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In this prospective, longitudinal study, we examined the risk factors for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among a cohort of chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients and healthcare personnel (HCPs) over a 6-month period. The risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among HD patients and HCPs was consistently associated with a household member having SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Considering the influence of body’s growth and development on thyroid volume (TVOL), whether five existed corrected methods could be applied to correct TVOL remains unclear, in terms of Chinese children’s increased growth and development trends. This study aimed to compare the applicability of five correction methods: Body Surface Area corrected Volume (BSAV), Body Mass Indicator corrected Volume (BMIV), Weight and Height corrected Volume Indicator (WHVI), Height corrected Volume Indicator 1 (HVI1) and Height corrected Volume Indicator 2 (HVI2) and to establish the reference values for correction methods. The data of Iodine Nutrition and Thyroid Function Survey were used to analyse the differences in TVOL between normal and abnormal thyroid function children. Data of National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Survey were used to compare five correction methods and to establish their reference values. The median urinary iodine concentrations of children surveyed were 256·1 μg/l in 2009 and 192·6 μg/l in 2019. No significant difference was found in TVOL and thyroid goitre rate between children with normal and abnormal thyroid function. In the determination of goitre, HVI1, HVI2, BSAV and BMIV all showed high agreement with TVOL, while the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of WHVI was relatively low for children aged 8 (AUC = 0·8993) and 9 (AUC = 0·8866) years. Most differences of TVOL between light and heavy weight, short and tall height children can be eliminated by BSAV. BSAV was the best corrected method in this research. Reference values were established for corrected TVOL in Chinese children aged 8–10 years by sex.
Patients on dialysis are at high risk for severe COVID-19 and associated morbidity and mortality. We examined the humoral response to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 in a maintenance dialysis population.
Single-center cohort study.
Setting and participants:
Adult maintenance dialysis patients at 3 outpatient dialysis units of a large academic center.
Participants were vaccinated with 2 doses of BNT162b2, 3 weeks apart. We assessed anti–SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies (anti-S) ∼4–7 weeks after the second dose and evaluated risk factors associated with insufficient response. Definitions of antibody response are as follows: nonresponse (anti-S level, <50 AU/mL), low response (anti-S level, 50–839 AU/mL), and sufficient response (anti-S level, ≥840 AU/mL).
Among the 173 participants who received 2 vaccine doses, the median age was 60 years (range, 28–88), 53.2% were men, 85% were of Black race, 86% were on in-center hemodialysis and 14% were on peritoneal dialysis. Also, 7 participants (4%) had no response, 27 (15.6%) had a low response, and 139 (80.3%) had a sufficient antibody response. In multivariable analysis, factors significantly associated with insufficient antibody response included end-stage renal disease comorbidity index score ≥5 and absence of prior hepatitis B vaccination response.
Although most of our study participants seroconverted after 2 doses of BNT162b2, 20% of our cohort did not achieve sufficient humoral response. Our findings demonstrate the urgent need for a more effective vaccine strategy in this high-risk patient population and highlight the importance of ongoing preventative measures until protective immunity is achieved.
Tamoxifen is commonly prescribed for preventing recurrence in patients with breast cancer. However, the responses of the patients on tamoxifen treatment are variable. Cytochrome P450 genetic variants have been reported to have a significant impact on the clinical outcomes of tamoxifen treatment but no tangible conclusion can be made up till now. The present review attempts to provide a comprehensive review on the associative relationship between genetic polymorphisms in cytochrome P450 enzymes and survival in breast cancer patients on adjuvant tamoxifen therapy. The literature search was conducted using five databases, resulting in the inclusion of 58 studies in the review. An appraisal of the reporting quality of the included studies was conducted using the assessment tool from the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP). Meta-analyses were performed on CYP2D6 studies using Review Manager 5.3 software. For other studies, descriptive analyses were performed. The results of meta-analyses demonstrated that shorter overall survival, disease-free survival and relapse-free survival were found in the patients with decreased metabolisers when compared to normal metabolisers. The findings also showed that varying and conflicting results were reported by the included studies. The possible explanations for the variable results are discussed in this review.
