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Giardia duodenalis is the most common intestinal parasite of humans in the USA, but the risk factors for sporadic (non-outbreak) giardiasis are not well described. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado and Minnesota public health departments conducted a case-control study to assess risk factors for sporadic giardiasis in the USA. Cases (N = 199) were patients with non-outbreak-associated laboratory-confirmed Giardia infection in Colorado and Minnesota, and controls (N = 381) were matched by age and site. Identified risk factors included international travel (aOR = 13.9; 95% CI 4.9–39.8), drinking water from a river, lake, stream, or spring (aOR = 6.5; 95% CI 2.0–20.6), swimming in a natural body of water (aOR = 3.3; 95% CI 1.5–7.0), male–male sexual behaviour (aOR = 45.7; 95% CI 5.8–362.0), having contact with children in diapers (aOR = 1.6; 95% CI 1.01–2.6), taking antibiotics (aOR = 2.5; 95% CI 1.2–5.0) and having a chronic gastrointestinal condition (aOR = 1.8; 95% CI 1.1–3.0). Eating raw produce was inversely associated with infection (aOR = 0.2; 95% CI 0.1–0.7). Our results highlight the diversity of risk factors for sporadic giardiasis and the importance of non-international-travel-associated risk factors, particularly those involving person-to-person transmission. Prevention measures should focus on reducing risks associated with diaper handling, sexual contact, swimming in untreated water, and drinking untreated water.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The current experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary protein levels and rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) supplementation on ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activity, bacterial populations and urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) in growing beef steers. Low-protein (LP) or high-protein (HP) diets were fed to eight ruminally cannulated first-generation cross-bred (Blonde d'Aquitaine × Simmental) beef steers with or without RPFA supplementation. Steers were fed a total mixed ration, and dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 (dry matter (DM) basis). No interaction between dietary crude protein (CP) levels and RPFA supplementation was observed during the experiment. Ruminal pH was unaffected by RPFA supplementation, but decreased with increasing dietary CP levels. Ruminal total volatile fatty acid concentration increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Molar proportion of acetate increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to decrease with increasing dietary CP levels. The proportion of propionate decreased with RPFA supplementation, but was unaffected by dietary CP levels. As a result, the acetate to propionate ratio increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to be lower for the HP diets than the LP diets. Ammonia-nitrogen content decreased with RPFA supplementation, but increased with increasing dietary CP levels. In situ ruminal degradability of maize straw and concentrate increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Microbial enzyme (carboxymethyl-cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase, α-amylase and protease) activity, bacterial populations (Ruminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus) and urinary PD excretion increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. The current study showed that increasing dietary CP levels from 109·1 to 130·7 g/kg DM or supplementing 75 mg RPFA improved ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis by increasing bacterial population and microbial enzyme activity.
crAssphage is a newly discovered gut bacteriophage. However, its pathogenicity and molecular epidemiology in humans are as yet unclear. In this study, we investigated the association between crAssphage and diarrhoea, as well as the molecular epidemiology of crAssphage in Chinese patients from our hospital. Our results indicated that there were no significant differences in the crAssphage-positive ratio and viral loads in faecal supernatants between adults with diarrhoea and healthy adults. Of infants and children with diarrhoea, 2·8% were found to be crAssphage-positive, including two infants aged <1 month. Markedly, of all confirmed crAssphage-positive strains, 100% had the ORF00039 deletion and 77·8% had low identity of ORF00018 compared to crAssphage (GenBank accession no. NC_024711, designated genotype 1). Thus, crAssphage was not associated with diarrhoea and most strains of crAssphage in Chinese patients (designated genotype 2) were characterized by the ORF00039 deletion and low identity of ORF00018.
