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Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
A numerical comparison of the Monte Carlo (MC) simulation and the finite-difference method for pricing European options under a regime-switching framework is presented in this paper. We consider pricing options on stocks having two to four volatility regimes. Numerical results show that the MC simulation outperforms the Crank–Nicolson (CN) finite-difference method in both the low-frequency case and the high-frequency case. Even though both methods have linear growth, as the number of regimes increases, the computational time of CN grows much faster than that of MC. In addition, for the two-state case, we propose a much faster simulation algorithm whose computational time is almost independent of the switching frequency. We also investigate the performances of two variance-reduction techniques: antithetic variates and control variates, to further improve the efficiency of the simulation.
A structural neuroanatomical change indicating a reduction in brain tissue is a notable feature of schizophrenia. Several pathophysiological processes such as aberrant cortical maturation, progressive tissue loss and compensatory tissue increase could contribute to the structural changes seen in schizophrenia.
We studied cortical thickness using surface-based morphometry in 98 clinically stable patients with schizophrenia and 83 controls. Using a pattern classification approach, we studied whether the features that discriminate patients from controls vary across the different stages of the illness. Using a covariance analysis, we also investigated if concurrent increases accompany decreases in cortical thickness.
Very high levels of accuracy (96.3%), specificity (98.8%) and sensitivity (88%) were noted when classifying patients with <2 years of illness from controls. Within the patient group, reduced thickness was consistently accompanied by increased thickness in distributed brain regions. A pattern of cortical amelioration or normalization (i.e. reduced deviation from controls) was noted with increasing illness duration. While temporo-limbic and fronto-parietal regions showed reduced thickness, the occipital cortex showed increased thickness, especially in those with a long-standing illness.
A compensatory remodelling process might contribute to the cortical thickness variations in different stages of schizophrenia. Subtle cerebral reorganization reflecting the inherent plasticity of brain may occur concomitantly with processes contributing to tissue reduction in adult patients with schizophrenia.
We discuss the self-consistent time-dependent numerical boundary conditions on the basis of theory of characteristics for magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations of solar plasma flows. The importance of using self-consistent boundary conditions is demonstrated by using an example of modeling coronal dynamic structures. This example demonstrates that the self-consistent boundary conditions assure the correctness of the numerical solutions. Otherwise, erroneous numerical solutions will appear.
Globally, the prevalence of oesophageal cancer cases is particularly high in China. Since 1982, oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) has been hypothesized as a risk factor for oesophageal cancer, but no firm evidence of HPV infection in oesophageal cancer has been established to date. We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis to estimate the high-risk HPV-18 prevalence of oesophageal cancer in the Chinese population. Eligible studies published from 1 January 2005 to 12 July 2014 were retrieved via computer searches of English and Chinese literature databases (including Medline, EMBASE, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure and Wanfang Data Knowledge Service Platform). A random-effects model was used to calculate pooled prevalence and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A total of 2556 oesophageal cancer cases from 19 studies were included in this meta-analysis. Overall, the pooled HPV-18 prevalence in oesophageal cancer cases was 4·1% (95% CI 2·7–5·5) in China, 6·1% (95% CI 2·9–9·3) in fresh or frozen biopsies and 4·0% (95% CI 2·3–5·8) in paraffin-embedded fixed biopsies, 8·2% (95% CI 4·6–11·7) by the E6/E7 region and 2·2% (95% CI 0·9–3·6) by the L1 region of the HPV gene. This meta-analysis indicated that China has a moderate HPV-18 prevalence of oesophageal cancer compared to cervical cancer, although there is variation between different variables. Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of HPV in oesophagus carcinogenesis with careful consideration of study design and laboratory detection method, providing more accurate assessment of HPV status in oesophageal cancer.
