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The present study aimed to compare the anti-biofilm activities of four commonly available antiseptic eardrops against biofilms from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and quinolone-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in vitro.
The anti-biofilm activities of 50 per cent Burow's solution, vinegar with water (1:1), 2 per cent acetic acid solution, and 4 per cent boric acid solution were evaluated using biofilm assays. Additionally, the anti-biofilm activities of the four antiseptic solutions against tympanostomy tube biofilms were compared using a scanning electron microscope.
The inhibition of biofilm formation from methicillin-resistant S aureus and quinolone-resistant P aeruginosa occurred after treatment with 4 per cent boric acid solution, 2 per cent acetic acid solution, and vinegar with water (1:1). However, 50 per cent Burow's solution did not exhibit effective anti-biofilm activity.
The results indicate that 4 per cent boric acid solution and vinegar with water (1:1) are potent inhibitors of biofilms from methicillin-resistant S aureus and quinolone-resistant P aeruginosa, and provide safe pH levels for avoiding ototoxicity.
Monolithic integrated thin film tandem solar cells consisting of a high bandgap perovskite top cell and a low bandgap thin film bottom cell are expected to reach higher power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) with lower manufacturing cost and environmental impacts than the market-dominant crystalline silicon photovoltaics. There have been several demonstrations of 4-terminal and 2-terminal perovskite tandem devices with CuInGaSe2 (CIGS) or CuInSe2 (CIS) and, similar to the other tandem structures, the optimization of this device relies on optimal choice for the perovskite bandgap and thickness. Therefore, further advancement will be enabled by tuning the perovskite absorber to maximize the photocurrent limited by the current match condition. Here, we systematically study the optical absorption and transmission of perovskite thin films with varying absorber band gap. Based on these results, we model the photocurrent generations in both perovskite and CIS subcells and estimate the performances of projected tandem devices by considering the ideally functioning perovskite and CIS device. Our results show that for perovskite layers with 500 nm thickness the optimal bandgap is around 1.6 eV. With these configurations, PCEs above 20% could be achieved by monolithically integrated perovskite/CIS tandem solar cells. Also by modelling the absorption at every layer we calculate the quantum efficiency at each subcell in addition to tracking optical losses.
Methods of obtaining large grain size and high crystallinity in absorber materials play an important role in fabrication of high-performance methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskite solar cells. Here we study the effect of adding small concentrations of Cd2+, Zn2+, and Fe2+salts to the perovskite precursor solution used in the single-step solution fabrication process. Enhanced grain size and crystallinity in MAPbI3 films were obtained by using 0.1% of Cd2+ or Zn2+in the precursor solution. Consequently, solar cells constructed with Cd- and Zn-doped perovskite films show a significant improvement in device performance. These results suggest that the process may be an effective and facile method to fabricate high-efficiency perovskite photovoltaic devices.
Over the last 40 years, many types of population genetic markers have been used to assess the population structure of the pest moth species Helicoverpa armigera. While this species is highly vagile, there is evidence of inter-continental population structure. Here, we examine Z-chromosome molecular markers within and between Chinese and Australian populations. Using 1352 polymorphic sites from 40 Z-linked loci, we compared two Chinese populations of moths separated by 700 km and found virtually no population structure (n = 41 and n = 54, with <1% of variation discriminating between populations). The levels of nucleotide diversity within these populations were consistent with previous estimates from introns in Z-linked genes of Australian samples (π = 0.028 vs. 0.03). Furthermore, all loci surveyed in these Chinese populations showed a skew toward rare variants, with ten loci having a significant Tajima's D statistic, suggesting that this species could have undergone a population expansion. Eight of the 40 loci had been examined in a previous study of Australian moths, of which six revealed very little inter-continental population structure. However, the two markers associated with the Cyp303a1 locus that has previously been proposed to be a target of a selective sweep, exhibited allele structuring between countries. Using a separate dataset of 19 Australian and four Chinese moths, we scanned the molecular variation distributed across the entire Z-chromosome and found distinct blocks of differentiation that include the region containing Cyp303a1. We recommend some of these loci join those associated with insecticide resistance to form a set of genes best suited to analyzing population structure in this global pest.
