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We demonstrate a suspended graphene-(poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) polymer angular displacement actuator enabled by variable elastic modulus of the perforated stacked structure. Azimuthal flexures support a central disc-shaped membrane, and compression of the membrane can be used to control the rotation of the entire structure. Irradiating the PMMA on graphene stack with 5 kV electrons in a convention scanning electron microscope reduces the elastic modulus of the PMMA and allows graphene’s built in strain to dominate and compress the flexures, thus rotating the actuator.
Previous studies in schizophrenia revealed abnormalities in the cortico-cerebellar-thalamo-cortical circuit (CCTCC) pathway, suggesting the necessity for defining thalamic subdivisions in understanding alterations of brain connectivity.
To parcellate the thalamus into several subdivisions using a data-driven method, and to evaluate the role of each subdivision in the alterations of CCTCC functional connectivity in patients with schizophrenia.
There were 54 patients with schizophrenia and 42 healthy controls included in this study. First, the thalamic structural and functional connections computed, based on diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, white matter tractography) and resting-state functional MRI, were clustered to parcellate thalamus. Next, functional connectivity of each thalamus subdivision was investigated, and the alterations in thalamic functional connectivity for patients with schizophrenia were inspected.
Based on the data-driven parcellation method, six thalamic subdivisions were defined. Loss of connectivity was observed between several thalamic subdivisions (superior-anterior, ventromedial and dorsolateral part of the thalamus) and the sensorimotor system, anterior cingulate cortex and cerebellum in patients with schizophrenia. A gradual pattern of dysconnectivity was observed across the thalamic subdivisions. Additionally, the altered connectivity negatively correlated with symptom scores and duration of illness in individuals with schizophrenia.
The findings of the study revealed a wide range of thalamic functional dysconnectivity in the CCTCC pathway, increasing our understanding of the relationship between the CCTCC pathway and symptoms associated with schizophrenia, and further indicating a potential alteration pattern in the thalamic nuclei in people with schizophrenia.
Starch digestion in the small intestines of the dairy cow is low, to a large extent, due to a shortage of syntheses of α-amylase. One strategy to improve the situation is to enhance the synthesis of α-amylase. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway, which acts as a central regulator of protein synthesis, can be activated by leucine. Our objectives were to investigate the effects of leucine on the mTOR signalling pathway and to define the associations between these signalling activities and the synthesis of pancreatic enzymes using an in vitro model of cultured Holstein dairy calf pancreatic tissue. The pancreatic tissue was incubated in culture medium containing l-leucine for 3 h, and samples were collected hourly, with the control being included but not containing l-leucine. The leucine supplementation increased α-amylase and trypsin activities and the messenger RNA expression of their coding genes (P <0.05), and it enhanced the mTOR synthesis and the phosphorylation of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (P <0.05). In addition, rapamycin inhibited the mTOR signal pathway factors during leucine treatment. In sum, the leucine regulates α-amylase and trypsin synthesis in dairy calves through the regulation of the mTOR signal pathways.
The 2017 plague outbreak in Madagascar was unprecedented in the African region, resulting in 2417 cases (498 confirmed, 793 probable and 1126 suspected) and 209 deaths by the end of the acute urban pneumonic phase of the outbreak. The Health Emergencies Programme of the WHO Regional Office for Africa together with the WHO Country Office and WHO Headquarters assisted the Ministry of Public Health of Madagascar in the rapid implementation of plague prevention and control measures while collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data to inform immediate interventions. We document the key findings of the evidence available to date and actions taken as a result. Based on the four goals of operational research – effective dissemination of results, peer-reviewed publication, changes to policy and practice and improvements in programme performance and health – we evaluate the use of evidence to inform response to the outbreak and describe lessons learned for future outbreak responses in the WHO African region. This article may not be reprinted or reused in any way in order to promote any commercial products or services.
