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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.
A series of nanostructured Fe/Ag metal films were produced at various substrate temperatures to determine their magnetic characteristics. The magnetic coercivity was found to increase with the diffracting-particle size which is process controlled. The films produced at low substrate temperature (<200°C) consisted of small metallic clusters of Ag (<100 Å). As the substrate temperature was increased, the films exhibited increased crystallinity and larger diffracting-particle size. The position of the maximum in the particlesize distribution function and the width of the function increased with substrate temperature.
Music or other background sounds are often played in barns as environmental enrichment for animals on farms or to mask sudden disruptive noises. Previous studies looking at the effects of this practice on non-human animal well-being and productivity have found contradictory results. However, there is still a lack of discussion on whether piglets have the ability to distinguish different types of music. In this study, we exposed piglets to different music conditions to investigate whether the piglets preferred certain music types, in which case those types would have the potential to be used as environmental enrichment. In total, 30 piglets were tested for music type preference to determine whether growing pigs respond differently to different types of music. We used music from two families of instruments (S: string, W: wind) and with two tempos (S: slow, 65 beats/min (bpm); F: fast, 200 bpm), providing four music-type combinations (SS: string-slow; SF: string-fast; WS: wind-slow; WF: wind-fast). The piglets were given a choice between two chambers, one with no music and the other with one of the four types of music, and their behaviour was observed. The results showed that SS and WF music significantly increased residence time (P<0.01) compared with the other music conditions. Compared with the control group (with no music), the different music conditions led to different behavioural responses, where SS music significantly increased lying (P<0.01) and exploration behaviour (P<0.01); SF music significantly increased tail-wagging behaviour (P<0.01); WS music significantly increased exploration (P<0.01); and WF music significantly increased walking, lying, standing and exploration (all P<0.01). The results also showed that musical instruments and tempo had little effect on most of the behaviours. Fast-tempo music significantly increased walking (P=0.02), standing (P<0.01) and tail wagging (P=0.04) compared with slow-tempo music. In conclusion, the results of this experiment show that piglets are more sensitive to tempo than to musical instruments in their response to musical stimulation and seem to prefer SS and WF music to the other two types. The results also suggest a need for further research on the effect of music types on animals.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is an effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. Different symptom scores are used to evaluate the efficacy of subcutaneous immunotherapy in clinical trials.
A total of 58 allergic rhinitis patients sensitised to house dust mites, with or without mild asthma, were included. Symptom score, medication score, visual analogue scale score and quality of life were assessed before and after 6, 12 and 24 months of subcutaneous immunotherapy.
After two years of subcutaneous immunotherapy, asthma symptom scores nearly reached zero, whereas the scores remained higher for nasal symptoms. The changes in asthma symptom scores were markedly different (p < 0.05) and occurred faster than the changes in nasal symptom scores when compared between monosensitised and polysensitised groups. Significant reductions in visual analogue scale score and medication score were demonstrated after subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Two-year subcutaneous immunotherapy with house dust mite vaccine is an effective treatment for both monosensitised and polysensitised allergic patients. The changes in asthma symptom scores were markedly different and occurred quicker than the changes in nasal symptom scores in Chinese house dust mite allergic patients.
The genus Megalobatrachonema is a rare group of nematode parasites within Ascaridida. The systematic status of Megalobatrachonema in the superfamily Cosmocercoidea (Ascaridida) has long been controversial. The relationship of Megalobatrachonema and Chabaudgolvania remains unsolved. In the present study, a new species of Megalobatrachonema, M. hainanensis sp. nov., was described based on specimens collected in Amolops hainanensis (Boulenger) and Hylarana spinulosa (Smith) (Amphibia: Anura) from Hainan Island, China. The large ribosomal DNA (28S) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) were also sequenced for molecular identification and phylogenetic study. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum likelihood (ML) inference and Bayesian inference (BI) based on 28S and ITS1 sequence data, respectively, supported that Megalobatrachonema is a member of the family Kathlaniidae. In addition, the genetic comparison and phylogenetic results based on ITS1 sequence data also supported that the genus Chabaudgolvania should be considered as a synonym of Megalobatrachonema.
