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As a wide-reaching institutional reform, China's fiscal decentralization was launched in the early 1980s to encourage provincial economic growth by granting more financial autonomy to provincial governments. In this paper, the impact of fiscal decentralization on China's environmental quality is investigated both theoretically and empirically. A neoclassical model is developed based on the primary characteristics of China's fiscal decentralization. Using provincial panel data for the period 1995-2015, a two-equation regression model is employed to empirically verify the three propositions of the theoretical model: (1) there exists an inverted-U shaped relationship between fiscal decentralization and GDP per capita; (2) fiscal decentralization is positively related to GDP per capita at the steady state; (3) there is an inverted-U shaped Environmental Kuznets Curve relationship between pollution emissions and economic growth.
Several studies have suggested that higher carotenoid levels may be beneficial for atherosclerosis patients, but few studies have examined this relationship in the Chinese population. This cross-sectional study examined the association between the levels of carotenoids in diet and serum and carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) in Chinese adults aged 50–75 years in Guangzhou, China. Dietary intake was assessed using a FFQ. HPLC was used to assay the serum concentrations of α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein+zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene. The IMT at the common carotid artery (CCA) and bifurcation of the carotid artery was measured by B-mode ultrasound. A total of 3707 and 2947 participants were included in the analyses of dietary and serum carotenoids. After adjustment for demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle factors, all the serum carotenoids levels except lycopene were found to be inversely associated with the IMT at the CCA and bifurcation (Ptrend<0·001 to 0·013) in both men and women. The absolute mean differences in the IMT between the subjects in the extreme quartiles of serum carotenoid levels were 0·034 mm (α-carotene), 0·037 mm (β-carotene), 0·032 mm (lutein+zeaxanthin), 0·030 mm (β-cryptoxanthin), 0·015 mm (lycopene) and 0·035 mm (total carotenoids) at the CCA; the corresponding values were 0·025, 0·053 0·043, 0·050, 0·011 and 0·042 mm at the bifurcation. The favourable associations were also observed between dietary carotenoids (except lycopene) and the CCA IMT. In conclusion, elevated carotenoid levels in diet and serum are associated with lower carotid IMT values (particular at the CCA) in Chinese adults.
In traditional antenna design, metal components are not placed in the central part of the antenna as they change the characteristics of near field radiation. However, we show that placing a metal ring in the centre of the strip lines, which connect the ends of folded high-frequency dipoles, does not damage the performance of the feed. Instead it significantly improves the voltage standing wave ratio of the feed whilst other performance indicators are not compromised. Thus, our findings show an excellent way of improving the wide band feed. Based on this foundation, a new circularly polarised feed for operation between 0.4 to 2 GHz is introduced for the Chinese Spectral Radioheliograph in this paper. The issue of a feed impedance matching network is investigated. By optimising the impedance matching, the performance of the feed is enhanced with respect to the previous realisations of the Eleven feed. The simulation and experimental results show that the gain of the feed is about 10 dBi, and the VSWR is less than 2:1. In addition, the feed has a low axial ratio, fixed phase centre location, and constant beam width in the range of 0.4 to 2 GHz.
A novel radio frequency identification tag antenna is composed of a resonant open-slot exciter and a dipole-type ground radiator. For a conjugate match to the Alien Higgs-4 chip impedance of 8−j149 Ω at 925 MHz, a quarter wavelength open-slot resonator embedded at the center of the dipole-type ground plane (130 × 18 mm2) was investigated and fabricated. Simple size adjustments and various loaded inductor of the open-slot resonator allow for easy control of the tag antenna resistance and inductive reactance, from which the chip impedance requirement can be easily obtained. The read range of the prototype antenna attached on a foam in the free space can reach more than 9 m, which has been tested for a radio frequency identification reader with 4.0-W of effective isotropic radiated power. Measurement data are in good agreement with simulation results.
Recent studies have suggested an association between vitamin D and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); however, some results are subject to debate. This study was carried out to evaluate the correlation between NAFLD and vitamin D in men and women in East China. The data were obtained from a cross-sectional study that focused on the health and metabolic status of adults in sixteen areas of East China. According to ultrasonic assessments, the patients were divided into normal and NAFLD groups. Demographic characteristics and biochemical measurements were obtained. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to explore the association. In total, 5066 subjects were enrolled, and 2193 (43·3 %) were diagnosed with NAFLD; 84·56 % of the subjects showed vitamin D deficiency. Subjects with high vitamin D levels had a lower prevalence of NAFLD, particularly male subjects. Within the highest quartile of vitamin D levels, the prevalence of NAFLD was 40·8 %, whereas the lowest quartile of vitamin D levels showed a prevalence of 62·2 %, which was unchanged in women across the vitamin D levels. Binary logistic analysis showed that decreased vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of NAFLD (OR 1·54; 95 % CI 1·26, 1·88). This study suggests that vitamin D levels are significantly associated with NAFLD and that vitamin D acts as an independent factor for NAFLD prevalence, particularly in males in East China. Vitamin D interventional treatment might be a new target for controlling NAFLD; elucidating the mechanism requires further research.
