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Nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs) are widely used for antiviral therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), but real-world data on treatment patterns and long-term clinical outcomes are not always available. Using data from electronic medical records between January 2011 and December 2016 in Shanghai, China, we evaluated patient characteristics, treatment patterns and clinical outcomes in patients with CHB. There were 6688 patients in the study cohort. The incidences of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were 41.0‰ and 6.8‰ person-years, respectively. There were more cirrhosis and HCC cases among patients who had shorter NA treatment duration (<365 days), or who were less compliant (<80%). In addition, increased risk of cirrhosis and HCC was observed in patients who did not achieve hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss/seroconversion. Moreover, patients with cirrhosis developed after antiviral treatments had a higher incidence of HCC (adjusted hazard ratio 15.86, 95% confidence interval 7.35–34.24). Good compliance with treatment and longer treatment duration significantly decreased the risk of developing cirrhosis and HCC. HBsAg loss seemed to be a protective factor for cirrhosis/HCC in NAs-treated patients with CHB, and cirrhosis was a confirmed risk factor for HCC development as expected.
The very high temperature reactor (VHTR) is a development of the high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) and one of the six proposed Generation IV reactor concept candidates. The 10 MW high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China. A sampling system for the measurement of carbon-14 (14C) was established in the helium purification system of the HTR-10 primary loop, which could sample 14C from the coolant at three locations. The results showed that activity concentration of 14C in the HTR-10 primary coolant was 1.2(1) × 102 Bq/m3 (STP). The production mechanisms, distribution characteristics, reduction routes, and release types of 14C in HTR-10 were analyzed and discussed. A theoretical model was built to calculate the amount of 14C in the core of HTR-10 and its concentration in the primary coolant. The activation reaction of 13C has been identified to be the dominant 14C source in the core, whereas in the primary coolant, it is the activation of 14N. These results can supplement important information for the source term analysis of 14C in HTR-10 and promote the study of 14C in HTGRs.
Whereas genetic susceptibility increases the risk for major depressive disorder (MDD), non-genetic protective factors may mitigate this risk. In a large-scale prospective study of US Army soldiers, we examined whether trait resilience and/or unit cohesion could protect against the onset of MDD following combat deployment, even in soldiers at high polygenic risk.
Data were analyzed from 3079 soldiers of European ancestry assessed before and after their deployment to Afghanistan. Incident MDD was defined as no MDD episode at pre-deployment, followed by a MDD episode following deployment. Polygenic risk scores were constructed from a large-scale genome-wide association study of major depression. We first examined the main effects of the MDD PRS and each protective factor on incident MDD. We then tested the effects of each protective factor on incident MDD across strata of polygenic risk.
Polygenic risk showed a dose–response relationship to depression, such that soldiers at high polygenic risk had greatest odds for incident MDD. Both unit cohesion and trait resilience were prospectively associated with reduced risk for incident MDD. Notably, the protective effect of unit cohesion persisted even in soldiers at highest polygenic risk.
Polygenic risk was associated with new-onset MDD in deployed soldiers. However, unit cohesion – an index of perceived support and morale – was protective against incident MDD even among those at highest genetic risk, and may represent a potent target for promoting resilience in vulnerable soldiers. Findings illustrate the value of combining genomic and environmental data in a prospective design to identify robust protective factors for mental health.
The present study evaluates the use of multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), a type of exploratory factor analysis designed to reduce the dimensionality of large categorical data sets, in identifying behaviours associated with measures of overweight/obesity in Vanuatu, a rapidly modernizing Pacific Island country.
Starting with seventy-three true/false questions regarding a variety of behaviours, MCA identified twelve most significantly associated with modernization status and transformed the aggregate binary responses of participants to these twelve questions into a linear scale. Using this scale, individuals were separated into three modernization groups (tertiles) among which measures of body fat were compared and OR for overweight/obesity were computed.
Ni-Vanuatu adults (n 810) aged 20–85 years.
Among individuals in the tertile characterized by positive responses to most of or all the twelve modernization questions, weight and measures of body fat and the likelihood that measures of body fat were above the US 75th percentile were significantly greater compared with individuals in the tertiles characterized by mostly or partly negative responses.
