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The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
In this paper we report high voltage MOS and Schottky Diode CV techniques for silicon and SiC power devices. 4H Silicon carbide is a wide bandgap semiconductor suitable for high voltage power electronics and RF applications due to high avalanche breakdown critical electric field, and thermal conductivity. The performance of various power devices, which may include MOSFET and Static Induction Transistor (SIT), can be affected by the deep level traps in the substrate and the oxide interfacial defects. We have characterized deep level trap (High Voltage Schottky Diode HF CV) and oxide interface trap densities (High Voltage HF MOS CV), measured the device channel doping profile for both 4H SiC and silicon, gate metal workfunction, and simulated the effects on DC/AC performance.
A stable reference gene is a key prerequisite for accurate assessment of gene expression. At present, the real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction has been widely used in the analysis of gene expression in a variety of organisms. Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes (Acari: Phytoseiidae) is a major predator of mites on many important economically crops. Until now, however, there are no reports evaluating the stability of reference genes in this species. In view of this, we used GeNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and RefFinder software tools to evaluate the expression stability of 11 candidate reference genes in developmental stages and under various abiotic stresses. According to our results, β-ACT and Hsp40 were the top two stable reference genes in developmental stages. The Hsp60 and Hsp90 were the most stable reference genes in various acaricides stress. For alterations in temperature, Hsp40 and α-TUB were the most suitable reference genes. About UV stress, EF1α and α-TUB were the best choice, and for the different prey stress, β-ACT and α-TUB were best suited. In normal conditions, the β-ACT and α-TUB were the two of the highest stable reference genes to respond to all kinds of stresses. The current study provided a valuable foundation for the further analysis of gene expression in N. barkeri.
It is difficult to control Holotrichia parallela Motschulsky with chemical insecticides due to the larvae's soil-living habit, thus the pest has caused great economic losses in agriculture. In addition, uridine diphosphate-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyze the glycosylation process of a variety of small lipophilic molecules with sugars to produce water-soluble glycosides, and play multiple roles in detoxification, endobiotic modulation, and sequestration in an insect. Some UGTs were found specifically expressed in antennae of Drosophila melanogaster and Spodoptera littoralis, and glucurono-conjugated odorants could not elicit any olfactory signals, suggesting that the UGTs may play roles in odorant inactivation by biotransformation. In the current study, we performed a genome-wide analysis of the candidate UGT family in the dark black chafer, H. parallela. Based on a UGT gene signature and the similarity of these genes to UGT homologs from other organisms, 20 putative H. parallela UGT genes were identified. Bioinformatics analysis was used to predict sequence and structural features of H. parallela UGT proteins, and revealed important domains and residues involved in sugar donor binding and catalysis by comparison with human UGT2B7. Phylogenetic analysis of these 20 UGT protein sequences revealed eight major groups, including both order-specific and conserved groups, which are common to more than one order. Of these 20 UGT genes, HparUGT1265-1, HparUGT3119, and HparUGT8312 were highly (>100-fold change) expressed in antennae, suggesting a possible role in olfactory tissue, and most likely in odorant inactivation and olfactory processing. The remaining UGT genes were expressed in all tissues (head, thorax, abdomen, leg, and wing), indicating that these UGTs likely have different biological functions. This study provides the fundamental basis for determining the function of UGTs in a highly specialized olfactory organ, the H. parallela antenna.
Multi-decade observing campaigns of the globular clusters 47 Tucanae and M15 have led to an outstanding number of discoveries. Here, we report on the latest results of the long-term observations of the pulsars in these two clusters. For most of the pulsars in 47 Tucanae we have measured, among other things, their higher-order spin period derivatives, which have in turn provided stringent constraints on the physical parameters of the cluster, such as its distance and gravitational potential. For M15, we have studied the relativistic spin precession effect in PSR B2127+11C. We have used full-Stokes observations to model the precession effect, and to constrain the system geometry. We find that the visible beam of the pulsar is swiftly moving away from our line of sight and may very soon become undetectable. On the other hand, we expect to see the opposite emission beam sometime between 2041 and 2053.
