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l-Carnitine is essential for mitochondrial β-oxidation and has been used as a lipid-lowering feed additive in humans and farmed animals. d-Carnitine is an optical isomer of l-carnitine and dl-carnitine has been widely used in animal feeds. However, the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine are difficult to study because of the endogenous l-carnitine background. In the present study, we developed a low-carnitine Nile tilapia model by treating fish with a carnitine synthesis inhibitor, and used this model to investigate the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine in nutrient metabolism in fish. l- or d-carnitine (0·4 g/kg diet) was fed to the low-carnitine tilapia for 6 weeks. l-Carnitine feeding increased the acyl-carnitine concentration from 3522 to 10 822 ng/g and alleviated the lipid deposition from 15·89 to 11·97 % in the liver of low-carnitine tilapia. However, as compared with l-carnitine group, d-carnitine feeding reduced the acyl-carnitine concentration from 10 822 to 5482 ng/g, and increased lipid deposition from 11·97 to 20·21 % and the mRNA expression of the genes involved in β-oxidation and detoxification in the liver. d-Carnitine feeding also induced hepatic inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis. A metabolomic investigation further showed that d-carnitine feeding increased glycolysis, protein metabolism and activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, l-carnitine can be physiologically utilised in fish, whereas d-carnitine is metabolised as a xenobiotic and induces lipotoxicity. d-Carnitine-fed fish demonstrates increases in peroxisomal β-oxidation, glycolysis and amino acid degradation to maintain energy homeostasis. Therefore, d-carnitine is not recommended for use in farmed animals.
To explore whether and how group cognitive-behavioural therapy (GCBT) plus medication differs from medication alone for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
Hundred and seventy patients were randomly assigned to the GCBT plus duloxetine (n=89) or duloxetine group (n=81). The primary outcomes were Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) response and remission rates. The explorative secondary measures included score reductions from baseline in the HAMA total, psychic, and somatic anxiety subscales (HAMA-PA, HAMA-SA), the Hamilton Depression Scale, the Severity Subscale of Clinical Global Impression Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning, and the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 4-week, 8-week, and 3-month follow-up.
At 4 weeks, HAMA response (GCBT group 57.0% vs. control group 24.4%, p=0.000, Cohen’s d=0.90) and remission rates (GCBT group 21.5% vs. control group 6.2%, p=0.004; d=0.51), and most secondary outcomes (all p<0.05, d=0.36−0.77) showed that the combined therapy was superior. At 8 weeks, all the primary and secondary significant differences found at 4 weeks were maintained with smaller effect sizes (p<0.05, d=0.32−0.48). At 3-month follow-up, the combined therapy was only significantly superior in the HAMA total (p<0.045, d=0.43) and HAMA-PA score reductions (p<0.001, d=0.77). Logistic regression showed superiority of the combined therapy for HAMA response rates [odds ratio (OR)=2.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02−4.42, p=0.04] and remission rates (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.27−6.16, p=0.01).
Compared with duloxetine alone, GCBT plus duloxetine showed significant treatment response for GAD over a shorter period of time, particularly for psychic anxiety symptoms, which may suggest that GCBT was effective in changing cognitive style.
We aimed to investigate the association between plasma retinol and incident cancer among Chinese hypertensive adults. We conducted a nested case–control study, including 231 patients with incident cancer and 231 matched controls during a median 4·5-year follow-up of the China Stroke Primary Prevention Trial. There was a significant, inverse association between retinol levels and digestive system cancer (per 10 μg/dl increases: OR 0·79; 95 % CI 0·69, 0·91). When compared with participants in the first quartile of retinol (< 52·3 μg/dl), a significantly lower cancer risk was found in participants in quartile 2–4 ( ≥ 52·3 μg/dl: OR 0·31; 95 % CI 0·13, 0·71). However, there was a U-shaped association between retinol levels and non-digestive system cancers where the risk of cancers decreased (although not significantly) with each increment of plasma retinol (per 10 μg/dl increases: OR 0·89; 95 % CI 0·60, 1·31) in participants with retinol < 68·2 μg/dl, and then increased significantly with retinol (per 10 μg/dl increase: OR 1·65; 95 % CI 1·12, 2·44) in participants with retinol ≥ 68·2 μg/dl. In conclusion, there was a significant inverse dose–response association between plasma retinol and the risk of digestive system cancers. However, a U-shaped association was observed between plasma retinol and the risk of non-digestive cancers (with a turning point approximately 68·2 μg/dl).
