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The earliest colonisation of oceanic islands by Homo sapiens occurred ~50 000–30 000 years ago in the Western Pacific, yet how this was achieved remains a matter of debate. With a focus on East Asia, the research presented here tests the hypothesis that bamboo rafts were used for these early maritime migrations. The authors review the evidence for Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia as the context for an experimental archaeology project to build two bamboo watercraft. Sea trials demonstrate the unsuitability of bamboo, at least in East Asia, indicating that more sophisticated and durable vessels would have been required to traverse the Kuroshio Current.
Consumption of a high-fat diet increases fat accumulation and may further lead to inflammation and hepatic injuries. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of Camellia oleifera seed extract (CSE) on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). After a 16-week NAFLD-inducing period, rats were assigned to experimental groups fed an NAFLD diet with or without CSE. At the end of the study, we found that consuming CSE decreased the abdominal fat weight and hepatic fat accumulation and modulated circulating adipokine levels. We also found that CSE groups had lower hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β protein expressions. In addition, we found that CSE consumption may have affected the gut microbiota and reduced toll-like receptor (TLR)-4, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88, toll/IL-1 receptor domain-containing adaptor-inducing interferon-β (TRIF) expression and proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in the liver. Our results suggest that CSE may alleviate the progression of NAFLD in rats with diet-induced steatosis through reducing fat accumulation and improving lipid metabolism and hepatic inflammation.
The condition of caregivers is important to the quality of care received by people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), especially at the late disease stages. This study addresses the distress placed on caregivers by participants’ neuropsychiatric symptoms at different stages of PD in Taiwan
This prospective study enrolled 108 people with PD. All participants were examined with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI), and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale. Caregiver distress was measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale (NPI-D). Statistical analysis was used to explore the PD-related factors that contribute to caregiver distress.
The mean follow-up interval in the 108 PD participants were 24.0 ± 10.2 months with no participant lost to follow-up due to death. NPI-distress (the sum of NPI caregiver distress scale across the 12 domains of the NPI) was positively correlated with NPI-sum (the total score across the 12 domains of the NPI) (r = 0.787, p < 0.001), CDR (r = 0.403, p < 0.001), UPRDS (r = 0.276, p = 0.004), and disease duration (r = 0.246, p = 0.002), but negatively correlated with CASI (r = −0.237, p = 0.043) and MMSE (r = −0.281, p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that only NPI-sum and disease duration were independently correlated with NPI-distress.
The disease duration and NPI-sum are independent predictors of caregiver distress in Taiwanese populations with PD. Early detection and reduction of neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with PD can help decrease caregiver distress.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable mental illness that transmits intergeneratively. Previous studies supported that first-degree relatives (FDRs), such as parents, offspring, and siblings, of patients with bipolar disorder, had a higher risk of bipolar disorder. However, whether FDRs of bipolar patients have an increased risk of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains unclear.
Among the entire population in Taiwan, 87 639 patients with bipolar disorder and 188 290 FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were identified in our study. The relative risks (RRs) of major psychiatric disorders were assessed among FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to have a higher risk of major psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder (RR 6.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.95–6.30), MDD (RR 2.89, 95% CI 2.82–2.96), schizophrenia (RR 2.64, 95% CI 2.55–2.73), ADHD (RR 2.21, 95% CI 2.13–2.30), and ASD (RR 2.10, 95% CI 1.92–2.29), than the total population did. These increased risks for major psychiatric disorders were consistent across different familial kinships, such as parents, offspring, siblings, and twins. A dose-dependent relationship was also found between risk of each major psychiatric disorder and numbers of bipolar patients.
Our study was the first study to support the familial coaggregation of bipolar disorder with other major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, MDD, ADHD, and ASD, in a Taiwanese (non-Caucasian) population. Given the elevated risks of major psychiatric disorders, the public health government should pay more attention to the mental health of FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
This paper provides an optimal asset allocation strategy to enhance risk management performance in the face of a financial crisis; this strategy entails constructing a good asset model – a multivariate jump-diffusion (MJD) model which includes idiosyncratic and systematic jumps simultaneously – and choosing suitable asset allocations and objective functions for fund management. This study also provides the dependence structure for the MJD model. The empirical implementation demonstrates that the proposed MJD model provides more detailed information about the financial crisis, allowing fund managers to determine an appropriate asset allocation strategy that enhances investment performance during the crisis.
