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Mars exploration motivates the search for extraterrestrial life, the development of space technologies, and the design of human missions and habitations. Here, we seek new insights and pose unresolved questions relating to the natural history of Mars, habitability, robotic and human exploration, planetary protection, and the impacts on human society. Key observations and findings include:
– high escape rates of early Mars' atmosphere, including loss of water, impact present-day habitability;
– putative fossils on Mars will likely be ambiguous biomarkers for life;
– microbial contamination resulting from human habitation is unavoidable; and
– based on Mars' current planetary protection category, robotic payload(s) should characterize the local martian environment for any life-forms prior to human habitation.
Some of the outstanding questions are:
– which interpretation of the hemispheric dichotomy of the planet is correct;
– to what degree did deep-penetrating faults transport subsurface liquids to Mars' surface;
– in what abundance are carbonates formed by atmospheric processes;
– what properties of martian meteorites could be used to constrain their source locations;
– the origin(s) of organic macromolecules;
– was/is Mars inhabited;
– how can missions designed to uncover microbial activity in the subsurface eliminate potential false positives caused by microbial contaminants from Earth;
– how can we ensure that humans and microbes form a stable and benign biosphere; and
– should humans relate to putative extraterrestrial life from a biocentric viewpoint (preservation of all biology), or anthropocentric viewpoint of expanding habitation of space?
Studies of Mars' evolution can shed light on the habitability of extrasolar planets. In addition, Mars exploration can drive future policy developments and confirm (or put into question) the feasibility and/or extent of human habitability of space.
Video monitoring is an important means of ship traffic supervision. In practice, regulators often need to use an electronic chart platform to determine basic information concerning ships passing through a video feed. To enrich the information in the surveillance video and to effectively use multimodal maritime data, this paper proposes a novel ship multi-object tracking technology based on improved single shot multibox detector (SSD) and DeepSORT algorithms. In addition, a night contrast enhancement algorithm is used to enhance the ship identification performance in night scenes and a multimodal data fusion algorithm is used to incorporate the ship automatic identification system (AIS) information into the video display. The experimental results indicate that the ship information tracking accuracies in the day and night scenes are 78⋅2% and 70⋅4%, respectively. Our method can effectively help regulators to quickly obtain ship information from a video feed and improve the supervision of a waterway.
Mile-a-minute (Mikania micrantha Kunth) is a tropical American species and has become a worldwide invasive weed. It was first introduced to mainland China in 1983 in Yingjiang City, Dehong State, Yunnan Province. To assess the origins of populations from Dehong State, Yunnan Province, the genetic structure of 427 individuals from 11 M. micrantha populations from Yunnan, Guangxi, Hainan, and Guangdong provinces were analyzed. A total of 28 alleles were detected in 12 nuclear microsatellite loci. Genetic diversity at the population level was relatively high. An analysis of molecular variance showed that most of the variation occurred within populations (82.73%), and only 18.27% occurred among populations. The genetic differentiation coefficient (FST) was 0.183. The estimated gene flow (Nm) from FST was 1.116. The independent origins of four populations collected from Dehong State, Yunnan Province, was determined by the unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic means clustering and STRUCTURE analysis. Three gene clusters and one admixture gene cluster were found. A Mantel test of pairwise Nei’s genetic distances and pairwise geographic distances revealed no evidence for isolation by distance (r = 0.068, P = 0.343). These results suggest that the post-introduction admixture caused by multiple introductions and high gene flow might contribute to the evolutionary adaptation of M. micrantha. These results could provide a scientific basis for the management of invasive M. micrantha.
