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Toxigenic Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) carriers represent an important source in the transmission of C. difficile infection (CDI) during hospitalisation, but its prevalence and mode in patients with hepatic cirrhosis are not well established. We investigated longitudinal changes in carriage rates and strain types of toxigenic C. difficile from admission to discharge among hepatic cirrhosis patients. Toxigenic C. difficile was detected in 104 (19.8%) of 526 hepatic cirrhosis patients on admission, and the carriage status changed in a portion of patients during hospitalisation. Approximately 56% (58/104) of patients lost the colonisation during their hospital stay. Among the remaining 48 patients who remained positive for toxigenic C. difficile, the numbers of patients who were positive at one, two, three and four isolations were 10 (55.6%), three (16.7%), two (11.1%) and three (16.7%), respectively. Twenty-eight patients retained a particular monophyletic strain at multiple isolations. The genotype most frequently identified was the same as that frequently identified in symptomatic CDI patients. A total of 25% (26/104) of patients were diagnosed with CDI during their hospital stay. Conclusions: Colonisation with toxigenic C. difficile strains occurs frequently in cirrhosis patients and is a risk factor for CDI.
The associations between growth during early life and subsequent cognitive development and physical outcomes are not widely known in low-resource settings. We examined postnatal weight and height gain through early life and related these measurements to the nutritional status and intellectual development of the same children when they were between 7 and 9 years old. Mothers had enrolled in an randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effect of prenatal micronutrient supplementation on birth weight. Their children were born in 2004, their height and weight were measured at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months of age and were followed up between October 2012 and September 2013 (at ages 7–9 years, n 650). Height-for-age, weight-for-age and BMI-for-age were used to describe the nutritional status, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children fourth edition was used to measure the intellectual function. Multilevel linear and logistic modelling was used to estimate the association between early growth and subsequent growth and intellectual function. After adjustment, weight gain from 6 to 12 months of age was associated with Full-scale Intelligence Quotient, Verbal Comprehension Index, Working Memory Index and Perceptual Reasoning Index. Weight gain during early life was associated with subsequent nutritional status. For every 1 kg increase in weight during the 0- to 6-month period, the OR for underweight, thinness and stunting at 7–9 years of age were 0·19 (95 % CI 0·09, 0·37), 0·34 (95 % CI 0·19, 0·59) and 0·40 (95 % CI 0·19, 0·83), respectively. Weight gain during the periods of 6–12 months of age and 18–24 months of age was also associated with a lower risk of being underweight. Weight gain during early life was associated with better growth outcomes and improved intellectual development in young school-aged children.
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.
The microstructure evolution of a typical nickel-based superalloy was studied in the strain range of 0.1–0.9 at 1110 °C/0.01 s−1 by using the electron backscattered diffraction technique. It was found that the evolution of recrystallized microstructures, grain boundary characteristics, and textures was closely related to strain level. With the increasing strain level, the fraction of equiaxed dynamic recrystallization (DRX) grains increased significantly at the expense of the large non-recrystallized grains, and there was a decrease in total low angle grain boundaries fraction and a simultaneous increase in the fraction of high angle grain boundaries. In addition, the occurrence of DRX promoted the formation of Σ3 boundaries, and the coherent Σ3 boundaries were much easier to form at the strain above 0.5. On the other hand, 〈100〉 component of the textures became stronger with the increasing strains, and the lack of 〈111〉 orientations can also be observed in the textures at high strains above 0.7.
In the field of modernised Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal design, several Dual-frequency Constant Envelope Multiplexing (DCEM) methods have been recently proposed. However, the existing DCEM methods, such as Alternative Binary Offset Carrier (AltBOC), generalised AltBOC and Asymmetric Constant Envelope Binary Offset Carrier (ACE-BOC), are only applied in some special cases. In this paper, we present a unified DCEM design framework for GNSS signals. The existing DCEM methods can be unified in this framework. First, the signal components at two carrier frequencies are combined into two single-frequency constant envelope signals. Then, the linear sum of dual-frequency signals with non-constant envelopes is obtained. Finally, the linear sum is converted into the corresponding DCEM signal by solving an optimisation problem. The proposed design framework has no strict constraints on the number, power ratio and phase relationship of the signal components. Moreover, some special design cases under this framework are also analysed in detail. The analytical results show that the proposed design method can reach higher multiplexing efficiency compared with the existing methods. Based on the proposed method, we suggest a scheme to multiplex the BeiDou regional signals and global signals at the B2 frequency. The simulation results of correlation functions and Power Spectrum Density (PSD) verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed design method.
