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Background: Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is the largest acute tertiary-care hospital in Singapore. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring COVID-19 in both the community and workplaces. SGH has a robust exposure management process including prompt contact tracing, immediate ring fencing, lock down of affected cubicles or single room isolation for patient contacts, and home isolation orders for staff contacts of COVID-19 cases during the containment phase of the pandemic. Contacts were also placed on enhanced surveillance with PCR testing on days 1 and 4 as well as daily antigen rapid tests (ARTs) for 10 days after exposure. Here, we describe the characteristic of HCWs with COVID-19 during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This retrospective observational study included all SGH HCWs who acquired COVID-19 during the third wave (ie, the 18-week period from September 1 to December 31, 2021) of the COVID-19 pandemic. Univariate analysis was used to compare characteristics of work-associated infection (WAI) and community-acquired infection (CAI) among HCWs. Results: Among a workforce of >10,000 at SGH, 335 HCWs acquired COVID-19 during study period. CAI (exposure to known clusters or household contact) accounted for 111 HCW infections (33.1%). Also, 48 HCWs (14.3%) had a WAI (ie, acquired at their work places where there was no patient contact). Among WAsI, only 5 HCWs had hospital-acquired infection (confirmed by phylogenetic analysis). The sources of exposure for the remaining 176 HCWs were unknown. Weekly incidence of COVID-19 among HCWs was comparable to the epidemiology curve of all cases in Singapore (Fig. 1 and 2). The mean age of HCWs with COVID-19 was 39.6 years, and most were women. At the time of positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test, 223 HCWs were symptomatic, and 67 (20.0%) of them had comorbidities. Only 16 HCWs (4.8%) required hospitalization, and all recovered fully with no mortality (Table 1). Being female was associated with community COVID-19 acquisition (OR, 4.6, P Conclusions: During the thrid wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher percentage of HCWs at SGH acquired the infection from the community than from the workplace. Safe management measures, such as universal masking, social distancing, and robust exposure management processes including prompt contact tracing and environmental disinfection, can reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the hospital work environment.
The parasite Fasciola hepatica is an important zoonotic parasite. The development of an animal model of F. hepatica's life cycle is critical for studying the biological characteristics of the parasite in snails and mammals. Eggs of F. hepatica of bovine origin were cultured, and metacercariae were obtained after infection of Galba pervia snails. The life cycle system of F. hepatica was initiated in 2 different animals by orally infecting rabbits, SD rats and Kunming mice with the metacercariae. The animals' survival after infection, parasite migration in the animals and pathological damage to the liver were observed. We discovered that rabbits died due to acute suppurative hepatitis 60–69 days after infection, and eggs were found in the feces on day 63 of infection. The liver of SD rats showed punctate lesions on day 3 of infection, and further changes occurred as the infection progressed. However, liver repair was observed at week 9. SD rats survived for more than a year after infection and continued the F. hepatica life cycle. The liver lesions in Kunming mice after infection were similar but more severe than those in SD rats. Death was observed on the 31st post-infection day. We discovered that while rabbits, SD rats and Kunming mice can all be used as animal models of F. hepatica, SD rats are more suitable experimental animals in terms of tolerance and pathological response.
Listeriosis is a rare but serious foodborne disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes. This matched case–control study (1:1 ratio) aimed to identify the risk factors associated with food consumption and food-handling habits for the occurrence of sporadic listeriosis in Beijing, China. Cases were defined as patients from whom Listeria was isolated, in addition to the presence of symptoms, including fever, bacteraemia, sepsis and other clinical manifestations corresponding to listeriosis, which were reported via the Beijing Foodborne Disease Surveillance System. Basic patient information and possible risk factors associated with food consumption and food-handling habits were collected through face-to-face interviews. One hundred and six cases were enrolled from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020, including 52 perinatal cases and 54 non-perinatal cases. In the non-perinatal group, the consumption of Chinese cold dishes increased the risk of infection by 3.43-fold (95% confidence interval 1.27–9.25, χ2 = 5.92, P = 0.02). In the perinatal group, the risk of infection reduced by 95.2% when raw and cooked foods were well-separated (χ2 = 5.11, P = 0.02). These findings provide important scientific evidence for preventing infection by L. monocytogenes and improving the dissemination of advice regarding food safety for vulnerable populations.