The associations between Chinese adolescents’ family (maternal, paternal, and sibling) relationship qualities and their adjustment were examined among 540 Chinese families over a one-year period. Path analysis revealed that father-offspring positivity was associated with lower levels of internalising problems, whereas mother-offspring conflict predicted youths’ depressive symptoms and loneliness. Controlling for parent-offspring relationships, sibling intimacy inversely predicted youths’ internalising and externalising problems, whereas sibling conflict predicted youths’ loneliness. Multigroup comparisons revealed that youth gender moderated the associations between maternal conflict and youths’ depressive symptoms, as well as sibling intimacy and youths’ loneliness. Overall, results highlight the importance of family systems for Chinese youths’ mental health and the need to study sibling relationships in future studies of Chinese families.
Prematurity impacts myocardial development and may determine long-term outcomes. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that preterm neonates develop right ventricle dysfunction and adaptive remodelling by 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age.
Materials and Methods:
A subset of 80 preterm infants (born <29 weeks) was selected retrospectively from a prospectively enrolled cohort and measures of right ventricle systolic function and morphology by two-dimensional echocardiography were assessed at 32 weeks post-menstrual age and at 1 year of corrected age. Comparisons were made to 50 term infants at 1 month and 1 year of age. Sub-analyses were performed in preterm-born infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension.
In both term and preterm infants, right ventricle function and morphology increased over the first year (p < 0.01). The magnitudes of right ventricle function measures were lower in preterm-born infants at each time period (p < 0.01 for all) and right ventricle morphology indices were wider in all preterm infants by 1 year corrected age, irrespective of lung disease. Measures of a) right ventricle function were further decreased and b) morphology increased through 1 year in preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension (p < 0.01).
Preterm infants exhibit abnormal right ventricle performance with remodelling at 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age, suggesting a less developed intrinsic myocardial function response following preterm birth. The development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension leave a further negative impact on right ventricle mechanics over the first year of age.
Deep learning methods have been applied to randomly generate images, such as in fashion, furniture design. To date, consideration of human aspects which play a vital role in a design process has not been given significant attention in deep learning approaches. In this paper, results are reported from a human- in-the-loop design method where brain EEG signals are used to capture preferable design features. In the framework developed, an encoder extracting EEG features from raw signals recorded from subjects when viewing images from ImageNet are learned. Secondly, a GAN model is trained conditioned on the encoded EEG features to generate design images. Thirdly, the trained model is used to generate design images from a person's EEG measured brain activity in the cognitive process of thinking about a design. To verify the proposed method, a case study is presented following the proposed approach. The results indicate that the method can generate preferred designs styles guided by the preference related brain signals. In addition, this method could also help improve communication between designers and clients where clients might not be able to express design requests clearly.
Molluscan shells showing phenotypic variations are ideal models for studying evolution and plasticity. In north-eastern Asia, genetic and morphological diversity of the gastropod, Monodonta labio, were assumed to be influenced by both palaeoclimatic changes and current ecological factors. In this study, we examined spatial variations in shell shape of M. labio using general measurement and geometric morphometric analysis. We also investigated whether shell shape variation is best explained by environmental gradients or by genetic structuring, based on our prior molecular phylogeographic study. Two common morphological forms were observed among Chinese populations and in the adjacent Asian areas. Both the analyses revealed separation patterns in morphological variations of shell shape among the clades and populations. Environmental modelling analysis showed a significant correlation between shape variations and local maximum temperatures of the warmest month, indicating the role of natural selection in the evolution of this species. Data obtained in this study, combined with the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) molecular phylogenetic data from the prior study, showed that morphological variations in M. labio were constrained by both local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. We hypothesized that geographic separation by the Dongshan Landbridge was the first step towards its diversification, and that the temperature gradient between the East China Sea and South China Sea probably was the selective force driving the divergence of its morphological variations.
Suicide attempt is an important indicator of suicide and potential future mortality. However, the prevalence of suicide attempts has been inconsistent across studies. This meta-analysis aimed to examine the prevalence of suicide attempts in individuals with schizophrenia and associated correlates.
Relevant publications in Embase, PsycINFO, PubMed, Web of science and Cochrane were systematically searched. Data on the prevalence of suicide attempts in individuals with schizophrenia were pooled using a random-effects model.
