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Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Antioxidants have been always used to improve post-slaughter meat quality in broilers subjected to stress. Forsythia suspensa extract (FSE), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, is generally regarded as a natural source of antioxidants. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that FSE could protect post-slaughter breast muscles against oxidative injury induced by dexamethasone (DEX) mimicking chronic physiological stress in poultry production. Average daily gain and feed efficiency of poultry were suppressed by DEX and improved by FSE (P < 0.05). Dexamethasone caused the decrease in the redness value and the increase in the lightness and yellowness values and drip loss of the breast muscles (P < 0.05), and FSE had the converse effects (P < 0.05). Dietary FSE supplementation decreased monounsaturated fatty acid (FA) and increased polyunsaturated FA in breast muscles of broilers (P < 0.05). In addition, FSE decreased malondialdehyde and carbonyl content in the breast muscles of DEX-treated broilers (P < 0.05). The inhibition of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl in the breast muscles was decreased by DEX and increased by FSE (P < 0.05). Total-antioxidant capacity and glutathione peroxidase activity in the breast muscles were decreased in birds subjected to DEX and increased in birds supplemented with FSE (P < 0.05). Totally, DEX suppressed growth performance and induced breast muscle oxidative injury in broilers, and FSE supplementation improved antioxidant capacity to attenuate these adverse effects. Therefore, FSE could be a potential natural antioxidant to alleviate oxidative injury of the breast muscles in broilers and to improve the meat quality for human consumption.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
A stable reference gene is a key prerequisite for accurate assessment of gene expression. At present, the real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction has been widely used in the analysis of gene expression in a variety of organisms. Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes (Acari: Phytoseiidae) is a major predator of mites on many important economically crops. Until now, however, there are no reports evaluating the stability of reference genes in this species. In view of this, we used GeNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and RefFinder software tools to evaluate the expression stability of 11 candidate reference genes in developmental stages and under various abiotic stresses. According to our results, β-ACT and Hsp40 were the top two stable reference genes in developmental stages. The Hsp60 and Hsp90 were the most stable reference genes in various acaricides stress. For alterations in temperature, Hsp40 and α-TUB were the most suitable reference genes. About UV stress, EF1α and α-TUB were the best choice, and for the different prey stress, β-ACT and α-TUB were best suited. In normal conditions, the β-ACT and α-TUB were the two of the highest stable reference genes to respond to all kinds of stresses. The current study provided a valuable foundation for the further analysis of gene expression in N. barkeri.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.
Neoseiulus barkeri (HUGHES) is the natural enemy of spider mites, whiteflies and thrips. Screening for chemically-resistant predatory mites is a practical way to balance the contradiction between the pesticide using and biological control. In this study, the number of eggs laid by fenpropathrin-susceptible and resistant strains of N. barkeri was compared. Additionally, we cloned three N. barkeri vitellogenin (Vg) genes and used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to quantify Vg expression in susceptible and resistant strains. The total number of eggs significantly increased in the fenpropathrin-resistant strain. The full-length cDNA cloning of three N. barkeri Vg genes (NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3) revealed that the open reading frames of NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3 were 5571, 5532 and 4728 bp, encoding 1856, 1843 and 1575 amino acids, respectively. The three N. barkeri Vg possessed the Vitellogenin-N domain (or lipoprotein N-terminal domain (LPD_N)), von Willebrand factor type D domain (VWD) and the domain with unknown function 1943 (DUF1943). The NbVg1 and NbVg2 expression levels were significantly higher in the resistant strain than in the susceptible strain, while the NbVg3 expression level was lower in the resistant strain. Thus, we speculate that the increased number of eggs laid by the fenpropathrin-resistant strain of N. barkeri may be a consequence of changes in Vg gene expression.
For nearly a century, the incidence of cancer in people with schizophrenia was lower than in the general population. In the recent decade, the relationship between cancer and schizophrenia has become obscured. Thus, we investigated the cancer risk among young and middle-aged patients with schizophrenia.
