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We report the utility of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) conducted in a clinically relevant time frame (ie, sufficient for guiding management decision), in managing a Streptococcus pyogenes outbreak, and present a comparison of its performance with emm typing.
A 2,000-bed tertiary-care psychiatric hospital.
Active surveillance was conducted to identify new cases of S. pyogenes. WGS guided targeted epidemiological investigations, and infection control measures were implemented. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)–based genome phylogeny, emm typing, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were performed. We compared the ability of WGS and emm typing to correctly identify person-to-person transmission and to guide the management of the outbreak.
The study included 204 patients and 152 staff. We identified 35 patients and 2 staff members with S. pyogenes. WGS revealed polyclonal S. pyogenes infections with 3 genetically distinct phylogenetic clusters (C1–C3). Cluster C1 isolates were all emm type 4, sequence type 915 and had pairwise SNP differences of 0–5, which suggested recent person-to-person transmissions. Epidemiological investigation revealed that cluster C1 was mediated by dermal colonization and transmission of S. pyogenes in a male residential ward. Clusters C2 and C3 were genomically diverse, with pairwise SNP differences of 21–45 and 26–58, and emm 11 and mostly emm120, respectively. Clusters C2 and C3, which may have been considered person-to-person transmissions by emm typing, were shown by WGS to be unlikely by integrating pairwise SNP differences with epidemiology.
WGS had higher resolution than emm typing in identifying clusters with recent and ongoing person-to-person transmissions, which allowed implementation of targeted intervention to control the outbreak.
The earlier work on the oscillatory phenomena in sunspot structures have supported in validating the detection of long-period oscillations, which are generated by the photospheric umbral response to the five minute p-mode global oscillations. We report here on the events of 3- min umbral oscillations which are detected within a duration of one hour from a single-polarity sunspot of active region NOAA 12132. The umbral oscillations that appear first around umbral boundaries is speculated to be excited by the wavefronts at the umbral-penumbral boundaries due to sub-photospheric or photospheric granular buffetings. The appearance of the wavefronts in spiral structures suggests that the wave guides are twisted. In addition, the newly formed running penumbral waves (RPWs) appears to be connected with the preceding RPWs.
Volumetric atrophy and microstructural alterations in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of the hippocampus have been reported in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, no study to date has jointly investigated concomitant microstructural and volumetric changes of the hippocampus in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
A total of 84 subjects (23 MCI, 17 DLB, 14 AD, and 30 healthy controls) were recruited for a multi-modal imaging (3T MRI and DTI) study that included neuropsychological evaluation. Freesurfer was used to segment the total hippocampus and delineate its subfields. The hippocampal segmentations were co-registered to the mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) maps obtained from the DTI images.
Both AD and MCI groups showed significantly smaller hippocampal volumes compared to DLB and controls, predominantly in the CA1 and subiculum subfields. Compared to controls, hippocampal MD was elevated in AD, but not in MCI. DLB was characterized by both volumetric and microstructural preservation of the hippocampus. In MCI, higher hippocampal MD was associated with greater atrophy of the hippocampus and CA1 region. Hippocampal volume was a stronger predictor of memory scores compared to MD within the MCI group.
Through a multi-modal integration, we report novel evidence that the hippocampus in DLB is characterized by both macrostructural and microstructural preservation. Contrary to recent suggestions, our findings do not support the view that DTI measurements of the hippocampus are superior to volumetric changes in characterizing group differences, particularly between MCI and controls.
Complex oxides and semiconductors exhibit distinct yet complementary properties owing to their respective ionic and covalent natures. By electrically coupling complex oxides to traditional semiconductors within epitaxial heterostructures, enhanced or novel functionalities beyond those of the constituent materials can potentially be realized. Essential to electrically coupling complex oxides to semiconductors is control of the physical structure of the epitaxially grown oxide, as well as the electronic structure of the interface. Here we discuss how composition of the perovskite A- and B-site cations can be manipulated to control the physical and electronic structure of semiconductor—complex oxide heterostructures. Two prototypical heterostructures, Ba1−xSrxTiO3/Ge and SrZrxTi1−xO3/Ge, will be discussed. In the case of Ba1−xSrxTiO3/Ge, we discuss how strain can be engineered through A-site composition to enable the re-orientable ferroelectric polarization of the former to be coupled to carriers in the semiconductor. In the case of SrZrxTi1−xO3/Ge we discuss how B-site composition can be exploited to control the band offset at the interface. Analogous to heterojunctions between compound semiconducting materials, control of band offsets, i.e., band-gap engineering, provides a pathway to electrically couple complex oxides to semiconductors to realize a host of functionalities.
