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The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
Patients with severe mental disorders in low-resource settings have limited access to services, resulting in overwhelming caregiving burden for families. In extreme cases, this has led to the long-term restraining of patients in their homes. China underwent a nationwide initiative to unlock patients and provide continued treatment. This study aims to quantify household economic burden in families after unlocking and treatment, and to identify factors associated with increased burden due to schizophrenia.
A total of 264 subjects were enrolled from three geographically diverse provinces in 2012. Subjects were patients with schizophrenia who were previously put under restraints and had participated in the ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention. The primary outcome was the current household economic burden, obtained from past year financial information collected through on-site interview. Patient disease characteristics, treatment, outcomes and family caregiving burden were collected as well. Univariate and multivariate linear regression were used to construct risk factor models for indirect economic burden.
After participating in the intervention, 85% of patients continued to receive mental health services, 70% used medication as prescribed and 80% were never relocked. Family members reported significantly decreased caregiving burden after receiving the intervention. Mean direct and indirect household economic burdens were CNY963 (US$31.7) and CNY11 724 (US$1670) per year, respectively, while family total income was on average CNY12 108 (US$1913) per year. Greater disease severity and poorer patient psychosocial function at time of study were found to be independent factors related to increased indirect burden.
The ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention has improved the lives of patients and families. Indirect burden due to disease is still a major economic issue that needs to be addressed, potentially through improving treatment and patient functioning. Our findings contribute to the unravelling and eventual elimination of chronic restraining of mentally ill patients in low-resource settings.
Rubber seed oil (RO) that is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA) can improve milk production and milk FA profiles of dairy cows; however, the responses of digestion and ruminal fermentation to RO supplementation in vivo are still unknown. This experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of RO and flaxseed oil (FO) supplementation on nutrients digestibility, rumen fermentation parameters and rumen FA profile of dairy cows. Forty-eight mid-lactation Holstein dairy cows were randomly assigned to one of four treatments for 8 weeks, including basal diet (CON) or the basal dietary supplemented with 4% RO, 4% FO or 2% RO plus 2% FO on a DM basis. Compared with CON, dietary oil supplementation improved the total tract apparent digestibility of DM, neutral detergent fibre and ether extracts ( P < 0.05). Oil treatment groups had no effects on ruminal digesta pH value, ammonia N and microbial crude protein ( P > 0.05), whereas oil groups significantly changed the volatile fatty acid (VFA) profile by increasing the proportion of propionate whilst decreasing total VFA concentration, the proportion of acetate and the ratio of acetate to propionate ( P < 0.05). However, there were no differences in VFA proportions between the three oil groups (P > 0.05). In addition, dietary oil supplementation increased the total unsaturated FA proportion in the rumen by enhancing the proportion of trans-11 C18:1 vaccenic acid (VA), cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) ( P < 0.05). These results indicate that dietary supplementation with RO and FO could improve nutrients digestibility, ruminal fermentation and ruminal FA profile by enhancing the VA, cis-9, trans-11 CLA and ALA composition of lactating dairy cows. These findings provide a theoretical basis for the application of RO in livestock production.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Employing atomic-scale simulations, the response of a high-angle grain boundary (GB), the soft/hard GB, against external loading was systematically investigated. Under tensile loading close to the hard orientation, strain-induced dynamic recrystallization was observed to initiate through direct soft-to-hard grain reorientation, which was triggered by stress mismatch, inhibited by surface tension from the soft-hard GB, and proceeded by interface ledges. Such grain reorientation corresponds with expansion and contraction of the hard grain along and perpendicular to the loading direction, respectively, accompanied by local atomic shuffling, providing relatively large normal strain of 8.3% with activation energy of 0.04 eV per atom. Tensile strain and residual dislocations on the hard/soft GB facilitate the initiation of dynamic recrystallization by lowering the energy barrier and the critical stress for grain reorientation, respectively.
