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The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death among infectious diseases. China has a high burden of TB and accounted for almost 13% of the world's cases of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB. Spinal TB is one reason for the resurgence of TB in China. Few large case studies of MDR spinal TB in China have been conducted. The aim of this research was to observe the epidemiological characteristics of inpatients with MDR spinal TB in six provinces and cities of China from 1999–2015. This is a multicentre retrospective observational study. Patients' information was collected from the control disease centre and infectious disease database of hospitals in six provinces and cities in China. A total of 3137 patients with spinal TB and 272 patients with MDR spinal TB were analysed. The result showed that MDR spinal TB remains a public health concern and commonly affects patients 15–30 years of age (34.19%). The most common lesions involved the thoracolumbar spine (35.66%). Local pain was the most common symptom (98.53%). Logistic analysis showed that for spinal TB patients, reside in rural district (OR 1.79), advanced in years (OR 1.92) and high education degree (OR 2.22) were independent risk factors for the development of MDR spinal TB. Women were associated with a lower risk of MDR spinal TB (OR 0.48). The most common first-line and second-line resistant drug was isoniazid (68.75%) and levofloxacin (29.04%), respectively. The use of molecular diagnosis resulted in noteworthy clinical advances, including earlier initiation of MDR spinal TB treatment, improved infection control and better clinical outcome. Chemotherapy and surgery can yield satisfactory outcomes with timely diagnosis and long-term treatment. These results enable a better understanding of the MDR spinal TB in China among the general public.
The effect of hot streaks from a gas turbine combustor on the thermodynamic load of internally air-cooled nozzle guide vanes (NGVs) and shrouds has been numerically investigated under flight conditions. The study follows two steps: one for the high-fidelity 60° combustor sector with simplified ten NGVs and three thermocouples attached; and the other for the NGV sectors where each sector consists of one high-fidelity NGV (probe NGV) and nine dummy NGVs. The first step identifies which NGV has the highest thermal load and provides the inlet flow boundary conditions for the second step. In the second step, the flow fields and thermal loads of the probe NGVs are resolved in detail.
With the systematically validated physical models, the two-phase flowfield of the combustor-NGVs sector has been successfully simulated. The predicted mean and maximum temperature at the combustor sector exit are in excellent agreement with the experimental data, which provides a solid basis for the hot-streak effect investigation. The results indicate that the second NGV, looking upstream from left, has the highest thermal load. Its maximum surface temperature is 8.4% higher than that for the same NGV but with the mean inlet boundary conditions, and 14.1% higher than the ninth NGV. The finding is consistent with the field-observed NGV damage pattern. To extend the service life of these vulnerable NGVs, some protection methods should be considered.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
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.
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.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is an effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. Different symptom scores are used to evaluate the efficacy of subcutaneous immunotherapy in clinical trials.
A total of 58 allergic rhinitis patients sensitised to house dust mites, with or without mild asthma, were included. Symptom score, medication score, visual analogue scale score and quality of life were assessed before and after 6, 12 and 24 months of subcutaneous immunotherapy.
After two years of subcutaneous immunotherapy, asthma symptom scores nearly reached zero, whereas the scores remained higher for nasal symptoms. The changes in asthma symptom scores were markedly different (p < 0.05) and occurred faster than the changes in nasal symptom scores when compared between monosensitised and polysensitised groups. Significant reductions in visual analogue scale score and medication score were demonstrated after subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Two-year subcutaneous immunotherapy with house dust mite vaccine is an effective treatment for both monosensitised and polysensitised allergic patients. The changes in asthma symptom scores were markedly different and occurred quicker than the changes in nasal symptom scores in Chinese house dust mite allergic patients.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
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.
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.
Intranasal octenidine, an antiseptic alternative to mupirocin, can be used for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decolonisation in the prevention of nosocomial transmission. A controlled before–after study was conducted in three extended-care hospitals in Singapore. All inpatients with >48 h stay were screened for MRSA colonisation in mid-2015(pre-intervention) and mid-2016(post-intervention). Hospital A: universal daily chlorhexidine bathing throughout 2015 and 2016, with intranasal octenidine for MRSA-colonisers in 2016. Hospital B: universal daily octenidine bathing and intranasal octenidine for MRSA-colonisers in 2016. Hospital C: no intervention. In 2015, MRSA prevalence was similar among the hospitals (Hospital A: 38.5%, Hospital B: 48.1%, Hospital C: 43.4%, P = 0.288). From 2015 to 2016, MRSA prevalence reduced by 58% in Hospital A (Adj OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.20–0.89) and 43% in Hospital B (Adj OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.39–0.84), but remained similar in Hospital C (Adj OR 1.19, 95% CI 0.60–2.33), after adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities, prior MRSA carriage, prior antibiotics exposure and length of hospital stay. Compared with the change in MRSA prevalence from 2015 to 2016 in Hospital C, MRSA prevalence declined substantially in Hospital A (Adj OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.13–0.97) and Hospital B (Adj OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.22–1.03). Topical intranasal octenidine, coupled with universal daily antiseptic bathing, can reduce MRSA colonisation in extended-care facilities.
