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An 8-week feeding experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dl-methionine (Met) supplementation in a low-fishmeal diet on growth, key gene expressions of amino acid transporters and target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway in juvenile cobia, Rachycentron canadum. Seven isonitrogenous and isolipidic diets were formulated, containing 0·72, 0·90, 1·00, 1·24, 1·41, 1·63 and 1·86 % Met. Weight gain and specific growth rates increased gradually with Met levels of up to 1·24 % and then decreased gradually. In dorsal muscle, mRNA levels of ASCT2 in the 1·00 % Met group were significantly up-regulated compared with 0·72, 1·63, and 1·86 %. The insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) mRNA levels in the dorsal muscle of fish fed 1·00 and 1·24 % Met were higher than those in fish fed other Met levels. In addition, fish fed 1·24 % Met showed the highest mRNA levels of TOR and phosphorylation of TOR on Ser2448. The phosphorylation of ribosomal p70-S6 kinase (S6K) on Ser371 in the dorsal muscle of fish fed 1·86 % Met was higher than those in the 0·72 % group. In conclusion, straight broken-line analysis of weight gain rate against dietary Met level indicates that the optimal Met requirement for juvenile cobia is 1·24 % (of DM, or 2·71 % dietary protein). Met supplementation in a low-fishmeal diet increased cobia growth via a mechanism that can partly be attributed to Met’s ability to affect the TOR/S6K signalling pathway by enhancing ASCT2 and IGF-I transcription in cobia dorsal muscle.
“Tailor-made” training programs have been started in two theme parks in North and East Taiwan after the dust explosion of Ba-xien theme park in 2015. The training programs emphasized several areas. They work to strengthen the incident command system (ICS) and the skills of first responders, especially evacuation, placement, triage, and first aid, as well as to assist the park’s cooperation with local disaster response units, such as the fire department and Health Bureau.
The first step was to find out the practical problems of the two theme parks, and then make a one-year, tailor-made training program according to the needs of parks and different levels of staff: senior supervisors, middle-level district supervisors, and frontline colleagues. After the phased training, the training results are inspected in the non-scripted exercise mode.
It was found that the staff are relatively familiar with the evacuation process and placement of tourists. The initial emergency responses such as triage, first aid skills, and patient transport gradually improve after several drills. The ICS operation and communication also became more effective and efficient. The regional emergency response units could understand these theme parks capability and how to cooperate with them.
The experience of emergency response training and exercise in these two theme parks has shown that such a model is feasible and should be valued.
Decoding and language comprehension skills have been found to be the core components of reading comprehension across many writing systems. The present study examined the contributions of vocabulary and some discourse-level skills to reading comprehension in Chinese in addition to that of decoding. One hundred and seventeen Chinese second and third graders in Hong Kong were tested on decoding, vocabulary, discourse-level skills, and verbal working memory. Results of multiple regression analyses showed that the discourse-level skills contributed an additional 5% of variance to reading comprehension over decoding, vocabulary, and other control variables, and all factors accounted for a total of 70% variance in reading comprehension. Further path analysis showed that all the direct paths of word reading, vocabulary, text-structure knowledge, and topic knowledge to reading comprehension were significant. Vocabulary also contributed to reading comprehension through indirect paths to discourse-level knowledge. The present findings support the simple view of reading with elaborations on the language comprehension component, namely, (a) vocabulary is a foundational language skill for text comprehension through its role on discourse-level knowledge, and (b) some discourse-level knowledge also plays an important role in passage comprehension.
We demonstrate a nonlinearity optimization method by altering distribution of passive fibers in a dissipative-soliton mode-locked fiber laser to level up output parameters. In the numerical simulation, we found that the passive fiber segment after gain fiber characterizes the highest average B-integral among fiber segments. By reducing the length of this fiber section and keeping the total passive fiber length as constant, the output pulse energy can be effectively scaled up while maintaining a short dechirped pulse duration, resulting in boosting peak power. With this method, 37-nJ pulses are generated from a dissipative-soliton mode-locked cladding pumped ytterbium-doped single-mode fiber laser in the experiment. The pulse can be dechirped to 66 fs with 350 kW peak power. Moreover, the pulse pedestal is suppressed by a vector-dispersion compressor.
