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We return to the long-standing question ‘Who owns the assets in a defined benefit pension plan?’ Unlike earlier studies, we condition the market's assessment of implicit property rights on the sponsoring firm's financial health. Valuations of financially strong firms, and those that are strengthening, are more responsive to pension plan funding. For these firms, each extra dollar of net plan assets is valued at between $0.50 and $1.00. In contrast, for weak and weakening firms, valuation effects are statistically indistinguishable from zero. This result is consistent with the higher likelihood that they will renege on their pension obligations.
Like any therapy, acupuncture is effective for some patients, while not helpful for others. Understanding from a patients' perspective what makes one respond or not to acupuncture can help guide further intervention development. This study aimed to identify factors that influence the perception of acupuncture's therapeutic effect among cancer survivors with insomnia.
We conducted post-treatment semi-structured interviews with cancer survivors who were randomized to the acupuncture group in a clinical trial for the treatment of insomnia. Survivors were categorized into Responders and Non-Responders to acupuncture treatment based on the change in the Insomnia Severity Index with a reduction of eight points or greater as the cut-off for the response. An integrated approach to data analysis was utilized by merging an a priori set of codes derived from the key ideas and a set of codes that emerged from the data through a grounded theory approach. Codes were examined for themes and patterns.
Among 28 cancer survivors interviewed, 18 (64%) were classified as Responders. Participants perceived the ability to respond to acupuncture as dependent on treatment that effectively: (1) alleviated co-morbidities contributing to insomnia, (2) supported sleep hygiene practices, and (3) provided a durable therapeutic effect. Acupuncture treatment that did not address one of these themes often detracted from positive treatment outcomes and diminished perceived benefit from acupuncture.
Significance of results
We identified patient-perceived contributors to response to acupuncture, such as co-morbid medical conditions, adequate support for sleep hygiene practices, and temporary therapeutic relief. Addressing these factors may improve the overall effectiveness of acupuncture for insomnia.
Single-crystalline gallium arsenide (GaAs) grown by various techniques can exhibit hillock defects on the surface when sub-optimal growth conditions are employed. The defects act as nonradiative recombination centers and limit solar cell performance. In this paper, we applied near-field transport imaging to study hillock defects in a GaAs thin film. On the same defects, we also performed near-field cathodoluminescence, standard cathodoluminescence, electron-backscattered diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry. We found that the luminescence intensity around the hillock area is two orders of magnitude lower than on the area without hillock defects in the millimeter region, and the excess carrier diffusion length is degraded by at least a factor of five with significant local variation. The optical and transport properties are affected over a significantly larger region than the observed topography and crystallographic and chemical compositions associated with the defect.
Evidence on long-term influences of maternal vitamin B12 deficiency or concentrations on infant cognition is limited. We examined associations between maternal plasma vitamin B12 and cognitive development in 24-month-old infants. Maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentrations were measured at 26–28 weeks’ gestation; infant cognitive development was assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III at 24 months, for 443 mother–infant pairs from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes cohort. Linear regressions adjusted for key confounders examined associations of maternal vitamin B12 with cognitive, receptive and expressive language, fine and gross motor subscales. Co-occurrence of maternal vitamin B12 with folate or vitamin B6 insufficiencies on child’s cognition was explored. Average maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentrations was 220·5 ± 80·5 pmol/l; 15 % and 41 % of mothers were vitamin B12 deficient (<148 pmol/l) and insufficient (148–220·9 pmol/l), respectively. Infants of mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency had 0·42 (95 % CI −0·70, −0·14) sd lower cognitive scores, compared with infants of mothers with sufficient vitamin B12. Co-occurrence of maternal vitamins B12 and B6 insufficiencies was associated with 0·37 (95 % CI −0·69, −0·06) sd lower cognitive scores in infants compared with infants of mothers sufficient in both vitamins. No significant associations were observed with other subscales. Study findings suggest the possible need to ensure adequate vitamin B12 during pregnancy. The impact of co-occurrence of maternal B-vitamins insufficiencies on early cognitive development warrants further investigation.
