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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Chitinase is responsible for insect chitin hydrolyzation, which is a key process in insect molting and pupation. However, little is known about the chitinase of Spodoptera exigua (SeChi). In this study, based on the SeChi gene (ADI24346) identified in our laboratory, we constructed the recombinant baculovirus P-Chi for the expression of recombinant SeChi (rSeChi) in Hi5 cells. The rSeChi was purified by chelate affinity chromatography, and the purified protein showed activity comparable with that of a commercial SgChi, suggesting that we harvested active SeChi for the first time. The purified protein was subsequently tested for enzymatic properties and revealed to exhibit its highest activity at pH 8 and 40 C. Using homology modeling and molecular docking techniques, the three-dimensional model of SeChi was constructed and screened for inhibitors. In two rounds of screening, twenty compounds were selected. With the purified rSeChi, we tested each of the twenty compounds for inhibitor activity against rSeChi, and seven compounds showed obvious activity. This study provided new information for the chitinase of beet armyworm and for chitinase inhibitor development.
Metal chalcogenides have attracted great attention because of their broad applications. It has been well acknowledged that microstructure can alter the intrinsic properties and performance of metal chalcogenides. The structure–property–performance relationships can be investigated at atomic scale with scanning transmission and transmission electron microscopy (STEM and TEM). Nevertheless, careful specimen preparation is paramount for accurate analyses and interpretations. In this work, we compare the effects of a variety of well-established TEM specimen preparation methods on the observed microstructure of an ingot stoichiometric lead telluride (PbTe). Most importantly, from aberration corrected STEM and first principles calculations, we discovered that argon (Ar) ion milling can lead to surface irradiation damage in the form of Pb vacancy clusters and self-interstitial atom (SIA) clusters. The SIA clusters appear as orthogonal nanoscale features when characterized along the <001> crystal orientation of the rock salt structured PbTe. This obfuscates the interpretation of the intrinsic microstructure of metal chalcogenides, especially lead chalcogenides. We demonstrate that with sufficiently low energy (300 eV) Ar ion cleaning or appropriate high-temperature annealing, the surface damage layer can be properly cleaned and the orthogonal nanoscale features are significantly reduced. This reveals the materials’ intrinsic structure and can be used as the standard protocol for future TEM specimen preparation of lead-based chalcogenide materials.
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.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Significant developments in micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based devices have led to the commercialization of windowed gas cells that now enable atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) observation of phenomena occurring during gas-solid interactions at atmospheric pressure. An in situ atmospheric STEM study provides information that is beneficial to correlating the structure-properties relationship of catalytic nanomaterials, particularly under realistic gaseous reaction conditions. In this article, we illustrate the advantages of this tool as applied to our study of two important systems: (1) the CO-induced Pt nanoparticle surface reconstruction at saturation coverage and (2) the ordering and Pt surface enrichment in supported Pt3Co nanoparticles.
To determine whether oral vancomycin prophylaxis accompanying systemic antibiotics reduces the risk of relapse in patients with history of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI).
Retrospective cohort study.
Adult inpatients with a history of CDI who received systemic antibiotics in either of 2 hospitals between January 2009 and June 2015.
We compared relapse rates in patients who started oral vancomycin concurrently with systemic antibiotics (exposed group) versus those who did not. We assessed for CDI relapse by toxin or nucleic acid testing at 90 days. We used inverse probability weighting and machine learning to adjust for confounders, to estimate propensity for treatment, and to calculate odds ratios for CDI relapse. We performed secondary analyses limited to toxin-positive relapses, patients with 1 versus >1 prior CDI episodes, and patients who received oral vancomycin on each antibiotic day.
CDI relapse occurred within 90 days in 19 of 193 exposed patients (9.8%) versus 53 of 567 unexposed patients (9.4%; unadjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.60–1.81; adjusted OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.35–1.14). CDI relapses at 90 days were less frequent in exposed patients with only 1 prior episode of CDI (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.19–0.93) but not in those with >1 prior episode (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.42–3.33). Our findings were consistent with a lack of benefit of oral vancomycin when restricting results to toxin-positive relapses and to patients who received vancomycin each antibiotic day.