Complement factor H (CFH) plays a key role in regulating the cascade of the alternative pathway of the complement system. Dysregulation of CFH may be involved in the pathophysiology of various inflammation-mediated diseases including neuropsychiatric illnesses. This study aimed to investigate this relationship by examining determining CFH levels in elderly individuals with and without depression.
A total of 152 elderly individuals (major depressive disorder (MDD) group, n = 76; comparison sample, n = 76) were selected from the Ansan Geriatric study. The plasma level of CFH was measured. MDD was diagnosed with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview as per DSM-IV criteria. The severity of depression was evaluated with the geriatric depression scale (GDS). Mean CFH levels were compared using the Mann–Whitney U test. After adjusting for possible confounding factors including age, sex, marital status, education, alcohol use, hemoglobin levels, and the Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE-KC), a multiple regression analysis was conducted. The GDS score and plasma level of CFH were analyzed using Spearman's correlation.
Plasma CFH level was significantly higher in individuals with MDD than in the comparison sample (289.51 ± 21.16 vs. 339.67 ± 66.23, p < 0.001). In a regression model adjusted for possible confounders, CFH was significantly associated with geriatric depression (p < 0.001). CFH levels were not significantly related to GDS scores in the depressed group.
This study revealed an association between high plasma levels of CFH and geriatric depression, thereby suggesting the alternative pathway of the complement system contributing to the development of geriatric depression.
Sedative–hypnotic medication use has been related to severe adverse events and risks. This study investigated the prevalence of and characteristics associated with the use of sedatives and hypnotics among community-dwelling elderly persons aged 65 years and over in Taiwan.
A representative sample of community-dwelling adults was recruited. Clinical and sociodemographic data were collected for assessing physical, mental, and cognitive functioning and disorders. Sedatives and hypnotics use was determined via both self-reporting and prescription records. Logistic regression modeling was used to evaluate associations between sedative–hypnotic use and demographic and health status.
Among the 3,978 participants aged 65 years and over, the rate of sedative–hypnotic use was 19.7% (n = 785). 4.5% (n = 35) of users reported sedative–hypnotic use without a doctor's prescription. Several sociodemographic characteristics were positively associated with sedative and hypnotic use, including older age, female gender, higher education level, married status, unemployment, and current alcohol consumption. Comorbid chronic and cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, depression, pain, and sleep problems also increased the likelihood of sedative–hypnotic use.
This study is one of the largest pioneer studies to date to survey sedatives–hypnotics use among community-dwelling elderly. One in five community-dwelling older adults reported sedative–hypnotic drugs use in Taiwan, and about 5% of sedative and/or hypnotics usage was without a doctor's prescription. Findings could be helpful for drug-use safety interventions to identify target geriatric patients who are in general at higher risk of downstream harm associated with sedative–hypnotic use in geriatric patients.
Recent results in the development of diode-driven high energy, high repetition rate, picosecond lasers, including the demonstration of a cryogenic Yb:YAG active mirror amplifier that produces 1.5 J pulses at 500 Hz repetition rate (0.75 kW average power) are reviewed. These pulses are compressed resulting in the generation of
duration, 1 J pulses with 0.5 kW average power. A full characterization of this high power cryogenic amplifier, including at-wavelength interferometry of the active region under
average power pump conditions, is presented. An initial demonstration of operation at 1 kW average power (1 J, 1 kHz) is reported.
This study was conducted to estimate prevalence rates and risk factors for late-life depression in a large nationwide representative sample from Taiwan.
A total of 5,664, randomly sampled individuals aged ≥55 years were enrolled. Clinically, relevant depressive symptoms were classified using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D score ≥16), and major depression was confirmed using the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders. Individuals with clinically relevant depressive symptoms, who did not meet the strict diagnostic criteria for major depression, were considered to have minor depression. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify risk factors for major and minor depression, including socio-demographic characteristics, medical conditions, lifestyle behaviors, social support network, and life events.
The prevalence rates of minor and major depression were 3.7% and 1.5%, respectively. Major depression was associated with personal vulnerability factors, such as poor social support, cognitive impairment, comorbid pain conditions, and sleep disturbance. However, minor depression was more likely to be related to adverse life events, including increased burden on families, changes in health status, or relationship problem. Approximately, 20.0% of individuals with major depression received antidepressant treatment.
