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Myocardial strain measurements are increasingly used to detect complications following heart transplantation. However, the temporal association of these changes with allograft rejection is not well defined. The aim of this study was to describe the evolution of strain measurements prior to the diagnosis of rejection in paediatric heart transplant recipients.
All paediatric heart transplant recipients (2004–2015) with at least one episode of acute rejection were identified. Longitudinal and circumferential strain measurements were assessed at the time of rejection and retrospectively on all echocardiograms until the most recent negative biopsy. Smoothing technique (LOESS) was used to visualise the changes of each variable over time and estimate the time preceding rejection at which alterations are first detectable.
A total of 58 rejection episodes were included from 37 unique patients. In the presence of rejection, there were decrements from baseline in global longitudinal strain (−18.2 versus −14.1), global circumferential strain (−24.1 versus −19.6), longitudinal strain rate (−1 versus −0.8), circumferential strain rate (−1.3 versus −1.1), peak longitudinal early diastolic strain rate (1.3 versus 1), and peak circumferential early diastolic strain rate (1.5 versus 1.3) (p<0.01 for all). The earliest detectable changes occurred 45 days prior to rejection with simultaneous alterations in myocardial strain and ejection fraction.
Changes in graft function can be detected non-invasively prior to the diagnosis of rejection. However, changes in strain occur concurrently with a decline in ejection fraction. Strain measurements aid in the non-invasive detection of rejection, but may not facilitate earlier diagnosis compared to more traditional measures of ventricular function.
Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder with high heritability and polygenic inheritance. Multimodal neuroimaging studies have also indicated that abnormalities of brain structure and function are a plausible neurobiological characterisation of schizophrenia. However, the polygenic effects of schizophrenia on these imaging endophenotypes have not yet been fully elucidated.
To investigate the effects of polygenic risk for schizophrenia on the brain grey matter volume and functional connectivity, which are disrupted in schizophrenia.
Genomic and neuroimaging data from a large sample of Han Chinese patients with schizophrenia (N = 509) and healthy controls (N = 502) were included in this study. We examined grey matter volume and functional connectivity via structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, respectively. Using the data from a recent meta-analysis of a genome-wide association study that comprised a large number of Chinese people, we calculated a polygenic risk score (PGRS) for each participant.
The imaging genetic analysis revealed that the individual PGRS showed a significantly negative correlation with the hippocampal grey matter volume and hippocampus–medial prefrontal cortex functional connectivity, both of which were lower in the people with schizophrenia than in the controls. We also found that the observed neuroimaging measures showed weak but similar changes in unaffected first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia.
These findings suggested that genetically influenced brain grey matter volume and functional connectivity may provide important clues for understanding the pathological mechanisms of schizophrenia and for the early diagnosis of schizophrenia.
The oxidation behavior of two percentages of TiB + TiC reinforced Ti–6Al–4V composites derived from Ti–B4C–C and Ti–TiB2–TiC systems was investigated at 873–1073 K for 320 h in air. The oxidation weight gain curves of the (TiB + TiC)/Ti–6Al–4V composites at 973 K basically obey parabolic law, while those at 873 and 1073 K mainly follow linear law and parabolic-linear law, respectively. The oxide layers of the composites are predominately found to be rutile TiO2, Al2O3, and the mixture of V2O3 and V2O5. The oxidation layers turn thinner with increasing the nominal volume fraction of reinforcements in the (TiB + TiC)/Ti–6Al–4V composites. Moreover, according to the calculation results of reaction index (n) and effective activation energy (Qeff) and the analyses of cross-sections of the oxidation layers, the oxidation resistance ability of the composites from Ti–TiB2–TiC system is higher than that from Ti–B4C–C system while employing the same sintering temperature and nominal volume fraction of reinforcement.
The average power of diode-pumped fiber lasers has been developed deeply into the kW regime in the past years. However, stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) is still a major factor limiting the further power scaling. Here, we have demonstrated the mitigation of SRS in kilowatt-level diode-pumped fiber amplifiers using a chirped and tilted fiber Bragg grating (CTFBG) for the first time. The CTFBG is designed and inscribed in large-mode-area (LMA) fibers, matching with the operating wavelength of the fiber amplifier. With the CTFBG inserted between the seed laser and the amplifier stage, an SRS suppression ratio of
is achieved in spectrum at the maximum output laser power of 2.35 kW, and there is no reduction in laser slope efficiency and degradation in beam quality. This work proves the feasibility and practicability of CTFBGs for SRS suppression in high-power fiber lasers, which is very useful for the further power scaling.
