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With growing demand for better fuel economy for automobiles, multimaterial solutions are increasingly being utilized in the automotive industry for reducing weight in the vehicle body structure. This poses challenges in terms of joining dissimilar metals, especially those with vastly different properties such as aluminum to steel joining. General Motors has developed a new resistance spot-welding technique for dissimilar materials using a multi-ring domed (MRD) electrode and multiple solidification weld schedules to address this challenge. Originally developed for aluminum to aluminum resistance spot welding, this technology is being deployed as the mainstream aluminum joining solution to leverage existing infrastructure and workforce competency in resistance spot welding. With the recent expansion of MRD technology to aluminum to steel resistance spot welding, there is an ever-greater need to experimentally verify the quality of each aluminum to steel resistance spot-weld application with limited time and resources. Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) would enable the transfer of resistance spot-welding technology to dissimilar aluminum to steel joints. This article describes the current state of the art of aluminum to steel resistance spot welding and the challenges in developing a robust NDE process for this technology.
The technique of plotting a complete pole figure composed of data points in both longitude and latitude from 0 to 180 degrees by a computer program is described. X-ray data were obtained by a reflection method from a specimen cut into three sections mutually perpendicular to one another. The computer program calculates each position in the pole figure based on the time rate of change of the tilt angle ϕ and the spin angle α which are transformed into rectangular coordinates.
The advantage of the present technique is to minimize the x-ray intensity loss due to geometric defocusing, since each section of a given specimen is required to tilt not more than 55 degrees. Due to the fact that a complete pole figure is plotted, one is allowed to examine the symmetry or lack of symmetry in a given specimen with respect to a set of references axes.
We propose an alternative to the prevailing framework for modelling tear-film breakup, which posits a layered structure with a mucus layer next to the cornea and an aqueous layer on top. Experimental evidence shows continuous variation of mucin concentration throughout the tear film, with no distinct boundary between the two layers. Thus, we consider a continuous-viscosity model that replaces the mucus and aqueous layers by a single liquid layer with continuous profiles of mucin concentration and viscosity, which are governed by advection–diffusion of mucin. The lipids coating the tear film are treated as insoluble surfactants as previously, and slip is allowed on the ocular surface. Using the thin-film approximation, we carry out linear stability analysis and nonlinear numerical simulations of tear-film breakup driven by van der Waals attraction. Results show that for the same average viscosity, having more viscous material near the ocular surface stabilizes the film and prolongs the breakup time. Compared with the layered models, the continuous-viscosity model predicts film breakup times that are in better agreement with experimental data. Finally, we also suggest a hydrodynamic explanation for how pathological loss of membrane-associated mucins may lead to faster breakup.
The Inner Mongolian Plateau lies along the northern limit reached by the East Asian summer monsoon. This geographic setting makes it especially sensitive to environmental change and an excellent site for understanding Quaternary East Asian monsoon variability. In this study we present new results of hydrogen isotopic compositions of fatty acids extracted from sediments, which were used to construct Holocene paleoprecipitation (or moisture) changes in Northern China. The hydrogen isotopic composition (D/H ratio) of n-acids in the sedimentary sequence of the Duoerji peat, Inner Mongolia, was determined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Changes in the precipitation from middle Inner Mongolia are recorded by the D/H ratio of n-C20, n-C22, n-C24, n-C26, n-C28 acids (δD). From 10–9 ka, the relatively high δD values indicate reduced precipitation in the Early Holocene. Subsequently, increased precipitation is reflected by reduced δD values from 9–5.5 ka. After 5.5 ka, gradually increasing δD values record an overall decrease in precipitation. The precipitation trends established for the Duoerji sequence are consistent with other major paleoclimate proxies in the East Asian monsoon region, especially with a distinct Holocene optimum of increased monsoonal activity from 9–5.5 ka. The δD resulting paleo-precipitation record clearly shows that the Holocene climate in Northern China is basically controlled by the insolation changes.
Nasal irrigation is commonly performed in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This study systematically assessed the clinical efficacy of nasal irrigation from the medical literature.
The PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched using a comprehensive strategy, limited to English-language articles, published from October 1971 to March 2017, and comprising human subjects.
A total of 824 trials were identified, 5 of which, involving 331 participants, were included in this systematic review. After selection, only three trials were eligible for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Nasal irrigation using normal saline and various solutions was found to be effective in reducing symptom scores and endoscopic scores for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Comparison of outcome measures, such as eosinophil count reduction, revealed that various solutions are more effective than normal saline alone; however, no statistical significance was found in terms of reduced symptom or endoscopic scores.