Two new species of egg parasitoids, Oobius saimaensis Yao and Mottern new species and Oobius fleischeri Yao and Duan new species (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), are described from eggs of Agrilus fleischeri Obenberger, 1925 (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Agrilus fleischeri is a phloem-feeding woodborer of poplar (Populus Linnaeus; Salicaceae) in northeastern China. These two species can be distinguished morphologically as O. fleischeri has five tarsomeres and O. saimaensis has four tarsomeres. Although O. saimaensis is morphologically similar to its sympatric congener O. agrili Zhang and Hang, 2005, an important natural enemy of the invasive emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, 1888, molecular phylogenetics and morphological data indicate that they are distinct species. Phylogenetic relationships among the new species and other closely related species are also inferred by using DNA sequence data from several ribosomal and mitochondrial genes. In addition, we expand the known distribution of Oobius primorskyensis Yao and Duan, 2016 to include South Korea.
Two ice cores (118.4 and 214.7 m in length) were collected in 2000 from the Puruogangri ice cap in the center of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in a joint US-Chinese collaborative project. These cores yield paleoclimatic and environmental records extending through the Middle Holocene, and complement previous ice-core histories from the Dunde and Guliya ice caps in northeast and northwest Tibet, respectively, and Dasuopu glacier in the Himalaya. The high-resolution Puruogangri climate record since AD 1600 details regional temperature and moisture variability. The post-1920 period is characterized by above-average annual net balance, contemporaneous with the greatest 18O enrichment of the last 400 years, consistent with the isotopically inferred warming observed in other TP ice-core records. On longer timescales the aerosol history reveals large and abrupt events, one of which is dated ∼4.7 kyr BP and occurs close to the time of a drought that extended throughout the tropics and may have been associated with centuries-long weakening of the Asian/Indian/African monsoon system. The Puruogangri climate history, combined with the other TP ice-core records, has the potential to provide valuable information on variations in the strength of the monsoon across the TP during the Holocene.
We study the instability mechanisms leading to slug flow formation in an inclined pipe subject to gravity forces. We use a phase-field approach, where the Cahn–Hillard model is used to model the interface. At the inlet, a stratified flow is imposed with a specified velocity profile. We validate our numerical results by comparing against previous theoretical models and by predicting the various flow regimes for horizontal and inclined pipes, including stratified flow, slug flow, dispersed bubble flow and annular flow. Subsequently, we focus on slug formation in an inclined pipe and connect its appearance with specific vortical dynamics. A two-dimensional channel geometry is first considered. When the heavy fluid is injected as the top layer, inverted vortex shedding emerges, which periodically impacts on the bottom wall, as it develops further downstream. The accumulation of heavy fluid in the bottom wall causes a back flow that induces rolling waves and interacts with the upstream jet. When the heavy fluid is placed as the bottom layer, the heavy fluid accumulates and initially forms a massive slug at the bottom region, close to the inlet. Subsequently, the heavy fluid slug starts to break into smaller pieces, some of which translate along the pipe. During the accumulation phase, a back flow forms also generating rolling waves. Occasionally, a rolling wave can reach the top of the pipe and form a new slug. To describe the generation of vorticity from the two-phase interface and pipe walls in the slug formation, we study the circulation dynamics and connect it with the resulting two-phase flow patterns. Finally, we conduct three-dimensional (3-D) simulations in a circular pipe and compare the differences between the 3-D flow patterns and its circulation dynamics against the 2-D simulation results.
This cross-sectional study aimed to examine and compare prevalence and correlates of whole blood Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM). Five hundred and four HIV-positive MSM and 504 age-matched HIV-negative MSM were recruited from an HIV counseling and testing clinic in Shanghai, China from November 2014 to November 2015 and were administered with a face-to-face questionnaire interview. Whole blood EBV DNA was tested by nested polymerase chain reaction assays on EBNA-1, EBNA-2, and LMP-1 genes. The prevalence of whole blood EBV DNA was 56·0% (95% CI 51·7–60·3%) among HIV-positive MSM and 26·0% (95% CI 22·4–30·0%) among HIV-negative MSM. Whole blood EBV DNA positivity was significantly associated with HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3·43, 95% CI 2·58–4·57) and frequent intake of pickled, smoked, or salty food (aOR 1·71, 95% CI 1·02–2·86) in the whole sample, and with <200 cells/μl CD4 cell counts (aOR 1·79, 95% CI 1·05–3·05) and pickled, smoked, or salty food intake (aOR 3·14, 95% CI 1·39–7·08) in HIV-positive group. HIV-infected MSM are at higher risk of active EBV replication than HIV-uninfected MSM, underscoring needs of surveillance and research on EBV-related carcinogenesis in this population.