Dietary delivery of bacterially expressed double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) has a great potential for management of Leptinotarsa decemlineata. An important first step is to discover possible RNA-interference (RNAi)-target genes effective against larvae, especially the old larvae. In the present paper, five putative Broad-Complex (BrC) cDNAs (Z1-Z4, and Z6) were identified in L. decemlineata. The expression of the five LdBrC isoforms was suppressed by juvenile hormone signaling, whereas the transcription was upregulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone signaling at the fourth (final) instar larval stage. Feeding of bacterially expressed dsBrC (derived from a common fragment of the five LdBrC variants) in the third- and fourth-instar larvae successfully knocked down the target mRNAs. For the fourth-instar LdBrC RNAi hypomorphs, they had a higher larval mortality compared with the controls. Moreover, most dsBrC-fed beetles did not pupate normally. After removal of the apolysed larval cuticle, a miniature adult was found. The adult head, compound eyes, prothorax, mesothorax, metathorax were found on the dorsal view. Distinct adult cuticle pigmentation was seen on the prothorax. The mouthparts, forelegs, midlegs, and hindlegs could be observed on the ventral view of the miniature adults. For the third-instar LdBrC RNAi specimens, around 20% moribund beetles remained as prepupae and finally died. Therefore, LdBrC is among the most attractive candidate genes for RNAi to control the fourth-instar larvae in L. decemlineata.
Outcome analyses in large administrative databases are ideal for rare diseases such as Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Unfortunately, Becker and Duchenne do not yet have specific International Classification of Disease-9/-10 codes. We hypothesised that an algorithm could accurately identify these patients within administrative data and improve assessment of cardiovascular morbidity.
Hospital discharges (n=13,189) for patients with muscular dystrophy classified by International Classification of Disease-9 code: 359.1 were identified from the Pediatric Health Information System database. An identification algorithm was created and then validated at three institutions. Multi-variable generalised linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate the associations of length of stay, hospitalisation cost, and 14-day readmission with age, encounter severity, and respiratory disease accounting for clustering within the hospital.
The identification algorithm improved identification of patients with Becker and Duchenne from 55% (code 359.1 alone) to 77%. On bi-variate analysis, left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmia were associated with increased cost of hospitalisation, length of stay, and mortality (p<0.001). After adjustment, Becker and Duchenne patients with left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmia had increased length of stay with rate ratio 1.4 and 1.2 (p<0.001 and p=0.004) and increased cost of hospitalization with rate ratio 1.4 and 1.4 (both p<0.001).
Our algorithm accurately identifies patients with Becker and Duchenne and can be used for future analysis of administrative data. Our analysis demonstrates the significant effects of cardiovascular disease on length of stay and hospitalisation cost in patients with Becker and Duchenne. Better recognition of the contribution of cardiovascular disease during hospitalisation with earlier more intensive evaluation and therapy may help improve outcomes in this patient population.
The Misell algorithm is one of the most widely used phase retrieval holography methods for large reflector antennas to measure surface deformation. However, it usually locks in a local minimum because it heads downhill from an initial estimation without any consideration whether it heads for a global minimum or not. The core problem of the Misell algorithm is to find an initial estimation near the global minimum to avoid local stagnation. To cope with the problem, we construct a hybrid Misell algorithm, named modified very fast simulated annealing (MVFSA)-Misell algorithm, to search for the global minimum with a high efficiency. The algorithm is based on the combination of the MVFSA algorithm and Misell algorithm. Firstly, the MVFSA is utilized to obtain a rough position near the global minimum in limited steps. Then, the Misell algorithm starts from the rough position to converge to the global minimum with high speed and accuracy. The convergence characteristic of the proposed algorithm was discussed in detail through digital simulation. Simulation results show that the algorithm can reach global minimum in a very short time. Unlike the traditional Misell algorithm, the hybrid algorithm is not influenced by initial phase estimation.
Cinnamomum camphora (Lauraceae) is a well-known multipurpose tree with aromatic oils, insect-repellent effects and ornamental value. In this study, a total of 74,289 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were found in 56,124 unigenes, of which 14,225 unigenes contained more than one SSR locus. Among these SSR loci, the mono-nucleotide repeats were the most frequent, with a frequency of 61.14%, followed by 24.87% di-nucleotide repeats and 12.87% tri-nucleotide repeats. Twenty-one polymorphic SSR markers were developed and validated in 45 camphor trees. The 21 loci were further examined for cross-species transferability in other six related species. The novel genic-SSR markers will not only benefit genetic diversity analysis and wild resources conservation of C. camphora, but also contribute to exploring the further evolutionary history and genetic differentiation pattern of Cinnamomum.
Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum (Lindl. ex Hook. f.) Stein (Orchidaceae) is a valuable but endangered ornamental plant. In the present study, the microsatellites characteristics were analysed and 14 polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were developed based on the de novo transcriptome sequencing for P. hirsutissimum using Illumina pair-end sequencing technology. A total of 7406 SSRs were detected in 56,688 unigenes, with the occurrence frequency of 13.06% and an average density of one SSR per 5.42 kb; and 150 primer pairs randomly selected from 2090 pairs except mononucleotide repeats were synthesized for verification. These loci were validated in 32 individuals from the concentrated distribution centre, and were successfully amplified using 14 primer sets showing a high level of polymorphism. These SSR markers will be useful in future studies of genetic diversity, the population structure of P. hirsutissimum and make effective conservation strategy.
A significant reason for death and long-term disability due to head injuries and pathologic conditions is an elevation in the intracranial pressure (ICP) due to vascular compromise and secondary sequelae causing edema. ICP measurements before and after injury in a completely closed-head environment have a significant research value, particularly in the acute postinjury period. With current technology, a tethered fiberoptic probe penetrates the brain and therefore can only remain implanted for relatively short time periods. Use of the probe also can cause complications such as infection and hemorrhage and prohibit immediate (at the time of injury) and long-term measurements of ICP. A small, fully embedded, wireless ICP device may simplify clinical management and research protocols by offering a means for semi-invasive and long-term ICP measurement following brain injury. In this chapter, a new digital wireless ICP (DICP) device is described. The dynamic ICP measurement performances of both the analog ICP (AICP) devices (described in Chapter 2) and the DICP devices are evaluated in a specific traumatic brain injury (TBI) (swine) model of closed-head rotational injury.
In Chapter 2, a prototype of an AICP device operating in the industrial-scientific-medical (ISM) band at 2.4 GHz was described that successfully simplified the surgical procedure by reducing the infection rate, the risk of hemorrhage, and the degree of tissue injury.
The AICP device was implanted in a canine model only for a static test, and hypo- and hyperventilation were used to affect variations in ICP. Dynamic ICP variations as a result of TBI in a completely closed-head environment are of paramount importance for understanding the development of a prolonged postconcussion syndrome and facilitating institution of the correct treatment at different stages, particularly in the acute postinjury period. Currently, in experimental (animal) models of TBI, a tethered fiberoptic probe (if inserted before the injury) has to be removed before an injury is induced in order to avoid significant focal damage at the point of probe insertion. Moreover, reinsertion of the probe is possible only after the animal's vital signs have stabilized. However, the act of breaching the cranium after the injury affects the fidelity of the ICP measurements. In addition, proposed noninvasive ICP (NICP) solutions, such as the pulsatility index method based on the use of trancranial Doppler, argued by Figaji et al. , have been shown to be insufficient for accurate ICP estimation.
Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring is a significant tool that aids in the management of neurologic disorders such as hydrocephalus, head trauma, tumors, colloid cysts, and cerebral hematomas. ICP is the pressure exerted on the rigid, bony skull by its constituents, which are brain, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and cerebral blood. Increased ICP can lead to brain damage, disability, and death. Various modalities have been developed for monitoring ICP in hospitals and in ambulatory conditions. Currently, only catheter-based systems have made it to clinical practice. The catheter-based systems can only be used in a hospital setting and have a limited useful life owing to drift and the risk of infection. The wired methods of patient monitoring are cumbersome, cause patient discomfort, and can potentially introduce motion artifacts in the measured quantity. The contemporary medical world is witnessing a transition from a wired to a wireless healthcare domain.
Wireless Technology in Medical Use
The application of wireless technology in healthcare is becoming ubiquitous, if it is not already so. The therapeutic and diagnostic applications of radiofrequency (RF) and microwave technologies in medicine have been the subject of extensive study in the past [1–3]. Medical implants for the transfer of information at these nonionizing frequencies have been developed . Research accomplishments using data communication links at microwave frequencies between a medical implant and an external unit have been reported by many researchers. The resonance characteristics of implanted antennas operating at a frequency band of 402 to 405 MHz and their radiation pattern outside the body have been shown to be favorable for short-range medical implants . Poon et al.  demonstrated that the optimal frequency for power transmission in biologic media is in the gigahertz range. Gosalia et al.  demonstrated a novel approach of establishing a data telemetry link between an implant and an external unit in the 1.45 and 2.45 GHz band for retinal prostheses. Such medical implants are basic components for the success of telemedicine, which refers to the use of telecommunication technologies in healthcare. Telemedicine not only facilitates medical treatment and care but is also gaining popularity in posthospital patient care . It provides expert consultation in remote understaffed locations and advanced emergency care via modern telecommunication techniques . Mobile patient monitoring systems using wireless implants have been developed to maintain records of patient vital signs and history [10,11].