GPR120 is implicated in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism, and insulin resistance. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the role of GPR120 in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). With the adoption of dehydroepiandrosterone, a rat model was established to simulate PCOS in vitro. mRNA and protein expression levels of GPR120 were measured using RT-qPCR and western blot, respectively. In addition, expression levels of testosterone, estradiol, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, serum total cholesterol and triglyceride were assessed using the corresponding kits. Moreover, haematoxylin and eosin staining was used to detect pathological changes in ovary or liver and oil red staining was utilized to evaluate lipid accumulation. In the present study, GPR120 was downregulated in plasma, liver and ovary in the PCOS rat model. In addition, the GPR120 agonist regulated lipid metabolism in the liver and weight in the PCOS rat model. Furthermore, the GPR120 agonist decreased insulin resistance in the PCOS rat model but improved the ovarian function. It is suggested that GPR120 plays a vital role in suppressing insulin resistance, regulating ovary function and decreasing lipid accumulation in the liver, demonstrating that targeting GPR120 could be an effective method for the improvement of PCOS.
A pedagogical agent (PA) is a computerized humanlike onscreen image whose purpose is to guide the learner’s attention and facilitate learning. In this chapter, the main findings from research on pedagogical agents are reviewed and a meta-analysis is used to reveal the specific role of PAs on learning outcomes, yielding an effect size of g = .45 on transfer performance and g = .23 on retention performance. We also examine explanations for why PAs could have a positive effect on learning performance based on social agency theory, the embodiment principle, and the signaling principle. In addition, this chapter summarizes the main moderating variables for the effect of PAs, including characteristics of the learner such as the learner's prior knowledge, characteristics of the learning environment such as the subject matter, and characteristics of the PA such as voice and gesture.
The staining procedure is critical for investigating intra- and extra-cellular ultrastructure of microorganisms by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Here, we propose a new ultra-low lead staining (ULLS) technique for preparing the ultrathin sections for TEM analysis. Sections of Enterobacter sp. (bacteria), Aspergillus niger (filamentous fungi), Rhodotorula mucilaginosa (fungi), and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (microalgae) were tested. Compared with the sections prepared by the typical double-staining technique, ULLS-based sections showed evident advantages: (i) the staining process only required the addition of Pb(NO3)2; (ii) the Pb level during incubation was set as low as 1 mg/L, which had negligible toxicity to most microbial cells; (iii) the Pb cations were added during microbial culture, which avoided complicated sample preparation as in typical double staining. Taking C. reinhardtii as an example, the ULLS technique allowed fine investigation of microbial ultrastructure, e.g., starch granule, mitochondrion, Golgi apparatus, vacuole, and vesicle. Meanwhile, the physiological processes of the cells such as cell lysis and exocytosis were successfully captured, with relatively high contrast. This study hence shows a bright future on preparation of the high-quality ultrathin sections of microbial cells by the ULLS technique.
The present study evaluated whether fat mass assessment using the triceps skinfold (TSF) thickness provides additional prognostic value to the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) framework in patients with lung cancer (LC). We performed an observational cohort study including 2672 LC patients in China. Comprehensive demographic, disease and nutritional characteristics were collected. Malnutrition was retrospectively defined using the GLIM criteria, and optimal stratification was used to determine the best thresholds for the TSF. The associations of malnutrition and TSF categories with survival were estimated independently and jointly by calculating multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HR). Malnutrition was identified in 808 (30·2 %) patients, and the best TSF thresholds were 9·5 mm in men and 12 mm in women. Accordingly, 496 (18·6 %) patients were identified as having a low TSF. Patients with concurrent malnutrition and a low TSF had a 54 % (HR = 1·54, 95 % CI = 1·25, 1·88) greater death hazard compared with well-nourished individuals, which was also greater compared with malnourished patients with a normal TSF (HR = 1·23, 95 % CI = 1·06, 1·43) or malnourished patients without TSF assessment (HR = 1·31, 95 % CI = 1·14, 1·50). These associations were concentrated among those patients with adequate muscle mass (as indicated by the calf circumference). Additional fat mass assessment using the TSF enhances the prognostic value of the GLIM criteria. Using the population-derived thresholds for the TSF may provide significant prognostic value when used in combination with the GLIM criteria to guide strategies to optimise the long-term outcomes in patients with LC.