Mycoplasma infections are most frequently associated with disease in the urogenital or respiratory tracts and, in most cases, mycoplasmas infect the host persistently. In HIV-infected individuals the prevalence and role of genital mycoplasmas has not been well studied. To investigate the six species of Mycoplasma and the risk factors for infection in Jiangsu province, first-void urine and venous blood samples were collected and epidemiological questionnaires were administered after informed consent. A total of 1541 HIV/AIDS patients were recruited in this study. The overall infection rates of six Mycoplasma species were: Ureaplasma urealyticum (26·7%), Mycoplasma hominis (25·3%), M. fermentans (5·1%), M. genitalium (20·1%), M. penetrans (1·6%) and M. pirum (15·4%). The Mycoplasma infection rate in the unmarried group was lower than that of the married, divorced and widowed groups [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1·432, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·077–1·904, P < 0·05]. The patients who refused highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) had a much higher risk of Mucoplasma infection (aOR 1·357, 95% CI 1·097–1·679, P < 0·05). Otherwise, a high CD4+ T cell count was a protective factor against Mycoplasma infection (aOR 0·576, 95% CI 0·460–0·719, P < 0·05). Further research will be required to confirm a causal relationship and to identify risk factors for Mycoplasma infection in HIV/AIDS populations.
Findings from family and twin studies support a genetic contribution to the development of sexual orientation in men. However, previous studies have yielded conflicting evidence for linkage to chromosome Xq28.
We conducted a genome-wide linkage scan on 409 independent pairs of homosexual brothers (908 analyzed individuals in 384 families), by far the largest study of its kind to date.
We identified two regions of linkage: the pericentromeric region on chromosome 8 (maximum two-point LOD = 4.08, maximum multipoint LOD = 2.59), which overlaps with the second strongest region from a previous separate linkage scan of 155 brother pairs; and Xq28 (maximum two-point LOD = 2.99, maximum multipoint LOD = 2.76), which was also implicated in prior research.
Results, especially in the context of past studies, support the existence of genes on pericentromeric chromosome 8 and chromosome Xq28 influencing development of male sexual orientation.
To investigate whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 3 and 9 affect the susceptibility of hepatitis B virus (HBV) intrauterine transmission, we genotyped 399 neonates for TLR3 (c.1377C/T) [rs3775290] and TLR9 (G2848A) [rs352140] using polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR–RFLP). A femoral venous blood sample was obtained from these subjects. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) were measured using chemiluminescence immunoassay kits and hepatitis B virus DNA (HBV DNA) levels were determined by fluorescence quantitative PCR assay. Our results showed that when adjusting for maternal HBeAg, maternal HBV DNA and mode of delivery, allele ‘T’ for SNP c.1377C/T was significantly associated with HBV intrauterine transmission susceptibility [adjusted OR (aOR) 0·55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·34–0·91, P = 0·020] and the TT genotype decreased the risk of HBV intrauterine transmission (aOR 0·28, 95% CI 0·09–0·91, P = 0·033). Allele ‘A’ for SNP G2848A was significantly associated with HBV intrauterine transmission susceptibility (aOR 0·62, 95% CI 0·39–1·00, P = 0·048) and the GA genotype protected neonates from HBV intrauterine transmission (aOR 0·45, 95% CI 0·22–0·93, P = 0·031). The TLR3 (c.1377C/T) and TLR9 (G2848A) polymorphisms may be relevant for HBV intrauterine transmission susceptibility, although the reduction in risk to HBV intrauterine transmission is modest and the biological mechanism of the observed association merits further investigation.
Active symptom surveillance was applied to three selected communities ( 160 147 persons) in Tianjin from 2010 to 2012. We examined 1089 individuals showing pertussis-like symptoms, of which 1022 nasopharyngeal specimens were tested for pertussis by polymerase chain reaction and 802 sera for anti-pertussis toxin antibodies. Of the total cases tested, 113 were confirmed, and their demographic, clinical, and vaccination-related data were collected. The annual incidence was 23·52 cases/100 000 persons among communities, which was 16·22 times that obtained via hospital reports for the same period (P < 0·001). The actual incidence in the 15–69 years age group was most significantly underestimated by hospitals, given that it was 43·08 times that of the reported hospital rate. Among the cases aged <15 years, 84·5% were individuals who had been fully vaccinated. The misdiagnosis rate was as high as 94·69%, and only 5·31% of the confirmed pertussis cases were properly diagnosed as pertussis at their first medical visit. Pertussis incidence in China has been severely underestimated and this was in part due to a high misdiagnosis rate. Adolescents and adults have become new high-risk populations. Future work should focus on reinforcing immunization programmes, especially among adolescents and adults.
To determine whether controlling the prescription of targeted antibiotics would translate to a measurable reduction in hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) rates.
A multicenter before-and-after intervention comparative study.
Ten medical centers in the greater New York region. Intervention group comprised of 6 facilities with early antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). The 4 facilities without ASPs made up the nonintervention group.
