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Background: The zona incerta (ZI) is a small structure in the deep brain first identified by Auguste Forel for which robust in vivo visualization has remained elusive. The increased inherent signal from ultra-high field (7-Tesla or greater; 7T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) presents an opportunity to see structures not previously visible. In this study, we investigated the possibility of using quantitative T1 mapping at 7T to visualize the ZI region. Methods: We recruited healthy participants (N=32) and patients being considered for deep brain stimulation therapy as part of a prospective imaging study at 7T. Computational methods were used to process and fuse images to produce a high-resolution group average from which ZI anatomy could be delineated. Results: We pooled 7T data using image fusion methods and found that the contrast from quantitative T1 mapping was strikingly similar to classic histological staining, permitting facile identification of the ZI and nearby structures in reference to conventional stereotactic atlases. Conclusions: Using computational neuroimaging techniques, we demonstrate for the first time that the ZI is visible in vivo. Furthermore, we determined that this nuclear region can be decoupled from surrounding fibre pathways. This work paves the way for more accurate patient-specific optimization of deep brain targets for neuromodulation.
We present results of a supernova lightcurve population synthesis, predicting the range of possible supernova lightcurves arising from a population of progenitor stars that include interacting binary systems. We show that the known diversity of supernova lightcurves can be interpreted as arising from binary interactions. Given detailed models of the progenitor stars, we are able to the determine what parameters within these stars determine the shape of their supernova lightcurve. The primary factors are the mass of supernova ejecta and the mass of hydrogen in the final progenitor. We find that there is a continuum of lightcurve behaviour from type IIP, IIL, to IIb supernovae related to the range of hydrogen and ejecta masses. Most type IIb supernovae arise from a relatively narrow range of initial masses from 10 to 15 M⊙. We also find a few distinct lightcurves that are the result of stellar mergers.
In several lately published studies, the association between single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs12252) of IFITM3 and the risk of influenza is inconsistent. To further understand the association between the SNP of IFITM3 and the risk of influenza, we searched related studies in five databases including PubMed published earlier than 9 November 2017. Ten sets of data from nine studies were included and data were analysed by Revman 5.0 and Stata 12.0 in our updated meta-analysis, which represented 1365 patients and 5425 no-influenza controls from four different ethnicities. Here strong association between rs12252 and influenza was found in all four genetic models. The significant differences in the allelic model (C vs. T: odds ratio (OR) = 1.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.03–1.79), P = 0.03) and homozygote model (CC vs. TT: OR = 10.63, 95% CI (3.39–33.33), P < 0.00001) in the Caucasian subgroup were discovered, which is very novel and striking. Also novel discoveries were found in the allelic model (C vs. T: OR = 1.37, 95% CI (1.08–1.73), P = 0.009), dominant model (CC + CT vs. TT: OR = 1.48, 95% CI (1.08–2.02), P = 0.01) and homozygote model (CC vs. TT: OR = 2.84, 95% CI (1.36–5.92), P = 0.005) when we compared patients with mild influenza with healthy individuals. Our meta-analysis suggests that single-nucleotide T to C polymorphism of IFITM3 associated with increasingly risk of severe and mild influenza in both Asian and Caucasian populations.
High-energy electron radiography (HEER) has been proposed for time-resolved imaging of materials, high-energy density matter, and for inertial confinement fusion. The areal-density resolution, determined by the image intensity information is critical for these types of diagnostics. Preliminary experimental studies for different materials with the same thickness and the same areal-density target have been imaged and analyzed. Although there are some discrepancies between experimental and theory analysis, the results show that the density distribution can indeed be attained from HEER. The reason for the discrepancies has been investigated and indicates the importance of the uniformity in the transverse distribution beam illuminating the target. Furthermore, the method for generating a uniform transverse distribution beam using octupole magnets was studied and verified by simulations. The simulations also confirm that the octupole field does not affect the angle-position correlation in the center part beam, a critical requirement for the imaging lens. A more practical method for HEER using collimators and octupoles for generating more uniform beams is also described. Detailed experimental results and simulation studies are presented in this paper.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
Influenza is a long-standing public health concern, but its transmission remains poorly understood. To have a better knowledge of influenza transmission, we carried out a detailed modelling investigation in a nosocomial influenza outbreak in Hong Kong. We identified three hypothesised transmission modes between index patient and other inpatients based on the long-range airborne and fomite routes. We considered three kinds of healthcare workers’ routine round pathways in 1140 scenarios with various values of important parameters. In each scenario, we used a multi-agent modelling framework to estimate the infection risk for each hypothesis and conducted least-squares fitting to evaluate the hypotheses by comparing the distribution of the infection risk with that of the attack rates. Amongst the hypotheses tested in the 1140 scenarios, the prediction of modes involving the long-range airborne route fit better with the attack rates, and that of the two-route transmission mode had the best fit, with the long-range airborne route contributing about 94% and the fomite route contributing 6% to the infections. Under the assumed conditions, the influenza virus was likely to have spread via a combined long-range airborne and fomite routes, with the former predominant and the latter negligible.
