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Feathers play a critical role in thermoregulation and directly influence poultry production. Poor feathering adversely affects living appearance and carcass quality, thus reducing profits. However, producers tend to ignore the importance of feather development and do not know the laws of feather growth and development. The objective of this study was to fit growth curves to describe the growth and development of feathers in yellow-feathered broilers during the embryonic and posthatching periods using different nonlinear functions (Gompertz, logistic and Bertalanffy). Feather mass and length were determined during the embryonic development and posthatching stages to identify which growth model most accurately described the feather growth pattern. The results showed that chick embryos began to grow feathers at approximately embryonic (E) day 10, and the feathers grew rapidly from E13 to E17. There was little change from E17 to the day of hatching (DOH). During the embryonic period, the Gompertz function (Y = 798.48e−203 431exp(−0.87t), Akaike’s information criterion (AIC) = −0.950 × 103, Bayesian information criterion (BIC) = −0.711 × 103 and mean square error (MSE) = 559.308) provided the best fit for the feather growth curve compared with the other two functions. After hatching, feather mass and length changed little from the DOH to day (D) 14, increased rapidly from D21 to D91 and then grew slowly after D91. The first stage of feather molting occurred from 2 to 3 weeks of age when the down feathers were mostly shed and replaced with juvenile feathers, and the second stage occurred at approximately 13 to 15 weeks of age. The three nonlinear functions could overall fit the feather growth curve well, but the Bertalanffy model (Y = 116.88 × (1−0.86e−0.02t)3, AIC = 1.065 × 105, BIC = 1.077 × 105 and MSE = 11.308) showed the highest degree of fit among the models. Therefore, the Gompertz model exhibited the best goodness of fit for the feather growth curve during the embryonic development, while the Bertalanffy model was the most suitable model due to its accurate ability to predict the growth and development of feathers during the growth period, which is an important commercial characteristic of yellow-feathered chickens.
We aimed to comprehensively examine the association of breast-feeding, types and initial timing of complementary foods with adolescent cognitive development in low- and middle-income countries. We conducted a prospective cohort study of 745 adolescents aged 10–12 years who were born to women who participated in a randomised trial of prenatal micronutrient supplementation in rural Western China. An infant feeding index was constructed based on the current WHO recommendations. Full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ) was assessed and derived by the fourth edition of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. The duration of exclusive or any breast-feeding was not significantly associated with adolescent cognitive development. Participants who regularly consumed Fe-rich or Fe-fortified foods during 6–23 months of age had higher FSIQ than those who did not (adjusted mean differences 4·25; 95 % CI 1·99, 6·51). For cows’/goats’ milk and high protein-based food, the highest FSIQ was found in participants who initially consumed at 10–12 and 7–9 months, respectively. A strong dose–response relationship of the composite infant feeding index was also identified, with participants in the highest tertile of overall feeding quality having 3·03 (95 % CI 1·37, 4·70) points higher FSIQ than those in the lowest tertile. These findings suggest that appropriate infant feeding practices (breast-feeding plus timely introduction of appropriate complementary foods) were associated with significantly improved early adolescent cognitive development scores in rural China. In addition, improvement in Fe-rich or Fe-fortified foods complementary feeding may produce better adolescent cognitive development outcomes.
This study aimed to determine the diagnostic utility of a Chinese test battery for evaluating cognitive loss in elderly Chinese Americans.
Data from a pilot study at the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center was examined. All participants were > 65 years old, primarily Chinese speaking, with adequate sensorimotor capacity to complete cognitive tests. A research diagnosis of normal mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was assigned to each participant in consensus conference. Composite scores were created to summarize test performance on overall cognition, memory, attention executive function, and language. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the sensitivity of each cognitive domain for discriminating three diagnostic categories. Adjustment was made for demographic variables (i. e., age, gender, education, primary language, and years living in the USA).
The sample included 67 normal, 37 MCI, and 12 AD participants. Performance in overall cognition, memory, and attention executive function was significantly worse in AD than in MCI, and performance in MCI was worse than in normal controls. Language performance followed a similar pattern, but differences did not achieve statistical significance among the three diagnostic groups.
