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Paediatric Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP) is a major cause of community-acquired pneumonia in China. Data on epidemiology of paediatric MPP from China are little known. This study retrospectively collected data from June 2006 to June 2016 in Beijing Children's Hospital, Capital Medical University of North China and aims to explore the epidemiological features of paediatric MPP and severe MPP (SMPP) in North China during the past 10 years. A total of 27 498 paediatric patients with pneumonia were enrolled. Among them, 37.5% of paediatric patients had MPP. In this area, an epidemic took place every 2–3 years at the peak, and the positive rate of MPP increased during these peak years over time. The peak age of MPP was between the ages of 6 and 10 years, accounting for 75.2%, significantly more compared with other age groups (χ2 = 1384.1, P < 0.0001). The epidemics peaked in September, October and November (χ2 = 904.9, P < 0.0001). Additionally, 13.0% of MPP paediatric patients were SMPP, but over time, the rate of SMPP increased, reaching 42.6% in 2016. The mean age of paediatric patients with SMPP (6.7 ± 3.0 years old) was younger than that of patients with non-SMPP (7.4 ± 3.2 years old) (t = 3.60, P = 0.0001). The prevalence of MPP and SMPP is common in China, especially in children from 6 to 10 years old. Paediatric patients with SMPP tend to be younger than those with non-SMPP. MPP outbreaks occur every 2–3 years in North China. September, October and November are the peak months, unlike in South China. Understanding the epidemiological characteristics of paediatric MPP can contribute to timely treatment and diagnosis, and may improve the prognosis of children with SMPP.
Toxigenic Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) carriers represent an important source in the transmission of C. difficile infection (CDI) during hospitalisation, but its prevalence and mode in patients with hepatic cirrhosis are not well established. We investigated longitudinal changes in carriage rates and strain types of toxigenic C. difficile from admission to discharge among hepatic cirrhosis patients. Toxigenic C. difficile was detected in 104 (19.8%) of 526 hepatic cirrhosis patients on admission, and the carriage status changed in a portion of patients during hospitalisation. Approximately 56% (58/104) of patients lost the colonisation during their hospital stay. Among the remaining 48 patients who remained positive for toxigenic C. difficile, the numbers of patients who were positive at one, two, three and four isolations were 10 (55.6%), three (16.7%), two (11.1%) and three (16.7%), respectively. Twenty-eight patients retained a particular monophyletic strain at multiple isolations. The genotype most frequently identified was the same as that frequently identified in symptomatic CDI patients. A total of 25% (26/104) of patients were diagnosed with CDI during their hospital stay. Conclusions: Colonisation with toxigenic C. difficile strains occurs frequently in cirrhosis patients and is a risk factor for CDI.
M3:2 high-speed steel (HSS) billets with or without Nb addition were prepared by spray deposition. The effects of Nb and post-thermal-mechanical processing (decomposition treatment and hot forging), as well as heat treatment, on the microstructure and properties of M3:2 HSS were investigated. The microstructure of the as-deposited M3:2 HSS consisted of equiaxed grains with a mean size of approximately 25 μm and discontinuous plate-like M2C and irregular MC carbides distributed along grain boundaries. 0.5% Nb addition can refine the M2C plates and spheroidize MC carbides. With 2% Nb addition, the refined grains with a mean size of approximately 12 μm and continuous net of M6C and a uniform distribution of NbC carbides were obtained. The decomposition of metastable M2C carbides can be accelerated with 0.5% Nb addition due to the refined size and lower thermodynamic stability of M2C plates. With the increased degree of decomposition of M2C carbide, the M6C and MC carbides became refined and more uniformly distributed after optimal thermal-mechanical processing and heat treatment, which leads to a significant increase in bend strength and toughness.