Intervention facilities identified target antibiotics using case-control studies and implemented ASP-based strategies to control their use. Pre- and postintervention hospital-onset CDI rates and antibiotic consumption were compared for a 20-month period from June 2010 to January 2012. Antibiotic usage was compared using defined daily dose, days of therapy, and number of courses prescribed. Comparisons used bivariate and regression techniques.
Intervention facilities identified piperacillin/tazobactam, fluoroquinolones, or cefepime (odds ratio, 2.0-9.8 in CDI case patients compared with those without CDI) as intervention targets and selected several interventions (all included a component of audit and feedback). Varying degrees of success were observed in reducing antibiotic consumption over time. Total target antibiotic use significantly decreased (P < .05) when measured by days of therapy and number of courses but not by defined daily dose. Intravenous moxifloxacin and oral ciprofloxacin use showed significant reduction when measured by defined daily dose and days of therapy (P ≤ .01). Number of courses with all forms of these antibiotics was reduced (P ≤ .005). Intervention hospitals reported fewer hospital-onset CDI cases (2.8 rate point difference) compared with nonintervention hospitals; however, we were unable to show statistically significant decreases in aggregate hospital-onset CDI either between intervention and nonintervention groups or within the intervention group over time.
Although decreases in target antibiotic consumption did not translate into reductions of hospital-onset CDI in this study, many valuable lessons (including implementation strategies and antibiotic consumption measures) were learned. The findings can inform potential policy decisions regarding incorporating control of CDI and ASP as healthcare quality measures.
We employ intense and short pulses of energetic lithium (Li+) ions to investigate the relaxation dynamics of radiation induced defects in single crystal silicon samples. Ions both create damage and track damage evolution simultaneously at short time scales when we use the channeling effect as a diagnostic tool. Ion pulses, ∼20 to 600 ns long and with peak currents of up to ∼1 A are formed in an induction type linear accelerator, the Neutralized Drift Compression eXperiment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. By rotating silicon (<100>) membranes of different thicknesses and changing the incident ion energy, the fraction of channeled ions in the transmitted beam could be varied. In preliminary experiments we find that the Li ion intensity is not high enough to generate overlapping cascades (in time and space) that would be necessary to measure a change in the shape of the current waveform of the transmitted ion beam. We discuss the concept of pump-probe type experiments with short ion beam pulses to access defect dynamics in materials and outline a path to increasing damage rates with heavier ions and by the application of longitudinal and lateral pulse compression techniques.
To investigate the frequencies of dendritic cells (DCs) and Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) in neonates of HBsAg-positive mothers with different HBV serological profiles, we conducted a study in Taiyuan, China. The study included 144 HBsAg-positive mothers and their neonates. The frequencies of DCs and TLR3 were determined using four-colour flow-cytometric analysis. DC and TLR3 frequencies were not related to HBV intrauterine transmission, maternal HBeAg positivity, maternal HBV DNA positivity and HBeAg/HBV DNA double-positivity. The plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) frequencies in neonates whose maternal HBV DNA was >5 × 107 copies/ml decreased significantly compared to that in neonates whose maternal HBV DNA was ⩽5 × 107 copies/ml (Z = − 2·170, P = 0·03) or whose maternal HBV DNA was negative (Z = − 1·981 P = 0·048). This study suggests that neonatal pDC frequencies decrease when maternal HBV DNA loads are >5 × 107 copies/ml.
The false thyroid capsule is an important anatomical structure involved in thyroidectomy, yet it is rarely studied. This study aimed to define the anatomy of the false thyroid capsule, and its clinical significance.
A prospective study was performed involving 151 patients with goitre who underwent thyroid lobectomy. The anatomy of the false thyroid capsule was carefully documented intra-operatively.
The false thyroid capsule enclosed the inferior and middle thyroid veins and the superior thyroid vessels, forming a mesentery-like structure by attaching to the gland. Once the unilateral lobe had been removed, the thyroid mesentery could be seen to have a C-shaped edge. The recurrent laryngeal nerve, inferior thyroid artery and parathyroid glands were located beneath the C-shaped edge of the thyroid mesentery.
The thyroid mesentery is a distinctive structure that can be used as a guide for surgical dissection.
