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Identifying effective treatments is a critical issue for Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). The pathological amyloid deposits of AD result in disruption of the balance between long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) of neuronal cells and synaptic plasticity. Brain stimulation in dementia research, especially with relatively safe tDCS, has been taken seriously recently. In theory, tDCS affects long-term synaptic plasticity through LTP and LTD, thereby improving cognitive ability. Recently, an increasing number of studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of tDCS in AD and concluded a positive therapeutic effect. Currently, there are no studies of tDCS for AD in Taiwan. In this study, we investigate the effects of tDCS in AD.
Using a double-blind, randomized and sham- controlled trial design, Sixteen AD aged 55-90 years (8 active, mean age 73.88 and 8 sham, mean age 74.75) were included in the study. AD diagnostics is according to DSM-5 criteria. The CDR ratings of AD participants ranged from 0.5 to 2. All subjects completed ten consecutive daily sessions in which they received either an active or a sham tDCS over the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (anodal) and a cathodal electrode on the right supraorbital area. In each session, we applied a current intensity of 2 mA and an electrode size of 35 cm2 for 30 min in the active group. All subjects received a series of neuropsychological tests, which included CDR, MMSE, CASI and WCST, before and after these treatment sessions on the first day and 4 weeks later. Chi- square test, Wilcoxon signed ranks test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to assess the differences in participant demographic characteristics and to compare the differences among groups.
The active group showed significant improvement in total correct item, Conceptual level Responses (reflecting insight into the correct sorting principles), Categories Completed (reflecting overall success), and Trials to complete first categories (reflecting initial conceptual ability) of WCST 4 weeks later after the final stimulation. There were no statistically significant differences between before and after the 10-session course for the sham group.
tDCS stimulation improves cognitive operation and Conceptual Ability of AD.
A novel g-C3N4 nanoparticle@porous g-C3N4 (CNNP@PCN) composite has been successfully fabricated by loading g-C3N4 nanoparticles on the porous g-C3N4 matrix via a simply electrostatic self-assembly method. The composition, morphological structure, optical property, and photocatalytic performance of the composite were evaluated by various measurements, including XRD, SEM, TEM, Zeta potential, DRS, PL, FTIR, and XPS. The results prove that the nanolization of g-C3N4 leads to an apparent blueshift of the absorption edge, and the energy band gap is increased from 2.84 eV of porous g-C3N4 to 3.40 eV of g-C3N4 nanoparticle (Fig. 6). Moreover, the valence band position of the g-C3N4 nanoparticle is about 0.7 eV lower than that of porous g-C3N4. Therefore, the photo-generated holes and electrons in porous g-C3N4 can transfer to the conduction band of g-C3N4 nanoparticle, thereby obtaining higher separation efficiency of photo-generated carriers as well as longer carrier lifetime. Under visible-light irradiation, 6CNNP@PCN exhibits the highest photocatalytic performance (Fig. 8) on MB, which is approximately 3.4 times as that of bulk g-C3N4.
To evaluate the effects of disease severity, corticosteroids and social factors on neuropsychiatric complaints in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients, both during acute and convalescent phases.
Self-administered mail questionnaires survey to 308 SARS patients after discharging from hospital. Both patients and their families were asked about symptoms related to various neuropsychiatric domains, and the questions covered both acute and convalescent phases.
Among the 102 (33%) valid replies, 65% had strong symptoms in convalescent phase as indicated by GHQ28 score ≥ 5. In multiple linear regression analysis, use of pulse steroid and total dosages of pulse steroid during hospitalisation were predictive for anxiety-depression, psychosis and behavioural symptoms in acute phase, the effects persisted in convalescent phase. Disease severity had direct correlation with symptoms in all neuropsychiatric domains at acute phase and anxiety-depression and cognition at convalescent phase. Health care workers had more neuropsychiatric complaints in both phases. Severity of symptoms, corticosteroids and social factors explained about half of the variances (R2 = 52) in anxiety-depression at acute phase and 33% at convalescent phase.
Severe disease, high dose corticosteroids and being health care workers were independent predictors of neuropsychiatric complaints in both acute and convalescent phases.