The parameters of X-ray radiation and runaway electron beams (RAEBs) generated at long-pulse discharges in atmospheric-pressure air were investigated. In the experiments, high-voltage pulses with the rise times of 500 and 50 ns were applied to an interelectrode gap. The gap geometry provided non-uniform distribution of the electric field strength. It was founded that at the voltage pulse rise time of 500 ns and the maximum breakdown voltage Um for 1 cm-length gap, a duration [full width at half maximum (FWHM)] of a RAEB current pulse shrinks to 0.1 ns. A decrease in the breakdown voltage under conditions of a diffuse discharge leads to an increase in the FWHM duration of the electron beam current pulse up to several nanoseconds. It was shown that when the rise time of the voltage pulse is of 500 ns and the diffuse discharge occurs in the gap, the FWHM duration of the X-ray radiation pulse can reach ≈100 ns. It was established that at a pulse-periodic diffuse discharge fed by high-voltage pulses with the rise time of 50 ns, an energy of X-ray quanta and their number increase with increasing breakdown voltage. Wherein the parameter Um/pd is saved.
In the new generation of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), dual-frequency constant envelope multiplexing is widely desired and is becoming an important subject in signal design. Considerable work has been devoted to multiplexing for the Alternative Binary Offset Carrier (AltBOC)-like signal model, for which each sideband consists of two or fewer signal components. In this paper, a phase-aligned dual-frequency constant envelope multiplexing technique is proposed for a general dual-frequency signal model. This multiplexing technique can be used to combine two constant-envelope-modulated signals in two sidebands into a composite signal with a constant envelope, where the constant-envelope-modulated signal in each sideband consists of an arbitrary number of signal components with an arbitrary power ratio and phase relationship among the signal components. A Lookup Table (LUT)-based signal generation method is also proposed, for which the required driving clock rate of the signal generator can be flexibly adjusted to meet the requirements of the satellite payload. Applications for the AltBOC-like signal model and a general dual-frequency signal model in the Beidou B1 band validate the flexibility and high multiplexing efficiency of our method. Specifically, AltBOC is a special case of the proposed method.
The sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus is a deposit-feeder and vital for marine benthic ecosystems. Hypoxia can influence the behaviour and even lead to massive mortality in A. japonicus in the wild. It is important to understand the molecular responses of A. japonicus when exposed to acute changes in dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration. In this study, RNA-seq provided a general overview of the gene expression profiles of the respiratory tree of A. japonicus exposed to DO of 8 mg l−1 (DO8), 4 mg l−1 (DO4) and 2 mg l−1 (DO2) conditions. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) screening with the NOISeq method identified 51, 59 and 61 DEGs according to the criteria of fold change ≥2 and divergence probability ≥0.8 in the comparisons of DO2 vs DO4, DO2 vs DO8 and DO4 vs DO8, respectively. Gene ontology analysis showed that ‘cellular process’ and ‘binding’ had the most enriched DEGs in the categories of ‘biological process’ and ‘molecular function’, respectively (catalytic activity also had the most enriched DEGs in the category of ‘molecular function’ based on the comparison of DO2 vs DO8), while ‘cell’ and ‘cell part’ had the most enriched DEGs in the category of ‘cellular component’. The DEGs were mapped to 79, 81 and 104 pathways in the KEGG database, and 8, 29 and 16 pathways were significantly enriched, respectively. The DO-specific DEGs identified in this study of the respiratory tree are important targets for further research into the biochemical mechanisms involved in the response of the sea cucumber to changes in the DO concentration.
This study attempted to investigate and validate whether epididymis cold storage could be a suitable alternative for short-term preservation of spermatozoa. Mouse cauda epididymides and spermatozoa were preserved at 4–8°C from 1 day to 6 weeks. From days 1 to 10, motility and fertility were daily examined when motility loss occurred. From week 1, spermatozoa were used for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) at weekly intervals to test their fertility, and spermatozoa DNA integrity was determined by comet assay. We found that motility and progressive motility scores gradually decreased with storage time. In nearly all spermatozoa, DNA integrity was maintained from days 1 to 10, but the percentage of spermatozoa with damaged DNA significantly increased from week 2 to week 6. Spermatozoa retained fertility until day 6, although fertility gradually decreased after day 3. From week 1 to week 5, fertilization rates by ICSI were more than 82.69% but decreased gradually after week 3. We found that spermatozoa preserved in the epididymis at 4–8°C had progressively lower motility, fertility and proportion of undamaged DNA, but could still fertilize oocytes. However, all the parameters of cold-preserved spermatozoa were completely inferior to that from cold-preserved cauda epididymides. The results imply that cold storage of cauda epididymides could be conducive to short-term preservation of spermatozoa, and the cold-stored spermatozoa can resist DNA denaturation, which is necessary for maintaining reproductive ability.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain (GWG) on initiation and duration of infant breast-feeding in a prospective birth cohort study.
