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Non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA), the most severe type of male infertility, affects approximately 1% of men worldwide. However, the aetiology of most NOA cases is not definite, that is defined as idiopathic NOA (INOA), posing a clinical conundrum worldwide. Most of these patients must receive donor sperm treatment until the emergence of microdissection testicular sperm extraction (micro-TESE). Although this procedure has recently become a promising treatment for INOA, the low sperm retrieval rate and testicular trauma have prompted us to explore appropriate non-invasive molecular biomarkers to predict the outcomes of sperm recovery preoperatively. Previous studies have identified a spectrum of biomarkers to address this challenging issue at various levels in different tissues, such as DNAs, RNAs, protein and steroid levels in the blood and seminal fluid. To better understand and assess the predictive values of diverse molecular biomarkers from different tissues on the outcome of sperm retrieval by micro-TESE in patients with INOA, we summarised recent findings and discussed the potential applications of these methods. The ultimate goal of this study was to provide references for further studies and clinical management.
Neuromedin U (NMU) has a critical function on the regulation of food intake in mammals, while the information is little in teleost. To investigate the function of NMU on appetite regulation of Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii), this study firstly cloned nmu cDNA sequence that encoded 154 amino acids including NMU-25 peptide. Besides, the results showed that nmu mRNA was widely distributed in various tissues especially in the hypothalamus and telencephalon. The results of nutritional status (pre-feeding and post-feeding, fasting and re-feeding) experiments showed that nmu mRNA expression was significantly decreased at 1 and 3 h after feeding in different brain regions. Similarly, after feeding, the expression of nmu significantly decreased in peripheral tissues. Moreover, nmu expression in the hypothalamus was significantly increased after fasting 1 day, but decreased after fasting 17 days, which was significantly reversed after re-feeding. However, other brain regions like telencephalon and peripheral tissues like esophagus, intestinum valvula and liver have different change patterns. Further study showed that acute i.c.v. and i.p. injection of NMU and chronic i.p. injection of NMU significantly reduced the food intake in a dose dependent mode. In addition, the expressions of several critical appetite factors (nmu, aplein, cart, cck, ghrelin, npy, nucb2, pyy and ucn3) were significantly affected by acute NMU-25 administration in the hypothalamus, intestinum valvula and liver. These results indicate that NMU-25 has the anorexigenic function on food intake by affecting different appetite factors in Siberian sturgeon, which provides a foundation for further exploring the appetite regulation networks in fish.
A new system for preparing 14C samples was established for a compact accelerator mass spectrometer (GXNU-AMS) at Guangxi Normal University. This sample preparation system consists of three units: a vacuum maintenance unit, a CO2 purification unit, and a CO2 reduction unit, all of which were made of quartz glass. A series of radiocarbon (14C) preparation experiments were conducted to verify the reliability of the system. The recovery rate of graphite obtained was more than 80%. The carbon content in the commercial toner and wood sample was linearly fitted to the CO2 pressure in the measurement unit of the system. The results showed a good linear relationship, indicating that the reliability of the sample preparation system. AMS measurements were conducted on a batch of standard, wood, and dead graphite samples prepared using this system. The results showed that the beam current of 12C- for each sample was more than 40 μA, the carbon contamination introduced during the sample preparation process was ∼ 2 × 10–15, and that the new sample preparation system is compact, low-contamination, and efficient and meets the GXNU-AMS requirements for 14C samples.
In the past 10–15 years, the government of China has made various efforts in tackling excessive antibiotics use. Yet, little is known about their effects at rural primary care settings. This study aimed to determine the impact of government policies and the COVID-19 pandemic on antibiotic prescribing practices at such settings utilizing data from separate studies carried out pre- and during the pandemic, in 2016 and 2021 in Anhui province, China, using identical sampling and survey approaches. Data on antibiotics prescribed, diagnosis, socio-demographic, etc., were obtained through non-participative observation and a structured exit survey. Data analysis comprised mainly descriptive comparisons of 1153 and 762 patients with respiratory infections recruited in 2016 and 2021, respectively. The overall antibiotics prescription rate decreased from 89.6% in 2016 to 69.1% in 2021, and the proportion of prescriptions for two or more classes of antibiotics was estimated as 35.9% in 2016 and 11.0% in 2021. There was a statistically significant decrease in the number of days from symptom onset to clinic visits between the year groups. In conclusion, measures to constrain excessive prescription of antibiotics have led to some improvements at the rural primary care level, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had varying effects on antibiotic use.
