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Structure and optical properties have been successfully determined for a series of niobium- and tantalum-containing layered alkaline-earth silicate compounds, Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 (x = 0.6, 1.8, 3.0, 4.2, 5.4). The structure of this solid solution was found to be hexagonal P-62m (No. 189), with Z = 1. With x increases from 0.6 to 5.4, the lattice parameter a increases from 8.98804(8) to 9.00565(9) Å and c decreases from 7.83721(10) to 7.75212(12) Å. As a result, the volume decreases from 548.304(11) to 544.479(14) Å3. The (Nb/Ta)O6 distorted octahedra form continuous chains along the c-axis. These (Nb/Ta)O6 chains are in turn linked with the Si2O7 groups to form distorted pentagonal channels in which Ba ions were found. These Ba2+ ions have full occupancy and a 13-fold coordination environment with neighboring oxygen sites. Another salient feature of the structure is the linear Si–O–Si chains. When x in Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 increases, the bond valence sum (BVS) values of the Ba sites increase slightly (2.09–2.20), indicating the size of the cage becoming progressively smaller (over-bonding). While SiO cages are also slightly smaller than ideal (BVS range from 4.16 to 4.19), the (Nb/Ta)O6 octahedral cages are slightly larger than ideal (BVS range from 4.87 to 4.90), giving rise to an under-bonding situation. The bandgaps of the solid solution members were measured between 3.39 and 3.59 eV, and the x = 3.0 member was modeled by density functional theory techniques to be 3.07 eV. The bandgaps of these materials indicate that they are potential candidates for ultraviolet photocatalyst.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Structural characterization and X-ray reference powder pattern determination have been conducted for the Co- and Zn-containing tridymite derivatives Ba(Co1−xZnx)SiO4 (x = 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8). The bright blue series of Ba(Co1−xZnx)SiO4 crystallized in the hexagonal P63 space group (No. 173), with Z = 6. While the lattice parameter “a” decreases from 9.126 (2) Å to 9.10374(6) Å from x = 0.2 to 0.8, the lattice parameter “c” increases from 8.69477(12) Å to 8.72200(10) Å, respectively. Apparently, despite the similarity of ionic sizes of Zn2+ and Co2+, these opposing trends are due to the framework tetrahedral tilting of (ZnCo)O4. The lattice volume, V, remains comparable between 626.27 Å3 and 626.017 (7) Å3 from x = 0 to x = 0.8. UV-visible absorption spectrum measurements indicate the band gap of these two materials to be ≈3.3 and ≈3.5 eV, respectively, therefore potential UV photocatalytic materials. Reference powder X-ray diffraction patterns of these compounds have been submitted to be included in the Powder Diffraction File (PDF).
Brain tumor behavior is driven by aberrations in the genome and epigenome. Many of these changes, such as IDH mutations in diffuse low-grade glioma (DLGG), are common amongst the same class of tumour and can be incorporated into the diagnostic criteria. However, any given tumor may have other, less common genomic aberrations that are essential for its biological behavior and may inform on underlying aberrant cellular pathways, and potential therapeutic agents. Precision oncology is a genomics-based approach which profiles these alterations to better manage cancer patients and has established itself within the practice of oncology and is slowly making its way into neuro-oncology. The BC Cancer’s Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program has profiled 16 adult tumours originating from the central nervous system using whole genome and transcriptome analysis (WGTA), for the first time, within a meaningful clinical timeframe/setting. As expected, primary genomic drivers were consistent with their respective diagnoses, though secondary drivers were found to be unique to each tumour. Although these analyses did not result in altered clinical management for these patients, primarily due to availability of drug or clinical trials, they highlight the heterogeneity of secondary drivers in cancers and provide clinicians with meaningful biological information. Lastly, the data generated by POG has highlighted the frequency and complexity of novel driver fusions which are predicted to behave similarly to canonical driver events in their respective tumours. The information available to clinicians through POG has provided paramount knowledge into the biology of each unique tumour.
We report single-shot transient absorption (SSTA) measurements of an organic film of 3,3’-Diethyloxatricarbocyanine iodide (DOTCI). In SSTA, the pump-probe time delay is spatially encoded by using a tilted pump pulse. Translation of the sample during SSTA measurements averages over any spatial heterogeneity in the film. We demonstrate that exciton dynamics measured with the single-shot technique agrees with traditional transient absorption measurements of the same film. A signal-to-noise ratio of ∼40 is achieved in 10 s. The ability to measure exciton dynamics in organic films will enable future SSTA measurements of exciton dynamics during the molecular aggregation events that result in film formation.
While previous work showed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toolkit for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) can reduce spread regionally, these interventions are costly, and decisions makers want to know whether and when economic benefits occur.
Orange County, California
Using our Regional Healthcare Ecosystem Analyst (RHEA)-generated agent-based model of all inpatient healthcare facilities, we simulated the implementation of the CRE toolkit (active screening of interfacility transfers) in different ways and estimated their economic impacts under various circumstances.