Participation in online courses has become essential for training language professionals in under-resourced contexts with skills in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) (Godwin-Jones, 2014). Most online CALL courses use asynchronous computer-mediated communication (ACMC) to facilitate meaningful learning for participants. Although participants’ sustained engagement with ACMC is the target, global realities of participants interfere with their participation levels. This article investigates participants’ engagement profiles in asynchronous online discussions in an 8-week CALL-based global online course developed and implemented by a team at Iowa State University. Using a case study approach, nine focal participants’ engagement profiles have been analyzed in terms of identifying patterns of engagement in the discussion posts and their relation to the types of discussion prompts. Then, social network analysis (SNA) and thematic analysis were employed to investigate patterns of interaction among the participants in the replies. The results indicated that engagement patterns observed in discussion posts overall aligned with the primary goals of prompt types. SNA further identified two participants as social mediators to connect participants with each other. These findings are significant in that they suggest the effectiveness of using ACMC to promote co-construction of knowledge for a global audience. This article also provides implications regarding the design of discussion prompts to help maximize participant engagement with course content.
The study’s aims were (i) to identify the prevalence of health anxiety (HA) among the elderly in urban community healthcare centers and (ii) to determine whether HA is related to social, physical, or psychological factors.
It is a population-based observational study.
Data were collected from urban community healthcare centers in Chengdu, China, from October 2016 to March 2017.
A total of 893 participants aged ≥ 60 years.
The Short HA Inventory was used for HA assessment. Mental health status was assessed using the Geriatric Depression Inventory and Mini-Mental State Examination. Other information was collected through face-to-face interviews. Data analysis was performed using SPSS 19.0.
The point prevalence rate of HA was 9.53% (95%CI = 6.99%–12.07%). The number of chronic diseases was a positive factor associated with HA in a regression analysis. As compared with participants without chronic diseases, people with one (OR = 1.796; 95%CI = 0.546–5.909), two (OR = 2.922; 95%CI = 0.897–9.511), and three chronic diseases (OR = 6.448; 95%CI = 2.147–19.363) had higher odds of suffering from HA.
The prevalence of HA was high in the elderly population. Certain physical conditions, such as having chronic diseases, were significant impact factors. More attention should be paid to the situation of HA in this population.
Due to less light scattering and a better signal-to-noise ratio in deep imaging, two-photon fluorescence microscopy (TPFM) has been widely used in biomedical photonics since its advent. However, optical aberrations degrade the performance of TPFM in terms of the signal intensity and the imaging depth and therefore restrict its application. Here, we introduce adaptive optics based on the genetic algorithm to detect the distorted wavefront of the excitation laser beam and then perform aberration correction to optimize the performance of TPFM. By using a spatial light modulator as the wavefront controller, the correction phase is obtained through a signal feedback loop and a process of natural selection. The experimental results show that the signal intensity and imaging depth of TPFM are improved after aberration correction. Finally, the method was applied to two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging, which helps to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and the accuracy of lifetime analysis. Furthermore, the method can also be implemented in other experiments, such as three-photon microscopy, light-sheet microscopy, and super-resolution microscopy.
Extensive magmatism in NE China, eastern Central Asian Orogenic Belt, has produced multi-stage granitic plutons and accompanying W mineralization. The Narenwula complex in the southwestern Great Xing’an Range provides important insights into the petrogenesis, geodynamic processes and relationship with W mineralization. The complex comprises granodiorites, monzogranites and granite porphyry. Mafic microgranular enclaves are common in the granodiorites, and have similar zircon U–Pb ages as their host rocks (258.5–253.9 Ma), whereas the W-bearing granitoids yield emplacement ages of 149.8–148.1 Ma. Permian granodiorites are I-type granites that are enriched in large-ion lithophile elements and light rare earth elements, and depleted in high field strength elements and heavy rare earth elements. Both the mafic microgranular enclaves and granodiorites have nearly identical zircon Hf isotopic compositions. The results suggest that the mafic microgranular enclaves and granodiorites formed by the mixing of mafic and felsic magmas. W-bearing granitoids are highly fractionated A-type granites, enriched in Rb, Th, U and Pb, and depleted in Ba, Sr, P, Ti and Eu. They have higher W concentrations and Rb/Sr ratios, and lower Nb/Ta, Zr/Hf and K/Rb ratios than the W-barren granodiorites. These data and negative ϵHf(t) values (–6.0 to –2.1) suggest that they were derived from the partial melting of ancient lower crust and subsequently underwent extreme fractional crystallization. Based on the regional geology, we propose that the granodiorites were generated in a volcanic arc setting related to the subduction of the Palaeo-Asian Ocean, whereas the W-bearing granitoids and associated deposits formed in a post-orogenic extensional setting controlled by the Mongol–Okhotsk Ocean and Palaeo-Pacific Ocean tectonic regimes.