Volumetric expansion driven drainage flow of a viscous compressible fluid from a small capillary with a sealed end is studied in the low Mach number limit using the linearized compressible Navier–Stokes equations with no-slip condition. Density relaxation, oscillation and decay as well as the velocity field are investigated in detail. It is shown that fluid drainage is controlled by the slow decay of the standing acoustic wave inside the capillary; and the acoustic wave retards the density diffusion by reducing the diffusion coefficient of the density envelope equation by one half. Remarkably the no-slip flow exhibits a slip-like mass flow rate. The period-averaged mass flow rate at the exit (drainage rate) is found proportional to the fluid’s kinematic viscosity via the density diffusion coefficient and the average drainage speed is independent of the capillary radius. These findings are valid for arbitrarily small capillaries as long as the continuum assumption holds and they are in stark contrast to the classical lubrication based theory. Generalization to a capillary with a sound absorbing end is achieved by a simple model. The reported results offer new insights to the nature of slow viscous compressible flows in very small capillaries.
Due to an increasing number of nuclear reactors in operation, the radiocarbon (14C) released from nuclear power plants (NPPs) has become an important anthropogenic source of 14C. The examination of seasonal Δ14C and monthly Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca variations in a coral in Daya Bay (China) shows that NPPs located there have an impact on the Δ14C level and sea surface temperature (SST). The Mg/Ca variation was in good correlation with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) before the operation of Ling’ao NPP in 2002, but this correlation became weak due to an abnormally higher SST after 2002. As illustrated by the Δ14C variation in the coral, there were two relative increases of Δ14C values in 1994 and 2002 when Daya Bay NPP and Ling’ao NPP began operations, respectively. The 14C released from NPPs, instead of oceanic circulation, is probably the primary factor on the Δ14C variation in Daya Bay during the NPPs’ operation. The relative increase in Δ14C value was ~80‰, which equals to ~18 Bq/kgC in specific activity. The seasonal variability in Δ14C value usually peaked in summer, the real reason of which was unknown. This study sheds light on how the NPPs influence the 14C content and SST in surrounding marine environment.
Environmental filtering and competitive interactions are important ecological processes in community assembly. The contribution of the two processes to community assembly can be evaluated by shifts in functional diversity patterns. We examined the correlations between functional diversity of six traits (leaf chlorophyll concentration, dry matter content, size, specific leaf area, thickness and wood density) and environmental gradients (topography and soil) for 92 species in the 20-ha Dinghushan forest plot in China. A partial Mantel test showed that most of the community-weighted mean trait values changed with terrain convexity and soil fertility, which implied that environmental filtering was occurring. Functional diversity of many traits significantly increased with increasing terrain convexity and soil fertility, which was associated with increased light and below-ground resources respectively. These results suggest that co-occurring species are functionally convergent in regions of strong abiotic stress under the environmental filtering, but functionally divergent in more benign environments due to resource partitioning and competitive interactions. Single-trait diversity and multivariate functional diversity had different relationships with environmental factors, indicating that traits were related to different niche axes, and associated with different ecological processes, which demonstrated the importance of focusing niche axes in traits selection. Between 9% and 41% of variation in functional diversity of different traits was explained by environmental factors in stepwise multiple regression models. Terrain convexity and soil fertility were the best predictors of functional diversity, which contributed 30.5% and 29.0% of total R2 to the model. These provided essential evidence that different environmental factors had distinguishing impacts on regulating diversity of traits.
Most long QT syndrome patients are associated with genetic mutations. We aimed to investigate the clinical and biochemical characteristics and look for genotype-based preventive implications in Chinese long QT syndrome patients.
Methods and results
We identified two missense mutations of the KCNQ1 gene in two independent Chinese families, including a previously reported mutation R380S in the C-terminus and a novel mutation W305L in the P-loop domain of the Kv7.1 channel, respectively. The proband with R380S was an 11-year-old girl who suffered a prolonged corrected QT interval of 660 ms, recurrent syncope, and sudden cardiac death, whose father was an asymptomatic carrier. The mutation W305L was detected in a 36-year-old woman with long QT syndrome and her immediate family members including the proband’s younger sister with an unexplained syncope, her son, and her elder daughter without symptoms. Metoprolol appeared to be effective in preventing arrhythmias and syncope in long QT syndrome patients with mutation W305L. Both R380S and W305L mutations led to “loss-of-function” of the Kv7.1 channel accounting for the clinical phenotypes.
