To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Optimisation of aircraft ground operations to reduce airport emissions can reduce resultant local air quality impacts. Single engine taxiing (SET), where only half of the installed number of engines are used for the majority of the taxi duration, offers the opportunity to reduce fuel consumption, and emissions of NOX, CO and HC. Using 3510 flight data records, this paper develops a model for SET operations and presents a case study of London Heathrow, where we show that SET is regularly implemented during taxi-in. The model predicts fuel consumption and pollutant emissions with greater accuracy than previous studies that used simplistic assumptions. Without SET during taxi-in, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions would increase by up to 50%. Reducing the time before SET is initiated to the 25th percentile of recorded values would reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions by 7–14%, respectively, relative to current operations. Future research should investigate the practicalities of reducing the time before SET initialisation so that additional benefits of reduced fuel loadings, which would decrease fuel consumption across the whole flight, can be achieved.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
A substantial proportion of persons with mental disorders seek treatment from complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professionals. However, data on how CAM contacts vary across countries, mental disorders and their severity, and health care settings is largely lacking. The aim was therefore to investigate the prevalence of contacts with CAM providers in a large cross-national sample of persons with 12-month mental disorders.
In the World Mental Health Surveys, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview was administered to determine the presence of past 12 month mental disorders in 138 801 participants aged 18–100 derived from representative general population samples. Participants were recruited between 2001 and 2012. Rates of self-reported CAM contacts for each of the 28 surveys across 25 countries and 12 mental disorder groups were calculated for all persons with past 12-month mental disorders. Mental disorders were grouped into mood disorders, anxiety disorders or behavioural disorders, and further divided by severity levels. Satisfaction with conventional care was also compared with CAM contact satisfaction.
An estimated 3.6% (standard error 0.2%) of persons with a past 12-month mental disorder reported a CAM contact, which was two times higher in high-income countries (4.6%; standard error 0.3%) than in low- and middle-income countries (2.3%; standard error 0.2%). CAM contacts were largely comparable for different disorder types, but particularly high in persons receiving conventional care (8.6–17.8%). CAM contacts increased with increasing mental disorder severity. Among persons receiving specialist mental health care, CAM contacts were reported by 14.0% for severe mood disorders, 16.2% for severe anxiety disorders and 22.5% for severe behavioural disorders. Satisfaction with care was comparable with respect to CAM contacts (78.3%) and conventional care (75.6%) in persons that received both.
CAM contacts are common in persons with severe mental disorders, in high-income countries, and in persons receiving conventional care. Our findings support the notion of CAM as largely complementary but are in contrast to suggestions that this concerns person with only mild, transient complaints. There was no indication that persons were less satisfied by CAM visits than by receiving conventional care. We encourage health care professionals in conventional settings to openly discuss the care patients are receiving, whether conventional or not, and their reasons for doing so.
Compared with conventional identification methods, DNA-based genetic approaches such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and satellites are much more reliable for pig identification and meat traceability. In this study, multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs, incorporating the advantages of both SNPs and microsatellites, were explored for the first time for pig identification and meat traceability. Primer pairs for multiallelic fragments and their optimal SNPs were successfully selected and used for identification of individuals from Suzhong and Duroc populations. Meanwhile, the combined panel of the above mentioned primer pairs together with their optimal SNPs for Suzhong and/or Duroc pigs were validated for identification of the hybrids (Suzhong×Duroc). Therefore, we have successfully selected multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs to identify pigs and their meat samples from Suzhong, Duroc or their hybrids. Our study demonstrates that our method is more powerful for pig identification or meat traceability than SNPs or microsatellites.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The treatment gap between the number of people with mental disorders and the number treated represents a major public health challenge. We examine this gap by socio-economic status (SES; indicated by family income and respondent education) and service sector in a cross-national analysis of community epidemiological survey data.