Obesity and hyperlipidaemia increase the risk of CVD. Some strains of probiotics have been suggested to have potential applications in cardiovascular health by lowering serum LDL-cholesterol. In this work, high-fat diet-induced hyperlipidaemia in hamsters was treated with different doses (5×108 and 2·5×109 cells/kg per d) of heat-killed Lactobacillus reuteri GMNL-263 (Lr263) by oral gavage for 8 weeks. The serum lipid profile analysis showed that LDL-cholesterol and plasma malondialdehyde (P-MDA) were reduced in the GMNL-263 5×108 cells/kg per d treatment group. Total cholesterol and P-MDA were reduced in the GMNL-263 2·5×109 cells/kg per d treatment group. In terms of heart function, the GMNL-263 2·5×109 cells/kg per d treatments improved the ejection fraction from 85·71 to 91·81 % and fractional shortening from 46·93 to 57·92 % in the high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts. Moreover, the GMNL-263-treated, high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts exhibited reduced Fas-induced myocardial apoptosis and a reactivated IGF1R/PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway. Interestingly, the GMNL-263 treatments also enhanced the heat-shock protein 27 expression in a dose-dependent manner, but the mechanism for this increase remains unclear. In conclusion, supplementary heat-killed L. reuteri GMNL-263 can slightly reduce serum cholesterol. The anti-hyperlipidaemia effects of GMNL-263 may reactivate the IGF1R/PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway and reduce Fas-induced myocardial apoptosis in high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts.
Titanium oxide photoelectrodes have been used for water splitting for a few decades, but have low solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies. Perovskite halides (e.g., CH3NH3PbI3) have recently emerged as an efficient light absorber system. We try to combine the two materials to create new photoelectrodes to achieve a higher efficiency for hydrogen production. The photoelectrodes are investigated for water-splitting hydrogen production under Xe light irradiation by photoelectrochemical (PEC) reaction. Since perovskite halides are favorable light harvesters under UV and visible light irradiation, the composite films of titania and perovskite halide would achieve efficient water splitting. The hydrogen production rate using the composite films is higher than that using anatase TiO2 electrode. However, the composite films are not stable in water under light irradiation and the perovskite halide gradually decomposes into lead halide.
The Chinese Spectral Radioheliograph is an aperture-synthesis telescope observing the Sun in ultra wide bandwidth on the ground. It contains two arrays Chinese Spectral Radioheliograph-I and Chinese Spectral Radioheliograph-II from 0.4 to 15 GHz. In order to obtain ultra wide-band performance, the cascaded folded dipoles are used in this feed. At the same time, in order to get circularly polarised signals coming from the Sun, a wide-band 90° hybrid is added in the output ports of the feed. This feed has characteristics of about 10 dBi gain, less than 1.5 voltage standing wave ratio. It also has characteristics with low axial ratio, fixed phase centre location, and constant beam width in operating frequencies. Through cross-correlating all combinations of two orthogonal polarisations at each antenna, the polarisation state of the waves is measured and give a differential instrumental delay between two data channels. The relationship between the own polarisation degree of the Sun and the observed polarisation degree is also measured for cross-polarised delay in observing the Sun in this paper.
Factors affecting quality of life (QOL) ratings for people with dementia (PWD) have been well studied, but few studies have examined the effect of residence on PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL for PWDs. We designed this study to determine the factors related to PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL in dementia as well as factors related to the discrepancy in these ratings.
For this cross-sectional study, we analyzed data from a convenience sample of 106 PWD-family caregiver dyads (58 community-dwelling dyads and 48 nursing-home dyads). PWDs’ data included socio-demographic variables, QOL (assessed by the Quality of Life-Alzheimer's Disease [QOL-AD] scale), cognition, dementia severity, depression, comorbidities, and quality of the dyadic relationship. Caregivers’ data included socio-demographic variables, depressive symptoms, and mutuality of the dyadic relationship.
QOL-AD scores were lower when rated by caregivers than by PWDs. The key factors positively related to both PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL for PWDs were fewer PWD depressive symptoms and higher quality of the PWD-caregiver relationship. The key factors related to the discrepancy in PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL in dementia were PWD residence in a nursing home and lower dementia severity, as well as higher caregiver depression, being an adult child caregiver, and lower caregiver-PWD mutuality.
Caregiver-rated QOL for PWDs and the discrepancy in rated QOL were significantly associated with PWD residence. If caregiver-rated QOL is needed, the effect of residence of PWD should be taken into consideration. Caregivers’ depressive status and mutuality with PWD must be also carefully assessed.
