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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to significant strain on front-line healthcare workers.
In this multicentre study, we compared the psychological outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region and identified factors associated with adverse psychological outcomes.
From 29 April to 4 June 2020, the study recruited healthcare workers from major healthcare institutions in five countries in the Asia-Pacific region. A self-administrated survey that collected information on prior medical conditions, presence of symptoms, and scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales and the Impact of Events Scale-Revised were used. The prevalence of depression, anxiety, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) relating to COVID-19 was compared, and multivariable logistic regression identified independent factors associated with adverse psychological outcomes within each country.
A total of 1146 participants from India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam were studied. Despite having the lowest volume of cases, Vietnam displayed the highest prevalence of PTSD. In contrast, Singapore reported the highest case volume, but had a lower prevalence of depression and anxiety. In the multivariable analysis, we found that non-medically trained personnel, the presence of physical symptoms and presence of prior medical conditions were independent predictors across the participating countries.
This study highlights that the varied prevalence of psychological adversity among healthcare workers is independent of the burden of COVID-19 cases within each country. Early psychological interventions may be beneficial for the vulnerable groups of healthcare workers with presence of physical symptoms, prior medical conditions and those who are not medically trained.
This study estimates the incubation period of COVID-19 among locally transmitted cases, and its association with age to better inform public health measures in containing COVID-19. Epidemiological data of all PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases from all restructured hospitals in Singapore were collected between 23 January 2020 and 2 April 2020. Activity mapping and detailed epidemiological investigation were conducted by trained personnel. Positive cases without clear exposure to another positive case were excluded from the analysis. One hundred and sixty-four cases (15.6% of patients) met the inclusion criteria during the defined period. The crude median incubation period was 5 days (range 1–12 days) and median age was 42 years (range 5–79 years). The median incubation period among those 70 years and older was significantly longer than those younger than 70 years (8 vis-à-vis 5 days, P = 0.040). Incubation period was negatively correlated with day of illness in both groups. These findings support current policies of 14-day quarantine periods for close contacts of confirmed cases and 28 days for monitoring infections in known clusters. An elderly person who may have a longer incubation period than a younger counterpart may benefit from earlier and proactive testing, especially after exposure to a positive case.
In this paper, the generation of relativistic electron mirrors (REM) and the reflection of an ultra-short laser off the mirrors are discussed, applying two-dimension particle-in-cell simulations. REMs with ultra-high acceleration and expanding velocity can be produced from a solid nanofoil illuminated normally by an ultra-intense femtosecond laser pulse with a sharp rising edge. Chirped attosecond pulse can be produced through the reflection of a counter-propagating probe laser off the accelerating REM. In the electron moving frame, the plasma frequency of the REM keeps decreasing due to its rapid expansion. The laser frequency, on the contrary, keeps increasing due to the acceleration of REM and the relativistic Doppler shift from the lab frame to the electron moving frame. Within an ultra-short time interval, the two frequencies will be equal in the electron moving frame, which leads to the resonance between laser and REM. The reflected radiation near this interval and corresponding spectra will be amplified due to the resonance. Through adjusting the arriving time of the probe laser, a certain part of the reflected field could be selectively amplified or depressed, leading to the selective adjustment of the corresponding spectra.
Prion diseases, or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders associated with a conformational transformation of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a self-feplicating and proteinase K (PK)-resistant conformer, scrapie PrP (PrPSc). Aggregates of PrPSc around neurons lead to neuropathologyical change including neuronal loss, astrogliosis, spongiform degeneration and deposition of amyloid plaques. Currently no effective treatment for prion disease exists. The development of novel therapeutic strategies against prion diseases has become a priority. Several reports have demonstrated that passive and active immune-based therapy can significantly prolong the incubation period of prionoses in vivo, and also some anti-PrP monoclonal can prevent PrP peptide toxicity in vitro. In this study, we have first time identified and purified anti-PrP antibodies from human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) by using PrP peptide affinity chromatography column. The ratio of anti-PrP antibody and IVIG is about 1:1200. In vitro study indicates these anti-PrP antibodies strongly block PrP A117V peptide fibril formation and disrupt formation of fibrillar structures. Furthermore, these antibodies almost completely prevented neurotoxicity of PrP A117V peptide in cultured rat cerebellar granule neuron cultures (CGN). In contrast, immunoglobulins depleted of anti-PrP antibodies had little effect on PrP fibril formation or protection of neuronal cells. Our study suggests that human anti-PrP antibodies may interfere with the pathogenesis of prion disease and these purified antibodies may be a potential therapeutic agent to prevent or slow prion disease progression.
