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The present paper is concerned with reliability economics, considering a certain performance-per-cost criterion for coherent and mixed systems, as introduced in [Dugas, M.R. & Samaniego, F.J. (2007). On optimal system designs in reliability-economics frameworks. Naval Research Logistics 54, 568–582]. We first present a new comparison result for performance-per-cost of systems with independent and identically distributed component lifetimes under certain stochastic orderings. We then consider optimization of the performance-per-cost criterion, first reconsidering and refining results from the above cited paper, and then considering mixtures of given subsets of coherent systems.
The meat quality of chicken is an important factor affecting the consumer’s health. It was hypothesized that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) could be effectively deposited in chicken, by incorporating antioxidation of soybean isoflavone (SI), which led to improved quality of chicken meat for good health of human beings. Effects of partial or complete dietary substitution of lard (LA) with linseed oil (LO), with or without SI on growth performance, biochemical indicators, meat quality, fatty acid profiles, lipid-related health indicators and gene expression of breast muscle were examined in chickens. A total of 900 males were fed a corn–soybean meal diet supplemented with 4% LA, 2% LA + 2% LO and 4% LO and the latter two including 30 mg SI/kg (2% LA + 2% LO + SI and 4% LO + SI) from 29 to 66 days of age; each of the five dietary treatments included six replicates of 30 birds. Compared with the 4% LA diet, dietary 4% LO significantly increased the feed efficiency and had no negative effect on objective indices related to meat quality; LO significantly decreased plasma triglycerides and total cholesterol (TCH); abdominal fat percentage was significantly decreased in birds fed the 4% LO and 4% LO + SI diets. Chickens with LO diets resulted in higher contents of α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3), EPA (C20:5n-3) and total n-3 PUFA, together with a lower content of palmitic acid (C16:0), lignoceric acid (C24:0), saturated fatty acids and n-6:n-3 ratio in breast muscle compared to 4% LA diet (P < 0.05); they also significantly decreased atherogenic index, thrombogenic index and increased the hypocholesterolemic to hypercholesterolemic ratio. Adding SI to the LO diets enhanced the contents of EPA and DHA (C22:6n-3), plasma total superoxide dismutase, reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione and muscle GSH content, while decreased plasma total triglyceride and TCH and malondialdehyde content in plasma and breast muscle compared to its absence (P < 0.05). Expression in breast muscle of fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1), FADS2, elongase 2 (ELOVL2) and ELOVL5 genes were significantly higher with the LO diets including SI than with the 4% LA diet. Significant interactions existed between LO level and inclusion of SI on EPA and TCH contents. These findings indicate that diet supplemented with LO combined with SI is an effective alternative when optimizing the nutritional value of chicken meat for human consumers.
The National Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility (NCEF) at the National Cancer Institute was launched in May of 2017 to provide free and rapid access to high-resolution cryo-EM data collection to United States researchers working on problems of broad general relevance to cancer biology. The decision about suitability of projects for data collection is made on a first-come, first-served basis by NCEF staff and is based solely on the quality of the screening images provided, without need for a scientific proposal. Here we provide an overview of the operation of the facility, typical data collection procedures, and some insights that have emerged from the structures reported from data collected at the facility.
Background: Many computerized tomography (CT) scans ordered after-hours from the emergency department (ED) at our institution required a discussion between the emergency physician (EP) and radiology resident (RR), leading to workflow inefficiency. Aim Statement: The aim was to improve workflow efficiency and provider satisfaction, and reduce CT turnaround time, without significantly affecting CT utilization within six months. Measures & Design: We created a new workflow by creating an electronic list of ED CT requests that RRs monitor. RRs protocolled all requests and only called the ED physician for more details when required. The intervention was implemented in a stepwise fashion via plan-do-study-act cycles. An electronic survey measured qualitative outcomes, and quantitative outcomes were analyzed via statistical process control (SPC) charts and other statistical methods. Evaluation/Results: Survey response was high (76% EP, 79% RR). Most EPs and RRs felt more efficient (96.3%, 73.3%), RRs felt fewer disruptions (83.3%), and most EPs felt that scans were done faster (84.1%). We analyzed CT turnaround times and utilization using SPC charts and segmented regression analyses. Turnaround time trended to improvement (33 mins vs 29 mins on weekdays [WD], 37 mins vs 33 on weekends [WE]), but was not statistically significant. There was background rising CT utilization over time (+0.7 and + 1.9 CT/100 ED visits/year on WD and WE, respectively, p < 0.0005), but the intervention itself did not cause a significant change. The total number of pages to RR (a measure of workflow disruption) decreased significantly on the WDs (23 vs 19 pages, p = 0.0011), but not on WE (79 vs 75 pages, p = 0.1663). However when adjusting for number of scans ordered, there was a decrease in paging rates (0.73 vs 0.54 pages per scan ordered on WD [p < 0.00005], 3.24 vs 2.63 pages per scan ordered on WE [p = 0.0012]). Discussion/Impact: Our intervention led to improved work satisfaction and perceived efficiency experienced by both EPs and RRs. It did not statistically significantly affect imaging turnaround times or utilization rates. Our project shows that calling for preapproval of imaging studies does not seem to provide any benefit in our setting.