An apparatus design is described. It is for detecting VHE gamma ray point sources by means of the atmospheric Cerenkov technique. Obviously, the improvement of flux sensitivity and discrimination between gamma ray and isotropic proton showers is still a key problem. Of course, it is necessary to set up more observatories and to track an object continuously with several facilities. With this in mind, we decided to develop an experiment for observing VHE gamma ray sources in China. As a first step, we will set up an apparatus which consists of three 1.5 m diameter searchlight morrors at Xinglong station of Beijing Observatory, Xinglong county, Hebei province (40°. 4N, 117°.5E, altitude 940 m). The observation will start in 1988. Then, the second apparatus will be set up at Delingha station of Purple Mountain Observatory, Delingha county, Qinghai porvince (37°.22N, altitude 3204 m). Both the sites are far from air and light pollution, and have suitable meteological condition for Cerenkov light detection as well as quite convenient facilities for transportation. Some probable technical improvements are also discussed in this paper.
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) attitude determination and positioning play an important role in many navigation applications. However, the two GNSS-based problems are usually treated separately. This ignores the constraint information of the GNSS antenna array and the accuracy is limited. To improve the performance of navigation, an integrated attitude and position determination method based on an affine constraint model is presented. In the first part, the GNSS array model and affine constrained attitude determination method are compared with the unconstrained methods. Then the integrated attitude and position determination method is presented. The performance of the proposed method is tested with a series of static data and dynamic experimental GNSS data. The results show that the proposed method can improve the success rate of ambiguity resolution to further improve the accuracy of attitude determination and relative positioning compared to the unconstrained methods.
Previous studies have supported the theory that there is a positive association between ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis in Western people. Diet plays an important role in determining serum ferritin concentration. Asian dietary patterns are different from Western dietary patterns, implying that there may be a difference in the association of ferritin with carotid atherosclerosis between Asian and Western people. However, few studies focus on the association between ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis among Asians. The aim of this study was to investigate how serum ferritin levels are associated with carotid atherosclerosis in an Asian adult population. A cross-sectional assessment was performed in 8302 adults in Tianjin, China. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques were assessed using ultrasonography, and serum ferritin was measured using the protein chip-chemiluminescence method. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between quartiles of serum ferritin concentration and carotid atherosclerosis. In the present study, the overall prevalence of IMT and carotid plaques in participants is 29·2 and 22·7 %, respectively. In women, after adjustments for potentially confounding factors, the OR of IMT and carotid plaques by increasing serum ferritin quartiles were 1·00, 1·39 (95 % CI 0·98–1·99), 1·39 (95 % CI 0·99–1·97), 1·81 (95 % CI 1·30–2·55) (Pfor trend<0·001) and 1·00, 1·24 (95 % CI 0·89–1·73), 1·18 (95 % CI 0·85–1·65), 1·59 (95 % CI 1·15–2·20) (Pfor trend<0·01), respectively. However, no association was found between serum ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis in men. The study demonstrated that increased serum ferritin levels are independently associated with IMT and carotid plaques in Asian women but not in Asian men.
The study reported in this Regional Research Communication aimed to analyse the genetic polymorphisms of β-casein in Chinese Holstein cows. β-casein has received considerable research interest in the dairy industry and animal breeding in recent years as a source not only of high quality protein, but also of bioactive peptides that may be linked to health effects. Morever, the polymorphic nature of β-casein and its association with milk production traits, composition, and quality also attracted several efforts in evaluating the allelic distribution of β-casein locus as a potential dairy trait marker. However, few data on beta-casein variants are available for the Chinese Holstein cow. In the present paper, one hundred and thirty three Holstein cows were included in the analysis. Results revealed the presence of 5 variants (A1, A2, A3, B and I), preponderance of the genotype A1A2 (0·353) and superiorities of A1/A2 alleles (0·432 and 0·459, respectively) in the population. Sequence analysis of β-casein gene in the cows showed four nucleotide changes in exon 7. Our study can provide reference and guidance for selection for superior milk for industrial applications and crossbreeding and genetic improvement programmes.