This study highlights the need for cognitive assessment in elderly Chinese immigrants.
Previous studies have demonstrated that type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) could be triggered by an early childhood infection. Whether maternal infection during pregnancy is associated with T1DM in offspring is unknown. Therefore, we aimed to study the association using a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eighteen studies including 4304 cases and 25 846 participants were enrolled in this meta-analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were synthesised using random-effects models. Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the robustness of associations. Overall, the pooled analysis yielded a statistically significant association between maternal infection during pregnancy and childhood T1DM (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.07–1.62). Furthermore, six studies that tested maternal enterovirus infection showed a pooled OR of 1.54 (95% CI 1.05–2.27). Heterogeneity from different studies was evident (I2 = 70.1%, P < 0.001) and was mainly attributable to the different study designs, ascertaining methods and sample size among different studies. This study provides evidence for an association between maternal infection during pregnancy and childhood T1DM.
Some fire ants of the genus Solenopsis have become invasive species in the southern United States displacing native species by competition. Although the displacement pattern seems clear, the mechanisms underlying competitive advantage remain unclear. The ability of ant workers to produce relatively larger amount of alarm pheromone may correspond to relative greater fitness among sympatric fire ant species. Here we report on quantitative intra-specific (i.e. inter-caste) and inter-specific differences of alarm pheromone component, 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine (2E36DMP), for several fire ant species. The alarm pheromone component was extracted by soaking ants in hexane for 48 h and subsequently quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry at single ion monitoring mode. Solenopsis invicta workers had more 2E36DMP than male or female alates by relative weight; individual workers, however, contained significantly less pyrazine. We thus believe that alarm pheromones may serve additional roles in alates. Workers of Solenopsis richteri, S. invicta, and hybrid (S. richteri × S. invicta) had significantly more 2E36DMP than a native fire ant species, Solenopsis geminata. The hybrid fire ant had significantly less 2E36DMP than the two parent species, S. richteri and S. invicta. It seems likely that higher alarm pheromone content may have favored invasion success of exotic fire ants over native species. We discuss the potential role of inter-specific variation in pyrazine content for the relationship between the observed shifts in the spatial distributions of the three exotic fire ant species in southern United States and the displacement of native fire ant species.
In the near future, the inactivated enterovirus 71 (EV71) vaccine is expected to become available on the market in China. Since EV71 is a major cause of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), the vaccine is expected to significantly reduce the number of cases, as well as the detrimental economic effect of the disease. However, for a national vaccination strategy to be developed, policy-makers need more information on the socioeconomic burden of EV71 HFMD infection. Based on the 2011 population data, we estimated the clinical and economic effect of EV71 HFMD infection in children aged 0–9 years in Shanghai, China. The annual cost related to HFMD is >US$7.66 million for a population of 1·42 million children aged 0–9 years with an average cost of US$208.2/case. The extrapolated cost for EV71 HFMD infection was US$3.53 million, comprising 46·1% of the overall cost associated with HFMD. Around 97% of all of the HFMD-related expenses were paid for by the families creating a considerable economic burden. Our findings could provide the necessary recommendations on the most effective national EV71 vaccine implementation, as well as a baseline data for assessing the cost-effectiveness of the vaccine in China.
In this work, LiFePO4 (LFP) particles were synthesized through an ionic liquid medium. Through the fabrication of LFP particles, we observed the formation of quasi-1−dimensional (1D) structures. The characterization of phases found in the reaction, through time-dependent studies, have led us to propose a possible scheme for particle formation.
Synthesized material was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and x-ray diffraction (XRD). We also report our analysis on particle morphology and crystallinity of LFP particles synthesized through an ionic liquid−mediated process.
