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We develop rapid chemical vapor sensors and micro gas chromatography (μGC) analyzers based on the optofluidic ring resonator (OFRR). An OFRR is a micro-sized thin-walled glass capillary; the circular cross-section of the capillary acts as an optical ring resonator while the whispering gallery modes or circulating waveguide modes (WGMs) supported by the ring resonator interact with the vapor samples passing through the capillary. The OFRR interior surface is coated with a vapor-sensitive polymer. The analyte and polymer interaction causes the polymer refractive index (RI) and the thickness to change, which is detected as a WGM spectral shift. Owing to the excellent fluidics, the OFRR vapor sensor exhibits sub-second detection and recovery time with a flow rate of 1 mL/min. On-column separation and detection in the OFRR based μGC system is also demonstrated, showing efficient separation of vapor mixtures and presenting highly reproducible retention time for the individual analyte. Compared to the conventional GC system, the OFRR μGC has the advantage of small size, rapid response, and high selectivity over a short length of column.
Oxidative stress is closely related to metabolic disorders, which can lead to various diseases. Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a central regulator of oxidative stress. Sodium butyrate (NaB) has been shown to alleviate oxidative stress and insulin resistance, yet how Nrf2 is involved in the action of NaB remains unclear. In the present study, rats were rendered obese by feeding a high-fat diet for 9 weeks. NaB (300 mg/kg), which was gavaged every 2 d for 7 weeks, significantly alleviated high-fat diet-induced oxidative stress and insulin resistance. Additionally, the insulin signalling pathway in the liver was activated by NaB, associated with significant activation of Nrf2, superoxide dismutase and glutathione. Furthermore, hepatic up-regulation of Nrf2 in NaB-treated rats was associated with reduced protein content of histone deacetylase 1 and increased histone H3 acetyl K9 (H3K9Ac) modification on the Nrf2 promoter. The actions of NaB were completely abolished when Nrf2 was knocked down in vitro. Taken together, NaB acts as a histone deacetylase inhibitor to up-regulate Nrf2 expression with enhanced H3K9Ac modification on its promoter. NaB-induced Nrf2 activation stimulates transcription of downstream antioxidant enzymes, thus contributing to the amelioration of high-fat diet-induced oxidative stress and insulin resistance.
This study aimed to determine whether increased carotenoids intake was associated with reduced risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). We performed a cross-sectional analysis using data from Tongji Maternal and Child Health Cohort study. The dietary carotenoids intake of 1978 pregnant women was assessed using a researcher-administered FFQ before undertaking an oral glucose tolerance test at 24–28 weeks. Multivariate logistic and linear regression analyses were used to obtain the effect estimates. Participants in the highest quartile of lycopene intake showed a lower risk of GDM (OR 0·50; 95 % CI 0·29, 0·86; Pfor trend = 0·007) compared with those in the lowest quartile; each 1 mg increase in lycopene consumption was associated with a 5 % (95 % CI 0·91, 0·99; Pfor trend = 0·020) decrease in GDM risk. No significant association was found between α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin intake and GDM risk. Multiple linear regression analysis suggested an inverse association between lycopene intake and fasting blood glucose (FBG) (Pfor trend < 0·001); each 1 mg increase in lycopene intake was associated with 0·005 (95 % CI 0·002, 0·007; Pfor trend < 0·001) mmol/l decrease in FBG. Interaction analysis indicated consistent effect on each age or pre-BMI subgroup; however, a stronger protective effect of lycopene intake against GDM was observed among primigravid women (OR 0·20; 95 % CI 0·07, 0·55 in the highest v. the lowest quartile of intake; Pfor interaction = 0·036). In conclusion, dietary lycopene intake was mainly assumed via reducing FBG to decrease GDM risk, and the protection was relatively increased among primigravid women.
