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This article reviews a selected sample of 70 empirical studies in journal articles and doctoral dissertations on language assessment in China between 2011 and 2018. Following a brief introduction to the history and current state of language assessment in China, the article presents a critical review of language assessment research on six themes that have aroused the greatest interest from researchers in the country, including (1) test reliability and validity; (2) factors affecting test performance; (3) rating and rating scales; (4) technology and language testing; (5) test washback; and (6) classroom-based assessment. In addition to situating the commentary on the studies within the social, cultural and historical contexts of China, this article outlines the scholarly contributions of these studies to the wider international field of language learning, teaching and assessment. It concludes with recommendations on areas in need of further development over the coming decades.
The current study compares the effects of two types of pronunciation instruction (segmental- and suprasegmental-based) on the development of second-year Chinese undergraduate students’ English pronunciation as against a group with no specific pronunciation (NSP) instruction. The participants were 90 university-level students in the Chinese mainland, from three intact classes. One class was taught with a segmental focus (N = 30) and the second with a suprasegmental focus (N = 31), while the third received NSP instruction (N = 29). The results showed that after an 18-week period of instruction, both the segmental and suprasegmental groups made statistically significant progress in pronunciation, as measured by comprehensibility on a sentence-reading task; however, only the suprasegmental group made statistically significant progress in comprehensibility at the spontaneous level, and it was also the only group that maintained these spontaneous gains on the delayed posttest. The positive effects of explicit pronunciation instruction in general and of suprasegmental instruction in particular account for the findings.
Advanced Ni8W/Ni12W/Ni8W alloy composite substrates used in YBCO-coated conductors with a strong cube texture and high yield strength have been fabricated, and a CeO2 buffer layer film was successfully deposited on the composite substrates. Through in situ tensile testing coupled with electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) analysis, the stability of the cube texture of Ni8W/Ni12W/Ni8W alloy composite substrates has been investigated. The stress–strain curve shows that the yield strength (at 0.2% strain) of the composite substrates exceeds 250 Mpa. The orientation of grains and boundaries on the surface of the substrates was almost unchanged, while the strain exceeds 0.2%, which indicated that the composite substrates are adequate for depositing buffer layers and YBCO layers by the reel-to-reel process.
BaxSr(1−x)TiO3 (BST) thin films were fabricated on a Ti substrate using micro-arc oxidation (MAO) in an aqueous solution with the addition of 0.6 M Ba(OH)2, 0.4 M Sr(OH)2, and 0.05 M EDTA. The morphology, composition, and electrical properties of BST films prepared under different processing times were characterized, and MAO growth characteristics of BST films were discussed. Results indicate that dielectric and ferroelectric properties of BST films are positively correlated with surface morphology dependent on MAO spark patterns. To obtain a smooth and compact film, the large spark stage should be avoided. During MAO processes, elements from the substrate and electrolyte solution migrate in opposite directions under an electric field, resulting in Ba, Sr, Ti, and O elements exhibiting a gradient distribution between the BST film and the Ti substrate. BST film prepared using MAO is composed of two layers: an outer loose layer and an inner dense layer. In addition, because of the position of discharge breakdown continually changing, the interface between the film and the substrate is uneven. As MAO processing time increases, BST film thickness increases and ferroelectric property improves. When processing time is 15 min, the residual polarization intensity (2Pr) of the BST film is about 4.9 μC/cm2.
To gain more comprehensive understanding of metabolic syndrome (Mets) among in general Chinese population.
Cross-sectional study. Mets was defined by three widely accepted definitions including modified Adults Treatment Panel (ATP) III criteria, International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria and harmonized definition. Risk factors were evaluated by using multivariate logistic regression.
Nineteen rural villages in northeast China.
The survey was conducted in September 2017 and May 2018 on 10 926 individuals.
According to modified ATP III criteria, IDF criteria and harmonised definition, the overall prevalence of Mets was 41·3 % (95 % CI 40·3, 42·2), 34·2 % (95 % CI 33·2, 35·1) and 44·1 % (95 % CI 43·1, 45·1), respectively. Females had a higher prevalence, and elevated blood pressure was the most frequent. Age, female sex, non-peasant worker, higher BMI and lower-annual income were independent risk factors of Mets in all three definitions (all ps < 0·05). Based on modified ATP III criteria and harmonised definition, heavy drinking was positively correlated with Mets. In contrast, former drinking was inversely associated with Mets.
