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In this paper, we use finite element analysis (FEA) to study the linear viscoelastic response of polyurea, a type of hard–soft block copolymer. A Niblack's algorithm-based technique employed on atomic force microscopy images provides geometry inputs for the FEA model, while the viscoelastic master curves of the soft matrix are obtained via a combination of dynamic mechanical analysis data and molecular dynamic (MD) estimations. In this microstructural image-based FEA framework, we introduce an interphase area of altered properties between the hard and soft domains. Both spatial and property distributions of this interphase area affect the viscoelastic response of the copolymer system. To quantitatively investigate the impact of structural and property features of the interphase on the energy storage and dissipation of a system during linear perturbation, we develop a statistical descriptor representation of the interphase region related to physical parameters. Utilizing decision-tree and random forest concepts from machine learning, we apply a ranking algorithm to identify the most significant features for four different mechanical response descriptors. Results show that the total interphase volume fraction and shifting factor distributions in the interphase area dominate the magnitude of the tan δ peak, whereas the magnitudes of the shifting factors primarily affect the tan δ peak location in frequency space. This method allows us to readily identify the dominant features impacting individual properties and paves the way for material design of hard–soft block copolymer systems.
The aim of the present study was to explore the influence of tea consumption on diabetes mellitus in the Chinese population. This multi-centre, cross-sectional study was conducted in eight sites from south, east, north, west and middle regions in China by enrolling 12 017 subjects aged 20–70 years. Socio-demographic and general information was collected by a standardised questionnaire. A standard procedure was used to measure anthropometric characteristics and to obtain blood samples. The diagnosis of diabetes was determined using a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. In the final analysis, 10 825 participants were included and multiple logistic models and interaction effect analysis were applied for assessing the association between tea drinking with diabetes. Compared with non-tea drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted OR for newly diagnosed diabetes were 0·80 (95 % CI 0·67, 0·97), 0·88 (95 % CI 0·71, 1·09) and 0·86 (95 % CI 0·67, 1·11) for daily tea drinkers, occasional tea drinkers and seldom tea drinkers, respectively. Furthermore, drinking tea daily was related to decreased risk of diabetes in females by 32 %, elderly (>45 years) by 24 % and obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2) by 34 %. Moreover, drinking dark tea was associated with reduced risk of diabetes by 45 % (OR 0·55; 95 % CI 0·42, 0·72; P < 0·01). The results imply that drinking tea daily was negatively related to risk of diabetes in female, elderly and obese people. In addition, drinking dark tea was associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The microbiota–gut–brain axis, especially the microbial tryptophan (Trp) biosynthesis and metabolism pathway (MiTBamp), may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, studies on the MiTBamp in MDD are lacking. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gut microbiota composition and the MiTBamp in MDD patients.
We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 26 MDD patients and 29 healthy controls (HCs). In addition to the microbiota community and the MiTBamp analyses, we also built a classification based on the Random Forests (RF) and Boruta algorithm to identify the gut microbiota as biomarkers for MDD.
The Bacteroidetes abundance was strongly reduced whereas that of Actinobacteria was significantly increased in the MDD patients compared with the abundance in the HCs. Most noteworthy, the MDD patients had increased levels of Bifidobacterium, which is commonly used as a probiotic. Four Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthologies (KOs) (K01817, K11358, K01626, K01667) abundances in the MiTBamp were significantly lower in the MDD group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the K01626 abundance and the HAMD scores in the MDD group. Finally, RF classification at the genus level can achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.890.
The present findings enabled a better understanding of the changes in gut microbiota and the related Trp pathway in MDD. Alterations of the gut microbiota may have the potential as biomarkers for distinguishing MDD patients form HCs.
