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To investigate homocysteine (Hcy) and folate levels, prevalence of hyperhomocysteinaemia (HHcy) and folate deficiency, which are affected by lifestyles in urban, agricultural and stock-raising populations.
This is a cross-sectional study.
Urban, agricultural and stock-raising regions in Emin, China.
Totally 1926 subjects – 885 (45·9 %) from urban, 861 (44·7 %) from agricultural and 180 (9·4 %) from stock-raising regions – were obtained using multistage stratified random sampling. Inclusion criteria encompassed inhabitants aged ≥15 years who resided at the current address for ≥6 months and agreed to participate in the study. Surveys on health behaviour questionnaires and physical examinations were conducted and blood samples collected.
The folate level of subjects from the stock-raising region was the lowest, followed by those from the agricultural region, and the highest in those from the urban region (3·48 v. 6·50 v. 7·12 ng/ml, P < 0·001), whereas mean Hcy showed no significant difference across regions. The OR for HHcy in stock-raising regions was 1·90 (95 % CI 1·11, 3·27) compared with the urban region after adjusting for all possible covariates. The OR for folate deficiency in stock-raising and agriculture regions was 11·51 (95 % CI 7·09, 18·67) and 1·91 (95 % CI 1·30, 2·82), respectively, compared with the urban region after adjusting for all possible covariates.
HHcy and folate deficiency are highly prevalent in stock-raisers, which is of important reference for HHcy control in Xinjiang, with a possibility of extension to others with approximate lifestyles.
Given the concerns of health inequality associated with mental illnesses, we aimed to reveal the extent of which general mortality and life expectancy at birth in people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depressive disorder varied in the 2005 and 2010 nationally representative cohorts in Taiwan.
Two nationally representative samples of individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depressive disorder were identified from Taiwan's national health insurance database in 2005 and 2010, respectively, and followed-up for consecutive 3 years. The database was linked to nationwide mortality registry to identify causes and date of death. Age-, gender- and cause-specific mortality rates were generated, with the average follow-up period of each age- and gender-band applied as ‘weighting’ for the calculation of expected number of deaths. Age- and gender-standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for these 3-year observation periods with Taiwanese general population in 2011/2012 as the standard population. The SMR calculations were then stratified by natural/unnatural causes and major groups of death. Corresponding life expectancies at birth were also calculated by gender, diagnosis of mental disorders and year of cohorts for further elucidation.
The general differential in mortality rates for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder remained wide, revealing an SMR of 3.65 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.55–3.76) for cohort 2005 and 3.27 (3.18-3.36) for cohort 2010 in schizophrenia, and 2.65 (95% CI: 2.55–2.76) for cohort 2005 and 2.39 (2.31-2.48) for cohort 2010 in bipolar disorder, respectively. The SMRs in people with depression were 1.83 (95% CI: 1.81–1.86) for cohort 2005 and 1.59 (1.57-1.61) for cohort 2010. SMRs due to unnatural causes tended to decrease in people with major mental illnesses over the years, but those due to natural causes remained relatively stable. The life expectancies at birth for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression were all significantly lower than the national norms, specifically showing 14.97–15.50 years of life lost for men and 15.15–15.48 years for women in people with schizophrenia.
Compared to general population, the differential in mortality rates for people with major mental illnesses persisted substantial. The differential in mortality for unnatural causes of death seemed decreasing over the years, but that due to natural causes remained relatively steady. Regardless of gender, people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression were shown to have shortened life expectancies compared to general population.
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.
Introduction: To investigate the effects of paroxetine (PAR) on motor and cognitive function recovery in patients with non-depressed ischemic stroke (nD-AIS).
Methods: One hundred sixty-seven patients hospitalized for non-depressed acute ischemic stroke were selected and divided into treatment (T) and control (C) groups using a random number table. All patients received conventional secondary ischemic stroke prevention and rehabilitation training; patients in Group T additionally received treatment with PAR (10 mg/day during week 1 and 20 mg/day thereafter) for 3 months. The follow-up observation lasted 6 months. The Fugl–Meyer motor scale (FMMS), Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA), and Hamilton depression scale (HAMD) were used on D0, D15, D90, and D180 (T0, 1, 2, and 3, respectively; D180 = 90 days after treatment cessation) after study initiation, and scores were compared between the groups.
