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No studies have reported on how to relieve distress or relax in medical health workers while wearing medical protective equipment in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The study aimed to establish which relaxation technique, among six, is the most feasible in first-line medical health workers wearing medical protective equipment.
This was a two-step study collecting data with online surveys. Step 1: 15 first-line medical health workers were trained to use six different relaxation techniques and reported the two most feasible techniques while wearing medical protective equipment. Step 2: the most two feasible relaxation techniques revealed by step 1 were quantitatively tested in a sample of 65 medical health workers in terms of efficacy, no space limitation, no time limitation, no body position requirement, no environment limitation to be done, easiness to learn, simplicity, convenience, practicality, and acceptance.
Kegel exercise and autogenic relaxation were the most feasible techniques according to step 1. In step 2, Kegel exercise outperformed autogenic relaxation on all the 10 dimensions among the 65 participants while wearing medical protective equipment (efficacy: 24 v. 15, no space limitation: 30 v. 4, no time limitation: 31 v. 4, no body position requirement: 26 v. 4, no environment limitation: 30 v. 11, easiness to learn: 28 v. 5, simplicity: 29 v. 7, convenience: 29 v. 4, practicality: 30 v. 14, acceptance: 32 v. 6).
Kegel exercise seems a promising self-relaxation technique for first-line medical health workers while wearing medical protective equipment among COVID-19 pandemic.
As a benchmark mortality model in forecasting future mortality rates and hedging longevity risk, the widely employed Lee–Carter model (Lee, R.D. and Carter, L.R. (1992) Modeling and forecasting U.S. mortality. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 87, 659–671.) suffers from a restrictive constraint on the unobserved mortality index for ensuring model’s identification and a possible inconsistent inference. Recently, a modified Lee–Carter model (Liu, Q., Ling, C. and Peng, L. (2018) Statistical inference for Lee–Carter mortality model and corresponding forecasts. North American Actuarial Journal, to appear.) removes this constraint and a simple least squares estimation is consistent with a normal limit when the mortality index follows from a unit root or near unit root AR(1) model with a nonzero intercept. This paper proposes a bias-corrected estimator for this modified Lee–Carter model, which is consistent and has a normal limit regardless of the mortality index being a stationary or near unit root or unit root AR(1) process with a nonzero intercept. Applications to the US mortality rates and a simulation study are provided as well.
Brain structural connectome comprise of a minority of efficiently interconnected rich club nodes that are regarded as ‘high-order regions’. The remission of major depressive disorder (MDD) in response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment could be investigated by the hierarchical structural connectomes’ alterations of subnetworks.
Fifty-five MDD patients who achieved remission underwent diffusion tensors imaging (DTI) scanning from 3 cohorts before and after 8-weeks antidepressant treatment. Five hierarchical subnetworks namely, rich, local, feeder, rich-feeder and feeder-local, were constructed according to the different combinations of connections and nodes as defined by rich club architecture. The critical treatment-related subnetwork pattern was explored by multivariate pattern analysis with support vector machine to differ the pre-/post-treatment patients. Then, relationships between graph metrics of discriminative subnetworks/ nodes and clinical variables were further explored.
The feeder-local subnetwork presented the most discriminative power in differing pre-/post- treatment patients, while the rich-feeder subnetwork had the highest discriminative power when comparing pre-treatment patients and controls. Furthermore, based on the feeder connection, which indicates the information transmission between the core and non-core architectures of brain networks, its topological measures were found to be significantly correlated with the reduction rate of 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression.
Although pathological lesion on MDD relied on abnormal core organization, disease remission was association with the compensation from non-core organization. These results suggested that the dysfunctions arising from hierarchical subnetworks are compensated by increased information interactions between core brain regions and functionally diverse regions.
Numerous studies have reported that amyloid-beta 42 (Aβ-42) protein is a high-profile risk factor associated with the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Accumulation of extracellular senile plaques, synaptic degeneration, and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles were recorded as essential features that facilitate the onset of Aβ-42, resulting in AD. Hence, we attempted a new screening technique to discover potential inhibitors against Aβ-42 using an in silico deep neural network approach. We screened PubChem compounds library and found wgx-50 as a potential inhibitor of Aβ-42. Also, synergistic effects of wgx-50–gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) complex induced significant inhibition of Aβ-42, compared with those of wgx-50 alone. Further, molecular docking analysis, systems biology approach, and time course simulation confirmed that synergistic effects of wgx-50–AuNPs complex have potential application in the treatment for AD. Additionally, we proposed the biological circuit for AD induced by Aβ-42 that can be used to monitor the effect of drugs on AD.