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a hyperkinetic movement disorder associated with antipsychotic treatment. RE KINECT (NCT03062033), a real-world study of outpatients prescribed antipsychotics, was designed to identify the presence of possible TD and characterize the impact of involuntary movements on functioning and quality of life. Data from RE-KINECT were used to compare the impact of possible TD in patients with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder [SZD] versus mood/other psychiatric disorders [Mood].
Adults with ≥3months of lifetime exposure to antipsychotics and ≥1 psychiatric disorder were recruited. The presence of possible TD was based on clinicians’ observation of involuntary movements in 4 body regions (head, trunk, upper extremities, and lower extremities). Baseline outcomes included demographics, medication history, location/severity of abnormal movements, impact of abnormal movements on daily activities, the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS), and the EuroQoL 5-Dimensional questionnaire (EQ-5D-5L).
Of 204 patients with clinician-confirmed possible TD, 111 (54.4%) had a SZD diagnosis and 93 (45.6%) had a mood/other psychiatric diagnosis. Significant differences found between groups (Mood vs SZD) included: mean age (56.9 vs 52.7 years; P=0.0263); male sex (33.3% vs 62.2%; P<0.0001); African-American race (7.5% vs 26.1%; P=0.0005); mean lifetime exposure to antipsychotics (9.5 vs 19.5 years; P<0.0001); and percentage of patients currently taking ≥2 psychiatric medications (93.5% vs 79.3%; P=0.0093). Based on clinician observation, there were no significant differences between diagnosis groups in the number of body regions impacted by abnormal movements, maximum severity score across all 4 regions, or patient awareness of possible TD. Over 30% of patients in both groups reported that involuntary movements had “some” or “a lot” of impact on their ability to continue usual activities, be productive, and socialize. No significant differences between the diagnosis groups (Mood vs SZD) were found for mean SDS total score (12.8 vs 10.8), SDS domain scores (work/school [4.1 vs 4.2], social life [4.3 vs 3.7], family life [4.1 vs 3.5]), EQ-5D-5L utility score (0.68 vs 0.74), or EQ-5D-5L health state VAS (64.8 vs 68.5).
In this cohort of outpatients with possible TD, those with Mood disorders were more likely to be older, female, and white than patients with SZD. The ability to function and quality of life were equally impaired in both groups. Further studies on the impact of TD are needed.
Funding Acknowledgements: Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.
Nanocrystalline (NC) and ultrafine-grained (UFG) CoCrCuFeNi high-entropy alloy (HEA) with grain size ranging between 59 and 386 nm was produced via powder metallurgy and heat treatment. The as-sintered HEA exhibited two face-centered cubic (FCC) phases (CoCrFeNi-rich and Cu-rich phases) and a small grain size (59 nm), whereas the alloy after heat treatment at 1000 °C exhibited a CoCuFeNi-rich phase with FCC structure and relatively larger grain size (386 nm). Moreover, the yield strength decreased from 1930 to 883 MPa, and plastic strain to failure increased by 8–32%. In terms of microstructural evolution, grain boundary strengthening coupled with lattice distortion was the dominant strengthening mechanism for NC HEAs. Furthermore, the coefficient for boundary strengthening was higher in the HEAs than in the corresponding pure elemental metals with FCC structure, possibly because of significant lattice distortion. The UFG HEAs exhibited high strength and good ductility because of the activation of dislocation.
The present study aimed to compare the anti-biofilm activities of four commonly available antiseptic eardrops against biofilms from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and quinolone-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in vitro.
The anti-biofilm activities of 50 per cent Burow's solution, vinegar with water (1:1), 2 per cent acetic acid solution, and 4 per cent boric acid solution were evaluated using biofilm assays. Additionally, the anti-biofilm activities of the four antiseptic solutions against tympanostomy tube biofilms were compared using a scanning electron microscope.
The inhibition of biofilm formation from methicillin-resistant S aureus and quinolone-resistant P aeruginosa occurred after treatment with 4 per cent boric acid solution, 2 per cent acetic acid solution, and vinegar with water (1:1). However, 50 per cent Burow's solution did not exhibit effective anti-biofilm activity.