Results: The FMMS and MoCA scores differed significantly between Groups T and C at T2 and T3 (p < .05); by contrast, these scores did not differ significantly between the groups at T1 (p > .05). Furthermore, the HAMD scores differed significantly between the two groups at T3 (p < .05), but not at T1 and T2 (p > .05).
Conclusions: PAR treatment may improve motor and cognitive function recovery in patients with nD-AIS. Moreover, PAR may reduce the occurrence of depression after stroke.
Evidence regarding the relationships between the socioeconomic status and
long-term outcomes of individuals with bipolar affective disorder (BPD)
We aimed to estimate the effects of baseline socioeconomic status on
A national cohort of adult participants with newly diagnosed BPD was
identified in 2008. The effects of personal and household socioeconomic
status were explored on outcomes of hospital treatment, mortality and
healthcare costs, over a 3-year follow-up period (2008–2011).
A total of 7987 participants were recruited. The relative risks of
hospital treatment and mortality were found elevated for the ones from
low-income households who also had higher healthcare costs. Low premium
levels did not correlate with future healthcare costs.
Socioeconomic deprivation is associated with poorer outcome and higher
healthcare costs in BPD patients. Special care should be given to those
with lower socioeconomic status to improve outcomes with potential
benefits of cost savings in the following years.
To assess the association between maternal caffeine intake and risk of pregnancy loss using a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Categorical and dose–response meta-analysis of prospective studies.
Relevant articles were identified by searching MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases through 30 January 2015. Two authors independently extracted information from eligible studies. Random-effects models were used to derive the summary relative risks (RR) and corresponding 95 % CI for specific categories of caffeine consumption and for a continuous association using generalized least-squares trend estimation.
A total of 130 456 participants and 3429 cases in fourteen included studies.
Compared with the reference category with no or very low caffeine intake, the RR (95 % CI) of pregnancy loss was 1·02 (0·85, 1·24; I2=28·3 %) for low intake (50–149 mg/d), 1·16 (0·94, 1·41; I2=49·6 %) for moderate intake (150–349 mg/d), 1·40 (1·16, 1·68; I2=18·6 %) for high intake (350–699 mg/d) and 1·72 (1·40, 2·13; I2=0·0 %) for very high intake (≥700 mg/d). In the dose–response analysis, each 100 mg/d increment in maternal caffeine intake (~1 cup of coffee) was associated with 7 % (95 % CI 3 %, 12 %) higher risk of pregnancy loss. Our results may have been affected by publication bias, but the association remained significant for the subset of larger studies. Furthermore, adjustment for smoking and pregnancy symptoms may have been incomplete, potentially resulting in residual confounding.
Albeit inconclusive, higher maternal caffeine intake was associated with a higher risk of pregnancy loss and adherence to guidelines to avoid high caffeine intake during pregnancy appears prudent.
Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
Au nanoparticles (Au NPs) have attracted much interest owing to their unique optical properties. In this paper, a facile process has been successfully developed to synthesize the SiO2/Au hybrid microspheres with a diameter of 200 nm via the galvanic replacement of SiO2/Ag hybrid microspheres and chlorauric acid (HAuCl4) solution. The as-prepared products were investigated by x-ray diffraction (XRD), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM, JEOL-6700F), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM, JEOL 3010), respectively. As expected, the as-prepared SiO2/Au hybrid microspheres show strong chemical stability and superior catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) to 4-aminophenol (4-AP). The SiO2/Au hybrid microspheres would be found widely used in wastewater treatment, catalytic reaction, bacteriostatic and bactericidal applications.
