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Studies have suggested an association between metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases and major depressive disorder (MDD). However, the risk of metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases in the unaffected siblings of patients with MDD remains uncertain. Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 22,438 unaffected siblings of patients with MDD and 89,752 age-/sex-matched controls were selected and followed up from 1996 to the end of 2011. Individuals who developed metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases during the follow-up period were identified. Compared with the controls, the unaffected siblings of patients with MDD had a higher prevalence of metabolic diseases, such as hypertension (5.0% vs. 4.5%, p = 0.007), dyslipidemia (5.6% vs. 4.8%, p < 0.001), and obesity (1.7% vs. 1.5%, p = 0.028), and cerebrocardiovascular diseases, such as ischemic stroke (0.6% vs. 0.4%, p < 0.005) and ischemic heart disease (2.1% vs. 1.7%, p < 0.001). Logistic regression analyses revealed that the unaffected siblings of patients with MDD were more likely to develop hypertension, dyslipidemia, ischemic stroke, and ischemic heart diseases during the follow-up period than the controls. Our study revealed a familial coaggregation between MDD and metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases. Additional studies are required to investigate the shared pathophysiology of MDD and metabolic and cerebrocardiovascular diseases.
The etiology of depression remains poorly understood. Changes in blood lipid levels were reported to be associated with depression and suicide, however study findings were mixed.
We performed a two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) analysis to investigate the causal relationship between blood lipids and depression phenotypes, based on large-scale GWAS summary statistics (N = 188 577/480 359 for lipid/depression traits respectively). Five depression-related phenotypes were included, namely major depression (MD; from PGC), depressive symptoms (DS; from SSGAC), longest duration and number of episodes of low mood, and history of deliberate self-harm (DSH)/suicide (from UK Biobank). MR was conducted with inverse-variance weighted (MR-IVW), Egger and Generalised Summary-data-based MR (GSMR) methods.
There was consistent evidence that triglyceride (TG) is causally associated with DS (MR-IVW β for one-s.d. increase in TG = 0.0346, 95% CI 0.0114–0.0578), supported by MR-IVW and GSMR and multiple r2 clumping thresholds. We also observed relatively consistent associations of TG with DSH/suicide (MR-Egger OR = 2.514, CI 1.579–4.003). There was moderate evidence for positive associations of TG with MD and the number of episodes of low mood. For HDL-c, we observed moderate evidence for causal associations with DS and MD. LDL-c and TC did not show robust causal relationships with depression phenotypes, except for weak evidence that LDL-c is inversely related to DSH/suicide. We did not detect significant associations when depression phenotypes were treated as exposures.
This study provides evidence to a causal relationship between TG, and to a lesser extent, altered cholesterol levels with depression phenotypes. Further studies on its mechanistic basis and the effects of lipid-lowering therapies are warranted.
Recent technological advances have led to unprecedented amounts of generated data that originate from the Web, sensor networks, and social media. Analytics in terms of defeasible reasoning – for example, for decision making – could provide richer knowledge of the underlying domain. Traditionally, defeasible reasoning has focused on complex knowledge structures over small to medium amounts of data, but recent research efforts have attempted to parallelize the reasoning process over theories with large numbers of facts. Such work has shown that traditional defeasible logics come with overheads that limit scalability. In this work, we design a new logic for defeasible reasoning, thus ensuring scalability by design. We establish several properties of the logic, including its relation to existing defeasible logics. Our experimental results indicate that our approach is indeed scalable and defeasible reasoning can be applied to billions of facts.
This research communication describes associations between variation in the fatty acid binding protein 4 gene (FABP4) and milk fat composition in New Zealand Holstein-Friesian × Jersey cross dairy cows. After correcting for the effect of the amino acid substitution p.K232A in diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1), which is associated with variation in many milk fatty acid (FA) component levels, the effect of FABP4 c.328A/G on milk FA levels was typically small. For the five genotypes analysed, the AB cows produced more medium-chain fatty acids than CC cows (P < 0.05), and more C14:0 FA than AA and AC cows (P < 0.05). The AA and AC cows produced less C22:0 FA (P < 0.01) than the BC cows, and the AC cows produced more C24:0 FA (P < 0.05) than was produced by the BC cows. Cows of genotype CC produce more long-chain fatty acids than cows of genotype BC (P < 0.05).
Several studies suggested a potential role of viral infection in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the association between herpes zoster and PD was not investigated well till now.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 13 083 patients aged ≥45 years with herpes zoster and 52 332 (1:4) age-/sex-matched controls were enrolled between 1998 and 2008 and followed to the end of 2011. Those who developed PD during the follow-up period were identified.
The Cox regression analysis with adjustment of demographic characteristics, health system utilization, and comorbidities demonstrated that patients with herpes zoster had an increased risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.43-2.28) of developing PD in later life compared to the control group. Sensitivity tests after excluding the first year (HR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.16-1.93) and first 2-year (HR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.10-1.88) observation periods showed consistent results.
Patients with herpes zoster were more likely to develop PD in later life compared to the controls. Additional studies are necessary for validating our results and to clarify the underlying pathophysiology between herpes zoster and PD.