Mycobacterial diseases are prevalent in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, especially those receiving tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor (TNFi). However, the impact of cancer development on the risk of mycobacterial diseases among RA patients is unknown. Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database were used to conduct a retrospective study to assess the occurrence of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients developing cancer (cancer-positive), those using TNFi (TNFi-exposure), those with cancer and using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-comb), and those without cancer and not using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-free). Cancer and TNFi exposure were time-dependent, and independent risk factors of mycobacterial diseases were assessed by Cox regression. Among 1344 RA patients diagnosed during 2000–2013, 68 (5·1%) developed cancer before their end points. The incidence rates of mycobacterial diseases in the cancer-positive (n = 56), TNFi-exposure (n = 290), cancer-TNFi-comb (n = 12), and cancer-TNFi-free (n = 986) subgroups were 6·7, 2·0, 7·6, and 1·3 per 1000 person-years, respectively. As compared with the cancer-TNFi-free group, the risk for mycobacterial diseases increased for the TNFi-exposure group (adjusted HR = 3·6, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1·1–11·5, P = 0·032) and remained high for cancer-positive (adjusted HR = 14·6, 95% CI 3·3–63·7, P < 0·001) after adjustment. This study suggested that cancer development increased the risk of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients, and risk assessment for this subgroup should be considered.
Elderly individuals with tuberculosis (TB) are more likely to have a non-specific clinical presentation of TB and high mortality. However, factors associated with mortality in elderly TB patients have not been extensively studied. This retrospective cohort study aimed to identify factors associated with death among elderly Taiwanese with TB. All elderly patients with TB from 2006 to 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan, were included in a study. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with death in elderly TB patients. The mean age of the 5011 patients was 79·7 years; 74·1% were men; 32·7% had mortality during the study follow-up period. After controlling for potential confounders, age ⩾75 years (reference: 65–74 years), male sex, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), malignancy, acid-fast bacilli-smear positivity, TB-culture positivity, pleural effusion on chest radiograph and notification by an ordinary ward or intensive care unit were associated with a higher risk of all-cause death; while high school, and university or higher education, cavity on chest radiograph and directly observed therapy were associated with a lower risk of all-cause death. This study found that the proportion of death among elderly patients with TB in Taipei, Taiwan, was high. To improve TB treatment outcomes, future control programmes should particularly target individuals with comorbidities (e.g. ESRD and malignancy) and those with a lower socio-economic status (e.g. not educated).
For nearly a century, the incidence of cancer in people with schizophrenia was lower than in the general population. In the recent decade, the relationship between cancer and schizophrenia has become obscured. Thus, we investigated the cancer risk among young and middle-aged patients with schizophrenia.
Records of newly admitted patients with schizophrenia (n = 32 731) from January 2000 through December 2008 were retrieved from the Psychiatric Inpatient Medical Claims database in Taiwan, and the first psychiatric admission of each patient during the same period was defined as the baseline. We obtained 514 incident cancer cases that were monitored until December 2010. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated to compare the risk of cancer between those with schizophrenia and the general population. Stratified analyses of cancer incidences were performed by gender, site of cancers and duration since baseline (first psychiatric admission).
The incidence of cancer for all sites was slightly higher than that of the general population for the period (SIR = 1.15 [95% CI 1.06–1.26], p = 0.001). Men had a significantly higher incidence of colorectal cancer (SIR = 1.48 [95% CI 1.06–2.06], p = 0.019). Women had a higher incidence of breast cancer (SIR = 1.47 [95% CI 1.22–1.78], p < 0.001). Intriguingly, the risk for colorectal cancer was more pronounced 5 years after the first psychiatric admission rather than earlier (SIR = 1.94 [1.36–2.75], p < 0.001) and so was the risk for breast cancer (SIR = 1.85 [1.38–2.48], p < 0.001). The cancer incidence was higher in patients with schizophrenia contradicting the belief that schizophrenia was protective of cancers.
