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Over recent decades, Chinese giant salamanders Andrias spp. have declined dramatically across much of their range. Overexploitation and habitat degradation have been widely cited as the cause of these declines. To investigate the relative contribution of each of these factors in driving the declines, we carried out standardized ecological and questionnaire surveys at 98 sites across the range of giant salamanders in China. We did not find any statistically significant differences between water parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity, alkalinity, hardness and flow rate) recorded at sites where giant salamanders were detected by survey teams and/or had been recently seen by local respondents, and sites where they were not detected and/or from which they had recently been extirpated. Additionally, we found direct and indirect evidence that the extraction of giant salamanders from the wild is ongoing, including within protected areas. Our results support the hypothesis that the decline of giant salamanders across China has been primarily driven by overexploitation. Data on water parameters may be informative for the establishment of conservation breeding programmes, an initiative recommended for the conservation of these species.
Clinical trials are a fundamental tool in evaluating the safety and efficacy of new drugs, medical devices, and health system interventions. Clinical trial visits generally involve eligibility assessment, enrollment, intervention administration, data collection, and follow-up, with many of these steps performed during face-to-face visits between participants and the investigative team. Social distancing, which emerged as one of the mainstay strategies for reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, has presented a challenge to the traditional model of clinical trial conduct, causing many research teams to halt all in-person contacts except for life-saving research. Nonetheless, clinical research has continued during the pandemic because study teams adapted quickly, turning to virtual visits and other similar methods to complete critical research activities. The purpose of this special communication is to document this rapid transition to virtual methodologies at Clinical and Translational Science Awards hubs and highlight important considerations for future development. Looking beyond the pandemic, we envision that a hybrid approach, which implements remote activities when feasible but also maintains in-person activities as necessary, will be adopted more widely for clinical trials. There will always be a need for in-person aspects of clinical research, but future study designs will need to incorporate remote capabilities.
Although testing is widely regarded as critical to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, what measure and level of testing best reflects successful infection control remains unresolved. Our aim was to compare the sensitivity of two testing metrics – population testing number and testing coverage – to population mortality outcomes and identify a benchmark for testing adequacy. We aggregated publicly available data through 12 April on testing and outcomes related to COVID-19 across 36 OECD (Organization for Economic Development) countries and Taiwan. Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated between the aforementioned metrics and following outcome measures: deaths per 1 million people, case fatality rate and case proportion of critical illness. Fractional polynomials were used to generate scatter plots to model the relationship between the testing metrics and outcomes. We found that testing coverage, but not population testing number, was highly correlated with population mortality (rs = −0.79, P = 5.975 × 10−9vs. rs = −0.3, P = 0.05) and case fatality rate (rs = −0.67, P = 9.067 × 10−6vs. rs = −0.21, P = 0.20). A testing coverage threshold of 15–45 signified adequate testing: below 15, testing coverage was associated with exponentially increasing population mortality; above 45, increased testing did not yield significant incremental mortality benefit. Taken together, testing coverage was better than population testing number in explaining country performance and can serve as an early and sensitive indicator of testing adequacy and disease burden.
A growing body of evidence suggests that synaptic plasticity is involved in addictive behaviour and nicotine dependence (ND). Neurotrophic factors, such as neurotrophin 3 (NT3) play a key role in modulating neuronal plasticity. Therefore, an association between nicotine, smoking and neurotrophic factors has been suggested. However, the role of NT3 in ND has not been thoroughly investigated in humans so far.
We investigated the influence of chronic (long-term smoking) and acute nicotine administration on the plasma level of NT3. We measured plasma NT3 levels at baseline and then 15 and 45 minutes after nicotine or placebo administration using an enzyme-linked-immunoabsorbent-assay (ELISA). Smokers showed higher NT3 level than non-smokers at baseline. Interestingly, 15 minutes after acute nicotine injection, plasma level of NT3 in both smokers and non-smokers decreased significantly and went back to baseline levels after 30 minutes. We found that plasma nicotine and NT3 levels were positively correlated in smokers at baseline.
