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A magnetic dipole quasi-Yagi antenna based on a dielectric resonator (DR) is proposed in this letter. The dominate TE1δ1 mode of the rectangular DR is used as a magnetic dipole which can be differentially fed by the coplanar strip line (CPS). Thanks to the DR employment, the proposed antenna has several advantages such as compact size and flexible design which means the 3-D dimensions of the DR can be easily adjusted to cater for various applications. Meanwhile, the gain of the proposed DR quasi-Yagi antenna is higher than that of traditional electric dipole counterparts. Furthermore, since the DR driver is horizontally polarized, both the metal strip and DR can be used as a director for enhancing the end-fire gain. To verify the design concept, a prototype operating at the X-band is fabricated and measured. Good agreement between the simulated and measured results can be observed.
This article overviews the ultrasonic welding process, a solid-state joining method, using the example of welding of a magnesium alloy as well as the joining of magnesium alloys in general. In situ high-speed imaging and infrared thermography were utilized to study interfacial relative motion and heat generation during ultrasonic spot welding of AZ31B magnesium (Mg) alloys. A postweld ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation was performed to study the evolution of local bond formation at the faying interface (contact surface of the joint between the top and bottom Mg sheets) at different stages of the welding process. Two distinct stages were observed as the welding process progresses. In the early stage, localized reciprocating sliding occurred at the contact faying interface between the two Mg sheets, resulting in localized rapid temperature rise from the localized frictional heating. Microscale (submillimeter) bonded regions at the Mg–Mg faying surface started to form, but the overall joint strength was low. The early-stage localized bonds were broken during the subsequent vibrations. In the later stage, no relative motion occurred at any points of the faying interface. Localized bonded regions coalesced into a macroscale joint that was strong enough to prevent the Mg–Mg interface from further breakage and sliding. With increasing welding time, the bonded area continued to increase.
A robust adaptive nonlinear asymptotic regulating control law is designed for dynamically positioned vessels exposed to unknown time-varying external disturbances incorporating Fuzzy Logic Systems (FLSs), projection operators, and the “robustifying” term into the vectorial backstepping technique. The FLSs approximate the vessel unknown dynamics and the update laws based on the online projection operators update the fuzzy weight vectors. The robustifying term handles the external disturbances and the fuzzy approximation errors. The designed Dynamic Positioning (DP) control law achieves asymptotic regulation of the vessel's position and heading and makes the other signals in the DP closed-loop control system of vessels be uniformly ultimately bounded. Simulations based on the Marine System Simulator toolbox validate the designed DP control law.
Oxidative stress is closely related to metabolic disorders, which can lead to various diseases. Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a central regulator of oxidative stress. Sodium butyrate (NaB) has been shown to alleviate oxidative stress and insulin resistance, yet how Nrf2 is involved in the action of NaB remains unclear. In the present study, rats were rendered obese by feeding a high-fat diet for 9 weeks. NaB (300 mg/kg), which was gavaged every 2 d for 7 weeks, significantly alleviated high-fat diet-induced oxidative stress and insulin resistance. Additionally, the insulin signalling pathway in the liver was activated by NaB, associated with significant activation of Nrf2, superoxide dismutase and glutathione. Furthermore, hepatic up-regulation of Nrf2 in NaB-treated rats was associated with reduced protein content of histone deacetylase 1 and increased histone H3 acetyl K9 (H3K9Ac) modification on the Nrf2 promoter. The actions of NaB were completely abolished when Nrf2 was knocked down in vitro. Taken together, NaB acts as a histone deacetylase inhibitor to up-regulate Nrf2 expression with enhanced H3K9Ac modification on its promoter. NaB-induced Nrf2 activation stimulates transcription of downstream antioxidant enzymes, thus contributing to the amelioration of high-fat diet-induced oxidative stress and insulin resistance.
Soil erosion can pose a serious problem to environmental quality and sustainable development. On the Tibetan Plateau, soil erosion is one of the main challenges to regional ecological security. Our analysis investigates soil erosion and evaluates its economic value in alpine steppe, alpine meadow, alpine desert steppe and forest ecosystems on the Tibetan Plateau. Analysis was carried out from 1984 to 2013. The results show that the annual average potential soil erosion, practical soil erosion and soil conservation calculated by the Revised University Soil Loss Equation model were 2.19×109ta–1, 2.16×109ta–1 and 2.72×107ta–1, respectively. The economic value of retaining soil nutrients, reducing the formation of wasteland and the economic benefit of reducing sediment deposition were 1.98×108RMBa–1, 2.55×1012RMBa–1 and 7.44×104RMBa–1, respectively. From comparing different ecosystems, we found that the forest ecosystem had the greatest soil retention and economic values. We also found that the potential and actual soil erosion values were extremely high on the Tibetan Plateau. The study highlights that state and local policymakers must give greater emphasis to ecological protection in the future.
