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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
X-ray diffraction topography is the name given to several x-ray diffraction techniques where large area x-ray beams diffracted from a crystal provide detailed information about the surface structure and internal perfection of crystal microstructures. Since x-ray topographic techniques are based on Bragg (reflection) or Laue (transmission) diffraction from a crystal lattice, they are extremely sensitive to any atomic lattice imperfections and strains. Alterations of the interplanar spacing as small as one part in ten thousand extending over a reasonable number of atomic ce11 lengths can be recorded as a corresponding change in the diffracted beam intensity. Line Modified-Asymmetric Crystal Topography (LM-ACT) is one such reflection technique that shows particular promise in Che field of microelectronics. The LM-ACT system is designed with low angular divergence in the x-ray beam probe. Low probe beam divergence allows details of device geometries on the order of microns to be resolved in the recorded x-ray intensity variation of the diffracted beam.
The LM-ACT system was applied here to the study of integrated circuits (IC) after specific processing steps were accomplished during IC fabrication and in the final product condition. Topographs obtained from specular crystal surfaces that were implanted through a patterned mask showed contrast variations between the implanted and non-implanted regions; details of the mask patterns have been resolved on the order of a few microns. LMACT topographs from annealed, and unannealed, Implanted specimens showed marked differences and as a result it is suggested that LM-ACT would be beneficial in optimizing the processing schedule for a particular wafer/electronic system. A significant feature of the LM-ACT technique is the capability for producing high resolution stereo-pair topographs that provide quantitative information through the depth of individual process layers in an integrated circuit.
A multichannel calorimeter system is designed and constructed which is capable of delivering single-shot and broad-band spectral measurement of terahertz (THz) radiation generated in intense laser–plasma interactions. The generation mechanism of backward THz radiation (BTR) is studied by using the multichannel calorimeter system in an intense picosecond laser–solid interaction experiment. The dependence of the BTR energy and spectrum on laser energy, target thickness and pre-plasma scale length is obtained. These results indicate that coherent transition radiation is responsible for the low-frequency component (
1 THz) of BTR. It is also observed that a large-scale pre-plasma primarily enhances the high-frequency component (
3 THz) of BTR.
Flow over a moderately swept wing is characterised by complex localised flow vortex topologies such as ‘closed’ separation bubbles or ‘open’ separation structures. A model of a complex cambered, twisted, tapered wing with 40° leading edge sweep, representative of those designed for manoeuvre at high subsonic Mach numbers, was investigated using the oil-film visualisation, stereo particle image velocimetry and force moment measurements. Wind-tunnel tests were conducted at a range of Reynolds number from 2.1×105 to 8.4×105 and at angles of incidence from −1° to 22°. Still images combined with video clips enable flow patterns over the wing model to be interpreted more clearly and accurately. Using successive images extracted from the video of flow visualisation, the movement of the oil pigment has been estimated. The influence of the Reynolds number and incidence angle was discussed through analysing the flow pattern over the wing surface. Additionally, the link between the flow structures present and the wing aerodynamic performance was studied.
To investigate a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak event involving multiple healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; to characterize transmission; and to explore infection control implications.
Cases presented in 4 healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: a tertiary-care hospital, a specialty pulmonary hospital, an outpatient clinic, and an outpatient dialysis unit.
Contact tracing and testing were performed following reports of cases at 2 hospitals. Laboratory results were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and/or genome sequencing. We assessed exposures and determined seropositivity among available healthcare personnel (HCP) cases and HCP contacts of cases.
In total, 48 cases were identified, involving patients, HCP, and family members across 2 hospitals, an outpatient clinic, and a dialysis clinic. At each hospital, transmission was linked to a unique index case. Moreover, 4 cases were associated with superspreading events (any interaction where a case patient transmitted to ≥5 subsequent case patients). All 4 of these patients were severely ill, were initially not recognized as MERS-CoV cases, and subsequently died. Genomic sequences clustered separately, suggesting 2 distinct outbreaks. Overall, 4 (24%) of 17 HCP cases and 3 (3%) of 114 HCP contacts of cases were seropositive.
We describe 2 distinct healthcare-associated outbreaks, each initiated by a unique index case and characterized by multiple superspreading events. Delays in recognition and in subsequent implementation of control measures contributed to secondary transmission. Prompt contact tracing, repeated testing, HCP furloughing, and implementation of recommended transmission-based precautions for suspected cases ultimately halted transmission.