Childhoods in urban or rural environments may differentially affect risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. Here, we leveraged on dramatic urbanization and rural-urban migration since the 1980s in China to explore the hypothesis that rural or urban childhoods may differentially influence memory processing and neural responses to neutral and aversive stimuli.
Explore the underlying mechanisms of childhood environment effect on brain function and neuropsychiatric risk.
We examined 420 adult subjects with similar current socioeconomic status and living in Beijing, China, but with differing rural (n = 227) or urban (n = 193) childhoods. In an episodic memory paradigm scanned in a 3 T GE MRI, subjects viewed blocks of neutral or aversive pictures in the encoding and retrieval sessions.
Episodic memory accuracy for neutral stimuli was less than for aversive stimuli (P < 0.001). However, subjects with rural childhoods apparently performed less accurately for memory of aversive but not neutral stimuli (P < 0.01). In subjects with rural childhoods, there was relatively increased engagement of bilateral striatum at encoding, increased engagement of bilateral hippocampus at retrieval of neutral and aversive stimuli, and increased engagement of amygdala at aversive retrieval (P < 0.05 FDR corrected, cluster size > 50).
Rural or urban childhoods appear associated with physiological and behavioural differences, particularly in the neural processing of aversive episodic memory at medial temporal and striatal brain regions. It remains to be explored the extent to which these effects relate to individual risk for neuropsychiatric or stress-related disorders.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Understanding the pattern of middle-ear cholesteatoma becomes pertinent with the rise of endoscopic surgery as surgeons decide on the optimal approach to visualise and extirpate disease. With modifications to the Telmesani attic–tympanum–mastoid staging system, this study aimed to evaluate the commonest patterns of middle-ear cholesteatoma and their implications for surgical approach.
A retrospective study was conducted in a single tertiary institution in Singapore. All patients undergoing cholesteatoma surgery between January 2012 and June 2015 were included. Staging of cholesteatoma was based on clinical assessment corroborated by radiological findings.
Out of the 55 ears included, 98.2 per cent had cholesteatoma involving the attic. The disease extended into the mastoid antrum and beyond in 43 cases (78.2 per cent). The facial recess and/or sinus tympanum was affected in 26 cases (47.3 per cent).
The majority of cholesteatoma cases present with extensive attic disease and significant mastoid involvement. In these cases, endoscopes may be best suited to adjunctive rather than exclusive use in surgery.
Patients with severe mental disorders in low-resource settings have limited access to services, resulting in overwhelming caregiving burden for families. In extreme cases, this has led to the long-term restraining of patients in their homes. China underwent a nationwide initiative to unlock patients and provide continued treatment. This study aims to quantify household economic burden in families after unlocking and treatment, and to identify factors associated with increased burden due to schizophrenia.
A total of 264 subjects were enrolled from three geographically diverse provinces in 2012. Subjects were patients with schizophrenia who were previously put under restraints and had participated in the ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention. The primary outcome was the current household economic burden, obtained from past year financial information collected through on-site interview. Patient disease characteristics, treatment, outcomes and family caregiving burden were collected as well. Univariate and multivariate linear regression were used to construct risk factor models for indirect economic burden.
After participating in the intervention, 85% of patients continued to receive mental health services, 70% used medication as prescribed and 80% were never relocked. Family members reported significantly decreased caregiving burden after receiving the intervention. Mean direct and indirect household economic burdens were CNY963 (US$31.7) and CNY11 724 (US$1670) per year, respectively, while family total income was on average CNY12 108 (US$1913) per year. Greater disease severity and poorer patient psychosocial function at time of study were found to be independent factors related to increased indirect burden.
The ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention has improved the lives of patients and families. Indirect burden due to disease is still a major economic issue that needs to be addressed, potentially through improving treatment and patient functioning. Our findings contribute to the unravelling and eventual elimination of chronic restraining of mentally ill patients in low-resource settings.
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.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a common nasal disorder in children that is prone to recurrence. This study investigated the prevention of chronic rhinosinusitis recurrence with bacteria lysate in children.
Bacteria lysate was administered 10 days per month for 3 months to children with chronic rhinosinusitis, who had just entered a remission phase. Visual analogue score, nasal symptoms scores, rhinitis attack frequency and antibiotic use were assessed at three months and one year.