Knowledge is a crucial factor in state-of-the-art product development. It is often provided by stakeholders from divers disciplinary and individual backgrounds and has to be integrated to create competitive products. Still, it is not fully understood, how knowledge is generated, transformed, transferred and integrated in complex product development processes. To investigate the dynamic interrelations between involved stakeholders, applied knowledge types and related artefacts, researchers at the TU Berlin conducted and evaluated a student experiment to study basic phenomena of development projects. In relation to research methods and instruments applied in this experiment, various improvement opportunities were identified. In this paper, the experimental setting and its results are critically analysed from a social science perspective in order to generate improved research design. Based on the results of this analysis, a first set of methods and instruments from social sciences are identified that can be applied in further experiments. The goal is to develop a methodological toolbox that can be used to approach research on knowledge dynamics in product development.
The preparation of three-dimensional honeycomb nitrogen-doped carbon materials (3D-HNCMs) which can be used as electrode materials for supercapacitors is reported. The composites with the 3D honeycomb structure exhibited better electrochemical performance, and the structure and properties were proved by various means, such as SEM, TEM, IR, N2 sorption, XRD and XPS. Used as electrode materials for supercapacitors in the KOH electrolyte, 3D-HNCMs displayed a significantly high specific capacitance (409 F/g at a current of 0.5 A/g). Moreover, the 3D-HNCM electrode exhibited superior electrochemical performance, such as excellent cycling stability (98% capacitance retention after 10,000 cycles), a maximum energy density of 15.37 W h/kg, a maximum power density of 40.3 kW/kg, and low equivalent series resistance (2.1 Ω). Particularly, the electrochemical characteristic of 3D-HNCMs could be attributed to the synergistic effect of a high surface area, unique microporous and mesoporous structure, and nitrogen atom doping. These carbon materials with unique structure are promising electrode materials for future supercapacitor application.
This study investigated the prevalence and characteristics of schizophrenia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in Taiwan.
National Health Insurance claims data for patients with principal diagnoses of schizophrenia and T2DM were analysed.
Compared with patients with schizophrenia in the general population (GP), those with schizophrenia and T2DM were more likely to have higher Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) scores and multiple comorbidities, and were older. The prevalence of schizophrenia was significantly higher in patients with T2DM than in the GP from 2000 to 2010. In addition, during this period, the prevalence of schizophrenia in patients with T2DM increased from 0.64% to 0.85%; such an increase in the GP was also observed. A high prevalence of schizophrenia was observed in patients with T2DM aged less than 60 years old; those residing in eastern Taiwan; those with incomes of ≤NT$17,280, NT$17,281–NT$22,880, NT$22,881–NT$28,800, and NT$36,301–NT$45,800; and those with CCI > 2.
Our study found the prevalence of schizophrenia is higher in patients with T2DM than in the GP, particularly those with earlier ages less than 60 years old. Public health initiatives are necessary to prevent and treat schizophrenia in patients with T2DM, specifically for those with the aforementioned and premature death risk.
An efficient algorithm is proposed for the radar cross-section (RCS) prediction of complex target with electronically large size, which is a combination of geometrical optics and physical optics (GO–PO) method. The method taking the multiple reflections into account is applied to the electromagnetic scattering analysis of a satellite model. Then RCS curves of entire satellite model and the model without antenna structure are figured out. Based on the simulated echoes, the traditional inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) images are discussed. Moreover, an application of motion compensation technique based on the joint time-frequency analysis is presented for ISAR imaging of the moving satellite that has both translational and rotational movements. Numerical results show good performance of GO–PO method in accuracy and efficiency and the great influence of the antenna with corner structures on the scattering characteristic of the satellite.
