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At an estimated US$19 billion, the illicit wildlife trade is a serious threat to global conservation efforts. This criminal enterprise is now digital, expanding its footprint to consumers internationally by using the Internet and social media platforms. Recent studies have detected illegal wildlife selling posts on the popular social networking site Facebook in several different languages, including Chinese. In order to further explore this challenge to conservation, this study used big data approaches to identify and characterize wildlife trading activity in Chinese language on Facebook using an automated web scraper. We focused on keywords associated with elephants, rhinos and hawksbill turtles. We collected 10 303 unique Facebook posts over a 45-day period and were able to identify 639 posts from 268 unique users, which we suspect of directly marketing the sale of wildlife products. We also identified other species including Tibetan antelope, bears and African spurred tortoises. Facebook community pages appeared to have the highest percentage (48.2%) of wildlife selling posts. We also identified 14 different countries and regions with suspected wildlife-selling users, most located in Taiwan. Furthermore, we observed that the language used by some sellers changed from descriptive text to emojis and other code words. Collective action is needed from governments, law enforcement, civil society and technology companies leveraging big data approaches to better detect and interdict online Chinese-language wildlife trafficking.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2 virus) has been sustained in China since December 2019, and has become a pandemic. The mental health of frontline medical staff is a concern. In this study, we aimed to identify the factors influencing medical worker anxiety in China during the COVID-19 outbreak. We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the prevalence of anxiety among medical staff in China from 10 February 2020 to 20 February 2020 using the Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) to assess anxiety, with the criteria of normal (⩽49), mild (50–59), moderate (60–70) and severe anxiety (⩾70). We used multivariable linear regression to determine the factors (e.g. having direct contact when treating infected patients, being a medical staff worker from Hubei province, being a suspect case) for anxiety. We also used adjusted models to confirm independent factors for anxiety after adjusting for gender, age, education and marital status. Of 512 medical staff in China, 164 (32.03%) had had direct contact treating infected patients. The prevalence of anxiety was 12.5%, with 53 workers suffering from mild (10.35%), seven workers suffering from moderate (1.36%) and four workers suffering from severe anxiety (0.78%). After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics (gender, age, education and marital status), medical staff who had had direct contact treating infected patients experienced higher anxiety scores than those who had not had direct contact (β value = 2.33, confidence interval (CI) 0.65–4.00; P = 0.0068). A similar trend was observed in medical staff from Hubei province, compared with those from other parts of China (β value = 3.67, CI 1.44–5.89; P = 0.0013). The most important variable was suspect cases with high anxiety scores, compared to non-suspect cases (β value = 4.44, CI 1.55–7.33; P = 0.0028). In this survey of hospital medical workers during the COVID-19 outbreak in China, we found that study participants experienced anxiety symptoms, especially those who had direct clinical contact with infected patients; as did those in the worst affected areas, including Hubei province; and those who were suspect cases. Governments and healthcare authorities should proactively implement appropriate psychological intervention programmes, to prevent, alleviate or treat increased anxiety.
Findings for the roles of dairy products, Ca and vitamin D on ovarian cancer risk remain controversial. We aimed to assess these associations by using an updated meta-analysis. Five electronic databases (e.g. PubMed and Embase) were searched from inception to 24 December 2019. Pooled relative risks (RR) with 95 % CI were calculated. A total of twenty-nine case–control or cohort studies were included. For comparisons of the highest v. lowest intakes, higher whole milk intake was associated with increased ovarian cancer risk (RR 1·35; 95 % CI 1·15, 1·59), whereas decreased risks were observed for higher intakes of low-fat milk (RR 0·84; 95 % CI 0·73, 0·96), dietary Ca (RR 0·71; 95 % CI 0·60, 0·84) and dietary vitamin D (RR 0·80; 95 % CI 0·67, 0·95). Additionally, for every 100 g/d increment, increased ovarian cancer risks were found for total dairy products (RR 1·03; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·04) and for whole milk (RR 1·07; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·11); however, decreased risks were found for 100 g/d increased intakes of low-fat milk (RR 0·95; 95 % CI 0·91, 0·99), cheese (RR 0·87; 95 % CI 0·76, 0·98), dietary Ca (RR 0·96; 95 % CI 0·95, 0·98), total Ca (RR 0·98; 95 % CI 0·97, 0·99), dietary vitamin D (RR 0·92; 95 % CI 0·87, 0·97) and increased levels of circulating vitamin D (RR 0·84; 95 % CI 0·72, 0·97). These results show that whole milk intake might contribute to a higher ovarian cancer risk, whereas low-fat milk, dietary Ca and dietary vitamin D might reduce the risk.