Graphene oxide (GO) is a promising material in improving the corrosion resistance properties of metals. This improvement significantly relies on the microstructure and electrical properties of GO, which nevertheless is rarely studied. Here, multiscale GOs with different flake sizes and oxidation degrees were fabricated and incorporated into waterborne alkyd resin (AR). The physical and chemical structures of GO and AR/GO composites were characterized in detail. Multiscale GOs are successfully prepared, and the corrosion resistance of AR/GO coatings is measured by electrochemical workstation. Electrochemical experiments indicate that GOs with larger flake sizes have excellent barrier properties due to the shielding effect; GOs with appropriate oxidation degrees could effectively improve the dispersion of GO and avoid the conductive path of GO in the matrix, because oxidation degree of GO could influence the dispersion and electrical properties. The corrosion protection efficiency of AR/GO(GO: 120 μm, 1.5 wt%, sp2/sp3 = 2.61) is 98.14%, which is 2.26 times higher than AR. The multiscale effects of GO on the corrosion resistance property of AR coatings are quite general, thus providing guidelines for developing highly efficient corrosion resistant coatings for practical usage.
Heavy metal contamination in the paddy soils of China is a serious concern because of its health risk through transfer in food chains. A field experiment was conducted in 2014–2015 to investigate the long-term effects of different biochar amendments on cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) immobilisation in a contaminated paddy field in southern China. Two types of biochar, a rice-straw-derived biochar (RB) and a coconut-by-product-derived biochar (CB), were amended separately to determine their impacts on rice yield and their efficacy in reducing Cd and As in rice. The two-year field experiment showed that biochar amendments significantly improved the rice yields and that CB is superior to RB, especially in the first growth season. Using a large amount of biochar amendment (22.5tha–1) significantly increased soil pH and total organic carbon, and concomitantly decreased the Cd content in rice grains over the four growth seasons, regardless of biochar type and application rate. Arsenic levels in rice were similar to the control, and results from this study suggest that there was a sustainable effect of biochar on Cd sequestration in soil and reduction of Cd accumulation in rice for at least two years. Biochar amendment in soil could be considered as a sustainable, reliable and cost-effective option to remediate heavy metal contamination in paddy fields for long periods.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
To investigate the protein-sparing effect of α-lipoic acid (LA), experimental fish (initial body weight: 18·99 (sd 1·82) g) were fed on a 0, 600 or 1200 mg/kg α-LA diet for 56 d, and hepatocytes were treated with 20 μm compound C, the inhibitor of AMP kinase α (AMPKα), treated for 30 min before α-LA treatment for 24 h. LA significantly decreased lipid content of the whole body and other tissues (P<0·05), and it also promoted protein deposition in vivo (P<0·05). Further, dietary LA significantly decreased the TAG content of serum and increased the NEFA content of serum (P<0·05); however, there were no significant differences among all groups in the hepatopancreas and muscle (P>0·05). Consistent with results from the experiment in vitro, LA activated phosphorylation of AMPKα and notably increased the protein content of adipose TAG lipase in intraperitoneal fat, hepatopancreas and muscle in vivo (P<0·05). Meanwhile, LA significantly up-regulated the mRNA expression of genes involved in fatty acid β-oxidation in the same three areas, and LA also obviously down-regulated the mRNA expression of genes involved in amino acid catabolism in muscle (P<0·05). Besides, it was observed that LA significantly activated the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in muscle of experimental fish (P<0·05). LA could promote lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation via increasing energy supply from lipid catabolism, and then, it could economise on the protein from energy production to increase protein deposition in grass carp. Besides, LA might directly promote protein synthesis through activating the mTOR pathway.
Tactical monitoring and controlling of air traffic is becoming increasingly difficult to manage for Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) owing to an increasingly complex traffic flow. A dynamic tactical complexity model, herein known as Conflict Activity Level (CAL), has been developed and is presented in this paper. This can be achieved either by establishing an overall score for an entire region or sub-regions of interest as specified by user's input location and time. This is done by evaluating the likely aircraft flight shape profile based on its current and projected position and trajectory. From the flight shape profile, CAL values are computed based on instantaneous existing traffic numbers in the overall region or sub-regions of interest. The proposed complexity approach shows good agreement with other methods in terms of ranking the order of complexity of various air traffic scenarios and the key influencing factors contributing to conflict.