Mets is highly prevalent in rural areas of northeast China. Its independent risk factors include higher age, female sex, non-peasantry worker, higher BMI and lower-annual income. Modified ATP III criteria and harmonised definition may be superior definitions of Mets.
The mammary gland, a unique exocrine organ, is responsible for milk synthesis in mammals. Neonatal growth and health are predominantly determined by quality and quantity of milk production. Amino acids are crucial maternal nutrients that are the building blocks for milk protein and are potential energy sources for neonates. Recent advances made regarding the mammary gland further demonstrate that some functional amino acids also regulate milk protein and fat synthesis through distinct intracellular and extracellular pathways. In the present study, we discuss recent advances in the role of amino acids (especially branched-chain amino acids, methionine, arginine and lysine) in the regulation of milk synthesis. The present review also addresses the crucial questions of how amino acids are transported, sensed and transduced in the mammary gland.
The fatigue behavior of a low-cost Zr52.1Ti5Cu17.9Ni14.6Al10Y0.4 (at%) (ZrCuNi-based) bulk-metallic glass (BMG) prepared by industrial-grade material was investigated under three-point bending loading modes. In order to obtain the fatigue stress-life (S-N) data, stress-controlled experiments were conducted using a computer-controlled material test system electrohydraulic testing machine at 60 Hz with a 0.1 R ratio in the air at room temperature. The fatigue limit (∼174 MPa) in stress amplitude and fatigue ratio (∼0.14) of this BMG is comparative to the similar BMG (Vit-105) prepared by high pure raw materials. The crack initiated from inclusions near the rectangular corners at the outer surface of the rectangular beam due to stress concentration. The striations and vein-like patterns were observed in the crack propagation region and fast fracture region, respectively.
To summarize characteristics and commonalities of non-technical competency frameworks for health professionals in emergency and disaster.
An electronic literature search was conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE, ERIC, Scopus, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar to identify original English-language articles related to development, evaluation or application of the nontechnical competency frameworks. Reviewers assessed identified articles for exclusion/inclusion criteria and abstracted data on study design, framework characteristics, and reliability/validity evidence.
Of the 9627 abstracts screened, 65 frameworks were identiﬁed from 94 studies that were eligible for result extraction. Sixty (63.8%) studies concentrated on clinical settings. Common scenarios of the studies were acute critical events in hospitals (44;46.8%) and nonspecified disasters (39;41.5%). Most of the participants (76; 80.9%) were clinical practitioners, and participants in 36 (38.3%) studies were multispecialty. Thirty-three (50.8%) and 42 (64.6%) frameworks had not reported evidence on reliability and validity, respectively. Fourteen of the most commonly involved domains were identified from the frameworks.
Nontechnical competency frameworks applied to multidisciplinary emergency health professionals are heterogeneous in construct and application. A fundamental framework with standardized terminology for the articulation of competency should be developed and validated so as to be accepted and adapted universally by health professionals in all-hazard emergency environment.
Freshwater habitats in China are potentially suitable for invasive alien turtle species and, consequently, raising turtles in aquaculture facilities and the trade in turtles this supplies pose risks to habitats and native wetland communities when exotic turtles escape or are released deliberately. Online trade (e-commerce) is making an increasing contribution to turtle sales in China, seemingly driving demand and thus potentially exacerbating the risk of release. We document the scale and spatial pattern of online sales of non-native turtles over 90 days on China's Taobao.com e-commerce site. The majority of sales were in the ecologically sensitive middle and lower Yangtze river basin (82.35% of > 840,000 slider turtles Trachemys scripta elegans, and 68.26% of > 100,000 snapping turtles, Chelydridae spp.). These species are native to the Americas. Concurrently, over 2008–2018, we found 104 mentions of feral turtle issues listed on Baidu News where, among the 53 prefectures mentioned, issues with invasive turtle populations also focused predominantly in the middle and lower Yangtze river basin. Although circumstantial, this association suggests that the substantial online sale of alien turtles could be having detrimental effects in China's Yangtze river basin. It is important to safeguard these wetland habitats, which are of global importance, by improving policies for detecting and regulating invasive alien turtle issues and by warning consumers about the ecological hazard of their purchases.