Our analyses suggest that men and women with schizophrenia were more vulnerable to certain types of cancers, which indicates the need for gender-specific cancer screening programs. The fact that risk of colorectal cancer was more pronounced 5 years after the first psychiatric admission could imply the impact of unhealthy lifestyles or the possibility of delayed diagnoses.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is frequently associated with poorer reading ability; however, the specific neuropsychological domains linking this co-occurrence remain unclear. This study evaluates information-processing characteristics as possible neuropsychological links between ADHD symptoms and RA in a community-based sample of children and early adolescents with normal IQ (⩾70).
The participants (n = 1857, aged 6–15 years, 47% female) were evaluated for reading ability (reading single words aloud) and information processing [stimulus discriminability in the two-choice reaction-time task estimated using diffusion models]. ADHD symptoms were ascertained through informant (parent) report using the Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA). Verbal working memory (VWM; digit span backwards), visuospatial working memory (VSWM, Corsi Blocks backwards), sex, socioeconomic status, and IQ were included as covariates.
In a moderated mediation model, stimulus discriminability mediated the effect of ADHD on reading ability. This indirect effect was moderated by age such that a larger effect was seen among younger children.
The findings support the hypothesis that ADHD and reading ability are linked among young children via a neuropsychological deficit related to stimulus discriminability. Early interventions targeting stimulus discriminability might improve symptoms of inattention/hyperactivity and reading ability.
In long-term care facilities (LTCFs), the elderly are apt to be infected because those with latent tuberculosis infections (LTBIs) are at an increased risk for reactivation and post-primary TB disease. We report an outbreak of TB in staff and residents in a LTCF. An outbreak investigation was conducted after two TB cases were reported from the LTCF. A tuberculin skin test (TST), bacteriological examination and chest radiograph were administered to all facility staff and residents. An outbreak is defined as at least two epidemiologically linked cases that have identical Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotype isolates. This outbreak infected eight residents and one staff member, who were confirmed to have TB in a LTCF between September 2011 and October 2012. Based on the Becker method, the latent and infectious periods were estimated at 223·6 and 55·9 days. Two initial TST-negative resident contacts were diagnosed as TB cases through comprehensive TB screening. Observing elderly people who have a negative TST after TB screening appears to be necessary, given the long latent period for controlling a TB outbreak in a LTCF. It is important to consider providing LTBI treatment for elderly contacts.
Vestibular schwannomas are a rare cause of asymmetrical hearing loss, and routine screening with magnetic resonance imaging can be costly. This paper reports results on vestibular schwannoma screening at our institution and compares the cost of screening to a utility of hearing benefit.
All screening examinations with magnetic resonance imaging performed for asymmetrical hearing loss between 2006 and 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. The cost per new vestibular schwannoma diagnosis was calculated. The cost per patient for those who benefitted from intervention was estimated based on rates of hearing preservation reported in the literature.
Forty-five (4.3 per cent) of 1050 screening examinations with magnetic resonance imaging performed for asymmetrical hearing loss were positive for vestibular schwannoma, and the cost per new diagnosis was $11 436. The estimated screening cost per patient for those who benefitted from surgery or radiation was $147 030, while US federal compensation for unilateral hearing loss was $44 888.
Although we achieved a lower screening cost per new diagnosis than reported in the current literature, there remains disparity between the screening cost per benefitted patient and the ‘benefit’ of hearing.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Mexican Americans living in South Texas. We tested plasma for the presence of HCV antibody from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC), a randomized, population-based cohort in an economically disadvantaged Mexican American community on the United States/Mexico border with high rates of chronic disease. A weighted prevalence of HCV antibody of 2·3% [n = 1131, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·2–3·4] was found. Participants with diabetes had low rates of HCV antibody (0·4%, 95% CI 0·0–0·9) and logistic regression revealed a statistically significant negative association between HCV and diabetes (OR 0·20, 95% CI 0·05–0·77) after adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical factors. This conflicts with reported positive associations of diabetes and HCV infection. No classic risk factors were identified, but important differences between genders emerged in analysis. This population-based study of HCV in Mexican Americans suggests that national studies do not adequately describe the epidemiology of HCV in this border community and that unique risk factors may be involved.