Compared to routine control measures, screening generated cost savings by year 1 when hospitals implemented screening after identifying ≤20 CRE cases (saving $2,000–$9,000) and by year 7 if all hospitals implemented in a regional coordinated manner after 1 hospital identified a CRE case (hospital perspective). Cost savings was achieved only if hospitals independently screened after identifying 10 cases (year 1, third-party payer perspective). Cost savings was achieved by year 1 if hospitals independently screened after identifying 1 CRE case and by year 3 if all hospitals coordinated and screened after 1 hospital identified 1 case (societal perspective). After a few years, all strategies cost less and have positive health effects compared to routine control measures; most strategies generate a positive cost-benefit each year.
Active screening of interfacility transfers garnered cost savings in year 1 of implementation when hospitals acted independently and by year 3 if all hospitals collectively implemented the toolkit in a coordinated manner. Despite taking longer to manifest, coordinated regional control resulted in greater savings over time.
Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
As the consciousness of energy saving and carbon reduction and comfortable environment is paid increasing attention to, the common objective of various countries with decreasing energy is to develop and popularize high efficiency and low running noise blowers. This study uses CFD to calculate the flow field and performance of a blower and compare with the experimental measurement. The characteristic curve of blower shows that the simulated and experimental values are close to each other, the difference between the values is only 0.4%. This analysis result proofs the CFD package is a highly reliable tool for the future blower design improvement. In addition, this study discusses the noise distribution of blower flow field, the periodic pressure output value calculated by CFD is used in the sound source input of sound pressure field, so as to simulate and analyze the aerodynamic noise reading of the flow field around the blower. The result shows that the simulated value of flow field around the fan has as high as 80.5 dB(A) ∼ 81.5 dB(A) noise level and is agree with measurement (82 dB(A)). The noise level is low but has a sharp noise. According to the numerical results, designer of the blower modify the tongue geometry and remove the sharp noise.
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.
Screening for depression in older adults is recommended.
To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the Two-Question Screen for older adults and compare it with other screening instruments for depression.
We undertook a literature search for studies assessing the diagnostic performance of depression screening instruments in older adults. Combined diagnostic accuracy including sensitivity and specificity were the primary outcomes. Potential risks of bias and the quality of studies were also assessed.
A total of 46506 participants from 132 studies were identified evaluating 16 screening instruments. The majority of studies (63/132) used various versions of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and 6 used the Two-Question Screen. The combined sensitivity and specificity for the Two-Question Screen were 91.8% (95% CI 85.2–95.6) and 67.7% (95% CI 58.1–76.0), respectively; the diagnostic performance area under the curve (AUC) was 90%. The Two-Question Screen showed comparable performance with other instruments, including clinician-rated scales. The One-Question Screen showed the lowest diagnostic performance with an AUC of 78%. In subgroup analysis, the Two-Question Screen also had good diagnostic performance in screening for major depressive disorder.
The Two-Question Screen is a simple and short instrument for depression screening. Its diagnostic performance is comparable with other instruments and, therefore, it would be favourable to use it for older adult screening programmes.
Phenomenological and mechanistic models are widely used to assist resource planning for pandemics and emerging infections. We conducted a systematic review, to compare methods and outputs of published phenomenological and mechanistic modelling studies pertaining to the 2013–2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemics in four West African countries – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. We searched Pubmed, Embase and Scopus databases for relevant English language publications up to December 2015. Of the 874 articles identified, 41 met our inclusion criteria. We evaluated these selected studies based on: the sources of the case data used, and modelling approaches, compartments used, population mixing assumptions, model fitting and calibration approaches, sensitivity analysis used and data bias considerations. We synthesised results of the estimated epidemiological parameters: basic reproductive number (R0), serial interval, latent period, infectious period and case fatality rate, and examined their relationships. The median of the estimated mean R0 values were between 1·30 and 1·84 in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Much higher R0 value of 9·01 was described for Nigeria. We investigated several issues with uncertainty around EVD modes of transmission, and unknown observation biases from early reported case data. We found that epidemic models offered R0 mean estimates which are country-specific, but these estimates are not associating with the use of several key disease parameters within the plausible ranges. We find simple models generally yielded similar estimates of R0 compared with more complex models. Models that accounted for data uncertainty issues have offered a higher case forecast compared with actual case observation. Simple model which offers transparency to public health policy makers could play a critical role for advising rapid policy decisions under an epidemic emergency.
To ascertain determinants of an interest in a career in ENT surgery through a survey of medical students and junior doctors.
A survey was administered, comprising Likert scales, forced response and single option questions, and free text responses, at five different courses or events for those interested in a career in ENT.
The survey had an 87 per cent response rate; respondents consisted of 43 applicants for national selection, 15 foundation doctors and 23 medical students. The most important factors that encourage ENT as a career included: the variety of operative procedures, work–life balance, inherent interest in this clinical area and inspirational senior role models. Exposure to ENT in undergraduate or post-graduate training is critical in deciding to pursue this specialty.
It is important to promote those aspects of ENT surgery that attract people to it, and to argue for greater exposure to ENT during undergraduate and post-graduate training.