Many waterflooding oil fields, injecting water into an oil-bearing reservoir for pressure maintenance, are in their middle to late stages of development. To explore the geological conditions and improve oilfield recovery of the most important well group of the Hu 136 block, located on the border areas of three provinces (Henan, Shandong, and Hebei), Zhongyuan Oilfield, Sinopec, central China, a 14C cross-well tracer monitoring technology was developed and applied in monitoring the development status and recognize the heterogeneity of oil reservoirs. The tracer response in the production well was tracked, and the water drive speed, swept volume of the injection fluid were obtained. Finally, the reservoir heterogeneity characteristics, such as the dilution coefficient, porosity, permeability, and average pore-throat radius, were fitted according to the mathematical model of the heterogeneous multi-layer inter-well theory. The 14C-AMS technique developed in this work is expected to be a potential analytical method for evaluating underground reservoir characteristics and providing crucial scientific guidance for the mid to late oil field recovery process.
The incidence of scarlet fever has increased dramatically in recent years in Chongqing, China, but there has no effective method to forecast it. This study aimed to develop a forecasting model of the incidence of scarlet fever using a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (SARIMA) model. Monthly scarlet fever data between 2011 and 2019 in Chongqing, China were retrieved from the Notifiable Infectious Disease Surveillance System. From 2011 to 2019, a total of 5073 scarlet fever cases were reported in Chongqing, the male-to-female ratio was 1.44:1, children aged 3–9 years old accounted for 81.86% of the cases, while 42.70 and 42.58% of the reported cases were students and kindergarten children, respectively. The data from 2011 to 2018 were used to fit a SARIMA model and data in 2019 were used to validate the model. The normalised Bayesian information criterion (BIC), the coefficient of determination (R2) and the root mean squared error (RMSE) were used to evaluate the goodness-of-fit of the fitted model. The optimal SARIMA model was identified as (3, 1, 3) (3, 1, 0)12. The RMSE and mean absolute per cent error (MAPE) were used to assess the accuracy of the model. The RMSE and MAPE of the predicted values were 19.40 and 0.25 respectively, indicating that the predicted values matched the observed values reasonably well. Taken together, the SARIMA model could be employed to forecast scarlet fever incidence trend, providing support for scarlet fever control and prevention.
Urbanization can cause local climate change including urban heat islands (UHI) and urban rainfall islands (URI). This study examines urban effects on temperature and precipitation (i.e., bias in observational data in urban areas in comparison to rural areas) in southeast China based on daily meteorological data between 1961- 2010. The urbanization levels of observational sites are characterized by continuous indicators (i.e., urban area fraction and population density) in contrast to the traditional approach that classifies sites into urban and rural categories. Statistical correlation coefficients and linear regression models are employed to analyse the relationship between urbanization levels and changes in temperature and precipitation. The results provide empirical evidence of UHI and URI in southeast China. The estimated average change rates of the minimum, mean daily temperatures and the daily temperature range due to urban effects are 0.061, 0.045 and -0.015°C per decade, respectively. While we do not observe any significant urban effect in annual precipitation, densely urbanized areas are prone to heavier extreme precipitation. The results suggest that urbanization increases the maximum daily and 3-day precipitation by about 10.4 and 14.9 millimetres, respectively. We note that the effects of urbanization on temperature and precipitation vary over the seasons.
A better detection of landslide occurrence is critical for disaster prevention and mitigation. Over the past four decades, great achievements have been made, ranging from inventories to mapping, susceptibility analysis to triggering threshold identification. Here, we proposed a model to establish global distributed rainfall thresholds, by linking triggering rainfall with geo-environmental causes related to landslide events. The model was based on multiple linear regression method, to define rainfall thresholds as a function of diverse geo-environmental variables, fitted and validated by a combined and relatively accurate landslide dataset. Results show primarily feasible performances for training and testing datasets, with low mean absolute error (0.22 log(mm)) and a high coefficient of determination (0.67) totally. We further prepared global distributed threshold maps for sub- and multi-daily rainfall durations. They share similar spatial distributions in line with previous research. The normalized rainfall index, defined as the ratio of precipitation amount over distributed rainfall thresholds, can be an index of possible landslide occurrence, that is, regions with a normalized index over 1.0 correspond to high probability. We argue that distributed rainfall threshold models are an improvement of empirical threshold models and susceptibility assessments by considering the interaction between triggering rainfall and geo-environmental causes, and promising for better hazard assessment.
Saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers menace multiple coastal areas globally, degrading groundwater quality, which poses an important threat to freshwater supply for agricultural, industrial and domestic utilization. Groundwater over-exploitation used to be commonly recognized as the principle factor causing saltwater intrusion, while sea-level rise, intensified storm surges and precipitation change have grown to become important drivers of factors inducing saltwater intrusion as well. In the context of exacerbated human activities such as groundwater over-exploitation due to the ever-increasing water demand because of population growth and economic and social development, as well as sea-level rise and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns and regimes resulting from climate change, the phenomenon of saltwater intrusion worldwide has been seriously aggravated recently. A deeper understanding of the theories and multiple pathways of saltwater intrusion, the commonly-used methods to investigate the extent of saltwater intrusion, as well as numerical approaches to assess the impacts of anthropogenic activities and climate change on saltwater intrusion in future are of great importance to mitigate its negative effects.
The transition from puddled-transplanted rice (Oryza sativa L.) (PTR) to direct-seeded rice (DSR) is gaining popularity in central China. In contrast, the PTR system is the most common practice in southwest China. Weeds are a major problem in the paddy fields of the DSR systems, and herbicides are widely used for weed control. However, the increased frequency and rate of herbicide use leads to the rapid evolution of resistance. Smallflower umbrella sedge (Cyperus difformis L.) is a troublesome weed species in rice fields of China and is usually controlled by the acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting herbicide bensulfuron-methyl. Here, we collected 32 C. difformis populations from DSR systems (Hunan Province) and PTR systems (Guangxi Province) and investigated their resistance to bensulfuron-methyl. Results revealed 80% (8 out of 10) populations from Hunan Province and 14% (3 out of 22) populations from Guangxi Province had evolved resistance to bensulfuron-methyl. Five populations from Hunan Province (HN-2, HN-3, HN-5, HN-9, HN-10) possessing the Trp-574-Leu mutation had high-level resistance (ranging from 169- to >1,309-fold) based on GR50 ratios. The resistant populations from Guangxi Province had a lower level of resistance to bensulfuron-methyl due to a Pro-197-Ser mutation. The Asp-376-Glu mutation was only identified in the HN-4 population. In addition, the GX-3 population from the PTR systems was resistant to bensulfuron-methyl without ALS gene mutations, indicating non–target site resistance (NTSR). Although some resistant populations of both regions exhibited cross-resistance to multiple ALS-inhibiting herbicides, including pyrazosulfuron-ethyl, bispyribac-sodium, penoxsulam, and imazapic, sensitivity was also detected to the auxin herbicide MCPA and the photosystem II–inhibiting herbicides bentazone and propanil. These results indicate that cultivation practices affect resistance evolution in C. difformis. DSR systems exert high selection pressure by selecting the Trp-574-Leu mutation, resulting in high-level resistance. In contrast, a mutation at Pro-197 plus NTSR likely plays a significant role in ALS resistance in the PTR systems.
We investigated the drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from patients with tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, and those diagnosed with only TB in Sichuan, China. TB isolates were obtained from January 2018 to December 2020 and subjected to drug susceptibility testing (DST) to 11 anti-TB drugs and to GeneXpert MTB/RIF testing. The overall proportion of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) isolates was 32.1% (n = 10 946). HIV testing was not universally available for outpatient TB cases, only 29.5% (3227/10 946) cases had HIV testing results. The observed proportion of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) isolates was almost double than that of the national level, with approximately 1.5% and 0.1% of the isolates being extensively drug resistant and universally drug resistant, respectively. The proportions of resistant isolates were generally higher in 2018 and 2019 than in 2020. Furthermore, the sensitivities of GeneXpert during 2018–2020 demonstrated a downward trend (80.9, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 76.8–85.0; 80.2, 95% CI 76.4–84.1 and 75.4, 95% CI 70.7–80.2, respectively). Approximately 69.0% (7557/10 946) of the TB cases with DST results were subjected to GeneXpert detection. Overall, the DR-TB status and the use of GeneXpert in Sichuan have improved, but DR-TB challenges remain. HIV testing for all TB cases is recommended.
Schizophrenia is a severely debilitating psychiatric disorder with high heritability and polygenic architecture. A higher polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (SzPRS) has been associated with smaller gray matter volume, lower activation, and decreased functional connectivity (FC). However, the effect of polygenic inheritance on the brain white matter microstructure has only been sparsely reported.
Eighty-four patients with first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients and ninety-three healthy controls (HC) with genetics, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data were included in our study. We investigated impaired white matter integrity as measured by fractional anisotropy (FA) in the FES group, further examined the effect of SzPRS on white matter FA and FC in the regions connected by SzPRS-related white matter tracts.