Membrane transporters including glucose transporters (GLUTs) are involved in cellular energy supplies, cell metabolism and other vital biological activities. They have also been implicated in cancer proliferation and metastasis, thus they represent an important target in combatting cancer. However, membrane transporters are very difficult to study due to their multispan transmembrane properties. The new computational tool, AlphaFold2, offers highly accurate predictions of three-dimensional protein structures. The glutamine, threonine and tyrosine (QTY) code provides a systematic method of rendering hydrophobic sequences into hydrophilic ones. Here, we present computational studies of native integral membrane GLUTs with 12 transmembrane helical segments determined by X-ray crystallography and CryoEM, comparing the AlphaFold2-predicted native structure to their water-soluble QTY variants predicted by AlphaFold2. In the native structures of the transmembrane helices, there are hydrophobic amino acids leucine (L), isoleucine (I), valine (V) and phenylalanine (F). Applying the QTY code, these hydrophobic amino acids are systematically replaced by hydrophilic amino acids, glutamine (Q), threonine (T) and tyrosine (Y) rendering them water-soluble. We present the superposed structures of native GLUTs and their water-soluble QTY variants. The superposed structures show remarkable similar residue mean square distance values between 0.47 and 3.6 Å (most about 1–2 Å) despite >44% transmembrane amino acid differences. We also show the differences of hydrophobicity patches between the native membrane transporters and their QTY variants. We explain the rationale why the membrane protein QTY variants become water-soluble. Our study provides insight into the differences between the hydrophobic helices and hydrophilic helices, and offers confirmation of the QTY method for studying multispan transmembrane proteins and other aggregated proteins through their water-soluble variants.
As an important index to quantitatively measure the motion performance of a manipulator, motion reliability is affected by many factors, such as joint clearance. The present research utilized a UR10 manipulator as the research object. A factor mapping model for influencing the motion reliability was established. The link flexibility factor, joint flexibility factor, joint clearance factor, and Denavit–Hartenberg (DH) parameters were comprehensively considered in this model. The coupling relationship among the various factors was concisely expressed. Subsequently, the nonlinear response surface method was used to calculate the reliability and sensitivity of the manipulator, which provided an applicable reference for its trajectory planning and motion control. In addition, a data-driven fault diagnosis method based on the kernel principal component analysis (KPCA) was used to verify the motion accuracy and sensitivity of the manipulator, and joint rotation failure was considered as an example to verify the accuracy of the KPCA method. This study on the motion reliability of the manipulator is of great significance for the current motion performance, adjusting the control strategy and optimizing the completion effect of the motion task of a manipulator.
There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.
We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.
This study aimed to determine the risk factors for chronic diseases and to identify the potential influencing mechanisms from the perspectives of lifestyle and dietary factors. The findings could provide updated and innovative evidence for the prevention and control of chronic diseases.
A cross-sectional study.
1005 adults from Yangpu district of Shanghai participated in the study, and responded to questions on dietary habits, lifestyle and health status.
Residents suffering from chronic diseases accounted for about 34·99 % of the respondents. Logistic regression analysis showed that age, diet quality, amount of exercise and tea drinking were related to chronic diseases. Age > 60 and overeating (Diet Balance Index total score > 0) had negative additive interaction on the occurrence of chronic disease, while overexercise (Physical Activity Index > 17·1) and tea drinking had negative multiplicative interaction and negative additive interaction on the occurrence of chronic disease. Diet quality, physical activity and tea drinking were incomplete mediators of the relationship between types of medical insurance residents participating in and chronic diseases.