To investigate the hypothesis that folic acid supplementation and dietary folate intake before conception and during pregnancy reduce the risk of small for gestational age (SGA) and to examine the joint effect of folic acid supplementation and dietary folate intake on the risk of SGA.
Participants were interviewed by trained study interviewers using a standardized and structured questionnaire. Information on birth outcomes and maternal complications was abstracted from medical records and dietary information was collected via a semi-quantitative FFQ before conception and during pregnancy.
A birth cohort data analysis using the 2010–2012 Gansu Provincial Maternity and Child Care Hospital.
Women (n 8758) and their children enrolled in the study.
Folic acid supplementation was associated with a reduced risk of SGA (OR = 0·72, 95 % CI 0·60, 0·86), with the reduced risk seen mainly for SGA at ≥37 weeks of gestational age (OR = 0·70, 95 % CI 0·58, 0·85) and nulliparous SGA (OR = 0·67, 95 % CI 0·54, 0·84). There was no significant association between dietary folate intake and SGA risk.
Our study suggested that folic acid supplementation was associated with a reduced risk of SGA and the risk varied by preterm status and parity.
The aim of the present study was to explore the influence of tea consumption on diabetes mellitus in the Chinese population. This multi-centre, cross-sectional study was conducted in eight sites from south, east, north, west and middle regions in China by enrolling 12 017 subjects aged 20–70 years. Socio-demographic and general information was collected by a standardised questionnaire. A standard procedure was used to measure anthropometric characteristics and to obtain blood samples. The diagnosis of diabetes was determined using a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. In the final analysis, 10 825 participants were included and multiple logistic models and interaction effect analysis were applied for assessing the association between tea drinking with diabetes. Compared with non-tea drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted OR for newly diagnosed diabetes were 0·80 (95 % CI 0·67, 0·97), 0·88 (95 % CI 0·71, 1·09) and 0·86 (95 % CI 0·67, 1·11) for daily tea drinkers, occasional tea drinkers and seldom tea drinkers, respectively. Furthermore, drinking tea daily was related to decreased risk of diabetes in females by 32 %, elderly (>45 years) by 24 % and obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2) by 34 %. Moreover, drinking dark tea was associated with reduced risk of diabetes by 45 % (OR 0·55; 95 % CI 0·42, 0·72; P < 0·01). The results imply that drinking tea daily was negatively related to risk of diabetes in female, elderly and obese people. In addition, drinking dark tea was associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The interaction of the Palaeo-Pacific and Palaeo-Asian Oceans is an enigmatic issue as their temporal and spatial features are controversial. To address this issue, we present a systematic study of large volumes of early Permian volcanic rocks and intrusions developed in the East Tianshan. The represented samples of basaltic andesites and rhyolites yield zircon crystallization ages of 285.1 ± 5.9 Ma and 275.3 ± 1.8 Ma, respectively. The basalts have normal mid-ocean ridge basalt (N-MORB) and arc-related geochemical signatures with high TiO2 contents, negative Rb, Th, U, Nb and Ta anomalies and positive Eu anomalies. Basaltic andesites and andesites have arc-related geochemical characteristics with moderate TiO2 contents and relatively negative Nb, Ta and Ti anomalies, together with slightly negative to positive Eu anomalies. The rhyolites show an affinity with A2-type granite with high SiO2, K2O + Na2O, Fe/Mg, Ga, Zr, Nb, Y, HFSE, REE and Y/Nb levels (>1.2). These geochemical data suggest that the rocks formed in a supra-subduction zone. The presence of high ϵNd(t) values of +4.6 to +8.2 and low (87Sr/86Sr)i (0.70342–0.70591) values indicates that the volcanic rocks originated from a depleted mantle. We propose that oblique subduction with slabs breaking off gave rise to transtension and to the emplacement of large volumes of mantle-derived melts in the early Permian in the East Tianshan, serving as an important record of the subduction zone of the Palaeo-Pacific Ocean.