We studied the temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis, its association with flooding and animal census data in Thailand. Flood data from 2010 to 2012 were extracted from spatial information taken from satellite images. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was used to determine the relationship between spatio-temporal flooding patterns and the number of human leptospirosis cases. In addition, the area of flood coverage, duration of waterlogging, time lags between flood events, and a number of potential animal reservoirs were considered in a sub-analysis. There was no significant temporal trend of leptospirosis over the study period. Statistical analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between IRR and flooding across years and regions. Spatially, leptospirosis occurred repeatedly and predominantly in northeastern Thailand. Our findings suggest that flooding is less influential in leptospirosis transmission than previously assumed. High incidence of the disease in the northeastern region is explained by the fact that agriculture and animal farming are important economic activities in this area. The periodic rise and fall of reported leptospirosis cases over time might be explained by seasonal exposure from rice farming activities performed during the rainy season when flood events often occur. We conclude that leptospirosis remains an occupational disease in Thailand.
Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
The enteric pathogens causing diarrhoea impair children's health severely. This study retrospectively analysed 1577 pathogens isolated from inpatients and outpatients in six hospitals located in Northern (Inner Mongolia), Northeastern (Hebei), Eastern (Shanghai and Jiangsu), Southern (Hainan) and Central (Hubei) China between 2008 and 2013. Of the 1577 enteric pathogens, Salmonella presented with the highest frequency (36·0%), followed by diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (23·7%), Staphylococcus aureus (15·0%), Shigella (13·1%), and Aeromonas (4·6%). The predominant pathogens varied in different regions of China, with Salmonella most prevalent in Shanghai and Hainan, diarrhoeagenic E. coli most prevalent in Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Hubei, and Shigella most prevalent in Hebei. Enteric pathogens were more frequently isolated in males (56·9%) than in females (43·1%). The highest proportion of all enteric pathogens was found in infants (67·6%) with a peak in summer and autumn (68·5%). Antimicrobial susceptibility assay demonstrated that Shigella was more resistant to ampicillin, ceftriaxone and sulfamethoxazole than Salmonella. Of the top two serotypes in Salmonella, Typhimurium was more resistant to ciprofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole and chloramphenicol than Enteritidis (P < 0·001). Meanwhile, the resistance rates of Shigella flexneri against ampicillin/sulbactam, ciprofloxacin, and chloramphenicol were significantly higher than those of Shigella sonnei (P < 0·001). Multidrug resistance was apparent in 58·2% of Shigella and 45·9% of Salmonella, and this phenomenon was more pronounced in S. flexneri.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Our new compilation of interferometric CO data suggests that nuclear and extended molecular gas disks are common in the final stages of mergers. Comparing the sizes of the molecular gas disk and gas mass fractions to early-type and late-type galaxies, about half of the sample show similar properties to early-type galaxies, which have compact gas disks and low gas mass fractions. We also find that sources with extended gas disks and large gas mass fractions may become disk-dominated galaxies.
In 2009, we examined HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in 750 female sex workers (FSWs) in Shanghai using a cross-sectional survey. Participants (mean age 27 years) were interviewed and tested for HIV and selected STIs. Prevalence was: HIV 0·13%, chlamydia 14·7%, gonorrhoea 3·5% and syphilis 1·3%. In a demographic multivariate model, younger age, higher income and originating from provinces other than Zhejiang and Shanghai were independently associated with STI. In a social and sexual behavioural model, women working in small venues with fewer clients per week, use of drugs, and higher price charged per sex act indicated a greater risk for STI. Although HIV appears rare in Shanghai FSWs, chlamydial infection is common, especially in women aged <25 years (prevalence 19·6%). Since STI and HIV share similar risk factors, preventive intervention measures should be implemented immediately based on the venues and characteristics of FSWs to prevent future spread of HIV.