To evaluate the effects of different anthropogenic activities on zooplankton and the pelagic ecosystem, we conducted seasonal cruises in 2010 to assess spatial heterogeneity among the mesozooplankton communities of Xiangshan Bay, a subtropical semi-enclosed bay in China. The evaluation included five different areas: a kelp farm, an oyster farm, a fish farm, the thermal discharge area of a power plant, and an artificial reef, and we aimed to identify whether anthropogenic activities dominated spatial variation in the mesozooplankton communities. The results demonstrated clear spatial heterogeneity among the mesozooplankton communities of the studied areas, dominantly driven by natural hydrographic properties, except in the area near the thermal discharge outlet of the power station. In the outlet area, thermal shock caused by the discharge influenced the mesozooplankton community by decreasing abundance and biomass throughout the four seasons, even causing a shift in the dominant species near the outlet during summer from Acartia pacifica to eurythermal and warm water taxa. Unique features of the mesozooplankton community in the oyster farm may be due to the combined effects of oyster culture and the natural environment in the branch harbour. However, kelp and fish culture, and the construction of an artificial reef did not exert any obvious influence on the mesozooplankton communities up to 2010, probably because of the small scale of the aquaculture and a time lag in the rehabilitation effects of the artificial reef. Thus, our results suggested that the dominant factors influencing spatial variations of mesozooplankton communities in Xiangshan Bay were still the natural hydrographic properties, but the thermal discharge was an anthropogenic activity that changed the pelagic ecosystem, and should be supervised.
SiO2-MgF2/TiO2 double-layer films with antireflective, self-cleaning and adherent properties were prepared by spin-coating SiO2-MgF2 and TiO2 sol on glass substrate successively and subsequently being calcined at 250°C. The optical and structural properties of films have been investigated by visible spectrophotometer and field emission scanning electron microscope, respectively. At the same time, self-cleaning property generated from superhydrophilicity and photocatalysis was obtained. The results indicated that the as-prepared SiO2-MgF2/TiO2 double-layer films show a maximum increase in transmittance near 520 nm wavelength of 2.8% and photocatalytic property with the R value of 4.7(JIS R 1703–2).It has been demonstrated that high transmittance, self-cleaning and adherent composite has been obtained by a simple sol–gel route presenting good potential to be applied on photovoltaics systems.
The effect of nitrogen gas addition in Ar-based double-layer shielding gas on the impact toughness of welded ultra-ferritic stainless steel during an autogenous gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process was investigated. The nitrogen behavior was proposed. The microstructure, mechanical properties, and fracture surface morphology of the weld metals have been evaluated. More equiaxed crystals, refined grain, narrow HAZ width, and increased microhardness were produced with nitrogen addition. Experimental findings indicated that nitrogen diffused into HAZ and dissolved into weld pool. The solute distribution was changed thus bringing significant constitutional supercooling and decreased temperature gradient of weld pool, which contributed to fine microstructure. Impact toughness at room temperature was enhanced from 2J to 9J (welds), 5J–13J (HAZ). Ductile fracture zone was produced about 0.3–0.5 mm thickness distance from the weld surface. A significant increased impact toughness of weld metal was due to the refinement of microstructure and element addition.
The hydrogen concentration and composition of garnets in the ultrahigh pressure eclogites at Shuanghe, eastern Dabieshan, were investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and electron microprobe analysis. The OH absorption bands can be divided into four groups: (1) 3635–3655 cm–1; (2) 3600–3630 cm–1; (3) 3540–3580 cm–1; and (4) 3400–3450 cm–1 and the water content ranges from 45 to 2529 ppm. Based on the behaviour of the OH absorption band and the relationship between water content and the composition of garnets, the samples can be divided into two classes: samples with >400 ppm H2O and samples with ≤400 ppm H2O. The water content of the former shows an obvious positive correlation with Ca atoms and a negative correlation with the Si, Mg and Fe2+ atoms per 12 anions, whereas the water content of the latter shows no obvious linear correlation with cations. It is concluded that the major mechanism of hydroxyl incorporation in garnets with >400 ppm H2O is by the coupled substitution 4H +Z□ → □+ZSi in the tetrahedral site, and that several mechanisms are responsible for OH incorporation in garnets with ≤400 ppm H2O.
