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Altered levels of phenylalanine and its metabolites in blood and cerebrospinal fluid have previously been reported in schizophrenia. This study attempted to examine whether phenylalanine kinetics is altered in schizophrenia using the 13C-phenylalanine breath test (13C-PBT).
Subjects were 20 patients with schizophrenia and the same number of controls. 13C-phenylalanine was administered and then 13CO2 concentration in breath was monitored for 120 minutes. The Δ 13CO2 at each collecting time, the maximal Δ 13CO2 (Cmax), the time to reach Cmax (Tmax), the area under the curve of time course of Δ13CO2 (AUC), the cumulative recovery rate (CRR) at each collecting time of the 13C-PBT were calculated for each subject.
Body weight (BW) and diagnostic status were significant predictors for Cmax. BW, age and diagnostic status were significant predictors for AUC and CRR at 120 minutes (CRR0-120). A repeated measures ANCOVA controlling for age and BW revealed a different pattern of change in CRR over time between the patients and controls and that Δ13CO2 in schizophrenia were lower than that in healthy control at all sampling point during 120 min, with an overall significant differences between healthy control and schizophrenia. The ANCOVA controlling for age and BW, showed that Cmax, AUC and CRR0-120 were significantly lower in schizophrenics than in controls.
Our data indicate the different change of Δ13CO2 and CRR over time and the decreased Cmax, AUC and CRR0-120 of 13C-PBT in schizophrenia patients compared to healthy controls, suggesting the altered phenylalanine kinetics in schizophrenia.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
It is thought that protoplanets formed in protoplanetary disks excite the orbital motion of the surrounding planetesimals, and the bow shocks caused by the highly excited planetesimals heat their icy component evaporating into gas. We have performed model calculations to study the evolution of molecular abundances of the evaporated icy component, which suggests sulfur-bearing molecules can be good tracers of icy planetesimal evaporation. Here we report the result of our ALMA observations of sulfur-bearing molecules towards protoplanetary disks. The lines were undetected but the obtained upper limits of the line fluxes and our model calculations give upper limits of the fractional abundances of x(H2S) < 10−11 and x(SO) < 10−10 in the outer disk. These results are consistent with the molecular abundances in comets in our Solar system.
To assess the diagnostic role of mean platelet volume in tonsillitis with and without peritonsillar abscess.
Mean platelet volume and other laboratory data were retrospectively investigated.
Mean platelet volume was significantly lower in the tonsillitis group (7.8 per cent ± 0.7 per cent) than in the control group (8.7 per cent ± 0.6 per cent; p < 0.0001), and it was significantly lower in the abscess group (7.5 per cent ± 0.6 per cent) than in the no abscess group (8.0 per cent ± 0.7 per cent; p = 0.0277). White blood cell counts and C-reactive protein levels were not significantly different between patients with an abscess and those without. The mean platelet volume cut-off values for the diagnosis of tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscess were 7.95 fl and 7.75 fl, respectively.
Our results suggest that a decreased mean platelet volume is associated with the development and severity of tonsillitis. This finding provides useful diagnostic information for physicians treating patients with tonsillitis.
We initiated a long-term and highly frequent monitoring project toward 442 methanol masers at 6.7 GHz (Dec >−30 deg) using the Hitachi 32-m radio telescope in December 2012. The observations have been carried out daily, monitoring a spectrum of each source with intervals of 9–10 days. In September 2015, the number of the target sources and intervals were redesigned into 143 and 4–5 days, respectively. This monitoring provides us complete information on how many sources show periodic flux variations in high-mass star-forming regions, which have been detected in 20 sources with periods of 29.5–668 days so far (e.g., Goedhart et al. 2004). We have already obtained new detections of periodic flux variations in 31 methanol sources with periods of 22–409 days. These periodic flux variations must be a unique tool to investigate high-mass protostars themselves and their circumstellar structure on a very tiny spatial scale of 0.1–1 au.
We report the discovery of physical contact between the Galactic circumnuclear disk (CND) and an adjacent giant molecular cloud. The central 10 pc of our Galaxy has been imaged in molecular lines at millimeter wavelength using the Nobeyama Radio Observatory 45 m radio telescope. In the position-velocity maps of several high-density probe lines, we have found an emission “bridge” connecting the +20 km s−1 cloud (M–0.13–0.08) and the negative longitude extension of the CND. The collision between the +20 km s−1 cloud and the CND may be responsible for the formation of the bridge. This event can promote mass accretion onto the CND and/or into the inner cavity.