Decreased FA was observed in FES in many commonly identified regions. Among these regions, we observed that in the FES group, but not the HC group, SzPRS was negatively associated with the mean FA in the genu and body of corpus callosum, right anterior corona radiata, and right superior corona radiata. Higher SzPRS was also associated with lower FCs between the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG)–left inferior temporal gyrus (ITG), right IFG–left ITG, right IFG–left middle frontal gyrus (MFG), and right IFG–right MFG in the FES group.
Higher polygenic risks are linked with disrupted white matter integrity and FC in patients with schizophrenia. These correlations are strongly driven by the interhemispheric callosal fibers and the connections between frontotemporal regions.
The cosmic evolution of the chemical elements from the Big Bang to the present time is driven by nuclear fusion reactions inside stars and stellar explosions. A cycle of matter recurrently re-processes metal-enriched stellar ejecta into the next generation of stars. The study of cosmic nucleosynthesis and this matter cycle requires the understanding of the physics of nuclear reactions, of the conditions at which the nuclear reactions are activated inside the stars and stellar explosions, of the stellar ejection mechanisms through winds and explosions, and of the transport of the ejecta towards the next cycle, from hot plasma to cold, star-forming gas. Due to the long timescales of stellar evolution, and because of the infrequent occurrence of stellar explosions, observational studies are challenging, as they have biases in time and space as well as different sensitivities related to the various astronomical methods. Here, we describe in detail the astrophysical and nuclear-physical processes involved in creating two radioactive isotopes useful in such studies,
. Due to their radioactive lifetime of the order of a million years, these isotopes are suitable to characterise simultaneously the processes of nuclear fusion reactions and of interstellar transport. We describe and discuss the nuclear reactions involved in the production and destruction of
, the key characteristics of the stellar sites of their nucleosynthesis and their interstellar journey after ejection from the nucleosynthesis sites. This allows us to connect the theoretical astrophysical aspects to the variety of astronomical messengers presented here, from stardust and cosmic-ray composition measurements, through observation of
rays produced by radioactivity, to material deposited in deep-sea ocean crusts and to the inferred composition of the first solids that have formed in the Solar System. We show that considering measurements of the isotopic ratio of
eliminate some of the unknowns when interpreting astronomical results, and discuss the lessons learned from these two isotopes on cosmic chemical evolution. This review paper has emerged from an ISSI-BJ Team project in 2017–2019, bringing together nuclear physicists, astronomers, and astrophysicists in this inter-disciplinary discussion.
Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) elicits a range of different responses in patients and can manifest into mild to very severe cases in different individuals, depending on many factors. We aimed to establish a prediction model of severe risk in COVID-19 patients, to help clinicians achieve early prevention, intervention and aid them in choosing effective therapeutic strategy. We selected confirmed COVID-19 patients who were admitted to First Hospital of Changsha city between 29 January and 15 February 2020 and collected their clinical data. Multivariate logical regression was used to identify the factors associated with severe risk. These factors were incorporated into the nomogram to establish the model. The ROC curve, calibration plot and decision curve were used to assess the performance of the model. A total of 228 patients were enrolled and 33 (14.47%) patients developed severe pneumonia. Univariate and multivariate analysis showed that shortness of breath, fatigue, creatine kinase, lymphocytes and h CRP were independent factors for severe risk in COVID-19 patients. Incorporating age, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and these factors, the nomogram achieved good concordance indexes of 0.89 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.832–0.949] and well-fitted calibration plot curves (Hosmer–Lemeshow test: P = 0.97). The model provided superior net benefit when clinical decision thresholds were between 15% and 85% predicted risk. Using the model, clinicians can intervene early, improve therapeutic effects and reduce the severity of COVID-19, thus ensuring more targeted and efficient use of medical resources.