Existing data on folate status and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) prognosis are scarce. We prospectively examined whether serum folate concentrations at diagnosis were associated with liver cancer-specific survival (LCSS) and overall survival (OS) among 982 patients with newly diagnosed, previously untreated HCC, who were enrolled in the Guangdong Liver Cancer Cohort (GLCC) study between September 2013 and February 2017. Serum folate concentrations were measured using chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. Cox proportional hazards models were performed to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % CI by sex-specific quartile of serum folate. Compared with patients in the third quartile of serum folate, patients in the lowest quartile had significantly inferior LCSS (HR = 1·48; 95 % CI 1·05, 2·09) and OS (HR = 1·43; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·99) after adjustment for non-clinical and clinical prognostic factors. The associations were not significantly modified by sex, age at diagnosis, alcohol drinking status and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage. However, there were statistically significant interactions on both multiplicative and additive scale between serum folate and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels or smoking status and the associations of lower serum folate with worse LCSS and OS were only evident among patients with CRP > 3·0 mg/l or current smokers. An inverse association with LCSS were also observed among patients with liver damage score ≥3. These results suggest that lower serum folate concentrations at diagnosis are independently associated with worse HCC survival, most prominently among patients with systemic inflammation and current smokers. A future trial of folate supplementation seems to be promising in HCC patients with lower folate status.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable mental illness that transmits intergeneratively. Previous studies supported that first-degree relatives (FDRs), such as parents, offspring, and siblings, of patients with bipolar disorder, had a higher risk of bipolar disorder. However, whether FDRs of bipolar patients have an increased risk of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains unclear.
Among the entire population in Taiwan, 87 639 patients with bipolar disorder and 188 290 FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were identified in our study. The relative risks (RRs) of major psychiatric disorders were assessed among FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to have a higher risk of major psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder (RR 6.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.95–6.30), MDD (RR 2.89, 95% CI 2.82–2.96), schizophrenia (RR 2.64, 95% CI 2.55–2.73), ADHD (RR 2.21, 95% CI 2.13–2.30), and ASD (RR 2.10, 95% CI 1.92–2.29), than the total population did. These increased risks for major psychiatric disorders were consistent across different familial kinships, such as parents, offspring, siblings, and twins. A dose-dependent relationship was also found between risk of each major psychiatric disorder and numbers of bipolar patients.
Our study was the first study to support the familial coaggregation of bipolar disorder with other major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, MDD, ADHD, and ASD, in a Taiwanese (non-Caucasian) population. Given the elevated risks of major psychiatric disorders, the public health government should pay more attention to the mental health of FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
Using time-resolved laser-scanning confocal microscopy and ultrafast optical pump/THz probe spectroscopy, we measure photoluminescence (PL) and THz-conductivity in perovskite micro-crystals and films. PL quenching and lifetime variations occur from local heterogeneity. Ultrafast THz-spectra measure sharp quantum transitions from excitonic Rydberg states, providing weakly bound excitons with a binding energy of ~13.5 meV at low temperatures. Ab-initio electronic structure calculations give a direct band gap of 1.64 eV, a dielectric constant of ~18, heavy electrons, and light holes, resulting in weakly bound excitons, consistent with the binding energies from the experiment. The complementary spectroscopy and simulations reveal fundamental insights into perovskite light-matter interactions.
A new band-reject frequency-selective surface (FSS) based on dual-band near-zero refractive index metamaterial (ZIM) design is presented in this paper. Consisting of a planar array of complementary dual-layer symmetry resonant ring, the proposed FSS exhibits a high-selective band-reject filtering response. From the viewpoint of effective medium, the subwavelength FSS is characterized by near-zero effective magnetic permeability and near-zero effective electric permittivity in two different operational bands, respectively. The corresponding resonant behavior and E-field distributions are analyzed in detail. A prototype of the proposed FSS working in X-band is fabricated and measured. The simulation and experiment results verify the effectiveness and correctness of the ZIM-based design method.
The objective of this Research Communication was to use polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis to investigate a region of the bovine TLR4 gene (TLR4) in pasture-fed New Zealand (NZ) Holstein-Friesian × Jersey (HF × J) cross dairy cows and to determine whether gene variation was associated with milk production traits. Genetic variation was observed, with two variants (A and B) containing a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (c.2021C/T) that was non-synonymous and putatively results in a p.Thr674Ile substitution in the transmembrane/cytoplasmic domain of TLR4. Variant A was associated with higher milk yields, but lower milk fat percentages, whereas B was associated with lower milk yields, but higher fat and protein percentages. Cows of genotype AA produced more milk than AB or BB cows, but the milk produced by AA cows contained less fat than AB or BB cows.