There is a direct interaction of nicotine with NT3, which is different in acute and chronic exposure. Interestingly, the concentration of NT3 is correlated and up-regulated in smokers. We propose that neuroplasticity, which plays a role in addictive behaviour such as smoking or nicotine dependence (ND) might be mediated by these interactions of nicotine and NT3. We speculate that these might even play a part in the so called “self-medicating” with cigarettes that is often seen in patients with certain mental disorders.
One hundred-four depressed patients treated with amitriptyline (mean dosage: 163 mg/d; mean plasma level: 239 ng/ml) and 52 normal control subjects matched for age and sex underwent a standardized cardiovascular test battery (various autonomic cardiac parameters, which are largely independent from heart rate, namely the coefficients of variation (CV) while resting and during deep respiration, a spectral analysis of heart rate, the Valsalva ratio, and a posture index were determined). The tests included the determination of time- and frequency-derived measurements of heart rate variability (HRV), which is rather independent from heart rate. As compared to the controls the patients showed a significant plasma concentration-dependent decrease of R-R variation in the electrocardiogram (p < 0.0001), while their heart rate was significantly elevated (p < 0.0001). The markedly reduced parameters of sinus arrhythmia in amitriptyline treated patients are suggested to be mainly due to the anticholinergic effect of this drug, although it can not be excluded that the affective disorder itself might be associated with low heart rate variability. The results indicate that autonomic heart rate parameters are a valuable tool for the detection of tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) intake in unconscious patients, especially in intensive care and emergency wards.
The unsteady lift response of an airfoil in a sinusoidal gust has in the past been modelled by two different transfer functions: the first-order Sears function and the second-order Atassi function. Previous studies have shown that the Sears function holds in experiments, but recently Cordes et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 811, 2017) reported experimental data that corresponded to the Atassi function rather than the Sears function. In order to clarify the observed discrepancy, the specific differences between these models are isolated analytically. To this end, data and analysis are confined to unloaded airfoils. These differences are related to physical gust parameters, and gusts with these parameters are then produced in wind-tunnel experiments using an active-grid gust generator. Measurements of the unsteady gust loads on an airfoil in the wind tunnel at Reynolds numbers (
and reduced frequencies between
confirm that the Sears and Atassi functions differ only in convention: the additional gust component of the Atassi problem can be scaled so that the Atassi function collapses onto the Sears function. These experiments, complemented by numerical simulations of the set-up, validate both models across a range of gust parameters. Finally, the influence of boundary-layer turbulence and the turbulent wake of the gust generator on experimental convergence with model predictions is investigated. These results serve to clarify the conditions under which the Sears and Atassi functions can be applied, and demonstrate that the Sears function can effectively model unsteady forces even when significant fluctuations in the streamwise velocity are present.
The Lung Cam expanded stratigraphic succession in Vietnam is correlated herein to the Meishan D section in China, the GSSP for the Permian–Triassic boundary. The first appearance datum of the conodont Hindeodus parvus at Meishan defines the Permian–Triassic boundary, and using published graphic correlation, the Permian–Triassic boundary level has been projected into the Lung Cam section. Using time-series analysis of magnetic susceptibility (χ) data, it is determined that H. parvus arrived at Lung Cam ∼18 kyr before the Permian–Triassic boundary. Data indicate that the Lung Cam section is expanded by ∼90 % relative to the GSSP section at Meishan. Given the expanded Lung Cam section, it is possible to resolve the timing of significant events during the Permian–Triassic transition with high precision. These events include major stepped extinctions, beginning at ∼135 kyr and ending at ∼110 kyr below the Permian–Triassic boundary, with a duration of ∼25 kyr, followed by deposition of Lung Cam ash Bed + 13, which is equivalent to Siberian Traps volcanism is graphically correlated to a precession Time-series model, placing onset of this major volcanic event at ~242 kyr before the PTB. The Meishan Beds 25 and 26, at ∼100 kyr before the Permian–Triassic boundary. In addition, the elemental geochemical, carbon and oxygen isotope stratigraphy, and magnetostratigraphy susceptibility datasets from Lung Cam allow good correlation to other Permian–Triassic boundary succession. These datasets are helpful when the conodont biostratigraphy is poorly known in sections with problems such as lithofacies variability, or is undefined, owing possibly to lithofacies exclusions, anoxia or for other reasons. The Lung Pu Permian–Triassic boundary section, ∼45 km from Lung Cam, is used to test these problems.