CrFeNiTix (x = 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, and 0.6 molar ratio) compositionally complex alloys were fabricated by vacuum arc melting to investigate the microstructure, hardness, and compressive properties. The results revealed that CrFeNiTix alloys consisted of the principal face-centered cubic (FCC) phase and body-centered cubic (BCC) solid solution, with an amount of (Ni, Ti)-rich hexagonal close-packed phase. CrFeNiTix alloys exhibited the typical dendrite. Ti0.2 and Ti0.3 alloys were composed of FCC and BCC solid solutions in the dendrite, as well as ε (Ni3Ti) and R (Ni2.67Ti1.33) phases in the inter-dendrite, simultaneously. For Ti0.4, Ti0.5, and Ti0.6 alloys, (Fe, Cr)-rich solid solution separated out and ε phase transformed into R phase gradually. Meanwhile, TEM analysis indicated that Ti0.4 alloy matrix consisted of the principal FCC phase containing (Ni, Ti)-rich intragranular nanoprecipitates. The hardness values of CrFeNiTix alloys were increased with the addition of Ti content and the high compressive strength of CrFeNiTix alloys was maintained, which was attributed to the solid solution strengthening and precipitation hardening.
Considering the nonlocal small-scale effect and surface effect, we perform the size-dependent vibration analysis of carbon nanotube (CNT). The modified governing equations for CNT’s vibration behaviors are derived by using the nonlocal Euler–Bernoulli and Timoshenko beam models, together with the consideration of surface tension and surface elasticity. According to the numerical experiments, both small-scale effect and surface effect make a substantial difference. For flexural vibration, size effect for CNT’s vibration behaviors weakens with the increase of its diameter, but strengthens with the increase of the length–diameter ratio; for shear vibration with constant length–diameter ratio, a nonlinear correlation between size effect and CNT’s diameter exists, suggesting that there is a typical diameter for CNTs, which corresponds to the “strongest” size effect. In addition, the effects of elastic substrate modulus, temperature change, and axial preloading on the vibration behaviors and their size-dependence are analyzed, respectively.
In Canada, reimbursement recommendations on drugs for common and rare indications (for example, orphan drugs) are made through the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) and the Common Drug Review (CDR). However, some stakeholders have called for a separate mechanism for orphan drugs, arguing that existing processes place too much weight on their high price tags. The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with positive recommendations on drugs for rare diseases.
Information was extracted from CDR and pCODR recommendations on drugs for diseases (prevalence of less than 1 in 2,000) up to April 2018. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were applied to explore the influence of the following variables on recommendations: year; prevalence; clinical safety and effectiveness (safety, quality of life, symptoms, surrogate outcomes, and survival); quality of evidence (availability of comparative data, external validity, and bias); unmet need; treatment cost; and incremental cost-effective ratio (ICER). Two-way interactions were also tested.
Of 128 recommendations, fifty-four (77 percent) and forty (69 percent) were positive for cancer and non-cancer indications, respectively. For cancer indications, all submissions reporting meaningful improvements in surrogate, quality of life, and survival outcomes were significantly more likely to have a positive recommendation. Submissions showing a lack of external validity were significantly less likely to receive a positive recommendation. For non-cancer indications, more recent submissions and those presenting no safety issues were associated with positive recommendations. Prevalence, treatment cost, and ICER were not determinants of positive or negative recommendations.
For both cancer and non-cancer orphan drugs, impact on clinical safety and effectiveness, rather than cost, appears to be a key factor in the formulation of recommendations.
Many population-based studies identify surgical complications using hospital discharge abstract databases (DAD). With DAD, however, complications occurring after the discharge date cannot be followed up. This study used physician claims data to identify the complications of partial nephrectomy, and to compare the rates of complications of open, laparoscopic, and robot-assisted nephrectomies.