Analysis of the potato yield gap and the corresponding nutrient gap can help in devising strategies and measurements to increase productivity for closing the gaps through improved practices. On-farm experiments conducted in the main potato production areas of northwest China were used to determine attainable yield. Official statistical data were used to determine the actual on-farm yield. Yield gap was the difference between attainable yield and actual on-farm yield. Nutrient gap was calculated by dividing the size of yield gap by partial factor productivity. Results indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilization increased potato yield by an average of 1169–7625, 2937–5336 and 2331–7338 kg/ha, respectively. The maximum attainable yields (the 90th percentile yields) were 50 145, 37 855, 30 261 and 56 616 kg/ha and the average actual on-farm yield were 14 179, 16 732, 10 271 and 19 990 kg/ha in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai provinces, respectively. In the above four regions, yield would need to increase by 165, 70, 112 and 121% from actual yield to reach 75% of attainable yield. Compared with recent 3-year average NPK rates by farmers, the total NPK rates need to increase by 90.1–134.3% for IMAR, 42.9–69.2% for Gansu, 68.1–111.2% for Ningxia and 48.1–83.8% for Qinghai to improve productivity to near the 75% attainable yield. In conclusion, the high yield responses to fertilizer application provide opportunities to close the large yield gaps through balanced nutrition.
We numerically study the impact of a compound drop on a hydrophobic substrate using a ternary-fluid diffuse-interface method, aiming to understand how the presence of the inner droplet affects the spreading dynamics and maximal spreading of the compound drop. First, it is interesting to see that the numerical results for an impacting pure drop agree well with the universal rescaling of maximal spreading ratio proposed by Lee et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 786, 2016, R4). Second, two flow regimes have been identified for an impacting compound drop: namely jammed spreading and joint rim formation. The maximal spreading ratio of the compound drop is found to depend on the volume fraction of the inner droplet
, the surface tension ratio
, the Weber number and the flow regime. Moreover, we propose a universal rescaling of maximal spreading ratio for compound drops, by integrating the one for pure drops with a corrected Weber number that takes
and the flow regime into account. The predictions of the universal rescaling are in good agreement with the numerical results for impacting compound drops.
Nasal irrigation is commonly performed in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This study systematically assessed the clinical efficacy of nasal irrigation from the medical literature.
The PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched using a comprehensive strategy, limited to English-language articles, published from October 1971 to March 2017, and comprising human subjects.
A total of 824 trials were identified, 5 of which, involving 331 participants, were included in this systematic review. After selection, only three trials were eligible for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Nasal irrigation using normal saline and various solutions was found to be effective in reducing symptom scores and endoscopic scores for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Comparison of outcome measures, such as eosinophil count reduction, revealed that various solutions are more effective than normal saline alone; however, no statistical significance was found in terms of reduced symptom or endoscopic scores.
Based on the current limited evidence, nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, when comparing various solutions with normal saline, no significant difference was found in symptom scores or endoscopic scores.
Recent studies indicate that early postnatal period is a critical window for gut microbiota manipulation to optimise the immunity and body growth. This study investigated the effects of maternal faecal microbiota orally administered to neonatal piglets after birth on growth performance, selected microbial populations, intestinal permeability and the development of intestinal mucosal immune system. In total, 12 litters of crossbred newborn piglets were selected in this study. Litter size was standardised to 10 piglets. On day 1, 10 piglets in each litter were randomly allotted to the faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and control groups. Piglets in the FMT group were orally administrated with 2ml faecal suspension of their nursing sow per day from the age of 1 to 3 days; piglets in the control group were treated with the same dose of a placebo (0.1M potassium phosphate buffer containing 10% glycerol (vol/vol)) inoculant. The experiment lasted 21 days. On days 7, 14 and 21, plasma and faecal samples were collected for the analysis of growth-related hormones and cytokines in plasma and lipocalin-2, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), selected microbiota and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in faeces. Faecal microbiota transplantation increased the average daily gain of piglets during week 3 and the whole experiment period. Compared with the control group, the FMT group had increased concentrations of plasma growth hormone and IGF-1 on days 14 and 21. Faecal microbiota transplantation also reduced the incidence of diarrhoea during weeks 1 and 3 and plasma concentrations of zonulin, endotoxin and diamine oxidase activities in piglets on days 7 and 14. The populations of Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and the concentrations of faecal and plasma acetate, butyrate and total SCFAs in FMT group were higher than those in the control group on day 21. Moreover, the FMT piglets have higher concentrations of plasma transforming growth factor-β and immunoglobulin G, and faecal sIgA than the control piglets on day 21. These findings indicate that early intervention with maternal faecal microbiota improves growth performance, decreases intestinal permeability, stimulates sIgA secretion, and modulates gut microbiota composition and metabolism in suckling piglets.
