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Previous studies have revealed associations of meteorological factors with tuberculosis (TB) cases. However, few studies have examined their lag effects on TB cases. This study was aimed to analyse nonlinear lag effects of meteorological factors on the number of TB notifications in Hong Kong. Using a 22-year consecutive surveillance data in Hong Kong, we examined the association of monthly average temperature and relative humidity with temporal dynamics of the monthly number of TB notifications using a distributed lag nonlinear models combined with a Poisson regression. The relative risks (RRs) of TB notifications were >1.15 as monthly average temperatures were between 16.3 and 17.3 °C at lagged 13–15 months, reaching the peak risk of 1.18 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02–1.35) when it was 16.8 °C at lagged 14 months. The RRs of TB notifications were >1.05 as relative humidities of 60.0–63.6% at lagged 9–11 months expanded to 68.0–71.0% at lagged 12–17 months, reaching the highest risk of 1.06 (95% CI 1.01–1.11) when it was 69.0% at lagged 13 months. The nonlinear and delayed effects of average temperature and relative humidity on TB epidemic were identified, which may provide a practical reference for improving the TB warning system.
Families facing end-stage nonmalignant chronic diseases (NMCDs) are presented with similar symptom burdens and need for psycho-social–spiritual support as their counterparts with advanced cancers. However, NMCD patients tend to face more variable disease trajectories, and thus may require different anticipatory supports, delivered in familiar environments. The Life Rainbow Programme (LRP) provides holistic, transdisciplinary, community-based end-of-life care for patients with NMCDs and their caregivers. This paper reports on the 3-month outcomes using a single-group, pre–post comparison.
Patients with end-stage NMCDs were screened for eligibility by a medical team before being referred to the LRP. Patients were assessed at baseline (T0), 1 month (T1), and 3 months (T2) using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS). Their hospital use in the previous month was also measured by presentations at accident and emergency services, admissions to intensive care units, and number of hospital bed-days. Caregivers were assessed at T0 and T2 using the Chinese version of the Modified Caregiver Strain Index, and self-reported health, psychological, spiritual, and overall well-being. Over-time changes in outcomes for patients, and caregivers, were tested using paired-sample t-tests, Wilcoxon-signed rank tests, and chi-square tests.
Seventy-four patients and 36 caregivers participated in this research study. Patients reported significant improvements in all IPOS domains at both 1 and 3 months [ranging from Cohen's d = 0.495 (nausea) to 1.793 (depression and information needs fulfilled)]. Average hospital bed-days in the previous month fell from 3.50 to 1.68, comparing baseline and 1 month (p < 0.05). At 3 months, caregiver strain was significantly reduced (r = 0.332), while spiritual well-being was enhanced (r = 0.333).
After receiving 3 month's LRP services, patients with end-stage NMCDs and their caregivers experienced significant improvements in the quality of life and well-being, and their hospital bed-days were reduced.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
This study aimed to investigate the benefit of Bonebridge devices in patients with single-sided deafness.
Five patients with single-sided deafness who were implanted with Bonebridge devices were recruited in a single-centre study. Participants’ speech perception and horizontal sound localisation abilities were assessed at 6 and 12 months post-operatively. Speech intelligibility in noisy environments was measured in three different testing conditions (speech and noise presented from the front, speech and noise presented from the front and contralateral (normal ear) side separately, and speech presented from the ipsilateral (implanted Bonebridge) side and noise from the contralateral side). Sound localisation was evaluated in Bonebridge-aided and Bonebridge-unaided conditions at different stimuli levels (65, 70 and 75 dB SPL).
All participants showed a better capacity for speech intelligibility in quiet environments with the Bonebridge device. The speech recognition threshold with the Bonebridge device was significantly decreased at both short- and long-term follow up in the speech presented from the ipsilateral (implanted Bonebridge) side and noise from the contralateral side condition (p < 0.05). Additionally, participants maintained similar levels of sound localisation between the Bonebridge-aided and unaided conditions (p > 0.05). However, the accuracy of localisation showed some improvement at 70 dB SPL and 75 dB SPL post-operatively.
The Bonebridge device provides the benefit of improved speech perception performance in patients with single-sided deafness. Sound localisation abilities were neither improved nor worsened with Bonebridge implantation at the follow-up assessments.