Genetic association studies of the cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) and sepsis have provided inconsistent results. This work attempts to further quantitatively assess the association of three widely evaluated polymorphisms of IL-10 (−592C/A, −819C/T, −1082A/G) with sepsis susceptibility through a meta-analysis. A search of Pubmed, Web of Science and EMBASE databases was performed. Overall, the three polymorphisms have no strong association with sepsis risk. Subgroup analysis by ethnicity showed there was association between sepsis susceptibility with −592C/A in Caucasians (A vs. C: OR 0·78, 95% CI 0·62–1·00, P = 0·05; AA + CA vs. CC: OR 0·75, 95% CI 0·56–1·00, P = 0·05), and with −1082A/G in Asians (G vs. A: OR 1·41, 95% CI 1·04–1·91, P = 0·03; GG + AG vs. AA: OR 2·11, 95% CI 1·07–4·16, P = 0·03). This meta-analysis suggests that −592C/A and −1082A/G polymorphisms are associated with sepsis susceptibility in Caucasian, and Asian populations, respectively.
This study aimed to investigate the validity and feasibility of cervical oesophagostomy as a treatment for patients with severe dysphagia after radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
The study retrospectively analysed the clinical data, symptoms, physical signs, treatment and outcomes of 12 patients treated with cervical oesophagostomy for severe dysphagia after radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, from 2006 to 2010.
In all 12 cases, the oesophageal stoma remained stable, without any complications such as pharyngeal fistula or inflammation. No oesophageal stricture or granuloma growth was observed. All patients reported significant improvement in their nutritional status and quality of life after the oesophagostomy surgery.
Cervical oesophagostomy is a valid and feasible method of treating severe dysphagia following radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Oesophagostomy shows specific advantages over nasogastric tubing, gastrostomy and jejunostomy. Patients' nutrition and quality of life can be improved significantly if cervical oesophagostomy is executed in a timely fashion, especially in cases with severe trismus and multiple radiation-induced cranial nerve palsies unresponsive to rehabilitation.
Several studies have evaluated the association between mannose-binding lectin (MBL) polymorphisms and sepsis. However, the results are inconclusive and conflicting. To better understand the roles of MBL polymorphisms in sepsis, we conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis. All relevant studies were searched from PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Knowledge databases, with the last report up to 7 May 2013. Twenty-nine studies addressing four MBL polymorphisms (–550G/C, –221G/C, structure variant A/O, Gly54Asp) were analysed for susceptibility to sepsis and one study for sepsis-related mortality. Overall, significant associations between structure variant A/O and susceptibility to sepsis were observed for AO + OO vs. AA [odds ratio (OR) 1·27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·05–1·52, P = 0·01] and O vs. A (OR 1·19, 95% CI 1·02–1·40, P = 0·03). In subgroup analysis based on age group, increased risk was found in the paediatric group in the dominant model (OR 1·72, 95% CI 1·16–2·56, P = 0·007). Moreover, there was a slight association between the +54A/B polymorphism and susceptibility to sepsis in Caucasians (recessive model: OR 10·64, 95% CI 1·24–91·65, P = 0·03). However, no association was observed for –550G/C and –221G/C polymorphisms both overall and in subgroup analysis. For sepsis-related mortality, only one study suggested AO/OO was associated with in-hospital mortality in pneumococcal sepsis patients after controlling for confounding variables. Our meta-analysis indicated that MBL structure variants might be associated with susceptibility to sepsis but further studies with a large sample size should be conducted to confirm these findings.
Most knowledge regarding the effects of antidepressant drugs is at the receptor level, distal from the nervous system effects that mediate their clinical efficacy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), this study investigated the effects of escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), on resting-state brain function in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
Fourteen first-episode drug-naive MDD patients completed two fMRI scans before and after 8 weeks of escitalopram therapy. Scans were also acquired in 14 matched healthy subjects. Data were analyzed using the regional homogeneity (ReHo) approach.
Compared to controls, MDD patients before treatment demonstrated decreased ReHo in the frontal (right superior frontal gyrus), temporal (left middle and right inferior temporal gyri), parietal (right precuneus) and occipital (left superior occipital gyrus and right cuneus) cortices, and increased ReHo in the left dorsal medial prefrontal gyrus and left anterior lobe of the cerebellum. Compared to the unmedicated state, ReHo in the patients after treatment was decreased in the left dorsal medial prefrontal gyrus, the right insula and the bilateral thalamus, and increased in the right superior frontal gyrus. Compared to controls, patients after treatment displayed a ReHo decrease in the right precuneus and a ReHo increase in the left anterior lobe of the cerebellum.
