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Observational studies have linked elevated homocysteine to vascular conditions. Folate intake has been associated with lower homocysteine concentration, although randomised controlled trials of folic acid supplementation to decrease the incidence of vascular conditions have been inconclusive. We investigated determinants of maternal homocysteine during pregnancy, particularly in a folic acid-fortified population.
Data were from the Ottawa and Kingston Birth Cohort of 8085 participants. We used multivariable regression analyses to identify factors associated with maternal homocysteine, adjusted for gestational age at bloodwork. Continuous factors were modelled using restricted cubic splines. A subgroup analysis examined the modifying effect of MTHFR 677C>T genotype on folate, in determining homocysteine concentration.
Participants were recruited in Ottawa and Kingston, Canada, from 2002 to 2009.
Women were recruited when presenting for prenatal care in the early second trimester.
In 7587 participants, factors significantly associated with higher homocysteine concentration were nulliparous, smoking and chronic hypertension, while factors significantly associated with lower homocysteine concentration were non-Caucasian race, history of a placenta-mediated complication and folic acid supplementation. Maternal age and BMI demonstrated U-shaped associations. Folic acid supplementation of >1 mg/d during pregnancy did not substantially increase folate concentration. In the subgroup analysis, MTHFR 677C>T modified the effect of folate status on homocysteine concentration.
We identified determinants of maternal homocysteine relevant to the lowering of homocysteine in the post-folic acid fortification era, characterised by folate-replete populations. A focus on periconceptional folic acid supplementation and improving health status may form an effective approach to lower homocysteine.
Types of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) can differ greatly between countries, with greater consumption of sweetened tea in Asia. This study aimed to understand changes in SSB consumption by adolescents in Taiwan over 18 years and their association with demographic characteristics and clinical outcome. This study used survey data from the 1993–1996 and 2010–2011 Nutrition and Health Surveys in Taiwan. Participants were high school students aged 13 to 18 years. Data were weighted and analysed using SUDAAN 11.0 and SAS 9.4. Participants were asked about intake frequencies of SSB and were grouped into four different SSB intake groups based on the combination of high or low frequency (including moderate frequency) of intake of sweetened tea and soda/sports/energy drinks. Results indicated over 99 % of teens reported having at least one SSB in the past week. Smoking status was significantly associated with SSB intake types with high tea intake (high tea and low soda (HL) group, OR 7·56, P < 0·001; high tea and high soda (HH) group, OR 9·96, P < 0·001). After adjustment for potential confounders, adolescents in the low tea and high soda (LH) group (β = 0·05, P = 0·034) had significantly higher mean serum uric acid values. In conclusion, sugary tea remains the SSB of choice for Taiwanese adolescents. Those with a frequent intake of soda/sports/energy drinks had a higher chance of being hyperuricaemic.
This study evaluated the effects of rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) and betaine (BT) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and blood metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design. BT of 0 or 0·6 g/kg DM was supplemented to diet without or with the addition of 6 mg/kg DM of folic acid from RPFA, respectively. Average daily gain increased by 25·2 and 6·29 % for addition of BT without RPFA and with RPFA, respectively. Digestibility and ruminal total volatile fatty acids of neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased, feed conversion ratio and blood folate decreased with the addition of BT without RPFA, but these parameters were unchanged with BT addition in diet with RPFA. Digestibility of DM, organic matter and crude protein as well as acetate:propionate ratio increased with RPFA or BT addition. Ruminal ammonia-N decreased with RPFA addition. Activity of carboxymethyl cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase and protease as well as population of total bacteria, protozoa, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus increased with RPFA or BT addition. Laccase activity and total fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Prevotella ruminicola population increased with RPFA addition, whereas Ruminococcus albus population increased with BT addition. Blood glucose, total protein, albumin, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 increased with RPFA addition. Addition of RPFA or BT decreased blood homocysteine. The results indicated that addition of BT stimulated growth and nutrient digestion in bulls only when RPFA was not supplemented.
Several studies suggested that depression might worsen the clinical outcome of diabetes mellitus; however, such association was confounded by duration of illness and baseline complications. This study aimed to assess whether depression increases the risk of diabetes complications and mortality among incident patients with diabetes.
This was a population-based matched cohort study using Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. A total of 38 537 incident patients with diabetes who had depressive disorders and 154 148 incident diabetes patients without depression who were matched by age, sex and cohort entry year were randomly selected. The study endpoint was the development of macrovascular and microvascular complications, all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality.
Among participants, the mean (±SD) age was 52.61 (±12.45) years, and 39.63% were male. The average duration of follow-up for mortality was 5.5 years, ranging from 0 to 14 years. The adjusted hazard ratios were 1.35 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32–1.37) for macrovascular complications and 1.08 (95% CI, 1.04–1.12) for all-cause mortality. However, there was no association of depression with microvascular complications, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases or mortality due to diabetes mellitus. The effect of depression on diabetes complications and mortality was more prominent among young adults than among middle-aged and older adults.
Depression was associated with macrovascular complications and all-cause mortality in our patient cohort. However, the magnitude of association was less than that in previous studies. Further research should focus on the benefits and risks of treatment for depression on diabetes outcome.
