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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.
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.
A new approach is proposed to analyze Bremsstrahlung X-rays that are emitted from laser-produced plasmas (LPP) and are measured by a stack type spectrometer. This new method is based on a spectral tomographic reconstruction concept with the variational principle for optimization, without referring to the electron energy distribution of a plasma. This approach is applied to the analysis of some experimental data obtained at a few major laser facilities to demonstrate the applicability of the method. Slope temperatures of X-rays from LPP are determined with a two-temperature model, showing different spectral characteristics of X-rays depending on laser properties used in the experiments.
Depression is common after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) with adverse effects on prognosis. There is little evidence on whether depression treatment improves quality of life (QoL) in ACS patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of co-morbid depression and its treatment on QoL in ACS.
In total, 1152 patients were recruited at baseline, 2–14 weeks after a confirmed ACS episode, and 828 were followed 1 year thereafter. Of 446 baseline participants with co-morbid depressive disorders, 300 were randomized to a 24-week double blind trial of escitalopram or placebo, while the remaining 146 received medical treatment only (MTO). QoL was measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life –Abbreviated form (WHOQOL-BREF).
At baseline, QoL was significantly lower in patients with co-morbid depressive disorder than those without. QoL improvement was significantly greater in those receiving escitalopram than those receiving placebo over the 24-week treatment period. In the 1-year follow-up, the better outcomes associated with escitalopram remained evident against both placebo and MTO.
Depression was significantly associated with worse QoL even in patients with recently developed ACS. Depression treatment was associated with QoL improvement in ACS patients in the 24-week treatment period, the effects of which extended to 1 year.
In February 2012, an outbreak of gastroenteritis was reported in school A; a successive outbreak was reported at school B. A retrospective cohort study conducted in school A showed that seasoned green seaweed with radishes (relative risk 7·9, 95% confidence interval 1·1–56·2) was significantly associated with illness. Similarly, a case-control study of students at school B showed that cases were 5·1 (95% confidence interval 1·1–24·8) times more likely to have eaten seasoned green seaweed with pears. Multiple norovirus genotypes were detected in samples from students in schools A and B. Norovirus GII.6 isolated from schools A and B were phylogenetically indistinguishable. Green seaweed was supplied by company X, and norovirus GII.4 was isolated from samples of green seaweed. Green seaweed was assumed to be linked to these outbreaks. To our knowledge, this is the first reported norovirus outbreak associated with green seaweed.
We report a simple synthesis technique to attached poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) on magnetic nanoparticles. Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles were prepared using co-precipitation method. Nearly monodisperse nanoparticles were separated by terminating surface of Fe3O4 with dopamine followed by careful centrifugation and decantation. NHS/EDC coupling chemistry was employed to attached the carboxylic acid terminated poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) to amine end of dopamine on surface of the magnetic particles. Analysis of the polymer brush layers was conducted using UV-Vis spectroscopy, ATR−FTIR, and Transmission electron microscopy techniques. The magnetic property was investigated using direct current superconducting quantum interference device (DC-SQUID) method.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO), which will be launched onboard the
Lomonosov spacecraft, contains two crucial instruments: UFFO Burst
Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) for detection and localization of Gamma-Ray Bursts
(GRBs) and the fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) designed for the observation
of the prompt optical/UV counterparts. Here we discuss the in-space calibrations of the
UBAT detector and SMT telescope. After the launch, the observations of the standard X-ray
sources such as pulsar in Crab nebula will provide data for necessary calibrations of
UBAT. Several standard stars will be used for the photometric calibration of SMT. The
celestial X-ray sources, e.g. X-ray binaries with bright optical sources
in their close angular vicinity will serve for the cross-calibration of UBAT and SMT.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) Pathfinder for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) consists
of two telescopes. The UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) handles the
detection and localization of GRBs, and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) conducts the
measurement of the UV/optical afterglow. UBAT is equipped with an X-ray detector, analog
and digital signal readout electronics that detects X-rays from GRBs and determines the
location. SMT is equipped with a stepping motor and the associated electronics to rotate
the slewing mirror targeting the GRBs identified by UBAT. First the slewing mirror points
to a GRB, then SMT obtains the optical image of the GRB using the intensified CCD and its
readout electronics. The UFFO Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) is responsible for the
overall function and operation of the observatory and the communication with the satellite
main processor. In this paper we present the design and implementation of the electronics
of UBAT and SMT as well as the architecture and implementation of UDAQ.