High-velocity compact cloud (HVCC) is a peculiar category of molecular clouds detected in the central molecular zone of our Galaxy (Oka et al. 1998, 2007, and 2012). They are characterized by compact appearances (d < 5 pc) and very large velocity widths (Δ V > 50 km s−1). Some of them show high CO J=3–2/J=1–0 intensity ratios (≥ 1.5), indicating that they consist of dense and warm molecular gas. Dispite a number of efforts, we have not reached a comprehensive interpretation of HVCCs. Recently, we detected an extraordinaly broad velocity width feature, the ‘Bullet’, in the molecular cloud interacting with the W44 supernova remnant. The Bullet shares essential properties with HVCCs. Because of its proximity, a close inspection of the Bullet must contribute to the understanding of HVCCs.
Atomic carbon (C0) is one of the most abundant carbon-bearing species in the interstellar molecular gas, and its submillimeter lines are good tracers of low-density molecular clouds which are often dark in CO rotational lines. We present a new map of the central 150 pc region of the Milky Way in the 500 GHz [CI] line, which has been recently obtained with the ASTE 10-m telescope. The [CI] emission is brightest toward the central 5-pc region, where massive GMCs are absent. This [CI]-bright region is approximately centered toward Sgr A*, covering the entire circum-nuclear ring (CND) and the western part of the 50-km/s cloud. The C0/CO abundance ratio is 0.5–2 there, and the highest ratio is observed toward the CND but just outside of the 2-pc ring of dense gas. This discovery may suggest that the CO-dark component occupies a significant fraction of the molecular gas in the circumnuclear region.
The overview of the recent results for discovery and investigations of a very exotic phenomenon – optical mirage in the X-ray spectral range – is presented. It was found that the mirage could be created in the form of coherent virtual point source, emerging in the vicinity of the second plasma in two-stage oscillator-amplifier X-ray laser. The X-ray source-mirage, rigidly phased with the initial radiation of generator, occurs only when amplification takes place in the amplifier plasma and leads to the appearance of the interference pattern in the form of concentric rings in the spatial profile of the output X-ray laser beam. The equation describing the emergence of X-ray mirage was found, numerical solution of which shows that its formation is similar to that of the optical mirages observed at propagation of light rays through an inhomogeneously heated air. Obtained results have already demonstrated novel comprehension into the physical nature of amplification of X-ray radiation, opening additional opportunities for X-ray interferometry, holography, and other applications, which require multiple rigidly phased sources of coherent radiation.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
The mode of onset and the course of schizophrenia illness exhibit substantial individual variations. Previous studies have pointed out that the mode of onset affects the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and clinical outcomes, such as cognitive and social functioning. This study attempted to clarify the association between the DUP and clinical features, taking the different modes of onset into consideration, in a prospective longitudinal study examining patients with first-episode schizophrenia.
This study was conducted in six areas of Japan. Patients with first-episode schizophrenia were followed for over 18 months. Cognitive function, psychopathology, and social functioning were assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, and 18-month follow-up points.
We identified 168 patients and sufficient information was available to determine the DUP and the mode of onset for 156 patients (92.9%): 79 had an acute onset, and 77 had an insidious onset. The DUP was significantly associated with quality of life (QOL), social functioning, and cognitive function at most of the follow-up points in the insidious-onset group. The DUP and negative symptoms at baseline were significant predictors of cognitive function at the 18-month follow-up in the insidious-onset group.
The present results further support the hypothesis that the DUP affects QOL, social functioning, and cognitive function over the course of illness, especially in patients with an insidious onset. Effective strategies for detecting and caring for individuals with insidious onset early during the course of schizophrenia will be essential for achieving a full patient recovery.
Heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced to Japan in 2010. We investigated the impact of PCV7 on childhood community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and pneumococcal pneumonia (PP). Children aged <5 years living in Chiba city, Japan, who were admitted to hospitals were enrolled to estimate the incidence of CAP based on the mid-year population. PP was determined by the presence of Streptococcus pneumoniae in cultured blood and/or sputum samples of CAP patients. The incidence of CAP and S. pneumoniae isolated from PP patients was compared before (April 2008–March 2009) and after (April 2012–March 2013) the introduction of PCV7 immunization. The annual incidence of CAP was reduced [incidence rate ratio 0·81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·73–0·90]. When comparing post-vaccine with pre-vaccine periods, the odds ratio for PP incidence was 0·60 (95% CI 0·39–0·93, P = 0·024). PCV7-covered serotypes markedly decreased (66·6% in pre-vaccine vs. 15·6% in post-vaccine, P < 0·01), and serotypes 6C, 15A, 15C and 19A increased. Multidrug-resistant international clones in the pre-vaccine period (Spain6B-2/ST90, Taiwan19F-14/ST236) decreased, while Sweden15A-25/ST63 was the dominant clone in the post-vaccine period. A significant reduction in the incidence of both CAP hospitalizations and culture-confirmed PP of vaccine serotypes was observed at 2 years after PCV7 vaccination.