Data come from 16 753 respondents with 12-month DSM-IV disorders from community surveys in 25 countries in the WHO World Mental Health Survey Initiative. DSM-IV anxiety, mood, or substance disorders and treatment of these disorders were assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Only 13.7% of 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI cases in lower-middle-income countries, 22.0% in upper-middle-income countries, and 36.8% in high-income countries received treatment. Highest-SES respondents were somewhat more likely to receive treatment, but this was true mostly for specialty mental health treatment, where the association was positive with education (highest treatment among respondents with the highest education and a weak association of education with treatment among other respondents) but non-monotonic with income (somewhat lower treatment rates among middle-income respondents and equivalent among those with high and low incomes).
The modest, but nonetheless stronger, an association of education than income with treatment raises questions about a financial barriers interpretation of the inverse association of SES with treatment, although future within-country analyses that consider contextual factors might document other important specifications. While beyond the scope of this report, such an expanded analysis could have important implications for designing interventions aimed at increasing mental disorder treatment among socio-economically disadvantaged people.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
Although specific phobia is highly prevalent, associated with impairment, and an important risk factor for the development of other mental disorders, cross-national epidemiological data are scarce, especially from low- and middle-income countries. This paper presents epidemiological data from 22 low-, lower-middle-, upper-middle- and high-income countries.
Data came from 25 representative population-based surveys conducted in 22 countries (2001–2011) as part of the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys initiative (n = 124 902). The presence of specific phobia as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition was evaluated using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
The cross-national lifetime and 12-month prevalence rates of specific phobia were, respectively, 7.4% and 5.5%, being higher in females (9.8 and 7.7%) than in males (4.9% and 3.3%) and higher in high- and higher-middle-income countries than in low-/lower-middle-income countries. The median age of onset was young (8 years). Of the 12-month patients, 18.7% reported severe role impairment (13.3–21.9% across income groups) and 23.1% reported any treatment (9.6–30.1% across income groups). Lifetime co-morbidity was observed in 60.5% of those with lifetime specific phobia, with the onset of specific phobia preceding the other disorder in most cases (72.6%). Interestingly, rates of impairment, treatment use and co-morbidity increased with the number of fear subtypes.
Specific phobia is common and associated with impairment in a considerable percentage of cases. Importantly, specific phobia often precedes the onset of other mental disorders, making it a possible early-life indicator of psychopathology vulnerability.
Dengue fever (DF) is the most prevalent and rapidly spreading mosquito-borne disease globally. Control of DF is limited by barriers to vector control and integrated management approaches. This study aimed to explore the potential risk factors for autochthonous DF transmission and to estimate the threshold effects of high-order interactions among risk factors. A time-series regression tree model was applied to estimate the hierarchical relationship between reported autochthonous DF cases and the potential risk factors including the timeliness of DF surveillance systems (median time interval between symptom onset date and diagnosis date, MTIOD), mosquito density, imported cases and meteorological factors in Zhongshan, China from 2001 to 2013. We found that MTIOD was the most influential factor in autochthonous DF transmission. Monthly autochthonous DF incidence rate increased by 36·02-fold [relative risk (RR) 36·02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 25·26–46·78, compared to the average DF incidence rate during the study period] when the 2-month lagged moving average of MTIOD was >4·15 days and the 3-month lagged moving average of the mean Breteau Index (BI) was ⩾16·57. If the 2-month lagged moving average MTIOD was between 1·11 and 4·15 days and the monthly maximum diurnal temperature range at a lag of 1 month was <9·6 °C, the monthly mean autochthonous DF incidence rate increased by 14·67-fold (RR 14·67, 95% CI 8·84–20·51, compared to the average DF incidence rate during the study period). This study demonstrates that the timeliness of DF surveillance systems, mosquito density and diurnal temperature range play critical roles in the autochthonous DF transmission in Zhongshan. Better assessment and prediction of the risk of DF transmission is beneficial for establishing scientific strategies for DF early warning surveillance and control.