Patients with bipolar disorder (BD) frequently exhibit impulsive behaviors independent of their mood state, and trait impulsivity is increasingly recognized as a crucial BD biomarker. This study aimed to investigate structural correlates of trait impulsivity measured using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) in healthy controls (HCs) and patients with BD.
We recruited 59 patients diagnosed with BD I or BD II (35.3 ± 8.5 years) and 56 age- and sex-matched HCs (33.9 ± 7.4 years). Participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging and clinical evaluations, and their BIS scores were evaluated. An automated surface-based method (FreeSurfer) was used to measure cortical thickness and generate thickness maps for each participant. Brain-wise regression analysis of the association between cortical thickness and BIS scores was performed separately for BD and HC groups by using a general linear model.
Patients with BD obtained significantly higher BIS scores than HCs. In HCs, higher BIS scores were associated with a thinner cortex in the left inferior, middle and medial frontal cortices. By contrast, in BD patients, higher BIS scores were associated with a thicker cortex in the right insula. Patients with BD showed a thinner cortex than HCs in all these four structures.
The findings indicate that the left prefrontal cortex plays a cardinal role in trait impulsivity of healthy individuals. Patients with BD have a different structural correlate of trait impulsivity in the right insula. However, the use of various psychotropics in patients with BD may limit our interpretation of BD findings.
We studied neuroinflammation in individuals with late-life, depression, as a
risk factor for dementia, using [11C]PK11195 positron emission
tomography (PET). Five older participants with major depression and 13
controls underwent PET and multimodal 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
with blood taken to measure C-reactive protein (CRP). We found significantly
higher CRP levels in those with late-life depression and raised
[11C]PK11195 binding compared with controls in brain regions
associated with depression, including subgenual anterior cingulate cortex,
and significant hippocampal subfield atrophy in cornu ammonis 1 and
subiculum. Our findings suggest neuroinflammation requires further
investigation in late-life depression, both as a possible aetiological
factor and a potential therapeutic target.
We have compiled a catalogue of H ii regions detected with the Murchison Widefield Array between 72 and 231 MHz. The multiple frequency bands provided by the Murchison Widefield Array allow us identify the characteristic spectrum generated by the thermal Bremsstrahlung process in H ii regions. We detect 306 H ii regions between 260° < l < 340° and report on the positions, sizes, peak, integrated flux density, and spectral indices of these H ii regions. By identifying the point at which H ii regions transition from the optically thin to thick regime, we derive the physical properties including the electron density, ionised gas mass, and ionising photon flux, towards 61 H ii regions. This catalogue of H ii regions represents the most extensive and uniform low frequency survey of H ii regions in the Galaxy to date.
We first very briefly introduce the major radio facilities for astronomical research in China, and then report on the present interference situation at major radio observatories. Some of the radio interference problems are caused by paging services, mobile phone satellites, telemetry services for power supply, waterpower and earthquake activity, or radar systems, but some causes are unknown. In the worst case, harmful to radio astronomy, the Sesan VLBI station has not been able to do any observations at 92 cm due to serious radio interference problems since 1992. Still more serious interference coming from satellites can be expected in the next decade. International efforts on frequency protection should be urgently pursued if ground-based radio astronomy is to survive.
A nationwide population-based cohort was used to examine the severity of liver cirrhosis and risk of mortality from oral cancer.
The cohort consisted of 3583 patients with oral cancer treated by surgery between 2008 and 2011 in Taiwan. They were grouped on the basis of normal liver function (n = 3471), cirrhosis without decompensation (n = 72) and cirrhosis with decompensation (n = 40). The primary endpoint was mortality. Hazard ratios of death were also determined.
The mortality rates in the respective groups were 14.8 per cent, 20.8 per cent and 37.5 per cent at one year (p < 0.001). The adjusted hazard ratios of death at one year for each group compared to the normal group were 2.01 (p = 0.021) for cirrhotic patients without decompensation, 4.84 (p < 0.001) for those with decompensation and 2.65 (p < 0.001) for those receiving chemotherapy.
Liver cirrhosis can be used to predict one-year mortality in oral cancer patients. Chemotherapy should be used with caution and underlying co-morbidities should be managed in cirrhotic patients to reduce mortality risk.