This study aimed to investigate endoscopic revision septoplasty with semi-penetrating straight and circular incisions in patients for whom septoplasty was unsuccessful.
Patients in this study (n = 14) had a deviation of the nasal septum after septoplasty. Pre-operative and post-operative assessments were performed using a visual analogue scale and nasal endoscope. Semi-penetrating straight and circular incisions in front of the caudal septum and at the margin of the nasal septal cartilage–bone defect, respectively, were made. The mucoperichondrium and mucoperiosteum were bilaterally dissected until interlinkage with the cartilage–bone defect was achieved. Mucous membranes within the circular incision as well as the right mucoperichondrium and mucoperiosteal flaps were protected by pushing them to the right. This exposed the osteocartilaginous framework and allowed correction of the residual deviation. The patients were followed up for 30–71 months.
For nasal obstruction and headaches, a significant improvement was noted in post-operative compared to pre-operative visual analogue scale scores. No patients had septal deviations, saddle nose, false hump nose or contracture of the nasal columella.
The technique allowed exposure of the septal osteocartilaginous framework and a broad operational vision, which enabled successful correction of various deformities of the nasal septum.
Dementia is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality without pharmacologic prevention or cure. Mounting evidence suggests that adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern may slow cognitive decline, and is important to characterise in at-risk cohorts. Thus, we determined the reliability and validity of the Mediterranean Diet and Culinary Index (MediCul), a new tool, among community-dwelling individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A total of sixty-eight participants (66 % female) aged 75·9 (sd 6·6) years, from the Study of Mental and Resistance Training study MCI cohort, completed the fifty-item MediCul at two time points, followed by a 3-d food record (FR). MediCul test–retest reliability was assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC), Bland–Altman plots and κ agreement within seventeen dietary element categories. Validity was assessed against the FR using the Bland–Altman method and nutrient trends across MediCul score tertiles. The mean MediCul score was 54·6/100·0, with few participants reaching thresholds for key Mediterranean foods. MediCul had very good test–retest reliability (ICC=0·93, 95 % CI 0·884, 0·954, P<0·0001) with fair-to-almost-perfect agreement for classifying elements within the same category. Validity was moderate with no systematic bias between methods of measurement, according to the regression coefficient (y=−2·30+0·17x) (95 % CI −0·027, 0·358; P=0·091). MediCul over-estimated the mean FR score by 6 %, with limits of agreement being under- and over-estimated by 11 and 23 %, respectively. Nutrient trends were significantly associated with increased MediCul scoring, consistent with a Mediterranean pattern. MediCul provides reliable and moderately valid information about Mediterranean diet adherence among older individuals with MCI, with potential application in future studies assessing relationships between diet and cognitive function.
The progenitors of many core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) are expected to be in binary systems. By performing a series of three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations, we investigate how CCSN explosions affect their binary companion. We find that the amount of removed stellar mass, the resulting impact velocity, and the chemical contamination of the companion that results from the impact of the SN ejecta, strongly increases with decreasing binary separation and increasing explosion energy. Also, it is foud that the impact effects of CCSN ejecta on the structure of main-sequence (MS) companions, and thus their long term post-explosion evolution, are in general not dramatic.