Prior research demonstrated that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with binge-eating behavior, binge-eating disorder (BED), and bulimia nervosa (BN). The aim of this study was to investigate these associations in an adult twin population, and to determine the extent to which ADHD symptoms and binge-eating behavior share genetic and environmental factors.
We used self-reports of current ADHD symptoms and lifetime binge-eating behavior and associated characteristics from a sample of over 18 000 adult twins aged 20–46 years, from the population-based Swedish Twin Registry. Mixed-effects logistic regression was used to examine the association between ADHD and lifetime binge-eating behavior, BED, and BN. Structural equation modeling was used in 13 773 female twins to determine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the association between ADHD symptoms and binge-eating behavior in female adult twins.
ADHD symptoms were significantly associated with lifetime binge-eating behavior, BED, and BN. The heritability estimate for current ADHD symptoms was 0.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.41–0.44], and for lifetime binge-eating behavior 0.65 (95% CI 0.54–0.74). The genetic correlation was estimated as 0.35 (95% CI 0.25–0.46) and the covariance between ADHD and binge-eating behavior was primarily explained by genetic factors (91%). Non-shared environmental factors explained the remaining part of the covariance.
The association between adult ADHD symptoms and binge-eating behavior in females is largely explained by shared genetic risk factors.
Pig farmers and veterinarians have high prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) due to the occupational livestock exposure, while few reported this association on slaughterhouse workers. We conducted this cross-sectional study to explore the phenotypic and molecular characteristics of S. aureus and MRSA in slaughterhouse pig-related workers and control workers in Guangdong Province, China. Participants were interviewed and provided two nasal swabs. Swabs were tested for S. aureus, and isolates were further tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, virulence genes and multi-locus sequence typing. Compared with control workers, pig-related workers have significantly higher prevalence of MRSA carriage (adjusted odd ratio (aOR) 3·70, 95% CI 1·63–8·40). The proportions of MRSA resistant to clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline or chloromycetin were significantly higher in pig-related workers than in control workers. The predominant phenotypes of S. aureus were resistant to penicillin, clindamycin, erythromycin and tetracycline. Three MRSA CC9 isolates with livestock-associated characteristics (resistance to tetracycline and absence of immune evasion cluster (IEC) genes) were detected in pig-related workers but not in control workers. For human-associated CCs (CC7, CC59, CC6, and CC188), there was no significant difference in IEC profile or antimicrobial resistance between the groups. These findings reveal that there may be a potential risk for livestock-to-human transmission of LA-MRSA and human-to-human transmission of human-associated MRSA.
Studies of schizophrenia at drug-naive state and on antipsychotic medication have reported a number of regions of gray-matter (GM) abnormalities but the reports have been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to conduct multimodal meta-analysis to compare the cross-sectional voxel-based morphometry studies of brain GM in antipsychotic-naive first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) and those with antipsychotic treatment within 1 year (AT-FES) to determine the similarities and differences in these groups. We conducted two separate meta-analyses containing 24 studies with a sample size of 801 patients and 957 healthy controls. A multimodal meta-analysis method was used to compare the findings between AN-FES and AT-FES. Meta-regression analyses were done to determine the influence of different variables including age, duration of illness, and positive and negative symptom scores. Finally, jack-knife analyses were done to test the robustness of the results. AN-FES and AT-FES showed common patterns of GM abnormalities in frontal (gyrus rectus), superior temporal, left hippocampal and insular cortex. GM in the left supramarginal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus were found to be increased in AN-FES but decreased in AT-FES, whereas left median cingulate/paracingulate gyri and right hippocampus GM was decreased in AN-FES but increased in AT-FES. Findings suggest that both AN-FES and AT-FES share frontal, temporal and insular regions as common anatomical regions to be affected indicating these to be the primary regions of GM abnormalities in both groups.