The association between serum carotenoids and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) remains uncertain, and little is known about this relationship in the Chinese population. The present study examined the association between serum carotenoid concentrations and the MetS in Chinese adults. We conducted a community-based cross-sectional study in which 2148 subjects (1547 women and 601 men) aged 50–75 years were recruited in urban Guangzhou, China. Dietary data and other covariates were collected during face-to-face interviews. Blood pressure, waist circumference, blood lipids, glucose and serum carotenoids (α-, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin) were examined. We found dose–response inverse relationships between individual serum carotenoid concentrations and total carotenoids and the prevalence of the MetS after adjusting for potential confounders (P for trend < 0·001). The OR of the MetS for the highest (v. lowest) quartile were 0·31 (95 % CI 0·20, 0·47) for α-carotene, 0·23 (95 % CI 0·15, 0·36) for β-carotene, 0·44 (95 % CI 0·29, 0·67) for β-cryptoxanthin, 0·39 (95 % CI 0·26, 0·58) for lycopene, 0·28 (95 % CI 0·18, 0·44) for lutein+zeaxanthin and 0·19 (95 % CI 0·12, 0·30) for total carotenoids. Higher concentrations of each individual carotenoid and total carotenoids were significantly associated with a decrease in the number of abnormal MetS components (P for trend < 0·001–0·023). Higher serum carotenoid levels were associated with a lower prevalence of the MetS and fewer abnormal MetS components in middle-aged and elderly Chinese adults.
A new ultra-high frequency radio frequency identification (RFID) tag antenna, which is comprised a U-shaped tuning stub and a dipole radiator for different permittivity surfaces is investigated, fabricated, and measured. For a conjugate match to the NXP G2XM chip impedance of 29–j137 at 915 MHz, a dipole tag antenna with U-shaped stubconnected to dipole arms was designed. Simple size adjustments of the U-shaped tuning stub and dipole radiator of the antenna allow for easy control of the antenna resistance and inductive reactance, from which the chip impedance requirement may be readily satisfied. The read range of the prototype antenna attached on a different permittivity surfaces (εr = 1–4) can reach more than 4.5 m, which has been tested for an RFID reader with 4.0 W of effective isotropic radiated power. The antenna structure consists of two dipole load bars and two loop electrically connected. The design offers more choice of freedom to tune the input impedance of the proposed antenna. Measurement data are presented which are in good agreement with simulation results. The design is suitable for mounting on all kinds of objects. The fabricated tag sensitivity of −3 dBm, read range of 7 m on the x–z and y–z planes, and the measured orientation radiation patterns were obtained in the desired frequency band.
Dietary fibre intake has been suggested to reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, particularly when glycosylated Hb (HbA1c) levels are high. In the present study, we used a quantile regression (QR) approach to characterise the possible heterogeneous associations of dietary fibre intake with HbA1c levels in Chinese diabetic patients. A total of 497 diabetic patients participated in the baseline survey in 2006 and in the follow-up survey in 2011, both of which were conducted in Pudong New Area of Shanghai, China. Structured in-person interviews were conducted to collect information on demographic characteristics and lifestyle factors. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated FFQ. Blood samples were collected during the interviews for biochemical assays. QR models were used to examine the heterogeneous associations of dietary factors with HbA1c levels. A significant marginal association of insoluble dietary fibre intake with subsequent HbA1c levels was observed only when the HbA1c level was over 6·8 %. The associations appeared to be greater when the quantile levels of HbA1c were higher. The coefficient estimates were − 0·174 (95 % CI − 0·433, − 0·025) at the quantile of 0·60, − 0·200 (95 % CI − 0·306, − 0·008) at 0·70, − 0·221 (95 % CI − 0·426, − 0·117) at 0·80, and − 0·389 (95 % CI − 0·516, − 0·018) at 0·90. A similar pattern was observed for the associations of dietary glycaemic index (GI) value with HbA1c levels. In conclusion, the present results indicate that the associations of insoluble dietary fibre intake and GI value with subsequent HbA1c levels depend on glycaemic control status in Chinese diabetic patients. More studies are required to confirm our findings.
In order to determine the transference of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bacillaceae) (Bt) insecticidal protein in the food chain, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect Bt insecticidal protein levels in transgenic Bt cotton (GK12, New variety 33B and SGK321), Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) fed on the Bt cotton varieties, and two natural enemies of S. exigua, Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) and Microplitis pallidipes Szépligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). The results showed that Bt insecticidal protein was found not only in cotton leaves, but also in the body and excrement of S. exigua and the bodies of both C. carnea and M. pallidipes. Bt toxin was detected in S. exigua larvae of all the examined instars (second, third, fourth, and fifth) that fed on transgenic cotton varieties and the Bt toxin level was the highest in the body of the second instar. In addition, the Bt toxin content in the excrement of the second instar was lower than that in the older ones. After the natural enemies C. carnea and M. pallidipes preyed/parasitised the S. exigua larvae that fed on transgenic cotton, Bt toxin was found in both the predator and parasite. This research indicates that Bt protein can be transferred through the food chain and to natural enemies of various predatory habits.