Radiocarbon (14C) is a radionuclide generated mainly through neutron-induced reactions in all types of nuclear reactors. Since most of the 14C released into the environment is in the form of gaseous emissions (CO2 and hydrocarbons), terrestrial plants are the primary indicators of increased 14C levels near nuclear power plants (NPPs). In 2013–2014, we collected samples of silver grasses (including common reed) and pine needles within 3 km of four South Korean NPP centers and measured 14C activities using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) at Seoul National University. The highest 14C activities were observed, respectively, in Wolsong>Hanul>Kori>Hanbit [220, 143, 127, and 123% modern carbon (pMC)].
To evaluate the clinical and radiological aspects of otic capsule sparing temporal bone fractures.
Using medical records, 188 temporal bones of 173 patients with otic capsule sparing temporal bone fractures were evaluated. Otoscopic findings and symptoms, facial paralysis, and hearing loss were assessed.
Using regional analysis, 7 fractures were classified as type I, 85 as type II, 169 as type III and 114 as type IV. Fourteen of the 17 facial paralysis cases improved to House–Brackmann grade II or lower at an average of 57.6 days after the initial evaluation. Thirty-one patients underwent initial and follow-up pure tone audiometry examinations. The air–bone gap closed significantly from 27.2 dB at an average of 21.8 days post-trauma to 19.6 dB at an average of 79.9 days post-trauma, without the need for surgical intervention.
Initial conservative treatment for facial paralysis or conductive hearing loss is possible in otic capsule sparing fracture cases after careful evaluation of the patient.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production has been very rare in serotype K1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 strains, which are well-known invasive community strains. Among 92 ESBL-producing strains identified in 218 isolates from nine Asian countries, serotype K1 K. pneumoniae strains were screened. Two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Singapore and Indonesia were determined to be serotype K1 and ST23. Their plasmids, which contain CTX-M-15 genes, are transferable rendering the effective transfer of ESBL resistance plasmids to other organisms.
The present study investigated the effects of different levels of urea nitrogen (N) fertilizer on nutrient accumulation, in vitro rumen gas production and fermentation characteristics of forage oat straw (FOS) from oats (Avena sativa L. ‘Qinghai 444’) grown in the Tibet region of China. Fertilizer, applied at seeding (day 1), stem elongation (days 52–54) and heading (days 63–67), increased plant height and prolonged the maturity stage of the plant by 4–11 days compared with the non-fertilized control. Oat plants were harvested at maturity at the node 3–4 cm above ground, and then separated into grains and FOS. Both FOS and grain yields increased quadratically with increasing N fertilization, and their theoretical maximums occurred at the N fertilizing rates of 439 and 385 kg/ha, respectively. Increases in N fertilization did not affect the hemicellulose content of FOS, but substantially promoted the accumulation of crude protein, cellulose and lignin, resulting in a decrease in the energy content available for metabolism. A 72-h incubation of FOS with rumen fluids from lactating cows showed that increasing N resulted in FOS that showed a slower fermentation rate, decreased in vitro dry matter disappearance and lower cumulative gas production, but unchanged fermentation gas composition. Nitrogen fertilization increased the final pH in culture fluids and decreased the microbial volatile fatty acid (VFA) production. The molar proportions of acetate and propionate were not affected, but molar propionate proportion decreased linearly with increasing urea fertilization, and consequently, the ratio of lipogenic (e.g., acetate and butyrate)-to-glucogenic acids (propionate) tended to increase. In brief, increasing urea N fertilization promoted the growth of forage oats and increased the biomass yield as well as the crude protein and cellulose content of FOS. Considering the negative effect of increased lignin content on nutrient digestibility and total VFA production, the suggested range of urea N fertilization is 156–363 kg N/ha for forage oats planted in Tibet to retain the nutritive value of FOS in the rumen.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
It has been reported that the characteristics of a very old wood charcoal sample are different from those of modern wood charcoal according to its state of preservation (Cohen-Ofri et al. 2006; Rebollo et al. 2008). It can be assumed that these differences may lead to some difficulties when radiocarbon dating very old wood charcoal samples. To investigate this problem, we studied a carbonized trunk of Prunus pendula for. acendens tree buried in lava and found at the Hantan River lava plateau on the Korean Peninsula. The 14C date of this sample was previously measured as >30,000 BP. However, separate 14C results of its outer crust and inner wood showed a considerable difference, exceeding the estimated age differences by tree-ring counting. To study the reason for this discrepancy, optical microscopy and FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) were performed to examine the differences in the structural and chemical states of the samples. For reference data and to expand our understanding of very old wood charcoal, we applied the same analysis tools (AMS, FTIR, FE-SEM, EDS, and optical microscopy) to a variety of wood charcoals and original wood. From these analyses, we noticed considerable chemical changes in the outer crust sample, and this might explain the age discrepancy. Although it seems that the age difference might be due to the digestion of 14C-free CO2 from a volcanic environment, this explanation would not account for such a large value in the age difference.