The combined addition of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFAs) and folic acid (FA) could improve growth performance and nutrient utilization by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA and FA addition on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, microbial enzyme activity, microflora and excretion of urinary purine derivatives (PDs) in calves. Thirty-six Chinese Holstein weaned calves (60 ± 5.4 days of age and 107 ± 4.7 kg of BW) were assigned to one of four groups in a randomized block design. Treatments were control (without additives), FA (with 10 mg FA/kg dietary DM), BCVFA (with 5 g BCVFA/kg dietary DM) and the combined addition of FA and BCVFA (10 mg/kg DM of FA and 5 g/kg DM of BCVFA). Supplements were hand-mixed into the top one-third of total mixed ration. Dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 on a DM basis. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect dry matter intake but increased average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion efficiency. Ruminal pH and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect acetate proportion but decreased propionate proportion and increased acetate to propionate ratio. Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter, CP and NDF was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition increased activity of carboxymethyl cellulase and cellobiase, population of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Prevotella ruminicola as well as total PD excretion. Ruminal xylanase, pectinase and protease activity and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens population were increased by BCVFA addition, whereas population of protozoa and methanogens was increased by FA addition. The BCVFA × FA interaction was significant for acetate to propionate ratio, cellobiase activity and total PD excretion, and these variables increased more with FA addition in diet without BCVFA than in diet with BCVFA. The data indicated that supplementation with BCVFA or FA increased ADG, nutrient digestibility, ruminal total VFA concentration and microbial protein synthesis by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity in calves.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats can increase cashmere yield and improve cashmere fibre quality by inducing cashmere growth during cashmere non-growth period, of which time cashmere goats are in the mid and late stages of lactation. However, whether melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats affects their offspring’s growth performance remains unknown. Therefore, the objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats on cashmere and milk production performance in dams and on hair follicle development and subsequent cashmere production in their offspring. Twenty-four lactating Inner Mongolian Cashmere goat dams (50 ± 2 days in milk, mean ± SD) and their single-born female offspring (50 ± 2 days old, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned to one of two groups supplemented with melatonin implants (MEL; n = 12) or without (CON; n = 12). The melatonin implants were subcutaneously implanted behind the ear at a dose of 2 mg/kg live weight on two occasions – 30 April and 30 June 2016. The results demonstrated that melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats increased cashmere production and improved cashmere fibre quality as indicated by greater cashmere yield, longer cashmere fibre staple length, finer cashmere fibre diameter and thicker cashmere fibre density. The milk fat content was higher in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. The daily yields of milk production, milk protein and milk lactose were lower in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. Serum melatonin concentrations were greater, serum prolactin concentrations were lower and milk melatonin concentrations and yields were greater in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. With regard to offspring, there were no differences in cashmere yield, fibre staple length, fibre diameter and fibre density at yearling combing, and the primary and secondary hair follicles population and maturation between treatments. In conclusion, melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats during cashmere non-growth period is a practical and an effective way in cashmere industry as indicated by not only increasing cashmere yield and improving cashmere fibre quality in adult cashmere goat dams but also having no impairment in hair follicle development and the subsequent cashmere production in their single-born offspring.
There is an overabundance of microswimmers in nature, including bacteria, algae, mammalian cells and so on. They use flagellum, cilia or global shape changes (amoeboid motion) to move forward. In the presence of confining channels, these swimmers exhibit often non-trivial behaviours, such as accumulation at the wall, navigation and so on, and their swimming speed may be strongly influenced by the geometric confinement. Several numerical studies have reported that the presence of walls either enhances or reduces the swimming speed depending on the nature of the swimmer, and also on the confinement. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical explanation of several previously obtained numerical results. We treat the case of amoeboid swimmers and the case of squirmers having either a tangential (the classical situation) or normal velocity prescribed at the swimmer surface (pumper). For amoeboid motion we consider a quasi-circular swimmer which allows us to tackle the problem analytically and to extract the equations of the motion of the swimmer, with several explicit analytical or semi-analytical solutions. It is found that the deformation of the amoeboid swimmer as well as a high enough order effect due to confinement are necessary in order to account for previous numerical results. The analytical theory accounts for several features obtained numerically also for non-deformable swimmers.
This study proposed the application of a novel immersed boundary method (IBM) for the treatment of irregular geometries using Cartesian computational grids for high speed compressible gas flows modelled using the unsteady Euler equations. Furthermore, the method is accelerated through the use of multiple Graphics Processing Units – specifically using Nvidia’s CUDA together with MPI - due to the computationally intensive nature associated with the numerical solution to multi-dimensional continuity equations. Due to the high degree of locality required for efficient multiple GPU computation, the Split Harten-Lax-van-Leer (SHLL) scheme is employed for vector splitting of fluxes across cell interfaces. NVIDIA visual profiler shows that our proposed method having a computational speed of 98.6 GFLOPS and 61% efficiency based on the Roofline analysis that provides the theoretical computing speed of reaching 160 GLOPS with an average 2.225 operations/byte. To demonstrate the validity of the method, results from several benchmark problems covering both subsonic and supersonic flow regimes are presented. Performance testing using 96 GPU devices demonstrates a speed up of 89 times that of a single GPU (i.e. 92% efficiency) for a benchmark problem employing 48 million cells. Discussions regarding communication overhead and parallel efficiency for varying problem sizes are also presented.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
Temperature resulting from the joule heating power and the turn-on and turn-off dissipation of high-power, high-frequency applications is the root cause of their thermal instability, electrical performance degradation, and even thermal-fatigue failure. Thus, the study presents thermal and electrical characterizations of the power MOSFET module packaged in SOT-227 under natural convection and forced convection through three-dimensional (3D) thermal-electric (TE) coupled field analysis. In addition, the influences of some key parameters like electric loads, ambient conditions, thermal management considerations (heat sink, heat spreader) and operation conditions (duty cycle and switching frequency) on the power loss and thermal performance of the power module are addressed. The study starts from a suitable estimation of the power losses, where the conduction losses are calculated using the temperature- and gate-voltage-dependent on-state resistance and drain current through the device, and the switching losses are predicted based on the ideal switching waveforms of the power MOSFETs applied. The effectiveness of the theoretical predictions in terms of device’s power losses and temperatures is demonstrated through comparison with the results of circuit simulation and thermal experiment.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.