A modified bi-layer beam model is proposed to study the fracture-dominated scratch process of the brittle material with surface modification layer considering residual stress. The nonlinear analytical solution of the energy release rate is derived considering the graded distribution of the elastic modulus and residual stress. Finite element analysis is also conducted. Both analytical and numerical results show that the graded distribution of the material properties and residual stress plays an important role in the fracture process. Based on the inverse analysis, the proposed model could provide a convenient way to determine the energy release rate of materials possessing a surface modification layer.
Rabies is one of the major public health problems in China, and the mortality rate of rabies remains the highest among all notifiable infectious diseases. A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) vaccination rate and risk factors for human rabies in mainland China. The PubMed, Web of Science, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Science and Technology Periodical and Wanfang databases were searched for articles on rabies vaccination status (published between 2007 and 2017). In total, 10 174 human rabies cases from 136 studies were included in this meta-analysis. Approximately 97.2% (95% confidence interval (CI) 95.1–98.7%) of rabies cases occurred in rural areas and 72.6% (95% CI 70.0–75.1%) occurred in farmers. Overall, the vaccination rate in the reported human rabies cases was 15.4% (95% CI 13.7–17.4%). However, among vaccinated individuals, 85.5% (95% CI 79.8%–83.4%) did not complete the vaccination regimen. In a subgroup analysis, the PEP vaccination rate in the eastern region (18.8%, 95% CI 15.9–22.1%) was higher than that in the western region (13.3%, 95% CI 11.1–15.8%) and this rate decreased after 2007. Approximately 68.9% (95% CI 63.6–73.8%) of rabies cases experienced category-III exposures, but their PEP vaccination rate was 27.0% (95% CI 14.4–44.9%) and only 6.1% (95% CI 4.4–8.4%) received rabies immunoglobulin. Together, these results suggested that the PEP vaccination rate among human rabies cases was low in mainland China. Therefore, standardised treatment and vaccination programs of dog bites need to be further strengthened, particularly in rural areas.
We report on a novel processing route to prepare La0.8Ce0.2(Fe0.95Co0.05)11.8Si1.2/Cu bulk composites by low-temperature hot pressing. With increasing copper content, the compressive strength of the composites first decrease and then increase owing to the buffering effect of copper, but the magnetocaloric effect reduces to some extent. Copper addition improves the thermal conductivity of the composites, which compensates for the decrease in thermal conductivity due to porosity. A relatively large entropy change of 5.75–7.19 J/(kg K) at 2 T near the Curie temperature (249 K), good thermal conductivity of 7.51–15.55 W/(m·K), and improved compressive strength of 151.1–248.0 MPa make these composites attractive magnetic refrigeration materials.
Background: To determine whether exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) in CSF of patients with FTD can serve as diagnostic biomarkers, we assessed miRNA expression in the Genetic FTD Initiative (GENFI) cohort and in sporadic FTD. Methods: GENFI participants were either carriers of a pathogenic mutation or at risk of carrying a mutation because a first-degree relative was a symptomatic mutation carrier. Exosomes were isolated from CSF of 23 -pre-symptomatic and 15 symptomatic mutation carriers, and 11 healthy non-mutation carriers. Expression of miRNAs was measured using qPCR arrays. MiRNAs differentially expressed in symptomatic compared to pre-symptomatic mutation carriers were evaluated in 17 patients with sporadic FTD, 13 patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and 10 healthy controls (HCs). Results: In the GENFI cohort, miR-204-5p and miR-632 were significantly decreased in symptomatic compared to pre-symptomatic mutation carriers. Decrease of miR-204-5p and miR-632 revealed receiver operator characteristics with an area of 0.89 [90% CI: 0.79-0.98] and 0.81 [90% CI: 0.68-0.93], and when combined an area of 0.93 [90% CI: 0.87-0.99]. In sporadic FTD, only miR-632 was significantly decreased compared to sporadic AD and HCs. Decrease of miR-632 revealed an area of 0.89 [90% CI: 0.80-0.98]. Conclusions: Exosomal miR-204-5p and miR-632 have potential as diagnostic biomarkers for genetic FTD and miR-632 also for sporadic FTD.
Background: Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the synaptic scaffolding gene SHANK2 are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, their impact on the function of human neurons is unknown. Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from affected individuals permits generation of live neurons to answer this question. Methods: We generated iPSCs by reprogramming dermal fibroblasts of neurotypic and ASD-affected donors. To isolate the effect of SHANK2, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out SHANK2 in control iPSCs and correct a heterozygous nonsense mutation in ASD-affected donor iPSCs. We then derived cortical neurons from SOX1+ neural precursor cells differentiated from these iPSCs. Using a novel assay that overcomes line-to-line variability, we compared neuronal morphology, total synapse number, and electrophysiological properties between SHANK2 mutants and controls. Results: Relative to controls, SHANK2 mutant neurons have increased dendrite complexity, dendrite length, total synapse number (1.5-2-fold), and spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (sEPSC) frequency (3-7.6-fold). Conclusions: ASD-associated heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in SHANK2 increase synaptic connectivity among human neurons by increasing synapse number and sEPSC frequency. This is partially supported by increased dendrite length and complexity, providing evidence that SHANK2 functions as a suppressor of dendrite branching during neurodevelopment.