With the rapid rise in the prevalence of non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) diseases across the world, the microbiological diagnosis of NTM isolates is becoming increasingly important for the diagnosis and treatment of NTM disease. In this study, the clinical presentation, species distribution and drug susceptibility of patients with NTM disease visiting the Chongqing Public Health Medical Centre during March 2016–April 2019 were retrospectively analysed. Among the 146 patients with NTM disease, eight NTM species (complex) were identified. The predominant NTM species in these patients were identified to be Mycobacterium abscessus complex (53, 36.3%), M. intracellulare (38, 26%) and M. fortuitum (17, 11.7%). In addition, two or more species were isolated from 7.5% of the patients. Pulmonary NTM disease (142, 97.3%) showed the highest prevalence among the patients. It was observed that 40.1% of the patients with pulmonary NTM disease had chronic pulmonary obstructive disease and bronchiectasis, while 22.5% had prior tuberculosis. Male patients showed more association with the conditions of cough and haemoptysis than the female patients. In an in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing, most of the species showed susceptibility to linezolid, amikacin and clarithromycin, while M. fortuitum exhibited low susceptibility to tobramycin. In conclusion, the prevalence of NTM disease, especially that of the pulmonary NTM disease, is common in Southwest China. Species identification and drug susceptibility testing are thus extremely important to ensure appropriate treatment regimens for patient care and management.
DocuSky is a personal digital humanities platform for humanities scholars, which aims to become a platform on which a scholar can satisfy all her digital needs with no direct IT assistance. To this end, DocuSky provides tools for a scholar to download material from the Web and prepare (annotating, building metadata) her material, a one-click function to build a full-text searchable database, and tools for analysis and visualization. DocuSky advocates the separation of digital content and tools. Being an open platform, it encourages IT developers to build tools to suit scholars’ needs, and it has already incorporated several popular Web resources and external tools into its environment. Interoperability is ensured through the format DocuXML. In addition to describing the design principles of DocuSky, we will show its main features, together with several important tools and examples. DocuSky was originally developed for Sinological studies. We are enriching it to work in other languages.
In the pre-globalization era, when communication between nations was difficult and infrequent, and direct (experiential) or indirect (textual-descriptive) knowledge was scant, images of ‘foreign countries’ were frequently constructions based on inadequate information. As a result, fictional descriptions and images were the primary source for people to gain some knowledge of other nations. However, beginning with the great voyages of discovery of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, we began to step into an age of globalization, which generated the diversification of ‘source texts’ in this regard. Today, the emergence of new media has accelerated and proliferated such diversity. These new media texts now play a dominant role in forming the image of other countries, to some degree replacing traditional fictional texts. The basic presuppositions of comparative literature imagology have changed accordingly. Starting from the core concept of ‘images’, this paper discusses why it is necessary to integrate imagology, with ‘semiotic images’ as core concept, and ‘communications research’.
Metal-halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have become a promising candidate for photovoltaic applications. Current popular organic hole conductors for highly efficient PSCs bring cost and stability issues, which hinder the commercialization of the PSCs. Hole-conductor-free PSCs are attracting great interest because they eliminate the adverse effects of organic hole conductors by transporting holes in the perovskite itself. In this article, we summarize recent progress in conventional, inverted, and printable mesoscopic hole-conductor-free PSCs. Specifically, we emphasize the stunning stability and scale-up manufacturing of printable hole-conductor-free PSCs, discussing their potential from laboratory to market. The causes for hole-conductor-free PSCs’ current low efficiency are also discussed, and are primarily ascribed to energy-level alignment and interface recombination. We believe that the efficiencies of hole-conductor-free PSCs can be enhanced to be comparable with hole-conductor-containing PSCs by interface modification and material design.
To clarify the pandemic status in Western Pacific countries or territories.
The WHO’s daily situation reports of COVID-19 were reviewed from January 20, 2020, to March 24, 2020. Changes in the infections, deaths, and the case fatality rate (CFR) in Western Pacific countries or territories were counted.
As of March 24, a total of 17 countries or territories had reported the presence of COVID-19 in the Western Pacific Region, 96,580 people have been infected and a total of 3502 deaths. Fifty-three percent (9/17) of these countries or territories had their first case within 2 wk since the WHO’s first report, most are China’s neighbors with a large and dense population. No other country or territory in this region reported a new infection from January 30 to February 28. However, 8 (47.0%) countries or territories have reported the first cases in 3 wk since February 28, almost all are islands. Many countries maintained a small number of infections for a long time after the first report, but a rapid increase occurred later. Deaths occurred in 8 countries with a total CFR of 3.63%, and the CFR varies widely, from 0.39% (Singapore) to 7.14% (Philippines).