Based on the current limited evidence, nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, when comparing various solutions with normal saline, no significant difference was found in symptom scores or endoscopic scores.
The business model for organizational diversity states that “diverse” organizations have a competitive advantage over non-“diverse organizations. These advantages arise from increased creativity,1 problem solving,2,3 decision making,4 and overall quality of results,5 among other observed outcomes. Within academia, increasing diversity benefits performance and persistence of students by reducing the deleterious effects of solo status (being the only representative of a social group)/tokenism (member of a minority social group in a given organization) and stereotype threat.
The uptake of genomic selection (GS) by the swine industry is still limited by the costs of genotyping. A feasible alternative to overcome this challenge is to genotype animals using an affordable low-density (LD) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chip panel followed by accurate imputation to a high-density panel. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to screen incremental densities of LD panels in order to systematically identify one that balances the tradeoffs among imputation accuracy, prediction accuracy of genomic estimated breeding values (GEBVs), and genotype density (directly associated with genotyping costs). Genotypes using the Illumina Porcine60K BeadChip were available for 1378 Duroc (DU), 2361 Landrace (LA) and 3192 Yorkshire (YO) pigs. In addition, pseudo-phenotypes (de-regressed estimated breeding values) for five economically important traits were provided for the analysis. The reference population for genotyping imputation consisted of 931 DU, 1631 LA and 2103 YO animals and the remainder individuals were included in the validation population of each breed. A LD panel of 3000 evenly spaced SNPs (LD3K) yielded high imputation accuracy rates: 93.78% (DU), 97.07% (LA) and 97.00% (YO) and high correlations (>0.97) between the predicted GEBVs using the actual 60 K SNP genotypes and the imputed 60 K SNP genotypes for all traits and breeds. The imputation accuracy was influenced by the reference population size as well as the amount of parental genotype information available in the reference population. However, parental genotype information became less important when the LD panel had at least 3000 SNPs. The correlation of the GEBVs directly increased with an increase in imputation accuracy. When genotype information for both parents was available, a panel of 300 SNPs (imputed to 60 K) yielded GEBV predictions highly correlated (⩾0.90) with genomic predictions obtained based on the true 60 K panel, for all traits and breeds. For a small reference population size with no parents on reference population, it is recommended the use of a panel at least as dense as the LD3K and, when there are two parents in the reference population, a panel as small as the LD300 might be a feasible option. These findings are of great importance for the development of LD panels for swine in order to reduce genotyping costs, increase the uptake of GS and, therefore, optimize the profitability of the swine industry.
In the current intensive production system, ruminants are often fed high-grain (HG) diets. However, this feeding pattern often causes rumen metabolic disorders and may further trigger laminitis, the exact mechanism is not clear. This study investigated the effect of HG diet feeding on fermentative and microbial changes in the rumen and on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the lamellar tissue. In all, 12 male goats were fed a hay diet (0% grain; n=6) or an HG diet (56.5% grain; n=6). On day 50 of treatment, samples of blood, rumen content, and lamellar tissue of hooves of goats were collected. The data showed that compared with the hay group, HG-fed goats had lower (P<0.05) rumen pH but higher (P<0.05) total volatile fatty acids and lactate in the rumen and higher (P<0.05) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels in the rumen and blood. HG diet feeding altered the composition of rumen bacterial community, and correspondingly, the results suggested that their functions in the HG group were also altered. HG diet feeding increased (P<0.05) the expression of interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and MMP-2 mRNA in the lamellar tissues compared with the hay group. Correlation analysis indicated that the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines were positively correlated with MMP-2 expression in lamellar tissues. Overall, these results revealed that HG feeding altered the patterns of rumen fermentation and the composition and functions of rumen bacterial community, and lead to higher levels of LPS in the peripheral blood, and further activated the inflammatory response in lamellar tissues, which may progress to the level of laminar damage.
Nanocarbons have been catalytically grown since 1993. However, even today, the formation mechanisms of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene are not sufficiently understood. This sustained challenge has been an engine for the development in theory concepts and computational methods, tackling the problem of well-controlled production of these nanomaterials. This article discusses how experimental discoveries and theoretical approaches evolved hand-in-hand for the successful understanding of challenging issues, highlighting parallels and distinctions between graphene and CNTs. Key aspects include the mechanisms of nucleation and CNT-liftoff, chiral symmetry selection and control, rates of growth and island shapes, mechanisms defining single chirality of the nanotubes, and ways to suppress grain boundaries in the quest for ever larger and faster growing single-crystal graphene, or longest defect-free CNTs. The theme of catalyst chemistry and structure, either as a nanoparticle or a planar substrate, is traced through the stages of nanocarbon formation, with focus on theoretically generalizable findings.