Introduction: Rapid diagnostic algorithms using high-sensitivity cardiac troponin can rapidly diagnose or exclude acute myocardial infarction (MI). However, multiple algorithms have been proposed and it is unclear if some outperform others. The objective of this study was to prospectively compare the diagnostic performance of 1- and 2-hour algorithms in clinical practice in a Canadian population. Methods: Emergency department patients with chest pain had high-sensitivity cardiac troponin-T (hs-cTnT) collected on presentation and 1- and 2-hours later at a single academic tertiary hospital and regional percutaneous coronary intervention site over a 2-year period. The primary outcome was index MI, the secondary outcome was 30-day major adverse cardiac events (MACE). All outcomes were 2 physician adjudicated. Results: We enrolled 1,167 patients with hs-cTnT collected on ED presentation. Of these, 350 had a valid 1-hour and 550 had a 2-hour hs-cTnT sample. Index MI prevalence was ~11%. Sensitivity of the 1- and 2-hour algorithms for index MI was 97.3% (95% CI 85.8-99.9%) and 100% (95% CI 91.6-100%) and for 30-day MACE was 80.9% (95% CI 66.7-90.9%) and 83.3% (95% CI 73.2-90.8%), respectively. The 1-hour algorithm was 96.3% specific for index MI (95% CI 93.8-98.2%) whereas specificity for the 2-hour algorithm was 97.9% (95% CI 96.3-100%). Both algorithms classified about one-quarter of patients in an indeterminate observational zone with an ~11% MI prevalence. Conclusion: Both the 1- and 2-hour algorithms were highly sensitive and specific for MI, but were less sensitive for 30-day MACE. However, the 2-hour algorithm trended toward better performance, likely because its larger delta cutoffs reduce the risk of misclassification owing to analytic variability. These findings suggest algorithms using larger delta cutoffs may provide a greater margin of safety. Further comparative evaluation of rapid diagnostic algorithms using different cutoffs and characterization of patients in the observational zone is warranted.
Introduction: Very low high-sensitivity troponin-T (hs-cTnT) concentrations on presentation can rule out acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but the ability to identify patients at low risk of 30-day major adverse cardiac events (MACE) is less clear. This study examines the sensitivity of low concentrations of hs-cTnT on presentation to rule out 30-day MACE. Methods: This prospective cohort study enrolled emergency department chest pain patients with non-ischemic ECGs who underwent AMI rule-out with an hs-cTnT assay. The primary outcome was 30-day MACE; secondary outcomes were individual MACE components. Because guidelines recommend using a single hs-cTnT strategy only for patients with more than 3-hours since symptom onset, a subgroup analysis was performed for this population. Outcomes were adjudicated based on review of medical records and telephone follow-up. Results: Of 1,167 patients enrolled, 125 (10.7%) experienced 30-day MACE and 97 (8.3%) suffered AMI on the index visit. More than one-third (35.6%) had presenting hs-cTnT concentrations below the limit of detection (5ng/L), which was 94.4% (95%CI 88.8-97.7%) sensitive for 30-day MACE and 99.0% (95%CI 94.5-100%) sensitive for index AMI. Of 292 (25.0%) patients with hs-cTnT < 5ng/L and at least 3-hours since symptom onset, only 3 experienced 30-day MACE (sensitivity 97.6%, 95%CI 93.2-100%) and none suffered AMI within 30-days (sensitivity 100%, 95%CI 96.3-100%). Conclusion: Among patients with non-ischemic ECGs and >3-hours since symptom onset, low hs-cTnT concentrations on presentation confer a very low risk of 30-day MACE. In the absence of a high risk clinical presentation, further risk stratification is likely to be low yield.