Biased assessment of tillage impacts on soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration are often associated with a lack of information on the initial level of SOC stocks. The present study reported the changes in SOC concentrations and stocks following 10-year different tillage practices relative to the initial SOC levels. The tillage trial included no tillage (NT), ridge tillage (RT) and mouldboard plough (MP) on a Black soil (Hapludolls) in Northeast China. Results showed that tillage, soil depth and time significantly affected SOC concentration and SOC stock. Tillage and crop residue retention had great impacts on the SOC concentrations in the top 0·1 m layer. Compared with MP and NT, RT resulted in higher SOC concentration and SOC stock in the plough layer (0–0·2 m), which became more obvious with time. The soil under NT and RT had higher stratification ratios (SR) of SOC (SR, the ratio of SOC concentration in 0–0·05 m to that in 0·1–0·2 m) than under MP. Significant positive and nearly identical linear relationships between the SR of SOC and the duration of tillage practices occurred for both NT and RT soils; the increased SR in NT resulted from both SOC increase in surface and SOC decrease in subsurface soils, but in RT, the increased SR was only from a substantial SOC increase in surface soil. Accordingly, the present study highlights that RT was more helpful than NT in carbon sequestration for the studied Black soil in Northeast China.
We examine the roles of actuaries in UK life offices, along with trends, challenges to and opportunities for actuaries. We carry out an analysis of senior roles in life offices, a questionnaire survey and interviews with relevant senior personnel. We find that actuaries occupy many important roles in life offices and are regarded as having good industry knowledge and technical skills, especially in financial modelling. There are fewer executive directors and more non-executive directors of life offices who are actuaries compared with the position in 1990. A higher proportion of reserved roles is outsourced to consultants than was the case in 1990. Only a small number of Actuarial Function Holders are directors. Actuaries are more siloed than was the case in the past, although actuaries are well represented in the finance and risk functions of many offices. Although actuarial work in connection with the preparation for Solvency II will decline, there will be important ongoing requirements for actuaries following Solvency II implementation. We also see opportunities for actuaries in four areas: in risk management, in financial analysis and management based on Solvency II and international financial reporting standards, in connection with “big data”, and in product development and the customer proposition. There are implications for the examination syllabus, continuing professional development and research.
Delayed senescence, or stay-green, contributes to a longer grain-filling period and has been regarded as a desirable characteristic for the production of a number of crops including wheat. In the present study, in order to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for traits related to the progression of wheat flag leaf senescence, green leaf area duration (GLAD) of a doubled haploid (DH) population, derived from two winter wheat varieties Hanxuan10 and Lumai14, was visually estimated under two water conditions and was recorded at 3-day intervals from 10 days after anthesis to physiological maturity using a 0–9 scale. According to GLAD, parameters related to the progression of senescence of DH lines and their parents were estimated by the Gompertz statistical model. Based on the model parameters, DH lines were categorized into three groups under drought stress and four groups under well-watered conditions. A total of 24 additive QTLs and 23 pairs of epistatic QTLs for parameters related to the progression of senescence were identified on 18 chromosomes, except for 3B, 1D and 6D. Of the QTLs detected, 14 and 10 additive QTLs were associated with the investigated traits under drought stress and well-watered conditions, respectively. Furthermore, 4, 7, 6, 2 and 2 additive QTLs for traits related to progression of senescence were clustered around the same or similar regions of chromosomes 1A, 1B, 5A, 5B and 7A, respectively. The present data provided the genetic basis for high phenotypic correlations among traits related to the progression of wheat flag leaf senescence. In addition, 17 loci were co-located or linked with previously reported QTLs regulating chlorophyll fluorescence, high-light-induced photo-oxidation, or heat stress and dark-induced senescence. The marker Xwmc336 on chromosome 1A, responsible for the onset and end times of leaf senescence, the time to maximum rate of senescence, the time to reach 75% senescence and chlorophyll content under drought stress may be helpful for marker-assisted selection breeding of wheat.
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.