Systematic error is one of the major factors that affect positioning accuracy owing to the changeable and complex nature of seawater environments. Based on a Global Navigation Satellite System-acoustic intelligent buoys system, whose acoustic array consists of a series of surface buoys, a single-difference method for underwater dynamic positioning is proposed to eliminate systematic error. Positioning configuration optimisation was addressed using dilution of precision (DOP). A simulation of DOP proved that for the single-difference method, a radiation network with a centre-difference reference point was superior to a regular polygon network. The positioning experiment showed that the novel method could effectively eliminate systematic error, improving vertical positioning accuracy from a metre- to a decimetre scale.
The microbiota–gut–brain axis, especially the microbial tryptophan (Trp) biosynthesis and metabolism pathway (MiTBamp), may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, studies on the MiTBamp in MDD are lacking. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gut microbiota composition and the MiTBamp in MDD patients.
We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 26 MDD patients and 29 healthy controls (HCs). In addition to the microbiota community and the MiTBamp analyses, we also built a classification based on the Random Forests (RF) and Boruta algorithm to identify the gut microbiota as biomarkers for MDD.
The Bacteroidetes abundance was strongly reduced whereas that of Actinobacteria was significantly increased in the MDD patients compared with the abundance in the HCs. Most noteworthy, the MDD patients had increased levels of Bifidobacterium, which is commonly used as a probiotic. Four Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthologies (KOs) (K01817, K11358, K01626, K01667) abundances in the MiTBamp were significantly lower in the MDD group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the K01626 abundance and the HAMD scores in the MDD group. Finally, RF classification at the genus level can achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.890.
The present findings enabled a better understanding of the changes in gut microbiota and the related Trp pathway in MDD. Alterations of the gut microbiota may have the potential as biomarkers for distinguishing MDD patients form HCs.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by deficits in social interactions and perseverative and stereotypical behavior. Growing evidence points toward a critical role for synaptic dysfunction in the onset of ASD, and synaptic function is influenced by glial cells. Considering the evidence that neuroinflammation in ASD is mediated by glial cells, one hypothesis is that reactive glial cells, under inflammatory conditions, contribute to the loss of synaptic functions and trigger ASD. Ongoing pharmacological treatments for ASD, including oxytocin, vitamin D, sulforaphane, and resveratrol, are promising and are shown to lead to improvements in behavioral performance in ASD. More importantly, their pharmacological mechanisms are closely related to anti-inflammation and synaptic protection. We focus this review on the hypothesis that synaptic dysfunction caused by reactive glial cells would lead to ASD, and discuss the potentials of antineuroinflammatory therapy for ASD.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe psychiatric disorder associated with a high risk of suicide. This meta-analysis examined the prevalence of suicide attempts (SA) in patients with BD and its associated factors.
A systematic literature search was conducted in the PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE and Web of Science databases from their inception to 11 June 2018. The prevalence of SA in BD was synthesised using the random-effects model.
The search identified 3451 articles of which 79 studies with 33 719 subjects met the study entry criteria. The lifetime prevalence of SA was 33.9% (95% CI 31.3–36.6%; I2 = 96.4%). Subgroup and meta-regression analyses revealed that the lifetime prevalence of SA was positively associated with female gender, BD-I, BD Not Otherwise Specified and rapid cycling BD subtypes, income level and geographic region.
This meta-analysis confirmed that SA is common in BD and identified a number of factors related to SA. Further efforts are necessary to facilitate the identification and prevention of SA in BD. Long-term use of mood stabilisers coupled with psycho-social interventions should be available to BD patients to reduce the risk of suicidal behaviour.