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.
Early detection and intervention strategies in patients at clinical high-risk (CHR) for syndromal psychosis have the potential to contain the morbidity of schizophrenia and similar conditions. However, research criteria that have relied on severity and number of positive symptoms are limited in their specificity and risk high false-positive rates. Our objective was to examine the degree to which measures of recency of onset or intensification of positive symptoms [a.k.a., new or worsening (NOW) symptoms] contribute to predictive capacity.
We recruited 109 help-seeking individuals whose symptoms met criteria for the Progression Subtype of the Attenuated Positive Symptom Psychosis-Risk Syndrome defined by the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes and followed every three months for two years or onset of syndromal psychosis.
Forty-one (40.6%) of 101 participants meeting CHR criteria developed a syndromal psychotic disorder [mostly (80.5%) schizophrenia] with half converting within 142 days (interquartile range: 69–410 days). Patients with more NOW symptoms were more likely to convert (converters: 3.63 ± 0.89; non-converters: 2.90 ± 1.27; p = 0.001). Patients with stable attenuated positive symptoms were less likely to convert than those with NOW symptoms. New, but not worsening, symptoms, in isolation, also predicted conversion.
Results suggest that the severity and number of attenuated positive symptoms are less predictive of conversion to syndromal psychosis than the timing of their emergence and intensification. These findings also suggest that the earliest phase of psychotic illness involves a rapid, dynamic process, beginning before the syndromal first episode, with potentially substantial implications for CHR research and understanding the neurobiology of psychosis.
The pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) remains unclear despite extensive neuroimaging work on the disorder. Exposure to medication and comorbid mental disorders can confound the results of OCD studies. The goal of this study was to explore differences in brain functional connectivity (FC) within the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) loop of drug-naïve and drug-free OCD patients and healthy controls (HCs).
A total of 29 drug-naïve OCD patients, 22 drug-free OCD patients, and 25 HCs matched on age, gender and education level underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning at resting state. Seed-based connectivity analyses were conducted among the three groups. The Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and clinical inventories were used to assess the clinical symptoms.
Compared with HCs, the drug-naïve OCD patients had reduced FC within the limbic CSTC loop. In the drug-naïve OCD participants, we also found hyperconnectivity between the supplementary motor area and ventral and dorsal putamen (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons).
Exposure to antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may affect the function of some brain regions. Future longitudinal studies could help to reveal the pharmacotherapeutic mechanisms in these loops.
We recently reported Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao in Tang et al., 2019, from the early Cambrian Hetang Formation in South China and interpreted it as a problematic animal fossil, possibly related to either sponges or bivalved arthropods (Tang et al., 2019). Slater and Budd (2019) contested our taxonomic identification and phylogenetic interpretation; instead, they claimed that Cambrowania ovata is a large acritarch referable to morphotaxon Leiosphaeridia Eisenack, 1958, and thus is not an animal. Here we refute their criticisms, clarify the differences between Cambrowania and Leiosphaeridia and other acritarchs, and reiterate why an animal affinity for Cambrowania cannot be ruled out.
