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Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
Patients with bipolar disorder (BD) frequently exhibit impulsive behaviors independent of their mood state, and trait impulsivity is increasingly recognized as a crucial BD biomarker. This study aimed to investigate structural correlates of trait impulsivity measured using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) in healthy controls (HCs) and patients with BD.
We recruited 59 patients diagnosed with BD I or BD II (35.3 ± 8.5 years) and 56 age- and sex-matched HCs (33.9 ± 7.4 years). Participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging and clinical evaluations, and their BIS scores were evaluated. An automated surface-based method (FreeSurfer) was used to measure cortical thickness and generate thickness maps for each participant. Brain-wise regression analysis of the association between cortical thickness and BIS scores was performed separately for BD and HC groups by using a general linear model.
Patients with BD obtained significantly higher BIS scores than HCs. In HCs, higher BIS scores were associated with a thinner cortex in the left inferior, middle and medial frontal cortices. By contrast, in BD patients, higher BIS scores were associated with a thicker cortex in the right insula. Patients with BD showed a thinner cortex than HCs in all these four structures.
The findings indicate that the left prefrontal cortex plays a cardinal role in trait impulsivity of healthy individuals. Patients with BD have a different structural correlate of trait impulsivity in the right insula. However, the use of various psychotropics in patients with BD may limit our interpretation of BD findings.
We studied the evolution, genotypes, and the molecular clock of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1), between 2001 and 2014 in Guangzhou, China. The analysis of the envelope (E) gene sequences of 67 DENV-1 strains isolated in Guangzhou, together with 58 representative sequences downloaded from NCBI, have shown shifts in viral genotypes. The genotype changed several times, from genotype I to IV in 2002, from IV to I in 2005, and from I to V in 2014. These genotype shifts may be the cause of DENV outbreaks. The diversity of genotypes and clades demonstrates a high risk of future outbreaks in Guangzhou. The mean rate of virus nucleotide substitution in Guangzhou was determined to be 7·77 × 10−4 per site per year, which represents a medium substitution rate compared to two other countries. Our research can point to different ancestors of the isolated strains, which may further reveal the different origins and transmission of DENV-1 strains in Guangzhou.
The purpose of this study is to highlight the effectiveness and necessity of the computational methods applications for architecture conceptual designs and improve the use of advanced simulation tools in urban planning. The results can provide the urban designers, planners and other decision makers with useful design information for assessing human wind comfort of the surrounding open spaces of public buildings in an urban area. Among different kinds of public buildings, museum architecture is of significant social value and importance for the augmentation of urban image. Using the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for the case study, this investigation performed CFD simulations of the airflow over the museum to characterize the wind environments around the buildings. The predicted wind speed distributions were used to determine the wind comfort level of the featured spots around the museum for evaluating the suitability allowing visitors to sit or stand at the pedestrian plane for extended periods.
A nationwide population-based cohort was used to examine the severity of liver cirrhosis and risk of mortality from oral cancer.
The cohort consisted of 3583 patients with oral cancer treated by surgery between 2008 and 2011 in Taiwan. They were grouped on the basis of normal liver function (n = 3471), cirrhosis without decompensation (n = 72) and cirrhosis with decompensation (n = 40). The primary endpoint was mortality. Hazard ratios of death were also determined.
The mortality rates in the respective groups were 14.8 per cent, 20.8 per cent and 37.5 per cent at one year (p < 0.001). The adjusted hazard ratios of death at one year for each group compared to the normal group were 2.01 (p = 0.021) for cirrhotic patients without decompensation, 4.84 (p < 0.001) for those with decompensation and 2.65 (p < 0.001) for those receiving chemotherapy.