Using the discrete ordinate method, we solve the equations of phonon radiative transfer for thin films analytically, and deduce closed-form expressions for three thermophysical properties including the phonon intensity, heat flux density and effective phonon thermal conductivity. These analytical expressions provide a fast and convenient way to analyze heat conduction behavior in thin films, and thus allowing us to comprehend how the film thickness and bulk phonon mean free path affects the thermophysical properties. Also we extend these expressions from thin films to one period of superlattices, and demonstrate that adjusting the thickness ratio of two layers can control its effective phonon thermal conductivity.
Predator–prey interactions play major and direct roles in the structuring of zooplankton communities. Asplanchna usually predates ciliates, rotifers, cladocerans and sometimes even copepods, its predation may drive not only the ecological, but also the evolutionary dynamics of prey populations. In the present study, the life-table demography and the population growth of Asplanchna brightwelli were investigated at four temperatures (16, 20, 24 and 28°C) using Brachionus angularis as prey at four densities (10, 20, 30 and 40 ind.mL−1). The results showed that temperature affected significantly all the life-table demographic parameters (age-specific survivorship and fecundity, average lifespan, life expectancy at hatching, generation time, net reproductive rate and intrinsic rate of population increase) and the population growth rate obtained from the population growth studies, prey density affected the generation time, the net reproductive rate, the intrinsic rate of population increase and the population growth rate, and the interaction between temperature and prey density affected the generation time and the population growth rate. Both the average lifespan and the life expectancy at hatching were the longest at 16°C, the generation times were longer at lower temperatures (16 and 20°C) and higher prey densities (30 and 40 ind.mL−1), the net reproductive rates were higher at lower temperatures (16 and 20°C) and 20–40 ind.mL−1 of B. angularis, and the population growth rates were higher at 20°C under 20–40 ind.mL−1 of B. angularis.
Phosphodiesterase 2 (PDE2) is an enzyme responsible for hydrolysis of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) to restrict intracellular signalling of these second messenger molecules. This study investigated how PDE2 inhibitor Bay 60-7550 affects the dysregulated glucocorticoid signalling in neuronal cells and regulates depressive behaviours after chronic stress in mice. We found that exposure of hippocampal neurons to corticosterone resulted in time- and concentration-dependent increases in PDE2 expression. These intriguing findings were confirmed in the hippocampal cell line HT-22. After corticosterone exposure for 24 h, HT-22 cells showed a concentration-dependent increase in mRNA levels for PDE2 subtypes, PDE2A1 and 2A3, as well as for the total PDE2A protein expression. Bay 60-7550 was found to reverse the cell lesion induced by corticosterone (50 μm). This neuroprotective effect was blocked by pretreatment with protein kinase G inhibitor KT5823, but not protein kinase A inhibitor H89, suggesting the involvement of cGMP-dependent signalling. Although Bay 60-7550 treatment for 24 h did not change the levels of phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2 (pERK) and phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein (pCREB), it down-regulated pERK at 2 h and up-regulated a CREB co-activator, CREB-binding protein, at 24 h. Both of these effects were blocked by KT 5823. Furthermore, Bay 60-7550 reversed corticosterone-induced down-regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein levels 24 h after corticosterone exposure. In behavioural testing, Bay 60-7550 produced antidepressant-like effects and reduced corticosterone levels in stressed mice, further supporting the involvement of a PDE2-dependent pathway in mediating Bay 60-7550's effect during stress hormone insults.
