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l-carnitine is essential for mitochondrial β-oxidation and has been used as a lipid-lowering feed additive in humans and farmed animals. d-carnitine is an optical isomer of l-carnitine and dl-carnitine has been widely used in animal feeds. However, the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine are difficult to study because of the endogenous l-carnitine background. In the present study, we developed a low-carnitine Nile tilapia model by treating fish with a carnitine synthesis inhibitor, and used this model to investigate the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine in nutrient metabolism in fish. l- or d-carnitine (0·4 g/kg diet) was fed to the low-carnitine tilapia for 6 weeks. l-carnitine feeding increased the acyl-carnitine concentration from 3522 to 10 822 ng/g and alleviated the lipid deposition from 15·89 to 11·97 % in the liver of low-carnitine tilapia. However, as compared with l-carnitine group, d-carnitine feeding reduced the acyl-carnitine concentration from 10 822 to 5482 ng/g, and increased lipid deposition from 11·97 to 20·21 % and the mRNA expression of the genes involved in β-oxidation and detoxification in the liver. d-carnitine feeding also induced hepatic inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis. A metabolomic investigation further showed that d-carnitine feeding increased glycolysis, protein metabolism and activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, l-carnitine can be physiologically utilised in fish, whereas d-carnitine is metabolised as a xenobiotic and induces lipotoxicity. d-carnitine-fed fish demonstrates increases in peroxisomal β-oxidation, glycolysis and amino acid degradation to maintain energy homeostasis. Therefore, d-carnitine is not recommended for use in farmed animals.
We identified and characterized a new cosmocercid nematode species, Cosmocercoides wuyiensis n. sp., through microscopic examination and sequencing of the partial small ribosomal RNA gene (18S rDNA), internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) genes. The new species was isolated from the intestine of the Asiatic frog Amolops wuyiensis Liu and Hu, 1975 captured from four localities of the Anhui province in south-east China. Among the 25 recorded species of the Cosmocercoides genus, the morphology of C. wuyiensis n. sp. is closest to that of C. kiliwai and C. malayensis, which were isolated from various Mexican frog and Malaysian lizard species, respectively. However, C. wuyiensis n. sp. displayed several distinguishing features, such as small size of the male body, two spicules of unequal lengths in the male, small gubernaculum, pre-, ad- and post-cloacal caudal rosette papillae in the ratio of 18–24:2:6 and simple papillae in the ratio of 14:multiple:4, circle and number of punctation in each rosette at 1:11–16, sharply conical tail-end and the presence of lateral alae and somatic papillae in both sexes. BLAST and the phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rDNA and ITS sequences indicated that C. wuyiensis n. sp. belonged to the genus Cosmocercoides, while that of the COI gene sequence of C. wuyiensis n. sp. showed 16.36% nucleotide divergence with C. pulcher and 47.99% nucleotide divergence with C. qingtianensis. The morphological and molecular characterization of C. wuyiensis n. sp. provides new taxonomic data for this genus.
This study proposes two multimodal frameworks to classify pathological voice samples by combining acoustic signals and medical records. In the first framework, acoustic signals are transformed into static supervectors via Gaussian mixture models; then, a deep neural network (DNN) combines the supervectors with the medical record and classifies the voice signals. In the second framework, both acoustic features and medical data are processed through first-stage DNNs individually; then, a second-stage DNN combines the outputs of the first-stage DNNs and performs classification. Voice samples were recorded in a specific voice clinic of a tertiary teaching hospital, including three common categories of vocal diseases, i.e. glottic neoplasm, phonotraumatic lesions, and vocal paralysis. Experimental results demonstrated that the proposed framework yields significant accuracy and unweighted average recall (UAR) improvements of 2.02–10.32% and 2.48–17.31%, respectively, compared with systems that use only acoustic signals or medical records. The proposed algorithm also provides higher accuracy and UAR than traditional feature-based and model-based combination methods.
Swelling deformation tests of Kunigel bentonite and its sand mixtures were performed in distilled water and NaCl solution. The salinity of NaCl solution has a significant impact on the swelling properties of bentonite, but not on its surface structure. The surface structure was characterized using the fractal dimension Ds. Based on the fractal dimension, a unique curve of the em–pe relationship (em is the void ratio of montmorillonite and pe is the effective stress) at full saturation was introduced to express the swelling deformation of bentonite–sand mixtures. In mixtures with a large bentonite content, the swelling deformation always followed the em–pe relationship. In mixtures with a small bentonite content, when the effective stress reached a threshold, the void ratio of montmorillonite em deviated from the unique em–pe curve due to the appearance of a sand skeleton. The threshold of vertical pressure for mixtures in different solutions and the maximum swelling strains were estimated using the em–pe relationship. The good agreement between estimates and experimental data suggest that the em–pe relationship might be an alternative method for predicting the swelling deformation of bentonite–sand mixtures in salt solution.
