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High-mass X-ray binaries belong to the brightest objects in the X-ray sky. They usually consist of a massive O or B star or a blue supergiant while the compact X-ray emitting component is a neutron star (NS) or a black hole. Intensive matter accretion onto the compact object can take place through different mechanisms: wind accretion, Roche-lobe overflow, or circumstellar disk. In our multi-dimensional models we perform numerical simulations of the accretion of matter onto a compact companion in case of Be/X-ray binaries. Using Bondi-Hoyle-Littleton approximation, we estimate the NS accretion rate. We determine the Be/X-ray binary disk hydrodynamic structure and compare its deviation from isolated Be stars’ disk. From the rate and morphology of the accretion flow and the X-ray luminosity we improve the estimate of the disk mass-loss rate. We also study the behavior of a binary system undergoing a supernova explosion, assuming a blue supergiant progenitor with an aspherical circumstellar environment.
Gamma Cassiopeiae is an enigmatic Be star with unusually hard, strong X-ray emission compared with normal main-sequence B stars. The origin has been debated for decades between two theories: mass accretion onto a hidden compact companion and a magnetic dynamo driven by the star-Be disk differential rotation. There has been no decisive signature found that supports either theory, such as a pulse in X-ray emission or the presence of large-scale magnetic field. In a ~100 ksec duration observation of the star with the Suzaku X-ray observatory in 2011, we detected six rapid X-ray spectral hardening events called “softness dips”. All the softness dip events show symmetric softness ratio variations, and some of them have flat bottoms apparently due to saturation. The softness dip spectra are best described by either ~40% or ~70% partial covering absorption to kT ~12 keV plasma emission by matter with a neutral hydrogen column density of ~2 − 8 × 1021cm−2, while the spectrum outside of these dips is almost free of absorption. This result suggests that two distinct X-ray emitting spots in the γ Cas system, perhaps on a white dwarf companion with dipole mass accretion, are occulted by blobs in the Be stellar wind, the Be disk, or rotating around the white dwarf companion. The formation of a Be star and white dwarf binary system requires mass transfer between two stars; γ Cas may have experienced such activity in the past.
The aims of the present study were to provide nationally representative data on fruit and vegetable consumption in Vietnam, and to assess the accuracy of the reported numbers of ‘standard servings’ consumed. Data analysed were from a multi-stage stratified cluster survey of 14 706 participants (46·5 % males, response proportion 64·1 %) aged 25−64 years in Vietnam. Measurements were made in accordance with the WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance of non-communicable diseases (STEPS) protocols. Approximately 80 % of Vietnamese people reported having less than five servings of fruit and vegetables daily in a typical week. Fruit and vegetable intake reported in ‘standard serving’ sizes was positively correlated with levels of education completed and household income (P<0·001 for trend). The correlations between summary values for each province reflect some known demographic, geographical and climatic characteristics of the country. For example, provinces at higher latitude had higher mean servings of vegetables (r 0·90), and provinces with higher proportions of urban population had higher mean servings of fruit (r 0·40). In conclusion, about eight in ten Vietnamese people aged 25–64 years did not meet WHO recommendations for daily consumption of at least five servings of fruit and vegetables. On the basis of the consistency of the data collected with other estimates and with physical and demographic characteristics of the country, the WHO STEPS instrument has construct validity for measuring fruit and vegetable intake, but with two issues identified. The issues were seasonal variation in reporting and a limitation on the usefulness of the information for associative analyses.
Calcineurin is required for oocyte exit from meiotic block in metaphase II (MII) stage in invertebrates and also in lower vertebrates. However, the role of calcineurin in mammalian oocyte activation is still unclear. The aim of this study was to determine whether calcineurin is involved in the processes regulating porcine oocyte activation. Indirect immunofluorescence demonstrated localization of both calcineurin subunits, CnA and CnB, especially in the cortex area of MII oocytes, in vitro fertilized and also parthenogenetically activated oocytes. After activation, the fluorescence intensity of the protein in the cortex area of oocytes remains unchanged; the protein calcineurin in the cytoplasm was recorded mainly around the pronuclei. Treatment of matured oocytes with calcineurin inhibitors, cyclosporin A (CsA) and hymenistatin I (HS-I), followed by activation with calcium ionophore A23187, significantly decreased the rate of activated oocytes compared to oocytes that were treated only with calcium ionophore (Ca-Io), (CsA+Ca-Io 25.0% v. Ca-Io 83.3%; HS-I+Ca-Io 32.5% v. Ca-Io 85.0%). Compared to the control, CsA treatment of matured oocytes followed by activation with Ca-Io did not affect the activity level of metaphase-promoting factor (MPF) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in activated oocytes evaluated by kinase activity assay. Simultaneous staining of calcineurin and cortical granule content in matured oocytes showed that calcineurin distributed in the cortical area of the oocyte has not been colocalized with cortical granules content. On the other hand, the calcineurin inhibition before parthenogenetic activation leads to a reduction of the cortical reaction level compared to oocytes that were not treated with CsA (complete exocytosis: CsA+Ca-Io 2.6% v. Ca-Io 83.9%; sum of cortical granule brightness: CsA + Ca-Io 0.69 v. Ca-Io 0.15). Our results showed that calcineurin is involved in the process of pig oocyte activation and cortical granule exocytosis; however this regulation seems to be MPF and MAPK independent.
