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Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has presented an unprecedented challenge to the health-care system across the world. The current study aims to identify the determinants of illness severity of COVID-19 based on ordinal responses. A retrospective cohort of COVID-19 patients from four hospitals in three provinces in China was established, and 598 patients were included from 1 January to 8 March 2020, and divided into moderate, severe and critical illness group. Relative variables were retrieved from electronic medical records. The univariate and multivariate ordinal logistic regression models were fitted to identify the independent predictors of illness severity. The cohort included 400 (66.89%) moderate cases, 85 (14.21%) severe and 113 (18.90%) critical cases, of whom 79 died during hospitalisation as of 28 April. Patients in the age group of 70+ years (OR = 3.419, 95% CI: 1.596–7.323), age of 40–69 years (OR = 1.586, 95% CI: 0.824–3.053), hypertension (OR = 3.372, 95% CI: 2.185–5.202), ALT >50 μ/l (OR = 3.304, 95% CI: 2.107–5.180), cTnI >0.04 ng/ml (OR = 7.464, 95% CI: 4.292–12.980), myohaemoglobin>48.8 ng/ml (OR = 2.214, 95% CI: 1.42–3.453) had greater risk of developing worse severity of illness. The interval between illness onset and diagnosis (OR = 1.056, 95% CI: 1.012–1.101) and interval between illness onset and admission (OR = 1.048, 95% CI: 1.009–1.087) were independent significant predictors of illness severity. Patients of critical illness suffered from inferior survival, as compared with patients in the severe group (HR = 14.309, 95% CI: 5.585–36.659) and in the moderate group (HR = 41.021, 95% CI: 17.588–95.678). Our findings highlight that the identified determinants may help to predict the risk of developing more severe illness among COVID-19 patients and contribute to optimising arrangement of health resources.
To investigate the effects of dietary fiber on follicular atresia in pigs fed a high-fat diet, we fed 32 prepubescent gilts a basal diet (CON) or a CON diet supplemented with 300 g/d dietary fiber (fiber), 240 g/d soy oil (SO), or both (fiber + SO). At the 19th day of the 4th estrus cycle, gilts fed the SO diet showed 112% more atretic follicles and greater expression of the apoptotic markers, Bax and Caspase-3, and these effects were reversed by the fiber diet. The abundance of short-chain fatty acid-producing microbes was decreased by the SO diet, but this effect was reversed by fiber treatment. Concentrations of serotonin and melatonin in the serum and follicular fluid were increased by the fiber diet. Overall, dietary fiber protected against high-fat feeding induced follicular atresia at least partly via gut microbiota-related serotonin–melatonin synthesis. These results provide insight into preventing negative effects on fertility in humans consuming a high-energy diet.
Most skarns are found near the pluton or in lithologies containing at least some limestone. However, recent research has shown that neither a pluton nor limestone is necessarily required to form a skarn deposit. The newly discovered Bagenheigeqier Pb–Zn skarn deposit is located in NE China. The skarn and Pb–Zn orebodies occur in volcanic lithologies of the Baiyin’gaolao Formation and are controlled by NE–SW-trending faults. The nearest pluton is a granite porphyry, at a distance of 20–250 m from the orebodies. Five paragenetic stages at Bagenheigeqier are recognized: (I) skarn; (II) oxide; (III) early sulphide; (IV) late sulphide; and (V) late quartz–calcite. The fluid inclusions from stages II to V homogenized at temperatures of 402–452, 360–408, 274–319 and 167–212°C, respectively. The hydrogen and oxygen isotope compositions (δ18OH2O, –12.4‰ to +9.3‰; δDH2O, –156.5‰ to –99.1‰) indicate that the ore-fluids were primarily of magmatic origin, with the proportion of meteoric water increasing during the progression of ore formation. Sulphur isotope values (δ34SVCDT, 1.4–5.5‰), lead isotope values (206Pb/204Pb, 18.184–18.717; 207Pb/204Pb, 15.520–15.875; 208Pb/204Pb, 37.991–38.379) and the initial 187Os/188Os ratios of the pyrite (0.307 ± 0.06) suggest that the ore metals were derived from the granite porphyry and Baiyin’gaolao Formation. Re–Os dating of pyrite intergrown with galena and sphalerite yielded a well-constrained isochron age of 151.2 ± 4.7 Ma, which is coeval with the laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry zircon U–Pb age of 154 ± 1 Ma for the granite porphyry. The deposit was therefore formed during Late Jurassic time.