This report is on the synthesis by electrospinning of multiferroic core-shell nanofibers of strontium hexaferrite and lead zirconate titanate or barium titanate and studies on magneto-electric (ME) coupling. Fibers with well-defined core–shell structures showed the order parameters in agreement with values for nanostructures. The strength of ME coupling measured by the magnetic field-induced polarization showed the fractional change in the remnant polarization as high as 21%. The ME voltage coefficient in H-assembled films showed the strong ME response for the zero magnetic bias field. Follow-up studies and potential avenues for enhancing the strength of ME coupling in the core–shell nanofibers are discussed.
There seems to be geographical differences in decisions about breast conserving surgery (BCS) in breast cancer patients. This study was to evaluate patients’ attitude to BCS and to assess the factors affecting cancer practice in West China.
A structured questionnaire was distributed to 184 patients, eliciting information about the patients’ characteristics, occupation, education, family life, recognition of illness, knowledge about BCS, the main means of gaining surgery information, selecting surgery approaches, preferences to breast reservation.
In all, 163 patients completed the questionnaire. The results indicated that only 7.4% of patients received BCS and 23% of the remaining patients desired to have BCS and the affecting factors were significantly associated with their family life, recognition of illness and the main means of gaining surgery information (P < 0.05). No associations were between BCS selecting and the other variables studied. The most frequent reasons for selecting BCS were keeping the female shape and improving quality of life (71%), the second most were postoperative recovery, minimal influence of physical function (47%) and patients’ knowledge about BCS (42%). The most frequent reasons for not selecting BCS were uncertainty about BCS results and worry about recurrence (81%), the second most was the elderly age unnecessary for BCS (40%).
The findings indicate that breast cancer patients in West China do not take BCS as the first choice as the best treatment method. It is warranted that further study of more patients, attitude of patients’ partners and physicians to BCS.
The present study was designed to detect three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located on 22q11 that was thought as being of particularly importance for genetic research into schizophrenia. We recruited a total of 176 Chinese family trios of Han descent, consisting of mothers, fathers and affected offspring with schizophrenia for the genetic analysis. The transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) showed that of three SNPs, rs10314 in the 3′-untranslated region of the CLDN5 locus was associated with schizophrenia (χ2 = 4.75, P = 0.029). The other two SNPs, rs1548359 present in the CDC45L locus centromeric of rs10314 and rs739371 in the 5′-flanking region of the CLDN5 locus, did not show such an association. The global chi-square (χ2) test showed that the 3-SNP haplotype system was not associated with schizophrenia although the 1-df test for individual haplotypes showed that the rs1548359(C)-rs10314(G)-rs739371(C) haplotype was excessively non-transmitted (χ2 = 5.32, P = 0.02). Because the claudin proteins are a major component for barrier-forming tight junctions that could play a crucial role in response to changing natural, physiological and pathological conditions, the CLDN5 association with schizophrenia may be an important clue leading to look into a meeting point of genetic and environmental factors.
Post-stroke depression (PSD) is the most common psychiatric complication facing stroke survivors and has been associated with increased distress, physical disability, poor rehabilitation, and suicidal ideation. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying PSD remain unknown, and no objective laboratory-based test is available to aid PSD diagnosis or monitor progression.
Here, an isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based quantitative proteomic approach was performed to identify differentially expressed proteins in plasma samples obtained from PSD, stroke, and healthy control subjects.
The significantly differentiated proteins were primarily involved in lipid metabolism and immunoregulation. Six proteins associated with these processes – apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV), apolipoprotein C-II (ApoC-II), C-reactive protein (CRP), gelsolin, haptoglobin, and leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein (LRG) – were selected for Western blotting validation. ApoA-IV expression was significantly upregulated in PSD as compared to stroke subjects. ApoC-II, LRG, and CRP expression were significantly downregulated in both PSD and HC subjects relative to stroke subjects. Gelsolin and haptoglobin expression were significantly dysregulated across all three groups with the following expression profiles: gelsolin, healthy control > PSD > stroke subjects; haptoglobin, stroke > PSD > healthy control.
Early perturbation of lipid metabolism and immunoregulation may be involved in the pathophysiology of PSD. The combination of increased gelsolin levels accompanied by decreased haptoglobin levels shows promise as a plasma-based diagnostic biomarker panel for detecting increased PSD risk in post-stroke patients.
California has a large population of people experiencing homelessness (PEH) that is characterised by a high proportion of people who are unsheltered and chronically homeless. PEH are at increased risk of communicable diseases due to multiple, intersecting factors, including increased exposures, comorbid conditions including substance use disorder and mental illness and lack of access to hygiene and healthcare facilities. Data available for several communicable diseases show that PEH in California experiences an increased burden of communicable diseases compared to people not experiencing homelessness. Public health agencies face unique challenges in serving this population. Efforts to reduce homelessness, increase access to health care for PEH, enhance data availability and strengthen partnerships among agencies serving PEH can help reduce the disparity in communicable disease burden faced by PEH.