Antioxidants have been always used to improve post-slaughter meat quality in broilers subjected to stress. Forsythia suspensa extract (FSE), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, is generally regarded as a natural source of antioxidants. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that FSE could protect post-slaughter breast muscles against oxidative injury induced by dexamethasone (DEX) mimicking chronic physiological stress in poultry production. Average daily gain and feed efficiency of poultry were suppressed by DEX and improved by FSE (P < 0.05). Dexamethasone caused the decrease in the redness value and the increase in the lightness and yellowness values and drip loss of the breast muscles (P < 0.05), and FSE had the converse effects (P < 0.05). Dietary FSE supplementation decreased monounsaturated fatty acid (FA) and increased polyunsaturated FA in breast muscles of broilers (P < 0.05). In addition, FSE decreased malondialdehyde and carbonyl content in the breast muscles of DEX-treated broilers (P < 0.05). The inhibition of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl in the breast muscles was decreased by DEX and increased by FSE (P < 0.05). Total-antioxidant capacity and glutathione peroxidase activity in the breast muscles were decreased in birds subjected to DEX and increased in birds supplemented with FSE (P < 0.05). Totally, DEX suppressed growth performance and induced breast muscle oxidative injury in broilers, and FSE supplementation improved antioxidant capacity to attenuate these adverse effects. Therefore, FSE could be a potential natural antioxidant to alleviate oxidative injury of the breast muscles in broilers and to improve the meat quality for human consumption.
Introduction: Intravenous insertion (IVI) is identified by children as extremely painful and the resultant distress can have lasting negative consequences. There is an urgent need to effectively manage such procedures. Our primary objective was to compare the pain and distress of IVI with the addition of humanoid robot-based distraction to standard care, versus standard care alone. Methods: This two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted from April 2017 to May 2018 at the Stollery Children's Hospital emergency department (ED). Children aged 6 to 11 years who required IVI were included. Exclusion criteria included hearing or visual impairments, neurocognitive delays, sensory impairment to pain, previous enrolment, and discretion of the ED clinical staff. Primary outcomes were measured using the Observational Scale of Behavioural Distress-Revised (OSBD-R) (distress) and the Faces Pain Scale-Revised (FPS-R) (pain). A total of 426 pediatric patients were screened and 340 were excluded. Results: We recruited 86 children, of which 55% (47/86) were male; 9% (7/82) were premature at birth; 82% (67/82) had a previous ED visit; 30% (25/82) required previous hospitalization; 78% (64/82) had previous IV placement and 96% (78/81) received topical anesthesia. The mean total OSBD-R score was 1.49 ± 2.36 (standard care) compared to 0.78 ± 1.32 (robot group) (p = 0.047). The median FPS-R during the IV procedure was 4 (IQR 2,6) in the standard care group alone, compared to 2 (IQR 0,4) with the addition of humanoid robot-based distraction (p = 0.10). Change in parental state anxiety pre-procedure versus post-procedure was not significantly different between groups (p = 0.49). Parental satisfaction with the IV start was 93% (39/42) in the robot arm compared to 74% (29/39) in the standard care arm (p = 0.03). Parents were also more satisfied with management of their child's pain in the robot group (95% very satisfied) compared with standard care (72% very satisfied) (p = 0.002). Conclusion: A statistically significant reduction in distress was observed with the addition of robot-based distraction to standard care. Humanoid robot-based distraction therapy reduces distress and to a lesser extent, pain, in children undergoing IVI in the ED. Further trials are required to confirm utility in other age groups and settings.