The Upper Ordovician Sandbian to Katian strata from the East Qilianshan (northeastern Tibet Plateau) bear a graptolite fauna of moderately high diversity. Graptolites from the Amplexograptus maxwelli beds to the Appendispinograptus longispinus Biozone (Sa2–Ka4 intervals) proposed herein include 27 species of 13 genera. This important graptolite fauna is first described herein although it was initially reported in 1963. Most of them occur in the A. longispinus Biozone corresponding to the Dicellograptus complexus to Paraorthograptus pacificus biozones of the Wufeng Formation in the Yangtze region. Alulagraptus new genus is established based on the materials from the East Qiqiaogou section. The endemic species, e.g., Alulagraptus ensiformis (Mu and Zhang in Mu et al., 1963), Dicellograptus sinicus Mu and Zhang in Mu et al., 1963, and Climacograptus? papilio Mu and Zhang in Mu et al., 1963, could indicate that East Qilianshan block was separated from South China.
Employing atomic-scale simulations, the response of a high-angle grain boundary (GB), the soft/hard GB, against external loading was systematically investigated. Under tensile loading close to the hard orientation, strain-induced dynamic recrystallization was observed to initiate through direct soft-to-hard grain reorientation, which was triggered by stress mismatch, inhibited by surface tension from the soft-hard GB, and proceeded by interface ledges. Such grain reorientation corresponds with expansion and contraction of the hard grain along and perpendicular to the loading direction, respectively, accompanied by local atomic shuffling, providing relatively large normal strain of 8.3% with activation energy of 0.04 eV per atom. Tensile strain and residual dislocations on the hard/soft GB facilitate the initiation of dynamic recrystallization by lowering the energy barrier and the critical stress for grain reorientation, respectively.
The lower-middle Hetang Formation (Cambrian Stage 2–3) deposited in slope-basinal facies in South China is well known for its preservation of the earliest articulated sponge fossils, providing an important taphonomic window into the Cambrian Explosion. However, the Hetang Formation also hosts a number of problematic animal fossils that have not been systematically described. This omission results in an incomplete picture of the Hetang biota and limits its contribution to the understanding of the early evolution of animals. Here we describe a new animal taxon, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, new genus new species, from the middle Hetang Formation in the Lantian area of southern Anhui Province, South China. Specimens are preserved as carbonaceous compressions, although some are secondarily mineralized. A comprehensive analysis using reflected light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and micro-CT reveals that the new species is characterized by a spheroidal to fusoidal truss-like structure consisting of rafter-like crossbars, some of which are secondarily baritized and may have been internally hollow. Some specimens have aperture-like structures that are broadly similar to oscula of sponges, whereas others show evidence of a medial split reminiscent of gaping carapaces. While the phylogenetic affinity of Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. remains problematic, we propose that it may represent carapaces of bivalved arthropods or more likely sponges in early life stages. Along with other problematic metazoan fossils such as hyolithids and sphenothallids, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. adds to the diversity of the sponge-dominated Hetang biota in an early Cambrian deepwater slope-basinal environment.
The role of the cerebellum in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has drawn increasing attention. However, the functional connectivity between the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex has not been investigated in OCD, nor has the relationship between such functional connectivity and clinical symptoms.
A total of 27 patients with OCD and 21 healthy controls (HCs) matched on age, sex and education underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Seed-based connectivity analyses were performed to examine differences in cerebellar-cerebral connectivity in patients with OCD compared with HCs. Associations between functional connectivity and clinical features in OCD were analyzed.
Compared with HCs, OCD patients showed significantly decreased cerebellar-cerebral functional connectivity in executive control and emotion processing networks. Within the OCD group, decreased functional connectivity in an executive network spanning the right cerebellar Crus I and the inferior parietal lobule was positively correlated with symptom severity, and decreased connectivity in an emotion processing network spanning the left cerebellar lobule VI and the lingual gyrus was negatively correlated with illness duration.
Altered functional connectivity between the cerebellum and cerebral networks involved in cognitive-affective processing in patients with OCD provides further evidence for the involvement of the cerebellum in the pathophysiology of OCD, and is consistent with impairment in executive control and emotion regulation in this condition.
