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The transition from defined benefit to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes has increased the interest in target annuitization funds that aim to fund a minimum level of retirement income. Prior literature has studied the optimal investment strategies for DC funds that provide minimum guarantees, but far less attention has been given to portfolio insurance strategies for DC pension funds focusing on retirement income targets. We evaluate the performance of option-based and constant proportion portfolio insurance strategies for a DC fund that targets a minimum level of inflation-protected annuity income at retirement. We show how the portfolio allocation to an equity fund varies depending on the member’s age upon joining the fund, displaying a downward trend through time for members joining the fund before ages in the mid-30s. We demonstrate how both portfolio insurance strategies provide strong protection against downside equity risk in financing a minimum level of retirement income. The option-based strategy generally leads to higher accumulated savings at retirement, whereas the constant proportion strategy provides better downside risk protection robust to equity market jumps/volatilities.
The co-occurrence of hepatic cystic echinococcosis (CE) and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is extremely rare. Here, we present the clinical manifestations and treatment outcomes of three cases with co-occurring CE and AE in the liver. Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging and 18FFluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography-CT were used for preoperative diagnosis. Specimens were taken intraoperatively and sent for pathological studies to confirm the coexistence of CE and AE by laminated membrane, daughter cysts or germinal layer and infiltration structure. Albendazole was prescribed after operation for 12 months. All patients were completely recovered and showed no recurrence at last follow-up. Therefore, surgical intervention and postoperative application of albendazole are recommended for patients with concurrence of hepatic AE and CE.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.
Rapid population ageing in China has urged the need to understand health transitions of older Chinese to assist the development of social security programmes and financial products aimed at funding long-term care. In this paper, we develop a new flexible approach to modelling health transitions in a multi-state Markov model that allows for age effects, time trends and age-time interactions. The model is implemented in the generalised linear modelling framework. We apply the model to evaluate health transitions of Chinese elderly using individual-level panel data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey for the period 1998–2012. Our results confirm that time trends and age–time interactions are important factors explaining health transitions in addition to the more commonly used age effects. We document that differences in disability and mortality rates continue to persist between urban and rural older Chinese. We also compute life expectancies and healthy life expectancies based on the proposed model as inputs for the development of aged care and financial services for older Chinese.
The triplite LiFeSO4F displays both the highest potential ever reported for an Fe-based compound, as well as a comparable specific energy with that of popular LiFePO4. The synthesis is still a challenge because the present approaches are connected with long time, special equipments or organic reagents, etc. In this work, the triplite LiFeSO4F powder was synthesized through an ambient two-step solid-state route. The reaction process and phase purity were analyzed, coupled with structure refinement and electrochemical test.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The present study investigated the effects of different levels of urea nitrogen (N) fertilizer on nutrient accumulation, in vitro rumen gas production and fermentation characteristics of forage oat straw (FOS) from oats (Avena sativa L. ‘Qinghai 444’) grown in the Tibet region of China. Fertilizer, applied at seeding (day 1), stem elongation (days 52–54) and heading (days 63–67), increased plant height and prolonged the maturity stage of the plant by 4–11 days compared with the non-fertilized control. Oat plants were harvested at maturity at the node 3–4 cm above ground, and then separated into grains and FOS. Both FOS and grain yields increased quadratically with increasing N fertilization, and their theoretical maximums occurred at the N fertilizing rates of 439 and 385 kg/ha, respectively. Increases in N fertilization did not affect the hemicellulose content of FOS, but substantially promoted the accumulation of crude protein, cellulose and lignin, resulting in a decrease in the energy content available for metabolism. A 72-h incubation of FOS with rumen fluids from lactating cows showed that increasing N resulted in FOS that showed a slower fermentation rate, decreased in vitro dry matter disappearance and lower cumulative gas production, but unchanged fermentation gas composition. Nitrogen fertilization increased the final pH in culture fluids and decreased the microbial volatile fatty acid (VFA) production. The molar proportions of acetate and propionate were not affected, but molar propionate proportion decreased linearly with increasing urea fertilization, and consequently, the ratio of lipogenic (e.g., acetate and butyrate)-to-glucogenic acids (propionate) tended to increase. In brief, increasing urea N fertilization promoted the growth of forage oats and increased the biomass yield as well as the crude protein and cellulose content of FOS. Considering the negative effect of increased lignin content on nutrient digestibility and total VFA production, the suggested range of urea N fertilization is 156–363 kg N/ha for forage oats planted in Tibet to retain the nutritive value of FOS in the rumen.