Late-life depression was less prevalent among community-dwelling older adults in Taiwan than among populations in other countries. Our findings may aid the early detection and treatment of late-life depression and provide a basis for future investigations.
Although many studies worldwide have focused on the relationship between vitamin D and insulin resistance, results remain controversial. Furthermore, concentrations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) in the Chinese population are unclear. We aimed to investigate vitamin D status and its correlation with insulin resistance among a Chinese adult population.
Serum 25(OH)D, fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, glycated Hb (HbA1c) and other metabolic parameters were assessed. Neck circumference, waist circumference, hip circumference, weight and height were also measured. Lifestyle factors including smoking and drinking status were obtained. Diabetes mellitus was diagnosed by HbA1c according to the 2010 American Diabetes Association criteria.
Of 7200 residents included, 6597 individuals were ultimately analysed.
We enrolled 2813 males (mean age 52·7 (sd 13·5) years) and 3784 females (52·3 (sd 13·5) years); mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 43·1 (sd 11·6) and 39·6 (sd 9·8) nmol/l, respectively. Additionally, 83·3 % of participants were 25(OH)D deficient. A significant difference in 25(OH)D was observed between males and females in winter and spring (P<0·001). Furthermore, 25(OH)D concentrations were inversely associated with the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in the overweight and pre-diabetic populations. After adjusting for several variables, 25(OH)D was significantly associated with HOMA-IR in winter. When 25(OH)D values were categorized into quartiles, HOMA-IR was significantly associated with decreasing 25(OH)D.
The majority of the Chinese population was vitamin D deficient and this deficiency was negatively associated with insulin resistance, particularly in the overweight and pre-diabetic populations. Moreover, these associations might be more evident in the winter.
Previous studies suggest that there is a strong association between depression and cognitive decline, and that concurrent depressive symptoms in MCI patients could contribute to a difference in neurocognitive characteristics compared to MCI patients without depression. The authors tried to compare neurocognitive functions between MCI patients with and without depression by analyzing the results of neuropsychological tests.
Participants included 153 MCI patients. Based on the diagnosis of major depressive disorder, the participants were divided into two groups: depressed MCI (MCI/D+) versus non-depressed MCI (MCI/D−). The general cognitive and functional statuses of participants were evaluated. And a subset of various neuropsychological tests was presented to participants. Demographic and clinical data were analyzed using Student t-test or χ2 test.
A total of 153 participants were divided into two groups: 94 MCI/D+ patients and 59 MCI/D− patients. Age, sex, and years of education were not significantly different between the two groups. There were no significant differences in general cognitive status between MCI/D+ and MCI/D− patients, but MCI/D+ participants showed significantly reduced performance in the six subtests (Contrasting Program, Go-no-go task, Fist-edge-palm task, Constructional Praxis, Memory Recall, TMT-A) compared with MCI/D− patients.
There were significantly greater deficits in neurocognitive functions including verbal memory, executive function, attention/processing speed, and visual memory in MCI/D+ participants compared to MCI/D−. Once the biological mechanism is identified, distinct approaches in treatment or prevention will be determined.
To investigate the reciprocal relationship between unhealthy eating behaviours and depressive symptoms from childhood to adolescence.
Unhealthy eating behaviours were measured by the frequencies of eating foods with excess salt, sugar or fat in the past week. Depressive symptoms in the past two weeks were measured using a seven-item scale. Hierarchical linear growth models were used to analyse longitudinal associations between unhealthy eating behaviours and depressive symptoms. Time-fixed variables (sex, parents’ education level and household monthly income) and time-varying variables (parents’ marital status, family activities, body weight, vegetable or fruit consumption, exercising and smoking) were controlled for.
The Child and Adolescent Behaviors in Long-Term Evolution study, which commenced in 2001 and has annual follow-up.
Students (n 2630) followed from 2nd grade (8 years old in 2002) to 11th grade.
The frequency of unhealthy eating behaviours in the previous year and the difference between the frequency in the previous and successive year were positively associated with the initiation and growth rate of depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms in the previous year and the difference in depressive symptoms between the previous and successive year were positively associated with the initial state and growth rate of unhealthy eating behaviours.