Complex oxides and semiconductors exhibit distinct yet complementary properties
owing to their respective ionic and covalent natures. By electrically coupling
oxides to semiconductors within epitaxial heterostructures, enhanced or novel
functionalities beyond those of the constituent materials can potentially be
realized. Key to electrically coupling oxides to semiconductors is controlling
the physical and electronic structure of semiconductor – crystalline
oxide heterostructures. Here we discuss how composition of the oxide can be
manipulated to control physical and electronic structure in
Ba1-xSrxTiO3/ Ge and
SrZrxTi1-xO3/Ge heterostructures. In the
case of the former we discuss how strain can be engineered through composition
to enable the re-orientable ferroelectric polarization to be coupled to carriers
in the semiconductor. In the case of the latter we discuss how composition can
be exploited to control the band offset at the semiconductor - oxide interface.
The ability to control the band offset, i.e. band-gap engineering, provides a
pathway to electrically couple crystalline oxides to semiconductors to realize a
host of functionalities.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-cutaneous cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality among men in the USA. Growing evidence suggests that oxidative stress is involved in the development and progression of prostate cancer. In this study, the association between antioxidants from diet and supplements and biomarkers of oxidative stress in blood (n 278), urine (n 298) and prostate tissue (n 55) were determined among men from the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project. The association between antioxidant intake and oxidative stress biomarkers in blood and urine was determined using linear regression, adjusting for age, race, prostate cancer aggressiveness and smoking status. Greater antioxidant intake was found to be associated with lower urinary 8-isoprostane concentrations, with a 10 % increase in antioxidant intake corresponding to an unadjusted 1·1 % decrease in urinary 8-isoprostane levels (95 % CI −1·7, −0·3 %; P value<0·01) and an adjusted 0·6 % decrease (95 % CI −1·4, 0·2 %; P value=0·16). In benign prostate tissue, thioredoxin 1 was inversely associated with antioxidant intake (P=0·02). No significant associations were found for other blood or urinary biomarkers or for malignant prostate tissue. These results indicate that antioxidant intake may be associated with less oxidative stress among men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Several previous cross-sectional studies have shown that vegetarians have a better metabolic profile than non-vegetarians, suggesting that a vegetarian dietary pattern may help prevent chronic degenerative diseases. However, longitudinal studies on the impact of vegetarian diets on metabolic traits are scarce. We studied how several sub-types of vegetarian diets affect metabolic traits, including waist circumference, BMI, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol (TC), HDL, LDL, TAG and TC:HDL ratio, through both cross-sectional and longitudinal study designs. The study used the MJ Health Screening database, with data collected from 1994 to 2008 in Taiwan, which included 4415 lacto-ovo-vegetarians, 1855 lacto-vegetarians and 1913 vegans; each vegetarian was matched with five non-vegetarians based on age, sex and study site. In the longitudinal follow-up, each additional year of vegan diet lowered the risk of obesity by 7 % (95 % CI 0·88, 0·99), whereas each additional year of lacto-vegetarian diet lowered the risk of elevated SBP by 8 % (95 % CI 0·85, 0·99) and elevated glucose by 7 % (95 % CI 0·87, 0·99), and each additional year of ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet increased abnormal HDL by 7 % (95 % CI 1·03, 1·12), compared with non-vegetarians. In the cross-sectional comparisons, all sub-types of vegetarians had lower likelihoods of abnormalities compared with non-vegetarians on all metabolic traits (P<0·001 for all comparisons), except for HDL and TAG. The better metabolic profile in vegetarians is partially attributable to lower BMI. With proper management of TAG and HDL, along with caution about the intake of refined carbohydrates and fructose, a plant-based diet may benefit all aspects of the metabolic profile.
Limited information is available on the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the general population in China. A community-based epidemiological study was conducted in three counties in eastern China. A total of 149 175 individuals were investigated in 60 communities in three counties in Jiangsu province, eastern China, of whom 1175 subjects [0·79%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·74–0·83] were HCV antibody positive. The prevalence was low in children (0·09%, 95% CI 0·04–0·17), but increased progressively from adolescents (0·20%, 95% CI 0·15–0·28) to adults aged ⩾21 years (95% CI 0·15–1·64). Women had a higher prevalence of HCV infection than men in most age groups. In a multilevel regression analysis, age, sex, education, occupation, blood transfusion [odds ratio (OR) 2·91, 95% CI 1·09–5·37], invasive testing (OR 1·28, 95% CI 1·14–1·61), and dental therapy (OR 2·27, 95% CI 1·41–3·42) were associated with HCV infection. In conclusion, although the prevalence of HCV in this population was lower than reported from national levels, the total reservoir of infection is significant and warrants public health measures, such as health education to limit the magnitude of the problem.
