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X-ray microscopy is a field that has developed rapidly in recent years. Two different approaches have been used. Zone plates have been employed to produce focussed beams with sizes as low as 0.07 pm for x-ray energies below 1 keV. Images of biological materials and elemental maps for major and minor low Z have been produced using above and below absorption edge differences. At higher energies collimators and focussing mirrors have been used to make small diameter beams for excitation of characteristic K— or L-x rays of all elements in the periodic
The aim of the study was to investigate any association between extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR) and intestinal flora of <30-week-old preterm infants. A total of 59 preterm infants were assigned to EUGR (n=23) and non-EUGR (n=36) groups. Intestinal bacteria were compared by using high-throughput sequencing of bacterial rRNA. The total abundance of bacteria in 344 genera (7568 v. 13,760; P<0.0001) and 456 species (10,032 v. 18,240; P<0.0001) was significantly decreased in the EUGR group compared with the non-EUGR group. After application of a multivariate logistic model and adjusting for potential confounding factors, as well as false-discovery rate corrections, we found four bacterial genera with higher and one bacterial genus with lower abundance in the EUGR group compared with the control group. In addition, the EUGR group showed significantly increased abundances of six species (Streptococcus parasanguinis, Bacterium RB5FF6, two Klebsiella species and Microbacterium), but decreased frequencies of three species (one Acinetobacter species, Endosymbiont_of_Sphenophorus_lev and one Enterobacter_species) compared with the non-EUGR group. Taken together, there were significant changes in the intestinal microflora of preterm infants with EUGR compared to preterm infants without EUGR.
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.
This study investigates numerically the performance of applying aerospike nozzle in a hydrogen peroxide mono-propellant propulsion system. A set of governing equations, including continuity, momentum, energy and species conservation equations with extended k-ε turbulence equations, are solved using the finite-volume method. The hydrogen peroxide mono-propellant is assumed to be fully decomposed into water vapor and oxygen after flowing through a catalyst bed before entering the nozzle. The aerospike nozzle is expected to have high performance even in deep throttling cases due to its self-compensating characteristics in a wide range of ambient pressure environments. The results show that the thrust coefficient efficiency (Cf,η) of this work exceeds 90% of the theoretical value with a nozzle pressure ratio (PR) in the range of 20 ~ 45. Many complex gas dynamics phenomena in the aerospike nozzle are found and explained in the paper. In addition, performance of the aerospike nozzle is compared with that of the bell-shape nozzle.
The study objective was to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus colonisation in the nares and oropharynx of healthy persons and identify any risk factors associated with such S. aureus colonisation. In total 263 participants (177 adults and 86 minors) comprising 95 families were enrolled in a year-long prospective cohort study from one urban and one rural county in eastern Iowa, USA, through local newspaper advertisements and email lists and through the Keokuk Rural Health Study. Potential risk factors including demographic factors, medical history, farming and healthcare exposure were assessed. Among the participants, 25.4% of adults and 36.1% minors carried S. aureus in their nares and 37.9% of adults carried it in their oropharynx. The overall prevalence was 44.1% among adults and 36.1% for minors. Having at least one positive environmental site for S. aureus in the family home was associated with colonisation (prevalence ratio: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.07–1.66). The sensitivity of the oropharyngeal cultures was greater than that of the nares cultures (86.1% compared with 58.2%, respectively). In conclusion, the nares and oropharynx are both important colonisation sites for healthy community members and the presence of S. aureus in the home environment is associated with an increased probability of colonisation.
Background: Registered EEG technologists (RETs) are trained in both the technical aspects of EEG and in preliminary EEG interpretation. However, there is little research evaluating the accuracy of EEG interpretation by RETs. Methods: Retrospective study of consecutive routine EEG recordings performed at SickKids Hospital. Preliminary reports by RETs and final reports by neurophysiologists were compared in 5 domains: background activity, focal abnormalities, ictal and inter-ictal epileptiform discharges and summary. Results: 500 EEG recordings were analyzed. Sensitivity and specificity of RET reports was high for the assessment of background (85%, 93%), focal slowing (84%, 93%) and inter-ictal epileptiform discharges (92%, 90%). RET reports identified ictal EEG patterns in 32 cases vs. 29 cases identified by neurophysiologists. RET reports were 100% accurate for noting no EEG change for all of 11 cases with non-epileptic events. Conclusions: Preliminary EEG reports by RETs were sensitive and specific for all EEG domains analyzed. In the majority of cases, the preliminary interpretation made by the RET was concordant with the final report of the neurophysiologist. Given these findings, RETs may be able to participate in the screening of routine EEG recordings in order to enhance the productivity of busy EEG laboratories.