Liver cirrhosis can be used to predict one-year mortality in oral cancer patients. Chemotherapy should be used with caution and underlying co-morbidities should be managed in cirrhotic patients to reduce mortality risk.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a type of pathogenic bacteria that cause diarrhea in piglets through colonizing pig small intestine epithelial cells by their surface fimbriae. Different fimbriae type of ETEC including F4, F18, K99 and F41 have been isolated from diarrheal pigs. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study to map the loci associated with the susceptibility of pigs to ETEC F41 using 39454 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 667 F2 pigs from a White Duroc×Erhualian F2 cross. The most significant SNP (ALGA0022658, P=5.59×10−13) located at 6.95 Mb on chromosome 4. ALGA0022658 was in high linkage disequilibrium (r2>0.5) with surrounding SNPs that span a 1.21 Mb interval. Within this 1.21 Mb region, we investigated ZFAT as a positional candidate gene. We re-sequenced cDNA of ZFAT in four pigs with different susceptibility phenotypes, and identified seven coding variants. We genotyped these seven variants in 287 unrelated pigs from 15 diverse breeds that were measured with ETEC F41 susceptibility phenotype. Five variants showed nominal significant association (P<0.05) with ETEC F41 susceptibility phenotype in International commercial pigs. This study provided refined region associated with susceptibility of pigs to ETEC F41 than that reported previously. Further works are needed to uncover the underlying causal mutation(s).
This study aimed to identify the pattern of post-operative drainage following partial superficial parotidectomy with and without the use of a bipolar vessel-sealing device.
Of the 49 patients undergoing parotidectomies, a bipolar vessel-sealing device was used for 20. Predictive factors included in the analysis were age, sex, body weight, operating time, tumour pathology, and diabetes mellitus, hypertension and smoking status.
In multivariate analyses, body weight (p = 0.026) and non-use of a bipolar vessel-sealing device (p = 0.009) were significantly associated with increased post-operative drainage after 24 hours. There was also a trend towards increased drainage in diabetic patients. Operating times were significantly shorter in the bipolar vessel-sealing device group.
Although 24-hour drainage appears adequate for most patients, in obese and diabetic individuals there is a risk of requiring increased drainage. Therefore, the drain should be left in place for a longer period. The bipolar vessel-sealing device is safe and time-efficient, and decreases the post-operative drainage period.
With prevention and treatment of mental disorders a challenge for primary care and increasing capability of electronic medical records (EMRs) to facilitate research in practice, we aim to determine the prevalence and treatment of mental disorders by using routinely collected clinical data contained in EMRs.
We reviewed EMRs of patients randomly sampled from seven general practices, by piloting a study instrument and extracting data on mental disorders and their treatment.
Data were collected on 690 patients (age range 18–95, 52% male, 52% GMS-eligible). A mental disorder (most commonly anxiety/stress, depression and problem alcohol use) was recorded in the clinical records of 139 (20%) during the 2-year study period. While most patients with the common disorders had been prescribed medication (i.e. antidepressants or benzodiazepines), a minority had been referred to other agencies or received psychological interventions. ‘Free text’ consultation notes and ‘prescriptions’ were how most patients with disorders were identified. Diagnostic coding alone would have failed to identify 92% of patients with a disorder.
Although mental disorders are common in general practice, this study suggests their formal diagnosis, disease coding and access to psychological treatments are priorities for future research efforts.
Chitotriosidase, secreted by activated macrophages, is a biomarker of activated macrophages. In this study, we explored whether chitotriosidase could be adopted as a biomarker to evaluate the curative effect on tuberculosis (TB). Five counties were randomly selected out of 122 counties/cities/districts in Hunan Province, China. Our cases were all TB patients who were newly diagnosed or had been receiving treatment at the Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) of these five counties between April and August in 2009. Healthy controls were selected from a community health facility in the Kaifu district of Changsha City after frequency-matching of gender and age with the cases. Chitotriosidase activity was evaluated by a fluorometric assay. Categorical variables were analysed with the χ2 test. Measurement data in multiple groups were tested with analysis of variance and least significant difference (LSD). Correlation between chitotriosidase activity and the degree of radiological extent (DRE) was examined by Spearman's rank correlation test. The average chitotriosidase activity levels of new TB cases, TB cases with different periods of treatment (<3, 3–6, >6 months) and the control group were 54·47, 34·77, 21·54, 12·73 and 10·53 nmol/h.ml, respectively. Chitotriosidase activity in TB patients declined along with the continuity of treatment. The chitotriosidase activity of both smear-positive and the smear-negative pulmonary TB patients decreased after 6 months' treatment to normal levels (P < 0·05). Moreover, chitotriosidase activity was positively correlated with DRE (r = 0·607, P < 0·001). Our results indicate that chitotriosidase might be a marker of TB treatment effects. However, further follow-up study of TB patients is needed in the future.