The numerical stability of the explicit precise algorithm, which was developed for the viscoplastic materials, was analyzed. It was found that this algorithm is not absolutely stable. A necessary but not sufficient condition for the numerical stability was deduced. It showed that the time step in numerical calculation should be less than a certain value to guarantee the stability of explicit precise algorithm. Through a series of numerical examples, the stability analysis on the explicit precise algorithm was proved to be reliable. At last, an iterative algorithm was presented for viscoplastic materials. Both of the theoretical and numerical results showed that the iterative algorithm is unconditionally stable and its convergence rate is rapid. In practice, the explicit precise algorithm and iterative algorithm can be combined to obtain reliable results with the minimum computing costs.
The current Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa is unprecedented in scale, and Sierra Leone is the most severely affected country. The case fatality risk (CFR) and hospitalization fatality risk (HFR) were used to characterize the severity of infections in confirmed and probable EVD cases in Sierra Leone. Proportional hazards regression models were used to investigate factors associated with the risk of death in EVD cases. In total, there were 17 318 EVD cases reported in Sierra Leone from 23 May 2014 to 31 January 2015. Of the probable and confirmed EVD cases with a reported final outcome, a total of 2536 deaths and 886 recoveries were reported. CFR and HFR estimates were 74·2% [95% credibility interval (CrI) 72·6–75·5] and 68·9% (95% CrI 66·2–71·6), respectively. Risks of death were higher in the youngest (0–4 years) and oldest (⩾60 years) age groups, and in the calendar month of October 2014. Sex and occupational status did not significantly affect the mortality of EVD. The CFR and HFR estimates of EVD were very high in Sierra Leone.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease that was caused by a novel bunyavirus, SFTSV. The study aimed to disclose the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of SFTSV infection in China so far. An integrated clinical database comprising 1920 SFTS patients was constructed by combining first-hand clinical information collected from SFTS sentinel hospitals (n = 1159) and extracted data (n = 761) from published literature. The considered variables comprised clinical manifestations, routine laboratory tests of acute infection, hospitalization duration and disease outcome. SFTSV-IgG data from 19 119 healthy subjects were extracted from the published papers. The key clinical variables, case-fatality rate (CFR) and seroprevalence were estimated by meta-analysis. The most commonly seen clinical manifestations of SFTSV infection were fever, anorexia, myalgia, chill and lymphadenopathy. The major laboratory findings were elevated lactate dehydrogenase, aminotransferase, followed by thrombocytopenia, lymphocytopenia, elevated alanine transaminase and creatine kinase. A CFR of 12·2% was estimated, significantly higher than that obtained from national reporting data, but showing no geographical difference. In our paper, the mortality rate was about 1·9 parts per million. Older age and longer delay to hospitalization were significantly associated with fatal outcome. A pooled seroprevalence of 3·0% was obtained, which increased with age, while comparable for gender. This study represents a clinical characterization on the largest group of SFTS patients up to now. A higher than expected CFR was obtained. A wider spectrum of clinical index was suggested to be used to identify SFTSV infection, while the useful predictor for fatal outcome was found to be restricted.
While oral antidepressants reach efficacy after weeks, single-dose intravenous (i.v.) ketamine has rapid, yet time-limited antidepressant effects. We aimed to determine the efficacy and safety of single-dose i.v. ketamine augmentation of escitalopram in major depressive disorder (MDD).
Thirty outpatients with severe MDD (17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score ⩾24) were randomized to 4 weeks double-blind treatment with escitalopram 10 mg/day+single-dose i.v. ketamine (0.5 mg/kg over 40 min) or escitalopram 10 mg/day + placebo (0.9% i.v. saline). Depressive symptoms were measured using the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology – Self-Report (QIDS-SR). Suicidal ideation was evaluated with the QIDS-SR item 12. Adverse psychopathological effects were measured with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)-positive symptoms, Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) and Clinician Administered Dissociative States Scale (CADSS). Patients were assessed at baseline, 1, 2, 4, 24 and 72 h and 7, 14, 21 and 28 days. Time to response (⩾50% MADRS score reduction) was the primary outcome.