The Earth is dramatically carbon poor comparing to the interstellar medium and the proto-sun. The carbon to silicon ratios in inner solar system objects show a correlation with heliocentric distance, which suggests that the destruction of carbon grains has occurred before planet formation. To examine this hypothesis, we perform model calculations using a chemical reaction network under the physical conditions typical of protoplanetary disks. Our results show that, when carbonaceous grains are destroyed and converted into the gas phase and the gas becomes carbon-rich, the abundances of carbon-bearing species such as HCN and carbon-chain molecules, increase dramatically near the midplane, while oxygen-bearing species such as H2O and CO2 are depleted. The carbon to silicon ratios obtained by our model calculations qualitatively reproduce the observed gradient with disk radius, but there are some quantitative discrepancies from the observed values of the solar system objects. We adopted the model of a disk around a Herbig Ae star and performed line radiative transfer calculations to examine the effect of carbon grain destruction through observations with ALMA. The results indicate that HCN, H13 CN and c-C3 H2 may be good tracers of this process.
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.
To assess the association of fish consumption with risk of dementia and its dose–response relationship, and investigate variations in the association among low-, middle- and high-income countries.
A new community-based cross-sectional study and a systematic literature review.
Urban and rural communities in China; population-based studies systematically searched from worldwide literature.
Chinese adults aged ≥60 years in six provinces (n 6981) took part in a household health survey of dementia prevalence and risk factors. In addition, 33 964 participants from eleven published and eligible studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis.
In the new study in China, 326 participants were diagnosed with dementia (4·7 %); those who consumed any amount of fish in the past two years v. those who consumed no fish had reduced risk of dementia (adjusted OR=0·73, 95 % CI 0·64, 0·99), but the dose–response relationship was not statistically significant. The meta-analysis of available data from the literature and the new study showed relative risk (RR) of dementia of 0·80 (95 % CI 0·74, 0·87) for people with fish consumption; the impact was similar among countries with different levels of income. Pooled dose–response data revealed RR (95 % CI) of 0·84 (0·72, 0·98), 0·78 (0·68, 0·90) and 0·77 (0·61, 0·98) in people with low, middle and high consumption of fish, respectively. Corresponding figures for Alzheimer’s disease were 0·88 (0·74, 1·04), 0·79 (0·65, 0·96) and 0·67 (0·58, 0·78), respectively.
Greater consumption of fish is associated with a lower risk of dementia. Increasing fish consumption may help prevent dementia worldwide regardless of income level.
We report a novel approach to the instantaneous photoinitiated synthesis of mixed anatase-rutile nanocrystalline TiO2 thin films with a three-dimensional nanostructure through pulsed white light irradiation of photosensitive Ti-organic precursor films. Pulsed photoinitiated pyrolysis accompanied by instantaneous self-assembly and crystallization occurred to form graphitic oxides-coated TiO2 nanograins. Subsequent pulsed light irradiation working as in situ pulsed photothermal treatment improved the crystalline quality of TiO2 film despite its low attenuation of light. The non-radiative recombination of photogenerated electrons and holes in TiO2 nanograins, coupled with inefficient heat dissipation due to low thermal conductivity, produces enough heat to provide the thermodynamic driving force for improving the crystalline quality. The graphitic oxides were reduced by pulsed photothermal treatment and can be completely removed by oxygen plasma cleaning. This photoinitiated nanofabrication technology opens a promising way for the low-cost and high-throughput manufacturing of nanostructured metal oxides as well as TiO2 nanocrystalline thin films.
A compact hybrid rocket motor design that incorporates a dual-vortical-flow (DVF) concept is proposed. The oxidizer (nitrous oxide, N2O) is injected circumferentially into various sections of the rocket motor, which are sectored by several solid fuel “rings” (made of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, HTPB) that are installed along the central axis of the motor. The proposed configuration not only increases the residence time of the oxidizer flow, it also implies an inherent “roll control” capability of the motor. Based on a DVF motor geometry with a designed thrust level of 11.6 kN, the characteristics of the turbulent reacting flow within the motor and its rocket performance were analyzed with a comprehensive numerical model that implements both real-fluid properties and finite-rate chemistry. Data indicate that the vacuum specific impulse (Isp) of the DVF motor could reach 278 s. The result from a preliminary ground test of a lab-scale DVF hybrid rocket motor (with a designed thrust level of 3,000 N) also shows promising performance. The proposed DVF concept is expected to partly resolve the issue of scalability, which remains challenging for hybrid rocket motors development.