Thirty-five studies with 16 747 individuals with schizophrenia were included. The pooled lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts was 26.8% (95% CI 22.1–31.9%; I2 = 97.0%), while the 1-year prevalence, 1-month prevalence and the prevalence of suicide attempts from illness onset were 3.0% (95% CI 2.3–3.7%; I2 = 95.6%), 2.7% (95% CI 2.1–3.4%; I2 = 78.5%) and 45.9% (95% CI 42.1–49.9%; I2 = 0), respectively. Earlier age of onset (Q = 4.38, p = 0.04), high-income countries (Q = 53.29, p < 0.001), North America and Europe and Central Asia (Q = 32.83, p < 0.001) were significantly associated with a higher prevalence of suicide attempts.
Suicide attempts are common in individuals with schizophrenia, especially those with an early age of onset and living in high-income countries and regions. Regular screening and effective preventive measures should be implemented as part of the clinical care.
This article studies the financial market integration in the 1670s by examining the effectiveness of triangular exchange arbitrage. The results suggest that international credit markets based on bills of exchange in northwestern Europe were well integrated and responded to exchange-rate differences quickly. The speed of adjustment, ranging between one and three weeks, accorded with the speed of communication, but the transaction cost associated with exchange arbitrage was much lower than that of shipping bullion. Although warfare had a disruptive effect on exchange arbitrage by increasing transaction cost, markets were resilient in remaining efficient.
Paediatric Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP) is a major cause of community-acquired pneumonia in China. Data on epidemiology of paediatric MPP from China are little known. This study retrospectively collected data from June 2006 to June 2016 in Beijing Children's Hospital, Capital Medical University of North China and aims to explore the epidemiological features of paediatric MPP and severe MPP (SMPP) in North China during the past 10 years. A total of 27 498 paediatric patients with pneumonia were enrolled. Among them, 37.5% of paediatric patients had MPP. In this area, an epidemic took place every 2–3 years at the peak, and the positive rate of MPP increased during these peak years over time. The peak age of MPP was between the ages of 6 and 10 years, accounting for 75.2%, significantly more compared with other age groups (χ2 = 1384.1, P < 0.0001). The epidemics peaked in September, October and November (χ2 = 904.9, P < 0.0001). Additionally, 13.0% of MPP paediatric patients were SMPP, but over time, the rate of SMPP increased, reaching 42.6% in 2016. The mean age of paediatric patients with SMPP (6.7 ± 3.0 years old) was younger than that of patients with non-SMPP (7.4 ± 3.2 years old) (t = 3.60, P = 0.0001). The prevalence of MPP and SMPP is common in China, especially in children from 6 to 10 years old. Paediatric patients with SMPP tend to be younger than those with non-SMPP. MPP outbreaks occur every 2–3 years in North China. September, October and November are the peak months, unlike in South China. Understanding the epidemiological characteristics of paediatric MPP can contribute to timely treatment and diagnosis, and may improve the prognosis of children with SMPP.
The antibacterial hydrogels can be widely used in the biomedical area owing to their excellent properties. The main limitation of antibacterial hydrogels is their poor mechanical strength. In this study, the novel hydrogels were fabricated with a mixture of silk fibroin (SF), chitosan (CH), agarose (AG), and silver nanoparticles (SNPs) via facile reaction condition without inorganic substances. The mechanical property of these fabricated hydrogels can be modulated by the concentration of SF or AG. The rheological studies demonstrated enhanced elasticity of CH-doped hydrogels. Because of the presence of CH and Ag in hydrogels, the antimicrobial property against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria was exhibited. Cytocompatibility test proved the very low toxic nature of the hydrogels. In addition, these composite hydrogels have a smaller porosity, higher swelling ratio, and good compatibility, indicating their great potential for biomedical application.
Indicators are used as a benchmark for the quality of disaster response. Desirable attributes of indicators include precision, clear definition, improvement opportunity, unbiased, flexibility, and validity. Due to a lack of universally acceptable, objective indicators, it is currently difficult to gauge improvements in mass casualty preparedness within a hospital.
To describe existing indicators relevant to hospital disaster response, and to explore the use of two new indicators (decanting and chain of command).
A structured literature search in indexed databases was used to identify articles related to the measurement of hospital performance in mass casualties using a matrix technique and snowballing. Relevant websites of disaster management organizations were also reviewed and local disaster management experts were interviewed. Proposed indicators were compared against attributes and some (triage time by category, notification time, time to adequate staff response, preventable deaths, decanting times and chain of command for intensive care unit, and emergency department) were tested and measured in two exercises involving more than 90 staff each, held at two Southeast Queensland hospitals in 2017 and 2018.