A carbohydrate-rich diet results in hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia; it may further induce the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer. However, epidemiological evidence among Chinese population is quite limited. The aim of this study was to investigate total carbohydrate, non-fibre carbohydrate, total fibre, starch, dietary glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) in relation to colorectal cancer risk in Chinese population. A case–control study was conducted from July 2010 to April 2017, recruiting 1944 eligible colorectal cancer cases and 2027 age (5-year interval) and sex frequency-matched controls. Dietary information was collected by using a validated FFQ. The OR and 95 % CI of colorectal cancer risk were assessed by multivariable logistic regression models. There was no clear association between total carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer risk. The adjusted OR was 0·85 (95 % CI 0·70, 1·03, Ptrend=0·08) comparing the highest with the lowest quartile. Total fibre was related to a 53 % reduction in colorectal cancer risk (adjusted ORquartile 4 v. 1 0·47; 95 % CI 0·39, 0·58). However, dietary GI was positively associated with colorectal cancer risk, with an adjusted ORquartile 4 v. 1 of 3·10 (95 % CI 2·51, 3·85). No significant association was found between the intakes of non-fibre carbohydrate, starch and dietary GL and colorectal cancer risk. This study indicated that dietary GI was positively associated with colorectal cancer risk, but no evidence supported that total carbohydrate, non-fibre carbohydrate, starch or high dietary GL intake were related to an increased risk of colorectal cancer in a Chinese population.
Chinese jiaotou is an economically important crop that is widely cultivated in East Asia. The lack of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers has been a major obstacle for genetic studies of this crop. In the present study, SSR markers were developed for Chinese jiaotou on a large scale, based on the crop's transcriptome assembled de novo by a previous study. A search for SSR loci in the transcriptome's expressed sequence tags (ESTs) revealed 2157 SSRs, of which primer pairs could be developed for 1494. Among these resulting SSRs, trinucleotide repeat motifs were the most abundant type, with GAA/TTC motifs occurring most frequently. Analysing the annotated function of SSR-containing ESTs revealed that they enriched into the GO categories involved in transcription regulation, oxidation–reduction, transport, etc. The quality and transferability of these markers were also assessed using 100 randomly selected EST–SSRs, and the result showed that these markers were of good quality and possessed high cross-species transferability. In addition, the developed SSR markers were used to analyse the genetic diversity of 19 cultivated and four wild accessions, resulting in three distinct groups, cluster I, II and III. Interestingly, all four wild accessions were assigned to cluster III, and two local varieties from northern Hunan, China, were closely related to the wild genotypes. These results provide new insights into the origin of Chinese jiaotou. The EST–SSRs developed herein represent the first large-scale development of SSR markers in Chinese jiaotou, and they can be widely used for genetic studies of the crop.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the joint associations of dietary pattern and television viewing with risk factors of CVD among urban adults in China. A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among urban adults in Nanjing, China. Five dietary patterns were identified based on a FFQ. Television time was obtained from a standard questionnaire and further classified into two categories (≤7, >7 h/week). Multiple logistic regression was used to calculate the OR and 95 % CI for the separate and joint associations of dietary patterns and television viewing with CVD risk factors. Compared with other dietary patterns, participants who followed the healthy traditional pattern had a lower likelihood of abdominal obesity (AO) (OR 0·52; 95 % CI 0·41, 0·67). Participants watching television no more than 7 h/week presented a 19 and 21 % lower likelihood for hypertension (HT) and elevated total cholesterol (ETC) than those with television time >7 h/week. Individuals who had less television time and a healthy dietary pattern had a lower OR for the presence of AO (OR 0·48; 95 % CI 0·36, 0·65), HT (OR 0·71; 95 % CI 0·66, 0·77), ETC (OR 0·72; 95 % CI 0·57, 0·91) and elevated TAG (OR 0·76; 95 % CI 0·61, 0·95), compared with those who followed other dietary patterns and television time >7 h/week. In conclusion, both healthy traditional pattern and less television time are jointly associated with reduced levels of CVD risk factors. It has important public health implications regarding the precision prevention of CVD at population level.