Recently, the quality of Maritime Education and Training (MET) has drawn more attention from employers of the shipping industry, because incompetent officers have frequently contributed to ship accidents. The authors intend to explore answers to three questions: (1) Is the quality of Chinese MET satisfactory to the maritime stakeholders? (2) What are the major factors affecting the quality of cadet training? (3) Are there feasible solutions to improve the quality of MET? The authors take China, a major seafarers supplying country, as empirical evidence to disclose the causes of the problems. By an exploratory factor analysis technique, this paper presents the findings of semi-structured interviews and questionnaire surveys and identifies four principal factors affecting the quality of MET in China. Shortage of skillful instructors, lack of onboard training, over-reliance on theoretical teaching, and limited funding sources are prominent factors in this context. Practical solutions are proposed for the purpose of improving the overall competence of Chinese cadets expected to become the dynamic workforce for the global shipping industry.
Meiosis is a highly conserved process, and is responsible for the production of haploid gametes and generation of genetic diversity. We previously identified the transferrin receptor (TFRC) in the proteome profile of mice neonatal testes, indicating the involvement of the TFRC in meiosis. However, the exact molecular role of the TFRC in meiosis remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to determine the function of the TFRC in neonatal testicular development by TFRC knockdown using the testis culture platform. Our results showed high TFRC expression in 2-week testes, corresponding to the first meiotic division. Targeting TFRC using morpholino oligonucleotides resulted in clear spermatocyte apoptosis. In addition, we used the chromosomal spread technique to show that a deficiency of TFRC caused the accumulation of leptotene and zygotene spermatocytes, and a decrease of pachytene spermatocytes, indicating early meiotic arrest. Moreover, the chromosomes of TFRC-deficient pachytene spermatocytes displayed sustained γH2AX association, as well as SYCP1/SYCP3 dissociation beyond the sex body. Therefore, our results demonstrated that the TFRC is essential for the progression of spermatocyte meiosis, particularly for DNA double-stranded break repair and chromosomal synapsis.
A recently developed pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 has quickly spread across the world. Unfortunately, a simplified risk score that could easily be used in primary care or general practice settings has not been developed. The objective of this study is to identify a simplified risk score that could easily be used to quickly triage severe COVID-19 patients. All severe and critical adult patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 on the West campus of Union Hospital, Wuhan, China, from 28 January 2020 to 29 February 2020 were included in this study. Clinical data and laboratory results were obtained. CURB-65 pneumonia score was calculated. Univariate logistic regressions were applied to explore risk factors associated with in-hospital death. We used the receiver operating characteristic curve and multivariate COX-PH model to analyse risk factors for in-hospital death. A total of 74 patients (31 died, 43 survived) were finally included in the study. We observed that compared with survivors, non-survivors were older and illustrated higher respiratory rate, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, D-dimer and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), but lower SpO2 as well as impaired liver function, especially synthesis function. CURB-65 showed good performance for predicting in-hospital death (area under curve 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.71–0.91). CURB-65 ⩾ 2 may serve as a cut-off value for prediction of in-hospital death in severe patients with COVID-19 (sensitivity 68%, specificity 81%, F1 score 0.7). CURB-65 (hazard ratio (HR) 1.61; 95% CI 1.05–2.46), LDH (HR 1.003; 95% CI 1.001–1.004) and albumin (HR 0.9; 95% CI 0.81–1) were risk factors for in-hospital death in severe patients with COVID-19. Our study indicates CURB-65 may serve as a useful prognostic marker in COVID-19 patients, which could be used to quickly triage severe patients in primary care or general practice settings.
The evolution of melt ponds on Arctic sea ice in summer is one of the main factors that affect sea-ice albedo and hence the polar climate system. Due to the different spectral properties of open water, melt pond and sea ice, the melt pond fraction (MPF) can be retrieved using a fully constrained least-squares algorithm, which shows a high accuracy with root mean square error ~0.06 based on the validation experiment using WorldView-2 image. In this study, the evolution of ponds on first-year and multiyear ice in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago was compared based on Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 images. The relationships of pond coverage with air temperature and albedo were analysed. The results show that the pond coverage on first-year ice changed dramatically with seasonal maximum of 54%, whereas that on multiyear ice changed relatively flat with only 30% during the entire melting period. During the stage of pond formation, the ponds expanded rapidly when the temperature increased to over 0°C for three consecutive days. Sea-ice albedo shows a significantly negative correlation (R = −1) with the MPF in melt season and increases gradually with the refreezing of ponds and sea ice.
