroquinolone and carbapenem resistance was 32% and 18%, respectively. For fluoroquinolone resistance, the logistic regression algorithm attained a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.57 and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 0.73 (sensitivity, 0.27; specificity, 0.90) and the decision-tree algorithm attained a PPV of 0.65 and an NPV of 0.72 (sensitivity 0.21, specificity 0.95). For carbapenem resistance, the logistic regression algorithm attained a PPV of 0.53 and a NPV of 0.85 (sensitivity 0.20, specificity 0.96) and the decision-tree algorithm attained a PPV of 0.59 and an NPV of 0.84 (sensitivity 0.22, specificity 0.96). The decision-tree partitioning algorithm identified prior fluoroquinolone resistance, SNF stay, sex, and length-of-stay as variables of greatest importance for fluoroquinolone resistance compared to prior carbapenem resistance, age, and length-of-stay for carbapenem resistance. The highest-performing decision tree for fluoroquinolone resistance is illustrated in Fig. 1. Conclusions: Supervised machine-learning techniques may facilitate prediction of P. aeruginosa resistance and risk factors driving resistance patterns in hospitalized patients. Such techniques may be applied to readily available clinical information from hospital electronic health records to aid with clinical decision making.
The effects of resistant starch on glycaemic control are controversial. In this study, a systematic review and meta-analysis of results from nineteen randomised controlled trials (RCT) was performed to illustrate the effects of resistant starch on glycaemic control. A literature search was conducted on PubMed, Scopus and Cochrane electronic databases for related publications from inception to 6 April 2020. Key inclusion criteria were: RCT; resistant starch as intervention substances and reporting glucose- and insulin-related endpoints. Exclusion criteria were: using type I resistant starch or a mixture of resistant starch and other functional food ingredients as intervention; using substances other than digestible starch as controls. The effect of resistant starch on fasting plasma glucose was significant (effect size (ES) –0·09 (95 % CI –0·13, −0·04) mmol/l, P = 0·001) compared with digestible starch. Subgroup analyses revealed that the ES was larger when the dosage of resistant starch was more than 28 g/d (ES –0·16 (95 % CI –0·24, –0·08) mmol/l, P < 0·001) or the intervention period was more than 8 weeks (ES –0·12 (95 % CI –0·18, –0·06) mmol/l, P < 0·001). The effect on homoeostatic model assessment (HOMA)-insulin resistance (IR) was significant (ES –0·33 (95 % CI –0·51, –0·14), P = 0·001). However, the effects on other insulin-related endpoints were not significant, including fasting plasma insulin, four endpoints from the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (insulin sensitivity index, acute insulin response, disposition index and glucose effectiveness) and HOMA-β. The current study indicated moderate effects of resistant starch on improving glycaemic control.
Shifts in the maternal gut microbiota have been implicated in the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Understanding the interaction between gut microbiota and host glucose metabolism will provide a new target of prediction and treatment. In this nested case-control study, we aimed to investigate the causal effects of gut microbiota from GDM patients on the glucose metabolism of germ-free (GF) mice. Stool and peripheral blood samples, as well as clinical information, were collected from 45 GDM patients and 45 healthy controls (matched by age and prepregnancy body mass index (BMI)) in the first and second trimester. Gut microbiota profiles were explored by next-generation sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, and inflammatory factors in peripheral blood were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Fecal samples from GDM and non-GDM donors were transferred to GF mice. The gut microbiota of women with GDM showed reduced richness, specifically decreased Bacteroides and Akkermansia, as well as increased Faecalibacterium. The relative abundance of Akkermansia was negatively associated with blood glucose levels, and the relative abundance of Faecalibacterium was positively related to inflammatory factor concentrations. The transfer of fecal microbiota from GDM and non-GDM donors to GF mice resulted in different gut microbiota colonization patterns, and hyperglycemia was induced in mice that received GDM donor microbiota. These results suggested that the shifting pattern of gut microbiota in GDM patients contributed to disease pathogenesis.