We examined the in vitro developmental competence of parthenogenetic activation (PA) oocytes activated by an electric pulse (EP) and treated with various concentrations of AZD5438 for 4 h. Treatment with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h significantly improved the blastocyst formation rate of PA oocytes in comparison with 0, 20, or 50 µM AZD5438 treatment (46.4% vs. 34.5%, 32.3%, and 24.0%, respectively; P < 0.05). The blastocyst formation rate was higher in the group treated with AZD5438 for 4 h than in the groups treated with AZD5438 for 2 or 6 h (42.8% vs. 38.6% and 37.2%, respectively; P > 0.05). Furthermore, 66.67% of blastocysts derived from these AZD5438-treated PA oocytes had a diploid karyotype. The blastocyst formation rate of PA and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos was similar between oocytes activated by an EP and treated with 2 mM 6-dimethylaminopurine for 4 h and those activated by an EP and treated with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h (11.11% vs. 13.40%, P > 0.05). In addition, the level of maturation-promoting factor (MPF) was significantly decreased in oocytes activated by an EP and treated with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h. Finally, the mRNA expression levels of apoptosis-related genes (Bax and Bcl-2) and pluripotency-related genes (Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2) were checked by RT-PCR; however, there were no differences between the AZD5438-treated and non-treated control groups. Our results demonstrate that porcine oocyte activation via an EP in combination with AZD5438 treatment can lead to a high blastocyst formation rate in PA and SCNT experiments.
Previous studies have supported the theory that there is a positive association between ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis in Western people. Diet plays an important role in determining serum ferritin concentration. Asian dietary patterns are different from Western dietary patterns, implying that there may be a difference in the association of ferritin with carotid atherosclerosis between Asian and Western people. However, few studies focus on the association between ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis among Asians. The aim of this study was to investigate how serum ferritin levels are associated with carotid atherosclerosis in an Asian adult population. A cross-sectional assessment was performed in 8302 adults in Tianjin, China. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques were assessed using ultrasonography, and serum ferritin was measured using the protein chip-chemiluminescence method. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between quartiles of serum ferritin concentration and carotid atherosclerosis. In the present study, the overall prevalence of IMT and carotid plaques in participants is 29·2 and 22·7 %, respectively. In women, after adjustments for potentially confounding factors, the OR of IMT and carotid plaques by increasing serum ferritin quartiles were 1·00, 1·39 (95 % CI 0·98–1·99), 1·39 (95 % CI 0·99–1·97), 1·81 (95 % CI 1·30–2·55) (Pfor trend<0·001) and 1·00, 1·24 (95 % CI 0·89–1·73), 1·18 (95 % CI 0·85–1·65), 1·59 (95 % CI 1·15–2·20) (Pfor trend<0·01), respectively. However, no association was found between serum ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis in men. The study demonstrated that increased serum ferritin levels are independently associated with IMT and carotid plaques in Asian women but not in Asian men.
A study in rodent models showed that phytosterols protected against colon carcinogenesis, probably by inhibiting dysregulated cell cycle progression and inducing cellular apoptosis. However, epidemiological studies on the relationship between phytosterols and colorectal cancer risk are quite limited. The aim of this study was to investigate dietary phytosterol intake in relation to colorectal cancer risk in the Chinese population. A case–control study was conducted from July 2010 to June 2016, recruiting 1802 eligible colorectal cancer cases plus 1813 age (5-year interval) and sex frequency-matched controls. Dietary information was collected by using a validated FFQ. The OR and 95 % CI of colorectal cancer risk were assessed by multivariable logistic regression models. A higher total intake of phytosterols was found to be associated with a 50 % reduction in colorectal cancer risk. After adjusting for various confounders, the OR of the highest quartile intake compared with the lowest quartile intake was 0·50 (95 % CI 0·41, 0·61, Ptrend<0·01) for total phytosterols. An inverse association was also found between the consumption of β-sitosterol, campesterol, campestanol and colorectal cancer risk. However, stigmasterol intake was related to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. No statistically significant association was found between β-sitostanol and colorectal cancer risk. Stratified analysis by sex showed that the positive association of stigmasterol intake with colorectal cancer risk was found only in women. These data indicated that the consumption of total phytosterols, β-sitosterol, campesterol and campestanol is inversely associated with colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population.