Se can enhance lactation performance by improving nutrient utilization and antioxidant status. However, sodium selenite (SS) can be reduced to non-absorbable elemental Se in the rumen, thereby reducing the intestinal availability of Se. The study investigated the impacts of SS and coated SS (CSS) supplementation on lactation performance, nutrient digestibility, ruminal fermentation and microbiota in dairy cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein dairy cows were blocked by parity, daily milk yield and days in milk and randomly assigned to five treatments: control, SS addition (0.3 mg Se/kg DM as SS addition) or CSS addition (0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 mg Se/kg DM as CSS addition for low CSS (LCSS), medium CSS (MCSS) and high CSS (HCSS), respectively). Experiment period was 110 days with 20 days of adaptation and 90 days of sample collection. Dry matter intake was higher for MCSS and HCSS compared with control. Yields of milk, milk fat and milk protein and feed efficiency were higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Digestibility of DM and organic matter was highest for CSS addition, followed by SS addition and then control. Digestibility of CP was higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Higher digestibility of ether extract, NDF and ADF was observed for SS or CSS addition. Ruminal pH decreased with dietary Se addition. Acetate to propionate ratio and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was greater for SS, MCSS and HCSS than control. Ruminal H ion concentration was highest for MCSS and HCSS and lowest for control. Activities of cellobiase, carboxymethyl-cellulase, xylanase and protease and copies of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminococcus amylophilus increased with SS or CSS addition. Activity of α-amylase, copies of protozoa, Ruminococcus albus and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and serum glucose, total protein, albumin and glutathione peroxidase were higher for SS, MCSS and HCSS than for control and LCSS. Dietary SS or CSS supplementation elevated blood Se concentration and total antioxidant capacity activity. The data implied that milk yield was elevated due to the increase in total tract nutrient digestibility, total VFA concentration and microorganism population with 0.2 or 0.3 mg Se/kg DM from CSS supplementation in dairy cows. Compared with SS, HCSS addition was more efficient in promoting lactation performance of dairy cows.
Neuroticism is associated with the onset and maintenance of a number of mental health conditions, as well as a number of deleterious outcomes (e.g. physical health problems, higher divorce rates, lost productivity, and increased treatment seeking); thus, the consideration of whether this trait can be addressed in treatment is warranted. To date, outcome research has yielded mixed results regarding neuroticism's responsiveness to treatment, perhaps due to the fact that study interventions are typically designed to target disorder symptoms rather than neuroticism itself. The purpose of the current study was to explore whether a course of treatment with the unified protocol (UP), a transdiagnostic intervention that was explicitly developed to target neuroticism, results in greater reductions in neuroticism compared to gold-standard, symptom focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) protocols and a waitlist (WL) control condition.
Patients with principal anxiety disorders (N = 223) were included in this study. They completed a validated self-report measure of neuroticism, as well as clinician-rated measures of psychological symptoms.
At week 16, participants in the UP condition exhibited significantly lower levels of neuroticism than participants in the symptom-focused CBT (t(218) = −2.17, p = 0.03, d = −0.32) and WL conditions(t(207) = −2.33, p = 0.02, d = −0.43), and these group differences remained after controlling for simultaneous fluctuations in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Treatment effects on neuroticism may be most robust when this trait is explicitly targeted.
Accretionary orogens contain key evidence for the conversion of oceanic to continental crust. The late tectonic history and closure time of the Palaeo-Asian Ocean are recorded in the Mazongshan subduction–accretion complex in the southern Beishan margin of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. We present new data on the structure, petrology, geochemistry and zircon U–Pb isotope ages of the Mazongshan subduction–accretion complex, which is a tectonic mélange with a block-in-matrix structure. The blocks are of serpentinized peridotite, basalt, gabbro, basaltic andesite, chert and seamount sediments within a matrix that is mainly composed of fore-arc-trench turbidites. U–Pb zircon ages of two gabbros are 454.6 ± 2.5 Ma and 434.1 ± 3.6 Ma, an andesite has a U–Pb zircon age of 451.3 ± 3.5 Ma and a tuffaceous slate has the youngest U–Pb zircon age of 353.6 ± 5.1 Ma. These new isotopic ages, combined with published data on ophiolitic mélanges from central Beishan, indicate that the subduction–accretion of Beishan in the southernmost Central Asian Orogenic Belt lasted until Late Ordovician – Early Carboniferous time. Structure and age data demonstrate that the younging direction of accretion was southwards and that the subduction zone dipped continuously to the north. Accordingly, these results record the conversion of oceanic to continental crust in the southern Beishan accretionary collage.