The regional spread of COVID-19 urgently requires an aggressive preparedness for the Western Pacific Islands.
In this paper, possible coupling configurations of a four-plate capacitive power transfer system are studied by varying the combinations of its input and output ports. A voltage source is applied between two of the four plates, and a load is connected to the other two to form different circuit topologies. A mathematical model based on a 4 × 4 mutual capacitance matrix is established for equidistantly placed four identical metal plates. Based on the proposed model, four separate circuit topologies are identified and analysed in detail and described in a general form. The electric field distributions of the coupling configurations are simulated by ANSYS Maxwell. The theoretical modeling and analysis are then verified by a practical system, in which four aluminum plates of 300 mm × 300 mm are used and placed with a gap of 10 mm between adjacent plates. The experimental results show that the measured output voltage and power under the four coupling configurations are in good agreement with the theoretical results. It has found that the voltage gain is the highest when the two inner plates are connected to the source, and this coupling configuration also has the lowest leakage electric field.
More mobile devices such as mobile phones and robots are wirelessly charged for convenience, simplicity, and safety, and it would be desirable to achieve three-dimensional (3D) wireless charging with high spatial freedom and long range. This paper proposes a 3D wireless charging cube with three orthogonal coils and supporting magnetic cores to enhance the magnetic flux outside the cube. The proposed system is simulated by Ansoft Maxwell and implemented by a downsized prototype. Both simulation and experimental results show that the magnetic cores can strengthen the magnitude of B-field outside the cube. The final prototype demonstrates that the power transfer distance outside the cube for getting the same induced electromotive force in the receiver coil is extended approximately by 50 mm using magnetic cores with a permeability of 2800. It is found that the magnitude of B-field outside the cube can be increased by increasing the width and the permeability of the magnetic cores. The measured results show that when the permeability of the magnetic cores is fixed, the induced electromotive force in the receiver coil at a point 300 mm away from the center of the cube is increased by about 2V when the width of the magnetic cores is increased from 50 to 100 mm. The increase in the induced electromotive force at an extended point implies a greater potential of wireless power transfer capability to the power pickup.
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.
The Wudang Complex located in the central part of South Qinling, has been inferred to be a segment of the Yangtze Craton involved in the orogen. In this study, the cooling/exhumation history of the Wudang Complex is revealed through combined published geochronology data and new apatite fission-track results. Three rapid exhumation episodes related to relevant geodynamic events have been identified. Previous 40Ar–39Ar and (U–Th)/He data indicate that the most significant exhumation, induced by the collision between the North and South China Blocks, occurred from c. 237 to 220 Ma after long-term subsidence and sedimentation of the passive continental margin. The second exhumation event, related to the long-distance effect of the Pacific subduction, occurred during the period from c. 126 to 90 Ma. Following the late Cretaceous – Eocene peneplanation stage, the final late Cenozoic exhumation since c. 15 Ma may be attributed to the combined effect of the eastward growth of the Tibetan Plateau uplift and the Asian monsoon.
Depression is closely associated with quality of life (QOL) in older adults. Being elderly and exhibiting mild depressive symptoms may not lead to a depression diagnosis, but these attributes are clinically important. However, the extent to which these factors influence QOL and its determinants in older adults remains unclear.
Questionnaires were administered to people aged 65 years or older at community senior centers in Taiwan to collect socio-demographic information and to assess results from the brief version of the World Health Organization's Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL-BREF), Modified Barthel Index (MBI), 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Levels of depressive symptoms were classified as no depressive symptoms (NDS), lower level of depressive symptoms (LLDS), and higher level of depressive symptoms (HLDS), corresponding to GDS = 0, 1≦GDS≦5, and GDS>5, respectively. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to assess associations between the WHOQOL-BREF and its covariates for different levels of depressive symptoms.
A total of 454 older adults participated. The GDS and MBI scores significantly affected the WHOQOL-BREF physical and psychological domain scores in the LLDS group. Gender influenced the WHOQOL-BREF scores in the NDS group, and increased age demonstrated protective effects on the three domains in the HLDS group. Moreover, the association between the WHOQOL-BREF and its covariates varied for different levels of depressive symptoms.