Physician claims, DAD, and ambulatory care data from April 2003 to March 2016 were provided by Alberta Health. DAD and ambulatory care data were used to extract information on patients with kidney cancer who underwent partial nephrectomy. All physician claims within 30 days before and after surgery for the cohort were extracted. The numbers of the same International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), codes before and after surgery were compared. If a number increased after surgery, this diagnosis was initially identified as a complication. All diagnoses with neoplasms were excluded. The incidence rates of complications for the three surgery groups were calculated. Chi-squared tests were conducted for the following nephrectomy comparisons: laparoscopic versus open; robot-assisted versus open; and robot-assisted versus laparoscopic.
A total of 1,890 kidney cancer patients had partial nephrectomies. Among them, 1,080, 411, and 399 had open, laparoscopic, and robot-assisted nephrectomies, respectively. One patient who had two different nephrectomies on the same day was excluded from analysis. The robot-assisted group had lower rates of digestive complications (ICD-9: 537–578, 787, 789, 998.6) and infections (ICD-9: 004–041, 998.5) than the open group, and higher rates of genitourinary complications (ICD-9: 584–599, 788, 997.5) than the laparoscopy group. The robot-assisted group had lower rates than the open group for most of the complication categories, but the differences were not statistically significant.
Robot-assisted surgery appears to be superior to open surgery, but no better than laparoscopic surgery, in terms of minimizing the risk of complications following partial nephrectomy.
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) represents a significant economic burden to the healthcare system. Catheter ablation is a commonly adopted treatments for PAF, and cryoballoon ablation (CBA) has been recently proven to be as effective as radiofrequency ablation (RFA). This study aims to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of CBA versus RFA in patients with drug-refractory PAF in China.
A Markov model was developed to study the effects and the costs of CBA versus RFA. Cost and probability inputs data were obtained mainly from a real-world study of 85 CBA and 284 RFA patients treated in a tertiary hospital between July 2014 and July 2016. Propensity score matching was used to overcome retrospective bias, resulting in including 75 patients in each group. Input data gaps were closed with literature review and advisory board. A simulation was carried out for 14 cycles/years, and a discount rate of 3 percent was used. Then, a probabilistic sensitivity analysis was carried out with Monte Carlo approach.
In the base case scenario, the cumulative costs incurred by the CBA and RFA groups were CNY 132,222 (USD 20,767) and CNY 147,304 (USD 23,136), respectively. Over the 14-year period, the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained by the CBA group was 7.85 versus 7.71 in the RFA group. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for CBA versus RFA was thus CNY 107,729 (USD 16,920)/QALY. Model results were most sensitive to the cost incurred during the first hospitalization, recurrence rate, and relative utility weights. The probability of CBA being cost-effective for willingness to pay thresholds of per capita GDP in China was estimated to be 99 percent.
Compared with RFA, CBA is a cost-saving treatment providing increased QALYs. It represents good value for money for patients with drug-refractory PAF in China. However, further evidence needs to be generated from larger-scale studies in China.
In this paper, we review the status of the multifunctional experimental platform at the National Laboratory of High Power Laser and Physics (NLHPLP). The platform, including the SG-II laser facility, SG-II 9th beam, SG-II upgrade (SG-II UP) facility, and SG-II 5 PW facility, is operational and available for interested scientists studying inertial confinement fusion (ICF) and a broad range of high-energy-density physics. These facilities can provide important experimental capabilities by combining different pulse widths of nanosecond, picosecond, and femtosecond scales. In addition, the SG-II UP facility, consisting of a single petawatt system and an eight-beam nanosecond system, is introduced including several laser technologies that have been developed to ensure the performance of the facility. Recent developments of the SG-II 5 PW facility are also presented.
The purpose of the present meta-analysis was to evaluate the association between the inflammatory potential of diet, determined by the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) score, and depression.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science and EMBASE databases up to August 2018. All observational studies that examined the association of the DII score with depression/depressive symptoms were included.
Four prospective cohorts and two cross-sectional studies enrolling a total of 49 584 subjects.
Overall, individuals in the highest DII v. the lowest DII category had a 23 % higher risk of depression (risk ratio (RR)=1·23; 95 % CI 1·12, 1·35). When stratified by study design, the pooled RR was 1·25 (95 % CI 1·12, 1·40) for the prospective cohort studies and 1·16 (95 % CI 0·96, 1·41) for the cross-sectional studies. Gender-specific analysis showed that this association was observed in women (RR=1·25; 95 % CI 1·09, 1·42) but was not statistically significant in men (RR=1·15; 95 % CI 0·83, 1·59).