Breast-feeding information was collected at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months postpartum. The association of pre-pregnancy BMI and GWG with delayed lactogenesis II and termination of exclusive breast-feeding was assessed with logistic regression analysis. The risk of early termination of any breast-feeding during the first year postpartum was assessed with Cox proportional hazards models.
Urban city in China.
Women with infants from the Ma’anshan Birth Cohort Study (n 3196).
The median duration of any breast-feeding in this cohort was 7·0 months. Pre-pregnancy obese women had higher risks of delayed lactogenesis II (risk ratio=1·89; 95 % CI 1·04, 3·43) and early termination of any breast-feeding (hazard ratio=1·38; 95 % CI 1·09, 1·75) adjusted for potential maternal and infant confounders, when compared with normal-weight women. No differences in breast-feeding initiation or duration of exclusive breast-feeding according to pre-pregnancy BMI were found. Moreover, GWG was not associated with any poor breast-feeding outcomes.
The present study indicated that pre-pregnancy obesity increases the risks of delayed lactogenesis II and early termination of any breast-feeding in Chinese women.
Studies of schizophrenia at drug-naive state and on antipsychotic medication have reported a number of regions of gray-matter (GM) abnormalities but the reports have been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to conduct multimodal meta-analysis to compare the cross-sectional voxel-based morphometry studies of brain GM in antipsychotic-naive first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) and those with antipsychotic treatment within 1 year (AT-FES) to determine the similarities and differences in these groups. We conducted two separate meta-analyses containing 24 studies with a sample size of 801 patients and 957 healthy controls. A multimodal meta-analysis method was used to compare the findings between AN-FES and AT-FES. Meta-regression analyses were done to determine the influence of different variables including age, duration of illness, and positive and negative symptom scores. Finally, jack-knife analyses were done to test the robustness of the results. AN-FES and AT-FES showed common patterns of GM abnormalities in frontal (gyrus rectus), superior temporal, left hippocampal and insular cortex. GM in the left supramarginal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus were found to be increased in AN-FES but decreased in AT-FES, whereas left median cingulate/paracingulate gyri and right hippocampus GM was decreased in AN-FES but increased in AT-FES. Findings suggest that both AN-FES and AT-FES share frontal, temporal and insular regions as common anatomical regions to be affected indicating these to be the primary regions of GM abnormalities in both groups.
We report new field observations, zircon U–Pb ages and geochemical data for the discrete members of the Zhaheba ophiolite complex in northeastern Junggar of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) with the aim to understand the accretion process of the eastern Junggar terrane. The zircon age data reveal that the cumulates of the Zhaheba ophiolite crystallized at ~485 Ma while the volcanic sequences erupted at ~400 Ma. Thus, the volcanic sequences are not members of the Zhaheba ophiolite. Chromian spinels from the serpentinite have comparable elemental compositions to those of spinels from MORB-type ophiolites. Similarly, the rift affinity of clinopyroxene and positive zircon εHf(t) (13–20) and mantle δ18O (+5.37‰) values of the cumulates imply that the cumulates crystallized from primitive magmas derived from a depleted mantle source. Elemental and Nd isotopic compositions indicate that the basalts in the Zhaheba area were derived from partial melting of a mantle wedge metasomatized by adakitic melts and/or subduction-related fluids. The data presented in this contribution, together with previous studies, indicate that the Zhaheba–Almantai and Kelameili ophiolites were MORB-type, which implies that there were at least two mid-ocean ridges during Ordovician to early Devonian times in the Junggar Ocean. In the earlier stage, intra-oceanic subduction led to the formation of the intra-oceanic arc, and then the Kelameili ophiolite accreted to an intra-oceanic accretionary wedge. In the later stage, the Zhaheba–Almantai ophiolite accreted to the accretionary wedge along the southern margin of the Iritish suture zone during the roll-back of the subduction zone from north to south.