The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo degradation mechanism and the mechanical properties of poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/beta-tricalcium phosphate (PLGA/β-TCP) composite anchors. Anchors composed of PLGA and β-TCP were implanted in the dorsal subcutaneous tissue of beagle dogs for 6, 12, 16, and 26 weeks. The degradation of the materials was evaluated by measuring the changes in thermal behavior, crystallinity, and mechanical properties. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used to observe the surface and longitudinal section of the material. The evaluation of mechanical strength retention and degradation properties suggest that the addition of β-TCP particles efficiently enhances their mechanical properties and thermal characteristics and delays their degradation rate. By analyzing the results of SEM, X-ray diffraction, and differential scanning calorimetry, we can infer that after 12 weeks, the connection between β-TCP and PLGA becomes less compact, which accelerates the decline of mechanical strength.
Combining density functional theory calculations and temperature programmed desorption (TPD) experiments, the adsorption behavior of various sulfur containing compounds, including C2H5SH, CH3SCH3, tetrahydrothiophene, thiophene, benzothiophene, dibenzothiophene, and their derivatives on the coordinately unsaturated sites of Mo27Sx model nanoparticles, are studied systematically. Sulfur molecules with aromaticity prefer flat adsorption than perpendicular adsorption. The adsorption of nonaromatic molecules is stronger than the perpendicular adsorption of aromatic molecules, but weaker than the flat adsorption of them. With gradual hydrogenation (HYD), the binding affinity in the perpendicular adsorption modes increases, while in flat adsorption modes it increases first, then decreases. Significant steric effects on the adsorption of dimethyldibenzothiophene were revealed in perpendicular adsorption modes. The steric effect, besides weakening adsorption, could also activate the S–C bonds through a compensation effect. Finally, by comparing the theoretical adsorption energies with the TPD results, we suggest that HYD and direct-desulfurization path may happen simultaneously, but on different active sites.
Many shorebird populations are in decline along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The rapid loss of coastal wetlands in the Yellow Sea, which provide critical stop-over sites during migration, is believed to be the cause of the alarming trends. The Yalu Jiang coastal wetland, a protected area in the north Yellow Sea, supports the largest known migratory staging populations of Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica (menzbieri and baueri subspecies) and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris. Monitoring of the macrozoobenthos food for these shorebirds from 2011 to 2016 showed declines of over 99% in the densities of the bivalve Potamocorbula laevis, the major food here for both Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots. The loss of the bivalve might be caused by any combination of, but not limited to: (1) change in hydrological conditions and sediment composition due to nearby port construction, (2) run-off of agrochemicals from the extensive shoreline sea cucumber farms, and (3) parasitic infection. Surprisingly, the numbers of birds using the Yalu Jiang coastal wetland remained stable during the study period, except for the subspecies of Bar-tailed Godwit L. l. menzbieri, which exhibited a 91% decline in peak numbers. The lack of an overall decline in the number of bird days in Great Knots and in the peak numbers of L. l. baueri, also given the published simultaneous decreases in their annual survival, implies a lack of alternative habitats that birds could relocate to. This study highlights that food declines at staging sites could be an overlooked but important factor causing population declines of shorebirds along the Flyway. Maintaining the quality of protected staging sites is as important in shorebird conservation as is the safeguarding of staging sites from land claim. Meanwhile, it calls for immediate action to restore the food base for these beleaguered migrant shorebirds at Yalu Jiang coastal wetland.
Auto-alignment is a basic technique for high-power laser systems. Special techniques have been developed for laser systems because of their differing structures. This paper describes a new sensor for auto-alignment in a laser system, which can also serve as a reference in certain applications. The authors prove that all of the beam transfer information (position and pointing) can theoretically be monitored and recorded by the sensor. Furthermore, auto-alignment with a single lens sensor is demonstrated on a simple beam line, and the results indicate that effective auto-alignment is achieved.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
Nanoscale electron sources with high electron-emitting performance are of great interest in vacuum nanoelectronics. Resembling traditional thermionic emission sources based on a hot tungsten filament, a hot carbon nanotube or graphene can function as a nanoscale electron source because of its excellent thermal stability and electrical conductivity. In this article, studies of thermionic emission from single hot carbon nanostructures are overviewed, emphasizing their differences in physics from macroscopic thermionic emission as well as potential applications in vacuum nanoelectronics. Due to their low dimensionality, nanoscale size, and nonequilibrium electron distribution, Richardson’s Law, which governs thermionic emission from macroscopic metals, breaks down in the case of thermionic emission from single carbon nanostructures, and an internal electric field in a carbon nanostructure can contribute directly to its thermionic emission. Graphene-based nanoscale thermionic emission sources, source arrays, and vacuum transistors have been fabricated and demonstrated to exhibit the advantages compared to those based on field emission. The advances imply the promise of realizing high-performance nanoscale electron sources and vacuum electronic devices based on thermionic emission.