It has been demonstrated that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in the control of melanogenesis and hair color in mammals. By comparing miRNA expression profiles between brown and white alpaca skin, we previously identified miR508-3p as a differentially expressed miRNA suggesting its potential role in melanogenesis and hair color formation. The present study was conducted to determine the role of miR508-3p in melanogenesis in alpaca melanocytes. In situ hybridization showed that miR508-3p is abundantly present in the cytoplasma of alpaca melanocytes. miR508-3p was predicted to target the gene encoding microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF) and a luciferase reporter assay indicated that miR508-3p regulates MITF expression by directly targeting its 3′UTR. Overexpression of miR508-3p in alpaca melanocytes down-regulated MITF expression both at the messenger RNA and protein level and resulted in decreased expression of key melanogenic genes including tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 2. Overexpression of miR508-3p in melanocytes also resulted in decreased melanin production including total alkali-soluble melanogenesis, eumelanogenesis and pheomelanogenesis. Results support a functional role of miR508-3p in regulating melanogenesis in alpaca melanocytes by directly targeting MITF.
For most Ivorian regions quantitative data on the exploitation of bushmeat by local communities are scarce. We studied hunting patterns around Dassioko Sud Forest Reserve, a remnant coastal forest in south-eastern Côte d'Ivoire, through a 6-month survey of nine restaurants, in three villages surrounding the Reserve. We collected quantitative and qualitative data on the bushmeat brought to restaurants, as well as the final price for which it was sold. We calculated mean prices over the study period and extrapolated to the whole year. A total of 376 mammals (98%) and eight reptiles (2%) were sold in the restaurants surveyed. Rodents and small antelopes represented 74% of the mammals sold, probably reflecting the fact that reproductive strategists persist more successfully in heavily hunted and/or agricultural landscapes, such as the area around the Reserve. Our conservative estimate of the total biomass of bushmeat harvested annually around the Reserve is c. 40,428.03 kg (c. 11,886 animals), with a monetary value of c. FCFA 47,728,516 (c. USD 93,485.75 ), yielding an annual income of c. USD10,387.31 per person, which exceeds the mean annual income of cocoa farmers (FCFA 466,032/USD 932) more than tenfold. Although the sustainability of the bushmeat trade in the surveyed area remains unknown, we showed that hunters predominantly used cable snares, the Reserve was significantly affected by hunting activities (c. 53% of the bushmeat originated there), and larger mammalian species had been extirpated. A lack of effective protection exposes the Reserve to multiple illegal activities, including hunting, a situation exacerbated by the political crisis in 2010.
A large-scale network named the default mode network (DMN) dynamically cooperates and competes with an external attention system (EAS) to facilitate various cognitive functioning that is prominently impaired in schizophrenia. However, it is unclear whether the cognitive deficit in schizophrenia is related to the disrupted competition and/or cooperation between these two networks.
A total of 35 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy controls were scanned using gradient-echo echo-planar imaging during n-back working memory (WM) processing. Brain activities of the DMN and EAS were measured using general linear modelling of the functional magnetic resonance imaging data. Dynamic interaction between the DMN and EAS was decomposed into two directions using Granger causality analysis.
We observed a significant failure of DMN suppression in patients with schizophrenia, which was significantly related to WM/attentional deficit. Granger causality modelling showed that in healthy controls, while the EAS inhibitorily influenced the DMN, the DMN exerted an ‘excitatory’ or cooperative influence back on the EAS, especially in those with lower WM accuracy. In schizophrenia, this ‘excitatory’ DMN→EAS influence within the reciprocal EAS–DMN loop was significantly reduced, especially in patients with WM/attentional deficit.
The dynamic interaction between the DMN and EAS is likely to be comprised of both competitive and cooperative influences. In healthy controls, both the ‘inhibitory’ EAS→DMN interaction and ‘excitatory’ DMN→EAS interaction are correlated with WM performance. In schizophrenia, reduced ‘cooperative’ influence from the DMN to dorsal nodes of the EAS occurs in the context of non-suppression of the DMN and may form a possible pathophysiological substrate of WM deficit and attention disorder.