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Biochar has received attention due to its potential for mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration in soil and improving soil quality and crop productivity. This study evaluated the effects of rice straw biochar (RSB) and rice husk ash (RHA) each applied at 5 Mg ha−1 and four N levels (0, 40, 80, and 120 kg ha−1) on soil fertility, growth, and yield of rice and wheat for three consecutive rice–wheat rotations. RSB significantly increased electrical conductivity, dehydrogenase activity, and P and K contents when compared to control (no amendment) up to 7.5 cm soil depth. Both RSB and RHA did not influence shoot N concentration in wheat plant but significantly increased P and K concentrations at 60 days after sowing. Grain yields of both rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB as compared to control (no amendment) and RHA treatments. While the highest grain yields of rice and wheat were observed at 120 kg N ha−1 in RHA and no biochar-treated plots, a significant increase in grain yields was observed at 80 kg N ha−1 in RSB treatment, thereby saving 40 kg N ha−1 in each crop. Both agronomic and recovery N efficiencies in rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB-amended soil compared to control. Significant positive correlations were observed between soil N, P, and K concentrations and total N, P, and K concentrations in aboveground biomass of wheat at 60 days after sowing. This study showed the potential benefits of applying RSB for improving soil fertility and yields of rice and wheat in a rice–wheat system.
Depression frequently co-occurs with disorders of glucose and insulin homeostasis (DGIH) and obesity. Low-grade systemic inflammation and lifestyle factors in childhood may predispose to DGIH, obesity and depression. We aim to investigate the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations among DGIH, obesity and depression, and to examine the effect of demographics, lifestyle factors and antecedent low-grade inflammation on such associations in young people.
Using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort, we used regression analyses to examine: (1) cross-sectional and (2) longitudinal associations between measures of DGIH [insulin resistance (IR); impaired glucose tolerance] and body mass index (BMI) at ages 9 and 18 years, and depression (depressive symptoms and depressive episode) at age 18 years and (3) whether sociodemographics, lifestyle factors or inflammation [interleukin-6 (IL-6) at age 9 years] confounded any such associations.
We included 3208 participants. At age 18 years, IR and BMI were positively associated with depression. These associations may be explained by sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. There were no longitudinal associations between DGIH/BMI and depression, and adjustment for IL-6 and C-reactive protein did not attenuate associations between IR/BMI and depression; however, the longitudinal analyses may have been underpowered.
Young people with depression show evidence of DGIH and raised BMI, which may be related to sociodemographic and lifestyle effects such as deprivation, smoking, ethnicity and gender. In future, studies with larger samples are required to confirm this. Preventative strategies for the poorer physical health outcomes associated with depression should focus on malleable lifestyle factors.
Plasmodium knowlesi has risen in importance as a zoonotic parasite that has been causing regular episodes of malaria throughout South East Asia. The P. knowlesi genome sequence generated in 2008 highlighted and confirmed many similarities and differences in Plasmodium species, including a global view of several multigene families, such as the large SICAvar multigene family encoding the variant antigens known as the schizont-infected cell agglutination proteins. However, repetitive DNA sequences are the bane of any genome project, and this and other Plasmodium genome projects have not been immune to the gaps, rearrangements and other pitfalls created by these genomic features. Today, long-read PacBio and chromatin conformation technologies are overcoming such obstacles. Here, based on the use of these technologies, we present a highly refined de novo P. knowlesi genome sequence of the Pk1(A+) clone. This sequence and annotation, referred to as the ‘MaHPIC Pk genome sequence’, includes manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family with 136 full-length members categorized as type I or II. This sequence provides a framework that will permit a better understanding of the SICAvar repertoire, selective pressures acting on this gene family and mechanisms of antigenic variation in this species and other pathogens.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Mental health is fundamental to an individual’s health and well-being. Mental health disorders affect a substantial portion of the Australian population, with the most vulnerable time in adolescence and young adulthood. Indigenous Australians fare worse than other Australians on almost every measure of physical and mental health. Cross-sectional data from young adults (21–27 years) participating in the Life Course Program, Northern Territory, Australia, is presented. Rates of psychological distress were high in remote and urban residing Indigenous and urban non-Indigenous young adults. This rate was more pronounced in young women, particularly in Indigenous remote and urban residing women. Young adults with high psychological distress also had lower levels of positive well-being, higher perceived stress levels, experienced a higher number of major life events and were at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and/or self-harm. This study supports the need for a continued focus on early screening and treatment at this vulnerable age. The significant association seen between psychological distress and other markers of emotional well-being, particularly risk of suicidal ideation and/or self-harm, highlights the need for a holistic approach to mental health assessment and treatment. A concerted focus on improving the environs of young adults by lowering levels of stress, improving access to adequate housing, educational and employment opportunity, will assist in improving the emotional health of young adults.
Adverse psychosocial working environments characterized by job strain (the combination of high demands and low control at work) are associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms among employees, but evidence on clinically diagnosed depression is scarce. We examined job strain as a risk factor for clinical depression.
We identified published cohort studies from a systematic literature search in PubMed and PsycNET and obtained 14 cohort studies with unpublished individual-level data from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium. Summary estimates of the association were obtained using random-effects models. Individual-level data analyses were based on a pre-published study protocol.