The Beijing/W lineage strains are the major prevalent strains in China. The prevalence, mortality and drug-resistant rates of tuberculosis in Xinjiang, Northwestern China are higher than in other parts of the country. Our previous study results showed that the dominant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) were ‘Beijing/W lineage’ MTB in Xinjiang; those strains had no significant correlation with drug resistance. We investigated whether the prevalence of ‘Beijing/W lineage’ sublineage strains was associated with drug resistance. We collected 478 sputum specimens from patients with pulmonary tuberculosis. Beijing/W strains and their sublineages were identified by distinguishing five specific large sequence polymorphisms, using polymerase chain reaction. All strains were subjected to a drug susceptibility test using the proportion method on Löwenstein–Jensen culture medium. In total, 379 clinical isolates of MTB were isolated and identified, 57·26% of these isolates were identified as Beijing/W strains, of which 11·06% isolates were in sublineage 105, 14·74% isolates in sublineage 207, 69·59% isolates in sublineage 181, and 4·61% isolates in sublineage 150. None of the isolates was in sublineage 142. Our data showed there were four sublineages of Beijing/W isolates in Xinjiang province, China. However, there were no correlations between drug resistance and the sublineages of Beijing/W strains.
The present work built on a previous study of tillage trials, which found the effectiveness of least limiting water range (LLWR) as an indicator of soil organic carbon (SOC) mineralization under different tillage practices in a black soil of Northeast China in 2009. To improve the understanding of soil structure controls over SOC dynamics, a study was conducted to explore the relationship between LLWR, which was calculated based on soil bulk density and soil pore-size distribution, and the effects of LLWR, which was calculated based on soil bulk density and soil pore-size distribution on SOC mineralization following no tillage (NT) and mouldboard ploughing (MP). In contrast to MP, NT had a significantly greater volume of large macropores (>100 μm) at depths of 0–0·05 and 0·2–0·3 m, but a significantly lower volume of small macropores (30–100 μm) at depths of 0–0·05, 0·05–0·1, 0·1–0·2 and 0·2–0·3 m. The volume of meso- (0·2–30 μm) and micro-pores (<0·2 μm) at different depths under the two tillage practices were similar. Tillage-induced changes in soil bulk density and pore-size volumes affected the ability of soil to fulfil essential soil functions in relation to organic matter turnover. Soil pore-size distribution, especially small macropores greatly affected LLWR and there was a significant correlation between LLWR, which was calculated based on soil bulk density, and the proportion of small macropores. The proportion of small macropores were used to calculate LLWR instead of soil bulk density and the values for NT and MP soils ranged from 0·073 to 0·148 m3 water/m3 soil. Using the proportion of small macropores rather than bulk density in the calculation of LLWR resulted in more sensitive indications of SOC mineralization. Variation in the proportion of small macropores can help characterize the impacts of tillage practices on dynamics of LLWR and SOC sequestration.
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at 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. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.
Hybrid silicon laser is a promising solution to enable high-performance light source on large-scale, silicon-based photonic integrated circuits (PICs). As a compact laser cavity design, hybrid microring lasers are attractive for their intrinsic advantages of small footprint, low power consumption and flexibility in wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), etc. Here we review recent progress in unidirectional microring lasers and device thermal management. Unidirectional emission is achieved by integrating a passive reflector that feeds laser emission back into laser cavity to introduce extra unidirectional gain. Up to 4X of device heating reduction is simulated by adding a metal thermal shunt to the laser to “short” heat to the silicon substrate through buried oxide layer (BOX) in the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate. Obvious device heating reduction is also observed in experiment.
The broadband SEDs of four gamma-ray NLS1s are compiled and explained with the leptonic model. It is found that their characteristics and fitting parameters of the observed SEDs are more like FSRQs than BL Lacs.