The results indicate that 4 per cent boric acid solution and vinegar with water (1:1) are potent inhibitors of biofilms from methicillin-resistant S aureus and quinolone-resistant P aeruginosa, and provide safe pH levels for avoiding ototoxicity.
Mastery of strengthening strategies to achieve high-capacity anodes for lithium-ion batteries can shed light on understanding the nature of diffusion-induced stress and offer an approach to use submicro-sized materials with an ultrahigh capacity for large-scale batteries. Here, we report solute strengthening in a series of silicon (Si)–germanium (Ge) alloys. When the larger solute atom (Ge) is added to the solvent atoms (Si), a compressive stress is generated in the vicinity of Ge atoms. This local stress field interacts with resident dislocations and subsequently impedes their motion to increase the yield stress in the alloys. The addition of Ge into Si substantially improves the capacity retention, particularly in Si0.50Ge0.50, aligning with literature reports that the Si/Ge alloy showed a maximum yield stress in Si0.50Ge0.50. In situ X-ray diffraction studies on the Si0.50Ge0.50 electrode show that the phase change undergoes three subsequent steps during the lithiation process: removal of surface oxide layer, formation of cluster-size Lix(Si,Ge), and formation of crystalline Li15(Si,Ge)4. Furthermore, the lithiation process starts from higher index facets, i.e., (220) and (311), then through the low index facet (111), suggesting the orientation-dependence of the lithiation process in the Si0.50Ge0.50 electrode.
Insomnia is underrecognized and inadequately managed, with close to 60% of cancer survivors experiencing insomnia at some point in the treatment trajectory. The objective of this study was to further understand predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors in the development and maintenance of insomnia in cancer survivors.
A heterogeneous sample of 63 patients who had completed active treatment was recruited. Participants were required to have a score >7 on the Insomnia Severity Index and meet the diagnostic criteria for insomnia disorder. Open-ended, semistructured interviews were conducted to elicit participants’ experiences with sleep problems. An a priori set of codes and a set of codes that emerged from the data were used to analyze the data.
The mean age of the sample was 60.5 years, with 30% identifying as non-white and 59% reporting their sex as female. The cancer types represented were heterogeneous with the two most common being breast (30%) and prostate (21%). Participants described an inherited risk for insomnia, anxious temperament, and insufficient ability to relax as predisposing factors. Respondents were split as to whether they classified their cancer diagnosis as the precipitating factor for their insomnia. Participants reported several behaviors that are known to perpetuate problems with sleep including napping, using back-lit electronics before bed, and poor sleep hygiene. One of the most prominent themes identified was the use of sleeping medications. Participants reported that they were reluctant to take medication but felt that it was the only option to treat their insomnia and that it was encouraged by their doctors.
Significance of results
Insomnia is a prevalent, but highly treatable, disorder in cancer survivors. Patients and provider education is needed to change individual and organizational behaviors that contribute to the development and maintenance of insomnia and increase access to evidence-based nonpharmacological interventions.
The in vivo effects of administering free and microencapsulated Lactobacillus plantarum LIP-1 cells (2·0×109 colony-forming units/d) were evaluated in high-fat-diet-induced hyperlipidaemic rats. Results from real-time quantitative PCR targeting to LIP-1 cells showed a higher colon colonisation count of LIP-1 in the rats receiving microencapsulated cells compared with free cells (P<0·05). Moreover, the microencapsulated LIP-1 treatment resulted in a more obvious lipid-lowering effect (P<0·05). Meanwhile, their faecal samples had significantly less lipopolysaccharide-producing bacteria (especially Bilophila, Sutterella and Oscillibacter) and mucosa-damaging bacteria (Bilophila and Akkermansia muciniphila), whereas significantly more SCFA-producing bacteria (P<0·05) (namely Lactobacillus, Alloprevotella, Coprococcus, Eubacterium and Ruminococcus) and bacteria that potentially possessed bile salt hydrolase activity (Bacteroides, Clostridium, Eubacterium and Lactobacillus), and other beneficial bacteria (Alistipes and Turicibacter). Further, Spearman’s correlation analysis showed significant correlations between some of the modulated gut bacteria and the serum lipid levels. These results together confirm that microcapsulation enhanced the colon colonisation of LIP-1 cells, which subsequently exhibited more pronounced effects in improving the gut microbiota composition of hyperlipidaemic rats and lipid reduction.
