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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.
Dietary supplementation with the organic chromium (Cr) has been shown to positively affect the immune function of poultry. However, to our knowledge, no experiment has been done to directly compare the impacts of Cr chloride and chromium picolinate (CrPic) on the immune responses of broilers vaccinated with Avian Influenza (AI) virus vaccine. Therefore, the present experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of supplemental Cr sources (Cr chloride and CrPic) and levels on the growth performance and immune responses of broilers vaccinated with AI virus vaccine so as to provide an effective nutritional strategy for improving immune function of broilers. A total of 432 1-day (d)-old male broiler chicks were used in a 1 plus 2×4 design. Chickens were given either a diet without Cr supplementation (control) or diets supplemented with 0.4, 0.8, 1.6, or 3.2 mg Cr/kg as either Cr chloride or CrPic for 42 d. Compared to the control, dietary Cr supplementation had no effect (P>0.05) on average daily gain, average daily feed intake and gain : feed of broilers during the starter and grower phases, but increased (P<0.05) the relative weights of bursa of fabricius on d 21 and thymus, spleen, or bursa of fabricius on d 42, serum antibody titers against AI virus on d 21, 28, 35 and 42, blood T-lymphocyte transformation rate on d 28 and 42, blood T-lymphocyte percentage on d 42, and serum interleukin-2 contents on d 28. Broilers fed the diets supplemented with the inorganic Cr chloride had higher (P<0.05) weights of thymus, spleen and bursa of fabricius than those fed the diets supplemented with the CrPic on d 42. In addition, broilers fed the diets supplemented with the CrPic had higher (P<0.05) antibody titers against AI virus than those fed the diets supplemented with the inorganic Cr chloride on d 21 and 35. These results indicate that dietary Cr supplementation improved immune responses of broilers vaccinated with AI virus, and the inorganic Cr chloride was more effective than the CrPic in increasing the relative weights of lymphoid organs, however, the CrPic was more effective than the inorganic Cr chloride in enhancing the serum antibody titer against AI virus.
Previous studies in sheep and cattle have demonstrated that the urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) provides an index of the intestinal flow of microbial protein (Chen et al. 1990). Yak is the most important ruminant species in Tibetan Plateau. It was of interest to establish whether the approach of PD excretion to estimate microbial protein supply is applicable in yaks. The objective of this work is to measure the effect of fasting and different levels of feeding on PD excretion in yaks.
The feeding experiments were carried out in Xi-ning, China at an altitude of 3100m and a latitude of 36.8° N. Six 5-year old female yaks were used and 3 experiments were completed.
Suicide-related behaviours are common in schizophrenia and are significantly associated with premature death. The objective of this meta-analysis study was to estimate the pooled prevalence of suicide-related behaviours in schizophrenia patients in China.
The relevant literature was searched systematically via the relevant electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang Databases and Chinese Biological Medical Literature Database) from their inception until 14 September 2016. Only original studies that reported the prevalence of suicide-related behaviours including suicidal ideation (SI), suicide plan, suicide attempt (SA) and completed suicide were selected.
Nineteen articles met the inclusion criteria and were analysed. The pooled lifetime prevalence of SI and SA were 25.8% (95% CI 14.7–41.1%) and 14.6% (95% CI 9.1–22.8%), respectively. The 1-month prevalence of SI was 22.0% (95% CI 18.2–26.4%). Subgroup analyses of lifetime SI and SA showed that gender, sample size, survey year, study location and source of patients have no significant mediating effects on the results.
Suicide-related behaviours are common in Chinese schizophrenia patients. Due to the high mortality risk, regular screening and effective suicide prevention programmes are warranted.
The role of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the pathogenesis of liver disease has recently gained much interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in patients with liver disease from three cities in Shandong and Henan provinces, China. A case–control study was conducted from December 2014 to November 2015 and included 1142 patients with liver disease and 1142 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected from all individuals and were examined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. Information on the demographics, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics of the participants was collected from the medical records and by the use of a questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG was 19·7% in patients with liver disease compared with 12·17% in the controls. Only 13 patients had anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies compared with 12 control individuals (1·14% vs. 1·05%, respectively). The highest seroprevalence was detected in patients with liver cancer (22·13%), followed by hepatitis patients (20·86%), liver cirrhosis patients (20·42%), and steatosis patients (20%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that consumption of raw meat (odds ratio (OR) = 1·32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·01–1·71; P = 0·03) and source of drinking water from wells (OR = 1·56; 95% CI 1·08–2·27; P = 0·01) were independent risk factors for T. gondii infection in liver disease patients. These findings indicate that T. gondii infection is more likely to be present in patients with liver disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed toward health education of populations at high risk of T. gondii infection and measures should be taken to protect vulnerable patients with liver disease.