Imprinted genes uniquely drive and support fetoplacental growth by controlling the allocation of maternal resources to the fetus and affecting the newborn’s growth. We previously showed that alterations of the placental imprinted gene expression are associated with suboptimal perinatal growth and respond to environmental stimuli including socio-economic determinants. At the same time, maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy (MPSP) has been shown to affect fetal growth. Here, we set out to test the hypothesis that placental imprinted gene expression mediates the effects of MPSP on fetal growth in a well-characterized birth cohort, the Stress in Pregnancy (SIP) Study. We observed that mothers experiencing high MPSP deliver infants with lower birthweight (P=0.047). Among the 109 imprinted genes tested, we detected panels of placental imprinted gene expression of 23 imprinted genes associated with MPSP and 26 with birthweight. Among these genes, five imprinted genes (CPXM2, glucosidase alpha acid (GAA), GPR1, SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains 2 (SHANK2) and THSD7A) were common to the two panels. In multivariate analyses, controlling for maternal age and education and gestational age at birth and infant gender, two genes, GAA and SHANK2, each showed a 22% mediation of MPSP on fetal growth. These data provide new insights into the role that imprinted genes play in translating the maternal stress message into a fetoplacental growth pattern.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
Despite many interventions aiming to reduce excessive gestational weight gain (GWG), it is currently unclear the impact on infant anthropometric outcomes. The aim of this review was to evaluate offspring anthropometric outcomes in studies designed to reduce GWG. A systematic search of seven international databases, one clinical trial registry and three Chinese databases was conducted without date limits. Studies were categorised by intervention type: diet, physical activity (PA), lifestyle (diet + PA), other, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) (diet, PA, lifestyle, metformin and other). Meta-analyses were reported as weighted mean difference (WMD) for birthweight and birth length, and risk ratio (RR) for small for gestational age (SGA), large for gestational age (LGA), macrosomia and low birth weight (LBW). Collectively, interventions reduced birthweight, risk of macrosomia and LGA by 71 g (WMD: −70.67, 95% CI −101.90 to −39.43, P<0.001), 16% (RR: 0.84, 95% CI 0.73–0.98, P=0.026) and 19% (RR: 0.81, 95% CI 0.69–0.96, P=0.015), respectively. Diet interventions decreased birthweight and LGA by 99 g (WMD −98.80, 95% CI −178.85 to −18.76, P=0.016) and 65% (RR: 0.35, 95% CI 0.17–0.72, P=0.004). PA interventions reduced the risk of macrosomia by 51% (RR: 0.49, 95% CI 0.26–0.92, P=0.036). In women with GDM, diet and lifestyle interventions reduced birthweight by 211 and 296 g, respectively (WMD: −210.93, 95% CI −374.77 to −46.71, P=0.012 and WMD:−295.93, 95% CI −501.76 to −90.10, P=0.005, respectively). Interventions designed to reduce excessive GWG lead to a small reduction in infant birthweight and risk of macrosomia and LGA, without influencing the risk of adverse outcomes including LBW and SGA.
Stored product insects show high adaption to hypoxia and hypercapnia, but the underlying mechanism is still unclear. Herein, a comparative transcriptome on 4th adzuki bean weevil (Callosobruchus chinensis) instar larvae was studied to clarify the response mechanisms to hypoxia (HA) and hypoxia/hypercapnia (HHA) using NextSeq500 RNA-Seq. Transcript profiling showed a significant difference in HA or HHA exposure both quantitatively and qualitatively. Compared with control, 631 and 253 genes were significantly changed in HHA and HA, respectively. Comparing HHA with HA, 1135 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. The addition of hypercapnia made a complex alteration on the hypoxia response of bean weevil transcriptome, carbohydrate, energy, lipid and amino acid metabolism were the most highly enriched pathways for genes significantly changed. In addition, some biological processes that were not significantly enriched but important were also discussed, such as immune system and signal transduction. Most of the DEGs related to metabolism both in HHA and HA were up-regulated, while the DEGs related to the immune system, stress response or signal transduction were significantly down-regulated or suppressed. This research reveals a comparatively full-scale result in adzuki bean weevil hypoxia and hypoxia/hypercapnia tolerance mechanism at transcription level, which might provide new insights into the genomic research of this species.