The residents in Yangpu District of Shanghai have a high prevalence of chronic diseases. Strengthening access of residents to health education and interventions to prevent chronic diseases and cultivating healthy eating and exercise habits of residents are crucial. The nutritional environment of the elderly population should be considered, and the reimbursement level of different types of medical insurance should be designed reasonably to improve the accessibility of medical and health services and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Methomyl is a broad-spectrum carbamate insecticide that has a variety of toxic effects on humans and animals. However, there have been no studies on the toxicity of methomyl in female mammalian oocytes. This study investigated the toxic effects of environmental oestrogen methomyl exposure on mouse oocyte maturation and its possible mechanisms. Our results indicated that methomyl exposure inhibited polar body extrusion in mouse oocytes. Compared with that in the control group, in the methomyl treatment group, superoxide anion free radicals in oocytes were significantly increased. In addition, the mitochondrial membrane potential of metaphase II stage oocytes in the methomyl treatment group was significantly decreased, resulting in reduced mouse oocyte quality. After 8.5 h of exposure to methomyl, metaphase I stage mouse oocytes displayed an abnormal spindle morphology. mRNA expression of the pro-apoptotic genes Bax and Caspase-3 in methomyl-treated oocytes increased, which confirmed the apoptosis. Collectively, our results indicated that mouse oocyte maturation is defective after methomyl treatment at least through disruption of spindle morphology, mitochondrial function and by induction of oxidative stress.
Chronic inflammation exerts pleiotropic effects in the aetiology and progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Glucosamine is widely used in many countries and may have anti-inflammatory properties. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the association of regular glucosamine use with incident COPD risk and explore whether such association could be modified by smoking in the UK Biobank cohort, which recruited more than half a million participants aged 40–69 years from across the UK between 2006 and 2010. Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for potential confounding factors were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) as well as 95 % CI for the risk of incident COPD. During a median follow-up of 8·96 years (interquartile range 8·29–9·53 years), 9016 new-onset events of COPD were documented. We found that the regular use of glucosamine was associated with a significantly lower risk of incident COPD with multivariable adjusted HR of 0·80 (95 % CI, 0·75, 0·85; P < 0·001). When subgroup analyses were performed by smoking status, the adjusted HR for the association of regular glucosamine use with incident COPD were 0·84 (0·73, 0·96), 0·84 (0·77, 0·92) and 0·71 (0·62, 0·80) among never smokers, former smokers and current smokers, respectively. No significant interaction was observed between glucosamine use and smoking status (Pfor interaction = 0·078). Incident COPD could be reduced by 14 % to 84 % through a combination of regular glucosamine use and smoking cessation.
To explore the characteristics of the mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of the squeaking silkmoths Rhodinia, a genus of wild silkmoths in the family Saturniidae of Lepidoptera, and reveal phylogenetic relationships, the mitogenome of Rhodinia fugax Butler was determined. This wild silkmoth spins a green cocoon that has potential significance in sericulture, and exhibits a unique feature that its larvae can squeak loudly when touched. The mitogenome of R. fugax is a circular molecule of 15,334 bp long and comprises 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, and an A + T-rich region, consistent with previous observations of Saturniidae species. The 370-bp A + T-rich region of R. fugax contains no tandem repeat elements and harbors several features common to the Bombycidea insects, but microsatellite AT repeat sequence preceded by the ATTTA motif is not present. Mitogenome-based phylogenetic analysis shows that R. fugax belongs to Attacini, instead of Saturniini. This study presents the first mitogenome for Rhodinia genus.
Oxidative stress causes several diseases and dysfunctions in cells, including oocytes. Clearly, oxidative stress influences oocyte quality during in vitro maturation and fertilization. Here we tested the ability of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and improve mouse oocyte quality during in vitro culture. Treatment with 50 μM CoQ10 efficiently reduced ROS levels in oocytes cultured in vitro. The fertilizable form of an oocyte usually contains a cortical granule-free domain (CGFD). CoQ10 enhanced the ratio of CGFD–oocytes from 35% to 45%. However, the hardening of the zona pellucida in oocytes was not affected by CoQ10 treatment. The in vitro maturation capacity of oocytes, which was determined by the first polar body extrusion, was enhanced from 48.9% to 75.7% by the addition of CoQ10 to the culture medium. During the parthenogenesis process, the number of two-cell embryos was increased by CoQ10 from 43.5% to 67.3%. Additionally, treatment with CoQ10 increased the expression of Bcl2 and Sirt1 in cumulus cells. These results suggested that CoQ10 had a positive effect on ROS reduction, maturation rate and two-cell embryo formation in mouse oocyte culture.