In order to assess late prehistoric human responses to climate change in the Western Loess Plateau (WLP), we investigated 13,567 charred plant seeds and 19 radiocarbon (14C) dates obtained from 41 late prehistoric sites in the upper Wei River valley. Based on these new dating results as well as their cultural attributes, these sites could be confidently divided into four chronological phases (Phase 1: Late Yangshao and Majiayao culture; Phase 2: Qijia culture; Phases 3 and 4: Siwa culture) but a significant gap was identified at ca. 3600–3000 cal yr BP in this region. Comparison of this interval to high-resolution paleoclimate records from Tianchi Lake suggests it could be attributed to the dramatic drop in temperature at this time. Accordingly, archaeobotanical evidence with a refined chronology shows the adoption of cold-tolerant subsistence cereal grains such as barley on the NETP (Northeast Tibetan Plateau). Drawing from various lines of knowledge (chronology, palaeoclimate, archaeobotany, and archaeology), it is reasonable to conclude that, even when confronting a similar magnitude of climate change, local human societies could vary tremendously. Different subsistence strategies were brought in by the trans-Eurasia culture exchange of prehistoric times.
Episodic memory starts to decline very early in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Subtle impairments in memory binding may be detected in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This study aims to examine the psychometric properties of the Chinese version of the memory binding test (MBT).
One hundred and sixty-four subjects (26 individuals with AD, 67 individuals with amnestic MCI (aMCI), 30 individuals with subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), and 41 cognitively normal elderly individuals (NC)) participated in the study. Twenty-two subjects repeated the assessment of the MBT within 6 weeks (± 2 weeks). Pearson correlation was used to calculate the convergent validity. The test––retest reliability was determined by the calculation of the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Discriminative validity was calculated to evaluate the receiver–operating characteristic curves. The optimal index was chosen by comparing the area under the curve for specificity and sensitivity ≥ 0.80. The optimal cutoff score of the index was chosen to maximize the sum of sensitivity and specificity.
The absolute value of the convergent validity of the direct indexes of MBT ranged from 0.443 to 0.684. The ICC for each of direct indexes was 0.887–0.958. Total delayed paired recall (TDPR) was the optimal index for discriminating aMCI from NC. The cutoff score for TDPR was ≤25 to distinguish aMCI from NC (sensitivity = 0.896, specificity = 0.707).
The Chinese version of MBT is a valid and reliable instrument to detect MCI.
Endometrial injury is an important cause of intrauterine adhesion (IUA), amenorrhea and infertility in women, with limited effective therapies. Recently, stem cells have been used in animal experiments to repair and improve injured endometrium. To date, our understanding of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) in endometrial injury repair and their further therapeutic mechanisms is incomplete. Here, we examined the benefit of ADSCs in restoration of injured endometrium by applying a rat endometrial injury model. The results revealed by immunofluorescence showed that green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labelled ADSCs can differentiate into endometrial epithelial cells in vivo. At 30 days after ADSCs transplantation, injured endometrium was significantly improved, with increased microvessel density, endometrial thickness and glands when compared with the model group. Furthermore, the fertility of rats with injured endometrium in ADSCs group was improved and had a higher conception rate (60% vs 20%, P = 0.014) compared with the control phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) group. However, there was no difference in the control group compared with the sham group. In addition, expression levels of the oestrogen receptor Eα/β (ERα, ERβ) and progesterone receptor (PR) detected by western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were higher in the ADSCs group than in the PBS group. Taken together, these results suggested that ADSC transplantation could improve endometrial injury as a novel therapy for IUA.
Barnyardgrass [Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv.] is acknowledged to be the most troublesome weed in rice fields in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces of China. It cannot be effectively controlled using certain acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting herbicides, including penoxsulam. Echinochloa crus-galli samples with suspected resistance to penoxsulam were collected to identify the target site–based mechanism underlying this resistance. Populations AXXZ-2 and JNRG-2 showed 33- and 7.3-fold resistance to penoxsulam, respectively, compared with the susceptible JLGY-3 population. Cross-resistance to other ALS inhibitors was reported in AXXZ-2 but not in JNRG-2, and occasionally showed higher sensitivity than JLGY-3. In vitro ALS activity assays revealed that penoxsulam concentrations required to inhibit 50% of ALS activity were 11 and 5.2 times greater in AXXZ-2 and JNRG-2, respectively, than in JLGY-3. DNA and predicted amino acid sequence analyses of ALS revealed Ala-205-Val and Ala-122-Gly substitutions in AXXZ-2 and JNRG-2, respectively. Our results indicate that these substitutions in ALS are at least partially responsible for resistance to penoxsulam.