Successful treatment with escitalopram may be associated with modulation of resting-state brain activity in regions within the fronto-limbic circuit. This study provides new insight into the effects of antidepressants on functional brain systems in MDD.
We investigated the presence of Mycobacterium spp. in livestock in northern China. Of the 163 clinical samples selected for this study, 20 were from throat swabs of dairy cows, and 143 were tissue samples (including lung tissue from one reindeer, hilar lymph node tissue from 55 cows, and liver tissue from 87 sheep). A total of 41 mycobacterial isolates were identified including two isolates of M. caprae and 39 non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) isolates. Multi-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) profiles of the two M. caprae isolates proved to be unique. This is the first report of M. caprae isolates from livestock in China. This study also confirms previous reports that NTM is common in livestock in northern China.
A cluster dynamics model based on rate theory has been developed to describe the accumulation and diffusion processes of helium in tungsten under helium implantation alone or synergistic irradiation with neutron, by involving different types of objects, adopting up-to-date parameters and complex reaction processes as well as considering the diffusion process along with depth. The calculated results under different conditions are in good agreement with experiments much well. The model describes the behavior of helium in tungsten within 2D space of defect type/size and depth on different ions incident conditions (energies and fluences) and material conditions (system temperature and existent sinks), by including the synergistic effect of helium-neutron irradiations and the influence of inherent sinks (dislocation lines and grain boundaries). The model, coded as IRadMat, would be universally applicable to the evolution of defects for ions/neutron irradiated on plasma-facing materials.
The experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary threonine (Thr) supplement on reproductive performance and immune function of the male mice challenged with pseudorabies virus (PRV). Kun-Ming male mice were assigned randomly to four groups with different Thr levels (0.70%, 0.88%, 1.10% and 1.30%). Half of the mice in each group were injected with PRV or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) after 5 weeks’ adaptation to diets. The second experiment examined the effects of dietary Thr level on copulation rate, pregnancy rate and average number per litter of PRV- or PBS-challenged male mice that copulated with adult female mice on the 9th day post PRV challenge. Sperm quality and testosterone of mice were decreased after PRV infection, but this effect was attenuated by increasing Thr levels. Copulation and conception rates were increased with increasing Thr levels (P = 0.14), but litter size was not affected (P > 0.05). In the PBS and PRV groups, mice fed higher levels of Thr had increased immunoglobulin (Ig)G, IgA and IgM concentrations. The PRV-specific antibody level, interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α concentration in PRV groups enhanced with increasing Thr levels; however, there was no difference in PBS groups. Furthermore, higher toll-like receptor (TLR)2 and TLR9 expressions in testis were observed by PRV challenge compared with PBS groups, and higher Thr supplement attenuated PRV-challenged induced the upregulation effect of TLR2 and TLR9 mRNA expression in testis (P < 0.05). These data suggest that higher Thr consumption was recommended in order to counteract the deleterious effects of virus invasion, possibly through the downregulated expression of TLRs, and thus to improve immunity and reproduction performance of male mice challenged with PRV.
Sequence variability in three mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) regions, namely cytochrome c oxidase subunit 3 (cox3), NADH dehydrogenase subunits 1 and 4 (nad1 and nad4) in Spirometra erinaceieuropaei spargana from different geographical regions in China was examined. A portion of each of the cox3 (pcox3), nad1 (pnad1) and nad4 genes (pnad4) were amplified separately from individual S. erinaceieuropaei spargana by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Representative amplicons were subjected to sequencing in order to estimate sequence variability. The sequences of pcox3, pnad1 and pnad4 were 541, 607 and 847 bp in length, respectively. The A+T contents of the sequences were 68.39–68.76% (pcox3), 63.76–64.91% (pnad1) and 67.18–67.77% (pnad4), respectively, while the intra-specific sequence variations within each of the S. erinaceieuropaei spargana were 0–1.5% for pcox3, 0–2.8% for pnad1 and 0–2.7% for pnad4. Phylogenetic analysis using neighbour joining (NJ), maximum likelihood (ML) and maximum parsimony (MP) methods, indicated that all the spargana isolates in Hunan Province represented S. erinaceieuropaei. These findings demonstrated clearly the usefulness of the three mtDNA sequences for population genetics studies of S. erinaceieuropaei spargana of human and animal health significance.