Our results suggest a reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and unhealthy eating behaviours. This relationship should be considered when developing programmes targeting depressive symptoms and unhealthy diet in children and adolescents.
Studies for spin parameters and shapes of asteroids provide us with important information about the interior structure of asteroids and the physical processes they have undergone. A large sample of basic physical parameters can help us also understand the evolution of asteroids. There is scarce information for slowly-rotating larger asteroids because more effort is required for observing them. Because of this, we have established an international collaboration to study slowly-rotating asteroids. As the first step of this project, we have observed asteroids (168) Sibylla and (346) Hermentaria in 2014 and 2015 using several telescopes located in China, Chile, and U.S.A. Combining previous photometric data with our new data, we have performed preliminary analyses and obtained spin parameters and shapes with their uncertainties for these two slowly-rotating asteroids for the first time, using the convex inversion method and the virtual photometry Monte Carlo method. A pair of pole solutions for (168) Sibylla are found around (4.3°, 53.5°) and (183.5°, 52.6°) with a period of 47.0000 h. We have found that the shape of Sibylla resembles an oblate spheroid. For (346) Hermentaria, we have also found a pair of pole solutions around (134.5°, 16.7°) and (321.5°, 14.5°) with comparable rms-values with a spin period of about 17.79000 h, and a shape resembling a prolate spheroid.
Video streaming over mobile wireless networks is getting popular in recent years. High video quality relies on large bandwidth provisioning, however, it decreases the number of supported users in wireless networks. Thus, effective bandwidth utilization becomes a crucial issue in wireless network as the bandwidth resource in wireless environment is precious and limited. The NGN quality of service mechanisms should be designed to reduce the impact of traffic burstiness on buffer management. For this reason, we propose an active dropping mechanism to deal with the effective bandwidth utilization in this paper. We use scalable video coding extension of H.264/AVC standard to provide different video quality for users of different levels. In the proposed dropping mechanism, when the network loading exceeds the threshold, the dropping mechanism starts to drop data of the enhancement layers for users of low service level. The dropping probability alters according to the change in network loading. With the dropping mechanism, the base station increases the system capability and users are able to obtain better service quality when the system is under heavy loading. We also design several methods to adjust the threshold value dynamically. By using the proposed mechanism, better quality can be provided when the network is in congestion.
Mesa and planar geometry GaN Schottky rectifiers were fabricated on 3-12µm thick epitaxial layers. In planar diodes utilizing resistive GaN, a reverse breakdown voltage of 3.1 kV was achieved in structures containing p-guard rings and employing extension of the Schottky contact edge over an oxide layer. In devices without edge termination, the reverse breakdown voltage was 2.3 kV. Mesa diodes fabricated on conducting GaN had breakdown voltages in the range 200-400 V, with on-state resistances as low as 6m Ω·cm−2.
Optical control is a reversible and convenient technology, able to be measured in real-time, which makes it excellent for application to microfluidic, biomechanical, and electro-mechanical devices. These advantages are especially attractive for photo-responsive materials. In this study, we developed a new photo-responsive, electrostrictive material from a composite material made by mixing a dielectric polymer P(VDF-TrFE-CFE) and an organic photoconductive material TiOPc. The photo-responsibility of the material has been validated by corresponding actuators. We found that under white light illumination, deformation will increase which can be attributed to a decrease in the TiOPc impedance. We identified that the optimal TiOPc concentration for actuator applications is 10% P(VDF-TrFE-CFE)/TiOPc. Moreover, controlling the fluid flow within the capillary tube through light illumination also validated the photo-responsive actuator. Our results show that the mechanism and the photo-responsive material can be used to pursue further study on light controlling microfluidic, and related electro-mechanical devices.