Current approaches to food volume estimation require the person to carry a fiducial marker (e.g. a checkerboard card), to be placed next to the food before taking a picture. This procedure is inconvenient and post-processing of the food picture is time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate. These problems keep people from using the smartphone for self-administered dietary assessment. The current bioengineering study presents a novel smartphone-based imaging approach to table-side estimation of food volume which overcomes current limitations.
We present a new method for food volume estimation without a fiducial marker. Our mathematical model indicates that, using a special picture-taking strategy, the smartphone-based imaging system can be calibrated adequately if the physical length of the smartphone and the output of the motion sensor within the device are known. We also present and test a new virtual reality method for food volume estimation using the International Food Unit™ and a training process for error control.
Our pilot study, with sixty-nine participants and fifteen foods, indicates that the fiducial-marker-free approach is valid and that the training improves estimation accuracy significantly (P<0·05) for all but one food (egg, P>0·05).
Elimination of a fiducial marker and application of virtual reality, the International Food Unit™ and an automated training allowed quick food volume estimation and control of the estimation error. The estimated volume could be used to search a nutrient database and determine energy and nutrients in the diet.
To develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithm which can automatically detect food items from images acquired by an egocentric wearable camera for dietary assessment.
To study human diet and lifestyle, large sets of egocentric images were acquired using a wearable device, called eButton, from free-living individuals. Three thousand nine hundred images containing real-world activities, which formed eButton data set 1, were manually selected from thirty subjects. eButton data set 2 contained 29 515 images acquired from a research participant in a week-long unrestricted recording. They included both food- and non-food-related real-life activities, such as dining at both home and restaurants, cooking, shopping, gardening, housekeeping chores, taking classes, gym exercise, etc. All images in these data sets were classified as food/non-food images based on their tags generated by a convolutional neural network.
A cross data-set test was conducted on eButton data set 1. The overall accuracy of food detection was 91·5 and 86·4 %, respectively, when one-half of data set 1 was used for training and the other half for testing. For eButton data set 2, 74·0 % sensitivity and 87·0 % specificity were obtained if both ‘food’ and ‘drink’ were considered as food images. Alternatively, if only ‘food’ items were considered, the sensitivity and specificity reached 85·0 and 85·8 %, respectively.
The AI technology can automatically detect foods from low-quality, wearable camera-acquired real-world egocentric images with reasonable accuracy, reducing both the burden of data processing and privacy concerns.
Spirituality is what gives people meaning and purpose in life, and it has been recognized as a critical factor in patients’ well-being, particularly at the ends of their lives. Studies have demonstrated relationships between spirituality and patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life and mental health. Although a number of studies have suggested that spiritual belief can be associated with mortality, the results are inconsistent. We aimed to determine whether spirituality was related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea.
For this multicenter study, we recruited adult advanced cancer inpatients who had been admitted to seven palliative care units with estimated survival of <3 months. We measured spirituality at admission using the Korean version of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-sp), which comprises two subscales: meaning/peace and faith. We calculated a Kaplan-Meier curve for spirituality, dichotomized at the predefined cutoffs and medians for the total scale and each of the two subscales, and performed univariate regression with a Cox proportional hazard model.
We enrolled a total of 204 adults (mean age: 64.5 ± 13.0; 48.5% female) in the study. The most common primary cancer diagnoses were lung (21.6%), colorectal (18.6%), and liver/biliary tract (13.0%). Median survival was 19.5 days (95% confidence interval [CI95%]: 23.5, 30.6). Total FACIT-sp score was not related to survival time (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.981, CI95% = 0.957, 1.007), and neither were the scores for its two subscales, meaning/peace (HR = 0.969, CI95% = 0.932, 1.008) and faith (HR = 0.981, CI95% = 0.938, 1.026).