Stress control using AlN/GaN superlattices (SLs) for epitaxy of GaN on 200 mm Si (111) substrates is reported. Crack-free 2 μm GaN layers were grown over structures containing 50 to 100 pairs of 3-5 nm AlN/10-30 nm GaN SLs. Compressive and tensile stress can be precisely adjusted by changing the thickness of the AlN and GaN layers in the SLs. For a constant period thickness, the effects of growth conditions, such as growth rate of GaN, V/III ratio during AlN growth, and growth temperature, on wafer stress were investigated.
Some studies demonstrated that physical activity may have beneficial effect on cognitive function. The objective of the study was to estimate the association between physical activity and cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly Chinese in Hong Kong (HK) and Guangzhou (GZ).
In the neighborhood of HK and GZ, a convenience sample of 557 (260 in HK and 297 in GZ) older persons without dementia aged over 60 years (73.4 ± 6.5) was recruited. Physical activity was measured using a checklist. Information on physical activity participation, cognitive function, and other variables were collected. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to evaluate the association between physical activity and cognitive function.
Total number of physical activities showed significant association with the delayed recall test (p < 0.01) and category verbal fluency test (CVFT) (p < 0.01). However, with further adjustment for participation in intellectual activity, the coefficients were no longer statistically significant (p > 0.05)
Physical activity may not be associated with better cognitive function among elderly Chinese independently of other factors.
Plastic packaging materials tend to absorb moisture from ambient environment and get swollen, this may raise hygro-stress in plastic electronic package and redistribute the internal stress. In this paper, we reviewed the dramatic deformation of a plastic package (Flip Chip Plastic Ball Grid Array-FCPBGA) due to moisture absorption first, then hygro-thermo-mechanical stress of the plastic package and its evolution during a period of three months were investigated with finite element method, user development was performed for this investigation. The finite element model was verified with hygro-thermal deformation of the FCPBGA measured with a 3-D moiré interferometry system. Following findings were obtained: A. Thermal stress field was changed a lot due to moisture absorption; B. Thermal stress of chip was released to some extent, but peal stress up to 62.2MPa occurred to the solder bump, thus the danger of Under Bump Metal (UBM) opening increased.
Rare-earth telluride compounds are characterized by their high performance thermoelectric properties that have been applied to the development of functional materials . Recently, May and co-workers reported that nanostructured bulk lanthanum telluride (La3-xTe4, 0 ≤ x ≤ 1/3) by mechanical ball-milling exceeded the figure of merit (ZT) of 1 at high temperatures near 1300K [2-3]. Since the increased thermoelectric efficiency of nanostructured materials is due to the enhancement of phonon scattering introduced by quantum confinement, thin films have also generated significant scientific and technological interest [4-6]. Here, we report on the electrodepostion of lanthanum telluride and lanthanum thin films in ionic liquids in ambient conditions. Surface morphologies varied from needle-like to granular structures and depend on deposition conditions. This novel electrochemical synthesis approach is a simple, inexpensive and laboratory-environment friendly method of synthesizing nanostructured thermoelectric materials.
Most knowledge regarding the effects of antidepressant drugs is at the receptor level, distal from the nervous system effects that mediate their clinical efficacy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), this study investigated the effects of escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), on resting-state brain function in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
Fourteen first-episode drug-naive MDD patients completed two fMRI scans before and after 8 weeks of escitalopram therapy. Scans were also acquired in 14 matched healthy subjects. Data were analyzed using the regional homogeneity (ReHo) approach.
Compared to controls, MDD patients before treatment demonstrated decreased ReHo in the frontal (right superior frontal gyrus), temporal (left middle and right inferior temporal gyri), parietal (right precuneus) and occipital (left superior occipital gyrus and right cuneus) cortices, and increased ReHo in the left dorsal medial prefrontal gyrus and left anterior lobe of the cerebellum. Compared to the unmedicated state, ReHo in the patients after treatment was decreased in the left dorsal medial prefrontal gyrus, the right insula and the bilateral thalamus, and increased in the right superior frontal gyrus. Compared to controls, patients after treatment displayed a ReHo decrease in the right precuneus and a ReHo increase in the left anterior lobe of the cerebellum.
Successful treatment with escitalopram may be associated with modulation of resting-state brain activity in regions within the fronto-limbic circuit. This study provides new insight into the effects of antidepressants on functional brain systems in MDD.