In order to achieve high performance, the design of devices for large-area electronics needs to be optimized despite material or fabrication shortcomings. In numerous emerging technologies thin-film transistor (TFT) performance is hindered by contact effects. Here, we show that contact effects can be used constructively to create devices with performance characteristics unachievable by conventional transistor designs. Source-gated transistors (SGTs) are not designed with increasing transistor speed, mobility or sub-threshold slope in mind, but rather with improving certain aspects critical for real-world large area electronics such as stability, uniformity, power efficiency and gain. SGTs can achieve considerably lower saturation voltage and power dissipation compared to conventional devices driven at the same current; higher output impedance for over two orders of magnitude higher intrinsic gain; improved bias stress stability in amorphous materials; higher resilience to processing variations; current virtually independent of source-drain gap, source-gate overlap and semiconductor thickness variations. Applications such as amplifiers and drivers for sensors and actuators, low cost large area analog or digital circuits could greatly benefit from incorporating the SGT architecture.
Antireflection with broadband and wide angle properties is important for a wide range of applications on photovoltaic cells and display. The SiOx shell layer provides a natural antireflection from air to the Si core absorption layer. In this work, we have demonstrated the random core-shell silicon nanowires with both broadband (from 400nm to 900nm) and wide angle (from normal incidence to 60°) antireflection characteristics within AM1.5 solar spectrum. The graded index structure from the randomly oriented core-shell (Air/SiOx/Si) nanowires may provide a potential avenue to realize a broadband and wide angle antireflection layer.
Ion beam synthesis of SiC/Si heterostructures was performed by MEVVA (metal vapor vacuum arc) implantation under various implantation and annealing conditions. The implanted SiC/Si heterostructures were characterized by various techniques. Carbon redistribution in overstoichiometrically implanted samples during annealing to form a stoichiometric SiC layer has been observed for the first time. The FTIR spectra were found to be composed of two components, one attributed to amorphous SiC and the other to β-SiC. It was also found that there are critical dose and critical energy at which the crystalline fraction increases abruptly. Other results on electrical and optical characterization are also presented and discussed
Ion beam synthesis of CoSi2 layers in Si by MEVVA (Metal Vapor Vacuum Arc) implantation has been performed under various conditions. The formation and characteristics of these CoSi2 layers have been studied by XTEM, RBS, AFM, X-ray diffraction, ellipsometry, electrical and Hall effect measurements. It was found that a higher substrate temperature during implantation results in an as-implanted Co distribution closer to the surface and hence the formation of a shallower CoSi2 layer after annealing. Buried CoSi2 layers of good crystal quality and low resistivity CoSi2 can be formed by MEVVA implantation and annealing under appropriate conditions. A strong temperature dependence of the Hall coefficient showing a large peak at around 100K was observed for the CoSi2 layers formed in p-type Si substrates but not in n-type substrates. The properties and their dependence on the processing conditions, in particular, the substrate temperature during implantation, are presented and discussed.
Fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36) is a membrane receptor that facilitates long-chain fatty acid uptake. To investigate its role in the regulation of long-chain fatty acid composition in muscle tissue, we studied and compared FAT/CD36 gene expression in muscle tissues of commercial broiler chickens and Chinese local Silky fowls. The results from gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of muscle samples demonstrated that Chinese local Silky fowls had significantly higher (P < 0.05) proportions of linoleic acid (LA) and palmitic acid, lower proportions (P < 0.05) of arachidonic acid (AA) and oleic acid than the commercial broiler chickens. The mRNA expression levels of fatty acid (FA) transporters (FA transport protein-1, membrane FA-binding protein, FAT/CD36 and caveolin-1) in the m. ipsilateral pectoralis and biceps femoris were analyzed by Q-PCR, and FAT/CD36 expression levels showed significant differences between these types of chickens (P < 0.01). Interestingly, the levels of FAT/CD36 expression are positively correlated with LA content (r = 0.567, P < 0.01) but negatively correlated with palmitic acid content (r = −0.568, P < 0.01). Further experiments in the stably transfected Chinese hamster oocytes cells with chicken FAT/CD36 cDNA demonstrated that overexpression of FAT/CD36 improves total FA uptake with a significant increase in the proportion of LA and AA, and a decreased proportion of palmitic acid. These results suggest that chicken FAT/CD36 may selectively transport LA and AA, which may lead to the higher LA deposition in muscle tissue.