Ketosis is a metabolic disease of dairy cows often characterized by high concentrations of ketone bodies and fatty acids, but low milk protein and milk production. The Janus kinase 2 (JAK2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathways are central for the regulation of milk protein synthesis. The effect of high levels of fatty acids on these pathways and β-casein synthesis are unknown in dairy cows with clinical ketosis. Mammary gland tissue and blood samples were collected from healthy (n = 15) and clinically-ketotic (n = 15) cows. In addition, bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMEC) were treated with fatty acids, methionine (Met) or prolactin (PRL), respectively. In vivo, the serum concentration of fatty acids was greater (P > 0.05) and the percentage of milk protein (P > 0.05) was lower in cows with clinical ketosis. The JAK2-STAT5 and mTOR signaling pathways were inhibited and the abundance of β-casein was lower in mammary tissue of cows with clinical ketosis (P > 0.05). In vitro, high levels of fatty acids inhibited the JAK2-STAT5 and mTOR signaling pathways (P > 0.05) and further decreased the β-casein synthesis (P > 0.05) in BMEC. Methionine or PRL treatment, as positive regulators, activated the JAK2-STAT5 and mTOR signaling pathways to increase the β-casein synthesis. Importantly, the high concentration of fatty acids attenuated the positive effect of Met or PRL on mTOR, JAK2-STAT5 pathways and the abundance of β-casein (P > 0.05). Overall, these data indicate that the high concentrations of fatty acids that reach the mammary cells during clinical ketosis inhibit mTOR and JAK2-STAT5 signaling pathways, and further suppress β-casein synthesis.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
To evaluate the upper airway morphology changes associated with ageing in adult Chinese patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.
A total of 124 male patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea by overnight polysomnography, who underwent upper airway computed tomography, were enrolled. The linear dimensions, cross-sectional area and volume of the upper airway region and the surrounding bony frame were measured. The association between ageing and upper airway morphology was analysed.
Soft palate length, minimum cross-sectional area of the retroglossal region, lateral dimensions at the minimum cross-sectional area of the retropalatal and retroglossal regions, nasopharyngeal volume, and average cross-sectional area of the nasopharyngeal region were found to significantly increase with ageing in all patients, while the upper airway shape flattened with ageing. The volume of the retropalatal region increased with ageing among the patients with a body mass index of less than 24 kg/m2. The volume of parapharyngeal fat pad increased with ageing among patients with a body mass index greater than 28 kg/m2.
A number of dimensional, cross-sectional and volumetric parameters of the pharynx increased with age, indicating that non-anatomical factors may play a more important role in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnoea in aged patients.
Technical writing in professional environments, such as user manual authoring, requires the use of uniform language. Nonuniform language refers to sentences in a technical document that are intended to have the same meaning within a similar context, but use different words or writing style. Addressing this nonuniformity problem requires the performance of two tasks. The first task, which we named nonuniform language detection (NLD), is detecting such sentences. We propose an NLD method that utilizes different similarity algorithms at lexical, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels. Different features are extracted and integrated by applying a machine learning classification method. The second task, which we named nonuniform language correction (NLC), is deciding which sentence among the detected ones is more appropriate for that context. To address this problem, we propose an NLC method that combines contraction removal, near-synonym choice, and text readability comparison. We tested our methods using smartphone user manuals. We finally compared our methods against state-of-the-art methods in paraphrase detection (for NLD) and against expert annotators (for both NLD and NLC). The experiments demonstrate that the proposed methods achieve performance that matches expert annotators.
Psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders (EDs), have clinical outcomes that range widely in severity and chronicity. The ability to predict such outcomes is extremely limited. Machine-learning (ML) approaches that model complexity may optimize the prediction of multifaceted psychiatric behaviors. However, the investigations of many psychiatric concerns have not capitalized on ML to improve prognosis. This study conducted the first comparison of an ML approach (elastic net regularized logistic regression) to traditional regression to longitudinally predict ED outcomes.
Females with heterogeneous ED diagnoses completed demographic and psychiatric assessments at baseline (n = 415) and Year 1 (n = 320) and 2 (n = 277) follow-ups. Elastic net and traditional logistic regression models comprising the same baseline variables were compared in ability to longitudinally predict ED diagnosis, binge eating, compensatory behavior, and underweight BMI at Years 1 and 2.
Elastic net models had higher accuracy for all outcomes at Years 1 and 2 [average Area Under the Receiving Operating Characteristics Curve (AUC) = 0.78] compared to logistic regression (average AUC = 0.67). Model performance did not deteriorate when the most important predictor was removed or an alternative ML algorithm (random forests) was applied. Baseline ED (e.g. diagnosis), psychiatric (e.g. hospitalization), and demographic (e.g. ethnicity) characteristics emerged as important predictors in exploratory predictor importance analyses.