Obesity and hyperlipidaemia increase the risk of CVD. Some strains of probiotics have been suggested to have potential applications in cardiovascular health by lowering serum LDL-cholesterol. In this work, high-fat diet-induced hyperlipidaemia in hamsters was treated with different doses (5×108 and 2·5×109 cells/kg per d) of heat-killed Lactobacillus reuteri GMNL-263 (Lr263) by oral gavage for 8 weeks. The serum lipid profile analysis showed that LDL-cholesterol and plasma malondialdehyde (P-MDA) were reduced in the GMNL-263 5×108 cells/kg per d treatment group. Total cholesterol and P-MDA were reduced in the GMNL-263 2·5×109 cells/kg per d treatment group. In terms of heart function, the GMNL-263 2·5×109 cells/kg per d treatments improved the ejection fraction from 85·71 to 91·81 % and fractional shortening from 46·93 to 57·92 % in the high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts. Moreover, the GMNL-263-treated, high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts exhibited reduced Fas-induced myocardial apoptosis and a reactivated IGF1R/PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway. Interestingly, the GMNL-263 treatments also enhanced the heat-shock protein 27 expression in a dose-dependent manner, but the mechanism for this increase remains unclear. In conclusion, supplementary heat-killed L. reuteri GMNL-263 can slightly reduce serum cholesterol. The anti-hyperlipidaemia effects of GMNL-263 may reactivate the IGF1R/PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway and reduce Fas-induced myocardial apoptosis in high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts.
Background: Executive dysfunction is not uncommon in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). This study aimed to investigate the applicability of executive function tests (EFTs) in aMCI as an aid in establishing the diagnosis of multi-domain MCI.
Methods: One hundred and twenty (120) aMCI patients, 126 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, and 100 normal controls were enrolled. The EFTs evaluated included the trail making test, digit backward span, Stroop color–word test, and design fluency and category fluency tests.
Results: Of the aMCI participants, 66% exhibited impairment in at least one EFT. Among the five selected EFTs, the category fluency test was the most discriminative in detecting executive dysfunction between patients with aMCI (standardized β = 0.264) or AD (standardized β = 0.361) with the controls, followed by the Stroop test. The performance of aMCI patients with two or more impaired EFTs was significantly different from those of controls but not from those of AD patients.
Conclusion: In the clinical setting, aMCI patients who fail in two or more EFTs may represent a unique population with multi-domain MCI that require close follow-up.
The electrode materials for VRFB should possess higher electric conductivity, corrosion resistance and hydrophilic properties in sulfuric acid. The characteristics of the electrode materials affect the stability and the energy efficiency of VRFB. Carbon materials are the best suited for VRFB applications. In this study, the calcined treatment, acid treatment and ozone treatment were used to modify the surface of carbon papers. The redox reaction of [VO]2+/[VO2]+ on the modified carbon papers was evaluated by cyclic voltammetry (CV). The surface compositions of carbon materials were analyzed by X-ray photoelectron spectrometry (XPS). The experimental results reveal that three oxidative methods enhance the redox reaction of [VO]2+/[VO2]+. The calcined treatments and acid treatments also enhanced hydrolysis reaction. The mole ratio of O/C apparently increased, but the binding energy of C1s and O1s were not chemically shifted in the acid treatment. The intensity of binding energy of O1s, between 532 eV and 534 eV, apparently increased in the ozone and calcined treatments. The Ox treated samples were more hydrophilic than the Oz treated samples. In the Ox treated samples, the decrease of Rct value indicates that was contributed from the redox reaction of [VO]2+/[VO2]+ and hydrolysis reaction. It does not completely benefit the energy efficiency of VRFB. The 5 x 5 cm2 modified carbon papers were used as electrode materials in the VRFB. The voltage efficiency, coulomb efficiency and energy efficiency reached 93 %, 90 % and 83 %, respectively, at a current density of 12 mA．cm-2 at 0.8-1.8 V.
Sn–Zn based alloys are promising as Pb-free solders, and Cu is commonly used in electronic products. Solidification and interfacial reactions of Sn–8.8wt%Zn, Sn–8.8wt%Zn–0.05wt%Co, and Sn–8.8wt%Zn–0.5wt%Co solders on Cu substrates are investigated. Two different masses of solders are used. The degrees of undercooling increase with increasing Co additions in the Sn–8.8wt%Zn alloys. The reaction products evolve with reaction time, and the timing of different reaction stages is influenced by both the minor Co alloying and the mass of solders. In the initial reaction stage, two reaction phases, γ-Cu5Zn8 and ε-CuZn5, are observed in the Sn–8.8wt%Zn/Cu and Sn–8.8wt%Zn-0.05wt%Co/Cu couples, and only the γ-Cu5Zn8 phase is found when the Co addition is up to 0.5 wt%. The reaction layers are thinner with higher Co alloying. The addition of Co into the Sn–Zn alloys consumes Zn, and this depletion of Zn in the Sn–Zn solders is the primary reason for the changes of reaction products and the thinner reaction layers.