Over 50 proposed indicators, including indicators within large sets, were identified. Measurement of some indicators was found to be highly subjective. The decanting and chain-of-command indicators emerged as most useful. Intensive Care Unit required 40 mins to decant beds by 50%, while ED required 25 mins to decant beds by 80%. With regards to the chain of command, ED and triage staff performed best, with 66.7% correctly identifying their immediate supervisor. Overall, staff members were able to correctly identify immediate supervisor better compared to team leaders (59.3% and 40% respectively).
There is a need to narrow down, simplify, and objectify indicators for mass casualty performance. Baseline measurements from actual disasters will provide important comparative data.
World events continue to compel hospitals to have agile and scalable response arrangements for managing natural and instigated disasters. While many hospitals have disaster plans, few exercise these plans or test their staff under realistic scenarios.
This study explores changes in perceived preparedness of multidisciplinary hospital-wide teams to manage mass casualty incidents.
Two Emergo Train System (ETS) mass casualty exercises involving 80 and 86 “victims,” respectively, were run at two southeast Queensland hospitals: one large teaching hospital and one smaller regional hospital. Pre- and post-exercise surveys were administered, capturing participants’ confidence, skills, and process knowledge anonymously on 5-point Likert scales. A waiver of ethics review was obtained. Changes in individuals’ pre- and post-scores were analyzed using paired t-tests. Open-ended questions and a “hot debrief” occurring immediately post-exercise allowed for capture of improvement ideas.
Nearly 200 unique healthcare staff (n=193) participated in one exercise. At least one survey was returned by 159 staff (82.4%). Pre- and post- surveys were available for 89 staff; two-thirds (n=59) were nurses or doctors, and 46% overall were emergency department clinicians. Ninety-seven percent reported the exercise was valuable, also recommending additional simulations. Analysis of the 89 matched-pairs showed significant (p<.001) increases in self-confidence, skills, and knowledge (point increases on a five-point Likert scale (95% confidence intervals): 0.8 (0.6-0.9) for confidence and 0.4 (0.2-0.5) for both skills and knowledge. The exercise was critically appraised and a summary of operational learnings was developed. The most common criticism of ETS was its lack of real patients.
Involvement in simulated exercises (e.g. ETS) can increase confidence, knowledge, and skills of staff to manage disasters, with the biggest improvement in confidence. Whilst validating and testing plans, simulations can also uncover opportunities to improve processes and systems.
Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MIONPs) are particularly attractive in biosensor, antibacterial activity, targeted drug delivery, cell separation, magnetic resonance imaging tumor magnetic hyperthermia, and so on because of their particular properties including superparamagnetic behavior, low toxicity, biocompatibility, etc. Although many methods had been developed to produce MIONPs, some challenges such as severe agglomeration, serious oxidation, and irregular size are still faced in the synthesis of MIONPs. Thus, various strategies had been developed for the surface modification of MIONPs to improve the characteristics of them and obtain multifunctional MIONPs, which will widen the applicational scopes of them. Therefore, the processes, mechanisms, advances, advantages, and disadvantages of six main approaches for the synthesis of MIONPs; surface modification of MIONPs with inorganic materials, organic molecules, and polymer molecules; applications of MIONPs or modified MIONPs; the technical challenges of synthesizing MIONPs; and their limitations in biomedical applications were described in this review to provide the theoretical and technological guidance for their future applications.
The objectives of this study were to investigate the primary diagnoses and outcomes of emergency department visits in older people with dementia and to compare these parameters with those in older adults without dementia.
Design and Setting:
This hospital-based retrospective study retrieved patient records from a hospital research database, which included the outpatient and inpatient claims of two hospitals.
The patient records were retrieved from the two hospitals in an urban setting. The inclusion criteria were all patients aged 65 and older who had attended the two hospitals as an outpatient or inpatient between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2016. Patients with dementia were identified to have at least three reports of diagnostic codes, either during outpatient visits, during emergency department visits, or in hospitalized database records. The other patients were categorized as patients without dementia.
The primary diagnosis during the emergency department visit, cost of emergency department treatment, cost of hospital admission, length of hospital stay, and diagnosis of death were collected.
A total of 149,203 outpatients and inpatients aged 65 and older who were admitted to the two hospitals were retrieved. The rate of emergency department visits in patients with dementia (23.2%) was lower than that in those without dementia (48.6%). The most frequent primary reason for emergency department visits and the main cause of patient death was pneumonia. Patients with dementia in the emergency department had higher hospital admission rates and longer hospital stays; however, the cost of treatment did not show a significant difference between the two groups.