The efficacy of homocysteine (Hcy)-lowering therapy in reducing the risk of CVD among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains controversial. We performed a meta-analysis to determine whether pooling the data from the few small randomised, controlled trials that address this topic would improve the statistical power of the analysis and resolve some of the inconsistencies in the results. Randomised, controlled clinical trials (RCT) were identified from MEDLINE, EMBASE, www.clinicaltrials.gov, the Cochrane Controlled Clinical Trials Register Database and Nephrology Filters. Independent extraction of articles was performed using predefined data fields. The primary outcome was relative risk (RR) of CVD, CHD, stroke and all-cause mortality for the pooled trials. A stratified analysis was planned, assessing the RR for cardiovascular events between the patients on and not on dialysis. Overall, ten studies met the inclusion criteria. The estimated RR were not significantly different for any outcomes, including CHD (RR 1·00, 95 % CI 0·75, 1·31, P = 0·97), CVD (RR 0·94, 95 % CI 0·84, 1·05, P = 0·30), stroke (RR 0·83, 95 % CI 0·57, 1·19, P = 0·31) and all-cause mortality (RR 1·00, 95 % CI 0·92, 1·09, P = 0·98). In the stratified analysis, the estimated RR were not significantly different for cardiovascular events regardless of dialysis or in combination with vitamin B therapy or the degree of reduction in Hcy levels. Our meta-analysis of RCT supports the conclusion that Hcy-lowering therapy was not associated with a significant decrease in the risk for CVD events, stroke and all-cause mortality among patients with CKD.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is becoming a perfect target for killing carcinoma cells, especially because of its overexpression on the surface of these cells. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAP) have their own special mechanism of membrane-lytic cytotoxicity. In this study, a membrane-lytic immunotoxin (IT), chimeric protein MEGFMEL, was constructed to kill carcinoma cells with EGFR overexpression. This protein is composed of mouse (Mus musculus) epidermal growth factor (MEGF), as the target part, and melittin (MEL), as the cytotoxic part. Using Escherichia coli BL21 and pET30a as expression strain and vector, respectively, 63.45 μg/ml of MEGFMEL (68% purity) was obtained through low-temperature induction of expression and a thawing-freezing purification procedure (without cytolysis). In vitro activity measurement showed that this MEGFMEL significantly induced a lethal effect on A431 carcinoma cells overexpressing EGFR on the surface, with an LD50 value 52.6 μg/ml. The results suggest that the use of CAP as the toxin in the construction of unique membrane-lytic ITs aimed at EGFR is feasible.
The Yangtze Platform preserves relatively thick carbonate successions and excellent fossil records across the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary interval. The intensely studied Meishucun section in East Yunnan was one of the Global Stratotype Section candidates for the Precambrian–Cambrian boundary. However, depositional breaks were suspected in the section and the first appearance of small shelly fossils could not be verified. The Laolin section located in NE Yunnan is more continuous and shows great potential for global correlation of carbon isotope features across the Precambrian–Cambrian boundary. However, the stratigraphic framework and correlations were controversial. We studied and systematically sampled the Laolin section and present here new carbon isotope data for this section. The Laolin section consists of, in ascending order, the Baiyanshao dolostone of the Dengying Formation, the Daibu siliceous dolostone, Zhongyicun dolomitic phosphorite, lower Dahai dolostone and upper Dahai limestone of the Zhujiaqing Formation, and the black siltstone of the Shiyantou Formation. Our data reveal a large negative δ13C excursion (−7.2‰, L1′) in the Daibu Member, which matches the previously published data for the Laolin section, and a large positive excursion (+3.5‰, L4) in the Dahai Member, which was not shown in the published data. The excursion L1′ correlates well with the similarly large negative excursion near the first appearance of small shelly fossils in Siberia and Mongolia. Similar magnitude excursions are also known from Morocco and Oman, for which there are no robust fossil constraints but from where volcanic ash beds have been dated precisely at 542 Ma, thus confirming a global biogeochemical event near the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary. Our data also indicate that deposition was more continuous at the Laolin section compared with the Meishucun section, where there are no records of a comparable negative excursion near the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary, nor any comparable positive excursion in the Dahai Member. Therefore, the Laolin section has proven potential to be a supplementary Global Stratotype Section for the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary on the Yangtze Platform.
The gene expression profile of a normal-suffering monozygotic twin pair is investigated to explore biological mechanisms of spastic type cerebral palsy. Main works include following three aspects: First, a cDNA microarray test is carried out to get the differentially expressed genes of the patient with cerebral palsy compared to her monozygotic twin sister. Second, these differentially expressed genes are searched for their bioinformation within 4 biological databases: FatiGO, FatiGOPlus, KEGG, and SOURCE. Third, a set of special genes and gene families are screened out from the spastic type cerebral palsy patient. These biological analyses reveal that those genes for cell junction are mostly down-regulated, while those genes for metabolism are mostly up-regulated. The individual genes, gene family, and their associated biological functions can reflect the pathological and physiological characteristics of the cerebral palsy.