Records of newly admitted patients with schizophrenia (n = 32 731) from January 2000 through December 2008 were retrieved from the Psychiatric Inpatient Medical Claims database in Taiwan, and the first psychiatric admission of each patient during the same period was defined as the baseline. We obtained 514 incident cancer cases that were monitored until December 2010. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated to compare the risk of cancer between those with schizophrenia and the general population. Stratified analyses of cancer incidences were performed by gender, site of cancers and duration since baseline (first psychiatric admission).
The incidence of cancer for all sites was slightly higher than that of the general population for the period (SIR = 1.15 [95% CI 1.06–1.26], p = 0.001). Men had a significantly higher incidence of colorectal cancer (SIR = 1.48 [95% CI 1.06–2.06], p = 0.019). Women had a higher incidence of breast cancer (SIR = 1.47 [95% CI 1.22–1.78], p < 0.001). Intriguingly, the risk for colorectal cancer was more pronounced 5 years after the first psychiatric admission rather than earlier (SIR = 1.94 [1.36–2.75], p < 0.001) and so was the risk for breast cancer (SIR = 1.85 [1.38–2.48], p < 0.001). The cancer incidence was higher in patients with schizophrenia contradicting the belief that schizophrenia was protective of cancers.
Our analyses suggest that men and women with schizophrenia were more vulnerable to certain types of cancers, which indicates the need for gender-specific cancer screening programs. The fact that risk of colorectal cancer was more pronounced 5 years after the first psychiatric admission could imply the impact of unhealthy lifestyles or the possibility of delayed diagnoses.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is frequently associated with poorer reading ability; however, the specific neuropsychological domains linking this co-occurrence remain unclear. This study evaluates information-processing characteristics as possible neuropsychological links between ADHD symptoms and RA in a community-based sample of children and early adolescents with normal IQ (⩾70).
The participants (n = 1857, aged 6–15 years, 47% female) were evaluated for reading ability (reading single words aloud) and information processing [stimulus discriminability in the two-choice reaction-time task estimated using diffusion models]. ADHD symptoms were ascertained through informant (parent) report using the Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA). Verbal working memory (VWM; digit span backwards), visuospatial working memory (VSWM, Corsi Blocks backwards), sex, socioeconomic status, and IQ were included as covariates.
In a moderated mediation model, stimulus discriminability mediated the effect of ADHD on reading ability. This indirect effect was moderated by age such that a larger effect was seen among younger children.
The findings support the hypothesis that ADHD and reading ability are linked among young children via a neuropsychological deficit related to stimulus discriminability. Early interventions targeting stimulus discriminability might improve symptoms of inattention/hyperactivity and reading ability.
In tritrophic ‘plants–herbivores–natural enemies’ systems, there are relatively few reports concerning the role(s) of kairomones in pupal parasitism. Chouioia cunea Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an endoparasitic chalcid wasp, parasitizes pupae of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea Drury). The role of host-related kairomones was investigated using electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral techniques. Chemicals from some host stages (pupae) and host by-products (frass), induced arrestment behavior of female parasitoids, while chemicals from prepupae, were inactive. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles collected from pupae, frass and prepupae using solid-phase microextration revealed seven compounds with carbon chain lengths ranging from C4 to C20. All of the chemicals elicited significant EAG responses in C. cunea. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays demonstrated a significant positive response of mated female C. cunea to 1-dodecene. These data provide a better understanding of the host location mechanisms of pupal parasitoid.