The crystallinity of the hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) film was known to influence the solar cell efficiency greatly. Also hydrogen was found to play a critical role in controlling the crystallinity. Instead of employing conventional plasma deposition techniques, this work focused on using catalytic chemical vapor deposition (Cat-CVD) to study the effect of hydrogen dilution and the filament-to-substrate distance on the crystallinity, deposition rate, microstructure factor and electrical property of the μc-Si:H film. We found that the substrate material and structure can affect the crystallinity of the μc-Si:H film and the incubation effect. Comparing bare glass, TCO-coated glass, a-Si:H-coated glass and μc-Si:H-coated glass, the microcrystalline phase grows the fastest onto μc-Si:H surface, but the slowest onto a-Si:H surface. Surprisingly, the template effect lasted for more than a thousand atomic layers of silicon.
Episodic memory tasks are one of the most sensitive tools to discriminate Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study aimed to validate a shorter version verbal memory test that will efficiently assess Chinese elderly with memory complaints. One hundred and eighty-five elderly with normal cognition (NC) and 217 AD patients were evaluated. Each participant received the Chinese Version Verbal Learning Test (CVVLT) consisting of 9 two-character nouns with 4 learning trials, 2 delayed recalls in 30 seconds and 10 minutes, and a word recognition test. In the NC elderly, age and sex had significant effects on recall scores in CVVLT, while education level showed an inverse correlation with 3 different patterns of errors made during the learning, recall, and recognition trials. AD patients had lower scores across all recall tests. In those with lower educational level, NC elderly had higher perseveration errors than AD patients. The cutoff value between the AD and NC groups in the 10-minute recall was 4/5 for those aged >75 years and 5/6 for those aged <75 years. This study has good validity in discriminating AD participants and the data here can help in diagnosing AD and mild cognitive impairment using the CVVLT. (JINS, 2010, 16, 244–251.)
The aim of this study was to determine potential risk factors for mortality in patients with nosocomial Stenotrophomonas maltophilia pneumonia.
A retrospective, single-center, observational study.
A 2400-bed tertiary teaching hospital in southern Taiwan.
Patients and Methods.
This retrospective study evaluated patients (age, at least 18 years) with nosocomial pneumonia (S. maltophilia isolated from respiratory culture) who were seen at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital over a 3-year period. A total of 406 patients (64% male, mean age ± standard deviation, 69.6 ± 14.93 years; mean duration of hospital stay ± standard deviation, 57.5 ± 39.47 days) were included.
Most index isolates (53.9%) were from the first sample cultured. Polymicrobial isolates were cultured from samples from 177 (43.6%) of the 406 study patients. The most common copathogen was Pseudomonas aeruginosa (53.11% of isolates). The all-cause hospital mortality rate was 42.6% (173 deaths among 406 patients). Survivors had a shorter time from admission to a positive index culture result than did nonsurvivors (26.1 vs 31.7 days; P = .04). Mortality was significantly higher among patients with malignancy (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.52–4.07; P < .001 ), renal disease (AOR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.51–4.47; P = .001), intensive care unit stay (AOR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.1–2.7; P = .018), and inadequate initial empirical antibiotic therapy (AOR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.4–3.38; P = .001).
S. maltophilia pneumonia is associated with a high mortality rate and is commonly associated with concomitant polymicrobial colonization or infection. Underlying comorbidities and inadequate initial empirical antibiotic therapy substantially account for increased mortality rates.
Plasma immersion ion implantation (PIII) is a technique of material processing and surface modification, using controllable negative high voltage pulsed bias to attract the ion generated from the plasma. The method using PIII treatment quickly improves the performance of solar cell made of crystalline silicon, including monocrystalline, multicrystalline and polycrystalline silicon. Hydrogen ions are attracted and quickly implanted into solar cell under a predetermined negative pulse voltage, thus, the passivation of the crystal defects of the solar cell can be realized in a short period. Meanwhile, the properties of the antireflection layer can not be damaged as the proper operating conditions are used. Consequently, the series resistance can be significantly reduced and the filling factor increases as a result. Both the short-circuit and the open-circuit voltage can be increased. The efficiency can be enhanced.