To explore the effects of maternal nutrition on offspring muscle characteristics, a total of 56 sows were assigned to one of the four dietary groups during gestation: control (CON), or control diets supplemented with methyl donor (MET), bisphenol A (BPA), and combined BPA and MET (BPA+MET). Compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed a higher meat redness value, but lower glycogen content in the longissimus thoracis (LT). Moreover, compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed lower LT glycogen synthase (GS) mRNA levels at birth and the finishing stage, and increased methylation at the GS promoter. Prenatal BPA exposure reduced the pH and redness value of meat, but increased the lightness value, lactate content, glycolytic potential and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme activity in the LT muscle. Prenatal BPA exposure increased LDH mRNA levels in the LT muscle at birth and the finishing stage, and reduced methylation at the LDH promoter. Thus, maternal MET affects muscle GS and LDH expression via DNA methylation, thereby resulting in persistent effects on pork quality.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We report the discovery in the Greenland ice sheet of a discrete layer of free nanodiamonds (NDs) in very high abundances, implying most likely either an unprecedented influx of extraterrestrial (ET) material or a cosmic impact event that occurred after the last glacial episode. From that layer, we extracted n-diamonds and hexagonal diamonds (lonsdaleite), an accepted ET impact indicator, at abundances of up to about 5×106 times background levels in adjacent younger and older ice. The NDs in the concentrated layer are rounded, suggesting they most likely formed during a cosmic impact through some process similar to carbon-vapor deposition or high-explosive detonation. This morphology has not been reported previously in cosmic material, but has been observed in terrestrial impact material. This is the first highly enriched, discrete layer of NDs observed in glacial ice anywhere, and its presence indicates that ice caps are important archives of ET events of varying magnitudes. Using a preliminary ice chronology based on oxygen isotopes and dust stratigraphy, the ND-rich layer appears to be coeval with ND abundance peaks reported at numerous North American sites in a sedimentary layer, the Younger Dryas boundary layer (YDB), dating to 12.9 ± 0.1 ka. However, more investigation is needed to confirm this association.
Mycobacterial diseases are prevalent in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, especially those receiving tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor (TNFi). However, the impact of cancer development on the risk of mycobacterial diseases among RA patients is unknown. Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database were used to conduct a retrospective study to assess the occurrence of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients developing cancer (cancer-positive), those using TNFi (TNFi-exposure), those with cancer and using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-comb), and those without cancer and not using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-free). Cancer and TNFi exposure were time-dependent, and independent risk factors of mycobacterial diseases were assessed by Cox regression. Among 1344 RA patients diagnosed during 2000–2013, 68 (5·1%) developed cancer before their end points. The incidence rates of mycobacterial diseases in the cancer-positive (n = 56), TNFi-exposure (n = 290), cancer-TNFi-comb (n = 12), and cancer-TNFi-free (n = 986) subgroups were 6·7, 2·0, 7·6, and 1·3 per 1000 person-years, respectively. As compared with the cancer-TNFi-free group, the risk for mycobacterial diseases increased for the TNFi-exposure group (adjusted HR = 3·6, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1·1–11·5, P = 0·032) and remained high for cancer-positive (adjusted HR = 14·6, 95% CI 3·3–63·7, P < 0·001) after adjustment. This study suggested that cancer development increased the risk of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients, and risk assessment for this subgroup should be considered.
The use of limiters may impact both accuracy and resolution of a solution. And the accuracy and resolution are highly dependent on the amount of numerical dissipation in a scheme, so the ability of limiters to control numerical dissipation should be improved. In this view, based on the examination of several classical limiters to control dissipation, a class of general piecewise-linear flux limiters (termed GPL limiters) are presented in this paper for Multi-step time-space-separated unsteady schemes. The GPL limiters can satisfy the second-order TVD criterion and contain some existing limiters such as Superbee and Minmod. Using the decrement of discrete total entropy to represent the amount of numerical dissipation, an entropy dissipation function of GPL limiters is defined with three parameter variables. By proving the monotonicity of this function, a new GPL type limiter (named MDF individually), which can minimize the numerical dissipation and improve the calculation accuracy, is proposed. A high resolution entropy-consistent scheme is obtained by MDF limiter, which will be proved to satisfy entropy stability and entropy consistency. Computational results of this scheme for several 1-D and 2-D Euler test cases are presented, demonstrating the accuracy, monotonicity and robustness of MDF limiter.