Introduction: Active substance use and unstable housing are both associated with increased emergency department (ED) utilization. This study examined ED health care costs among a cohort of substance using and/or homeless adults following an index ED visit, relative to a control ED population. Methods: Consecutive patients presenting to an inner-city ED between August 2010 and November 2011 who reported unstable housing and/or who had a chief presenting complaint related to acute or chronic substance use were evaluated. Controls were enrolled in a 1:4 ratio. Participants’ health care utilization was tracked via electronic medical record for six months after the index ED visit. Costing data across all EDs in the region was obtained from Alberta Health Services and calculated to include physician billing and the cost of an ED visit excluding investigations. The cost impact of ED utilization was estimated by multiplying the derived ED cost per visit by the median number of visits with interquartile ranges (IQR) for each group during follow up. Proportions were compared using non-parametric tests. Results: From 4679 patients screened, 209 patients were enrolled (41 controls, 46 substance using, 91 unstably housed, 31 both unstably housed and substance using (UHS)). Median costs (IQR) per group over the six-month period were $0 ($0-$345.42) for control, $345.42 ($0-$1139.89) for substance using, $345.42 ($0-$1381.68) for unstably housed and $1381.68 ($690.84-$4248.67) for unstably housed and substance using patients (p<0.05). Conclusion: The intensity of excess ED costs was greatest in patients who were both unstably housed and presenting with a chief complaint related to substance use. This group had a significantly larger impact on health care expenditure relative to ED users who were not unstably housed or who presented with a substance use related complaint. Further research into how care or connection to community resources in the ED can reduce these costs is warranted.
Much can be learned from terrestrial planets that appear to have had the potential to be habitable, but failed to realize that potential. Mars shows evidence of a once hospitable surface environment. The reasons for its current state, and in particular its thin atmosphere and dry surface, are of great interest for what they can tell us about habitable zone planet outcomes. A main goal of the MAVEN mission is to observe Mars’ atmosphere responses to solar and space weather influences, and in particular atmosphere escape related to space weather ‘storms’ caused by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). Numerical experiments with a data-validated MHD model suggest how the effects of an observed moderately strong ICME compare to what happens during a more extreme event. The results suggest the kinds of solar and space weather conditions that can have evolutionary importance at a planet like Mars.
Currently large sky area spectral surveys like SDSS, 2dF, and LAMOST, using the new generation of telescopes and observatories, have provided massive spectral data sets for astronomical research. Most of the data can be automatically handled with pipelines, but visually inspection by human eyes is still necessary in several situations, like low SNR spectra, QSO recognition and peculiar spectra mining. Using ASERA, A Spectrum Eye Recognition Assistant, we can set up a team spectral inspection platform. On a preselected spectral data set, members of a team can individually view spectra one by one, find the best match template and estimate the redshift. Results from different members will be gathered and merged to raise the team work efficiency. ASERA mainly targets the spectra of SDSS and LAMOST fits data formats. Other formats can be supported with some conversion. Spectral templates from SDSS and LAMOST pipelines are embedded and users can easily add their own templates. Convenient cross identification interfaces with SDSS, SIMBAD, VIZIER, NED and DSS are also provided. An application example targeting finding strong emission line spectra from LAMOST DR2 is presented.
Introduction: Substance use and unstable housing are associated with heavy use of the Emergency Department (ED). This study examined the impact of substance use and unstable housing on the probability of future ED use. Methods: Case-control study of patients presenting to an urban ED. Patients were eligible if they were unstably housed for the past 30 days, and/or if their chief complaint was related to substance use. Following written informed consent, patients completed a baseline survey and health care use was tracked via electronic medical records for the next six months. Controls were enrolled in a 1:4 ratio. More than 2 ED visits during the follow-up was pre-specified as a measure of excess ED use. Descriptive analyses included proportions and medians with interquartile ranges (IQR). Binomial logistic regression models were used to estimate the impact of housing status, high-risk alcohol use (AUDIT) and drug use (DUDIT), and combinations of these factors on subsequent acute care system contacts (ED visits + admissions). We controlled for age, gender, comorbidities at baseline, and baseline presenting acuity. Results: 41 controls, 46 substance using, 91 unstably housed, and 31 both unstably housed and substance using patients were enrolled (n = 209). Median ED visits during follow up were 0 (IQR: 0-1.0) for controls, 1.0 (IQR: 0-3.3) for substance using, 1.0 (IQR: 0-4.0) for unstably housed and 4 (IQR: 2-12.3) for unstably housed and substance using patients. The median acute care system contacts over the same period was 1.0 (IQR 0-2.0) for controls, 1.0 (IQR: 0-4.0) for substance using, 1.0 (IQR: 0-5.0) for unstably housed and 4.5 (IQR: 2.8-14.3) for unstably housed and substance using patients. Being unstably housed was the factor most strongly associated with having > 2 ED visits (b=3.288, p<0.005) followed by high-risk alcohol and drug use (b=2.149, p<0.08); high risk alcohol use alone was not significantly associated with ED visits (b=1.939, p<0.1). The number of comorbidities present at baseline was a small but statistically significant additional risk factor (b=0.478, p<0.05). The model correctly predicted 70.1% of patients’ ED utilization status. Conclusion: Unstable housing is a substantial risk factor for ED use; high-risk alcohol and drug use, and comorbidities at baseline increased this risk. The intensity of excess ED use was greatest in patients who were unstably housed and substance using.