Nasal irrigation is commonly performed in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This study systematically assessed the clinical efficacy of nasal irrigation from the medical literature.
The PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched using a comprehensive strategy, limited to English-language articles, published from October 1971 to March 2017, and comprising human subjects.
A total of 824 trials were identified, 5 of which, involving 331 participants, were included in this systematic review. After selection, only three trials were eligible for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Nasal irrigation using normal saline and various solutions was found to be effective in reducing symptom scores and endoscopic scores for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Comparison of outcome measures, such as eosinophil count reduction, revealed that various solutions are more effective than normal saline alone; however, no statistical significance was found in terms of reduced symptom or endoscopic scores.
Based on the current limited evidence, nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, when comparing various solutions with normal saline, no significant difference was found in symptom scores or endoscopic scores.
Charge Exchange (CEX) ion is the main factor causing the plume pollution. The distribution of CEX ions is determined by the distribution of beam ions and neutral atoms. Hence, the primary problem in the study of the plume is how to accurately simulate the distribution of beam ions and neutral atoms. At present, the most commonly used model utilised for the plume simulation is the analytical model proposed by Roy for the plume simulation of the NASA Solar Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ion thruster. However, this analytical model can only be applied to the ion beam with small divergence angles. In addition, the analytical model is no longer applicable to the simulation for the plume of a new type of ion thruster that appeared recently, which is called the annular ion thruster. In this paper, a 3D particle model is proposed for the plume simulation of ion thrusters consisting of the particle model for beam ions, the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) model for neutral atoms and the Immersed Finite Element-Particle In Cell-Monte Carlo Collision (IFE-PIC-MCC) model for CEX ions. Then, the plume of the NSTAR ion thruster is simulated by both Roy's model and the 3D particle model. The simulation results of both models are then compared with the experimental results. It is shown that the numerical results of the 3D particle model agree well with those of the analytical model and the experimental data. And this 3D particle model can also be used for other electric thrusters.
This study was designed to explore the association between undernutrition in the growth period and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-aged Chinese population. A total of 1756 subjects, aged 45–60 years, were invited to participate in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study and divided into three groups according to their self-reported animal food intake in the growth period. Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were defined as undernutrition, nutritional improvement and the good nutrition group, respectively. In the three groups, the subjects in Groups 1 and 2 had more oil and salt intake (P<0.001), and less eggs and milk intake (P<0.001), when compared with the subjects in Group 3. After adjusting for age, education, smoking status and other confounding factors, it was found that male participants who experienced nutritional improvement before age 18 had higher risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05, 2.69] than those with good nutrition, and female participants with undernutrition (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.29) and nutritional improvement (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.69) before age 18 had a higher risk of hypertension than those with good nutrition. For diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, our results did not found difference among the three groups both in male and female. Our findings indicated that nutritional deficiency in childhood was associated with bad dietary behaviors and a significantly increased risk of hypertension in middle age. Therefore, early adequate nutrition is very important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases later.
In the current intensive production system, ruminants are often fed high-grain (HG) diets. However, this feeding pattern often causes rumen metabolic disorders and may further trigger laminitis, the exact mechanism is not clear. This study investigated the effect of HG diet feeding on fermentative and microbial changes in the rumen and on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the lamellar tissue. In all, 12 male goats were fed a hay diet (0% grain; n=6) or an HG diet (56.5% grain; n=6). On day 50 of treatment, samples of blood, rumen content, and lamellar tissue of hooves of goats were collected. The data showed that compared with the hay group, HG-fed goats had lower (P<0.05) rumen pH but higher (P<0.05) total volatile fatty acids and lactate in the rumen and higher (P<0.05) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels in the rumen and blood. HG diet feeding altered the composition of rumen bacterial community, and correspondingly, the results suggested that their functions in the HG group were also altered. HG diet feeding increased (P<0.05) the expression of interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and MMP-2 mRNA in the lamellar tissues compared with the hay group. Correlation analysis indicated that the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines were positively correlated with MMP-2 expression in lamellar tissues. Overall, these results revealed that HG feeding altered the patterns of rumen fermentation and the composition and functions of rumen bacterial community, and lead to higher levels of LPS in the peripheral blood, and further activated the inflammatory response in lamellar tissues, which may progress to the level of laminar damage.