To investigate the potential reservoir and mode of transmission of pandrug-resistant (PDR) Acinetobacter baumannii in a 7-day-old neonate who developed PDR A. baumannii bacteremia that was presumed to be the iceberg of a potential outbreak.
Outbreak investigation based on a program of prospective hospital-wide surveillance for nosocomial infection.
A 24-bed neonatal intensive care unit in a 2,200-bed major teaching hospital in Taiwan that provides care for critically ill neonates born in this hospital and those transferred from other hospitals.
Samples from 33 healthcare workers' hands and 40 samples from the environment were cultured. Surveillance cultures of anal swab specimens and sputum samples were performed for neonates on admission to the neonatal intensive care unit and every 2 weeks until discharge. The PDR A. baumannii isolates, defined as isolates resistant to all currently available systemic antimicrobials except polymyxin B, were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Control measures consisted of implementing contact isolation, reinforcing hand hygiene adherence, cohorting of nurses, and environmental cleaning.
One culture of an environmental sample and no cultures of samples from healthcare workers' hands grew PDR A. baumannii. The positive culture result involved a sample obtained from a ventilation tube used by the index patient. During the following 2 months, active surveillance identified PDR A. baumannii in 8 additional neonates, and isolates from 7 had the same electrokaryotype. Of the 9 neonates colonized or infected with PDR A. baumannii, 1 died from an unrelated condition. Reinforcement of infection control measures resulted in 100% adherence to proper hand hygiene protocol. The outbreak was stopped without compromising patient care.
In the absence of environmental contamination, transient hand carriage by personnel who cared for neonates colonized or infected with PDR A. baumannii was suspected to be the mode of transmission. Vigilance, prompt intervention and strict adherence to hand hygiene protocol were the key factors that led to the successful control of this outbreak. Active surveillance appears to be an effective measure to identify potential transmitters and reservoirs of PDR A. baumannii.
The effect of growth conditions on the composition and structure of Si1−xGex nanowires grown by the vapor–liquid–solid method using gaseous precursors (SiH4 and GeH4) was investigated. Transmission electron microscopy was used to characterize the structural properties and elemental composition of the nanowires. At higher growth temperatures (>425 °C), Ge thin film deposition on the nanowire surface resulted in Au loss during growth and the formation of tapered structures. By simultaneously reducing the growth temperature from 425 to 325 °C to suppress the rate of Ge film deposition and increasing the GeH4/(GeH4 + SiH4) gas ratio, Si1−xGex nanowires were produced with Ge fractions spanning the entire composition range. The Ge fraction follows that predicted from the elemental nanowire growth rates in the Ge-rich (x > 0.5) regime, but deviates to higher Ge fractions in Si-rich (x < 0.5) nanowires. A mechanism was proposed whereby surface diffusion provides an additional pathway to Ge incorporation in Si-rich Si1−xGex nanowires.
Four variant lines, HB1, HB2, HB3 and HB4, were derived from progenies of upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) cultivar Yumian 17 that had been transformed with genomic DNA from sea island cotton, Gossypium barbadense, using the pollen tube pathway (PTP) method. They showed significant differences from the wild-type recipient in terms of fibre quality, lint percentage, boll weight and other agronomic traits. The four variant lines also differed from the wild-type recipient in the amplification products of two SSR loci, indicating that the DNA of G. barbadense had been introduced into the genome of the recipient and was inherited stably. On the other hand, the agronomic traits of another three lines (HB5, HB6 and HB7) derived from the same transformation experiment were identical to those of the wild-type recipient, indicating that G. barbadense DNA had not integrated into the genome of these lines. A combination of the analyses on agronomic traits and SSR markers indicated that transgenic upland cotton strains produced by the PTP method could become homozygous in only a few generations and the foreign DNA introduced during the transformation experiments could be inherited stably in the transgenic progenies.