The Ser9Gly polymorphism in dopamine D3 receptor gene (DRD3) was considered an important factor in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Allele and genotype frequencies of this polymorphism were studied in different ethnic groups of schizophrenic patients. However, the results have been inconclusive.
To determine whether the DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism is associated with schizophrenia or influences its psychopathological symptoms in Han Chinese population.
We recruited 256 schizophrenic patients and 285 normal controls matched for gender, age and ethnicity. Pretreatment psychotic symptoms were evaluated with the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) in 128 acutely exacerbated schizophrenic in-patients. Genotyping of Ser9Gly polymorphism was performed with a polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism method and reconfirmed by a direct sequencing technique.
No significant difference was found between either patients with schizophrenia or with more homogeneous schizophrenic subgroups and healthy controls in genotype distributions and allele frequencies for the DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism. Similarly, DRD3 Ser9Gly genotype differences failed to reach significance in PANSS global, positive, negative and general symptoms scores. There is a trend (P = 0.064) towards higher PANSS positive symptoms scores in subjects carrying the Gly/Gly genotype.
This study does not support the role of DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism in increasing genetic risk for schizophrenia in Han Chinese population. Still, there is a possibility that the DRD3 Ser9Gly variant may reflect genetic variation of severity of positive symptoms in acutely exacerbated schizophrenia. Further studies are warranted to investigate the effect of the DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism in relation to longer time course of schizophrenia, including treatment response to antipsychotics.
Solder pots used in wave soldering are usually made using different kinds of steel. Dissolution and interfacial reactions of the Fe substrate in molten Sn-Pb and Sn-Cu solders are investigated in this study. FeSn2 phase is formed in the Sn-0.7wt%Cu/Fe couples reacted at 250, 400, and 500 °C, as well as in the Sn-37wt%Pb/Fe couples reacted at 250 and 400 °C. The activation energies of formation are 123 and 121 kJ/mol in the Sn-Cu/Fe and Sn-Pb/Fe couples, respectively. FeSn phase is the reaction product in the Sn-37wt%Pb/Fe couples reacted 500 °C. The dissolution rates of Fe in the Sn-0.7wt%Cu melt are much higher than those in-the Sn-37wt%Pb melt. The FeSn2 phase layer in the Sn-Cu/Fe couple is not as dense as that in the Sn-Pb/Fe couple and accounts for the very different dissolution rates. Detachment of the reaction FeSn2 phase into the solder matrix is observed in the Sn-Cu/Fe couples, and is a potential contaminant source in wave soldering.
The sudden emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused international anxiety owing to its highly contagious and pandemic transmission. Health workers are vulnerable and are at high risk of infection.
To assess SARS-related stress and its immediate psychological impact and responses among health workers.
Health workers in a tertiary hospital affected by SARS were invited to complete a questionnaire designed to evaluate exposure experience, psychological impact and psychiatric morbidity. The risk and rates of psychiatric morbidity were estimated for exposure experience.
Altogether, 1257 health workers successfully completed the survey. In the initial phase of the outbreak, when the infection was spreading rapidly, feelings of extreme vulnerability, uncertainty and threat to life were perceived, dominated by somatic and cognitive symptoms of anxiety. During the ‘repair’ phase, when the infection was being brought under control, depression and avoidance were evident. The estimated prevalence of psychiatric morbidity measured by the Chinese Health Questionnaire was about 75%.
The outbreak of SARS could be regarded as an acute episode of a bio-disaster, leading to a significantly high rate of psychiatric morbidity.
An integrated optical method for measuring deformation of micro-mechanical systems with better than sub-micron resolutions is detailed. Both a confocal laser scanning microscope and a photon tunneling microscope were integrated into a single microscopy system due to their complimentary capabilities for examining sub-micrometer deformations. A halogen lamp and laser were adopted as the two light sources for the measurements. Since topographic information of samples up to a 15μm by 15μm area can be measured, a three-dimensional displacement field of the sample was extracted by comparing topographies of the same specimen area before and after deformation. The bending and twisting deformation of a micro-mirror driven by the electrostatic force was measured to demonstrate the capability of this newly developed instrument. The experimental data obtained agrees reasonably well with the theoretical results calculated by adopting an analytical solution and a finite element method. The small discrepancy in the result can be traced to the surface roughness effect, which is often non-negligible in micro-systems.