Human fascioliasis infection sources are analysed for the first time in front of the new worldwide scenario of this disease. These infection sources include foods, water and combinations of both. Ingestion of freshwater wild plants is the main source, with watercress and secondarily other vegetables involved. The problem of vegetables sold in uncontrolled urban markets is discussed. Distinction between infection sources by freshwater cultivated plants, terrestrial wild plants, and terrestrial cultivated plants is made. The risks by traditional local dishes made from sylvatic plants and raw liver ingestion are considered. Drinking of contaminated water, beverages and juices, ingestion of dishes and soups and washing of vegetables, fruits, tubercles and kitchen utensils with contaminated water are increasingly involved. Three methods to assess infection sources are noted: detection of metacercariae attached to plants or floating in freshwater, anamnesis in individual patients, and questionnaire surveys in endemic areas. The infectivity of metacercariae is reviewed both under field conditions and experimentally under the effects of physicochemical agents. Individual and general preventive measures appear to be more complicated than those considered in the past. The high diversity of infection sources and their heterogeneity in different countries underlie the large epidemiological heterogeneity of human fascioliasis throughout.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading global infectious cause of death. Understanding TB transmission is critical to creating policies and monitoring the disease with the end goal of TB elimination. To our knowledge, there has been no systematic review of key transmission parameters for TB. We carried out a systematic review of the published literature to identify studies estimating either of the two key TB transmission parameters: the serial interval (SI) and the reproductive number. We identified five publications that estimated the SI and 56 publications that estimated the reproductive number. The SI estimates from four studies were: 0.57, 1.42, 1.44 and 1.65 years; the fifth paper presented age-specific estimates ranging from 20 to 30 years (for infants <1 year old) to <5 years (for adults). The reproductive number estimates ranged from 0.24 in the Netherlands (during 1933–2007) to 4.3 in China in 2012. We found a limited number of publications and many high TB burden settings were not represented. Certain features of TB dynamics, such as slow transmission, complicated parameter estimation, require novel methods. Additional efforts to estimate these parameters for TB are needed so that we can monitor and evaluate interventions designed to achieve TB elimination.
Extensive insecticide use has led to the resistance of mosquitoes to these insecticides, posing a major barrier to mosquito control. Previous Solexa high-throughput sequencing of Culex pipiens pallens in the laboratory has revealed that the abundance of a novel microRNA (miRNA), miR-13664, was higher in a deltamethrin-sensitive (DS) strain than a deltamethrin-resistant (DR) strain. Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that the miR-13664 transcript level was lower in the DR strain than in the DS strain. MiR-13664 oversupply in the DR strain increased the susceptibility of these mosquitoes to deltamethrin, whereas inhibition of miR-13664 made the DS strain more resistant to deltamethrin. Results of bioinformatic analysis, quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, luciferase assay and miR mimic/inhibitor microinjection revealed CpCYP314A1 to be a target of miR-13664. In addition, downregulation of CpCYP314A1 expression in the DR strain reduced the resistance of mosquitoes to deltamethrin. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-13664 could regulate deltamethrin resistance by interacting with CpCYP314A1, providing new insights into mosquito resistance mechanisms.
Globally, the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) disease is higher in males. This study examined the effect of sex and age on Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. Demographic and exposure data were collected on household contacts of sputum smear-positive pulmonary TB patients in Brazil. Contacts with tuberculin skin test induration ⩾10 mm at baseline or 12 weeks were considered Mtb infected. The study enrolled 917 household contacts from 160 households; 508 (55.4%) were female, median age was 21.0 years (range 0.30–87.0) and 609 (66.4%) had Mtb infection. The proportion infected increased with age from 63.3% in girls <5 years to 75.4% in women ⩾40 years and from 44.9% in boys <5 years to 73.6% in men ⩾40 years. Multivariable modelling showed the odds of infection increased between age 5 and 14 years among female contacts (OR 1.5 per 5-year age increase; 95% CI 1.1–2.2; P = 0.02) and between ages 0–4 and 15–39 years among male contacts (OR 2.7, 95% CI 0.83–8.9 and 1.1, 95% CI 0.99–1.3 per 5-year age increase; P = 0.10, 0.07, respectively). The study suggests that the age at which Mtb infection increases most is different in females compared with males. Studies are needed to explore whether these findings are due to differences in host susceptibility, exposure outside the household or other factors.