Prophylactic oral vancomycin was not consistently associated with reduced risk of CDI relapse among hospitalized patients receiving systemic antibiotics. However, patients with only 1 prior CDI episode may benefit.
Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
In the USA, western Washington (WWA) and the Alaska (AK) Interior are two regions where maritime and continental climates, high latitude and cropping systems necessitate early maturing spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Both regions aim to increase the production of hard spring bread wheat for human consumption to support regional agriculture and food systems. The Nordic region of Europe has a history of breeding for early maturing spring wheat and also experiences long daylengths with mixed maritime and continental climates. Nordic wheat also carries wildtype (wt) NAM-B1, an allele associated with accelerated senescence and increased grain protein and micronutrient content, at a higher frequency than global germplasm. Time to senescence, yield, protein and mineral content were evaluated on 42 accessions of Nordic hard red spring wheat containing wt NAM-B1 over 2 years on experimental stations in WWA and the AK Interior. Significant variation was found by location and accession for time to senescence, suggesting potential parental lines for breeding programmes targeting early maturity. Additionally, multiple regression analysis showed that decreased time to senescence correlated negatively with grain yield and positively with grain protein, iron and zinc content. Breeding for early maturity in these regions will need to account for this potential trade-off in yield. Nordic wt NAM-B1 accessions with early senescence yet with yields similar to regional checks are reported. Collaboration among alternative wheat regions can aid in germplasm exchange and varietal development as shown here for the early maturing trait.
The second Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) – a nationwide, cross-sectional, epidemiological survey - was initiated in 2016 with the intent of tracking the state of mental health of the general population in Singapore. The study employed the same methodology as the first survey initiated in 2010. The SMHS 2016 aimed to (i) establish the 12-month and lifetime prevalence and correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) (which included alcohol abuse and dependence) and (ii) compare the prevalence of these disorders with reference to data from the SMHS 2010.
Door-to-door household surveys were conducted with adult Singapore residents aged 18 years and above from 2016 to 2018 (n = 6126) which yielded a response rate of 69.0%. The subjects were randomly selected using a disproportionate stratified sampling method and assessed using World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (WHO-CIDI 3.0). The diagnoses of lifetime and 12-month selected mental disorders including MDD, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, GAD, OCD, and AUD (alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence), were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.
The lifetime prevalence of at least one mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder was 13.9% in the adult population. MDD had the highest lifetime prevalence (6.3%) followed by alcohol abuse (4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of any DSM-IV mental disorders was 6.5%. OCD had the highest 12-month prevalence (2.9%) followed by MDD (2.3%). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders assessed in SMHS 2016 (13.8% and 6.4%) was significantly higher than that in SMHS 2010 (12.0% and 4.4%). A significant increase was observed in the prevalence of lifetime GAD (0.9% to 1.6%) and alcohol abuse (3.1% to 4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of GAD (0.8% vs. 0.4%) and OCD (2.9% vs. 1.1%) was significantly higher in SMHS 2016 as compared to SMHS 2010.
The high prevalence of OCD and the increase across the two surveys needs to be tackled at a population level both in terms of creating awareness of the disorder and the need for early treatment. Youth emerge as a vulnerable group who are more likely to be associated with mental disorders and thus targeted interventions in this group with a focus on youth friendly and accessible care centres may lead to earlier detection and treatment of mental disorders.
Imprinted genes uniquely drive and support fetoplacental growth by controlling the allocation of maternal resources to the fetus and affecting the newborn’s growth. We previously showed that alterations of the placental imprinted gene expression are associated with suboptimal perinatal growth and respond to environmental stimuli including socio-economic determinants. At the same time, maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy (MPSP) has been shown to affect fetal growth. Here, we set out to test the hypothesis that placental imprinted gene expression mediates the effects of MPSP on fetal growth in a well-characterized birth cohort, the Stress in Pregnancy (SIP) Study. We observed that mothers experiencing high MPSP deliver infants with lower birthweight (P=0.047). Among the 109 imprinted genes tested, we detected panels of placental imprinted gene expression of 23 imprinted genes associated with MPSP and 26 with birthweight. Among these genes, five imprinted genes (CPXM2, glucosidase alpha acid (GAA), GPR1, SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains 2 (SHANK2) and THSD7A) were common to the two panels. In multivariate analyses, controlling for maternal age and education and gestational age at birth and infant gender, two genes, GAA and SHANK2, each showed a 22% mediation of MPSP on fetal growth. These data provide new insights into the role that imprinted genes play in translating the maternal stress message into a fetoplacental growth pattern.