Widespread loess deposits in the Central Shandong Mountains yield valuable paleoclimatic records for this currently semi-humid monsoonal region of northern China. The grain-size distribution and major element composition for bulk samples and two grain-size fractions (< 20 and 20–63 μm) for the loess in the Central Shandong Mountains were compared with loess from the Chinese Loess Plateau and sediment from the Yellow River to help determine its provenance. The presence of a significant percentage of medium- and coarse-silt, and the difference in relatively immobile major element ratios of TiO2/Al2O3 and K2O/Al2O3 for the < 20 and 20–63 μm fractions, suggests that sediment that forms the loess deposits in the Central Shandong Mountains was not blown directly from the northern deserts of China as is the case for the loess deposits of the Chinese Loess Plateau. Rather, this suggests that sediments exposed during glacial times on the North China fluvial plain, including the floodplain of the Yellow River, were the major dust source for the loess in the Central Shangong Mountains. In addition, the wide distribution of perimontane loess in the Central Shandong Mountains region indicates the occurrence of strengthened local aridification during glacial times since the middle Pleistocene.
Previous epidemiological studies have revealed the anti-cancer effect of dietary circulating carotenoids. However, the protective role of specific individual circulating carotenoids has not been elucidated. The purpose of this study was to examine whether serum carotenoids, including α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin, could lower the risk for breast cancer among Chinese women. A total of 521 women with breast cancer and age-matched controls (5-year interval) were selected from three teaching hospitals in Guangzhou, China. Concentrations of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin were measured using HPLC. Unconditional logistic regression models were used to calculate OR and 95 % CI using quartiles defined in the control subjects. Significant inverse associations were observed between serum α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin and the risk for breast cancer. The multivariate OR for the highest quartile of serum concentration compared with the lowest quartile were 0·44 (95 % CI 0·30, 0·65) for α-carotene, 0·27 (95 % CI 0·18, 0·40) for β-carotene, 0·41 (95 % CI 0·28, 0·61) for lycopene and 0·26 (95 % CI 0·17, 0·38) for lutein/zeaxanthin. However, no significant association was found between serum β-cryptoxanthin and the risk for breast cancer. Stratified analysis by menopausal status and oestrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR) showed that serum α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin were inversely associated with breast cancer risk among premenopausal women and among all subtypes of ER or PR status. The results suggest a protective role of α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin, but not β-cryptoxanthin, in breast cancer risk.
The etiology and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders has yet to be elucidated, so their differential diagnosis is a challenge. This is especially true in differentiating Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson disease (PD), and multiple system atrophy (MSA).
A total of 11 eligible articles were identified by search of electronic databases including PubMed, Springer Link, Elsevier, and the Cochrane Library, up to June 2014. In meta-analyses, standardized mean differences (SMD), with 95% confidence intervals (CI), comparing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) measures of α-synuclein between the above conditions were calculated using random-effects models.
CSF α-synuclein concentrations were significantly higher in AD compared to DLB [SMD: 0.32, 95% CI: (0.02, 0.62), z = 2.07, P = 0.038]; PD [SMD: 0.87, 95% CI: (0.15, 1.58), z = 2.38, P = 0.017]; or MSA [SMD: 1.14, 95% CI: (0.15, 2.14), z = 2.25, P = 0.025]. However, no significant difference was found between patients with AD and neurological cognitively normal controls [SMD: 0.02, 95% CI: (−0.21, 0.24), z = 0.13, P = 0.894].
Results of these meta-analysis suggest that quantification of CSF α-synuclein could help distinguish AD from other neurodegenerative disorders such as DLB, PD, or MSA.
Background: Patients with the postural instability and gait difficulty (PIGD) subtype of Parkinson disease (PD) are at a higher risk of dysfunction and are less responsive to dopamine replacement therapy. The PIGD subtype was found to largely associate with white matter lesions, but details of the diffusion changes within these lesions have not been fully investigated. Voxel-based analysis for diffusion tensor imaging data is one of the preferred measures to compare diffusion changes in each voxel in any part of the brain. Methods: PD patients with the PIGD (n=12) and non-PIGD subtypes (n=12) were recruited to compare diffusion differences in fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity with voxel-based analysis. Results: Significantly reduced fractional anisotropy in bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, bilateral anterior corona radiata, and the left genu of the corpus callosum were shown in the PIGD subtype compared with the non-PIGD subtype. Increased radial diffusivity in the left superior longitudinal fasciculus was found in the PIGD subtype with no statistical differences in axial diffusivity found. Conclusions: Our study confirms previous findings that white matter abnormalities were greater in the PIGD subtype than in the non-PIGD subtype. Additionally, our findings suggested: (1) compared with the non-PIGD subtype, loss of white matter integrity was greater in the PIGD subtype; (2) bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus may play a critical role in microstructural white matter abnormalities in the PIGD subtype; and (3) reduced white matter integrity in the PIGD subtype could be mainly attributed to demyelination rather than axonal loss.