Legionnaires’ disease (LD) is a globally distributed systemic infectious disease. The burden of LD in many regions is still unclear, especially in Asian countries including China. A survey of Legionella infection using real-time PCR and nested sequence-based typing (SBT) was performed in two hospitals in Shanghai, China. A total of 265 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) specimens were collected from hospital A between January 2012 and December 2013, and 359 sputum specimens were collected from hospital B throughout 2012. A total of 71 specimens were positive for Legionella according to real-time PCR focusing on the 5S rRNA gene. Seventy of these specimens were identified as Legionella pneumophila as a result of real-time PCR amplification of the dotA gene. Results of nested SBT revealed high genetic polymorphism in these L. pneumophila and ST1 was the predominant sequence type. These data revealed that the burden of LD in China is much greater than that recognized previously, and real-time PCR may be a suitable monitoring technology for LD in large sample surveys in regions lacking the economic and technical resources to perform other methods, such as urinary antigen tests and culture methods.
A completely randomized experiment for planting highland barley in 36 field plots of the Lhasa Agricultural Experiment Station was applied to investigate the effect of urea nitrogen (N) fertilization levels of 0 (control), 156, 258, 363, 465 and 570 kg/ha on nutrient accumulation, in vitro rumen gas production and fermentation characteristics of highland barley straw (HBS). Each urea application was divided into three portions of 0.4, 0.3 and 0.3 and sequentially fertilized at seeding (growth stage (GS) 0), stem elongation (GS 32) and heading (GS 49), respectively. The maturity stage lasted 5–13 days longer in response to the urea N fertilization compared with the control. After removing grains, HBS biomass was harvested at maturity. The biomass yields of leaf, stem, straw and grain were increased quadratically with increasing urea N fertilization, and HBS and grain yields peaked at the estimated urea N fertilization levels of 385 and 428 kg/ha, respectively. The increase of urea N fertilization increased the accumulation of crude protein, cellulose and lignin, and decreased the content of ash and hemicellulose in HBS, resulting in a decrease of the energy content available to be metabolized. After incubating HBS for 72 h with rumen fluids from lactating cows, the urea N fertilization decreased in vitro dry matter disappearance and cumulative gas production, and slightly altered fermentation end-gas composition. Urea N fertilization decreased microbial volatile fatty acid production, but did not alter the ratio of lipogenic acetate and butyrate to glucogenic propionate. In a brief, the current urea N fertilization strategy promoted the growth of the highland barley and increased biomass yield, protein and cellulose accumulation of HBS. A urea N fertilization level ⩽385 kg/ha could be sufficient for growth of highland barley in Tibet without a consequent nutritive reduction in ruminal digestion.
The current sample of star clusters (SCs) is still incomplete beyond 1.8 kpc. The Pan-STARRS1 with its wide field of views and sensitive cameras provides us an opportunity to identify and characterize SCs as much as possible. By using a star counting algorithm, we obtained a total of 491 stellar density enhancements in a field of 20° × 20° toward the Galactic Anti-Center (GAC), of which 50 are known SCs. The remaining 441 candidates are verified with radii, interstellar reddening, distances, and ages with proper motions and multiple bands photometries. Our results push the completeness of SCs almost near the edge of GAC. With the revised SC sample, the separation between Sagittarius and Perseus arms are about 3.2 ± 0.2 kpc and the widths of the nearby spiral arms—Sagittarius, Orion, and Perseus—with are 1.4 ± 0.1, 1.6 ± 0.1, and 3.3 ± 0.2 kpc, respectively.
Co-infections of cystic echinococcosis (CE) and HIV/AIDS is rare. We report four CE cases that were HIV positive. Three out of the four patients underwent a surgical operation to remove the hydatid cysts in their livers. The operation confirmed that in two of the cases their cysts had ruptured. These patients were given 3 months of albendazole after the operation. Follow-up showed they were remarkably improved in term of their health, although they were still HIV antibody positive 6 months after surgical treatment. Interestingly, the treatment remarkably increased their CD4+ cell population. We showed that surgery is suitable for treating hepatic cystic echinococcosis with HIV/AIDS co-infection.