Treatment for depressive symptoms is of high priority, and early recognition of and appropriate intervention for mild depressive symptoms may improve community-dwelling older adults’ QOLs.
This study identified possible risk factors for newly diagnosed mood disorders, including depressive and bipolar disorders, in prostate cancer patients.
From 2000 to 2006, two cohorts were evaluated on the occurrence of mood disorder diagnosis and treatment. For the first cohort, data of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer was obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database. As the second cohort, a cancer-free comparison group was matched for age, comorbidities, geographic region, and socioeconomic status.
Final analyses involved 12,872 men with prostate cancer and 12,872 matched patients. Increased incidence of both depressive (IRR 1.52, 95% CI 1.30–1.79, P <0.001) and bipolar disorder (IRR 1.84, 95% CI 1.25–2.74, P = 0.001) was observed among patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. Multivariate matched regression models show that cerebrovascular disease (CVD) and radiotherapy treatment could be independent risk factors for developing subsequent depressive and bipolar disorders.
We observed that the risk of developing newly diagnosed depressive and bipolar disorders is higher among Taiwanese prostate cancer patients. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of increased depressive and bipolar disorders among prostate cancer patients in Taiwan. A prospective study is necessary to confirm these findings.
Carnitine has been reported to improve growth performance and reduce body lipid content in fish. Thus, we hypothesised that carnitine supplementation can improve growth performance and reduce lipid content in the liver and muscle of yellow catfish (Pelteobagrus fulvidraco), a commonly cultured freshwater fish in inland China, and tested this hypothesis in the present study. Diets containing l-carnitine at three different concentrations of 47 mg/kg (control, without extra carnitine addition), 331 mg/kg (low carnitine) and 3495 mg/kg (high carnitine) diet were fed to yellow catfish for 8 weeks. The low-carnitine diet significantly improved weight gain (WG) and reduced the feed conversion ratio (FCR). In contrast, the high-carnitine diet did not affect WG and FCR. Compared with the control diet, the low-carnitine and high-carnitine diets increased lipid and carnitine contents in the liver and muscle. The increased lipid content in the liver could be attributed to the up-regulation of the mRNA levels of SREBP, PPARγ, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and ACCa and the increased activities of lipogenic enzymes (such as FAS, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase and malic enzyme) and to the down-regulation of the mRNA levels of the lipolytic gene CPT1A. The increased lipid content in muscle could be attributed to the down-regulation of the mRNA levels of the lipolytic genes CPT1A and ATGL and the increased activity of lipoprotein lipase. In conclusion, in contrast to our hypothesis, dietary carnitine supplementation increased body lipid content in yellow catfish.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
Deposition of extracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide is one of the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Accumulation of Aβ is thought to associate with cognition deficits, neuroinflammation and apoptosis observed in AD. However, effective neuroprotective approaches against Aβ neurotoxicity are unavailable. In the present study, we analysed the effects of pranlukast, a selective cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 1 (CysLT1R) antagonist, on the impairment of learning and memory formation induced by Aβ and the probable underlying electrophysiological and molecular mechanisms. We found that bilateral intrahippocampal injection of Aβ1–42 resulted in a significant decline of spatial learning and memory of mice in the Morris water maze (MWM) and Y-maze tests, together with a serious depression of in vivo hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of the mice. Importantly, this treatment caused significant increases in CysLT1R expression and subsequent NF-κB signaling, caspase-3 activation and Bcl-2 downregulation in the hippocampus or prefrontal cortex. Oral administration of pranlukast at 0.4 or 0.8 mg/kg for 4 wk significantly reversed Aβ1–42-induced impairments of cognitive function and hippocampal LTP in mice. Furthermore, pranlukast reversed Aβ1–42-induced CysLT1R upregulation, and markedly suppressed the Aβ1–42-triggered NF-κB pathway, caspase-3 activation and Bcl-2 downregulation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in mice. Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) assay confirmed its presence in the brain after oral administration of pranlukast in mice. These data disclose novel findings about the therapeutic potential of pranlukast, revealing a previously unknown therapeutic possibility to treat memory deficits associated with AD.
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.