Annual H3N2 subtype influenza outbreaks in Guangdong, China are a severe public health issue and require ongoing monitoring of emerging viral variants. The variation and evolution of haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of influenza isolates from Guangdong during 2007–2011 and others from GenBank were analysed using Lasergene 7.1 and MEGA 5.05, and serological analysis of antigens was determined by haemagglutination inhibition (HI). Susceptibility to antiviral drugs was correlated with genetic mutations. Phylogenetic analysis and alignment of HA and NA genes were performed on 18 Guangdong isolates and 26 global reference strains. The non-synonymous (dN) evolutionary rate of HA1 was 3·13 times that of HA2. Compared with the A/Perth/16/2009 vaccine HA gene, homologies of Guangdong isolates were between 98·8–99·7% and 98·0–98·4% in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Amino-acid substitutions were found in five epitopes of HA1 from Guangdong isolates between 2007 and 2011, especially in epitopes B (N160K) and D (K174R/N). The K189E/N/Q and T228A mutations in the receptor-binding site (RBS) occurred in the 2010 strains, which affected the antigenicity of HA1. The antigenicity of the epidemic H3N2 isolates in 2010 was somewhat different from that of A/Perth/16/2009. The Guangdong H3N2 isolates were determined to be oseltamivir-resistant with IC50 of 0·396±0·085 nmol/l (n=17) and zanamivir-resistant with IC50 of 0·477±0·149 nmol/l (n=18). Variations were present in epitopes B and D, two sites in the RBS and two glycosylation sites in the Guangdong H3N2 HA1 gene. The majority of the Guangdong H3N2 isolates were sensitive to oseltamivir and zanamivir. Compared to the World Health Organization 2012 vaccine strains, Guangdong H3N2 strains varied genetically and antigenically to some degree.
Iron magnetic nanoparticles were synthesized under an inert atmosphere via the reaction between FeCl3 and NaBH4 in droplets of water in a microemulsion consisting of octane with cetyl trimethylammonium bromide and butanol as surfactants. A thin Fe3O4 layer was produced on the iron nanoparticles using slow, controlled oxidation at room temperature. A silica shell was deposited on the Fe3O4 using 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane following the method of Zhang et al. [Mater. Sci. Eng. C 30 (2010) 92–97]. The structure and chemistry of the resulting nanoparticles were studied using variety of methods and their magnetic properties were determined. The diameter of the iron core was typically 8-16 nm, while the thickness of the Fe3O4 shell was 2-3 nm. The presence of the silica layer was confirmed using Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy and the number of NH2-groups on each nanoparticle was determined based on colorimetric tests using ortho-phthalaldehyde.
The effects of poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) surface properties on lung epithelial carcinoma cell functions were previously identified. Results demonstrated decreased lung epithelial carcinoma cell vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) synthesis on 23 nm surface featured PLGA compared to the PLGA nano-smooth substrates. To investigate the universality of nanopatterned PLGA on inhibiting cancer cell functions, here, breast epithelial adenocarcinoma cell, MCF-7, early functions were determined on different PLGA nanometer surface topographies. Moreover, the viability of healthy breast cells was determined by an MTT assay to investigate the effects of nanopatterning on healthy breast cell growth. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) verified the varied nanotopographies on the PLGA surfaces prepared in this study. Importantly, results demonstrated significantly decreased breast adenocarcinoma cell functions (including decreased proliferation rate and decreased VEGF synthesis) on 23 nm featured PLGA surfaces compared to the other PLGA surface topographies (specifically, nano-smooth, 300 nm and 400 nm surface featured PLGA surfaces). In contrast, healthy breast epithelial cell studies indicated a 24% higher cell proliferation on the 23 nm featured PLGA surfaces compared to all other PLGA samples. In summary, these results provided further insights into understanding the role surface nanotopographies can have on selectively inhibiting cancer cell functions for a wide range of anti-cancer applications.
Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA), and other methods based on the same principle, are sensitive and specific, but they suffer from several disadvantages, such as their inherent complexity and requirement for multiple reagents, incubation and washing steps and require a relatively large sample size. We have adapted a new carbon nanotube field effect transistors (CNT-FET) based platform to capture Escherichia coli antigens using only the capture anti-body showing good correlation with an established ELISA assay contrived positive and negative specimens were used to test the new CNT-FET platform and results were obtained within three minutes per each sample. The test is easy to perform, rapid, and cost efficient making it a valuable screening tool for E. coli. In this study, we looked at the applicability of using CNT field effect transistor based biosensor as a rapid diagnostic platform for Escherichia coli O157:H7. The CNT-FETs platform detected positive E. coli samples in three minutes using only 2.5 μL of sample volume. This low sample volume required by the CNT-FET platform can be especially advantageous for diagnostic tests constricted by limited amount of samples.