Curcumin has been attributed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial activities, and has shown highly protective effects against enteropathogenic bacteria and mycotoxins. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is one of the major intestinal pathogenic mycotoxins. The possible effect of curcumin on the alleviation of enterotoxicity induced by OTA is unknown. The effects of dietary curcumin supplementation on OTA-induced oxidative stress, intestinal barrier and mitochondrial dysfunctions were examined in young ducks. A total of 540 mixed-sex 1-day-old White Pekin ducklings with initial BW (43.4±0.1 g) were randomly assigned into controls (fed only the basal diet), a group fed an OTA-contaminated diet (2 mg/kg feed), and a group fed the same OTA-contaminated feed plus 400 mg/kg of curcumin. Each treatment consisted of six replicates, each containing 30 ducklings and treatment lasted for 21 days. There was a significant decrease in average daily gain (ADG) and increased feed : gain caused by OTA (P<0.05); curcumin co-treatment prevented the decrease in BW and ADG compared with the OTA group (P<0.05). Histopathological and ultrastructural examination showed clear signs of enterotoxicity caused by OTA, but these changes were largely prevented by curcumin supplementation. Curcumin decreased the concentrations of interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α and malondialdehyde, and increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase induced by OTA in the jejunal mucosa of ducks (P<0.05). Additionally, curcumin increased jejunal mucosa occludin and tight junction protein 1 mRNA and protein levels, and decreased those of ρ-associated protein kinase 1 (P<0.05). Notably, curcumin inhibited the increased expression of apoptosis-related genes, and downregulated mitochondrial transcription factors A, B1 and B2 caused by OTA without any effects on RNA polymerase mitochondrial (P<0.05). These results indicated that curcumin could protect ducks from OTA-induced impairment of intestinal barrier function and mitochondrial integrity.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
A new helminthomorph millipede, Sinosoma luopingense new genus new species, from the Triassic Luoping biota of China, has 39 body segments, metazonites with lateral swellings that bear a pair of posterolateral pits (?insertion pits for spine bases), and sternites that are unfused to the pleurotergites. This millipede shares a number of characters with nematophoran diplopods, but lacks the prominent dorsal suture characteristic of that order. Other “millipede” material from the biota is more problematic. Millipedes are a rare part of the Luoping biota, which is composed mainly of marine and near-shore organisms. Occurrences of fossil millipedes are exceedingly rare in Triassic rocks worldwide, comprising specimens from Europe, Asia, and Africa, and consisting of juliform millipedes and millipedes that are either nematophorans or forms very similar to nematophorans.
In ovo feeding (IOF) of l-arginine (Arg) can affect growth performance of broilers, but the response of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth is unclear, and the mechanism involved in protein deposition remains unknown. Hense, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth and protein-deposited signalling in post-hatch broilers. A total of 720 fertile eggs were collected from 34-week-old Arbor Acres breeder hens and distributed to three treatments: (1) non-injected control group; (2) 7.5 g/l (w/v) NaCl diluent-injected control group; (3) 0.6 mg Arg/egg solution-injected group. At 17.5 days of incubation, fertile eggs were injected 0.6 ml solutions into the amnion of the injected groups. Upon hatching, 80 male chicks were randomly assigned to eight replicates of 10 birds each and fed ad libitum for 21 days. The results indicated that IOF of Arg increased relative breast muscle weight compared with those of control groups at hatch, 3-, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In the Arg-injected group, the plasma total protein and albumen concentrations were higher at 7- and 21-day post-hatch than those of control groups (P<0.05). The alanine aminotransferase activity in Arg group was higher at hatch than that of control groups (P<0.05). The levels of triiodothyronine at four time points and thyroxine hormones at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch in Arg group were higher than those of control groups (P<0.05). In addition, IOF of Arg increased the amino acid concentrations of breast muscle at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In ovo feeding of Arg also enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin, ribosomal protein S6 kinase-1 and eIF4E-bindingprotein-1 messenger RNA expression levels at hatch compared with those of control groups (P<0.05). It was concluded that IOF of Arg treatment improved breast muscle growth, which might be associated with the enhancement of protein deposition.