To study the variation of the stagnation point position of the flow impinging obliquely on a moving flat plate, we follow the mathematical approach of Dorrepall (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 163, 1986, p. 141) and obtain the analytical solution of the flow. Based on the solution, we derive an equation governing the variation of stagnation point position with both the plate velocity as well as the impinging angle. Results show that, when the plate is stationary, the stagnation point will stay in upstream if the flow is non-orthogonal, as concluded by previous studies. As soon as the plate starts to move, the stagnation point will move from upstream to downstream when the plate velocity increases beyond a small critical value, no matter whether the flow is orthogonal or non-orthogonal.
Maternal supraphysiological estradiol (E2) environment during pregnancy leads to adverse perinatal outcomes. However, the influence of oocyte exposure to high E2 levels on perinatal outcomes remains unknown. Thus, a retrospective cohort study was conducted to explore the effect of high E2 level induced by controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) on further outcomes after frozen embryo transfer (FET). The study included all FET cycles (n = 10,581) between 2014 and 2017. All cycles were categorized into three groups according to the E2 level on the day of the human Chorionic Gonadotropin trigger. Odds ratios (ORs) and their confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the association between E2 level during COH and pregnancy outcomes and subsequent neonatal outcomes. From our findings, higher E2 level was associated with lower percentage of chemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth as well as increased frequency of early miscarriage. Preterm births were more common among singletons in women with higher E2 level during COH (aOR1 = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.22–3.06; aOR2 = 2.05, 95% CI: 1.33–3.06). Incidence of small for gestational age (SGA) was more common in both singletons (aOR1 = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.30–3.11; aOR2 = 2.51, 95% CI: 1.69–3.74) and multiples (aOR1 = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.03–2.45; aOR2 = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.05–3.84) among women with relatively higher E2 level. No association was found between high E2 level during COH and the percentage of macrosomia or large for gestational age. In summary, oocyte exposure to high E2 level during COH should be brought to our attention, since the pregnancy rate decreasing and the risk of preterm birth and SGA increasing following FET.
The condition of caregivers is important to the quality of care received by people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), especially at the late disease stages. This study addresses the distress placed on caregivers by participants’ neuropsychiatric symptoms at different stages of PD in Taiwan
This prospective study enrolled 108 people with PD. All participants were examined with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI), and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale. Caregiver distress was measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale (NPI-D). Statistical analysis was used to explore the PD-related factors that contribute to caregiver distress.
The mean follow-up interval in the 108 PD participants were 24.0 ± 10.2 months with no participant lost to follow-up due to death. NPI-distress (the sum of NPI caregiver distress scale across the 12 domains of the NPI) was positively correlated with NPI-sum (the total score across the 12 domains of the NPI) (r = 0.787, p < 0.001), CDR (r = 0.403, p < 0.001), UPRDS (r = 0.276, p = 0.004), and disease duration (r = 0.246, p = 0.002), but negatively correlated with CASI (r = −0.237, p = 0.043) and MMSE (r = −0.281, p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that only NPI-sum and disease duration were independently correlated with NPI-distress.
The disease duration and NPI-sum are independent predictors of caregiver distress in Taiwanese populations with PD. Early detection and reduction of neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with PD can help decrease caregiver distress.
Improvement of environmental cleaning in hospitals has been shown to decrease in-hospital cross transmission of pathogens. Several objective methods, including aerobic colony counts (ACCs), the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence assay, and the fluorescent marker method have been developed to assess cleanliness. However, the standard interpretation of cleanliness using the fluorescent marker method remains uncertain.
To assess the fluorescent marker method as a tool for determining the effectiveness of hospital cleaning.
A prospective survey study.
An academic medical center.
The same 10 high-touch surfaces were tested after each terminal cleaning using (1) the fluorescent marker method, (2) the ATP assay, and (3) the ACC method. Using the fluorescent marker method under study, surfaces were classified as totally clean, partially clean, or not clean. The ACC method was used as the standard for comparison.