Some studies demonstrated that physical activity may have beneficial effect on cognitive function. The objective of the study was to estimate the association between physical activity and cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly Chinese in Hong Kong (HK) and Guangzhou (GZ).
In the neighborhood of HK and GZ, a convenience sample of 557 (260 in HK and 297 in GZ) older persons without dementia aged over 60 years (73.4 ± 6.5) was recruited. Physical activity was measured using a checklist. Information on physical activity participation, cognitive function, and other variables were collected. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to evaluate the association between physical activity and cognitive function.
Total number of physical activities showed significant association with the delayed recall test (p < 0.01) and category verbal fluency test (CVFT) (p < 0.01). However, with further adjustment for participation in intellectual activity, the coefficients were no longer statistically significant (p > 0.05)
Physical activity may not be associated with better cognitive function among elderly Chinese independently of other factors.
While rabies is a significant public health concern in China, the epidemiology of animal rabies in the north and northwest border provinces remains unknown. From February 2013 to March 2014, seven outbreaks of domestic animal rabies caused by wild carnivores in Xinjiang (XJ) and Inner Mongolia (IM) Autonomous Regions, China were reported and diagnosed in brain samples of infected animals by the fluorescent antibody test (FAT) and RT–PCR. Ten field rabies viruses were obtained. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis based on the complete N gene (1353 bp) amplified directly from the original brain tissues showed that these ten strains were steppe-type viruses, closely related to strains reported in Russia and Mongolia. None had been identified previously in China. The viruses from XJ and IM clustered separately into two lineages showing their different geographical distribution. This study emphasizes the importance of wildlife surveillance and of cross-departmental cooperation in the control of transboundary rabies transmission.
Whilst debris discs orbiting main-sequence stars are well studied, very little is known regarding their fate when the star evolves onto the giant branch. For intermediate mass (A-type) stars, giants provide a unique opportunity to detect planets using the radial velocity technique, otherwise prohibited by high jitter levels and rotationally broadened lines in main-sequence intermediate mass (A-type) stars. Such stars can provide key insights into the structure of planetary systems around intermediate mass stars. In our Herschel OT1 program (PI Bonsor) we searched for the presence of debris discs orbiting a sample of 36 subgiants, half of which have RV detected companions. Our best detection is the resolved debris disc orbiting κ CrB.
Using photometry at just two wavelengths it is possible to fit a blackbody to the spectrum of infrared excess that is the signature of a debris disc. From this the location of the dust can be inferred. However, it is well known that dust in debris discs is not a perfect blackbody. By resolving debris discs we can find the actual location of the dust and compare this to that inferred from the blackbody fit. Using the Herschel Space Observatory we resolved many systems as part of the DEBRIS survey. Here we discuss a sample of 9 discs surrounding A stars and find that the discs are actually located between 1 and 2.5 times further from their star than predicted by blackbody fits to the spectral energy distribution (SED). The variation in this ratio is due to differences in stellar luminosities, location of the dust, size distribution and composition of the dust.
An investigation with computational fluid dynamics of the ground effect on a small bird revealed quantitatively the obstruction of the vortex expansion resulting from the presence of the ground at varied distance. Preceding authors focused mainly on the bird's wings, generally neglecting the bird's body; we discuss specifically the distinction of the aerodynamic effect between cases with and without the presence of the bird's body. The results of simulation show that, considering only two wings, for a distance between the wing model and the ground smaller than a semi-span, the smaller is the ground clearance, the more significant is the ground effect. At clearance 0.37 times a semi-span, the drag is decreased 11%, and the lift is increased 5.6%. The ground effect for an intact bird model composed of both wings and body is less effective than that for a simplified model with body omitted, because a suction was observed on the lower surface of the intact bird's trunk at clearance 0.37 times a semi-span; for this reason the intact bird model benefits less from the ground effect than the model with body excluded, but increased lift and decreased drag remain observable. This research treating the ground effect on a gliding bird reveals the importance of the presence of the bird's body in both computational and experimental models.