We report the current results on a comprehensive scan of the near-Earth asteroid catalog for evidence of the Yarkovsky effect in the orbital motion of these bodies. While most objects do not have sufficient observational data to reveal such slight acceleration, we do identify 42 asteroids with a “valid” detection of the Yarkovsky effect, i.e., those with a signal at least 3 times greater than the formal uncertainty and a value compatible with the Yarkovsky mechanism.
We also identify a special category of non-detection, which we refer to as “weak signal,” where the objects are of a size that would permit a clear detection if the Yarkovsky effect is maximized, and yet the orbit is clearly incompatible with such accelerations. The implication is that the Yarkovsky effect is reduced in these cases, presumably due to mid-range obliquity, but possibly also due to size, bulk density, thermal inertia, albedo, or spin rate markedly different from assumptions.
Finally, there are a number of asteroids showing a significant signal for nongravitational acceleration, and yet with a magnitude too great to be attributed to the Yarkovsky effect. We term these “spurious detections” because most are due to erroneous optical astrometry, often involving a single isolated night from precovery observations. Some cases may be due to other nongravitational accelerations, such as outgassing, mass loss, or micro-meteoroid flux.
It is unclear whether there is a direct link between economic crises and changes in suicide rates.
The Lopez-Ibor Foundation launched an initiative to study the possible impact of the economic crisis on European suicide rates.
Data was gathered and analysed from 29 European countries and included the number of deaths by suicide in men and women, the unemployment rate, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, the annual economic growth rate and inflation.
There was a strong correlation between suicide rates and all economic indices except GPD per capita in men but only a correlation with unemployment in women. However, the increase in suicide rates occurred several months before the economic crisis emerged.
Overall, this study confirms a general relationship between the economic environment and suicide rates; however, it does not support there being a clear causal relationship between the current economic crisis and an increase in the suicide rate.
With the rapid developments in the exoplanet field, more and more terrestrial exoplanets are being detected. Characterizing their atmospheres using transit observations will become a key datum in the quest for detecting an Earth-like exoplanet. The atmospheric transmission spectrum of our Earth will be an ideal template for comparison with future exo-Earth candidates. By observing a lunar eclipse, which offers a similar configuration to that of an exoplanet transit, we have obtained a high-resolution and high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) transmission spectrum of the Earth's atmosphere. This observation was performed with the High Resolution Spectrograph at Xinglong Station, China during the total lunar eclipse in December 2011. We compare the observed transmission spectrum with our atmospheric model, and determine the characteristics of the various atmospheric species in detail. In the transmission spectrum, O2, O3, O2 · O2, NO2 and H2O are detected, and their column densities are measured and compared with the satellites data. The visible Chappuis band of ozone produces the most prominent absorption feature, which suggests that ozone is a promising molecule for the future exo-Earth characterization. Due to the high resolution and high SNR of our spectrum, several novel details of the Earth atmosphere's transmission spectrum are presented. The individual O2 lines are resolved and O2 isotopes are clearly detected. Our new observations do not confirm the absorption features of Ca II or Na I which have been reported in previous lunar eclipse observations. However, features in these and some other strong Fraunhofer line positions do occur in the observed spectrum. We propose that these are due to a Raman-scattered component in the forward-scattered sunlight appearing in the lunar umbral spectrum. Water vapour absorption is found to be rather weak in our spectrum because the atmosphere we probed is relatively dry, which prompts us to discuss the detectability of water vapour in Earth-like exoplanet atmospheres.