Cytotoxicity study of magnetic nanomaterials is a key consideration for biomedical applications. Very little is known about the cytotoxic and anti-cancer effects of nickel nanowires (Ni NWs) on mammalian cells and their interaction with proliferating cancer cells. Current therapeutics do not address the full heterogeneity of pancreatic cancers due to the resistance to apoptosis and does not suffice for a successful treatment. Therefore, synthesis of novel anticancer drugs continues to be a potential topic for pancreatic cancer research. In this study, we have investigated the cellular toxicity and anti-cancer effects of Ni NWs in one of the most aggressive human pancreatic ductal cancer (Panc-1) cell lines with the objective of development of a potential treatment strategy. Ni NWs were fabricated in a custom-made setup utilizing the electrodeposition method. Elemental analysis, crystallographic structure, and morphological properties of the synthesized Ni NWs were investigated using Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDAX), X-Ray Diffraction (X-RD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), respectively. Panc-1 cell cultures were maintained according to a slightly modified American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) protocol. Morphological apoptogenic characteristics assessment of the Ni NWs induced Panc-1 cell was accomplished using phase contrast microscopy (PCM). Two commercially available cytotoxicity procedures including 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and trypan blue (TB) assays were utilized to determine the qualitative and quantitative cytotoxicity and anti-cancer effects of Ni NWs. As a negative control, Panc-1 cells without Ni NWs treatment were used in all experiments. Phase contrast microscopy (PCM) was used to confirm the Ni NWs internalization by Panc-1 cells. Both the MTT and TB assays, qualitatively and quantitatively confirmed the cytotoxic and anti-cancer effects of Ni NWs treated Panc-1 cells in vitro in both concentration and exposure-time dependent manners. We studied the cytotoxic and anti-cancer effects of Ni NWs on Panc-1 cells using novel integrated bionanotechnological approaches to understand the corresponding biological pathway with the objective of developing pancreatic cancer treatment. More specifically, we explored the molecular mechanisms associated with the pathway involved in Ni NWs induced toxicity against Panc-1 cells. Our results demonstrated that Ni NWs show strong candidacy for targeting cell selective applications in pancreatic cancer therapy. Key words: Nickel Nanowires, anti-cancer effects, pancreatic cancer.
Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) with precisely controlled near infrared (NIR) absorption were synthesized by one-step reaction of chloroauric acid and sodium thiosulfate. The NIR absorption wavelengths and average particle size increase with increasing molar ratio of HAuCl4/Na2S2O3. The as-synthesized GNPs consist of different shape and size, including small spherical gold colloids and larger non-spherical gold crystals. The GNPs with good chemical and optical stability only form in a suitable range of the HAuCl4/Na2S2O3 molar ratio. High molar ratio of HAuCl4/Na2S2O3 reduces GNPs stability due to Ostwald ripening. Chitosan coating improves particle stability and allows these GNPs effective ablation for esophageal adenocarcinoma under low power NIR laser radiation.
Hybrid magnetic/plasmonic nanoparticles possess properties originating from each individual material. Such properties are beneficial for biological applications including bio-imaging, targeted drug delivery, in vivo diagnosis and therapy. Limitations regarding their stability and toxicity, however, challenge their safe use. Here, the one-step flame synthesis of composite SiO2-coated Ag/Fe2O3 nanoparticles is demonstrated. The hermetic SiO2 coating does not influence the morphology, the superparamagnetic properties of the iron oxide particles and the plasmonic optical properties of the silver particles. Therefore, the hybrid SiO2-coated Ag/Fe2O3 nanoparticles exhibit desired properties for their employment in bio-applications.