By 4 weeks, more escitalopram + ketamine-treated than escitalopram + placebo-treated patients responded (92.3% v. 57.1%, p = 0.04) and remitted (76.9% v. 14.3%, p = 0.001), with significantly shorter time to response [hazard ratio (HR) 0.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.01–0.22, p < 0.001] and remission (HR 0.11, 95% CI 0.02–0.63, p = 0.01). Compared to escitalopram + placebo, escitalopram + ketamine was associated with significantly lower MADRS scores from 2 h to 2 weeks [(peak = 3 days–2 weeks; effect size (ES) = 1.08–1.18)], QIDS-SR scores from 2 h to 2 weeks (maximum ES = 1.27), and QIDS-SR suicidality from 2 to 72 h (maximum ES = 2.24). Only YMRS scores increased significantly with ketamine augmentation (1 and 2 h), without significant BPRS or CADSS elevation.
Single-dose i.v. ketamine augmentation of escitalopram was safe and effective in severe MDD, holding promise for speeding up early oral antidepressant efficacy.
A new procedure for simulating the active lateral force (Pa) is proposed for clays with anisotropic spatially variable undrained shear strength (su). With the proposed procedure, the Pa samples can be simulated without the use of the random field finite element method (RFEM). It requires only simple algebraic calculations and chart checking. Two retaining wall examples with isotropic or anisotropic random field are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed procedure.
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is one of the most important cereal crops in the world and a potentially important source of zinc (Zn) in the diet. The improvement of Zn content of rice is a global challenge with implications for both rice production and human health. The objective of the present study was to identify the effects of nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates and Zn application methods on Zn content of rice by evaluating rice production on native soils with different Zn availabilities in 2010/11. The results indicated that Zn application increased rice grain yield and Zn content in grains compared with the control; however, this effect was also affected by the native soil Zn availability, N fertilizer rate and Zn fertilizer application method. The native soil Zn status was the dominant factor influencing grain yield and grain Zn content in response to Zn fertilizer application. Grain Zn content ranged from 19·74 to 26·93 mg/kg under the different Zn statuses. The results also indicated that Zn application method has a significant influence on grain yield. Application of Zn fertilizer to the soil was more effective than the foliar spray on rice grain yield; however, the foliar spray resulted in a greater increase in grain Zn content when compared with soil application. Grain Zn content was affected by application method and displayed the following general trend: soil application + foliar spray > foliar spray > soil application. The experiments investigating the effect of N fertilizer rate combined with Zn application method showed a clear increase in both grain yield and Zn content as the N fertilizer level increased from 200 to 300 kg/ha. In addition, the results also indicated that N content and accumulation increased in all plant tissues, which suggests that Zn application might influence the uptake and translocation of N in rice plants. These results suggest that soil application in addition to a foliar spray of Zn should be considered as an important strategy to increase grain yield and grain Zn content of rice grown in soils with low background levels of Zn-associated diethylene triamine pentaacetate acid. Moreover, this process could be further strengthened by a high N application rate. In conclusion, these results demonstrate the potential of optimizing nutrient management using Zn fertilizer to obtain higher grain yields and higher grain Zn content in fields with low native Zn status.
This study characterized Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C strains in China in order to establish their genetic relatedness and describe the use of multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) to provide useful epidemiological information. A total of 215 N. meningitidis serogroup C strains, obtained from 2003 to 2012 in China, were characterized by MLVA with different published schemes as well as multilocus sequence typing. (i) Based on the MLVA scheme with a combination of five highly variable loci, 203 genotypes were identified; this level of discrimination supports its use for resolving closely related isolates. (ii) Based on a combination of ten low variable loci, clear phylogenetic relationships were established within sequence type complexes. In addition, there was evidence of microevolution of VNTR loci over the decade as strain lineages spread from Anhui to other provinces, the more distant the provinces from Anhui, the higher the genetic variation.
To examine cross-national patterns and correlates of lifetime and 12-month comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorders among people with lifetime and 12-month DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD).