Faster eating rates are associated with increased energy intake, but little is known about the relationship between children’s eating rate, food intake and adiposity. We examined whether children who eat faster consume more energy and whether this is associated with higher weight status and adiposity. We hypothesised that eating rate mediates the relationship between child weight and ad libitum energy intake. Children (n 386) from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes cohort participated in a video-recorded ad libitum lunch at 4·5 years to measure acute energy intake. Videos were coded for three eating-behaviours (bites, chews and swallows) to derive a measure of eating rate (g/min). BMI and anthropometric indices of adiposity were measured. A subset of children underwent MRI scanning (n 153) to measure abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adiposity. Children above/below the median eating rate were categorised as slower and faster eaters, and compared across body composition measures. There was a strong positive relationship between eating rate and energy intake (r 0·61, P<0·001) and a positive linear relationship between eating rate and children’s BMI status. Faster eaters consumed 75 % more energy content than slower eating children (Δ548 kJ (Δ131 kcal); 95 % CI 107·6, 154·4, P<0·001), and had higher whole-body (P<0·05) and subcutaneous abdominal adiposity (Δ118·3 cc; 95 % CI 24·0, 212·7, P=0·014). Mediation analysis showed that eating rate mediates the link between child weight and energy intake during a meal (b 13·59; 95 % CI 7·48, 21·83). Children who ate faster had higher energy intake, and this was associated with increased BMI z-score and adiposity.
There is accumulating evidence for the role of fronto-striatal and associated circuits in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) but limited and conflicting data on alterations in cortical thickness.
To investigate alterations in cortical thickness and subcortical volume in OCD.
In total, 412 patients with OCD and 368 healthy adults underwent magnetic resonance imaging scans. Between-group analysis of covariance of cortical thickness and subcortical volumes was performed and regression analyses undertaken.
Significantly decreased cortical thickness was found in the OCD group compared with controls in the superior and inferior frontal, precentral, posterior cingulate, middle temporal, inferior parietal and precuneus gyri. There was also a group x age interaction in the parietal cortex, with increased thinning with age in the OCD group relative to controls.
Our findings are partially consistent with earlier work, suggesting that group differences in grey matter volume and cortical thickness could relate to the same underlying pathology of OCD. They partially support a frontostriatal model of OCD, but also suggest that limbic, temporal and parietal regions play a role in the pathophysiology of the disorder. The group x age interaction effects may be the result of altered neuroplasticity.
We have observed SgrA at 332 MHz (92 cm) with a resolution of 12 arcsec (0.6 pc) using the four configurations of the VIA. These results illustrate the dramatic and almost unique variation of radio spectral index within the central 3–4 arcmin of the galactic center. SgrA East is a non-thermal shell source that could be a supernova remnant or a very low-luminosity example of a radio component associated with the active nucleus of a spiral galaxy. The most dramatic aspect of the new 332 MHz observations is the appearance of the the SgrA West spiral features in absorption against SgrA East. Based on these results, SgrA East is situated behind SgrA West, the center of the galaxy. The halo is in front of or surrounds the former sources. The HII regions to the east of SgrA East (1 = −0°.02, b = −0°.07) are probably associated with the 50 km/s molecular cloud. The 7 arcmin halo (20 pc) has a non-thermal spectrum with turn-over below 1 GHz.