Impaired regulation of blood glucose levels in diabetes mellitus (DM) patients and the associated elevation of blood glucose levels are known to increase the risk of diabetic cardiomyopathy (DC). In the present study, a probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus reuteri GMN-32, was evaluated for its potential to reduce blood glucose levels and to provide protection against DC risks in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced DM rats. The blood glucose levels of the STZ-induced DM rats when treated with L. reuteri GMN-32 decreased from 4480 to 3620 mg/l (with 107 colony-forming units (cfu)/d) and 3040 mg/l (with 109 cfu/d). Probiotic treatment also reduced the changes in the heart caused by the effects of DM. Furthermore, the Fas/Fas-associated protein with death domain pathway-induced caspase 8-mediated apoptosis that was observed in the cardiomyocytes of the STZ-induced DM rats was also found to be controlled in the probiotic-treated rats. The results highlight that L. reuteri GMN-32 treatment reduces blood glucose levels, inhibits caspase 8-mediated apoptosis and promotes cardiac function in DM rats as observed from their ejection fraction and fractional shortening values. In conclusion, the administration of L. reuteri GMN-32 probiotics can regulate blood glucose levels, protect cardiomyocytes and prevent DC in DM rats.
This study estimates the effect of dysgenic trends in Taiwan by exploring the relationships among intelligence, education and fertility. Based on a representative adult sample, education and intelligence were negatively correlated with the number of children born. These correlations were stronger for females. The decline of genotypic intelligence was estimated as 0.82 to 1.33 IQ points per generation for the Taiwanese population.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of a lifestyle intervention programme, combined with a daily low-glycaemic index meal replacement, on body-weight and glycaemic control in subjects with impaired glucose regulation (IGR). Subjects with IGR were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n 46) and a control group (n 42). Both groups received health counselling at baseline. The intervention group also received a daily meal replacement and intensive lifestyle intervention to promote healthy eating habits during the first 3 months of the study, and follow-up visits performed monthly until the end of the 1-year study. Outcome measurements included changes in plasma glucose, glycated Hb (HbA1c), plasma lipids, body weight, blood pressure and body composition (such as body fat mass and visceral fat area). The results showed that body-weight loss after 1 year was significant in the intervention group compared with the control group ( − 1·8 (sem 0·35) v.− 0·6 (sem 0·40) 2·5 kg, P< 0·05). The 2 h plasma glucose concentration decreased 1·24 mmol/l in the intervention group and increased 0·85 mmol/l in the control group (P< 0·05) compared with their baseline, respectively. A 5 kg body-weight loss at 1 year was associated with a decrease of 1·49 mmol/l in 2 h plasma glucose (P< 0·01). The incidence of normal glucose regulation (NGR) in the two groups was significantly different (P= 0·001). In conclusion, the combination of regular contact, lifestyle advice and meal replacement is beneficial in promoting IGR to NGR.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects of osteopontin neutralization treatment on schistosome-induced liver injury in BALB/C mice. We randomly divided 100 BALB/C mice into groups A, B, C, D and group E. Mice in all groups except group A were abdominally infected with schistosomal cercariae to induce a schistosomal hepatopathological model. Mice in group C, D and group E were respectively administered with praziquantel, praziquantel plus colchicine and praziquantel plus neutralizing osteopontin antibody. We extracted mouse liver tissues at 3 and 9 weeks after the ‘stool-eggs-positive’ day, observed liver histopathological changes by haematoxylin-eosin and Masson trichrome staining and detected the expression of osteopontin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) by immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and Western blot. We found that praziquantel plus neutralizing osteopontin antibody treatment significantly decreased the granuloma dimension, the percentage of collagen and the expression of osteopontin, α-SMA and TGF-β1 compared to praziquantel plus colchicine treatment in both the acute and chronic stage of schistosomal liver damage (P<0·05). So we believe that the combined regimen of osteopontin immunoneutralization and anti-helminthic treatment can reduce the granulomatous response and liver fibrosis during the schistosomal hepatopathologic course.
Data for Raven's Progressive Matrices are reported for a sample of 6290 6- to 17-year-olds in Taiwan. The Taiwanese obtained a mean IQ of 109.5, in relation to a British mean of 100. There was no difference in mean scores of boys and girls at age 7 years. At age 10 years girls obtained significantly higher scores than boys, and at ages 13 and 16 years boys obtained significantly higher scores than girls. There was no sex difference in variance at age 7 years. At ages 10, 13 and 16 years variance was significantly greater in boys.