Animal studies have suggested that mushroom intake can alleviate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, the association between mushroom intake and NAFLD is unknown in humans. We aimed to investigate the association of mushroom intake with NAFLD among Chinese adults. This is a cross-sectional study of 24 236 adults (mean (standard deviation) age: 40·7 (sd 11·9) years; 11 394 men (47·0 %)). Mushroom intake was assessed via a validated FFQ. Newly diagnosed NAFLD was identified based on the results of annual health examinations, including ultrasound findings and a self-reported history of the disease. Multiple logistic models were used to examine the association between mushroom intake and NAFLD. The prevalence of newly diagnosed NAFLD was 19·0 %. Compared with those consuming mushrooms less frequently (≤1 time/week), the fully adjusted OR of newly diagnosed NAFLD were 0·95 (95 % CI 0·86, 1·05) for those consuming 2–3 times/week and 0·76 (95 % CI 0·63, 0·92) for those consuming ≥4 times/week (Pfor trend = 0·01). The inverse association was consistent in subgroups defined by age, sex and BMI. In conclusion, higher mushroom intake was significantly associated with lower prevalence of NAFLD among Chinese adults. Future research is required to understand the causal association between mushroom intake and NAFLD.
To explore whether and how group cognitive-behavioural therapy (GCBT) plus medication differs from medication alone for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
Hundred and seventy patients were randomly assigned to the GCBT plus duloxetine (n=89) or duloxetine group (n=81). The primary outcomes were Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) response and remission rates. The explorative secondary measures included score reductions from baseline in the HAMA total, psychic, and somatic anxiety subscales (HAMA-PA, HAMA-SA), the Hamilton Depression Scale, the Severity Subscale of Clinical Global Impression Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning, and the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 4-week, 8-week, and 3-month follow-up.
At 4 weeks, HAMA response (GCBT group 57.0% vs. control group 24.4%, p=0.000, Cohen’s d=0.90) and remission rates (GCBT group 21.5% vs. control group 6.2%, p=0.004; d=0.51), and most secondary outcomes (all p<0.05, d=0.36−0.77) showed that the combined therapy was superior. At 8 weeks, all the primary and secondary significant differences found at 4 weeks were maintained with smaller effect sizes (p<0.05, d=0.32−0.48). At 3-month follow-up, the combined therapy was only significantly superior in the HAMA total (p<0.045, d=0.43) and HAMA-PA score reductions (p<0.001, d=0.77). Logistic regression showed superiority of the combined therapy for HAMA response rates [odds ratio (OR)=2.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02−4.42, p=0.04] and remission rates (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.27−6.16, p=0.01).
Compared with duloxetine alone, GCBT plus duloxetine showed significant treatment response for GAD over a shorter period of time, particularly for psychic anxiety symptoms, which may suggest that GCBT was effective in changing cognitive style.
High-current switching performance of ovonic threshold switching (OTS) selectors have successfully enabled the commercialization of high-density three-dimensional (3D) stackable phase-change memory in Intel’s 3D Xpoint technology. This bridges the huge performance gap between dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and Flash. Similar to phase-change memory, OTS uses chalcogenide-based materials, but whereas phase-change memory reversibly switches between a high-resistance amorphous phase and a low-resistance crystalline phase, OTS freezes in the amorphous phase. In this article, we review recent developments in OTS materials and their performance in devices, especially current density and selectivity. Advantages and challenges of OTS devices in the integration with the phase-change memory are discussed. We introduce the evolution of theoretical models for explaining the OTS behavior, including thermal runaway, field-induced nucleation, and generation/recombination of charge carriers.
Bismuth (Bi)-based photocatalytic materials are widely used in the field of photocatalytic degradation of wastewater. In this study, β-Bi2O3/BiOBr heterojunction photocatalysts were prepared by an in situ chemical transformation method. BiOBr molecules are arrayed to cross each other to form a pore around β-Bi2O3. The prepared photocatalyst had a large specific surface area and excellent adsorption and photocatalytic properties. The β-Bi2O3/BiOBr with a molecular ratio of 11.1% had the highest catalytic activity. The result of a degradation experiment, performed with Rhodamine B (RhB) as the target pollutant, revealed that the degradation rate reached 99.85% after 25 min under visible light irradiation. The pore structure can adsorb contaminants and the heterojunction facilitates the separation of photogenerated electron–hole pairs to enhance the photocatalytic properties. The high adsorption performance and heterojunction achieved higher photocatalytic efficiency. This semiconductor photocatalyst with high adsorption performance provides a new approach to control water pollution.