The influence of different inclusion levels of a biologically active peptide derived from soybeans by enzymatic hydrolysis, on growth performance, foot pad lesions and carcass characteristics in broilers were examined in this study. Starter (1 to 21 d) and finisher (22 to 42 d) diets, based on maize and soybean meal, were subjected to seven inclusion levels of a commercial soybean bioactive peptide (SBP) product (Fortide, Chengdu Mytech Biotech Co. Ltd., Chengdu, Sichuan, China) at 0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 g/kg of diet. All diets were equivalent in respect of energy density, digestible amino acids and other nutrients. A total of 840, one-day-old male broilers (Ross 308) were allocated to 42 pens (20 birds/pen), which were randomly assigned to seven dietary treatments. During the starter period, there was no significant effect of SBP on weight gain and feed intake of the birds. However, a significant (P < 0.05) effect of SBP was observed for the feed conversion ratio (FCR), with SBP inclusion at 3.0 g/kg and above showing lower (P < 0.05) FCR values compared to the diet with no SBP. No effect of SBP was observed for weight gain and feed intake over the whole trial period. However, SBP inclusion tended (P = 0.06) to influence the FCR of birds. Increasing SBP inclusion level resulted in gradual decrease in FCR values, with SBP inclusion at 5.0 and 6.0 g/kg showing lower FCR values compared to the diet with no SBP. Overall, the present study suggests that dietary supplementation of SBP in broiler diets has the potential to improve FCR and to be used as a novel functional protein in poultry diets.
Plant height and lodging resistance can affect rice yield significantly, but these traits have always conflicted in crop cultivation and breeding. The current study aimed to establish a rapid and accurate plant type evaluation mechanism to provide a basis for breeding tall but lodging-resistant super rice varieties. A comprehensive approach integrating plant anatomy and histochemistry was used to investigate variations in flexural strength (a material property, defined as the stress in a material just before it yields in a flexure test) of the rice stem and the lodging index of 15 rice accessions at different growth stages to understand trends in these parameters and the potential factors influencing them. Rice stem anatomical structure was observed and the lignin content the cell wall was determined at different developmental stages. Three rice lodging evaluation models were established using correlation analysis, multivariate regression and artificial radial basis function (RBF) neural network analysis, and the results were compared to identify the most suitable model for predicting optimal rice plant types. Among the three evaluation methods, the mean residual and relative prediction errors were lowest using the RBF network, indicating that it was highly accurate and robust and could be used to establish a mathematical model of the morphological characteristics and lodging resistance of rice to identify optimal varieties.
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.
This paper reports the measurement of the energy loss of protons at the energy of 100 keV penetrating a partially ionized hydrogen plasma. The plasma of ne ≈ 1015–16 cm−3; Te ≈ 1–2 eV and lifetime of about 8 µs is created by the hydrogen gas discharge. The experimental results show an increase of a factor of 2.8 in the energy loss, which are in good agreement with the Bethe, Standard Stopping Model, Li–Petrasso and Vlasov models’ predictions within the error limit. The Bethe–Bloch Coulomb logarithm term is found to increase by a factor of 4.0 for free electrons as compared with the situation where bound electrons prevail. The potential application of protons energy loss for diagnosing the electron density in plasma is proposed too.
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.
Population decline among Asian horseshoe crabs in Asia is increasingly reported, but knowledge of their population and ecological status in China is limited. We conducted community interviews in 30 fishing villages around Beibu Gulf in Guangxi, China, to collect distribution information about the potential spawning/nursery grounds of Tachypleus tridentatus and Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda, and any imminent threats to their populations. Based on the results from 400 respondents we identified 45 potential spawning/nursery grounds distributed widely along the shores of Beibu Gulf. We visited 10 of these sites and verified the presence of juvenile horseshoe crabs by field surveys. Nearly all respondents reported an overall depletion in horseshoe crab populations from these 45 sites, which they attributed mainly to unsustainable fishing practices. Respondents who reported having seen horseshoe crab mating pairs on shores were mostly older people, which may suggest a considerable reduction in horseshoe crabs coming to the shores to spawn in recent years. The mean daily harvest of adult T. tridentatus offshore, as indicated by fishers, has declined from c. 50–1,000 in the 1990s to 0–30 individuals during 2011–2016. Our Wisdom of Crowds approach, supported by confirmatory field surveys, is a cost-effective method for assessing the population status of horseshoe crabs, and the level of threat they face. Similar approaches with other species are likely to be particularly valuable in the Asia–Pacific region, where well-structured population monitoring is largely unaffordable.