Persistent gaming, despite acknowledgment of its negative consequences, is a major criterion for individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD). This study evaluated the adaptive decision-making, risky decision, and decision-making style of individuals with IGD.
We recruited 87 individuals with IGD and 87 without IGD (matched controls). All participants underwent an interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) diagnostic criteria for IGD and completed an adaptive decision-making task; the Preference for Intuition and Deliberation Scale, Chen Internet Addiction Scale, and Barratt Impulsivity Scale were also assessed on the basis of the information from the diagnostic interviews.
The results demonstrated that the participants in both groups tend to make more risky choices in advantage trials where their expected value (EV) was more favorable than those of the riskless choice. The tendency to make a risky choice in advantage trials was stronger among IGD group than that among controls. Participants of both groups made more risky choices in the loss domain, a risky option to loss more versus sure loss option, than they did in the gain domain, a risky option to gain more versus sure gain. Furthermore, the participants with IGD made more risky choices in the gain domain than did the controls. Participants with IGD showed higher and lower preferences for intuitive and deliberative decision-making styles, respectively, than controls and their preferences for intuition and deliberation were positively and negatively associated with IGD severity, respectively.
These results suggested that individuals with IGD have elevated EV sensitivity for decision-making. However, they demonstrated risky preferences in the gain domain and preferred an intuitive rather than deliberative decision-making style. This might explain why they continue Internet gaming despite negative consequences. Thus, therapists should focus more on decision-making styles and promote deliberative thinking processes to mitigate the long-term negative consequences of IGD.
Tuberculosis (TB) is generally considered a disease that principally afflicts the low-income segments of a population. In the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China, with the economic transformation and a new Headquarters Economy (HE) emerging, there are now more cases in office workers than in manufacturing workers. To illustrate this trend, we describe a small TB outbreak in an office building located in the centre of the rapidly growing HE district. Two active pulmonary tuberculosis cases were found in workers who shared an office, and whole genome sequencing showed that the genetic distance between the strains of the two cases was just one single nucleotide polymorphism, consistent with intra-office transmission. Investigation of 30 other workers in the same or adjacent offices with interviews, interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) and chest X-rays, identified one new TB case and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in 40.0% (12/30) of the contacts. The offices were under-ventilated. None of the IGRA positive, asymptomatic contacts agreed to receive treatment for LTBI, presumably due to TB stigma, and over the next 2 years 69.0% (20/29) of the contacts were lost to follow-up. Treatment for LTBI and stigma of TB remain challenges here. Office workers in the HE of rapidly economic developing areas should be targeted with increased vigilance by TB control programmes.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Music or other background sounds are often played in barns as environmental enrichment for animals on farms or to mask sudden disruptive noises. Previous studies looking at the effects of this practice on non-human animal well-being and productivity have found contradictory results. However, there is still a lack of discussion on whether piglets have the ability to distinguish different types of music. In this study, we exposed piglets to different music conditions to investigate whether the piglets preferred certain music types, in which case those types would have the potential to be used as environmental enrichment. In total, 30 piglets were tested for music type preference to determine whether growing pigs respond differently to different types of music. We used music from two families of instruments (S: string, W: wind) and with two tempos (S: slow, 65 beats/min (bpm); F: fast, 200 bpm), providing four music-type combinations (SS: string-slow; SF: string-fast; WS: wind-slow; WF: wind-fast). The piglets were given a choice between two chambers, one with no music and the other with one of the four types of music, and their behaviour was observed. The results showed that SS and WF music significantly increased residence time (P<0.01) compared with the other music conditions. Compared with the control group (with no music), the different music conditions led to different behavioural responses, where SS music significantly increased lying (P<0.01) and exploration behaviour (P<0.01); SF music significantly increased tail-wagging behaviour (P<0.01); WS music significantly increased exploration (P<0.01); and WF music significantly increased walking, lying, standing and exploration (all P<0.01). The results also showed that musical instruments and tempo had little effect on most of the behaviours. Fast-tempo music significantly increased walking (P=0.02), standing (P<0.01) and tail wagging (P=0.04) compared with slow-tempo music. In conclusion, the results of this experiment show that piglets are more sensitive to tempo than to musical instruments in their response to musical stimulation and seem to prefer SS and WF music to the other two types. The results also suggest a need for further research on the effect of music types on animals.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
A multichannel calorimeter system is designed and constructed which is capable of delivering single-shot and broad-band spectral measurement of terahertz (THz) radiation generated in intense laser–plasma interactions. The generation mechanism of backward THz radiation (BTR) is studied by using the multichannel calorimeter system in an intense picosecond laser–solid interaction experiment. The dependence of the BTR energy and spectrum on laser energy, target thickness and pre-plasma scale length is obtained. These results indicate that coherent transition radiation is responsible for the low-frequency component (