Temperature-sensitive ferrogel prepared using Fe3O4 nanoparticles are characterized under varying temperature conditions. The nanoparticles were distributed in Nisopropylacrylamide (NIPAm) during their polymerization to form hydrogel. Particle distribution and agglomeration characteristics of the prepared ferrogels were investigated using ultra small angle x-ray scattering (USAXS) at various temperatures through the Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to estimate the particle size distribution. The magnetic property was investigated using direct current superconducting quantum interference device (DC-SQUID) under hydrated conditions. The USAXS analysis showed an increase in the volume of particles without changing the agglomeration characteristics as the temperature is increased during the measurements. The ferrogel did not show any sedimentation or particle detachment from the gel under thermal cycling. Details of our results and analysis are presented.
The UFFO (Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory) is a GRB detector on board the Lomonosov
satellite, to be launched in 2013. The GRB trigger is provided by an X-ray detector,
called UBAT (UFFO Burst Alarm & Trigger Telescope), which detects X-rays from the GRB
and then triggers to determine the direction of the GRB and then alerts the Slewing Mirror
Telescope (SMT) to turn in the direction of the GRB and record the optical photon fluxes.
This report details the calibration of the two components: the MAPMTs and the YSO crystals
and simulations of the UBAT. The results shows that this design can observe a GRB within a
field of view of ±35° and can trigger in a time scale as short as 0.2 – 1.0 s
after the appearance of a GRB X-ray spike.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a space observatory for optical follow-ups of
gamma ray bursts (GRBs), aiming to explore the first 60 seconds of GRBs optical emission.
UFFO is utilized to catch early optical emissions from GRBs within few sec after trigger
using a Gimbal mirror which redirects the optical path rather than slewing entire
spacecraft. We have developed a 15 cm two-axis Gimbal mirror stage for the UFFO-Pathfinder
which is going to be on board the Lomonosov satellite which is to be launched in 2013. The
stage is designed for fast and accurate motion with given budgets of 3 kg of mass and 3
Watt of power. By employing stepping motors, the slewing mirror can rotate faster than 15
deg/sec so that objects in the UFFO coverage (60 deg × 60 deg) can be targeted in
~1 sec. The obtained targeting resolution is better 2 arcmin using a close-loop
control with high precision rotary encoder. In this presentation, we will discuss details
of design, manufacturing, space qualification tests, as well as performance tests.
Polystyrene (PS), polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) were used to fabricate conductive nanocomposites using various mixing methods, followed by compression molding to analyze their electrical properties. The main objective of this research project was to evaluate how using different mixing techniques alter the composite microstructure and hence the properties of the resultant composite material. Three fabrication techniques were selected to be investigated: mechanical mixing, melt-mixing, and solution mixing. The concentration of the fillers was kept constant at 2 wt% MWNT to simplify comparisons. After mixing, the composite mixtures were compression molded at the same temperature of 180°C. It was found that each mixing method yielded uniquely different AC conductivity profiles which can be attributed to how the fabrication method used affected the arrangement of the CNTs in the composite structure. This newfound control of the electrical properties of the composite materials could definitely be useful to researchers because one can choose the proper fabrication technique based on what properties are desired.