This study was designed to explore the association between undernutrition in the growth period and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-aged Chinese population. A total of 1756 subjects, aged 45–60 years, were invited to participate in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study and divided into three groups according to their self-reported animal food intake in the growth period. Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were defined as undernutrition, nutritional improvement and the good nutrition group, respectively. In the three groups, the subjects in Groups 1 and 2 had more oil and salt intake (P<0.001), and less eggs and milk intake (P<0.001), when compared with the subjects in Group 3. After adjusting for age, education, smoking status and other confounding factors, it was found that male participants who experienced nutritional improvement before age 18 had higher risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05, 2.69] than those with good nutrition, and female participants with undernutrition (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.29) and nutritional improvement (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.69) before age 18 had a higher risk of hypertension than those with good nutrition. For diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, our results did not found difference among the three groups both in male and female. Our findings indicated that nutritional deficiency in childhood was associated with bad dietary behaviors and a significantly increased risk of hypertension in middle age. Therefore, early adequate nutrition is very important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases later.
It was reported that high blood cholesterol levels increased the susceptibility to mitochondrial dysfunction. This study hypothesized that the gestational hypercholesterolemia (HC) could induce the mitochondrial dysfunction in term human placenta. The eligible pregnant women were recruited from Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing during their first prenatal visit (before their 10th week of pregnancy). In total, 19 pregnant women whose serum total cholesterol levels were higher than 7.25 mm at third trimester (measured at 36–38 weeks) were selected as gestational HC. Other 19 pregnant women with normal cholesterol level matched with age, pre-gestational body mass index, and the neonatal gender were included as the control group. Full-term placenta samples were collected. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, adenosine triphosphate monophosphatase 6 (ATP6ase), citrate synthase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) co-activator 1α, PPARγ co-activator 1β and estrogen-related receptor-α, and the activity of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme complex were measured. Pregnancy outcomes were obtained by extraction from medical records and the labor ward register. The results showed that only placental mtDNA copy number and mRNA expression of ATP6ase were significantly decreased in HC group. No significant differences were detected of other measurements between the two groups. These findings indicated that gestational HC might not induce the damage of placental function seriously.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
The origins and phylogeny of different sheep breeds has been widely studied using polymorphisms within the mitochondrial hypervariable region. However, little is known about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and phylogeny based on mtDNA protein-coding genes. In this study, we assessed the phylogeny and copy number of the mtDNA in eight indigenous (population size, n=184) and three introduced (n=66) sheep breeds in China based on five mitochondrial coding genes (COX1, COX2, ATP8, ATP6 and COX3). The mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities were 0.944 and 0.00322, respectively. We identified a correlation between the lineages distribution and the genetic distance, whereby Valley-type Tibetan sheep had a closer genetic relationship with introduced breeds (Dorper, Poll Dorset and Suffolk) than with other indigenous breeds. Similarly, the Median-joining profile of haplotypes revealed the distribution of clusters according to genetic differences. Moreover, copy number analysis based on the five mitochondrial coding genes was affected by the genetic distance combining with genetic phylogeny; we also identified obvious non-synonymous mutations in ATP6 between the different levels of copy number expressions. These results imply that differences in mitogenomic compositions resulting from geographical separation lead to differences in mitochondrial function.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.