Goals for this study were to characterize the substances being used by youth who presented to an emergency department (ED), their demographic descriptors, and to describe the associated acute morbidity and mortality.
We conducted a retrospective review of all youth, ages 10–16 years, who presented to a pediatric ED with complaints related to recreational drug use (n=641) for 2 years ending on December 31, 2009.
The median age of patients was 15 years; 56% were female. Six percent of patients were homeless, and 21% were wards of the state. The most frequent ingestions included ethanol (74%), marijuana (20%), ecstasy (19%), and medications (15%). Over one third of patients had ingested two or more substances. Ninety percent of patients were brought to the ED by the emergency medical services; 63% of these activations were by non-acquaintances. Of the 47% of youth who presented with a decreased level of consciousness, half had a Glasgow Coma Scale less than 13. The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale score was 1 or 2 for 44% of patients. Sixty-eight percent received IV fluids, 42% received medication, and 4% were intubated. The admission rate was 9%.
Youth who presented to the ED for substance use represented a socially vulnerable population whose use of recreational substances resulted in high medical acuity and significant morbidity. Improved clinical identification of such high-risk youth and subsequent design of interventions to address problematic substance use and social issues are urgently needed to complement the acute medical care that youth receive.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.
Previous studies support Beck's cognitive model of vulnerability to depression. However, the relationship between his cognitive triad and other clinical features and risk factors among those with major depression (MD) has rarely been systematically studied.
The three key cognitive symptoms of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness were assessed during their lifetime worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
Compared to patients who did not endorse the cognitive trio, those who did had a greater number of DSM-IV A criteria, more individual depressive symptoms, an earlier age at onset, a greater number of episodes, and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for melancholia, postnatal depression, dysthymia and anxiety disorders. Hopelessness was highly related to all the suicidal symptomatology, with ORs ranging from 5.92 to 6.51. Neuroticism, stressful life events (SLEs) and a protective parental rearing style were associated with these cognitive symptoms.
During the worst episode of MD in Han Chinese women, the endorsement of the cognitive trio was associated with a worse course of depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, many SLEs and high parental protectiveness were at increased risk for these cognitive depressive symptoms. As in Western populations, symptoms of the cognitive trio appear to play a central role in the psychopathology of MD in Chinese women.
The allelochemicals 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA) and 6-methoxy-benzoxazolin-2-one (MBOA) in wheat are considered to have a role in plant defense against weeds. This study explored the effect of proximity to two weeds, wild oat and flixweed, on DIMBOA/MBOA production in wheat seedlings under hydroponic culture to identify whether the breeding of modern wheat varieties with higher concentrations of these compounds could ensure plant-mediated weed control. MBOA was detected and was noted to exert a significant response; its exudation by some wheat seedlings was significantly increased irrespective of whether the roots were in contact with or separate from those of the weeds. The weeds were a source of biotic stress to wheat when grown in proximity to it, and the stress resulted in production of higher levels of MBOA in wheat seedlings, although the concentration varied with the wheat cultivar. Therefore, the synthesis and exudation of DIMBOA/MBOA in wheat seedlings appears to be an active metabolic process influenced by the environment, particularly the presence of weeds.
The magnetic reconnection (MR) configuration was constructed by using two approaching laser-produced plasma bubbles. The characteristics of the MR current sheet were investigated. The driving energy of the laser pulse affects the type of the current sheet. The experiments present “Y-type” and “X-type” current sheets for larger and smaller driving energy, respectively. The energetic electrons were found to be well-collimated. The formation and ejection of plasmoid from the “Y-type” current sheet was expected to enhance the number of accelerated electrons.