According to the fluorescent marker method, of the 830 high-touch surfaces, 321 surfaces (38.7%) were totally clean (TC group), 84 surfaces (10.1%) were partially clean (PC group), and 425 surfaces (51.2%) were not clean (NC group). The TC group had significantly lower ATP and ACC values (mean ± SD, 428.7 ± 1,180.0 relative light units [RLU] and 15.6 ± 77.3 colony forming units [CFU]/100 cm2) than the PC group (1,386.8 ± 2,434.0 RLU and 34.9 ± 87.2 CFU/100 cm2) and the NC group (1,132.9 ± 2,976.1 RLU and 46.8 ± 119.2 CFU/100 cm2).
The fluorescent marker method provided a simple, reliable, and real-time assessment of environmental cleaning in hospitals. Our results indicate that only a surface determined to be totally clean using the fluorescent marker method could be considered clean.
Propofol is a intravenous anaesthetic most commonly used in ultrasound oocyte retrieval. We studied if the use of propofol had an effect on mouse oocyte maturation, pregnancy, childbirth and progeny and investigated the correlation between propofol side effects and reproductive performance in mice. There was no statistical difference in mating, pregnancy, childbirth, litter size, the number of stillbirths and survival between each group (P>0.05). Propofol also had no effect on polar body extrusion in oocyte maturation as well as on pronucleus formation and, subsequently, early embryo development (P>0.05). An increased concentration of propofol had no effect on this result, although propofol at more than 0.01 mg/ml reduced polar body extrusion. Different concentrations of propofol had no effect on oocyte culture in vitro, pronucleus formation and early embryo development.
This study examined the mediating effects of future social expectations and interpersonal distrust on the relationship between individual relative deprivation and intention to rebel. Data were gathered from 807 people from multiple occupational backgrounds in a municipality in southwest China. Structural equation modelling showed that individual relative deprivation predicted intention to rebel directly and also that it predicted intention to rebel indirectly via negative future social expectations, interpersonal distrust, and a chain mediating effect of negative future social expectations and interpersonal distrust. These results highlight the importance of the associations between future social expectations and interpersonal distrust with intention to rebel in people who report relative deprivation. The findings also indicate that prevention and intervention programs related to relative deprivation and intention to rebel in China are worthy of further research.
Apathy is a condition characterized by a lack of motivation that manifests in emotional, behavioral, and cognitive domains. Although previous studies have indicated that apathy is associated with frontal lesions, few studies have focused on the different subdomains of apathy, and no in vivo human biochemical data have been obtained to examine the neurochemical changes related to apathy in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thus, we investigated the frontal neurochemical alterations related to apathy among patients with AD using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS).
Apathy was assessed through the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES). 1H MRS was performed to measure neurochemical metabolite levels in the anterior cingulate region and right orbitofrontal region. Associations between neurochemical metabolites and the total score and subscores of each domain of the AES were analyzed.
Altogether, 36 patients completed the study. Patients with lower N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios (NAA/Cr) in the anterior cingulate region demonstrated higher total apathy scores (β = −0.56, p = 0.003) with adjustments for age, gender, educational level, dementia severity, and depression severity. In a further analysis, a lower NAA/Cr in the anterior cingulate region was associated with all subdomains of apathy, including cognition (β = −0.43, p = 0.028), behavior (β = −0.55, p = 0.002), and emotion (β = −0.50, p = 0.005). No statistically significant associations were discovered in the right orbitofrontal region.
Our results suggest that apathy, in each of its cognitive, behavioral, or emotional subdomains is associated with brain neurochemical alterations in the anterior cingulate region. Abnormal neuronal integrity over the anterior cingulate cortex may exhibit a central role in causing all aspects of apathy in patients with AD.
Recent advances in synchrotron based x-ray spectroscopy enable materials scientists to emanate fingerprints on important materials properties, e.g., electronic, optical, structural, and magnetic properties, in real-time and under nearly real-world conditions. This characterization in combination with optimized materials synthesis routes and tailored morphological properties could contribute greatly to the advances in solid-state electronics and renewable energy technologies. In connection to this, such perspective reflects the current materials research in the space of emerging energy technologies, namely photocatalysis, with a focus on transition metal oxides, mainly on the Fe2O3- and TiO2-based materials.