This study characterized Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C strains in China in order to establish their genetic relatedness and describe the use of multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) to provide useful epidemiological information. A total of 215 N. meningitidis serogroup C strains, obtained from 2003 to 2012 in China, were characterized by MLVA with different published schemes as well as multilocus sequence typing. (i) Based on the MLVA scheme with a combination of five highly variable loci, 203 genotypes were identified; this level of discrimination supports its use for resolving closely related isolates. (ii) Based on a combination of ten low variable loci, clear phylogenetic relationships were established within sequence type complexes. In addition, there was evidence of microevolution of VNTR loci over the decade as strain lineages spread from Anhui to other provinces, the more distant the provinces from Anhui, the higher the genetic variation.
Studies in Western countries have repeatedly shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in China?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression and regression coefficients by linear or Poisson regression.
Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD [OR 3.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95–5.45]. This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.17–5.23), genital (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.32–5.83) and intercourse (OR 13.35, 95% CI 1.83–97.42). The association between any form of CSA and MD remained significant after accounting for parental history of depression, childhood emotional neglect (CEN), childhood physical abuse (CPA) and parent–child relationship. Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and an increased risk for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.39–2.66) and dysthymia (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.52–3.09).
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and increased co-morbidity with GAD and dysthymia. Although reporting biases cannot be ruled out, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that, as in Western countries, CSA substantially increases the risk for MD in China.
Antioxidant defence systems have received increasing attention in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, including: bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia (SCZ). Recently, we reported decreased glutathione (GSH) levels in post-mortem prefrontal cortex from patients with BD, MDD, and SCZ. To explore this further, we evaluated the levels of two glutathione S-transferase (GST) isoforms via immunoblotting: GST Pi and GST Mu. GST Pi levels were not affected in any of the patients groups vs. controls. GST Mu levels were significantly decreased in patients with MDD and SCZ but not BD. Compared to controls, GST Mu levels were not different in BD patients who had been treated with mood stabilizers at the time of death but were significantly lower in those not taking mood stabilizers at the time of death. These data suggest that GST Mu may be a target for mood stabilizers.
Accruing data suggest that oxidative stress may be a factor underlying the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia (SCZ). Glutathione (GSH) is the major free radical scavenger in the brain. Diminished GSH levels elevate cellular vulnerability towards oxidative stress; characterized by accumulating reactive oxygen species. The aim of this study was to determine if mood disorders and SCZ are associated with abnormal GSH and its functionally related enzymes. Post-mortem prefrontal cortex from patients with BD, MDD, SCZ, and from non-psychiatric comparison controls were provided by the Stanley Foundation Neuropathology Consortium. Spectrophotometric analysis was utilized for the quantitative determination of GSH, while immunoblotting analyses were used to examine expression of glutamyl-cysteine ligase (GCL), GSH reductase (GR), and GSH peroxidase (GPx). We found that the levels of reduced, oxidized, and total GSH were significantly decreased in all psychiatric conditions compared to the control group. Although GCL and GR levels did not differ between groups, the levels of GPx were reduced in MDD and SCZ compared to control subjects. Since oxidative damage has been demonstrated in MDD, BD, and SCZ, our finding that GSH levels are reduced in post-mortem prefrontal cortex suggests that these patient groups may be more susceptible to oxidative stress.
An outbreak of rabies affected domestic raccoon dogs on an animal farm in Inner Mongolia, China in 2007. A study was conducted to characterize the aetiological agent and clarify the origin of the rabies virus. Brain tissues were obtained from five rabid raccoon dogs. Viral nucleoprotein antigen was detected in the brain tissues and five rabies viruses were isolated from these rabid animals. Phylogenetic analysis of the N and G gene sequences showed that these isolates were closely related to Arctic-like rabies viruses isolated from the far-eastern region of Russia and South Korea, but distinct from the rabies viruses that are widely distributed in endemic areas in China. Epidemiological data suggested that the likely source of infection was from one wild raccoon dog that was captured and placed in the same type of pen used for domestic raccoon dogs.