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) are an increasing infectious threat in hospitals. We investigated the clinical epidemiology of CRAB infections vs. colonization in patients, and examined the mechanisms of resistance associated with elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for carbapenems. From January to June 2009, 75 CRAB strains were collected. CRAB infection was significantly associated with malignancy and a high APACHE II score. The most dominant resistance mechanism was ISAba1 preceding OXA-51, producing strains with overexpression of efflux pump. Strains carrying blaOXA-23-like enzymes had higher carbapenem MICs than those carrying blaOXA-51-like enzymes; however, the presence of multiple mechanisms did not result in increased resistance to carbapenems. There was no difference in the resistance mechanisms in strains from infected and colonized patients. The majority of strains were genetically diverse by DNA macrorestriction although there was evidence of clonal spread of four clusters of strains in patients.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a space mission to detect the early moments of an explosion from Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), thus enhancing our understanding of the GRB mechanism. It consists of the UFFO Burst & Trigger telescope (UBAT) for the recognition of GRB positions using hard X-ray from GRBs. It also contains the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) for the fast detection of UV-optical photons from GRBs. It is designed to begin the UV-optical observations in less than a few seconds after the trigger. The UBAT is based on a coded-mask X-ray camera with a wide field of view (FOV) and is composed of the coded mask, a hopper and a detector module. The SMT has a fast rotatable mirror which allows a fast UV-optical detection after the trigger. The telescope is a modified Ritchey-Chrétien telescope with the aperture size of 10 cm diameter, and an image intensifier readout by CCD. The UFFO pathfinder is scheduled to launch into orbit on 2012 June by the Lomonosov spacecraft. It is a scaled-down version of UFFO in order to make the first systematic study of early UV/optical light curves, including the rise phase of GRBs. We expect UBAT to trigger ~44 GRBs/yr and expect SMT to detect ~10 GRBs/yr.
We use a state-of-the-art non-equilibrium quantum transport simulation code, NEMO-1D, to address the device physics and performance benchmarking of cross-plane superlattice Peltier coolers. Our findings show quantitatively how barriers in cross-plane superlattices degrade the electrical performance, i.e. power factor. The performance of an In0.53Ga0.47As/In0.52Al0.48As cross-plane SL Peltier cooler is lower than that of either a bulk In0.53Ga0.47As or bulk In0.52Al0.48As device, mainly due to quantum mechanical effects. We find that a cross-plane SL device has a Seebeck coefficient vs. conductance tradeoff that is no better than that of a bulk device. The effects of tunneling and phase coherence between multi barriers are examined. It is shown that tunneling, SL contacts, and coherency only produce oscillatory behavior of Seebeck coefficient vs. conductance without a significant gain in PF. The overall TE device performance is, therefore, a compromise between the enhanced Seebeck coefficient and degraded conductance.
To investigate the phylogeny of benign Theileria parasites, we determined the complete major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) gene sequences for 6 benign theilerial organisms, including the first from tick. Sequences were analysed alongside published sequences for 39 benign Theileria parasites, using Bayesian inference and maximum parsimony. All MPSP sequences were 852 nucleotides, except for Gansu, Wuchangbuf, VB01, and VB01; Gansu contained 873 nucleotides, and the other 3 had 855. Deduced amino acid sequences contained 284 residues, except for Gansu (291) and Wuchangbuf, VB01, and VB01 (285 each). Pairwise comparisons showed identities among 45 theilerial MPSP sequences ranging from 70·9 to 99·8% for nucleotide and 71·0 to 100% for amino acid sequences. Our results clearly indicate that all global parasites, excluding Brisbane, were classified into 1 of 8 types; 6 types of Theileria exist in Korea. Each type, excluding Type 6, has several type-specific amino acid sequences. The phylogenetic tree derived from the nucleotide sequences showed 2 sister-group relationships, Type 2+Type 7 and Type 3+Brisbane, with a new branching pattern: (Type 6 (Type 8 ((Type 2, Type 7), (Type 1, (Type 4, (Type 5, (Type 3, Brisbane))))))). Our sequence data showed no geographical influence on worldwide Theileria parasite distribution.
