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A piezoelectric biomedical microelectromechanical system (bioMEMS) cantilever device was designed and fabricated to act as either a sensing element for muscle tissue contraction or as an actuator to apply mechanical force to cells. The sensing ability of the piezoelectric cantilevers was shown by monitoring the electrical signal generated from the piezoelectric aluminum nitride in response to the contraction of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes cultured on the piezoelectric cantilevers. Actuation was demonstrated by applying electrical pulses to the piezoelectric cantilever and observing bending via an optical detection method. This piezoelectric cantilever device was designed to be incorporated into body-on-a-chip systems.
Two solid state anaerobic digesters (SSADs), 15 L each, were set up for co-digestion of switchgrass with primary digestate of a liquid anaerobic digester (LAD) and the recirculating leachate. Both the LAD and two SSADs were operated at 50°C. The results showed that the bioreactors were not started up stably until day 16 and day 47 for reactors A and B, respectively. The supplement of LAD digestate or injection of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) into the recirculating leachate readily reinitiated the biogas production to normal daily high rates of the two individual SSADs, one on day 16 and the other on day 47. In contrast to reactor A, there was a longer lag phase for bioreactor B, however, it showed 46.2% [77.9 vs 53.3 L kg−1 volatile solid (VS)] more cumulative biogas yields, and higher reduction rate of total solid, VS, cellulose and hemicellulose of 29.5, 31, 40.6 and 15%, respectively, which was likely due to optimized pH and NaOH pretreated switchgrass during start-up period. Methane contents of biogas increased gradually and stabilized at 50% for both reactors, indicating a normal operation of anaerobic digestion lasted for at least 100 days. The determined parameters of digested residues met China organic fertilizer standard (NY 525-2012) except for high moisture and low total nutrient contents. Therefore, the product of SSAD has the potential value of organic fertilizer. It is concluded that the LAD digestate can be reused as inoculums by co-digestion with agricultural residues for biogas and organic fertilizer production in SSAD.
The recent censorship requests made by Chinese authorities to Western academic publishers have sent shockwaves throughout the academic world. This article examines the high-profile The China Quarterly incident as a case in point. Because the censorship is expected to be followed by similar demands to other publications, it is important for the academic community to explore the logic behind it. This research article provides a preliminary analysis of publications on the censorship list and compares them to uncensored articles on similar themes. This exercise allows us to draw important insights. Theoretically, this article makes an original contribution by going beyond the censorship within to outside China. Empirically, it offers a comprehensive analysis of what China wants to censor and the context for its actions.
To investigate a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak event involving multiple healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; to characterize transmission; and to explore infection control implications.
Cases presented in 4 healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: a tertiary-care hospital, a specialty pulmonary hospital, an outpatient clinic, and an outpatient dialysis unit.
Contact tracing and testing were performed following reports of cases at 2 hospitals. Laboratory results were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and/or genome sequencing. We assessed exposures and determined seropositivity among available healthcare personnel (HCP) cases and HCP contacts of cases.
In total, 48 cases were identified, involving patients, HCP, and family members across 2 hospitals, an outpatient clinic, and a dialysis clinic. At each hospital, transmission was linked to a unique index case. Moreover, 4 cases were associated with superspreading events (any interaction where a case patient transmitted to ≥5 subsequent case patients). All 4 of these patients were severely ill, were initially not recognized as MERS-CoV cases, and subsequently died. Genomic sequences clustered separately, suggesting 2 distinct outbreaks. Overall, 4 (24%) of 17 HCP cases and 3 (3%) of 114 HCP contacts of cases were seropositive.
We describe 2 distinct healthcare-associated outbreaks, each initiated by a unique index case and characterized by multiple superspreading events. Delays in recognition and in subsequent implementation of control measures contributed to secondary transmission. Prompt contact tracing, repeated testing, HCP furloughing, and implementation of recommended transmission-based precautions for suspected cases ultimately halted transmission.
Background: Among patients with schizophrenia, there is evidence of a negative association between self-stigma and subjective quality of life (SQoL), and self-esteem was an important mediator in the association. We attempted to use a longitudinal study to investigate the aforementioned mediation on a sample with schizophrenia. Methods: We used longitudinal data retrieved from medical records of a psychiatric centre between June 2014 and December 2015. In the data, we retrieved information of self-stigma using the Self-Stigma Scale — Short; SQoL, using the WHO questionnaire on the Quality of Life — Short Form; and self-esteem, using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. All the measures were evaluated five times. Linear mixed-effect models accompanied by Sobel tests were used to tackle the mediating effects. Results: Data from 74 patients (57 males) with schizophrenia were eligible for analysis; their mean (SD) age was 39.53 (10.67); mean age of onset was 22.95 (8.38). Self-esteem was a mediator for patients in physical (p = .039), psychological (p = .003), and social SQoL (p = .004), but not in environment SQoL (p = .051). Conclusion: Based on our findings, mental health professionals could tailor different programs to patients with schizophrenia, such as self-stigma reduction and self-esteem improvement programs. However, treatment as a whole should be sensitive to both self-stigma and self-esteem. Also, we should consider individuals’ health and wellbeing from social perspectives of disability rather than the medical model of disability emphasising symptoms and medications.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.
The Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) is a commonly used self-report to assess caregiver burden. A 12-item short form of the ZBI has been developed; however, its measurement invariance has not been examined across some different demographics. It is unclear whether different genders and educational levels of a population interpret the ZBI items similarly. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the measurement invariance of the 12-item ZBI across gender and educational levels in a Taiwanese sample.
Caregivers who had a family member with dementia (n = 270) completed the ZBI through telephone interviews. Three confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models were conducted: Model 1 was the configural model, Model 2 constrained all factor loadings, Model 3 constrained all factor loadings and item intercepts. Multiple group CFAs and the differential item functioning (DIF) contrast under Rasch analyses were used to detect measurement invariance across males (n = 100) and females (n = 170) and across educational levels of junior high schools and below (n = 86) and senior high schools and above (n = 183).
The fit index differences between models supported the measurement invariance across gender and across educational levels (∆ comparative fit index (CFI) = −0.010 and 0.003; ∆ root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = −0.006 to 0.004). No substantial DIF contrast was found across gender and educational levels (value = −0.36 to 0.29).
The ZBI is appropriate for combined use and for comparisons in caregivers across gender and different educational levels in Taiwan.
Microdeletion syndrome is an important topic in intellectual disability, associated with various psychiatric symptoms, such as autism, attention deficit, hyperactivity, obsession and compulsion, and psychosis. In this article, we provide a clinical update on the following syndromes and their associated psychiatric disorders: Prader–Willi syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Williams syndrome, Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome, cri du chat syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome and Rubinstein–Taybi syndrome.
• Gain an up-to-date understanding of the microdeletion syndromes commonly seen in daily practice
• Appreciate the association between underlying chromosomal abnormalities and the resultant intellectual disabilities in microdeletion syndromes
• Gain up-to-date knowledge about the treatment options for the various microdeletion syndromes commonly seen in daily practice
We report on a target system supporting automated positioning of nano-targets with a precision resolution of
in three dimensions. It relies on a confocal distance sensor and a microscope. The system has been commissioned to position nanometer targets with 1 Hz repetition rate. Integrating our prototype into the table-top ATLAS 300 TW-laser system at the Laboratory for Extreme Photonics in Garching, we demonstrate the operation of a 0.5 Hz laser-driven proton source with a shot-to-shot variation of the maximum energy about 27% for a level of confidence of 0.95. The reason of laser shooting experiments operated at 0.5 Hz rather than 1 Hz is because the synchronization between the nano-foil target positioning system and the laser trigger needs to improve.
Se and green tea have been shown in epidemiological, observational and preclinical studies to be inversely related to the risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). However, there are limited studies to evaluate their regulatory effects on genes/proteins that relate to CRC oncogenesis in human subjects, such as selenoproteins, WNT signalling pathway, inflammation and methylation. This study examined the effects of supplementation of Se using Brazil nuts and green tea extract (GTE) capsules, alone and in combination, on targeted biomarkers. In total, thirty-two volunteers (>50 years of age) with plasma Se≤1·36 µmol/l were randomised to one of three treatment groups: nine to Se (approximately 48 µg/d) as six Brazil nuts, eleven to four GTE capsules (800 mg (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate) and twelve to a combination of Brazil nuts and GTE. Blood and rectal biopsies were obtained before and after each intervention. Plasma Se levels, rectal selenoprotein P (SePP) and β-catenin mRNA increased significantly in subjects consuming Brazil nuts alone or in combination, whereas rectal DNA methyltransferase (DNMT1) and NF-κB mRNA were reduced significantly in subjects consuming GTE alone or in combination. None of the interventions significantly affected rectal acetylated histone H3 or Ki-67 expression at the protein level or plasma C-reactive protein. Effects of the combination of Brazil nuts and GTE did not differ from what would be expected from either agent alone. In conclusion, supplementation of Brazil nuts and/or GTE regulates targeted biomarkers related to CRC oncogenesis, specifically genes associated with selenoproteins (SePP), WNT signalling (β-catenin), inflammation (NF-κB) and methylation (DNMT1). Their combination does not appear to provide additional effects compared with either agent alone.