Universal health coverage is a key health target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that has the means to link equitable social and economic development. As a concept firmly based on equity, it is widely accepted at international and national levels as important for populations to attain ‘health for all’ especially for marginalised groups. However, implementing universal coverage has been fraught with challenges and the increasing privatisation of health care provision adds to the challenge because it is being implemented in a health system that rests on a property regime that promotes inequality. This paper asks the question, ‘What does an equitable health system look like?’ rather than the usual ‘How do you make the existing health system more equitable?’ Using an ethnographic approach, the authors explored via interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation a health system that uses the commons approach such as which exists with indigenous peoples and found features that helped make the system intrinsically equitable. Based on these features, the paper proposes an alternative basis to organise universal health coverage that will better ensure equity in health systems and ultimately contribute to meeting the SDGs.
Late-life depression (LLD) in the elderly was reported to present with emotion dysregulation accompanied by high perceived loneliness. Previous research has suggested that LLD is a disorder of connectivity and is associated with aberrant network properties. On the other hand, perceived loneliness is found to adversely affect the brain, but little is known about its neurobiological basis in LLD. The current study investigated the relationships between the structural connectivity, functional connectivity during affective processing, and perceived loneliness in LLD.
The current study included 54 participants aged >60 years of whom 31 were diagnosed with LLD. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data and task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data of an affective processing task were collected. Network-based statistics and graph theory techniques were applied, and the participants’ perceived loneliness and depression level were measured. The affective processing task included viewing affective stimuli.
Structurally, a loneliness-related sub-network was identified across all subjects. Functionally, perceived loneliness was related to connectivity differently in LLD than that in controls when they were processing negative stimuli, with aberrant networking in subcortical area.
Perceived loneliness was identified to have a unique role in relation to the negative affective processing in LLD at the functional brain connectional and network levels. The findings increas our understanding of LLD and provide initial evidence of the neurobiological mechanisms of loneliness in LLD. Loneliness might be a potential intervention target in depressive patients.
This article presents the first study on using a parallel corpus to teach Cantonese, the variety of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong. We evaluated this approach with Mandarin-speaking undergraduate students at the beginner level. Exploiting their knowledge of Mandarin, a closely related language, the students studied Cantonese with authentic material in a Cantonese-Mandarin parallel corpus, transcribed from television programs. They were given a list of Mandarin words that yield a range of possible Cantonese translations, depending on the linguistic context. Leveraging sentence and word alignments in the parallel corpus, the students independently searched for example sentences to discover these translation equivalents. Experimental results showed that, in both the short- and long-term, this data-driven learning approach helped students improve their knowledge of Cantonese vocabulary. These results suggest the potential of applying parallel corpora at even the beginners’ level for other L1-L2 pairs of closely related languages.
Auditory processing and spoken word recognition difficulties have been observed in Specific Language Impairment (SLI), raising the possibility that auditory perceptual deficits disrupt word recognition and, in turn, phonological processing and oral language. In this study, fifty-seven kindergarten children with SLI and fifty-three language-typical age-matched controls were assessed with a speech-gating task to measure spoken word recognition, psychophysical tasks to measure auditory Frequency Modulation (FM) detection and Frequency Discrimination (FD), and standardized psychometric tests of phonological processing and oral language. As a group, children with SLI took significantly longer than language-typical controls to recognize words with high neighborhood density, perhaps reflecting subpar phonological representations. FM, but not FD, was significantly worse in SLI. However, while both poorer speech-gating performance and poorer auditory thresholds (FM) were evident in SLI, spoken word recognition did not mediate any relation between auditory perception and either phonological processing or oral language.
To assess the effectiveness of infection control preparedness for human infection with influenza A H7N9 in Hong Kong.
A descriptive study of responses to the emergence of influenza A H7N9.
A university-affiliated teaching hospital.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure (not wearing N95 respirator during aerosol-generating procedure) to a patient with influenza A H7N9.
A bundle approach including active and enhanced surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and extensive contact tracing for HCWs with unprotected exposure was implemented. Seventy HCWs with unprotected exposure to an index case were interviewed especially regarding their patient care activities.
From April 1, 2013, through May 31, 2014, a total of 126 (0.08%) of 163,456 admitted patients were tested for the H7 gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction per protocol. Two confirmed cases were identified. Seventy (53.8%) of 130 HCWs had unprotected exposure to an index case, whereas 41 (58.6%) and 58 (82.9%) of 70 HCWs wore surgical masks and practiced hand hygiene after patient care, respectively. Sixteen (22.9%) of 70 HCWs were involved in high-risk patient contacts. More HCWs with high-risk patient contacts received oseltamivir prophylaxis (P=0.088) and significantly more had paired sera collected for H7 antibody testing (P<0.001). Ten (14.3%) of 70 HCWs developed influenza-like illness during medical surveillance, but none had positive results by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Paired sera was available from 33 of 70 HCWs with unprotected exposure, and none showed seroconversion against H7N9.
Despite the delay in airborne precautions implementation, no patient-to-HCW transmission of influenza A H7N9 was demonstrated.