The present study aimed to investigate the effect of maternal malnutrition on offspring glucose tolerance and the epigenetic mechanisms involved. In total, twelve primiparous Landrace×Yorkshire gilts were fed rations providing either 100 % (control (CON)) or 75 % (undernutrition (UN)) nutritional requirements according to the National Research Council recommendations, throughout gestation. Muscle samples of offspring were collected at birth (dpn1), weaning (dpn28) and adulthood (dpn189). Compared with CON pigs, UN pigs showed lower serum glucose concentrations at birth, but showed higher serum glucose and insulin concentrations as well as increased area under the blood glucose curve during intravenous glucose tolerance test at dpn189 (P<0·05). Compared with CON pigs, GLUT-4 gene and protein expressions were decreased at dpn1 and dpn189 in the muscle of UN pigs, which was accompanied by increased methylation at the GLUT4 promoter (P<0·05). These alterations in methylation concurred with increased mRNA levels of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 at dpn1 and dpn28, DNMT3a at dpn189 and DNMT3b at dpn1 in UN pigs compared with CON pigs (P<0·05). Interestingly, although the average methylation levels at the muscle GLUT4 promoter were decreased at dpn189 compared with dpn1 in pigs exposed to a poor maternal diet (P<0·05), the methylation differences in individual CpG sites were more pronounced with age. Our results indicate that in utero undernutrition persists to silence muscle GLUT4 likely through DNA methylation during the ageing process, which may lead to the amplification of age-associated glucose intolerance.
Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder
(MDD) are likely to be caused by multiple susceptibility genes, each with
small effects in increasing the risk of illness. Identifying DNA variants
associated with schizophrenia and MDD is a crucial step in understanding
the pathophysiology of these disorders.
To investigate whether the SP4 gene plays a significant
role in schizophrenia or MDD in the Han Chinese population.
We focused on nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) harbouring the
SP4 gene and carried out case–control studies in 1235
patients with schizophrenia, 1045 patients with MDD and 1235 healthy
controls recruited from the Han Chinese population.
We found that rs40245 was significantly associated with schizophrenia in
both allele and genotype distributions (Pallele = 0.0005, Pallele = 0.004 after Bonferroni correction; Pgenotype = 0.0023, Pgenotype = 0.0184 after Bonferroni correction). The rs6461563
SNP was significantly associated with schizophrenia in the allele
distributions (Pallele = 0.0033, Pallele = 0.0264 after Bonferroni correction).
Our results suggest that common risk factors in the SP4
gene are associated with schizophrenia, although not with MDD, in the Han
Fatigue crack growth tests of NiAl bronze (NAB) alloy heat treated at different temper temperature after quenching at 920 °C are performed using direct current potential drop method. The influences of heat treatment on the fatigue crack growth behavior of NAB alloy are investigated. The results show that the fatigue crack growth rate (FCGR) of NAB alloy decreases with the increase of temper temperature. A few large secondary cracks are obtained as the sample is tempered at 350 °C and the secondary cracks diminish with the increase of temper temperature. With further increasing temper temperature to 550 °C, a large number of small secondary cracks are obtained, which is responsible for its lower FCGR. The as-cast NAB alloy has a lower FCGR than that tempered at 550 °C at low stress intensity factor range (ΔK) region, and the lower FCGR is attributed to the crack deflection effect of the as-cast microstructure. At high ΔK region, the crack deflection effect diminishes, which leads to the higher FCGR of as-cast sample.
Graphene oxide (GO) is one of the most attractive inorganic nanofillers in proton exchange membranes (PEMs) for its large specific surface area and high proton conductivity. The proton conductivity of GO nanosheet is known to be orders of magnitude greater than the bulk GO, thus it is essential to improve the dispersion of GO nanosheets in the PEM matrix to achieve higher conductivity. In this study, we report a facile and effective method to fabricate a GO/sulfonated poly ether ether ketone (SPEEK) composite membrane with well-dispersed GO nanosheets in SPEEK matrix by using electrospinning technique for direct methanol fuel cell application. The composite membrane exhibits improved proton conductivity, dimensional stability and methanol barrier property due to the presence of well-dispersed GOs. It is believed that the GO nanosheets can not only induce continuous channels for proton-conducting via Grotthuss mechanism, but also act as methanol barriers to hinder the methanol molecules from passing through the membrane.