Introduction: High fidelity in-situ simulation has been found to detect system deficiencies, equipment failures, and conditions predisposing to medical errors, also known as latent safety threats (LST). What is not well reported is whether these LSTs are effectively managed. As a part of an ongoing quality improvement project, multidisciplinary, in-situ simulations were conducted across emergency departments (ED) in the Edmonton zone with the aim to identify LST and subsequently manage them to improve patient care. Methods: In 2017 simulations were conducted at EDs in the Edmonton Zone (N=10). Following each simulation, a cross sectional, survey based assessment tool, was completed by participants to identify LST. These LST were shared with the site clinical nurse educator and/or site manager and a management plan made. Two to six months follow-up was made to track progress. For reporting, LST were grouped into themes, progress on LST were coded as either resolved, ongoing, or not managed. Results: A total of 112 LST were identified through 18 separate simulations. The most commonly identified LTS were: resuscitation resource required (n 23), lack of staff training (21), equipment not immediately available (20), IT resource required (8), medication not immediately available (6), staff requiring familiarization (5), medication resource required (5), IT issue (4), large equipment needed (4), small equipment needed (4), lack of staff resource (3), medication needed, (3), equipment malfunction (2), Environment cluttered (2), non-appropriate resource removed (2). Site follow-up identified a total of 52 LST that where resolved, and 60 LST that had ongoing work to manage them. No occurrences of LST not being managed were identified. Conclusion: Simulation was used to effectively identify LST. Creating a structured plan and follow up allowed many LST to be resolved and effectively managed. In 2018 simulation will reassess if LST remain.
Introduction: Intravenous (IV) cannulation is commonly performed in emergency departments (ED), often causing substantial pain and distress. Distraction has been shown to reduce child-reported pain, but there is currently little published about the effects of using iPad technology as a distraction tool. Our primary objective was to compare the reduction of pain and distress using iPad distraction (games, movies, books of the child’s choice) in addition to standard care, versus standard care alone. Methods: This randomized clinical trial, conducted at the Stollery Childrens Hospital ED, recruited children between ages 6 to 11 years requiring IV cannulation. Study arm assignment was performed using REDCaps randomization feature. Due to the nature of the intervention, blinding was not possible for the children, parents or research and ED staff, but the data analyst was blinded to intervention assignment until completion of analysis. Pain, distress, and parental anxiety were measured using the Faces Pain Scale-Revised, the Observed Scale of Behavioural Distress-Revised, and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, respectively. The pain scores and observed behavioural distress scores were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Other co-variates were analyzed using a linear regression analysis. Results: A total of 85 children were enrolled, with 42 receiving iPad distraction and 43 standard care, of which 40 (95%) and 35 (81%) children received topical anesthesia, respectively (p=0.09). There were 40 girls (47.1%) with a mean age of 8.32 +/− 1.61 years. The pain scores during IV cannulation (p=0.35) and the change in pain score during the procedure compared to baseline (p=0.79) were not significantly different between the groups, nor were the observed distress scores during IV cannulation (p=0.09), or the change in observed distress during the procedure compared to baseline (p=0.44). A regression analysis showed children in both groups had greater total behavioural stress if it was their first ED visit (p=0.01), had prior hospitalization experience (p=0.04) or were admitted to hospital during this visit (p=0.007). A previous ED visit, however, was predictive of a greater increase in parental anxiety from baseline (p=0.02). When parents were asked whether they would use the same methods to manage pain for their child, parents of the iPad group were more likely to say yes than were parents of the standard care group (p=0.03). Conclusion: iPad distraction during IV cannulation in school-aged children was not found to decrease pain or distress more than standard care alone, but parents preferred its use. The effects of iPad distraction may have been over-shadowed by potent topical anesthetic effect. Future directions include exploring iPad distraction for other age groups, and studying novel technology such as virtual reality and interactive humanoid robots.