We first show two missense KCNQ1 mutations – R380S and W305L – in Chinese long QT syndrome patients, resulting in the loss of protein function. Mutation W305L in the P-loop domain of the Kv7.1 may derive a pronounced benefit from β-blocker therapy in symptomatic long QT syndrome patients, whereas mutation R380S located in the C-terminus may be associated with a high risk of sudden cardiac death.
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.
A study of 7,388 consecutive patients after hepatic resection between 2011 and 2012 identified hepatolithiasis, cirrhosis, and intraoperative blood transfusion as the only independent risk factors of both incisional and organ/space surgical site infection (SSI). Patients with these conditions should be cared for with caution to lower SSI rates.
We present astrometric results on two millisecond pulsars, PSR B1257+12 and PSR J1022+1001, as carried out through VLBI. For PSR B1257+12, a model-independent distance of 710−38+43 pc and proper motion of (μα = 46.44 ± 0.08 mas/yr, μδ=−84.87 ± 0.32 mas/yr) were obtained from 5 epochs of VLBA and 4 epochs of EVN observations, spanning about 2 years. The two dimensional proper motion of PSR J1022+1001 (μα~−10.13 mas/yr, μδ~16.89 mas/yr) was also estimated, using 3 epochs of EVN observations. Based on our results, the X-ray efficiency of PSR B1257+12 should be in the same range as other millisecond pulsars, and not as low as previously thought.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects of osteopontin neutralization treatment on schistosome-induced liver injury in BALB/C mice. We randomly divided 100 BALB/C mice into groups A, B, C, D and group E. Mice in all groups except group A were abdominally infected with schistosomal cercariae to induce a schistosomal hepatopathological model. Mice in group C, D and group E were respectively administered with praziquantel, praziquantel plus colchicine and praziquantel plus neutralizing osteopontin antibody. We extracted mouse liver tissues at 3 and 9 weeks after the ‘stool-eggs-positive’ day, observed liver histopathological changes by haematoxylin-eosin and Masson trichrome staining and detected the expression of osteopontin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) by immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and Western blot. We found that praziquantel plus neutralizing osteopontin antibody treatment significantly decreased the granuloma dimension, the percentage of collagen and the expression of osteopontin, α-SMA and TGF-β1 compared to praziquantel plus colchicine treatment in both the acute and chronic stage of schistosomal liver damage (P<0·05). So we believe that the combined regimen of osteopontin immunoneutralization and anti-helminthic treatment can reduce the granulomatous response and liver fibrosis during the schistosomal hepatopathologic course.
Male and female Schistosoma japonicum worms have dissimilar appearances in their final host. In this study, a morphometric and morphological assessment of whole worms derived from unisexual and mixed infections in mice was conducted using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Worms from mixed infections showed significant morphological changes between 15 and 25 days post-infection (PI). On the fifteenth day PI, 33% of males had formed the conspicuous gynecophoric canal, but only 8% of them had testicular lobes containing a few germinative cells; 13% of females had incipient ovaries with a few immature ovarian cells inside. On the twentieth day PI, the testicular lobes contained more germinative cells in all male worms, while female worms presented vitelline glands. On the twenty-fifth day PI, more germinative cells were observed in the male testicular lobes, and differentiated cells were present in the female ovaries. All worms had fully developed reproductive organs from 30 days PI onwards. Morphometric analysis showed significant differences between mixed and unisexual infections at 35 days PI. Ovaries of worms from unisexual infections contained cells in one stage of maturation and vitelline glands had undifferentiated cells. Our study of S. japonicum provides a detailed comparison of different morphological traits from worms of mixed and unisexual infections throughout development.