This study evaluated whether primary tumour characteristics are associated with specific features of metastatic lymph nodes in papillary thyroid carcinoma patients.
A retrospective review of 411 patients with pathologically diagnosed cervical lymph node metastasis was conducted.
A metastatic lymph node focus size of at least 2 mm was independently associated with a primary tumour size of at least 1 cm (hazard ratio 1.962) and with male sex (hazard ratio 1.947). A number of at least five lymph node metastases was independently associated with a primary tumour size of at least 1 cm (hazard ratio 2.863), extrathyroidal extension (hazard ratio 1.737) and male sex (hazard ratio 1.689). Extranodal extension was independently associated with a primary tumour size of at least 1 cm (hazard ratio 2.288), extrathyroidal extension (2.201) and male sex (hazard ratio 1.733).
Primary papillary thyroid carcinoma characteristics are related to the pathological features of lymph node metastases.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
A completely randomized experiment for planting highland barley in 36 field plots of the Lhasa Agricultural Experiment Station was applied to investigate the effect of urea nitrogen (N) fertilization levels of 0 (control), 156, 258, 363, 465 and 570 kg/ha on nutrient accumulation, in vitro rumen gas production and fermentation characteristics of highland barley straw (HBS). Each urea application was divided into three portions of 0.4, 0.3 and 0.3 and sequentially fertilized at seeding (growth stage (GS) 0), stem elongation (GS 32) and heading (GS 49), respectively. The maturity stage lasted 5–13 days longer in response to the urea N fertilization compared with the control. After removing grains, HBS biomass was harvested at maturity. The biomass yields of leaf, stem, straw and grain were increased quadratically with increasing urea N fertilization, and HBS and grain yields peaked at the estimated urea N fertilization levels of 385 and 428 kg/ha, respectively. The increase of urea N fertilization increased the accumulation of crude protein, cellulose and lignin, and decreased the content of ash and hemicellulose in HBS, resulting in a decrease of the energy content available to be metabolized. After incubating HBS for 72 h with rumen fluids from lactating cows, the urea N fertilization decreased in vitro dry matter disappearance and cumulative gas production, and slightly altered fermentation end-gas composition. Urea N fertilization decreased microbial volatile fatty acid production, but did not alter the ratio of lipogenic acetate and butyrate to glucogenic propionate. In a brief, the current urea N fertilization strategy promoted the growth of the highland barley and increased biomass yield, protein and cellulose accumulation of HBS. A urea N fertilization level ⩽385 kg/ha could be sufficient for growth of highland barley in Tibet without a consequent nutritive reduction in ruminal digestion.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
To examine the effects of complex cognitive (mahjong) and physical (Tai Chi) activities on dementia severity in nursing home residents with dementia.
Cluster-randomized open-label controlled design. 110 residents were randomized by nursing home into three conditions: mahjong, Tai Chi, and simple handicrafts (control). Activities were conducted three times a week for 12 weeks. Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) was taken at 0 (baseline), 3 (post-treatment), 6, and 9 months. The outcome measure was CDR sum-of-box, which is a composite measure of both cognitive and functional deterioration in dementia.
Intent-to-treat analyses were performed using multilevel regression models. Apolipoprotein E ε4 allele and education were included as covariates. Neither treatments had effects on the cognitive and functional components of the CDR, but mahjong had a significant interaction with time on the CDR sum-of-box total, suggesting a slower rate of global deterioration in the mahjong group as compared with the control group.
Mahjong led to a gradual improvement in global functioning and a slightly slower rate of dementia progression over time. The effect was generalized and was not specific to cognition or daily functioning.