1 THz) of BTR. It is also observed that a large-scale pre-plasma primarily enhances the high-frequency component (
3 THz) of BTR.
High-energy ions, such as fusion alphas and ions from external heating, can be very sensitive to any non-axisymmetric features in the confining magnetic field due to their collisionless nature. Since understanding the confinement properties of these ions is crucial for ITER (the first fusion reactor currently under construction in Cadarache, France) and beyond, it is of ultimate importance that the predictive simulations are accurate and free of numerical distortions. Adding the third dimension comes at substantial computational cost, calling for new kinds of approaches and computational platforms. In this contribution we discuss what new features, even new physics, the non-axisymmetry brings with it and how one could cope with the ever-increasing demands on both memory and CPU resources. In the end, a few simulation examples with a varying level of non-axisymmetry are given.
Dipetalonema gracile is a common parasite in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus), which can cause malnutrition and progressive wasting of the host, and lead to death in the case of massive infection. This study aimed to identify a suspected D. gracile worm from a dead squirrel monkey by means of molecular biology, and to amplify its complete mitochondrial genome by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequence analysis. The results identified the worm as D. gracile, and the full length of its complete mitochondrial genome was 13,584 bp, which contained 22 tRNA genes, 12 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, one AT-rich region and one small non-coding region. The nucleotide composition included A (16.89%), G (20.19%), T (56.22%) and C (6.70%), among which A + T = 73.11%. The 12 protein-coding genes used TTG and ATT as start codons, and TAG and TAA as stop codons. Among the 22 tRNA genes, only trnS1AGN and trnS2UCN exhibited the TΨC-loop structure, while the other 20 tRNAs showed the TV-loop structure. The rrnL (986 bp) and rrnS (685 bp) genes were single-stranded and conserved in secondary structure. This study has enriched the mitochondrial gene database of Dipetalonema and laid a scientific basis for further study on classification, and genetic and evolutionary relationships of Dipetalonema nematodes.
Analysis of the potato yield gap and the corresponding nutrient gap can help in devising strategies and measurements to increase productivity for closing the gaps through improved practices. On-farm experiments conducted in the main potato production areas of northwest China were used to determine attainable yield. Official statistical data were used to determine the actual on-farm yield. Yield gap was the difference between attainable yield and actual on-farm yield. Nutrient gap was calculated by dividing the size of yield gap by partial factor productivity. Results indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilization increased potato yield by an average of 1169–7625, 2937–5336 and 2331–7338 kg/ha, respectively. The maximum attainable yields (the 90th percentile yields) were 50 145, 37 855, 30 261 and 56 616 kg/ha and the average actual on-farm yield were 14 179, 16 732, 10 271 and 19 990 kg/ha in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai provinces, respectively. In the above four regions, yield would need to increase by 165, 70, 112 and 121% from actual yield to reach 75% of attainable yield. Compared with recent 3-year average NPK rates by farmers, the total NPK rates need to increase by 90.1–134.3% for IMAR, 42.9–69.2% for Gansu, 68.1–111.2% for Ningxia and 48.1–83.8% for Qinghai to improve productivity to near the 75% attainable yield. In conclusion, the high yield responses to fertilizer application provide opportunities to close the large yield gaps through balanced nutrition.
We numerically study the impact of a compound drop on a hydrophobic substrate using a ternary-fluid diffuse-interface method, aiming to understand how the presence of the inner droplet affects the spreading dynamics and maximal spreading of the compound drop. First, it is interesting to see that the numerical results for an impacting pure drop agree well with the universal rescaling of maximal spreading ratio proposed by Lee et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 786, 2016, R4). Second, two flow regimes have been identified for an impacting compound drop: namely jammed spreading and joint rim formation. The maximal spreading ratio of the compound drop is found to depend on the volume fraction of the inner droplet
, the surface tension ratio
, the Weber number and the flow regime. Moreover, we propose a universal rescaling of maximal spreading ratio for compound drops, by integrating the one for pure drops with a corrected Weber number that takes
and the flow regime into account. The predictions of the universal rescaling are in good agreement with the numerical results for impacting compound drops.