Benthic polychaetes in the largest intertidal mudflat of Hong Kong were analysed for potentially stressed environmental conditions from pollution. Over a two-year period, a total of 14 species were recorded with the species diversity (H′(log2)) ranged from 0.54 to 2.4. The community was dominated by two large polychaetes (Neanthes glandicincta and Potamilla acuminata) and a number of small pollution tolerant species (Tharyx, Capitella capitata and Prionospio cirrifera). It was also characterized by both temporal and spatial variations in terms of abundance and species composition with the lowest species number observed at onshore Station B in August and the highest at offshore Station D in February. Two distinct polychaete communities were formed along the intertidal towards subtidal mudflat, particularly the assemblage at onshore Station B showing a significant difference from those at the other three stations (P < 0.05, N = 32). Results of the abundance–biomass comparison (ABC) indicated a typical impacted community at the whole study area, especially at Station B which was close to the Shenzhen River mouth and mangrove forest. The total organic carbon had a significant positive effect on the abundance of Capitella capitata (P = 0.037, N = 8) while sedimentary compositions were statistically related to the abundance of Potamilla acuminata, Tharyx and total abundance of polychaetes (P < 0.05, N = 8). In conclusion, both the polluted Shenzhen River and nearby mangrove may be responsible for the decline in species richness and diversity as well as changes in community structure. Polychaetes can be used as the appropriate indicators in habitat ecological condition assessment instead of the whole benthic community.
Seven isoenergetic semi-purified test diets containing graded levels of protein ranging from 20 to 50% were formulated using fish meal and casein as the protein sources. Test diets were fed to triplicate groups of Barbodes caldwelli juveniles with initial body weights of 1.26±0.02 g for eight weeks. The results indicated no significant effect of dietary protein levels on survival rate, relative weight of the viscera and relative weight of the liver in the juvenile fish. The weight gain and specific growth rate of the fish were found to be greater as dietary protein levels increased from 20 to 35%, but were not affected significantly as dietary protein level increased from 35 to 50%. Feed efficiencies did not differ significantly when fish were fed diets with protein levels from 30 to 50%, but were significantly higher than those of fish fed diets with protein levels of 20 and 25%. The protein efficiency ratio (PER) was negatively correlated with diet protein level (x) (PER=3.006−0.03251x, R=0.9366). There was no significant effect of dietary protein levels on carcass moisture, crude protein and ash. However, carcass lipid levels (L) decreased with an increase in dietary protein level (x) (L=8.2169−0.0458x, R=0.8551). There was no significant variation in hepatopancreas protease activity among the tests. Intestine protease activity and hepatopancreas amylase activity were increased to some extent, and then decreased as dietary protein levels continued to rise. The intestine amylase activity (IAA) of the juveniles was negatively correlated with dietary protein level (x) (IAA=84.625−0.9147x, R=0.8463). It was estimated that the suitable protein level for the B. caldwelli juvenile is 34% (the broken-line model was used to regress the relationship of the weight gain of the juvenile and dietary protein level).
The isotherm wetting and spreading behaviors of polycrystalline TiC by molten Zr55Cu30Al10Ni5 alloy were investigated at 1133 to 1253 K in a vacuum by using a modified sessile drop method. The system displays good wettability with the initial and final stable contact angles of 44 to 50° and 10 to 14°, respectively, mildly depending on the temperature. The spreading kinetics follows well defined exponential functions and could be described by a molecular dynamic model. On the other hand, a ZrC reaction layer was formed at the interface. The wetting was primarily promoted by the Zr adsorption at the triple junction and then by the formation of the reaction layer.