Growing interest in the use of CO2 as a feedstock for fuel generation has led to increased interest in solar CO2 electrolysis for renewable fuel generation which has a variety of applications ranging from providing renewable sources for energy-dense carbon fuels, to curbing high-density emissions from power plants, industries and automobiles. The challenges of integrated solar-to-carbon fuel converters, where the photovoltaic (PV) material is immersed in the electrolyte, are well-known: the need for unique PV cell designs; material incompatibility; corrosion; and optical losses. In this paper, a PV-electrolysis system is presented, where a flow-cell electrolyzer is power-matched to a high-performance solar PV module array which has two system design advantages: 1) use of standard PV cells external to the electrolyzer, which allows de-coupling the design, fabrication and operation of the PV system from that of the electrolyzer; and 2) enabling optimization of the PV configuration to maximize power coupling efficiency to the specific electrolyzer Tafel curve, with or without the use of electronic power-conditioning devices. The implemented system resulted in a peak SFE of 6.5%, a competitive solar-to-fuel efficiency (SFE) figure to those reported in literature.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and identifying effective treatment strategies is crucial for the control of depression. Well-conducted systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses can provide the best evidence for supporting treatment decision-making. Nevertheless, the trustworthiness of conclusions can be limited by lack of methodological rigour. This study aims to assess the methodological quality of a representative sample of SRs on depression treatments.
A cross-sectional study on the bibliographical and methodological characteristics of SRs published on depression treatments trials was conducted. Two electronic databases (the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects) were searched for potential SRs. SRs with at least one meta-analysis on the effects of depression treatments were considered eligible. The methodological quality of included SRs was assessed using the validated AMSTAR (Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews) tool. The associations between bibliographical characteristics and scoring on AMSTAR items were analysed using logistic regression analysis.
A total of 358 SRs were included and appraised. Over half of included SRs (n = 195) focused on non-pharmacological treatments and harms were reported in 45.5% (n = 163) of all studies. Studies varied in methods and reporting practices: only 112 (31.3%) took the risk of bias among primary studies into account when formulating conclusions; 245 (68.4%) did not fully declare conflict of interests; 93 (26.0%) reported an ‘a priori’ design and 104 (29.1%) provided lists of both included and excluded studies. Results from regression analyses showed: more recent publications were more likely to report ‘a priori’ designs [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09–1.57], to describe study characteristics fully (AOR 1.16, 95% CI 1.06–1.28), and to assess presence of publication bias (AOR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06–1.19), but were less likely to list both included and excluded studies (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.81–0.92). SRs published in journals with higher impact factor (AOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04–1.25), completed by more review authors (AOR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.24) and SRs on non-pharmacological treatments (AOR 1.62, 95% CI 1.01–2.59) were associated with better performance in publication bias assessment.
The methodological quality of included SRs is disappointing. Future SRs should strive to improve rigour by considering of risk of bias when formulating conclusions, reporting conflict of interests and authors should explicitly describe harms. SR authors should also use appropriate methods to combine the results, prevent language and publication biases, and ensure timely updates.
As biomarkers of dietary intake or disease risk factor, n-3 fatty acid (FA) can be measured in plasma phospholipids (PL), total lipids (TL) or erythrocytes. However, the numeric relationships between n-3 FA in these lipid pools are not clear. Our goal was to derive conversion ratios for plasma and erythrocyte n-3 FA. Potential studies were identified through systematic literature search in PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Library of Systematic reviews (1950 to October 2014). In all, fifty-six studies reporting n-3 in healthy individuals were included, of which thirty-four articles reported plasma PL and erythrocytes, and twenty-two reported plasma TL and erythrocytes. Meta-regressions were performed to quantify the ratio between plasma and erythrocyte n-3 FA weight percentages, controlling for covariates including age, sex and study design. The conversion ratios from plasma PL to erythrocytes for EPA, DHA, DPA and total n-3 PUFA are 0·75, 1·16, 2·32 and 1·22; the corresponding conversion ratios from plasma TL to erythrocytes are 1·00, 2·10, 3·85 and 2·08, respectively. The conversion ratios were validated using reported values from the literature and measured data from fifty individuals. The relative error of the predicted results were within 10 % of the mean reported values except for EPA, and the individual measured data except for DPA, in plasma TL. The conversion ratios between plasma PL and erythrocytes were more stable compared with plasma TL. Such conversion ratios will be useful for nutritionists or public health professionals to assess FA profiles of different populations using data collected with different methodologies.