The radiative transfer equation (RTE) arises in many different areas of science and engineering. In this paper, we propose and investigate a discrete-ordinate discontinuous-streamline diffusion (DODSD) method for solving the RTE, which is a combination of the discrete-ordinate technique and the discontinuous-streamline diffusion method. Different from the discrete-ordinate discontinuous Galerkin (DODG) method for the RTE, an artificial diffusion parameter is added to the test functions in the spatial discretization. Stability and error estimates in certain norms are proved. Numerical results show that the proposed method can lead to a more accurate approximation in comparison with the DODG method.
Beginning in 2007, all newly diagnosed cancer patients at the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center (KF–SYSCC) were screened for psychosocial distress. Our social workers, as part of the psychosocial care team (PCT), have engaged in proactive outreach with patients identified as distressed. The goal of the present study was to assess the prevalence of psychosocial distress and the extent of contact between the PCT and distressed patients.
Newly diagnosed patients who were treated at KF–SYSCC between 2007 and 2010 for cancer were eligible if there were at least 100 patients with the same type of cancer. Before treatment began, they were screened with the Pain Scale and the Distress Thermometer (DT) and had the option to specify a desire for help. The rates of distress were analyzed by cancer type and by probable related factors. Information regarding contact with the PCT was retrieved from computerized databases.
Overall, some 5,335 cancer patients representing 12 major cancer types were included in our study. Of these, 1,771 (33.20%) were significantly distressed. By multivariate logistic regression, younger age, female gender, higher pain score, and disease stage, but not cancer type, were found to be associated with higher rates of distress. Among these distressed patients, 628 (36%) had some contact with the PCT.
Significance of results:
This Taiwanese study with a large sample size revealed a prevalence rate of psychosocial distress similar to rates found in Western countries. Contact with the PCT was established in only 36% of significantly distressed patients, despite a proactive outreach program. It is very important to have screening results made available in a timely fashion to the psycho-oncology team so that appropriate care can be offered promptly.
Bulk nanocrystalline (NC) silvers were fabricated by spark plasma sintering process. The effects of sintering temperature on physical and mechanical properties of the NC silvers were investigated. The results indicate that no impurities were introduced into the bulk compacts during the preparation procedure. Both the density and the electrical conductivity of the NC Ag increase with an increase in sintering temperature. However, the micro-hardness and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of the bulk compacts increase initially and then decrease with increasing sintering temperature. The NC Ag sintered at 500 °C exhibits the highest micro-hardness of 85.3 HV along with the best compression yield strength of 379 MPa and the highest UTS of 534 MPa. The deterioration of the mechanical properties of the NC Ag sintered at 550 °C should be attributed to the rapid grain growth.
Hypoxia is the primary stimulus for the production of erythropoietin (EPO) in both fetal and adult life. Here, we investigated fetal plasma EPO concentrations in monochorionic (MC) twin pregnancies with selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) and abnormal umbilical artery (UA) Doppler. We diagnosed sIUGR in presence of (1) birth-weight discordance >20% and (2) either twin with a birth weight <10th percentile. An abnormal UA Doppler was defined as a persistent absent-reverse end diastolic flow (AREDF). The intertwin EPO ratio was calculated as the plasma EPO level of the smaller (or small-for-gestational-age) twin divided by the EPO concentration of the larger (or appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA)) twin. Thirty-two MC twin pairs were included. Of these, 17 pairs were normal twins (Group 1), seven pairs were twins with sIUGR without UA Doppler abnormalities (Group 2), and eight pairs were twins with sIUGR and UA Doppler abnormalities (Group 3). The highest EPO ratio was identified in Group 3 (p < .001) but no significant differences were observed between Groups 1 and 2. Fetal hemoglobin levels did not differ significantly in the three groups, and fetal EPO concentration did not correlate with gestational age at birth. We conclude that fetal plasma EPO concentrations are selectively increased in MC twin pregnancies with sIUGR and abnormal UA Doppler, possibly as a result of uncompensated hypoxia.