Effects of Fe incorporation into Al–Ti–B4C reactants on the combustion behaviors, reaction mechanism, synthesized products, and possible natural convection of fluids were investigated. The incorporation of Fe significantly promotes the self-propagating reaction and decreases the reaction dependence on the B4C particle size. The prior reaction of Fe with B4C leads to the decomposition of B4C and formation of Fe2B and free carbon. On the other hand, the reaction of Fe with Ti and Al gives rise to the emergence of Fe–Ti and Fe–Ti–Al eutectic liquids. As a result, the diffusivity and reactivity of the dissociated carbon and boron atoms are greatly facilitated and the reaction is substantially promoted, yielding a desirable product of TiC, TiB2, and FeAl phases. Moreover, the incorporation of Fe may enhance free convection of the molten phase in the reaction zone and thus contribute to the combustion synthesis process.
Se is an essential trace element in human nutrition associated with antioxidant activity. Previous studies on predictors of toenail Se or serum Se have mostly concentrated on demographic factors such as age and gender. The present paper examines the association between apoE genotype and Se levels in nail samples in a rural elderly Chinese cohort.
Two thousand Chinese aged 65 years and over from four counties in China were enrolled in a cohort to study the association of Se with cognitive decline. Nail samples were collected from each participant and analysed for Se levels. Dietary Se intake was estimated from an FFQ using Se contents measured in food items collected from each village. Blood samples on filter cards were collected and analysed for apoE genotype. Mixed-effect models were constructed with nail Se level as the dependent variable and each village as the random effect, which controlled for the potential confounding effect from correlation in Se measures obtained from participants residing in the same village.
In this elderly Chinese cohort, carriers of the apoE ε4 allele had significantly lower Se levels measured in nail samples than non-carriers after adjusting for other significant covariates and controlling for estimated dietary Se intake. There was no significant difference between the two genotypes on estimated Se dietary intake (P = 0·6451).
Future studies are needed to examine the mechanism underlying the association between the apoE ε4 allele and Se levels, including the role of oxidative stress and that of reduced lipid metabolism in the apoE ε4 carriers.
This paper presents the mechanical characterization of the elastic modulus, hardness and fracture toughness of silicon oxynitride films (SiON) with different oxygen and nitrogen content, subjected to thermal annealing processed at 400 °C and 800 °C. The Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy was employed to characterize the SiON films with respect to the absorbance peak in the infrared spectrum. The nanoindentation testing showed that both the elastic modulus and hardness slightly increased after thermal annealing. Finally, the fracture toughness of the SiON films were estimated using Vickers micro-indentation tests and the result revealed that the fracture toughness decreased with increasing rapid thermal annealing (RTA) temperature and nitrogen content. We believe these results benefit microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in regards to maintaining the structural integrity and improving reliability performance.
In this work, thin ALD alumina films were fabricated for evaluating their capabilities as a barrier material for corrosive environments. The fracture toughness and the corrosion-resisting properties after fatigue cycle of these thin ALD alumina films have been characterized. Indentation tests indicate that the ALD alumina/Al structures could enhance both the yield strength of the metal and the effective fracture toughness of the coated ALD alumina films and this result could be useful for designing nanocomposite structures. However, the test results also indicate that the interfacial strength of the ALD/Al structures was prone to degrade under fatigue loading under corrosive environment. This could potentially be a problem for the long term reliability of related devices operated under a harsh environment. In addition, the strong correlation between indentation behavior and fatigue loading for the structure indicate that nanoindentation response could be possibly used to indicate the damage level of microstructures for future reliability evaluations.
The effects of TiO2 addition on the reaction behavior, product, and mechanism in the Ti–B4C system were investigated in this study. The reaction could be self-sustaining for the TiO2 addition no more than ∼33% of the total weight of the reactants. With an increase in the TiO2 addition, the combustion temperature and wave velocity decrease progressively, the ignition delay time first decreases and then increases, while the constituents of the reaction products do not vary significantly unless the relative addition content of TiO2 exceeds ∼22 wt%. Therefore, TiO2 could be used as a favorable reaction regulator for the Ti–B4C system. The reaction mechanism, as determined by differential thermal analysis and combustion front quenching experiment in combination with subsequent x-ray diffraction examination, is changed more or less by the addition of TiO2 with the extent depending on the addition amount.