We examined the in vitro developmental competence of parthenogenetic activation (PA) oocytes activated by an electric pulse (EP) and treated with various concentrations of AZD5438 for 4 h. Treatment with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h significantly improved the blastocyst formation rate of PA oocytes in comparison with 0, 20, or 50 µM AZD5438 treatment (46.4% vs. 34.5%, 32.3%, and 24.0%, respectively; P < 0.05). The blastocyst formation rate was higher in the group treated with AZD5438 for 4 h than in the groups treated with AZD5438 for 2 or 6 h (42.8% vs. 38.6% and 37.2%, respectively; P > 0.05). Furthermore, 66.67% of blastocysts derived from these AZD5438-treated PA oocytes had a diploid karyotype. The blastocyst formation rate of PA and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos was similar between oocytes activated by an EP and treated with 2 mM 6-dimethylaminopurine for 4 h and those activated by an EP and treated with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h (11.11% vs. 13.40%, P > 0.05). In addition, the level of maturation-promoting factor (MPF) was significantly decreased in oocytes activated by an EP and treated with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h. Finally, the mRNA expression levels of apoptosis-related genes (Bax and Bcl-2) and pluripotency-related genes (Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2) were checked by RT-PCR; however, there were no differences between the AZD5438-treated and non-treated control groups. Our results demonstrate that porcine oocyte activation via an EP in combination with AZD5438 treatment can lead to a high blastocyst formation rate in PA and SCNT experiments.
The study reported in this Research Communication was carried out to examine how parity and milking time affected donkey milk yield under a typical Chinese production system. Eighteen Jiangyue breed donkeys with good health condition, aged between 6 and 9 years, and with parities 3 and 4, were selected. Milk production was measured commencing from the fourth week post-foaling, with a total data collection of 170 d in milk (lactation length). Mean milk yield of the donkeys used in this study was 3·0 kg/donkey/d. Results showed milk yield decreased with days in milk from 3·3 kg/donkey/d at the start of the study, to 2·2 kg/donkey/d by the end of the 170 d. Parity 3 donkeys produced 22% more milk than parity 4 donkeys (3·3 kg/donkey/d vs 2·7 kg/donkey/d). The information provided by this study should aid producers in estimating the expected milk yields from individual donkey, and better predict milk yield over the course of a production cycle.
The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri was discovered in 2010 on the western slopes of the Gaoligong Mountains in the Irrawaddy River basin in Myanmar and subsequently in the same river basin in China, in 2011. Based on 2 years of surveying the remote and little disturbed forest of the Gaoligong Mountains National Nature Reserve in China, with outline transect sampling and infrared camera monitoring, a breeding group comprising > 70 individuals was found on the eastern slopes of the Gaoligong Mountains in the Salween River Basin. Given the Critically Endangered status of this primate (a total of < 950 individuals are estimated to remain in the wild), efforts to protect the relatively undisturbed habitat of this newly discovered population and to prevent hunting are essential for the long-term survival of this species.
Beginning in 2007, all newly diagnosed cancer patients at the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center (KF–SYSCC) were screened for psychosocial distress. Our social workers, as part of the psychosocial care team (PCT), have engaged in proactive outreach with patients identified as distressed. The goal of the present study was to assess the prevalence of psychosocial distress and the extent of contact between the PCT and distressed patients.
Newly diagnosed patients who were treated at KF–SYSCC between 2007 and 2010 for cancer were eligible if there were at least 100 patients with the same type of cancer. Before treatment began, they were screened with the Pain Scale and the Distress Thermometer (DT) and had the option to specify a desire for help. The rates of distress were analyzed by cancer type and by probable related factors. Information regarding contact with the PCT was retrieved from computerized databases.
Overall, some 5,335 cancer patients representing 12 major cancer types were included in our study. Of these, 1,771 (33.20%) were significantly distressed. By multivariate logistic regression, younger age, female gender, higher pain score, and disease stage, but not cancer type, were found to be associated with higher rates of distress. Among these distressed patients, 628 (36%) had some contact with the PCT.
Significance of results:
This Taiwanese study with a large sample size revealed a prevalence rate of psychosocial distress similar to rates found in Western countries. Contact with the PCT was established in only 36% of significantly distressed patients, despite a proactive outreach program. It is very important to have screening results made available in a timely fashion to the psycho-oncology team so that appropriate care can be offered promptly.
Uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) plays a role in the regulation of body temperature, metabolic rate and energy expenditure in animals. While variation in UCP1 and its phenotypic effect has been investigated in humans and sheep, little is known about this gene in cattle. In this study, four regions of bovine UCP1 were investigated in 612 Holstein-Friesian × Jersey (HF × J) dairy cows using polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analyses. In the four regions of the gene analysed, a total of 13 SNPs were detected. Three sequences (a, b and c) were found in Region-2 and three sequences (A, B and C) were found in Region-4, and these were assembled into three (a-B, b-B and c-A) common and three (b-C, c-B and c-C) rare haplotypes. Of the three common haplotypes, b-B and c-A were associated (P < 0·007 and P < 0·043, respectively) with increased milk yield and tended to be associated (P < 0·085 and P < 0·070, respectively) with decreased fat percentage. Cows with genotype b-B/a-B produced more milk (P < 0·004), but with a lower percentage of fat (P < 0·035) and protein (P < 0·038) than cows with genotype a-B/a-B. Cows of genotype a-B/c-A had milk of low fat percentage (P < 0·017), but tended to produce more milk (P < 0·059) than cows of genotype a-B/a-B. This suggests that UCP1 affects milk yield, milk fat percentage and milk protein percentage.