Significance of results
Spirituality was not related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea. Plausible mechanisms merit further investigation.
Colistin, a peptide antibiotic belonging to the polymyxin family, is one of the last effective drugs for the treatment of multidrug resistant Gram-negative infections. Recent discovery of a novel mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, from people and food animals has caused a significant public health concern and drawn worldwide attention. Extensive usage of colistin in food animals has been proposed as a major driving force for the emergence and transmission of mcr-1; thus, there is a worldwide trend to limit colistin usage in animal production. However, despite lack of colistin usage in food animals in the USA, mcr-1-positive Escherichia coli isolates were still isolated from swine. In this paper, we provided an overview of colistin usage and epidemiology of mcr-1 in food animals, and summarized the current status of mechanistic and evolutionary studies of the plasmid-mediated colistin resistance. Based on published information, we further discussed several non-colistin usage risk factors that may contribute to the persistence, transmission, and emergence of colistin resistance in an animal production system. Filling the knowledge gaps identified in this review is critical for risk assessment and risk management of colistin resistance, which will facilitate proactive and effective strategies to mitigate colistin resistance in future animal production systems.
Athetis lepigone (Möschler) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a new outbreak pest in China. Consequently, it is unclear whether the emergence and spread of the outbreak of this pest are triggered by rapid in situ population size increases in each outbreak area, or by immigrants from a potential source area in China. In order to explore the outbreak process of this pest through a population genetics approach, we developed ten novel polymorphic expressed sequence tags (EST)-derived microsatellites. These new microsatellites had moderately high levels of polymorphism in the tested population. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 3 to 19, with an average of 8.6, and the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.269 to 0.783. A preliminary population genetic analysis using these new microsatellites revealed a lack of population genetic structure in natural populations of A. lepigone. The estimates of recent migration rate revealed strong gene flow among populations. In conclusion, our study developed the first set of EST-microsatellite markers and shed a new light on the population genetic structure of this pest in China.
The earliest fossil record of animal biomineralization occurs in the latest Ediacaran Period (c. 550 Ma). Cloudina and Sinotubulites are two important tubular taxa among these earliest skeletal fossils. The evolutionary fate of Cloudina-type fossils across the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition, however, remains poorly understood. Here we report a multi-layered tubular microfossil Feiyanella manica gen. et sp. nov. from a phosphorite interval of the lowest Cambrian Kuanchuanpu Formation, southern Shaanxi Province, South China. This newly discovered fossil is a conical tube with a ‘funnel-in-funnel’ construction, showing profound morphological similarities to Cloudina and Conotubus. On the other hand, the outer few layers, and particularly the outermost layer, of Feiyanella tubes are regularly to irregularly corrugated, a feature strikingly similar to the variably folded/wrinkled tube walls of Sinotubulites. The Feiyanella tubes additionally exhibit two orders of dichotomous branching, similar to branching structures reported occasionally in Cloudina and possibly indicative of asexual reproduction. Owing to broad similarities in tube morphology, tube wall construction and features presumably indicative of asexual reproduction, Cloudina, Conotubus, Sinotubulites and the here described Feiyanella may thus constitute a monophyletic group traversing the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary. The tube construction and palaeoecological strategy of Feiyanella putatively indicate evolutionary continuity in morphology and palaeoecology of benthic metazoan communities across the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition.