The Wulian complex is located on the northern margin of the Sulu orogenic belt, and was formed by collision between the North China Craton (NCC) to the north and South China Craton (SCC) to the south. It consists of the metasedimentary Wulian Group, gneissic granite and meta-diorite. The U–Pb analyses for the detrital zircons from the Wulian Group exhibit one predominant age population of 2600–2400 Ma with a peak at c. 2.5 Ga and several secondary age populations of > 3000, 3000–2800, 2800–2600, 2200–2000, 1900–1800, 1500–1300 and 1250–950 Ma; some metamorphic zircons have metamorphic ages of c. 2.7, 2.55–2.45, 2.1–2.0 and 1.95–1.80 Ga, which are consistent with magmatic-metamorphic events in the SCC. Additionally, the Wulian Group was intruded by the gneissic granite and meta-diorite at c. 0.76 Ga, attributed to Neoproterozoic syn-rifting bimodal magmatic activity in the SCC and derived from partial melting of Archaean continental crust and depleted mantle, respectively. The Wulian Group therefore has tectonic affinity to the SCC and was mainly sourced from the SCC. The detrital zircons have positive and negative ϵHf(t) values, indicating that their source rocks were derived from reworking of both ancient and juvenile crustal rocks. The major early Precambrian crustal growth took place during c. 3.4–2.5 Ga with a dominant peak at 2.96 Ga and several secondary peaks at 3.27, 2.74 and 2.52 Ga. The two oldest zircons with ages of 3307 and 3347 Ma record the recycling of ancient continental crust (> 3.35 Ga) and crustal growth prior to c. 3.95 Ga in the SCC.
This paper studies the parameter estimation for Ornstein–Uhlenbeck stochastic volatility models driven by Lévy processes. We propose computationally efficient estimators based on the method of moments that are robust to model misspecification. We develop an analytical framework that enables closed-form representation of model parameters in terms of the moments and autocorrelations of observed underlying processes. Under moderate assumptions, which are typically much weaker than those for likelihood methods, we prove large-sample behaviors for our proposed estimators, including strong consistency and asymptotic normality. Our estimators obtain the canonical square-root convergence rate and are shown through numerical experiments to outperform likelihood-based methods.
Bile acids (BA) have emerged as signalling molecules regulating intestinal physiology. The importance of intestinal microbiota in production of secondary BA, for example, lithocholic acid (LCA) which impairs enterocyte proliferation and permeability, triggered us to determine the effects of oral probiotics on intestinal BA metabolism. Piglets were weaned at 28 d of age and allocated into control (CON, n 14) or probiotic (PRO, n 14) group fed 50 mg of Lactobacillus plantarum daily, and gut microbiota and BA profile were determined. To test the potential interaction of LCA with bacteria endotoxins in inducing damage of enterocytes, IPEC-J2 cells were treated with LCA, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and LCA + LPS and expressions of genes related to inflammation, antioxidant capacity and nutrient transport were determined. Compared with the CON group, the PRO group showed lower total LCA level in the ileum and higher relative abundance of the Lactobacillus genus in faeces. In contrast, the relative abundances of Bacteroides, Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1, Parabacteroides and Ruminococcus_1, important bacteria genera in BA biotransformation, were all lower in the PRO than in the CON group. Moreover, PRO piglets had lower postprandial glucagon-like peptide-1 level, while higher glucose level than CON piglets. Co-administration of LPS and LCA led to down-regulated expression of glucose and peptide transporter genes in IPEC-J2 cells. Altogether, oral L. plantarum altered BA profile probably by modulating relative abundances of gut microbial genera that play key roles in BA metabolism and might consequently impact glucose homoeostasis. The detrimental effect of LCA on nutrient transport in enterocytes might be aggravated under LPS challenge.
A bidirectional dielectric resonator (DR) antenna array using back-to-back quasi-Yagi antenna configuration is proposed and implemented for the first time. The DR operating at higher-order TE3δ1 mode is used as a magnetic dipole, applying for the driver of quasi-Yagi antenna. Due to the high-order mode employment, the antenna gain can be enhanced. By partially loading the metallic strip on the side wall of the DR, the gain can be further enhanced. In addition, a simple dual Marchand balun is constructed for feeding the two quasi-Yagi antennas directly for bidirectional radiation. To verify the design concept, a prototype operating at the X-band is fabricated and measured. Good agreement between the simulated and measured results can be observed.
I write this commentary as a part of a special issue published in this journal to celebrate Nick Martin’s contribution to the field of human genetics. In this commentary, I briefly describe the background of the Yang et al. (2010) study and show some of the unpublished details of this study, its contribution to tackling the missing heritability problem and Nick’s contribution to the work.