Mouse strain differences in immobility and in sensitivity to antidepressants have been observed in the forced swimming test (FST) and the tail suspension test (TST). However, the neurotransmitter systems and neural substrates that contribute to these differences remain unknown. To investigate the role of the hippocampal serotonin transporter (5-HTT), we measured baseline immobility and the immobility responses to fluoxetine (FLX) in the FST and the TST in male CD-1, C57BL/6, DBA and BALB/c mice. We observed strain differences in baseline immobility time, with CD-1 mice showing the longest and DBA mice showing the shortest. In contrast, DBA and BALB/c mice showed the highest sensitivity to FLX, whereas CD-1 and C57BL/6 mice showed the lowest sensitivity. Also we found strain differences in both the total 5-HTT protein level and the membrane-bound 5-HTT level (estimated by Vmax) as follows: DBA > BALB/c > CD-1 = C57BL/6. The uptake efficiency of the membrane-bound 5-HTT (estimated by 1/Km) was highest in DBA and BALB/c mice and lowest in CD-1 and C57BL/6 mice. A correlation analysis of subregions within the hippocampus revealed that immobility time was negatively correlated with Vmax and positively correlated with Km in the hippocampus. Therefore a higher uptake capacity of the membrane-bound 5-HTT in the hippocampus was associated with lower baseline immobility and greater sensitivity to FLX. These results suggest that alterations in hippocampal 5-HTT activity may contribute to mouse strain differences in the FST and the TST.
Spermatogenesis is a process in adult male mammals supported by spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). The cultivation of SSCs has potential value, for example for the treatment of male infertility or spermatogonial transplantation. Testicular interstitial fluid was added to culture medium to a final concentration of 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40%, in order to investigate its effects on proliferation of mouse SSCs in vitro, Alkaline phosphatase (AKP) assay, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis and indirect immunofluorescence of cells were performed to identify SSCs, and the proliferation rate and diameters of the SSCs colonies were measured. The results showed that the optimal addition of testicular interstitial fluid to culture medium was 30%. When medium supplemented with 30% testicular interstitial fluid was used to culture mouse SSCs, the optimum proliferation rate and diameter of the cell colonies were 72.53% and 249 μm, respectively, after 8 days in culture, values that were significant higher than those found for other groups (P < 0.05). In conclusion, proliferation of mouse SSCs could be promoted significantly by supplementation of the culture medium with 30% testicular interstitial fluid. More research is needed to evaluate and understand the precise physiological role of testicular interstitial fluid during cultivation of SSCs.
To date, there has been little improvement in cryopreservation of bull sperm due to lack of understanding of the freezing mechanisms. Therefore, this study set out to investigate expression levels of fertility-associated proteins in bull sperm, and in particular the relationship between the 90 kDa heat-shock protein (HSP90) and the sperm characteristics after freezing–thawing. Semen was collected from eight Holstein bulls by artificial vagina. Characteristics of these fresh semen, including sperm motility, morphology, viability and concentration, were evaluated. Sperm quality was also assessed after freezing–thawing. Eight ejaculates were divided into two groups based on freezing resistance and sperm motility. Sperm proteins were extracted and sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analysis and western blotting were performed. SDS-PAGE results showed that there was substantial diversity in 90 kDa proteins in the frozen–thawed sperm and HSP90 was confirmed as one of the 90 kDa proteins by western blot. This study indicated that HSP90 expression correlated positively with sperm quality. The amount of expressed 90 kDa proteins in the high freezing resistance (HFR) group was significantly higher than that in the low freezing resistance (LFR) group (P < 0.05). Thus, higher expression of HSP90 could probably lead to the higher motility and freezing resistance of sperm found after freezing–thawing. Therefore, we concluded that level of HSP90 expression could be used to predict reliably and simply the freezing resistance of bull sperm.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is known to protect boar sperm during freezing–thawing, but little information is known about the effects of LDL extracted from different avian egg yolks on post-thaw boar semen quality. The purpose of this study was to compare and analyze the effects of LDL at various concentrations and different species on boar sperm quality after freezing–thawing. LDL extracted from the yolk of hen egg, duck egg, quail egg, pigeon egg or ostrich egg was added to the extender at the concentrations of 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, 0.09 and 0.1 g/ml, respectively, and their effects on frozen–thawed boar sperm quality were assessed. According to all measured parameters, the results showed that sperm motility, acrosome integrity and plasma membrane integrity were 43.20%, 52.57% and 48.13%, respectively, after being frozen–thawed with 0.09 g/ml LDL extracted from pigeon egg yolk. All these quality parameters were higher than that of other groups (P < 0.05). In conclusion, our results confirmed that LDL extracted from pigeon egg yolk had the best cryoprotective effects on frozen–thawed boar sperm among all of the groups supplemented with LDL from five kinds of avian egg in extender. The optimum concentration of LDL extracted from pigeon egg in boar semen freezing extender was 0.09 g/ml.
Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) have the ability to self-renew and offer a pathway for genetic engineering of the male germ line. Cryopreservation of SSCs has potential value for the treatment of male infertility, spermatogonial transplantation, and so on. In order to investigate the cryopreservation effects of different cryoprotectants on murine SSCs, 0.2 M of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), trehalose and soybean lecithin were added to the cryoprotective medium, respectively, and the murine SSCs were frozen at −80°C or −196°C. The results indicated that the optimal recovery rates of murine SSCs in the cryoprotective medium supplemented with LDL, trehalose and soybean lecithin were 92.53, 76.35 and 75.48% at −80°C, respectively. Compared with freezing at −196°C, the optimum temperature for improvement of recovery rates of frozen murine SSCs, cryopreservation in three different cryoprotectants at −80°C, were 17.11, 6.68 and 10.44% respectively. The recovery rates of murine SSCs in the cryoprotective medium supplemented with 0.2 M LDL were significantly higher than that of other cryoprotectants (P < 0.05). Moreover, the recovery rates were demonstrated to be greater at −80°C compared with at −196°C (P < 0.05). In conclusion, 0.2 M of LDL could significantly protect murine SSCs at −80°C. In the freezing–thawing process, LDL is responsible for the cryopreservation of murine SSCs because it can form a protective film at the surface of membranes. However, more research is needed to evaluate and understand the precise role of LDL during the freezing–thawing of SSCs.
Anodized Aluminum Oxide (AAO) based micro-channel plates (MCP) are fabricated in order to develop economical large-area photodetectors. Commercially available glass capillary array has a limitation to reach channel diameter below ~10 microns. However, smaller channel diameter is desired for better spatial and fast timing resolution. AAO based MCP is a good candidate to produce channel diameter less than 10 um by taking advantage of the nano-scale intrinsic pores during etching process. In this study, various channel diameters are fabricated with use of lithographic patterning techniques and wet etching; and characterized with optical, atomic force, and scanning electron microscopies. The channel diameter, channel length and related aspect ratio, as well as the open area are varied in order to maximize the MCP photon amplification.
Sub-10 nm monodispersed NaYF4:Eu/Ba nanocrystals were synthesized by a hydrothermal method. Under 396-nm excitation, in addition to the characteristic emissions of Eu3+ ions, an intense emission band originating from the d–f transition of the Eu2+ ions is also observed, indicating that Eu3+ and Eu2+ coexist in Eu/Ba-codoped NaYF4 nanocrystals. The dependence of the luminescence on the Ba2+ concentration was studied. Tunable photoluminescence of NaYF4:Eu nanocrystals was successfully achieved by codoping with Ba2+ ions. In addition, when the Ba/Ln ratio is 3:7 and 4:1, pure cubic Ba0.92Y2.15F8.29:Eu and tetragonal BaYF5:Eu nanocrystals were obtained, respectively.
We report on the thermoelectric properties of the filled skutterudite Ce0.9Fe3CoSb12 prepared via non-equilibrium synthesis method. Melt-spun ribbons were directly converting into single phase polycrystalline pellets under pressure. For comparison, pellets with the same composition were also prepared using the conventional solid-state reaction followed by long term annealing. It was found that the non-equilibrium synthesized samples have higher power factors and lower thermal conductivity, leading to substantially higher figure of merit.