In long-term care facilities (LTCFs), the elderly are apt to be infected because those with latent tuberculosis infections (LTBIs) are at an increased risk for reactivation and post-primary TB disease. We report an outbreak of TB in staff and residents in a LTCF. An outbreak investigation was conducted after two TB cases were reported from the LTCF. A tuberculin skin test (TST), bacteriological examination and chest radiograph were administered to all facility staff and residents. An outbreak is defined as at least two epidemiologically linked cases that have identical Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotype isolates. This outbreak infected eight residents and one staff member, who were confirmed to have TB in a LTCF between September 2011 and October 2012. Based on the Becker method, the latent and infectious periods were estimated at 223·6 and 55·9 days. Two initial TST-negative resident contacts were diagnosed as TB cases through comprehensive TB screening. Observing elderly people who have a negative TST after TB screening appears to be necessary, given the long latent period for controlling a TB outbreak in a LTCF. It is important to consider providing LTBI treatment for elderly contacts.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Mexican Americans living in South Texas. We tested plasma for the presence of HCV antibody from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC), a randomized, population-based cohort in an economically disadvantaged Mexican American community on the United States/Mexico border with high rates of chronic disease. A weighted prevalence of HCV antibody of 2·3% [n = 1131, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·2–3·4] was found. Participants with diabetes had low rates of HCV antibody (0·4%, 95% CI 0·0–0·9) and logistic regression revealed a statistically significant negative association between HCV and diabetes (OR 0·20, 95% CI 0·05–0·77) after adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical factors. This conflicts with reported positive associations of diabetes and HCV infection. No classic risk factors were identified, but important differences between genders emerged in analysis. This population-based study of HCV in Mexican Americans suggests that national studies do not adequately describe the epidemiology of HCV in this border community and that unique risk factors may be involved.
Background: There are no disease modifying agents for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Pathologically, AD is associated with the misfolding of two peptides: beta-amyloid (plaques) and tau (tangles). Methods: Using large-scale computer simulations, we modelled the misfolding of both beta-amyloid and tau, identifying a common conformational motif (CCM; i.e. an abnormal peptide shape), present in both beta-amyloid and tau, that promotes their misfolding. We screened a library of 11.8 million compounds against this in silico model of protein misfolding, identifying three novel molecular classes of putative therapeutics as anti-protein misfolding agents. We synthesized approximately 400 new chemical entity drug-like molecules in each of these three classes (i.e. 1200 potential drug candidates). These were comprehensively screened in a battery of five in vitro protein oligomerization assays. Selected compounds were next evaluated in the APP/PS1 doubly transgenic mouse model of AD. Results: Two new classes of molecules were identified with the ability to block the oligomerization of both beta-amyloid and tau. These compounds are drug-like with good pharmacokinetic properties and are brain-penetrant. They exhibit excellent efficacy in transgenic mouse models. Conclusion: Computer aided drug design has enabled the discovery of novel drug-like molecules able to inhibit both tau and beta-amyloid misfolding.
Research with adults suggests that anxiety is associated with poor control of executive attention. However, in children, it is unclear (a) whether anxiety disorders and non-clinical anxiety are associated with deficits in executive attention, (b) whether such deficits are specific to anxiety versus other psychiatric disorders, and (c) whether there is heterogeneity among anxiety disorders (in particular, specific phobia versus other anxiety disorders).
We examined executive attention in 860 children classified into three groups: anxiety disorders (n = 67), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n = 67) and no psychiatric disorder (n = 726). Anxiety disorders were subdivided into: anxiety disorders excluding specific phobia (n = 43) and specific phobia (n = 21). The Attention Network Task was used to assess executive attention, alerting and orienting.
Findings indicated heterogeneity among anxiety disorders, as children with anxiety disorders (excluding specific phobia) showed impaired executive attention, compared with disorder-free children, whereas children with specific phobia showed no executive attention deficit. Among disorder-free children, executive attention was less efficient in those with high, relative to low, levels of anxiety. There were no anxiety-related deficits in orienting or alerting. Children with ADHD not only had poorer executive attention than disorder-free children, but also higher orienting scores, less accurate responses and more variable response times.
Impaired executive attention in children (reflected by difficulty inhibiting processing of task-irrelevant information) was not fully explained by general psychopathology, but instead showed specific associations with anxiety disorders (other than specific phobia) and ADHD, as well as with high levels of anxiety symptoms in disorder-free children.