Information about seed dormancy cycling and germination in relation to temperature and moisture conditions in the natural environment is important for the conservation and restoration of rare species, including Begonia guishanensis and Paraisometrum mileense, two sympatric perennial limestone (karst) species. Dry afterripening (DAR) and wet and dry (WD) cycles at 15/5 and 25/15°C as well as moist chilling (MC) at 15/5°C were used to mimic the natural environment at different times of the year. A field experiment was conducted to monitor seasonal changes in germination responses of the seeds. About 40–65% of B. guishanensis and 5% of P. mileense seeds were dormant at maturity. DAR at 25/15 and 15/5°C as well as MC and WD cycles at 15/5°C alleviated dormancy for B. guishanensis but not P. mileense, and WD cycles at 25/15°C induced a deeper conditional dormancy for both species. Seeds of B. guishanensis exhibited dormancy cycling in the field, with increased dormancy under natural WD cycles at relatively high temperatures during the transition from the dry to the wet season in April to May and decreased dormancy during the wet season from June to October. KNO3 mitigated the dormancy-inducing effect of both artificial and natural WD cycles at relatively high temperatures for B. guishanensis. The field experiment indicated that seeds of B. guishanensis may be able to form a persistent soil seed bank, while almost all seeds of P. mileense germinate at the beginning of the wet season in the field.
The rhoptry kinase 18 of Toxoplasma gondii (TgROP18) has been identified as a key virulence factor that allows the parasite to escape from host immune defences and promotes its proliferation in host cells. Although much research is focused on the interaction between host cells and TgROP18, the development of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against TgROP18 has not been reported till date. To produce mAbs targeting TgROP18, two hybridomas secreting mAbs against TgROP18, designated as A1 and T2, were generated using cell fusion technology. The subtypes of the A1 and T2 mAbs were identified as IgG3 λ and IgM κ, and peptide scanning revealed that the core sequences of the antigenic epitopes were 180LRAQRRRSELVFE192 and 351NYFLLMMRAEADM363, respectively. The T2 mAb specifically reacted with both T. gondii type I and Chinese I, but not with T. gondii type II, Plasmodium falciparum or Schistosoma japonicum. Finally, the sequences of heavy chain and light chain complementarity-determining regions of T2 were amplified, cloned and characterized, making the modification of the mAb feasible in the future. The development of mAbs against TgROP18 would aid the investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying the modulation of host cellular functions by TgROP18, and in the development of strategies to diagnose and treat Toxoplasmosis.
This paper presents a comprehensive study of the zircon geochronology, geochemistry and Sr–Nd isotope geology of Devonian mafic rocks developed in the East Kunlun orogenic belt, northern Tibetan Plateau, and reveals their mantle sources, petrogenesis and geodynamic implications for continental exhumation. The zircon geochronology of typical samples indicates that these mafic rocks crystallized at 406∼408 Ma. They can be classified into two different groups based on petrographic observations and geochemical compositions. Group 1 rocks exhibit low TiO2 and FeOt contents and Nb/Y ratios and have enriched mid-ocean ridge basalt (E-MORB)-like compositions with slight negative Nb and Ta anomalies. However, Group 2 rocks have distinctly high TiO2 and FeOt contents and Nb/Y ratios, comparable to typical Fe–Ti-rich mafic rocks worldwide. All the samples exhibit weak enrichments in light rare earth elements, Nb and Ta relative to the primitive mantle. Based on geochemical and isotopic studies, Group 1 rocks are suggested to be derived from depleted asthenospheric mantle that was metasomatized by c. 3–5 % continental crustal components, while Group 2 rocks originated from partial melting of enriched lithospheric mantle. The high contents of Fe, Ti and Nb for Group 2 rocks could be attributed to a high degree of olivine crystallization under low fO2 conditions with delayed nucleation of Fe–Ti oxides. Combining those results with other geological data, we conclude that slab break-off was the key factor causing exhumation of eclogites and triggering flare-up of the Devonian magmatism, and that continental collision or continental subduction may have initiated at 431∼436 Ma.
Calcifying pseudoneoplasm of the neuraxis (CAPNON) is a rare tumefactive lesion. CAPNONs can mimic calcified meningiomas at the skull base.
Here, we report two cases of CAPNON and present a systematic review of the literature on skull base CAPNONs, to compare CAPNONs with calcified meningiomas.
Case 1: A 57-year-old man presented with right-sided lower cranial neuropathies and gait ataxia. He underwent a subtotal resection of a right cerebellopontine angle lesion, with significant improvement of his gait ataxia. However, his cranial neuropathies persisted. Pathological examination of the lesion was diagnostic of CAPNON, with the entrapped nerve fibers identified at the periphery of the lesion, correlating with the patient’s cranial neuropathy. Case 2: A 70-year-old man presented with progressive headache, gait difficulty, and cognitive impairment. He underwent a frontotemporal craniotomy for a near-total resection of his right basal frontal CAPNON. He remained neurologically stable 7 years after the initial resection without evidence of disease recurrence. We analyzed 24 reported CAPNONs at the skull base in our systematic review of the literature. Cranial neuropathies were present in 11 (45.8%) patients. Outcomes regarding cranial neuropathies were documented in six patients: two had sacrifice of the nerve function with surgical approaches and four had persistent cranial neuropathies.