An extension of the local projection stabilization (LPS) finite element method for convection-diffusion-reaction equations is presented and analyzed, both in the steady-state and the transient setting. In addition to the standard LPS method, a nonlinear crosswind diffusion term is introduced that accounts for the reduction of spurious oscillations. The existence of a solution can be proved and, depending on the choice of the stabilization parameter, also its uniqueness. Error estimates are derived which are supported by numerical studies. These studies demonstrate also the reduction of the spurious oscillations.
Nitric oxide (NO) and protein kinase C (PKC) are involved in the activation of mammalian oocytes, although their role in the exit from the metaphase II stage and cortical granule (CG) exocytosis is still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to verify whether the NO-donor together with specific PKC-activators induce the complete activation of porcine oocytes assessed as meiosis resumption and a cortical reaction. Pig maturated oocytes were treated with the NO-donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP, 2 mM) or PKC-activators such as phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA, 100 nM), 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG, 400 μM) and l-α-phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate dipalmitoyl heptaammonium salt (DPAM, 2 μM). To study the combined effect of NO-donor and PKC-activators, aliquots of oocytes were also incubated with SNAP (0.5 mM) together with PKC-activators at the same concentration as above (SNAP–DPAM, SNAP–OAG and SNAP–PMA groups). After invitro maturation, an aliquot of oocytes was placed in a fresh medium without NO-donor or PKC-activators (Control group). Another aliquot of oocytes was activated by calcium ionophore A23187 (25 μM, 5 min). The results showed that 0% of the control oocytes reassumed meiosis. However, both the PKC-activators (DPAM 44.0 ± 10.0%, OAG 63.3 ± 1.0% and PMA 45.0 ± 16.5%) as well as the NO-donor alone (48.7 ± 21.0%) significantly induced exit from MII. Interestingly, the combination of PKC-activators and SNAP mainly restrained to the meiosis resumption (SNAP–OAG 0, SNAP–DPAM 17.4 ± 2.5% and SNAP–PMA 38.4 ± 8.5%). Control oocytes did not show a cortical reaction and the area occupied by CG reached 25.9 ± 1.7%, whereas CGs were partially released after Ca2+ ionophore treatment (13.0 ± 3.2%). Treatment with PKC-activators induced a cortical reaction compared with the control group (8.6 ± 2.5, 6.7 ± 1.9 and 0.7 ± 0.4%, respectively, for DPAM, OAG and PMA groups). However, treatment with the NO-donor alone (SNAP group 17.2 ± 2.2%) or combined with any PKC-activator prevented cortical reaction (SNAP–DPAM 20.7 ± 2.6%, SNAP–OAG 16.7 ± 2.9% or SNAP–PMA 20.0 ± 2.4%). Besides, meiosis resumption was not always accompanied by a cortical reaction, indicating that these two activation events are independent. In conclusion, PKC-activators alone induce CG exocytosis to the same degree as calcium ionophore. However, an NO-donor alone or combined with PKC-activators is not able to induce a cortical reaction in pig oocytes.
Weight regain after weight loss is common. In the Diogenes dietary intervention study, a high-protein and low-glycaemic index (GI) diet improved weight maintenance. The objective of the present study was to identify (1) blood profiles associated with continued weight loss and weight regain (2) blood biomarkers of dietary protein and GI levels during the weight-maintenance phase. Blood samples were collected at baseline, after 8 weeks of low-energy diet-induced weight loss and after a 6-month dietary intervention period from female continued weight losers (n 48) and weight regainers (n 48), evenly selected from four dietary groups that varied in protein and GI levels. The blood concentrations of twenty-nine proteins and three steroid hormones were measured. The changes in analytes during weight maintenance largely correlated negatively with the changes during weight loss, with some differences between continued weight losers and weight regainers. Increases in leptin (LEP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were significantly associated with weight regain (P < 0·001 and P = 0·005, respectively), and these relationships were influenced by the diet. Consuming a high-protein and high-GI diet dissociated the positive relationship between the change in LEP concentration and weight regain. CRP increased during the weight-maintenance period only in weight regainers with a high-protein diet (P < 0·001). In addition, testosterone, luteinising hormone, angiotensinogen, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, resistin, retinol-binding protein 4, insulin, glucagon, haptoglobin and growth hormone were also affected by the dietary intervention. The blood profile reflects not only the weight change during the maintenance period, but also the macronutrient composition of the dietary intervention, especially the protein level.