Future large and prospective studies should explore the severity of disease in older people with dementia and compare results with older adults without dementia in the emergency department.
There is limited experience about transcatheter closure of doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects with Amplatzer ductal occluder.
Between March, 2015 and July, 2017, a total of 22 patients with doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects received transcatheter closure using Amplatzer ductal occluder and underwent clinical follow-up for at least 6 months.
Device implantation was finally successful in 21 (95.4%) patients despite failed occlusion in one patient and intra-procedural replacement of unsuitable occluders in four (19.0%) patients. In mean 12.3 months of follow-up, there were no major complications (death, aortic valve or sinus rupture, device dislocation or embolisation, grade 2 new-onset aortic regurgitation, etc.), resulting in clinical occlusion success of 95.4%. Mechanical haemolysis occurred in one patient and resolved with medication. Residual shunt was observed in 11 (52.4%) patients (9 mild, 2 moderate-severe) post-procedurally, 14 (66.7%) patients (12 mild, 2 moderate-severe) in hospital stay, and 2 (9.5%) patients (2 mild, 0 moderate-severe) at the last follow-up. Device-induced new-onset aortic regurgitation was found in nine (42.8%) patients (9 mild, 0 moderate-severe) post-procedurally and in hospital stay, which was resolved in two (9.5%) patients and unchanged in seven (33.3%) patients at the last follow-up. Another four (19.0%) patients newly developed mild aortic regurgitation during follow-up.
Transcatheter closure of doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects with Amplatzer ductal occluder is technically feasible in the selected patients. However, further study is needed to confirm its long-term clinical outcomes.
As a benchmark mortality model in forecasting future mortality rates and hedging longevity risk, the widely employed Lee–Carter model (Lee, R.D. and Carter, L.R. (1992) Modeling and forecasting U.S. mortality. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 87, 659–671.) suffers from a restrictive constraint on the unobserved mortality index for ensuring model’s identification and a possible inconsistent inference. Recently, a modified Lee–Carter model (Liu, Q., Ling, C. and Peng, L. (2018) Statistical inference for Lee–Carter mortality model and corresponding forecasts. North American Actuarial Journal, to appear.) removes this constraint and a simple least squares estimation is consistent with a normal limit when the mortality index follows from a unit root or near unit root AR(1) model with a nonzero intercept. This paper proposes a bias-corrected estimator for this modified Lee–Carter model, which is consistent and has a normal limit regardless of the mortality index being a stationary or near unit root or unit root AR(1) process with a nonzero intercept. Applications to the US mortality rates and a simulation study are provided as well.
This article provides an analytical account of how politics and law in China are
organically integrated in the institutional architecture of courts as designed
by the Chinese Communist Party (“the Party”). This design allows
the Party to retain its supreme authority in the interpretation, application,
and enforcement of the law through its institutional control over courts. At the
same time, the Party can, under this design, also afford to grant an autonomous
sphere where courts can perform their adjudicative functions with minimal
interference from the Party, as long as the Party is assured of full authority
to determine the scope of the “autonomous-zone,” to impose rules
on it, and to revoke it when necessary. Consequently, courts assume a double
character: a pliant political agent on the one hand and a legal institution of
its own agency on the other.
Based on information related to the Stop of Exchequer, 1672, this article calculates the current yields of sovereign debt and examines the effect of the Glorious Revolution on the government’s credibility. The results show that even though the interest payment had not been paid for years, when Parliament authorized the resumption of payment, the current yields fell not only below the level when the interest payment was made by Charles II, but quickly converged to the rates of return of alternative investment. The movement of current yields supports that the constitutional change of 1689 did enhance the government’s credibility.
In 2007, Taiwan began conducting health technology assessments (HTA) to support the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) in its reimbursement decisions for drugs, medical devices, and medical services.
In this study, the development, missions, and procedures of the implementation of HTA in Taiwan are briefly introduced. Moreover, the value of HTA is examined by reviewing the outcomes and impacts of recent HTA-related research projects, which are classified into five categories: (i) pharmaceutical products, (ii) medical procedures, (iii) medical devices, (iv) health policy, and (v) social care.
Overall, the 10-year implementation of HTA has not only supported the government's decision making but also enhanced patient care. Furthermore, patient evidence has been highlighted, and patient care pathways have been transformed through patient involvement in HTA.
In conclusion, HTA's value has been determined by both government and social aspects in Taiwan.