ITGB1 (Integrin β1, CD29) is a member of the integrin family and has a role as a major adhesion receptor. Gastric cancer (GC) is an important cause of mortality worldwide, especially in China. As a potential cancer enhancer, the role ITGB1 plays in GC progression remains unclear. In the current study, our assay on the databases of tumoassociated gene expression and interaction found that the high expression of ITGB1 was closely correlated with the poor prognosis of GC patients. To explore the roles, ITGB1 plays in GC progression, and an ITGB1-deleted cell line (ITGB1−/−SGC7901) was generated using the CRISPR/Cas9 method. The tumor malignancy-associated cell behaviors and microstructures were detected, imaged, and analyzed using 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), wound healing, transwell, scanning electron microscopy, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and others. The results indicated that ITGB1 deletion decreased the GC cell proliferation and motility, and inhibited motility-relevant microstructures, such as pseudopodia and filopodia, markedly in ITGB1-deleted SGC7901 cells. The analysis of STRING database and western blots indicated that ITGB1 contributes to the malignancy of GC mediated by Src-mediated FAK/PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. Taken together, the results showed that ITGB1 may be a potential targeting marker for GC diagnosis and therapy in the future.
Sarcopenic obesity is regarded as a risk factor for the progression and development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Since male sex is a risk factor for NAFLD and skeletal muscle mass markedly varies between the sexes, we examined whether sex influences the association between appendicular skeletal muscle mass to visceral fat area ratio (SVR), that is, an index of skeletal muscle mass combined with abdominal obesity, and the histological severity of NAFLD. The SVR was measured by bioelectrical impedance in a cohort of 613 (M/F = 443/170) Chinese middle-aged individuals with biopsy-proven NAFLD. Multivariable logistic regression and subgroup analyses were used to test the association between SVR and the severity of NAFLD (i.e. non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or NASH with the presence of any stage of liver fibrosis). NASH was identified by a NAFLD activity score ≥5, with a minimum score of 1 for each of its categories. The presence of fibrosis was classified as having a histological stage ≥1. The SVR was inversely associated with NASH in men (adjusted OR 0·62; 95 % CI 0·42, 0·92, P = 0·017 for NASH, adjusted OR 0·65; 95 % CI 0·43, 0·99, P = 0·043 for NASH with the presence of fibrosis), but not in women (1·47 (95 % CI 0·76, 2·83), P = 0·25 for NASH, and 1·45 (95 % CI 0·74, 2·83), P = 0·28 for NASH with the presence of fibrosis). There was a significant interaction for sex and SVR (Pinteraction = 0·017 for NASH and Pinteraction = 0·033 for NASH with the presence of fibrosis). Our findings show that lower skeletal muscle mass combined with abdominal obesity is strongly associated with the presence of NASH only in men.
In October 2015, the Chinese Government announced that the one-child policy had finally been replaced by a universal two-child policy. China’s universal two-child policy is highly significant because, for the first time in 36 years, no one in an urban city is restricted to having just one child. This cross-sectional study was conducted to explore future fertility intentions and factors influencing individual reproductive behaviour (whether to have two children) in Dalian City. A total of 1370 respondents were interviewed. The respondents’ mean ideal number of children was only 1.73, and urban respondents’ sex preference was symmetrical. A total of 19.0% of the respondents were unmarried, 64.5% were married and had childbearing experience and only 6.3% of married respondents had two children. Among the 1370 participants, 30.4% stated that they would have a second child, while 69.6% refused to have a second child in the future. Binary logistic regression analysis (Model 1) showed that the following characteristics were associated with having only one child in the future: being female, being older, having a lower education level, being born in Dalian, having a lower family income and reporting one child as the ideal number of children. Model 2 (comprising only respondents with childbearing experience) showed that respondents who were female, had a lower family income and were unable to obtain additional financial support from parents were more likely to intend to stick at one child. In addition, respondents’ ideal number of children and childbearing experiences had a significant influence on future fertility intentions. These results suggest that fertility intentions and reproductive behaviours are still below those needed for replacement level fertility in Dalian City. China’s policymakers should pay more attention to these factors (socioeconomic characteristics, economic factors, desired number of children and childbearing experiences) and try to increase individual reproductive behaviour.