Reproductive biotechnology such as in vitro fertilization, the creation of transgenic animals or cloning by nuclear transfer depends on the use of fully grown, meiotically competent oocytes capable of completing meiotic maturation by reaching the stage of metaphase II. However, there exists only a limited quantity of these oocytes in the ovaries of females. In view of their limited number, growing oocytes without meiotic competence represent a possible source. The mechanisms controlling the acquisition of meiotic competence, however, are still not completely clear. A gas with a short half-life, nitric oxide (NO), produced by NO-synthase (NOS) enzyme can fulfill a regulatory role in this period. The objective of this study was to ascertain the role of NO in the growth phase of pig oocytes and its influence on the acquisition of meiotic competence with the help of NOS inhibitors, NO donors and their combinations. We demonstrated that the selective competitive iNOS inhibitor aminoguanidine and also the non-selective NOS inhibitor l-NAME block meiotic maturation of oocytes with partial or even full meiotic competence at the very beginning. NOS inhibitors influence even competent oocytes in the first stage of meiotic metaphase. However, blockage is less effective than at the beginning of meiotic maturation. The number of parthenogenetically activated competent oocytes greatly increased in a pure medium after inhibitor reversion. A large quantity of NO externally added to the in vitro cultivation environment disrupts the viability of oocytes. The effectiveness of the inhibitor can be reversed in oocytes by an NO donor in a very low concentration. However, the donor is not capable of pushing the oocytes farther than beyond the first stage of meiotic metaphase. The experiments confirmed the connection of NO with the growth period and the acquisition of meiotic competence. However, it is evident from the experiments that NO is not the only stimulus controlling the growth period.
When cultured for an extended time, pig oocytes that matured in vitro to the stage of metaphase II undergo the complex process designated as ageing. Under our conditions, some pig oocytes aged 3 days remained at the stage of metaphase II (22%), but others underwent spontaneous parthenogenetic activation (45%), and still others perished through fragmentation (28%) or lysis (5%). Activation of protein kinases C (PKCs) using phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) protects oocytes from fragmentation. None of the oocytes were fragmented after 3 days of aging in 50 nM of PMA. A similar effect (8% of fragmented oocytes) was observed after a 3-day treatment of aging oocytes with 100 μM of 1-stearoyl-2arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol (STEAR). PMA and STEAR activate both calcium-dependent and calcium-independent PKCs. This combined effect on PKCs seems to be essential for the protection of oocytes from fragmentation. Neither the specific activator of calcium-dependent PKCs 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OLE) nor the specific activator of calcium-independent PKCs dipalmitoyl-l-α-phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-triphosphate heptaammonium salt (DIPALM) suppressed the fragmentation of aging pig oocytes. Twenty-one percentage of oocytes fragmented when aged for 3 days in 10 μM OLE and 26% of aged oocytes fragmented in 100 nM of DIPALM. However, fragmentation was significantly suppressed to 7% when the oocytes were exposed to the combination of both 10 μM OLE and 100 nM DIPALM. Aging pig oocytes cultured for 1 day with PMA maintained a high capability of being parthenogenetically activated (86% of activated oocytes), using calcium ionophore with 6-dimethylaminopurine. Ageing oocytes treated with PMA also had high capability of cleavage (82%) after their artificial parthenogenetic activation. However, their ability to develop to the stage of blastocyst (12%) was suppressed when compared with oocytes activated immediately after their maturation (29%).
We report the first experimental observation of a bistable dynamo regime. A turbulent flow of liquid sodium is generated between two disks in the von Kármán geometry (VKS experiment). When one disk is kept at rest, bistability is observed between a stationary and an oscillatory magnetic field. The stationary and oscillatory branches occur in the vicinity of a codimension-two bifurcation that results from the coupling between two modes of magnetic field. We present an experimental study of the two regimes and study in detail the region of bistability that we understand in terms of dynamical system theory. Despite the very turbulent nature of the flow, the bifurcations of the magnetic field are correctly described by a low-dimensional model. In addition, the different regimes are robust; i.e. turbulent fluctuations do not drive any transition between the oscillatory and stationary states in the region of bistability.
Commission 20 has been involved in the discussion on discovery credit rules of solar system objects (mainly concerned with asteroids) in particular with the role played by dynamicists in recovering objects by linking their orbits with previous apparitions. A working group was set up to discuss the issue that was integrated by professional astronomers as well as amateurs. There was some exchange of opinions and conflicting views, but the trend of the majority was to keep the discovery credit for the discoverer whose observations led to the object's principal designation, as expressed in the MPC existing rules (see <cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/info/HowNamed.html>), considering only exceptionally credit for dynamicists when linkage of different apparitions led to the recovery of a lost object. The precise definition of non-trivial linkage should be worked out, and for the time being, the idea is to keep the existing MPC rules and, if necessary, to improve them, rather than starting a new set of rules.