Galeruca daurica (Joannis) is a new outbreak pest in the Inner Mongolia grasslands in northern China. Heat shock protein 10 and 60 (Hsp10 and Hsp60) genes of G. daurica, designated as GdHsp10 and GdHsp60, were cloned by rapid amplification of cDNA ends techniques. Sequence analysis showed that GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 encoded polypeptides of 104 and 573 amino acids, respectively. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis clearly revealed that the amino acids of GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 had high homology and were clustered with other Hsp10 and Hsp60 genes in insects which are highly relative with G. daurica based on morphologic taxonomy. The mRNA expression analysis by real-time PCR revealed that GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 were expressed at all development stages and in all tissues examined, but expressed highest in eggs and in adults’ abdomen; both heat and cold stresses could induce mRNA expression of GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 in the 2nd instar larvae; the two Hsp genes were expressed from high to low with the extension of treatment time in G. daurica eggs exposed to freezing point. Overall, our study provides useful information to understand temperature stress responses of Hsp60 and Hsp10 in G. daurica, and provides a basis to further study functions of Hsp60/Hsp10 relative to thermotolerance and cold hardiness mechanism.
The effects of obesity on reproduction have been widely reported in humans and mice. The present study was designed to compare the reproductive performance of lean and fat chicken lines, divergently selected for abdominal fat content. The following parameters were determined and analyzed in the two lines: (1) reproductive traits, including age at first egg and total egg numbers from generations 14 to 18, absolute and relative testicular weights at 7, 14, 25, 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age, semen quality at 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age in generation 18, and fertility and hatchability from generations 14 to 18; (2) reproductive hormones at 7, 14, 25, 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age in generation 18; (3) and the relative mRNA abundance of genes involved in reproduction at 7, 14, 25, 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age in generation 18. In females, birds in the lean line laid more eggs from the first egg to 40 weeks of age than the birds in the fat line. In male broilers, the birds in the lean line had higher absolute and relative testicular weights at 7, 14 and 25 weeks of age, but lower absolute and relative testicular weights at 56 weeks of age than the birds in the fat line. Male birds in the lean line had greater sperm concentrations and larger numbers of motile and morphologically normal sperms at 30, 45 and 56 weeks of age than the birds in the fat line. Fertility and hatchability were also higher in the lean line than in the fat line. Significant differences in the plasma levels of reproductive hormones and the expression of reproduction-associated genes were also found at different ages in the lean and fat birds, in both males and females. These results suggest that reproductive performance is better in lean birds than in fat birds. In view of the unique divergent lines used in this study, these results imply that selecting for abdominal fat deposition negatively affects the reproductive performance of birds.
The Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), the inner 450 pc of our Galaxy, is an exceptional region where the volume and column densities, gas temperatures, velocity dispersions, etc. are much higher than in the Galactic plane. It has been suggested that the formation of stars and clusters in this area is related to the orbital dynamics of the gas. The complex kinematic structure of the molecular gas was revealed by spectral line observations. However, these results are limited to the line-of-sight-velocities. To fully understand the motions of the gas within the CMZ, we have to know its location in 6D space (3D location + 3D motion). Recent orbital models have tried to explain the inflow of gas towards and its kinematics within this region. With parallax and proper motion measurements of masers in the CMZ we can discriminate among these models and constrain how our Galactic Center is fed with gas.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
To investigate lung function in Chinese patients suffering from chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and examine its association with histopathological features.
The lung function of 99 patients with nasal polyps was measured. Haematoxylin and eosin and immunohistochemistry staining were performed to evaluate any inflammatory cells and epithelial tissue remodelling.
Predicted maximal expiratory flow rate at 25 per cent vital capacity was reduced (p < 0.05) in epithelial hyperplasia, and predicted maximal expiratory flow rate at 50 per cent vital capacity was reduced (p < 0.05) in goblet cell hyperplasia. Both peripheral blood eosinophilia and tissue eosinophilia nasal polyps manifested significantly reduced: forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity ratio, predicted maximal expiratory flow rate at 25, 50 and 75 per cent of vital capacity, and predicted maximal mid-expiratory flow. Peripheral blood eosinophils were negatively correlated with predicted maximal expiratory flow rate at 25 and 50 per cent of vital capacity, and predicted maximal mid-expiratory flow. Eosinophils in tissue were negatively correlated with all lung function parameters investigated except predicted forced vital capacity.
Clinicians should be aware of lung function decline in nasal polyps patients, especially in those with tissue eosinophilia.