We included six published studies with a total of 27 461 individuals and 914 incident cases of clinical depression. From unpublished datasets we included 120 221 individuals and 982 first episodes of hospital-treated clinical depression. Job strain was associated with an increased risk of clinical depression in both published [relative risk (RR) = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47–2.13] and unpublished datasets (RR = 1.27, 95% CI 1.04–1.55). Further individual participant analyses showed a similar association across sociodemographic subgroups and after excluding individuals with baseline somatic disease. The association was unchanged when excluding individuals with baseline depressive symptoms (RR = 1.25, 95% CI 0.94–1.65), but attenuated on adjustment for a continuous depressive symptoms score (RR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.81–1.32).
Job strain may precipitate clinical depression among employees. Future intervention studies should test whether job strain is a modifiable risk factor for depression.
This study aimed to evaluate the surgical success of a modified inlay tympanoplasty technique, known as circumferential subannular tympanoplasty, for anterior and subtotal perforations.
This prospective study was performed in a tertiary care teaching hospital between October 2013 and April 2016. A total of 58 adult patients of both sexes with anterior or subtotal perforations underwent circumferential subannular tympanoplasty under local anaesthesia. In this technique, after tympanomeatal flap elevation, the temporalis fascia graft is placed directly onto the annulus instead of being tucked underneath the tympanic membrane remnant. Outcome data were graft uptake and hearing improvement.
This technique had a surgical success rate of 97 per cent and led to significant hearing improvement.
Circumferential subannular tympanoplasty has a definitive role in managing anterior and subtotal perforations.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is an emerging zoonotic disease in India which is prevalent in neighbouring countries. CCHF virus (CCHFV) is a widespread tick-borne virus which is endemic in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In the present study, samples of clinically suspected human cases from different areas of northern-western India were tested for the presence of CCHFV by RT–PCR through amplification of nucleocapsid (N) gene of CCHFV. Positive samples were sequenced to reveal the prevailing CCHFV genotype(s) and phylogenetic relatedness. A phylogenetic tree revealed the emergence of diverse strains in the study region showing maximum identity with the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran strains, which was different from earlier reported Indian strains. Our findings reveal for the first time the emergence of the Asia 1 group in India; while earlier reported CCHFV strains belong to the Asia 2 group.
To evaluate the success rate of dry and wet temporalis fascia grafts in type I underlay tympanoplasty.
A prospective, randomised study was conducted. One hundred adult patients (males and females) with chronic suppurative otitis media (mucosal type) were divided into 2 groups of 50 each: one group underwent dry graft tympanoplasty and the other underwent wet graft tympanoplasty. Fibroblast count was calculated in dry and wet grafts.
The dry graft and wet graft groups had overall surgical success rates of 82 and 90 per cent, respectively; this finding was not statistically significant. A statistically significant high fibroblast count was observed in wet grafts, but it did not correlate with surgical success.
A dry or wet temporalis fascia graft does not influence the outcome of tympanoplasty type I.
We describe a study of the E–W-trending South Wagad Fault (SWF) complex at the eastern part of the Kachchh Rift Basin (KRB) in Western India. This basin was filled during Late Cretaceous time, and is presently undergoing tectonic inversion. During the late stage of the inversion cycle, all the principal rift faults were reactivated as transpressional strike-slip faults. The SWF complex shows wrench geometry of an anastomosing en échelon fault, where contractional and extensional segments and offsets alternate along the Principal Deformation Zone (PDZ). Geometric analysis of different segments of the SWF shows that several conjugate faults, which are a combination of R synthetic and R’ antithetic, propagate at a short distance along the PDZ and interact, generating significant fault slip partitioning. Surface morphology of the fault zone revealed three deformation zones: a 500 m to 1 km wide single fault zone; a 5–6 km wide double fault zone; and a c. 500 m wide diffuse fault zone. The single fault zone is represented by a higher stress accumulation which is located close to the epicentre of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake of Mw 7.7. The double fault zone represents moderate stress at releasing bends bounded by two fault branches. The diffuse fault zone represents a low-stress zone where several fault branches join together. Our findings are well corroborated with the available geological and seismological data.
To evaluate and analyse the success rate of tympanoplasty type I in paediatric patients aged 5 to 8 years compared to a control group (patients aged over 14 years).
In this prospective study, 60 patients (of either sex) with chronic suppurative otitis media inactive mucosal disease were divided into 2 groups (30 in each): group A comprised paediatric patients aged 5–8 years and group B consisted of older individuals aged over 14 years. All patients underwent tympanoplasty type I with an underlay technique using a temporalis fascia graft.
Impressive surgical success rates of 87 and 90 per cent were recorded in groups A and B, respectively. Furthermore, audiological success rates of 69 and 78 per cent were achieved in groups A and B respectively. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that eustachian tube function had no impact on the outcome of tympanoplasty.
Tympanoplasty type I performed in children aged five to eight years gives comparable results to those of older individuals.