We studied the temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis, its association with flooding and animal census data in Thailand. Flood data from 2010 to 2012 were extracted from spatial information taken from satellite images. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was used to determine the relationship between spatio-temporal flooding patterns and the number of human leptospirosis cases. In addition, the area of flood coverage, duration of waterlogging, time lags between flood events, and a number of potential animal reservoirs were considered in a sub-analysis. There was no significant temporal trend of leptospirosis over the study period. Statistical analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between IRR and flooding across years and regions. Spatially, leptospirosis occurred repeatedly and predominantly in northeastern Thailand. Our findings suggest that flooding is less influential in leptospirosis transmission than previously assumed. High incidence of the disease in the northeastern region is explained by the fact that agriculture and animal farming are important economic activities in this area. The periodic rise and fall of reported leptospirosis cases over time might be explained by seasonal exposure from rice farming activities performed during the rainy season when flood events often occur. We conclude that leptospirosis remains an occupational disease in Thailand.
Studies have suggested that maternal PUFA status during pregnancy may influence early childhood allergic diseases, although findings are inconsistent. We examined the relationship between maternal PUFA status and risk of allergic diseases in early childhood in an Asian cohort. Maternal plasma samples from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes mother–offspring cohort were assayed at 26–28 weeks of gestation for relative abundance of PUFA. Offspring (n 960) were followed up from 3 weeks to 18 months of age, and clinical outcomes of potential allergic diseases (rhinitis, eczema and wheezing) were assessed by repeated questionnaires. Skin prick testing (SPT) was also performed at the age of 18 months. Any allergic disease with positive SPT was defined as having any one of the clinical outcomes plus a positive SPT. The prevalence of a positive SPT, rhinitis, eczema, wheezing and any allergic disease with positive SPT was 14·1 % (103/728), 26·5 % (214/808), 17·6 % (147/833), 10·9 % (94/859) and 9·4 % (62/657), respectively. After adjustment for confounders, maternal total n-3, n-6 PUFA status and the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were not significantly associated with offspring rhinitis, eczema, wheezing, a positive SPT and having any allergic disease with positive SPT in the offspring (P>0·01 for all). A weak trend of higher maternal n-3 PUFA being associated with higher risk of allergic diseases with positive SPT in offspring was observed. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the risk of early childhood allergic diseases is modified by variation in maternal n-3 and n-6 PUFA status during pregnancy in an Asian population.
Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
We conducted a systematic review to compare resistance to third-generation cephalosporins (TGCs) in Shigella strains between Europe-America and Asia-Africa from 1998 to 2012 based on a literature search of computerized databases. In Asia-Africa, the prevalence of resistance of total and different subtypes to ceftriaxone, cefotaxime and ceftazidime increased markedly, with a total prevalence of resistance up to 14·2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 3·9–29·4], 22·6% (95% CI 4·8–48·6) and 6·2% (95% CI 3·8–9·1) during 2010–2012, respectively. By contrast, resistance rates to these TGCs in Europe-America remained relatively low – less than 1·0% during the 15 years. A noticeable finding was that certain countries both in Europe-America and Asia-Africa, had a rapid rising trend in the prevalence of resistance of S. sonnei, which even outnumbered S. flexneri in some periods. Moreover, comparison between countries showed that currently the most serious problem concerning resistance to these TGCs appeared in Vietnam, especially for ceftriaxone, China, especially for cefotaxime and Iran, especially for ceftazidime. These data suggest that monitoring of the drug resistance of Shigella strains should be strengthened and that rational use of antibiotics is required.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Recent studies of active galactic nuclei (AGN) found a statistical inverse scaling between the X-ray normalized excess variance σrms2 (variability amplitude) and the black hole mass spanning over MBH = 106 − 109M⊙. We present a study of this relation by including AGN with MBH = 105 − 106M⊙. It is found that the relation is no longer a simple extrapolation of the known inverse proportion, but starts to flatten around 106M⊙. This behavior can be understood by the shape of the power spectrum density of AGN and its dependence on the black hole mass.