Three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging has been used to detect alterations in the composition of inner-ear fluid. This study investigated the association between hearing level and the signal intensity of pre- and post-contrast three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging in patients with sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss.
Three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 18 patients with sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss: 12 patients with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss (baseline hearing levels of 60 dB or less) and 6 patients with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (baseline hearing levels of more than 60 dB).
High-intensity signals in the inner ear were observed in two of the six patients (33 per cent) with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss, but not in those with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss (mid-p test, p = 0.049). These signals were observed on magnetic resonance imaging scans 6 or 18 days after sensorineural hearing loss onset.
The results indicate that three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging is not a useful tool for detecting inner-ear abnormalities in patients with mild sensorineural hearing loss.
The HYPER-II device has been constructed in Kyushu University to investigate the flow structure formation in an ion-unmagnetized plasma, which is an intermediate state of plasma and consists of unmagnetized ions and magnetized electrons. High density plasmas are produced by electron cyclotron resonance heating, and the flow field structure in an inhomogeneous magnetic field is investigated with a directional Langmuir probe method and a laser-induced fluorescence method. The experimental setup has been completed and the diagnostic systems have been installed to start the experiments. A set of coaxial electrodes will be introduced to control the azimuthal plasma rotation, and the effect of plasma rotation to generation of rectilinear flow structure will be studied. The HYPER-II experiments will clarify the overall flow structure in the inhomogeneous magnetic field and contribute to understanding characteristic feature of the intermediate state of plasma.
Despite the advances in child maltreatment research, there is still the need for comprehensive information about how abuse affects a broad range of categories of young adult functioning, and the extent to which these vary by sex. We examined the associations between child physical abuse (PA) and sexual abuse (SA) and six areas of functioning (mental health, physical health, life satisfaction, illegal substance use, alcohol problems and daily smoking).
Data were obtained from the 1983 Ontario Child Health Study and follow-up in 2000/2001 (n = 1893). Multilevel regression estimated the adjusted associations for PA (with severity) and SA with each of the outcomes. Estimates with an entire sample were presented with sex-by-abuse interactions to examine sex differences and then presented separately by sex.
In the adjusted model, severe PA and SA were associated with impairment in mental health, and both forms of PA (severe and non-severe) and SA were associated with low life satisfaction. In addition, severe PA was associated with illegal substance use. Child abuse variables were not associated with poor physical health, alcohol problems or smoking. Although sex-stratified analyses revealed different patterns, there was no significant sex difference in the integrated sample.
This is among the first community-based studies to show a strong association between child PA and SA and low life satisfaction in young adults. The abuse effects were similar for both sexes.
Genotypes are associated with the natural course of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and response to antiviral therapy for HCV. HCV genotype 1b has been the dominant genotype in Japan, where the prevention of HCV transmission through blood transfusion or nosocomial infection has been established since 1990. The distribution of HCV genotype was investigated based on patient's birth year in 5515 HCV-infected Japanese individuals at three institutions from different areas of Japan. At all three institutions, the proportion of HCV genotype 1b decreased and was <50% in individuals born after 1970. By contrast, the percentage of HCV genotype 2b increased in subsequent birth cohorts after 1920–1929. Significant changes in HCV genotype distribution were observed across Japan regardless of area.
The High Throughput Experimentation (HTE) project of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP, http://solarfuelshub.org/) performs accelerated discovery of new earth-abundant photoabsorbers and electrocatalysts. Through collaboration within the DOE solar fuels hub and with the broader research community, the new materials will be utilized in devices that efficiently convert solar energy, water and carbon dioxide into transportation fuels. JCAP-HTE builds high-throughput pipelines for the synthesis, screening and characterization of photoelectrochemical materials. In addition to a summary of these pipelines, we will describe several new screening instruments for high throughput (photo-)electrochemical measurements. These instruments are not only optimized for screening against solar fuels requirements, but also provide new tools for the broader combinatorial materials science community. We will also describe the high throughput discovery, follow-on verification, and device implementation of a new quaternary metal oxide catalyst. This rapid technology development from discovery to device implementation is a hallmark of the multi-faceted JCAP research effort.