ML algorithms can enhance the prediction of ED symptoms for 2 years and may identify important risk markers. The superior accuracy of ML for predicting complex outcomes suggests that these approaches may ultimately aid in advancing precision medicine for serious psychiatric disorders.
Tuberculosis (TB) is generally considered a disease that principally afflicts the low-income segments of a population. In the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China, with the economic transformation and a new Headquarters Economy (HE) emerging, there are now more cases in office workers than in manufacturing workers. To illustrate this trend, we describe a small TB outbreak in an office building located in the centre of the rapidly growing HE district. Two active pulmonary tuberculosis cases were found in workers who shared an office, and whole genome sequencing showed that the genetic distance between the strains of the two cases was just one single nucleotide polymorphism, consistent with intra-office transmission. Investigation of 30 other workers in the same or adjacent offices with interviews, interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) and chest X-rays, identified one new TB case and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in 40.0% (12/30) of the contacts. The offices were under-ventilated. None of the IGRA positive, asymptomatic contacts agreed to receive treatment for LTBI, presumably due to TB stigma, and over the next 2 years 69.0% (20/29) of the contacts were lost to follow-up. Treatment for LTBI and stigma of TB remain challenges here. Office workers in the HE of rapidly economic developing areas should be targeted with increased vigilance by TB control programmes.
We formulate a model for the dynamic growth of a membrane developing in a flow as the result of a precipitation reaction, a situation inspired by recent microfluidic experiments. The precipitating solid introduces additional forces on the fluid and eventually forms a membrane that is fixed in the flow due to adhesion with a substrate. A key challenge is that, in general, the location of the immobile membrane is unknown a priori. To model this situation, we use a multiphase framework with fluid and membrane phases; the aqueous chemicals exist as scalar fields that react within the fluid to induce phase change. To verify that the model exhibits desired fluid–structure behaviours, we make simplifying assumptions to obtain a reduced form of the equations that is amenable to exact solution. This analysis demonstrates no-slip behaviour on the developing membrane without requiring fluid–membrane interface boundary conditions. The model has applications towards precipitate reactions where the precipitate greatly affects the surrounding flow, a situation appearing in many laboratory and geophysical contexts including the hydrothermal vent theory for the origin of life. More generally, this model can be used to address fluid–structure interaction problems that feature the dynamic generation of structures.
Meat and milk from ruminants provide an important source of protein and other nutrients for human consumption. Although ruminants have a unique advantage of being able to consume forages and graze lands not suitable for arable cropping, 2% to 12% of the gross energy consumed is converted to enteric CH4 during ruminal digestion, which contributes approximately 6% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, ruminant producers need to find cost-effective ways to reduce emissions while meeting consumer demand for food. This paper provides a critical review of the substantial amount of ruminant CH4-related research published in past decades, highlighting hydrogen flow in the rumen, the microbiome associated with methanogenesis, current and future prospects for CH4 mitigation and insights into future challenges for science, governments, farmers and associated industries. Methane emission intensity, measured as emissions per unit of meat and milk, has continuously declined over the past decades due to improvements in production efficiency and animal performance, and this trend is expected to continue. However, continued decline in emission intensity will likely be insufficient to offset the rising emissions from increasing demand for animal protein. Thus, decreases in both emission intensity (g CH4/animal product) and absolute emissions (g CH4/day) are needed if the ruminant industries continue to grow. Providing producers with cost-effective options for decreasing CH4 emissions is therefore imperative, yet few cost-effective approaches are currently available. Future abatement may be achieved through animal genetics, vaccine development, early life programming, diet formulation, use of alternative hydrogen sinks, chemical inhibitors and fermentation modifiers. Individually, these strategies are expected to have moderate effects (<20% decrease), with the exception of the experimental inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol for which decreases in CH4 have consistently been greater (20% to 40% decrease). Therefore, it will be necessary to combine strategies to attain the sizable reduction in CH4 needed, but further research is required to determine whether combining anti-methanogenic strategies will have consistent additive effects. It is also not clear whether a decrease in CH4 production leads to consistent improved animal performance, information that will be necessary for adoption by producers. Major constraints for decreasing global enteric CH4 emissions from ruminants are continued expansion of the industry, the cost of mitigation, the difficulty of applying mitigation strategies to grazing ruminants, the inconsistent effects on animal performance and the paucity of information on animal health, reproduction, product quality, cost-benefit, safety and consumer acceptance.