At one year of follow up, the visual analogue score, nasal discharge and obstruction scores, number of days with rhinitis attacks per month and number of days with antibiotic use per month were significantly decreased in the prevention group versus the control group (p < 0.05).
Bacterial lysate used in the remission period of rhinosinusitis in children was shown to provide long-term prophylaxis. Bacterial lysate can effectively reduce the frequency of rhinosinusitis attacks and ameliorate attack symptoms.
Longan County is considered a highly endemic area for hepatitis B virus (HBV). The plasma-derived vaccine has been used in newborns in this area since 1987. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of this vaccine. In total, 1634 participants born during 1987–1993 and who had received a series of plasma-derived HB vaccinations at ages 0, 1, and 6 months were enrolled. Serological HBV markers were detected and compared with previous survey data. Overall the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in all participants was 3·79%; 3·47% of subjects who had received the first dose within 24 h were HBsAg positive, and 8·41% of subjects who had received a delayed first dose were also HBsAg positive. There were 1527 subjects identified who had received the first dose within 24 h and whose HBsAg and anti-HBc prevalence increased yearly after immunization, while the anti-HBs-positive rate and vaccine effectiveness declined. The geometric mean concentration of antibody in the anti-HB-positive participants was 55·13 mIU/ml and this declined after immunization. Fewer than 2·0% of participants had anti-HB levels ⩾1000 mIU/ml. The data show that the protective efficacy of the plasma-derived vaccinations declined and administration of HB vaccine within 24 h of birth was very important. To reduce the risk of HBV infection in this highly endemic area, a booster dose might be necessary if anti-HBs levels fall below 10 mIU/ml after age 18 years. Furthermore, studies on the immune memory induced by plasma-derived HB vaccine are needed.
Vibrio cholerae O139 emerged as a causative agent of epidemic cholera in 1992 in India and Bangladesh, and was subsequently reported in China in 1993. The genetic relatedness and molecular characteristics of V. cholerae O139 in Guangdong Province, located in the southern coastal area of China, remains undetermined. In this study, we investigated 136 clinical V. cholerae O139 isolates from 1993 to 2013 in Guangdong. By conventional PCR, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for ctxB, ace and zot. Sequencing of the positive amplicons indicated 113 (91·7%) isolates possessed the El Tor allele of ctxB (genotype 3); seven carried the classical ctxB type (genotype 1) and three harboured a novel ctxB type (genotype 5). With respect to tcpA, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for the El Tor allele. In addition, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (with NotI digestion) differentiated the isolates into clusters A and B. Cluster A contained seven of the non-toxigenic isolates from 1998 to 2000; another six non-toxigenic isolates (from 1998 and 2007) and all of the toxigenic isolates formed cluster B. Our results suggest that over a 20-year period, the predominant O139 clinical isolates have maintained a relatively tight clonal structure, although some genetic variance and shift has occurred. Our data highlight the persistence of toxigenic V. cholerae O139 in clinical settings in the southern coastal area of China.
The phylogenetic and epidemiological relationships of 102 Burkholderia pseudomallei clinical isolates from different geographical and population sources in China were investigated by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The MLST data were analysed using the e-BURST algorithm, and an unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram was constructed based on the pair-wise differences in the allelic profiles of the strains. Forty-one sequence types (STs) were identified, of which eight were novel (ST1341, ST1345, ST1346, ST1347, ST1348, ST1349, ST1350, ST1351). No geographical-specific or host population-specific phylogenetic lineages were identified. ST46, ST50, ST55, ST58, ST70 and ST1095 predominated, but ~44% of isolates were assigned to 45 STs illustrating high genetic diversity in the strain collection. Additionally, the phylogenetic relationships of the dominant STs in China showed significant linkeage with B. pseudomallei isolates from Thailand. Analysis of the gmhD allele suggests high genetic variation in B. pseudomallei in China.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
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.