Current available methods to detect cow milk adulteration or accidental contamination of goat milk are both laborious and time consuming. The aim of this technical research communication was to develop a simple, rapid, specific and sensitive method for quantitative detection of cow milk in goat milk. A competitive lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) strip was developed using a specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) labeled with colloidal gold nanoparticles (GNPs) for specifically binding to cow milk casein. The detection limit of this rapid detection was 0.07% of cow milk in goat milk, providing equal specificity and higher sensitivity when compared with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). These result suggest that the established rapid GNPs-LFIA strip could be used for monitoring cow milk adulteration/contamination of goat milk.
In the present work, the TiB2-reinforced AA6061 composites were successfully in situ synthesized by laser surface alloying using a mixture of Ti and AlB2 powders. The microstructure evolution and properties of the composites were systematically studied. The results showed that TiB2 particles displayed a homogeneous distribution in the aluminum matrix with controllable contents and morphologies. By adjusting the molar ratio of alloying powders, phase constitution of the composites was varied. Thermodynamic calculation was used to analyze the phase selection during the solidification. It was found that the morphology of TiB2 particles was converted from hexagonal plate into rod-like structure with an increase of Ti contents. Transmission electron microscopy results illustrated that the in situ synthesized TiB2 particles exhibited a well-bonded interface with the Al matrix. Properties characterization revealed a significant enhancement in microhardness and abrasion resistance compared with the aluminum substrate attributed to the presence of the TiB2 reinforcements. The strengthening and wear mechanism were also discussed.
Pine wilt disease, which is caused by the pine wood nematode (PWN), Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, has caused huge damage to pine forests around the world. In this study, we analysed the PWN transcriptome to investigate the expression of genes related to the associated bacterial species Pseudomonas fluorescens and found that the gene adh-1 encoding alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) was upregulated. The open reading frame of adh-1, which encoded a protein of 352 amino acid residues, was cloned from B. xylophilus. Recombinant ADH with a relative molecular weight of 39 kDa, was present mainly in inclusion bodies and was overexpressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) and purified after refolding. The biochemical assay revealed that recombinant ADH could catalyse the dehydrogen reaction of eight tested alcohols including ethanol in the presence of NAD+. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis indicated that ethanol upregulated adh-1 expression in PWN. Results of RNA interference and inhibition of ADH treatment indicated that downregulating expression of adh-1 or inhibition of ADH could reduce ethanol tolerance and the vitality and reproduction ability of B. xylophilus, suggesting that adh-1 is involved in pathogenicity of PWN.
The Chinese Great Famine caused widespread starvation in 1959–1961. Its long-term association with depressive symptoms has not been studied.
To estimate the burden of depressive symptoms and the association of famine exposure with depressive symptoms.
The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study is a nationwide representative survey of 17 708 Chinese adults aged ≥45. Propensity score matching and modified Poisson regression were used to evaluate the association between self-reported famine exposure in early life and depressive symptoms among the overall participants. Such associations were also assessed by developmental stage using modified Poisson regression and logistic regression.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 26.2% (95% CI 25.1–27.3%) in 2011. As defined by loss of family members because of starvation, 11.6% (95% CI 10.1–13.1%) of this population experienced severe famine. When compared with participants who did not experience starvation, those who had experienced severe famine during fetal, mid-childhood, young-teenage and early-adulthood stages had 1.87 (95% CI 1.36–2.55), 1.54 (95% CI 1.23–1.94), 1.47 (95% CI 1.09–2.00) and 1.77 (95% CI 1.42–2.21) times higher odds of having depressive symptoms in late adulthood, respectively. The first two trimesters of pregnancy were a critical time window during the fetal stage when severe famine had a stronger association with depressive symptoms. Famine during infant, toddler, preschool or teenage stages was not associated with depressive symptoms. Overall, famine contributed to 13.6% of the depressive symptom burden in this population.
The Chinese Great Famine contributed substantially to the burden of depressive symptoms in China.