It is a challenge for small, fixed-wing aerial vehicles to maintain flight stability under gusts. Inspired by the geometric features and the structural dynamic characteristics of the gliding bird wing, an elastic wing with similar characteristics was designed and optimised for use as part of unmanned aerial vehicle. A flight dynamic model, which includes the coupling of the longitudinal flight modes and the aeroelastic modes of the flexible wing, was built to analyse the mechanisms of specific coupling for the structural characteristics of the wing design, and how these specific couplings affect flight dynamics. The results showed that the bio-inspired elastic wing effectively allows alleviation of the gust response of the prototype through coupling effects of the short period and the first aeroelastic mode, even with a considerable frequency gap. These effects become more significant when the airspeed becomes larger. The conclusions of this research can facilitate further development of bird-sized unmanned aerial vehicles to extend their applications and make these vehicles more adaptive for flight in complex atmospheric environments.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
Over the last 40 years, many types of population genetic markers have been used to assess the population structure of the pest moth species Helicoverpa armigera. While this species is highly vagile, there is evidence of inter-continental population structure. Here, we examine Z-chromosome molecular markers within and between Chinese and Australian populations. Using 1352 polymorphic sites from 40 Z-linked loci, we compared two Chinese populations of moths separated by 700 km and found virtually no population structure (n = 41 and n = 54, with <1% of variation discriminating between populations). The levels of nucleotide diversity within these populations were consistent with previous estimates from introns in Z-linked genes of Australian samples (π = 0.028 vs. 0.03). Furthermore, all loci surveyed in these Chinese populations showed a skew toward rare variants, with ten loci having a significant Tajima's D statistic, suggesting that this species could have undergone a population expansion. Eight of the 40 loci had been examined in a previous study of Australian moths, of which six revealed very little inter-continental population structure. However, the two markers associated with the Cyp303a1 locus that has previously been proposed to be a target of a selective sweep, exhibited allele structuring between countries. Using a separate dataset of 19 Australian and four Chinese moths, we scanned the molecular variation distributed across the entire Z-chromosome and found distinct blocks of differentiation that include the region containing Cyp303a1. We recommend some of these loci join those associated with insecticide resistance to form a set of genes best suited to analyzing population structure in this global pest.
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.
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.
To explore the effects of maternal nutrition on offspring muscle characteristics, a total of 56 sows were assigned to one of the four dietary groups during gestation: control (CON), or control diets supplemented with methyl donor (MET), bisphenol A (BPA), and combined BPA and MET (BPA+MET). Compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed a higher meat redness value, but lower glycogen content in the longissimus thoracis (LT). Moreover, compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed lower LT glycogen synthase (GS) mRNA levels at birth and the finishing stage, and increased methylation at the GS promoter. Prenatal BPA exposure reduced the pH and redness value of meat, but increased the lightness value, lactate content, glycolytic potential and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme activity in the LT muscle. Prenatal BPA exposure increased LDH mRNA levels in the LT muscle at birth and the finishing stage, and reduced methylation at the LDH promoter. Thus, maternal MET affects muscle GS and LDH expression via DNA methylation, thereby resulting in persistent effects on pork quality.
The effects of obesity on reproduction have been widely reported in humans and mice. The present study was designed to compare the reproductive performance of lean and fat chicken lines, divergently selected for abdominal fat content. The following parameters were determined and analyzed in the two lines: (1) reproductive traits, including age at first egg and total egg numbers from generations 14 to 18, absolute and relative testicular weights at 7, 14, 25, 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age, semen quality at 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age in generation 18, and fertility and hatchability from generations 14 to 18; (2) reproductive hormones at 7, 14, 25, 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age in generation 18; (3) and the relative mRNA abundance of genes involved in reproduction at 7, 14, 25, 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age in generation 18. In females, birds in the lean line laid more eggs from the first egg to 40 weeks of age than the birds in the fat line. In male broilers, the birds in the lean line had higher absolute and relative testicular weights at 7, 14 and 25 weeks of age, but lower absolute and relative testicular weights at 56 weeks of age than the birds in the fat line. Male birds in the lean line had greater sperm concentrations and larger numbers of motile and morphologically normal sperms at 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age than the birds in the fat line. Fertility and hatchability were also higher in the lean line than in the fat line. Significant differences in the plasma levels of reproductive hormones and the expression of reproduction-associated genes were also found at different ages in the lean and fat birds, in both males and females. These results suggest that reproductive performance is better in lean birds than in fat birds. In view of the unique divergent lines used in this study, these results imply that selecting for abdominal fat deposition negatively affects the reproductive performance of birds.
VLBI observations at 18 and 6 cm with European baselines of lengths up to 15 and 23 million wavelengths respectively have been used to search for structure in the quasar 4C39.25 on scales of 10 to 100 milliarcsec. No significant structure on these scales brighter than 5 percent of the peak brightness has been detected. The core itself, however appears to be extended on a scale of 2 to 4 milliarcsec and variable in flux density.