While CAPNON can radiologically and grossly mimic calcified meningiomas, they are two distinctly different pathologies. CAPNONs located at the skull base are commonly associated with cranial neuropathies, which may be difficult to reverse despite surgical intervention.
Nickel-rich layered oxide LiNi0.8Co0.1Mn0.1O2 suffers from severe structural instability and irreversible capacity loss during cycling due to cation disorder of Li+ and Ni2+. To solve this problem, the precursor Ni0.8Co0.1Mn0.1(OH)2 and well-ordered LiNi0.8Co0.1Mn0.1O2 cathode materials were successfully synthesized via controlled crystallization and high-temperature solid-state methods. The structure, morphology, and electrochemical performance of the precursor and LiNi0.8Co0.1Mn0.1O2 powders were investigated. The results show that the precursor Ni0.8Co0.1Mn0.1(OH)2 is made of sphere-like particles composed of needle-like primary crystal and LiNi0.8Co0.1Mn0.1O2 possesses a perfect layered structure with low Li/Ni disorder. Electrochemical data demonstrate that the material rate capabilities are 203.3, 187.7, 170.4, and 163 mA h/g from 0.1C to 10C, respectively. The capacity retention is 87.9% after 100 cycles at 1C, even the cut-off voltage was increased to 4.5 V. The high discharge capacity and outstanding cycling life can be attributed to the merits of a perfect crystal lattice with low Li/Ni disorder, fast lithium ion transport, and relatively low charge transfer resistance.
While it is increasingly recognized that shame is a pernicious component of the experience of poverty, the stigma generally associated with social assistance provision is less marked with respect to China's Minimum Living Security System, also known as dibao. This enigma is explored and illuminated drawing on two streams of indigenous Chinese scholarship and qualitative fieldwork in eight villages in Shanxi province. Economic and political changes prioritizing economic growth and individual wealth have increased the shame associated with poverty, manifest as loss of face, low mian (status) and lack of lian (integrity). However, this shame does not transfer to dibao because the scheme has been transformed locally into a universal age supplement that partially fulfils the demands of filial piety and which is seen to reflect and contribute to guanxi (social influence).
In this work, a new reconfigurable discrete 1D beam-steering Fabry–Perot cavity antenna with enhanced radiation performance is presented. It consists of a probe-fed patch antenna printed on the ground plane and a reconfigurable metasurface acting as the upper partially reflective surface to realize beam steering. By utilizing 6 × 6 proposed reconfigurable unit cells on the superstrate, the beam-steering angle can be effectively enhanced from ±7° to ±17° with fewer active elements and a much simpler biasing network. The proposed antenna was fabricated to validate the feasibility. Good agreement between the simulated and measured results is achieved. Moreover, the measured realized gains are over 11 dBi with a gain variation from the boresight direction to the tilted direction <0.2 dBi.
North-east China occupies an important geographic position for understanding the process of Neolithisation in East Asia. Although archaeologists have long debated the trajectory of change in this region, a lack of intensive survey and excavation has precluded convincing interpretations. This article presents research on the newly excavated sites of Huayang and Taoshan in the southern Lesser Khingan Mountains, with a particular focus on the lithic assemblages. Comparative and environmental analyses demonstrate the largely uniform trajectory of lithic technologies across north-east China and close correspondence with Late Glacial palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental changes.
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.
Image stitching is important for the perception and manipulation of undersea robots. In spite of a well-developed technique, it is still challenging for undersea images because of their inevitable appearance ambiguity caused by the limited light in the undersea environment, and local disturbance caused by moving objects, ocean current, etc. To get a clean and stable background panorama in the undersea environment, this paper proposes an undersea image-stitching method by introducing graph-based registration and blending procedures. Specifically, in the registration procedure, matching the features in each undersea image pair is formulated and solved by graph matching, to incorporate the structural information between features. In the blending procedure, an energy function on the indirect graph Markov random field is proposed, which takes both image consistency and neighboring consistency into consideration. Coincidentally, both graph matching and energy minimization can be mathematically formulated by integer quadratic programming problems with different constraints; the recently proposed graduated nonconvexity and concavity procedure is used to optimize both problems. Experiments on both synthetic images and real-world undersea images witness the effectiveness of the proposed method.