Our aim was to determine whether the index of left ventricular mass increases during the acute and subacute phase of Kawasaki disease, and to investigate any relationship between this index and clinical and echocardiographic variables. We performed, therefore, a retrospective study of 66 children with Kawasaki disease, having a mean age of 2.85 years, comparing the findings with those obtained from 57 normal controls, having a mean age of 2.99 years. The data from the patients used for comparison was obtained during the acute and subacute phase of the illness, as well as during the phase of convalescence. We performed correlation analysis of the findings during the acute and subacute phase, determining the relationship between the index of left ventricular mass and other variables. The index was higher (p = 0.0461), and the velocity of propagation of left ventricular early diastolic flow was lower (p < 0.0001), during the acute and subacute phase when compared to control values. The index then reduced (p = 0.0001) during the phase of convalescent when compared to the acute and subacute phase. Levels of albumin in the serum (p = 0.0193), peak E velocity (p = 0.0479), and velocity of propagation (p = 0.0360) were found to be related to the index of left ventricular mass. Significant relationships were found between the differences in this index and differences in body weight when findings during the acute and subacute phase were compared to those of the phase of convalescence. The index of left ventricular mass, therefore, is increased during the acute and subacute phase of Kawasaki disease, and is associated with altered diastolic indexes. This elevation may be due to generalized myocardial swelling from acute inflammation and increased vascular permeability. Measuring this index as a potential predictor of diastolic function should be added to studies of cardiac function during the acute and subacute phase of Kawasaki disease.
Local extension of thyroid carcinoma can result in massive invasion of the trachea, causing severe airway compromise. The pre- and peri-operative management of such airway compromise is difficult but critical. We report the use of extracorporeal oxygenation support as an alternative peri-operative airway management option in such a situation. This approach facilitated curative surgery in a patient with papillary thyroid carcinoma invading the trachea.
We present a case report regarding extracorporeal oxygenation support in a patient with locally advanced thyroid carcinoma.
The patient was a 68-year-old woman with aggressive thyroid papillary carcinoma invading the trachea. The airway was almost totally obstructed, and tracheal resection and end-to-end anastomosis was planned. A venovenous bypass catheter was placed for cardiopulmonary bypass, using the bilateral femoral veins. Curative surgery and reconstruction were then performed successfully, under general anaesthesia assisted by cardiopulmonary bypass oxygenation.
Cardiopulmonary bypass oxygenation is a safe and effective alternative airway management option in patients with locally aggressive thyroid cancer.
Alfentanil was reported to relax the rat aorta by direct action on the vascular smooth muscle. The aims of this in vitro study were to examine the effect of alfentanil on phenylephrine-induced contractions in the rat aorta and to determine the cellular mechanism associated with this process.
Endothelium-denuded aortic rings were suspended in order to record isometric tension. In the rings with or without 10−6 mol naloxone or 10−5 mol verapamil, the concentration–response curves for phenylephrine and potassium chloride were generated in the presence or absence of alfentanil (10−6, 5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol). In the rings exposed to a calcium-free isotonic depolarizing solution, the contractile response induced by the addition of calcium was assessed in the presence or absence of alfentanil (5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol).
Alfentanil (5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol) attenuated (P < 0.05) the phenylephrine-induced contraction in the ring with or without 10−6 mol naloxone but had no effect on the phenylephrine-induced contraction in the rings pretreated with verapamil. Alfentanil (5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol) produced a significant rightward shift (P < 0.01) in the potassium chloride dose–response curve, and attenuated the contractile response (P < 0.001) induced by calcium in the calcium-free isotonic depolarizing solution in a dose-dependent manner.
A supraclinical dose of alfentanil attenuates the phenylephrine-induced contraction via an inhibitory effect on calcium influx by blocking the l-type calcium channels in the rat aortic vascular smooth muscle.
Surveillance is an important component of influenza control. This report describes the establishment and first results of the Korean Influenza Surveillance Scheme (KISS), an integrated clinical and laboratory surveillance network involving 622 public health centres (PHCs) and private clinics. Sentinel physicians reported cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) weekly and forwarded specimens for virus isolation and characterization. Influenza activity during the opening 2000–2001 season was milder and delayed compared with previous years. The ILI consultation rate corresponded well with the number of influenza virus isolates, both peaking in week 10 of 2001. Influenza A(H3N2) was the dominant isolate. The peak ILI consultation rate was higher in private clinics than in PHCs (5·04 vs 1·79 cases/1000 visits). An evaluation questionnaire generated potential enhancements to the scheme. KISS appears to represent the pattern of influenza activity accurately and will have a valuable role in monitoring and preventing epidemics in Korea.