Electronic medical records (EMR) provide a unique opportunity for efficient, large-scale clinical investigation in psychiatry. However, such studies will require development of tools to define treatment outcome.
Natural language processing (NLP) was applied to classify notes from 127 504 patients with a billing diagnosis of major depressive disorder, drawn from out-patient psychiatry practices affiliated with multiple, large New England hospitals. Classifications were compared with results using billing data (ICD-9 codes) alone and to a clinical gold standard based on chart review by a panel of senior clinicians. These cross-sectional classifications were then used to define longitudinal treatment outcomes, which were compared with a clinician-rated gold standard.
Models incorporating NLP were superior to those relying on billing data alone for classifying current mood state (area under receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.85–0.88 v. 0.54–0.55). When these cross-sectional visits were integrated to define longitudinal outcomes and incorporate treatment data, 15% of the cohort remitted with a single antidepressant treatment, while 13% were identified as failing to remit despite at least two antidepressant trials. Non-remitting patients were more likely to be non-Caucasian (p<0.001).
The application of bioinformatics tools such as NLP should enable accurate and efficient determination of longitudinal outcomes, enabling existing EMR data to be applied to clinical research, including biomarker investigations. Continued development will be required to better address moderators of outcome such as adherence and co-morbidity.
Echocardiography detects a greater prevalence of rheumatic heart disease than heart auscultation. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease combined with secondary prophylaxis may potentially prevent severe rheumatic heart disease in high-risk populations. We aimed to determine the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in children from an urban New Zealand population at high risk for acute rheumatic fever.
Methods and results
To optimise accurate diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease, we utilised a two-step model. Portable echocardiography was conducted on 1142 predominantly Māori and Pacific children aged 10–13 years. Children with an abnormal screening echocardiogram underwent clinical assessment by a paediatric cardiologist together with hospital-based echocardiography. Rheumatic heart disease was then classified as definite, probable, or possible. Portable echocardiography identified changes suggestive of rheumatic heart disease in 95 (8.3%) of 1142 children, which reduced to 59 (5.2%) after cardiology assessment. The prevalence of definite and probable rheumatic heart disease was 26.0 of 1000, with 95% confidence intervals ranging from 12.6 to 39.4. Portable echocardiography overdiagnosed rheumatic heart disease with physiological valve regurgitation diagnosed in 28 children. A total of 30 children (2.6%) had non-rheumatic cardiac abnormalities, 11 of whom had minor congenital mitral valve anomalies.
We found high rates of undetected rheumatic heart disease in this high-risk population. Rheumatic heart disease screening has resource implications with cardiology evaluation required for accurate diagnosis. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease may overdiagnose rheumatic heart disease unless congenital mitral valve anomalies and physiological regurgitation are excluded.
The atomic edges of graphene nanoribbons with anomalous geometry structure were very recently observed in experimental evidence by [Koskinen et al., Phys. Rev. B 80, 073401 (2009)]. We present first-principles calculation to investigate the electronic structures and transport properties of graphene nanoribbon with anomalous edges (two configurations, namely 5-7-7 edge and 5-6 edge). Electronic band results demonstrate that the Fermi level is downward shifted due to the formation of the anomalous edges in these configurations. The band gap is substantially increased as a result of the presence of the 5-7-7 edge. Furthermore, the conductance below the Fermi level presents more prominent variation in the 5-6 edge configuration, indicating that this defect mainly affecting its valence bands. Our results provide the possibility of new approaches to control the electronic transport properties of graphene nanoribbons via tailoring the atomic structure of their edges.