The study indicates that MCA can be used to identify individuals or groups at risk for overweight/obesity, based on answers to simply-put questions. MCA therefore may be useful in areas where obtaining detailed information about modernization status is constrained by time, money or manpower.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
Dipetalonema gracile is a common parasite in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus), which can cause malnutrition and progressive wasting of the host, and lead to death in the case of massive infection. This study aimed to identify a suspected D. gracile worm from a dead squirrel monkey by means of molecular biology, and to amplify its complete mitochondrial genome by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequence analysis. The results identified the worm as D. gracile, and the full length of its complete mitochondrial genome was 13,584 bp, which contained 22 tRNA genes, 12 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, one AT-rich region and one small non-coding region. The nucleotide composition included A (16.89%), G (20.19%), T (56.22%) and C (6.70%), among which A + T = 73.11%. The 12 protein-coding genes used TTG and ATT as start codons, and TAG and TAA as stop codons. Among the 22 tRNA genes, only trnS1AGN and trnS2UCN exhibited the TΨC-loop structure, while the other 20 tRNAs showed the TV-loop structure. The rrnL (986 bp) and rrnS (685 bp) genes were single-stranded and conserved in secondary structure. This study has enriched the mitochondrial gene database of Dipetalonema and laid a scientific basis for further study on classification, and genetic and evolutionary relationships of Dipetalonema nematodes.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
We provide novel evidence that hedge fund performance is persistent following weak hedge fund markets but is not persistent following strong markets. Specifically, we construct two performance measures, RET_DOWN and RET_UP, conditioned on the level of overall hedge fund sector returns. After adjusting for risks, funds in the highest RET_DOWN quintile outperform funds in the lowest quintile by approximately 7% in the subsequent year, whereas funds with better RET_UP do not outperform subsequently. The RET_DOWN measure can predict future fund performance over a horizon as long as 3 years, for both winners and losers and for funds with few share restrictions.
One of the goals of soft robotics is the ability to interface with the human body. Traditionally, silicone materials have dominated the field of soft robotics. In order to shift to materials that are more compatible with the body, developments will have to be made into biodegradable and biocompatible soft robots. This investigation focused on developing gummy actuators which are biodegradable, edible, and tasty. Creating biodegradable and edible actuators can be both sold as an interactive candy product and also inform the design of implantable soft robotic devices. First, commercially available gelatin-based candies were recast into pneumatic actuators utilizing molds. Edible robotic devices were pneumatically actuated repeatedly (up to n=8 actuations) using a 150 psi power inflator. To improve upon the properties of actuators formed from commercially available candy, a novel gelatin-based formulation, termed the “Fordmula” was also developed and used to create functional actuators. To investigate the mechanics and functionality of the recast gummy material and the Fordmula, compression testing and biodegradation studies were performed. Mechanical compression tests showed that recast gummy materials had similar properties to commercially available candies and at low strain had similar behavior to traditional silicone materials. Degradation studies showed that actuation was possible within 15 minutes in a biologically relevant solution followed by complete dissolution of the actuator afterwards. A taste test with elementary aged children demonstrated the fun, edible, and educational appeal of the candy actuators. Edible actuator development was an entry and winning submission in the High School Division of the Soft Robotics Toolkit Design Competition hosted by Harvard University. Demonstration of edible soft robotic actuators created by middle and high school aged students shows the applicability of the Soft Robotics Toolkit for K12 STEM education.
Layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) have attracted interest due to their promise for future electronic and optoelectronic technologies. As one approaches the two-dimensional (2D) limit, thickness and local topology can greatly influence the macroscopic properties of a material. To understand the unique behavior of TMDs it is therefore important to identify the number of atomic layers and their stacking in a sample. The goal of this work is to extract the thickness and stacking sequence of TMDs directly by matching experimentally recorded high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscope images and convergent-beam electron diffraction (CBED) patterns to quantum mechanical, multislice scattering simulations. Advantageously, CBED approaches do not require a resolved lattice in real space and are capable of neglecting the thickness contribution of amorphous surface layers. Here we demonstrate the crystal thickness can be determined from CBED in exfoliated 1T-TaS2 and 2H-MoS2 to within a single layer for ultrathin ≲9 layers and ±1 atomic layer (or better) in thicker specimens while also revealing information about stacking order—even when the crystal structure is unresolved in real space.
Extensive insecticide use has led to the resistance of mosquitoes to these insecticides, posing a major barrier to mosquito control. Previous Solexa high-throughput sequencing of Culex pipiens pallens in the laboratory has revealed that the abundance of a novel microRNA (miRNA), miR-13664, was higher in a deltamethrin-sensitive (DS) strain than a deltamethrin-resistant (DR) strain. Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that the miR-13664 transcript level was lower in the DR strain than in the DS strain. MiR-13664 oversupply in the DR strain increased the susceptibility of these mosquitoes to deltamethrin, whereas inhibition of miR-13664 made the DS strain more resistant to deltamethrin. Results of bioinformatic analysis, quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, luciferase assay and miR mimic/inhibitor microinjection revealed CpCYP314A1 to be a target of miR-13664. In addition, downregulation of CpCYP314A1 expression in the DR strain reduced the resistance of mosquitoes to deltamethrin. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-13664 could regulate deltamethrin resistance by interacting with CpCYP314A1, providing new insights into mosquito resistance mechanisms.