Asians exhibit larger glycaemic response (GR) and insulin response (IR) than Caucasians, predisposing to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We aimed to determine the GR and IR as well as the glycaemic index (GI) and insulinaemic index (II) of two rice varieties among three ethnic groups in Singapore. A total of seventy-five healthy males (twenty-five Chinese, twenty-five Malay and twenty-five Asian-Indians) were served the available equivalent carbohydrate amounts (50 g) of test foods (Jasmine rice and Basmati rice) and a reference food (glucose) on separate occasions. Postprandial blood glucose and plasma insulin concentrations were measured at fasting ( − 5 and 0 min) and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min after food consumption. Using the trapezoidal rule, GR, IR, GI and II values were determined. The GR did not differ between ethnic groups for Jasmine rice and Basmati rice. The IR was consistently higher for Jasmine rice (P= 0·002) and Basmati rice (P= 0·002) among Asian-Indians, probably due to compensatory hyperinsulinaemia to maintain normoglycaemia. The GI and II of both rice varieties did not differ significantly between ethnicities. The overall mean GI for Jasmine rice and Basmati rice were 91 (sd 21) and 59 (sd 15), respectively. The overall mean II for Jasmine rice was 76 (sd 26) and for Basmati rice was 57 (sd 24). We conclude that the GI values presented for Jasmine rice and Basmati rice were applicable to all three ethnic groups in Singapore. Future studies should include deriving the II for greater clinical utility in the prevention and management of T2DM.
Batch cultures of mixed rumen micro-organisms were used to evaluate varying enzyme products with high xylanase activity (EPX), four of which were recombinant single xylanase activity developmental enzyme products (EPX1–EPX4, products of xylanase genes derived from Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma reesei, Orpinomyces and Aspergillus oryzae, respectively), for their potential to improve in vitro ruminal fermentation of three forages [maize (Zea mays) stover (MS), rice (Oryza sativa) straw (RS) and Guimu No. 1 grass (Pennisetum americanum×Pennisetum purpureum, GM)]. The enzyme product EPX5, derived from Trichoderma longibrachiatum, was used as a positive control that could improve in vitro fermentation of forages. Enzymes were supplied at dose rates of 0 (control), 20 (low), 50 (medium) and 80 (high) enzymic units of xylanase/g of dry matter (DM). There were no interactions between EPX and dose for the fermentation characteristics evaluated. Increasing EPX dose linearly increased gas production (GP) kinetic characters [i.e. asymptotic GP (VF), half time when GP is half of the theoretical maximum GP (t0·5), and initial fractional rate of degradation (FRD0)] and methane (CH4) production from RS and GM at 24 h, and increased degradability of DM at 24 h for MS and RS. A linear increase in degradability of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) of the three forages at 24 h was observed with increasing dose of EPX, but at 48 h only NDF degradability of RS was increased. There were differences in the effects of EPX on degradability of DM and NDF from RS at 24 h, with EPX4 having the highest and EPX1 having the lowest. In addition, increasing EPX dose linearly increased acetate proportion at 24 h and total volatile fatty acids (TVFA) at 48 h in MS. Increasing EPX dose linearly increased TVFA at 24 h, and ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) concentration at 48 h in RS. For GM, linear or quadratic effects of dose on acetate and butyrate concentration were observed at 24 and 48 h. The present study indicates that applying EPX to low-quality forages has the potential to improve rumen degradability and utilization. Furthermore, EPX from different sources differed in their effects when applied at the same dose rate, with the responses being forage-specific. For RS, the EPX derived from A. oryzae showed the greatest positive effects on forage degradation; whereas for MS and GM, the source of micro-organism where EPX gene was derived did not affect the degradation, with little difference among the EPX evaluated.
To evaluate the therapeutic effects of functional endoscopic sinus surgery in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis who were unresponsive to medical treatment.
A total of 232 patients were divided into 2 groups: a functional endoscopic sinus surgery group (n = 162) and a conservative therapy group (n = 70). Efficacy was assessed in terms of Lund–Kennedy endoscopy scores and Sino-Nasal Outcome Test 20 symptom scores.
In the functional endoscopic sinus surgery group, Lund–Kennedy and Sino-Nasal Outcome Test 20 scores were significantly lower at 3, 6 and 12 months post-surgery compared with baseline scores. In the conservative therapy group, both sets of scores were significantly lower at 3 months, but not at 12 months. In this latter group, the Lund–Kennedy scores decreased only slightly and the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test 20 scores significantly decreased at six months compared with initial scores, indicating disparity between the subjective and objective measures. Patient-reported symptom improvement was better in the functional endoscopic sinus surgery group than in the medication group at 12 months (p < 0.001).
These findings suggest that functional endoscopic sinus surgery has better efficacy over a longer period compared with conservative therapy.