To trace past changes in flooding frequency, we investigated fluvial sediments in the middle reach of the Nakdong River, South Korea. Sediments with larger grain size, lower total organic carbon percentage, and depleted δ13C values in the recovered sediment cores were interpreted as periods of more frequent flooding. Patterns of decreased long-term flooding frequency and vegetation changes during the early to late Holocene were similar to the decreasing regional summer monsoon intensity. Multicentennial frequent flooding periods in the study area (2900–3400 cal yr BP, 3600–3900 cal yr BP, 4600–5300 cal yr BP, and 5800–6400 cal yr BP) corresponded to stronger El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity periods. Based on previous studies showing that high-frequency tropical typhoon-driven coastal inundation along the western coast of Japan during the middle to late Holocene was coupled with stronger ENSO activity, it is likely that the observed centennial-to-millennial-scale flood frequency change in South Korea was influenced mainly by changes in the genesis and tracks of tropical typhoons at centennial-to-millennial time scales. This suggests that the centennial-to-millennial-scale hydrologic changes in East Asia were linked to the remote atmospheric-oceanic circulation changes represented by an ENSO-like pattern.
Personality may predispose family caregivers to experience caregiving differently in similar situations and influence the outcomes of caregiving. A limited body of research has examined the role of some personality traits for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) in relation to burden and depression.
Data from a large clinic-based national study in South Korea, the Caregivers of Alzheimer's Disease Research (CARE), were analyzed (N = 476). Path analysis was performed to explore the association between family caregivers’ personality traits and HRQoL. With depression and burden as mediating factors, direct and indirect associations between five personality traits and HRQoL of family caregivers were examined.
Results demonstrated the mediating role of caregiver burden and depression in linking two personality traits (neuroticism and extraversion) and HRQoL. Neuroticism and extraversion directly and indirectly influenced the mental HRQoL of caregivers. Neuroticism and extraversion only indirectly influenced their physical HRQoL. Neuroticism increased the caregiver's depression, whereas extraversion decreased it. Neuroticism only was mediated by burden to influence depression and mental and physical HRQoL.
Personality traits can influence caregiving outcomes and be viewed as an individual resource of the caregiver. A family caregiver's personality characteristics need to be assessed for tailoring support programs to get the optimal benefits from caregiver interventions.
The HoDoo English game was developed to take advantage of the benefits attributed to on-line games while teaching English to native Korean speakers. We expected to see that the improvements in the subjects’ English language abilities after playing the HoDoo English game would be associated with increased brain functional connectivity in the areas of the brain involved in the language production (Broca’s area) and the understanding (Wernicke’s area) networks. Twelve children, aged nine and ten, were asked to play the on-line English education game for 50 minutes per day, five days per week for twelve weeks. At baseline, and again at the end of twelve weeks of game play, each child’s English language ability was assessed and a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan was conducted. The on-line English education game play effectively improved English language skills, especially in terms of non-verbal pragmatic skills. Following twelve weeks of on-line English education game play, the children showed positive connectivity between Broca’s area and the left frontal cortex as well as between Wernicke’s area and the left parahippocampal gyrus and the right medial frontal gyrus. Changes in pragmatic scores were positively correlated with average peak brain activity in the left parahippocampal gyrus. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report an improvement in English ability and changes in brain activity within language areas after on-line language education game play.
To date, many studies surveying the bacterial communities in lichen thalli from diverse geographical areas have shown that Alphaproteobacteria is the predominant bacterial class in most lichens. In this study, bacterial communities in several Antarctic lichens with different growth form and substrates were analysed. The bacterial community composition in fruticose and foliose lichens, Cladonia, Umbilicaria and Usnea, and crustose lichens, Buelia granulosa, Amandinea coniops and Ochrolechia parella, from King George Island was analysed by pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. Results showed that Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes were predominant phyla. The predominant bacterial class in most of the samples was Alphaproteobacteria. Acetobacteriaceae of the order Rhodospiralles in Alphaproteobacteria was the most abundant bacterial family in Antarctic lichens. The LAR1 lineage of the order Rhizobiales, a putative N-fixer which has been frequently observed in lichens from temperate areas, was detected only from a few samples at low frequency. It is expected that other bacterial taxa are working as N-fixers in Antarctic lichens. From the PCoA analysis of the Fast UniFrac distance matrix, it was proposed that the microbial community structures in Antarctic lichens were affected by host species, growth form and substrates.