In decision-based design, the principal role of a designer is to make decisions. Decision support is crucial to augment this role. In this paper, we present an ontology that provides decision support from both the “construct” and the “information” perspectives that address the gap that existing research focus on these two perspectives separately and cannot provide effective decision support. The decision support construct in the ontology is the compromise decision support problem (cDSP) that is used to make multiobjective design decisions. The information for decision making is archived as cDSP templates and represented using frame-based ontology for facilitating reuse, consistency maintaining, and rapid execution. In order to facilitate designers’ effective reuse of the populated cDSP templates ontology instances, we identified three types of modification that can be made when design consideration evolves. In our earlier work, part of the utilization (consistency checking) of the ontology has been demonstrated through a thin-walled pressure vessel redesign example. In this paper, we comprehensively present the ontology utilization including consistency checking, trade-off analysis, and design space visualization based on the pressure vessel example.
Although beta-amyloid, anxiety and depression have been linked cross-sectionally to reduced memory function in healthy older adults without dementia, prospective data evaluating these associations are lacking. Using data from an observational cohort study of 178 healthy older adults without dementia followed for 3 years, we found that anxiety symptoms significantly moderated the relationship between beta-amyloid level and decline in verbal (Cohen's d = 0.65) and episodic (Cohen's d = 0.38) memory. Anxiety symptoms were additionally linked to greater decline in executive function, irrespective of beta-amyloid and other risk factors. These findings suggest that interventions to mitigate anxiety symptoms may help delay memory decline in otherwise healthy older adults with elevated beta-amyloid.
This study examines the convergence and divergence between subjective and objective measures of language proficiency for assessing language dominance in Mandarin–English bilinguals. Sixty-two young adults (Experiment 1) and 27 children (Experiment 2) provided self-ratings of proficiency level (or were rated by their parents), were interviewed for spoken proficiency, and named pictures in the Multilingual Naming Test (MINT) and (in Experiment 1 only) the Boston Naming Test. In Experiment 1, the four measures converged in the number of people classified into different dominance groups but both naming tests indicated greater English dominance than self-report and interview measures. In Experiment 2, parent report and interview measures converged in dominance classifications but the MINT indicated higher degrees of English dominance. To a large extent bilinguals were able to classify themselves (or their children) into dominance groups but some mismatches between measures in dominance classification were observed for all age and dominance groups. These results, together with previous findings with Spanish–English bilingual adults (Gollan et al., 2012), suggest that bilinguals may shift to English dominance in confrontation naming before they do so in conversational fluency, and that dominance shifts persist throughout the lifespan but may be relatively more pronounced in children. These findings caution against the use of self-reports as the sole means of classifying bilinguals into dominance groups and support a multi-measure approach including direct assessment of the relevant linguistic domain.
Manganese oxide based nanoparticles were synthesized by sol-gel process. Methanol, ethanol, and propanol were used as alternative solvent during sol-gel process with manganese acetate as precursor for the preparation of pristine manganese oxide. Hybrid MnOx modified by additions of carbon nanotubes was further prepared. Smallest particle size was observed for manganese oxide prepared from propanol, with diameters range from 16 nm to 50nm. XRD results showed that the as prepared manganese oxide based samples at calcination temperature of 300°C and above were composed of Mn2O3 as dominant phase, with Mn3O4 as minor phase. Specific capacitance measured from two electrode systems of manganese oxide prepared from methanol, ethanol, and propanol at scan rate of 10 mV/s were 88.3, 66.0, 104.8 F/g and the result for the hybrid sample was 140.5 F/g. The highest capacitance of the MnOx revealed a specific capacitance of 231.4 F/g when a 1:1 mixture of propanaol and methanol was employed as the solvent for the sol preparation. Results from electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) also showed superior electrochemical properties of the hybrid sample over pristine manganese oxide samples.
This study combined several features of acoustic and electromagnetic (EM) waves-based devices including sub-bottom profiler (SBP), side-scan sonar (SSS) and ground penetrating radar (GPR), and in situ sediment data to study responses of bottom sediments after carp removal in Lake Wingra. In 2007, i.e., before carp removal, macrophytes only grew to a water depth of 2 m. Meanwhile, GPR data showed no visible sublayer in vegetated regions, while SBP data revealed a loose and fluffy sediment layer in unvegetated regions, easily affected by wave or current motions. The field data showed that suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) were much greater in unvegetated regions than those in vegetated regions during a one-day wind event, and the resuspended sediments could remain suspended in the water column for two days. In 2009, i.e., after more than half (51%) of carp were removed, the fluffy sediment layer recognized by SBP became thinner or even disappeared, and both SBP and SSS results showed that submerged macrophytes started growing in deeper water. In situ sediment data presented that bulk sediment density and critical shear stress became greater, and bottom sediments consolidated and were harder to be resuspended. Secchi depth collected between 2008 and 2010 was greater than that in the previous 10 years, indicated clearer water state. In short, the fluffy sediment layer because of carp activities may be the main source for suspended sediments to deteriorate water quality. Removal of carp is crucial for stabilizing bottom sediment and improving water clarity in this small lake.