Disruption of cell membranes triggers rapid metabolic energy exhaustion, then acute cellular necrosis. Cell membrane dysfunction due to loss of structure integrity is the pathology of tissue death in trauma, muscular dystrophies, reperfusion injuries and common diseases. It is now established that certain PEG-based biocompatible polymers, such as Poloxamer 188, Poloxamine 1107 and PEG, are effective in sealing of injured cell membranes, and thus can prevent acute necrosis if delivered within a few hours after injury. Despite these broad applications of PEG-based polymers for human health, the fundamental mechanisms of how PEG-based polymers interact with cell membranes are still under debate. Here, the effects of PEG-based biocompatible polymers on phospholipid membrane integrity under external stimuli (osmotic stress and oxidative stress) were explored using giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) as model cell membranes. Through fluorescence leakage assays and time-lapse fluorescence microscopy, we directly observed that the surface-adsorbed P188 can efficiently inhibits the loss of structural integrity of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) under hypo-osmotic stress. We propose that the adsorption of polymers on the membrane surface is responsible for the cell membrane resealing process, while the insertion of the hydrophobic portion of the polymers increases membrane permeability. To elucidate the mechanism by which hydrophilic polymers help restore membrane integrity while their hydrophobic counterparts disrupt it, 1H Overhauser Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (ODNP)-NMR spectroscopy, a newly developed NMR technique that provides unprecedented resolution for differentiating weak surface adsorption versus translocation of polymers to membranes, was employed to sensitively detect polymer-lipid membrane interactions through the modulation of local hydration dynamics in lipid membranes. Our study shows that P188—the most hydrophilic poloxamer known as a membrane sealant—weakly adsorbs onto the membrane surface, yet effectively retards membrane hydration dynamics. Contrarily, P181—the most hydrophobic poloxamer known as a membrane permeabilizer—initially penetrates past lipid headgroups and enhances intrabilayer water diffusivity. Consequently, our results illustrate that the relative hydrophilic/hydrophobic ratio of the polymer dictates its functions. These findings gleaned from local hydration dynamics are well supported by our thermodynamics and fluorescence data.
Mesa and planar geometry GaN Schottky rectifiers were fabricated on 3-12µm thick epitaxial layers. In planar diodes utilizing resistive GaN, a reverse breakdown voltage of 3.1 kV was achieved in structures containing p-guard rings and employing extension of the Schottky contact edge over an oxide layer. In devices without edge termination, the reverse breakdown voltage was 2.3 kV. Mesa diodes fabricated on conducting GaN had breakdown voltages in the range 200-400 V, with on-state resistances as low as 6m Ωcm−2.
The nanocrystalline molybdenum oxide embedded Zr-doped HfO2 high-k nonvolatile memory device has been fabricated using the one pumpdown sputtering process and a rapid thermal annealing step. The majority embedded molybdenum existed in the MoO3 nanocrystal form but a small amount of metallic molybdenum was also detected. The memory function of this device was based on the hole trapping-and-detrapping mechanism. The embedded nanocrystals retained charges after the breakdown of the high-k stack. The charge storage capacity was influenced by light exposure, especially the wavelength. The silicon/high-k interface was also affected by the exposed light. This study provided an insight of the function of the embedded nanocrystals and the light effects on the device.
The association between autoimmune diseases and schizophrenia has rarely
been systematically investigated.
To investigate the association between schizophrenia and a variety of
autoimmune diseases and to explore possible gender variation in any such
Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database was used to identify
10 811 hospital in-patients with schizophrenia and 108 110 age-matched
controls. Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were
performed, separately, to evaluate the association between autoimmune
diseases and schizophrenia. We applied the false discovery rate to
correct for multiple testing.
When compared with the control group, the in-patients with schizophrenia
had an increased risk of Graves' disease (odds ratio (OR) = 1.32, 95% CI
1.04–1.67), psoriasis (OR = 1.48, 95% CI 1.07–2.04), pernicious anaemia
(OR = 1.71, 95% CI 1.04–2.80), celiac disease (OR = 2.43, 95% CI
1.12–5.27) and hypersensitivity vasculitis (OR = 5.00, 95% CI
1.64–15.26), whereas a reverse association with rheumatoid arthritis (OR
= 0.52, 95% CI 0.35–0.76) was also observed. Gender-specific variation
was found for Sjögren syndrome, hereditary haemolytic anaemia, myasthenia
gravis, polymyalgia rheumatica and dermatomyositis.
Schizophrenia was associated with a greater variety of autoimmune
diseases than was anticipated. Further investigation is needed to gain a
better understanding of the aetiology of schizophrenia and autoimmune