Here a compact three orthogonal planes high-energy electron radiography system was proposed. One of the critical technologies, the ultra-fast beam bunches split from the bunch train are studied. The separated bunches could be transported to the three orthogonal planes of the target for dynamic radiography diagnostics. The key elements of the ultra-fast bunches split system are transverse deflecting cavity (TDC) and the twin septum magnet (TSM). The principle of TDC and TSM are briefly introduced. An example of the beam bunches split system for test experiment (40 MeV electron beam) with TDC and TSM is designed and studied by particle-tracking simulation and it confirms this method is valid and feasible. Especially with TSM, a compact three orthogonal planes radiography system can be realized. The evolution of the beam parameters along the beam line from simulation are investigated. The detailed design of the beam split system and beam dynamics simulation study are presented in this paper.
An updated compilation of published and new data of major-ion (Ca, Cl, K, Mg, Na, NO3, SO4) and methylsulfonate (MS) concentrations in snow from 520 Antarctic sites is provided by the national ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition) programmes of Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the national Antarctic programme of Finland. The comparison shows that snow chemistry concentrations vary by up to four orders of magnitude across Antarctica and exhibit distinct geographical patterns. The Antarctic-wide comparison of glaciochemical records provides a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the fundamental factors that ultimately control the chemistry of snow or ice samples. This paper aims to initiate data compilation and administration in order to provide a framework for facilitation of Antarctic-wide snow chemistry discussions across all ITASE nations and other contributing groups. The data are made available through the ITASE web page (http://www2.umaine.edu/itase/content/syngroups/snowchem.html) and will be updated with new data as they are provided. In addition, recommendations for future research efforts are summarized.
A biologically active peptide derived from soybeans by enzymatic hydrolysis was evaluated for its potential benefits on chicken growth performance, apparent ileal nutrient digestibility and intestinal histology in young broilers. Seven broiler starter diets, based on maize and soybean meal, were formulated to contain 0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 g/kg of a commercial soybean bioactive peptide (SBP) product (Fortide, Chengdu Mytech Biotech Co. Ltd., Chengdu, Sichuan, China). All diets were equivalent in respect of energy density, and digestible protein, amino acids, and other nutrients. A total of 336, one-day-old male broilers (Ross 308) were allocated to 42 cages (eight birds/cage), which were randomly assigned to the six dietary treatments. There was no significant effect of SBP on weight gain and feed intake of the birds. A significant (P < 0.01) effect of SBP was observed for FCR. Inclusion of 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 g SBP/kg of feed resulted in similar FCR values to the diet with no SBP, addition of SBP to the diets at 5.0 and 6.0 g/kg of feed resulted in lower (P < 0.05) FCR compared to the diet with no SBP. Inclusion of SBP had no effect (P > 0.05) on apparent ileal digestibility of nutrients and energy utilisation. Though not statistically significant, SBP inclusion, regardless of level, resulted in 5.7% and 6.3% increases in digestibility of dry matter and nitrogen, respectively. Birds receiving no SBP had the shortest villi and those fed SBP at 3.0 and 6.0 g/kg of feed tended (P = 0.075) to have the greatest villus height. The current findings suggested that including SBP in broiler diets may benefit production through improving feed efficiency, and, to some extent, nutrient digestion and intestinal histology parameters.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is highly prevalent in China, and more efficient methods of epidemic detection and early warning need to be developed to augment traditional surveillance systems. In this paper, a method that uses Baidu search queries to track and predict HFMD epidemics is presented, and the outbreaks of HFMD in China during the 60-month period from January 2011 to December 2015 are predicted. The Pearson correlation coefficient (R) of the predictive model and the mean absolute percentage errors between observed HFMD case counts and the predicted number show that our predictive model gives excellent fit to the data. This implies that Baidu search queries can be used in China to track and reliably predict HFMD epidemics, and can serve as a supplement to official systems for HFMD epidemic surveillance.
Pudong White (PW) pigs are distributed in the Taihu region of China and are characterized by their completely white coats. A heated debate concerning this genetic resource and its relationship to Taihu and western pig breeds has arisen, due to the white coat of the animals. To determine whether PW is a unique genetic resource, we performed a detailed assessment of the genetic relationships among PW, six breeds from the Taihu population and three western pig breeds, based on whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. A total of 68 102 SNPs were identified in the genomes of the tested populations by next-generation sequencing technology, of which, 64 were determined as the potentially specific to PW breed. The genetic distance between PW pigs and the Taihu population was shorter than that between PW and western breeds. The genetic distance within the PW population was small and neighbour-joining tree analysis revealed that all PW individuals clustered into a separated group, indicating a close genetic relationship among PW individuals which may result from a small effective population size (Ne) and inbreeding. The results of both principal component analysis and evaluation using fastSTRUCTURE demonstrated that PW was clearly differentiated from other breeds. Together, these results indicate that PW is a distinctive genetic resource with a unique genetic structure separate from other Taihu and western pig breeds. Furthermore, this genome-wide comprehensive survey of the relationships among PW, Taihu and western pig breeds, demonstrates the rationality of the current breed classification of PW. The results also provide evidence about the unique genetic resource of PW, based on genome-wide genetic markers. These data will improve our understanding of the genetic structure and current state of PW breed, and facilitate the development of a national project for the conservation and utilization of these pigs.