The meta-analysis suggests that pro-inflammatory diet estimated by a higher DII score is independently associated with an increased risk of depression, particularly in women. However, more well-designed studies are needed to evaluate whether an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce the risk of depression.
To investigate the protein-sparing effect of α-lipoic acid (LA), experimental fish (initial body weight: 18·99 (sd 1·82) g) were fed on a 0, 600 or 1200 mg/kg α-LA diet for 56 d, and hepatocytes were treated with 20 μm compound C, the inhibitor of AMP kinase α (AMPKα), treated for 30 min before α-LA treatment for 24 h. LA significantly decreased lipid content of the whole body and other tissues (P<0·05), and it also promoted protein deposition in vivo (P<0·05). Further, dietary LA significantly decreased the TAG content of serum and increased the NEFA content of serum (P<0·05); however, there were no significant differences among all groups in the hepatopancreas and muscle (P>0·05). Consistent with results from the experiment in vitro, LA activated phosphorylation of AMPKα and notably increased the protein content of adipose TAG lipase in intraperitoneal fat, hepatopancreas and muscle in vivo (P<0·05). Meanwhile, LA significantly up-regulated the mRNA expression of genes involved in fatty acid β-oxidation in the same three areas, and LA also obviously down-regulated the mRNA expression of genes involved in amino acid catabolism in muscle (P<0·05). Besides, it was observed that LA significantly activated the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in muscle of experimental fish (P<0·05). LA could promote lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation via increasing energy supply from lipid catabolism, and then, it could economise on the protein from energy production to increase protein deposition in grass carp. Besides, LA might directly promote protein synthesis through activating the mTOR pathway.
This paper is concerned with the global dynamics and spreading speeds of a partially degenerate non-local dispersal system with monostable nonlinearity in periodic habitats. We first obtain the existence of the principal eigenvalue for a periodic eigenvalue problem with partially degenerate non-local dispersal. Then we study the coexistence and extinction dynamics. Finally, the existence and characterization of spreading speeds are considered. In particular, we show that the spreading speed is linearly determinate. Overall, we extend the existing results on global dynamics and spreading speeds for the degenerate reaction–diffusion system to the degenerate non-local dispersal case. The extension is non-trivial and meaningful.
The elastic properties and solid-solution strengthening (SSS) of the binary Ni–Co and Ni–Cr, and ternary Ni–Co–Cr alloys were investigated by the first-principles method. The results show that both Co and Cr increase lattice parameters of the binary alloys linearly. However, nonlinearity is found in compositional dependence of lattice parameters in the ternary Ni–Co–Cr alloys, that is, Co increases but decreases the lattice parameter at low and high Cr concentrations, respectively. Co increases the bulk, shear, and Young’s moduli (B, G, and E), while Cr increases B but decreases G and E in the binary alloys. In the ternary Ni–Co–Cr alloys, G and E have a similar compositional dependence to those in the binary alloys, except for B. Based on the Labusch model, the SSS parameter of Ni–Cr is larger than that of Ni–Co. The SSS effect increases significantly with Cr addition, especially at low Co concentrations in the ternary Ni–Co–Cr alloys. Meanwhile, it increases mildly with Co addition at low Cr concentrations but decreases with Co addition at high Cr concentrations.
The number of elderly individuals living in China is increasing rapidly. The aim of this study was to examine the potential risk factors of geriatric depression in rural areas.
A repeated cross-sectional study was conducted between January 2015 and October 2016 in rural China. Nine hundred forty-five elderly individuals were included in both investigations. A generalized estimating equation (GEE) was used to examine the relationships between geriatric depression and socio-demographics, the number of chronic diseases, ADL (Activity of Daily Living) disability, cognitive impairment, and anxiety.
Among the participants, the majority was female (61.4%) and illiterate (81.5%) and had a general economic status (63.0%) and more than two kinds of chronic diseases (62.9%). The bivariate analysis indicated that geriatric depression was associated with social support, education level, economic status, ADL disability, anxiety disorders, and cognitive impairment at both survey time points. The GEE results showed that poor economic status (OR = 8.294, p < 0.001), the presence of more than two chronic diseases (OR = 1.681, p = 0.048), ADL disability (OR = 2.184, p < 0.001), cognitive impairment (OR = 1.921, p < 0.001), and anxiety (OR = 5.434, p < 0.001) were risk factors for geriatric depression in rural China; better social support (OR = 0.924, 95% CI = 0.899–0.949, p < 0.001) was found to be a protective factor.