The Bangong–Nujiang suture zone (BNSZ), which separates the Gondwana-derived Qiangtang and Lhasa terranes, preserves limited geological records of the Bangong–Nujiang Ocean (BNO). The timing of opening of this ocean has been hotly debated due to the rare and complicated rock records in the suture zones, which span over 100 Ma from Carboniferous–Permian to Early Jurassic time, based on geological, palaeontological and palaeomagnetic data. A combination of geochemical, geochronological and isotopic data are reported for the Riasairi trachytes, central BNSZ, northern Tibet, to constrain its petrogenesis and tectonic settings. Zircon U–Pb dating by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) yields mean ages of 236 Ma. Geochemically, these rocks are high-K calc-alkaline with moderate SiO2 (59.1–67.5 wt%) and high K2O + Na2O (8.1–11.6 wt%) contents. They are enriched in light rare earth elements with negative Eu anomalies, and show enrichments in high-field-strength elements with positive ‘Nb, Ta’ anomalies, similar to the intra-continental rift setting-related felsic lavas from the African Rift System. The high positive zircon ϵHf(t) and bulk ϵNd(t) values, as well as high initial Pb isotopes, imply a heterogeneous source involving both asthenospheric and subcontinental lithospheric mantle. The field and geochemical data jointly suggest that the Riasairi trachytes within the Mugagangri Group were formed in a continental rift setting. We interpret that the continental-rift-related Riaisairi trachytic lavas as derived from the southern margin of the Qiangtang terrane, implying that the BNO would have opened by Middle Triassic time, well after the commonly interpreted break-up of the Qiangtang terrane from Gondwana.
This paper develops the conceptual design and error analysis of a cable-driven parallel robot (CDPR). The earlier error analysis of CDPRs generally regarded the cable around the pulley as a center point and neglected the radius of the pulleys. In this paper, the conceptual design of a CDPR with pulleys on its base platform is performed, and an error mapping model considering the influence of radius of the pulleys for the CDPR is established through kinematics analysis and a full matrix complete differential method. Monte Carlo simulation is adopted to deal with the sensitivity analysis, which can directly describe the contribution of each error component to the total orientation error of the CDPR by virtue of the error modeling. The results show that the sensitivity coefficients of pulleys’ geometric errors and geometric errors of the cables are relatively larger, which confirms that the cable length errors and pulleys’ geometric errors should be given higher priority in design and processing.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) is a cell surface receptor, belonging to the tyrosine kinase receptor superfamily. IGF1R plays a role not only in normal cell development but also in malignant transformation, which has become a candidate therapeutic target for the treatment of human cancer. This study aimed to explore insertions and deletions (indels) in IGF1R gene and investigate their association with growth traits in four Chinese cattle breeds (Xianan cattle, Jinnan cattle, Qinchuan cattle and Nanyang cattle). The current paper identified a 28-bp indel by polymerase chain reaction within IGF1R gene. The analysis showed that there was a significant correlation between the locus and the hucklebone width of Nanyang cattle in four periods, in which it was highly correlated at 6, 12 and 18 months. At the age of 6 months, it was also significantly correlated with body height, body weight and body length. Association analysis showed that the locus in Jinnan cattle was extremely significantly correlated with body slanting length and body weight, and significantly correlated with chest circumference. There was no significant correlation between this locus and growth traits of Xianan cattle and Qinchuan cattle. The detected indel in the IGF1R gene was significantly associated with growth traits in Jinnan and Nanyang cattle, and could be used as a molecular marker for growth trait selection.
The sudden outbreak of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) sparked widespread concern about organisational resilience in the management domain. The resources, operations and practices of organisational resilience have to be considered in particular contexts at different stages and in relation to numerous inputs, processes and outputs. Selected as one example, the preparation, response and development of a retail supermarket's management and operations in China is examined through an empirical case study. Supply chain and digital construction, improvisational ability, system management and corporate social responsibility all played a positive role in this organisation's response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (2019–2020) in the Chinese management context. Organisational resilience is reflected in the case study organisation's self-interested and altruistic policies and practices. The case provides valuable insights on efficacious management practices for organisational resilience building in the retail industry.
Noncompressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) is a major challenge in prehospital bleeding control and is associated with high mortality. This study was performed to estimate medical knowledge and the perceived barriers to information acquisition among health-care workers (HCWs) regarding NCTH in China.
A self-administered and validated questionnaire was distributed among 11 WeChat groups consisting of HCWs engaged in trauma, emergency, and disaster rescue.
A total of 575 HCWs participated in this study. In the knowledge section, the majority (87.1%) denied that successful hemostasis could be obtained by external compression. Regarding attitudes, the vast majority of HCWs exhibited positive attitudes toward the important role of NCTH in reducing prehospital preventable death (90.4%) and enthusiasm for continuous learning (99.7%). For practice, fewer than half of HCWs (45.7%) had heard of NCTH beforehand, only a minority (14.3%) confirmed they had attended relevant continuing education, and 16.3% HCWs had no access to updated medical information. The most predominant barrier to information acquisition was the lack of continuing training (79.8%).
Knowledge and practice deficiencies do exist among HCWs. Obstacles to update medical information warrant further attention. Furthermore, education program redesign is also needed.