Several Gigantopithecus faunas associated with taxonomically undetermined hominoid fossils and/or stone artifacts are known from southern China. These faunas are particularly important for the study of the evolution of humans and other mammals in Asia. However, the geochronology of the Gigantopithecus faunas remains uncertain. In order to solve this problem, a program of geochronological studies of Gigantopithecus faunas in Guangxi Province was recently initiated. Chuifeng Cave is the first studied site, which yielded 92 Gigantopithecus blacki teeth associated with numerous other mammalian fossils. We carried out combined ESR/U-series dating of fossil teeth and sediment paleomagnetic studies. Our ESR results suggest that the lower layers at this cave can be dated to 1.92 ± 0.14 Ma and the upper layers can be dated to older than 1.38 ± 0.17 Ma. Correlation of the recognized magnetozones to the geomagnetic polarity timescale was achieved by combining magnetostratigraphic, biostratigraphic and ESR data. The combined chronologies establish an Olduvai subchron (1.945–1.778 Ma) for the lowermost Chuifeng Cave sediments. We also analyzed the enamel δ13C values of the Gigantopithecus faunas. Our results show that southern China was dominated by C3 plants during the early Pleistocene and that the Gigantopithecus faunas lived in a woodland-forest ecosystem.
This study was designed to determine the effect of melatonin on the in vitro maturation (IVM) and developmental potential of bovine oocytes denuded of the cumulus oophorus (DOs). DOs were cultured alone (DOs) or with 10−9 M melatonin (DOs + MT), cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) were cultured without melatonin as the control. After IVM, meiosis II (MII) rates of DOs, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, apoptotic rates and parthenogenetic blastocyst rates of MII oocytes were determined. The relative expression of ATP synthase F0 Subunit 6 and 8 (ATP6 and ATP8), bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP-15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) mRNA in MII oocytes and IFN-tau (IFN-τ), Na+/K+-ATPase, catenin-beta like 1 (CTNNBL1) and AQP3 mRNA in parthenogenetic blastocysts were quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results showed that: (1) melatonin significantly increased the MII rate of DOs (65.67 ± 3.59 % vs. 82.29 ± 3.92%; P < 0.05), decreased the ROS level (4.83 ± 0.42 counts per second (c.p.s) vs. 3.78 ± 0.29 c.p.s; P < 0.05) and apoptotic rate (36.99 ± 3.62 % vs. 21.88 ± 2.08 %; P < 0.05) and moderated the reduction of relative mRNA levels of ATP6, ATP8, BMP-15 and GDF-9 caused by oocyte denudation; (2) melatonin significantly increased the developmental rate (24.17 ± 3.54 % vs. 35.26 ± 4.87%; P < 0.05), and expression levels of IFN-τ, Na+/K+-ATPase, CTNNBL1 and AQP3 mRNA of blastocyst. These results indicated that melatonin significantly improved the IVM quality of DOs, leading to an increased parthenogenetic blastocyst formation rate and quality.
It is demonstrated by simulations and analysis that a wakefield driven by an ultrashort intense laser pulse in underdense plasma can emit tunable electromagnetic radiation along the laser propagation direction. The profile of such a kind of radiation is closely associated with the structure of the laser wakefield. In general, electromagnetic radiation in the terahertz range with its frequency a few times the electron plasma frequency can be generated in the moderate intensity regime. In the highly nonlinear case, a chain of radiation pulses is formed corresponding to the nonlinear structure of the wake. Study shows that the radiation is associated with the self-modulation process of the laser pulse in the wakefield and resulting transverse electron momenta from modulated asymmetric laser fields.