Geriatric depression in rural China was associated with several socio-demographic, physical, and mental factors. Targeted interventions are essential to improve the psychological health of aged individuals in rural China.
With the promotion of a tiered medical service system, secondary hospitals will play a more important role in the future. This study aims to explore the cost-benefit of computed tomography (CT) in secondary hospitals in China, with a view to providing information for overall economic management in hospitals as well as for regional planning of medical equipment in different areas.
Fifty-eight secondary hospitals from six provinces located in the eastern, central, and western regions of China were selected as the study sample. Questionnaires were used to collect information on the cost structure, efficiency, and benefits of CT in the secondary hospitals in the past 5 years. Cost analysis was conducted from the perspective of the hospitals, which mainly referred to direct fixed costs and variable costs. We analyzed the investment recovery years a, cost recovery rate b, and benefit-cost ratio to evaluate the economic benefits of CT. We also analyzed the technological benefits of CT based on its effective utilization rate c and positive detection rate.
a:Investment recovery years = total original investment / (annual net income + annual depreciation expense)
b:Cost recovery rate = average income per check / average cost per check
(Single equipment utilization rate = actual working time / rated working time)
Depreciation costs (36.3 percent) were the largest proportion of all costs over the 5-year period, followed by material costs (22.2 percent), maintenance costs (18.2 percent), labor costs (17.1 percent), and electricity consumption (1.2 percent). The investment recovery periods of CT in the eastern, central, and western regions were 2.5, 2.8, and 3.1 years, respectively; the cost recovery rates were 186.5 percent, 172.0 percent, and 174.1 percent, respectively; the benefit-cost ratios were 1.9, 1.7, and 1.7, respectively; the effective utilization rates were 46.1 percent, 58.3 percent, and 71.2 percent, respectively; and the positive detection rates were 52.3 percent, 60.5 percent, and 73.3 percent, respectively.
The current study indicates that the cost-benefit of CT is good in secondary hospitals, especially in terms of economic benefits. But to achieve greater technological benefits in all three regions, more appropriate utilization of CT is needed.
First principles was carried out studying the properties of (Ti, Nb)C compounds based on density functional theory. The integration of mechanical behavior, electronic structures, and thermodynamic properties can be optimized by mediating the concentration of the titanium alloying element. The results revealed that these transition metal compounds were stable with the negative formation energy. Nb0.5Ti0.5C (29.15 GPa) demonstrated the largest hardness characterized by moduli (B, G) because of the stable shell configuration. NbC exhibited the strongest anisotropy from the universal anisotropic index (AU) and three-dimensional surface contours. TixNb1−xC compounds displayed relatively strong stress responses along the , , and  directions. Due to the weakening p–d bonding, the ideal tensile strength gradually decreased with the increasing titanium concentration. The electronic structures revealed that the bonding characteristics of the (Ti, Nb)C compounds were a mixture of metallic and covalent bonds. On the other hand, NbC and TiC exhibited a minimum (740.55 K) and maximum (919.29 K) Debye temperature, indicating the stronger metalic bonds of NbC and covalent bonds of TiC.
Colistin, a peptide antibiotic belonging to the polymyxin family, is one of the last effective drugs for the treatment of multidrug resistant Gram-negative infections. Recent discovery of a novel mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, from people and food animals has caused a significant public health concern and drawn worldwide attention. Extensive usage of colistin in food animals has been proposed as a major driving force for the emergence and transmission of mcr-1; thus, there is a worldwide trend to limit colistin usage in animal production. However, despite lack of colistin usage in food animals in the USA, mcr-1-positive Escherichia coli isolates were still isolated from swine. In this paper, we provided an overview of colistin usage and epidemiology of mcr-1 in food animals, and summarized the current status of mechanistic and evolutionary studies of the plasmid-mediated colistin resistance. Based on published information, we further discussed several non-colistin usage risk factors that may contribute to the persistence, transmission, and emergence of colistin resistance in an animal production system. Filling the knowledge gaps identified in this review is critical for risk assessment and risk management of colistin resistance, which will facilitate proactive and effective strategies to mitigate colistin resistance in future animal production systems.