Group-3 medulloblastoma (MBL) is highly resistant to radiation (IR) and chemotherapy and has the worst prognosis. Hence, there is an urgent need to elucidate targets that sensitize these tumors to chemotherapy and IR. Employing standard assays for viability and sensitization to IR, we identified PRDX1 as a therapeutic target in Group-3 MBL. Specifically, targeting PRDX1 by RNAi or inhibition by Adenanthin led to specific killing and sensitization to IR of Group-3 MBL cells. We rescued sensitization of Daoy and UW228 cells by hypermorphic expression of PRDX1. PRDX1 knockdown caused oxidative DNA damage and induced apoptosis. We correlated PRDX1 expression to patient outcomes in a validated MBL tumor-microarray. Whole genome sequencing identified pathways/genes that were dysregulated with PRDX1 inhibition or silencing. Our in vivo studies in mice employing flank/orthotopic tumors from patient derived xenografts/Group-3 MBL cells confirmed in vitro observations. Animals with tumors in which PRDX1 was targeted by RNAi or Adenanthin (using mini osmotic pumps) showed decreased tumor burden and increased survival when compared to controls. Since, Adenanthin does not cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) we used HAV6 peptide to transiently disrupt the BBB and deliver Adenanthin to the tumor. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that targeting PRDX1 resulted in increased oxidative DNA damage, apoptosis and decreased proliferation. In summary, we have validated PRDX1 as a therapeutic target in group-3 MBL, identified Adenanthin as a potent chemical inhibitor of PRDX1 and confirmed the role of HAV peptide (in the transient modulation of BBB permeability) in an orthotopic model of group-3 MBL.
Background: EMBRACE (NCT02462759) Part 1 is a randomized, double-blind, sham-procedure controlled study assessing safety/tolerability of intrathecal nusinersen (12-mg equivalent dose) in symptomatic infants/children with SMA who were not eligible to participate in ENDEAR or CHERISH. Methods: Eligible participants had onset of SMA symptoms at ≤6 months with 3 SMN2 copies; onset at ≤6 months, age >7 months and 2 copies; or onset at >6 months, age ≤18 months, and 2/3 copies. Safety/tolerability was the primary endpoint. Exploratory endpoints included Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination Section 2 (HINE-2) motor milestone attainment, change in ventilator use, and growth. Results: EMBRACE Part 1 was terminated early based on positive results from ENDEAR. Safety/tolerability was similar to previous trials. More nusinersen-treated (11/14;79%) vs. sham–treated individuals (2/7;29%) were HINE-2 motor milestone responders. Between Day 183 and 302, mean (SD) hours of ventilator use changed by +1.236 (3.712) hours in nusinersen-treated (n=12) and +2.123 (3.023) hours in sham–treated individuals (n=7). Similar increases in weight and body length were observed in nusinersen-treated and sham–treated individuals by Day 183. Conclusions: In EMBRACE Part 1, nusinersen demonstrated a favorable benefit-risk profile. These results add to the aggregated efficacy, safety/tolerability data of nusinersen in SMA.
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 effects of soluble fiber inclusion in gestation diets with varying fermentation characteristics (fermentation kinetics and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA)-profile) on lactational feed intake of sows and their piglet growth over two parities were investigated using an in vitro–in vivo methodology. After breeding, 90 multiparous Landrace sows were randomized to one of three experimental diets: the control (CON) diet, konjac flour (KF) diet or sugar beet pulp (SBP) diet. All diets had similar levels of net energy, CP, insoluble fiber and NDF, but KF and SBP diets had higher soluble fiber levels than the CON diet. During gestation, the sows were restrictively fed with three different diets, but during lactation, all the sows were similarly fed ad libitum. The three gestation diets were enzymatically hydrolyzed using pepsin and pancreatin, and enzymolyzed residues were used in in vitro fermentation. Gas and SCFA production were monitored during fermentation. After fermentation, enzymolyzed residues of KF or SBP diets resulted in higher final asymptotic gas volume than those of the CON diet. The enzymolyzed residues of KF diet were mainly part of rapidly fermented fractions, whereas those of SBP diet were mainly part of slowly fermented fractions. In addition, the acetic acid, butyric acid and total SCFA concentrations of enzymolyzed residues of KF diet were higher (P<0.01) than the control and SBP diets. In the in vivo studies, on day 90 of gestation, the KF diet sows had higher plasma SCFA concentration (P<0.05) at 4 h after feeding than the CON diet sows. Furthermore, the KF diet sows had lower plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentration (P<0.01) at 4 h after feeding, and a lower value of homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)-insulin resistance (P<0.05), but a higher value of HOMA-insulin sensitivity (P<0.01). The KF diet sows also consumed more feed during lactation (P<0.01) and weaned significantly heavier pigs (P<0.01) than the CON diet sows. The overall results showed that the high fermentation capacity KF diet contributed to an increased lactational feed intake and improved performance of piglets in the second reproductive cycle.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
Athetis lepigone (Möschler) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a new outbreak pest in China. Consequently, it is unclear whether the emergence and spread of the outbreak of this pest are triggered by rapid in situ population size increases in each outbreak area, or by immigrants from a potential source area in China. In order to explore the outbreak process of this pest through a population genetics approach, we developed ten novel polymorphic expressed sequence tags (EST)-derived microsatellites. These new microsatellites had moderately high levels of polymorphism in the tested population. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 3 to 19, with an average of 8.6, and the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.269 to 0.783. A preliminary population genetic analysis using these new microsatellites revealed a lack of population genetic structure in natural populations of A. lepigone. The estimates of recent migration rate revealed strong gene flow among populations. In conclusion, our study developed the first set of EST-microsatellite markers and shed a new light on the population genetic structure of this pest in China.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.