Nanosecond pulse discharges can provide high reduced electric field for exciting high-energy electrons, and the ultrafast rising time of the applied pulse can effectively suppress the generation of spark streamer and produce homogeneous discharges preionized by runaway electrons in atmospheric-pressure air. In this paper, the electrostatic field in a tube-plate electrodes gap is calculated using a calculation software. Furthermore, a simple physical model of nanosecond pulse discharges is established to investigate the behavior of the runaway electrons during the nanosecond pulse discharges with a rise time of 1.6 ns and a full-width at half-maximum of 3–5 ns in air. The physical model is coded by a numerical software, and then the runaway electrons and electron avalanche are investigated under different conditions. The simulated results show that the applied voltage, voltage polarity, and gas pressure can significantly affect the formation of the avalanche and the behavior of the runaway electrons. The inception time of runaway breakdown decreases when the applied voltage increases. In addition, the threshold voltage of runaway breakdown has a minimum value (10 kPa) with the variation of gas pressure.
Alternative Binary Offset Carrier (AltBOC) modulation signal has the constraint of an equal power allocation scheme. Thus, it is not flexible enough to meet different requirements. To solve this problem, we propose a General AltBOC (GAltBOC) modulation. The proposed technique can achieve the same function as AltBOC. Meanwhile, its power allocation ratio can be adjusted when required. The detailed derivation of the GAltBOC modulation is presented, and three representative cases as well as the signal properties are discussed. To further improve the combination efficiency, we develop the Interlacing GAltBOC (IGAltBOC) modulation based on the GAltBOC modulation. The Power Spectrum Density (PSD) and correlation functions of the proposed signals are verified by simulation. The code tracking error and implementation complexities are analysed and compared with existing methods. Results show the proposed signals indeed enhance the flexibility of power allocation ratio with the same level code tracking accuracy. Compared with AltBOC modulation, the proposed signal can reach a higher combination efficiency at the expense of relatively higher implementation complexity. Compared with Asymmetric Constant Envelope Double-sideband (ACED) modulation, the proposed signals have significantly lower complexity of signal generation, which is helpful in simplifying the signal generation in the payload transmitter.
Hybrid organic/silicon heterostructures have become of great interest for photovoltaic application due to their promising features (e.g. easy fabrication in a low-temperature process) for cost-effective photovoltaics. This work is focused on solar cells with a hybrid heterojunction between the polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3HT) and n-doped monocrystalline silicon. As semi-transparent top contact, a thin (15 nm) Au layer was employed. Devices with different P3HT thicknesses were processed by spin-casting and compared with a reference Au/n-Si Schottky diode solar cell.
The current density-voltage (J-V) measurements of the hybrid devices show a significant increase in open-circuit voltage (VOC) from 0.29 V up to 0.50 V for the best performing hybrid devices compared to the Schottky diode reference, while the short-circuit current density (JSC) does not change significantly. The increased VOC indicates that P3HT effectively reduces the reverse electron current into the gold contact. The wavelength-dependent JSC measurements show a decreased JSC in the wavelength range of P3HT absorption. This is related to the reduced JSC generation in silicon not being compensated by JSC generation in P3HT. It is concluded that the charge generation in P3HT is less efficient than in silicon.
After a thermal annealing of the hybrid P3HT/silicon solar cells, we achieved power conversion efficiencies (PCE) (AM1.5 illumination) up to 6.5% with VOC of 0.52 V, JSC of 18.6 mA/cm² and a fill factor (FF) of 67%. This is more than twice the efficiency of the reference Schottky diode.
Monoclinic Cu2SnS3 was made by solution based processing of the precursor metals after which the samples are annealed in a sulphur environment. XRD and Raman spectra shows that the monoclinic phase was synthesised. One sample was further etched in KCN and HCl to remove possible secondary phases. Transmission spectra show that the material has two optical transitions and in conjunction with reflection data absorption spectra were calculated. The two optical transitions are determined to be 0.91 and 0.98 for the unetched sample and 0.90 and 0.95 eV for the etched sample. The values of the optical transitions are within the error the same and thus etching does not affect the values of these optical transitions. Photoluminescence spectra map show only one luminescence peak with a maximum at 0.95 eV, which is consistent with the values found by absorption spectra. This in combination with the Raman spectra and XRD indicates that the sample contains only one polymorph of Cu2SnS3, which is monoclinic. Therefore the two optical transitions are intrinsic to monoclinic Cu2SnS3.