Retrospective reports of lifetime experience with mental disorders greatly underestimate the actual experiences of disorder because recall error biases reporting of earlier life symptoms downward. This fundamental obstacle to accurate reporting has many adverse consequences for the study and treatment of mental disorders. Better tools for accurate retrospective reporting of mental disorder symptoms have the potential for broad scientific benefits.
We designed a life history calendar (LHC) to support this task, and randomized more than 1000 individuals to each arm of a retrospective diagnostic interview with and without the LHC. We also conducted a careful validation with the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition.
Results demonstrate that—just as with frequent measurement longitudinal studies—use of an LHC in retrospective measurement can more than double reports of lifetime experience of some mental disorders.
The LHC significantly improves retrospective reporting of mental disorders. This tool is practical for application in both large cross-sectional surveys of the general population and clinical intake of new patients.
X-ray diffraction topography is the name given to several x-ray diffraction techniques where large area x-ray beams diffracted from a crystal provide detailed information about the surface structure and internal perfection of crystal microstructures. Since x-ray topographic techniques are based on Bragg (reflection) or Laue (transmission) diffraction from a crystal lattice, they are extremely sensitive to any atomic lattice imperfections and strains. Alterations of the interplanar spacing as small as one part in ten thousand extending over a reasonable number of atomic ce11 lengths can be recorded as a corresponding change in the diffracted beam intensity. Line Modified-Asymmetric Crystal Topography (LM-ACT) is one such reflection technique that shows particular promise in Che field of microelectronics. The LM-ACT system is designed with low angular divergence in the x-ray beam probe. Low probe beam divergence allows details of device geometries on the order of microns to be resolved in the recorded x-ray intensity variation of the diffracted beam.
The LM-ACT system was applied here to the study of integrated circuits (IC) after specific processing steps were accomplished during IC fabrication and in the final product condition. Topographs obtained from specular crystal surfaces that were implanted through a patterned mask showed contrast variations between the implanted and non-implanted regions; details of the mask patterns have been resolved on the order of a few microns. LMACT topographs from annealed, and unannealed, Implanted specimens showed marked differences and as a result it is suggested that LM-ACT would be beneficial in optimizing the processing schedule for a particular wafer/electronic system. A significant feature of the LM-ACT technique is the capability for producing high resolution stereo-pair topographs that provide quantitative information through the depth of individual process layers in an integrated circuit.
Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a cardinal feature of schizophrenia, but they can also appear in otherwise healthy individuals. Imaging studies implicate language networks in the generation of AVH; however, it remains unclear if alterations reflect biologic substrates of AVH, irrespective of diagnostic status, age, or illness-related factors. We applied multimodal imaging to identify AVH-specific pathology, evidenced by overlapping gray or white matter deficits between schizophrenia patients and healthy voice-hearers.
Diffusion-weighted and T1-weighted magnetic resonance images were acquired in 35 schizophrenia patients with AVH (SCZ-AVH), 32 healthy voice-hearers (H-AVH), and 40 age- and sex-matched controls without AVH. White matter fractional anisotropy (FA) and gray matter thickness (GMT) were computed for each region comprising ICBM-DTI and Desikan–Killiany atlases, respectively. Regions were tested for significant alterations affecting both SCZ-AVH and H-AVH groups, relative to controls.
Compared with controls, the SCZ-AVH showed widespread FA and GMT reductions; but no significant differences emerged between H-AVH and control groups. While no overlapping pathology appeared in the overall study groups, younger (<40 years) H-AVH and SCZ-AVH subjects displayed overlapping FA deficits across four regions (p < 0.05): the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum, as well as the anterior limbs of the internal capsule. Analyzing these regions with free-water imaging ascribed overlapping FA abnormalities to tissue-specific anisotropy changes.
We identified white matter pathology associated with the presence of AVH, independent of diagnostic status. However, commonalities were constrained to younger and more homogenous groups, after reducing pathologic variance associated with advancing age and chronicity effects.