Nationally or regionally representative epidemiological interviews were administered to 74 045 adults in 27 surveys across 24 countries in the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys. DSM-IV MDD, a wide range of comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorders, and a number of correlates were assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
45.7% of respondents with lifetime MDD (32.0–46.5% inter-quartile range (IQR) across surveys) had one of more lifetime anxiety disorders. A slightly higher proportion of respondents with 12-month MDD had lifetime anxiety disorders (51.7%, 37.8–54.0% IQR) and only slightly lower proportions of respondents with 12-month MDD had 12-month anxiety disorders (41.6%, 29.9–47.2% IQR). Two-thirds (68%) of respondents with lifetime comorbid anxiety disorders and MDD reported an earlier age-of-onset (AOO) of their first anxiety disorder than their MDD, while 13.5% reported an earlier AOO of MDD and the remaining 18.5% reported the same AOO of both disorders. Women and previously married people had consistently elevated rates of lifetime and 12-month MDD as well as comorbid anxiety disorders. Consistently higher proportions of respondents with 12-month anxious than non-anxious MDD reported severe role impairment (64.4 v. 46.0%; χ21 = 187.0, p < 0.001) and suicide ideation (19.5 v. 8.9%; χ21 = 71.6, p < 0.001). Significantly more respondents with 12-month anxious than non-anxious MDD received treatment for their depression in the 12 months before interview, but this difference was more pronounced in high-income countries (68.8 v. 45.4%; χ21 = 108.8, p < 0.001) than low/middle-income countries (30.3 v. 20.6%; χ21 = 11.7, p < 0.001).
Patterns and correlates of comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorders among people with DSM-IV MDD are similar across WMH countries. The narrow IQR of the proportion of respondents with temporally prior AOO of anxiety disorders than comorbid MDD (69.6–74.7%) is especially noteworthy. However, the fact that these proportions are not higher among respondents with 12-month than lifetime comorbidity means that temporal priority between lifetime anxiety disorders and MDD is not related to MDD persistence among people with anxious MDD. This, in turn, raises complex questions about the relative importance of temporally primary anxiety disorders as risk markers v. causal risk factors for subsequent MDD onset and persistence, including the possibility that anxiety disorders might primarily be risk markers for MDD onset and causal risk factors for MDD persistence.
We fabricated ferroelectric (Pb,La)(Zr,Ti)O3 (PLZT) capacitors with Sn:In2O3 (ITO) top electrodes using chemical solution deposition. Then, the effects of a thin conductive ITO buffer layer between the Pt bottom electrode and PLZT thin film were investigated in combination with top electrode (ITO/PLZT/ITO/Pt). The H2 degradation resistance of ITO/PLZT/ITO/Pt capacitors with a 3- and 28-nm-thick buffer layer was improved to 78 and 85%, respectively, from 60% without a buffer layer. The time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry profiles indicated the intensity of H ion increased after 45 min forming gas (3% H2/balance N2) annealing.
Integrated ferroelectric capacitors Pt/PZT/Pt/Ti/SiO2/Si with sol-gel deposited PZT films are studied. The (111) textured polycrystalline films are shown to have nonconductive PZT grain boundaries. The short-circuited photocurrents measured under illumination of the films by light with the quantum energy of 2.7 eV indicate the polarization inside the film directed from the top to the bottom electrode. Using the modified method of depolarization hysteresis loops, we found a non-switchable part of polarization which was measured to be -16 μC/cm2 and directed from the top to the bottom electrode. We consider this result to be a giant self-polarization and explain it in terms of flexoelectricity caused by lattice mismatch between the PZT and bottom Pt layers. The strain gradient across the PZT film thickness is estimated from the in-plane lattice constants measured in Pt and PZT films to be ∼103cm-1, which can produce the downward flexoelectric polarization of ∼14 μC/cm2, coinciding well with the measured one. Nonsymmetrical depolarization loops are found in the films when the polarization switching itself becomes more difficult under the negative or positive driving voltage. We show experimentally how depolarization with compensating bias or film illumination can affect the film polarization switching.