A family of structure-dependent integration methods has been proposed by Gui et al. for time integration. Although it has desirable numerical properties, such as unconditional stability, explicit formulation and second-order accuracy, it has some adverse properties, such as a poor capability to capture structural nonlinearity, an overshoot in a high frequency steady- state response and a weak instability in the high frequency response of nonzero initial conditions. The causes of these adverse properties are explored. A poor capability to capture structural nonlinearity may originate from the convergence rate of 1 in velocity error. This family method has an overshoot in a high frequency steady-state response and this overshoot can be eliminated by adding a load-dependent term into the displacement difference equation. It is also analytically verified that the family method generally has no weak instability. However, the special member with λ = 4, i.e., CR explicit method, is shown to have a weak instability. Thus, it must be prohibited from practical applications although many applications of this method were found in the literature.
A study was conducted to examine the effects of a multi-carbohydrase enzyme complex on the nutritive value of wheat in diets differing in nutrient density. It was hypothesised that response to enzyme inclusion would be greater in diets with lower nutrient density. The study was conducted using 1008 Ross 308 male broiler chicks (four treatments with seven replicate pens of 36 chicks). A 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was employed. Factors were adequate or low nutrient density with or without enzyme supplementation. The wheat-soybean meal based positive control (PC) diet was formulated to be nutritionally adequate in energy and digestible amino acids according to local industry recommendations. A negative control (NC) was formulated to have 80 kcal/kg less ME and 1.5% less digestible amino acids as compared to the PC. A multi-carbohydrase complex containing 19 carbohydrase activities derived from Penicillium funiculosum was added in both the PC and NC diets (Rovabio® Excel LC, Adisseo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd., Singapore). Birds fed the NC had 3.7 points (P < 0.05) poorer FCR than the PC. Across the diet type, enzyme supplementation increased body weight by 3.2% (P < 0.05) and improved FCR by 5.2 points (P < 0.01). There was no nutrient density x enzyme interaction (P > 0.05), indicating that performance improvement was independent of nutrient density. Apparent ileal digestibility of crude protein followed a similar trend, showing a 4.9% enhancement (P < 0.01) with the inclusion of the enzyme product in either diet. Enzyme supplementation reduced ileal viscosity by 39.0% (P < 0.05). It was concluded that multi-carbohydrase could overcome the negative effect in broiler performance brought by nutrient reduction, however, there was no indication that nutrient density affected bird response to supplementation of multi-carbohydrase.
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.
Retreatment of tuberculosis (TB) often fails in China, yet the risk factors associated with the failure remain unclear. To identify risk factors for the treatment failure of retreated pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients, we analyzed the data of 395 retreated PTB patients who received retreatment between July 2009 and July 2011 in China. PTB patients were categorized into ‘success’ and ‘failure’ groups by their treatment outcome. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between treatment outcome and socio-demographic as well as clinical factors. We also created an optimized risk score model to evaluate the predictive values of these risk factors on treatment failure. Of 395 patients, 99 (25·1%) were diagnosed as retreatment failure. Our results showed that risk factors associated with treatment failure included drug resistance, low education level, low body mass index (<18·5), long duration of previous treatment (>6 months), standard treatment regimen, retreatment type, positive culture result after 2 months of treatment, and the place where the first medicine was taken. An Optimized Framingham risk model was then used to calculate the risk scores of these factors. Place where first medicine was taken (temporary living places) received a score of 6, which was highest among all the factors. The predicted probability of treatment failure increases as risk score increases. Ten out of 359 patients had a risk score >9, which corresponded to an estimated probability of treatment failure >70%. In conclusion, we have identified multiple clinical and socio-demographic factors that are associated with treatment failure of retreated PTB patients. We also created an optimized risk score model that was effective in predicting the retreatment failure. These results provide novel insights for the prognosis and improvement of treatment for retreated PTB patients.
Over the past 8 years, human enteroviruses (HEVs) have caused 27 227 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Xiamen, including 99 severe cases and six deaths. We aimed to explore the molecular epidemiology of HFMD in Xiamen to inform the development of diagnostic assays, vaccines and other interventions. From January 2009 to September 2015, 5866 samples from sentinel hospitals were tested using nested reverse transcription PCR that targeted the HEV 5′ untranslated region and viral protein 1 region. Of these samples, 4290 were tested positive for HEV and the amplicons were sequenced and genotyped. Twenty-two genotypes were identified. Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackieviruses A16, A6 and A10 (CA16, CA6 and CA10) were the most common genotypes, and there were no changes in the predominant lineages of these genotypes. EV71 became the most predominant genotype every 2 years. From 2013, CA6 replaced CA16 as one of the two most common genotypes. The results demonstrate the vast diversity of HFMD pathogens, and that minor genotypes are able to replace major genotypes. We recommend carrying-out long-term monitoring of the full spectrum of HFMD pathogens, which could facilitate epidemic prediction and the development of diagnostic assays and vaccines.