I deficiency is a worldwide public health problem. Median urinary I concentration in school-aged children has been used globally as a proxy for all populations. This study aims to determine whether median urinary I concentration of school-aged children is an appropriate indicator of I nutritional status in different adult populations. This is a secondary data analysis of two national I Deficiency Disorder surveys (2011, 2014) and two regional surveys (in coastal areas, 2009, and in high-risk areas, 2009–2014). Population groups included in these surveys were school-aged children (8–10 years), pregnant women, lactating women, women of childbearing age and adults (men and women, 18–45 years). All participants were self-reported healthy without history of thyroid diseases or were not using thyroid medicines. The median urinary I concentration of school-aged children was matched with that of the other population at the county level. The matched populations had similar iodised salt supply, food and water I, food composition and I content in salt. Weak or moderate correlation of median urinary I concentrations was observed between school-aged children and pregnant women and between children and lactating women. However, the agreement was stronger between children and women of childbearing age and between children and adult men and women. The results could be affected by cut-off values, data aggregation level and sample size. Using median urinary I concentration of school-aged children tends to overestimate that of pregnant women and lactating women. Median urinary I concentration of school-aged children can be used for assessing I nutrition in the adult population.
Many previous studies on the sample preparation of various kinds of radiocarbon dating samples by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) have been examined at KIGAM (Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources) and our own procedures have been established. Furthermore, an automated reduction system has been developed. The volume of the reduction region was minimized to improve the reduction yield, and air-actuated pneumatic valves and solenoid arrays were used for computer control of the system. Operation of all the valves and vacuum pumps and signals from the temperature sensors and pressure gauges were interfaced to a personal computer with an A/D board. A computer program was also developed to perform automatic operation of the reduction system. This system consistently shows a higher reduction yield than 90%. The reduction time of the system is currently 140 min.
The valley of the Baxie River, situated in the western region of the Loess Plateau in central China, contains a loess profile 15 m thick, which can be considered representative of loess-paleosol sequences formed over the last 17 ka. Both thermoluminescence (TL) determinations on fine-grained sediment (4–11 μm) and 14C determinations on various organic fractions of paleosols from the profile have provided an extremely useful chronological framework for these sequences. These sequences indicate a weakened summer monsoon during the last glacial maximum followed by a strengthening of the summer monsoon, beginning ca. 13 ka cal bp. An abrupt change to a weakened summer monsoon regime lasted from ca. 10.9 to 10.2 ka cal bp. The Asian summer monsoon circulation, recording the Holocene optimum, then increased and lasted from ca. 10.2 to 6 ka cal bp. The organic component of samples taken down the profile has δ13C values ranging from −21 to −24‰ with respect to the PDB standard. The more positive δ13C values suggest that the proportion of C4-type plants in river valleys of the Loess Plateau increased as Asian summer monsoon influence weakened, and C3-type vegetation increased as the summer monsoon influence strengthened. Magnetic susceptibility and organic content were low during loess deposition, also reflecting weakening of summer monsoon. Two 14C determinations on the humin fraction of the organic component near the top of the lower paleosol and the base of the upper paleosol complex gave ages of 10.2 and 10.9 ka cal BP, respectively. These ages mark the beginning and termination of a brief event involving increased dust influx under weakened summer monsoon conditions.
Controversy exists over antidepressant use in bipolar II depression.
To compare the safety and effectiveness of antidepressant v. mood stabiliser monotherapy for bipolar type II major depressive episodes.
Randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, 12-week comparison of venlafaxine (n = 65) v. lithium (n = 64) monotherapy in adult out-patients (trial registration number NCT00602537).
Primary outcome – venlafaxine produced a greater response rate (67.7%) v. lithium (34.4%, P<0.001). Secondary outcomes – venlafaxine produced a greater remission rate (58.5% v. 28.1%, P<0.001); greater decline in depression symptom scores over time (β=–5.32, s.e. = 1.16, χ2 = 21.19, P<0.001); greater reduction in global severity scores over time (β=–1.05, s.e. = 0.22, χ2 = 22.33, P<0.001); and greater improvement in global change scores (β=–1.31, s.e. = 0.32, χ2 = 16.95, P<0.001) relative to lithium. No statistically significant or clinically meaningful differences in hypomanic symptoms were observed between treatments.
These findings suggest that short-term venlafaxine monotherapy may provide effective antidepressant treatment for bipolar II depression without a statistically significant increase in hypomanic symptoms relative to lithium.