The evidence underpinning the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is overwhelming. As the emphasis shifts more towards interventions and the translational strategies for disease prevention, it is important to capitalize on collaboration and knowledge sharing to maximize opportunities for discovery and replication. DOHaD meetings are facilitating this interaction. However, strategies to perpetuate focussed discussions and collaborations around and between conferences are more likely to facilitate the development of DOHaD research. For this reason, the DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) has initiated themed Working Groups, which convened at the 2014–2015 conferences. This report introduces the DOHaD ANZ Working Groups and summarizes their plans and activities. One of the first Working Groups to form was the ActEarly birth cohort group, which is moving towards more translational goals. Reflecting growing emphasis on the impact of early life biodiversity – even before birth – we also have a Working Group titled Infection, inflammation and the microbiome. We have several Working Groups exploring other major non-cancerous disease outcomes over the lifespan, including Brain, behaviour and development and Obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic health. The Epigenetics and Animal Models Working Groups cut across all these areas and seeks to ensure interaction between researchers. Finally, we have a group focussed on ‘Translation, policy and communication’ which focusses on how we can best take the evidence we produce into the community to effect change. By coordinating and perpetuating DOHaD discussions in this way we aim to enhance DOHaD research in our region.
The generation of nonlinear electrostatic solitary waves (ESWs) is explored in a magnetized four component two-temperature electron–positron plasma. Fluid theory is used to derive a set of nonlinear equations for the ESWs, which propagate obliquely to an external magnetic field. The electric field structures are examined for various plasma parameters and are shown to yield sinusoidal, sawtooth and bipolar waveforms. It is found that an increase in the densities of the electrons and positrons strengthen the nonlinearity while the periodicity and nonlinearity of the wave increases as the cool-to-hot temperature ratio increases. Our results could be useful in understanding nonlinear propagation of waves in astrophysical environments and related laboratory experiments.
Aspiration pneumonia is an important cause of death in head and neck cancer patients. This study therefore aimed to evaluate the risk factors associated with aspiration pneumonia in head and neck cancer patients.
Hospital death records from 12 years (2000–2012) were reviewed to obtain the number of deaths. Treatment details and cause of death were analysed. Statistical analysis was performed to identify the risk factors for aspiration pneumonia.
The records revealed that aspiration pneumonia was the cause of death in 51 out of 85 patients. Primary tumour site (oropharynx and hypopharynx, odds ratio 3.3; 95 per cent confidence interval 1.17–9.4, p = 0.02) and advanced tumour stage (odds ratio 4.2, 95 per cent confidence interval 1.16–15.61, p = 0.02) had significant negative impacts on aspiration pneumonia related mortality.
Advanced pharyngeal cancer patients are at an increased risk of aspiration pneumonia related death. Investigations for the early detection of this condition are recommended in these high-risk patients.
In the present study, Fe as a catalyst was used to grow single crystalline monoclinic gallium oxide (β-Ga2O3) nanowires using chemical-vapor-deposition method. The morphology, structure and luminescence properties of the as-grown β-Ga2O3 nanowires were investigated using various characterization techniques. The diameter of the as-grown nanowires was in the range of 50 to 100 nm, and the lengths up to tens of micrometers. The structural investigation of the nanowires was carried out using X-ray diffraction that showed monoclinic phase of Ga2O3. Further, the transmission electron microscope (TEM) investigations along with selected area diffraction pattern revealing single crystalline nature of the nanowires. The as-grown β-Ga2O3 nanowires had preferred orientation along [1-1-1] direction. The high resolution TEM image showed regular arrangement of atoms and the lattice spacing between (1-1-1) planes was around 0.266 nm. The luminescence properties of the as-grown nanowires were measured using cathodoluminescence (CL) spectroscopy. The CL measurements of β-Ga2O3 nanowires revealed a strong broad UV-blue emission band and a weak red emission band.
We present a detailed depth-sensitive study of the evolution in correlated electron behavior from the surface of the prototypical correlated oxide, SrxCa1-xVO3, to its bulk. Photoemission measurements of varying surface sensitivity are employed to directly compare both the spectral weight and energetics of the correlated electron features, and resonant soft x-ray emission spectroscopy is used as a bulk-sensitive reference. The surface component, which still contributes significantly to photoemission at 2.2 keV, is characterized by a transfer of spectral weight into the incoherent lower Hubbard band and the corresponding shift of these states towards lower binding energy.
Elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) have been associated with the development of common mental disorders, such as depression, but its role in symptom resolution is unclear.
We examined the association between IL-6 and symptom resolution in a non-clinical sample of participants with psychological distress.
Relative to high IL-6 levels, low levels at baseline were associated with symptom resolution at follow-up [age- and sex-adjusted risk ratio (RR) = 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.25]. Further adjustment for covariates had little effect on the association. Symptomatic participants with repeated low IL-6 were more likely to be symptom-free at follow-up compared with those with repeated high IL-6 (RR = 1.21, 95% CI 1.03–1.41). Among the symptomatic participants with elevated IL-6 at baseline, IL-6 decreased along with symptom resolution.
IL-6 is potentially related to the mechanisms underlying recovery from symptoms of mental ill health. Further studies are needed to examine these mechanisms and to confirm the findings in relation to clinical depression.