The aim of this study was to characterize updated HIV subtypes in Yunnan to determine their origins and distribution within the population. RT–PCR of both the gag and env genes were sequenced from Yunnan province inhabitants newly diagnosed with HIV-1. Sequence data from 290 samples were used for statistical analysis of subtype distribution and phylogenetic tree construction. Distribution data were adjusted to account for different geographical distributions of HIV-1 subtypes in the population. Phylogenetic analysis revealed six HIV-1 subtypes in Yunnan, including eight types of unique recombination forms (URFs). The most prevalent subtypes in this province, CRF07_BC (18·9%), CRF08_BC (39·1%), CRF01_AE (22·4%), and URFs (subtype C, 5·9% and subtype B, 4·5%), were all recombinants. We found significant differences in the distribution of these HIV-1 subtypes not only geographically, but also between various ethnic groups and with respect to transmission routes. Our findings indicate a complex population of HIV-1 subtypes, URFs, and recombinant subtypes in Yunnan province. This diversity could make the prevention and control of HIV infection in Yunnan more difficult due to the possibility of virus recombination or infection by multiple subtypes.
Combustion of biogas containing hydrogen sulphide (H2S) yields highly corrosive sulphur oxides, thereby limiting the use of biogas for heat and power generation. The current study developed and tested a pilot-scale biogas bio-filter system (BBS) to replace conventional water scrubbing systems at a commercial pig farm in Miaoli County, Taiwan. A 62·8-litre pilot-scale BBS, packed with dried aerial roots from the common tree fern (Sphaeropteris lepifera) and a mixture of dried aerial roots and plastic rings as bio-carriers and inoculated with sulphur oxidizing bacteria, was installed at a commercial pig farm. H2S concentration was 5600 mg/m3 and the biogas flow rate was 4 litres/min. The pilot-scale BBS could remove 26·9 g H2S/m3/h using a bio-filter that operated at a 7% (v/v) O2 level continuously for >200 days. It was found that most H2S was oxidized to elemental sulphur (S0) and accumulated on the surface of the dried aerial roots (0·084 g S0/g aerial root) in the BBS. The dried aerial roots and plastic Raschig ring mixture was more efficent at sulphur dioxide removal than the dried aerial roots on their own. The pH and sulphate (SO42−) concentrations of water dropping from the BBS were 1·6 ± 1·0 and 28 680 ± 8253 mg/l, respectively. However, sulphur is the dominant product of sulphur oxidizers at the 7% O2 level. Periodical flushing of the bio-filter with the effluent from the wastewater treatment system on the farm can maintain high efficiency of H2S removal.
A review of the annual prevalence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa at a regional hospital in Taiwan revealed a significant increase in the incidence of extensive drug-resistant P. aeruginosa (XDRPA) from 2·1% in 2003 to 5·8% in 2007. The first XDRPA isolate was recovered in 2001 from the emergency ward. The widespread dissemination of XDRPA isolates to more than 10 other wards was discovered the following year. Six pulsotypes of 67 XDRPA isolates from 2006 onwards were identified and 91% were a single strain, suggesting the existence of a hidden outbreak. Prior to the recognition of the outbreak, the majority of cases were not considered to be healthcare-associated infections until molecular evidence was provided. A cohort measure was launched by the infection control practitioners that effectively controlled the outbreak. Patients with XDRPA were mostly referred from neighbouring long-term care facilities, which may have been the reservoir of the XDRPA clone.
Two new zeolitic crystalline phases with stoichiometry,
CS2TiSi6O15, have been discovered.
CSTiSi2O6.5 has a crystal structure isomorphous to
the mineral pollucite, CsAlSi2O6, with Ti+4
replacing Al+3. This replacement requires a mechanism for charge
compensation. A combination of techniques including neutron diffraction,
single crystal x-ray diffraction and x-ray absorption spectroscopy have
revealed that eight extra oxygens are present per unit cell
Cs2TiSi2O6.5 as compared to pollucite.
As a result of the extra oxygen, the titanium coordination geometry is
five-fold. Pentacoordinate titanium and tetrahedral silicon form a network
structure with Cs residing in cages formed by the network. The crystal
structure of Cs2TiSi6O15 is unique, with
titanium octahedra and silicon tetrahedra forming an open framework
structure with the Cs residing in large cavities. The largest covalently
bonded ring opening to the Cs cavities in both compounds are smaller than a
Cs ion, revealing that the Cs ion has minimal mobility in the structure.
Cesium leach rates for both compounds are lower than or comparable to