High performance polyimides have been widely investigated as materials with excellent thermal, mechanical, and electronic properties due to their highly rigid structures. Aspen has developed an approach to prepare polyimide aerogels which have applications as low dielectric constant materials, separation membranes, catalyst supports and insulation materials. In this paper, we will discuss the preparation of polyimide-silica hybrid aerogel materials with good mechanical strengths and low thermal conductivities. The polyimide-silica hybrid aerogels were made by a two-step process and the materials were characterized to determine thermal conductivity and compressive strength. Results show that compressive moduli of the polyimide-silica hybrid aerogels increase dramatically with density (power law relationship). Thermal conductivity of the aerogels is dependent on the aging conditions and density, with the lowest value achieved so far being ~12 mW/m-K at ambient conditions. The relationship between aerogel density and surface area, thermal stability, porosity and morphology of the nanostructure of the polyimide-silica hybrid aerogels are also described in this paper.
In this work, the one dimensional (1D) titanate nanotubes (TNT)/nanowires (TNW), bulk titanate micro-particles (TMP), and three dimensional (3D) titanate microsphere particles (TMS) with high specific surface area were synthesized via different approaches. The chemical composition and structure of these products have been characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM) study and Raman scattering spectroscopy. The as-prepared TMS shows excellent adsorption performance compared with TMP, TNW and TNT when methylene blue (MB) and PbII ions are used as representative organic and inorganic pollutants.
The high melting temperature and oxidation resistance of the Mo5SiB2 (T2) phase and multiphase microstructures incorporating the T2 phase in the Mo-Si-B system have motivated further studies for applications in very high temperature environments. Since the long term microstructural stability is determined by diffusional processes, diffusion couples consisting of binary boride and silicide phases have been examined in order to evaluate the kinetics of T2 phase development and the relative diffusivities controlling the kinetics. Long term annealing (500 hrs) of the Mo5Si3/Mo2B diffusion couple yields the phase sequence of Mo5Si3/Mo3Si/T2/Mo2B at 1600°C. This indicates that the T2 phase initiates and grows from the Mo2B side to a thickness of about 32μm and the Mo3Si phase initiates and grows from the Mo5Si3 side to a thickness of about 15μm. Other annealing treatments allow for an analysis of the diffusion kinetics based upon the layer thickening and composition profile measurements. To identify the crystallographic growth direction of T2 on Mo2B, a wedge shaped TEM sample with very thin leading edge was prepared. Microstructure images indicate that the growth mode of the T2 phase is columnar. There is a clear tendency for the growth of T2 to be approximately normal to c-axis.
Refrigeration, air conditioning, and other cooling requirements in buildings, industry, and transportation sectors account for about 10 quads of U.S. primary energy consumption. Therefore, advanced technologies for space cooling in buildings and vehicles – as well as for refrigeration in residential, commercial, and industrial applications – that are more energy efficient, avoid net direct greenhouse gas emissions, reduce lifecycle costs, and can impact large markets are needed. Although current technologies are reaching their efficiency limits, thermoelectric (TE) materials can be used for cooling applications and have potential for significant improvements. Compared to traditional bulk phase TE materials, literature results suggest that nanometer-scale materials allow additional opportunities to improve the efficiency of TE materials. Aerogels are one type of nano-material that offers opportunities to increase the efficiency of TE materials by controlling particle size, particle composition and by reducing the thermal conductivity. Bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) is the most studied TE material and our objective was to produce bismuth telluride aerogels with controlled microstructures and thermal conductivities to increase the TE figure of merit. Aspen Aerogels developed a novel synthesis method to prepare Bi2Te3 aerogels using the principles of colloidal chemistry and sol-gel chemistry. The reaction conditions were investigated and optimized so that gels could be obtained at low reaction temperatures. The gels were aged and dried using supercritical CO2. The aerogels were characterized by BET, XRD, and SEM. The best aerogels were hot pressed and Seebeck coefficients were determined. The synthetic approach developed and the properties of the aerogels will be presented and compared with Bi2Te3 aerogels and materials prepared by other methods.
Nanoporous MgAl2O4 particulates with high porosities were successfully prepared from sol-gel reactions, solvent exchange with castor oil and subsequent combustion and calcination at 700 °C. The products were crystalline and semitransparent. Changes in the metal precursor concentrations allowed control of pore volumes from 0.7 to 1.1 cm3/g and average pore sizes from 14 to 19 nm. The specific surface areas are about 200 m2/g regardless of the precursor concentrations. After heating at 1000 °C for 10 hours, the products kept about 70% of their original pore volume and about 60% of the original surface area. Heating at 1100 °C caused a drastic reduction of pore volume and surface area to 40 and 36%, respectively, as the average particle size increased to 23 nm.