Maternal one-carbon metabolism during pregnancy is crucial for fetal development and programming by DNA methylation. However, evidence on one-carbon biomarkers other than folate is lacking. We, therefore, investigated whether maternal plasma methyl donors, that is, choline, betaine and methionine, are associated with birth outcomes. Blood samples were obtained from 115 women during gestation (median 26·3 weeks, 90 % range 22·7–33·0 weeks). Plasma choline, betaine, methionine and dimethylglycine were measured using HPLC-tandem MS. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between plasma biomarkers and birth weight, birth length, the risk of small-for-gestational-age and large-for-gestational-age (LGA). Higher level of maternal betaine was associated with lower birth weight (–130·3 (95 % CI –244·8, –15·9) per 1 sd increment for log-transformed betaine). Higher maternal methionine was associated with lower risk of LGA, and adjusted OR, with 95 % CI for 1 sd increase in methionine concentration was 0·44 (95 % CI 0·21, 0·89). Stratified analyses according to infant sex or maternal plasma homocysteine status showed that reduction in birth weight in relation to maternal betaine was only limited to male infants or to who had higher maternal homocysteine status (≥5·1 µmol/l). Higher maternal betaine status was associated with reduced birth weight. Maternal methionine was inversely associated with LGA risk. These findings are needed to be replicated in future larger studies.
On February 6, 2018, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Hualien, a county of East Taiwan. Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, the only tertiary hospital in East Taiwan, activated the mass casualty incident (MCI) call and received 144 patients that night. Our operation did not perform satisfactorily despite regular MCI drills. Thus, a new strategy to cope with the increasing frequency of disaster-related MCIs was developed.
To facilitate the management of disaster-related MCIs, we developed a novel Disaster Response System which includes a triage system combining Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) and Five-Level Taiwan Triage and Acuity Scale (TTAS), a novel registration system for MCIs, and anonymous patient identification and reporting system.
We begin the triage with the START method and then shift to the TTAS. The new registration system only needs the patient’s gender, age, and triage category. Patients are then assigned to different treatment areas accordingly. Further dispositions are applied after initial stabilization management. To identify the anonymous disaster victims, we take photographs of victims after clean-up and display them on an electronic bulletin with the patient list to the families in our emergency department. Real-time casualty statistics are collected automatically and synchronized to the governmental administrative system.
This novel Disaster Response System reduces the time from patient arrival to definite treatment and disposition in a simulated mass casualty incident exercise. The victim identification bulletin provides clear information to those who are seeking their family, and thus, avoids the chaos of the scene.
From the experience of the earthquake-related MCI, we found that inadequate training causes time mis-triage and treatment delays. Our Disaster Response System facilitates the workflow with an easily practiced algorithm, reveals on-time and easily accessible information to the public, and altogether improves our MCI management.
On February 6, 2018, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck Hualien, Taiwan. Over 150 patients crammed into the emergency department of nearby hospitals within two hours. Mass casualty incident (MCI) management was activated. During the recovery phase, little attention was paid to the mental health of hospital staff.
To analyze the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among healthcare providers (HCPs) and explore the possible risk factors.
63 HCPs in the emergency department of the single tertiary hospital near the epicenter were included. The Chinese version of the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS-C) was used to evaluate the prevalence of PTSD. Questionnaires were sent to explore the possible contributing factors.
The average age of the HCPs was 32.7 years (30.3 years for nurses; 40.4 years for physicians). The prevalence of PTSD was 3.2% eight months after the incident. The mean DTS-C score was 8.9/136. Nurses had a higher score than physicians (10.8 and 4.7). HCPs with 6-10 years working experience had the highest score (14.2), while those with less than 3 years experience had the lowest (4.8).
We found HCPs had a lower prevalence of PTSD compared with earthquake survivors (Chou 2007), and physicians had longer working years and lower DTS-C scores. The professional training may help HCPs going through psychological impacts during the disaster. HCPs with 6-10 years of experience in the emergency department were found to have a higher risk of developing PTSD. Most of them were taking the responsibility of a team leader during the MCI, which may cause significant stress to these staff. Adequate training regarding MCI management could help to relieve tension and frustration, hoping to prevent the development of PTSD. Based on our study, PTSD among HCPs is an ignored issue, and we should follow-up HCPs’ psychological condition in the future.
There is limited experience about transcatheter closure of doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects with Amplatzer ductal occluder.
Between March, 2015 and July, 2017, a total of 22 patients with doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects received transcatheter closure using Amplatzer ductal occluder and underwent clinical follow-up for at least 6 months.
Device implantation was finally successful in 21 (95.4%) patients despite failed occlusion in one patient and intra-procedural replacement of unsuitable occluders in four (19.0%) patients. In mean 12.3 months of follow-up, there were no major complications (death, aortic valve or sinus rupture, device dislocation or embolisation, grade 2 new-onset aortic regurgitation, etc.), resulting in clinical occlusion success of 95.4%. Mechanical haemolysis occurred in one patient and resolved with medication. Residual shunt was observed in 11 (52.4%) patients (9 mild, 2 moderate-severe) post-procedurally, 14 (66.7%) patients (12 mild, 2 moderate-severe) in hospital stay, and 2 (9.5%) patients (2 mild, 0 moderate-severe) at the last follow-up. Device-induced new-onset aortic regurgitation was found in nine (42.8%) patients (9 mild, 0 moderate-severe) post-procedurally and in hospital stay, which was resolved in two (9.5%) patients and unchanged in seven (33.3%) patients at the last follow-up. Another four (19.0%) patients newly developed mild aortic regurgitation during follow-up.
Transcatheter closure of doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects with Amplatzer ductal occluder is technically feasible in the selected patients. However, further study is needed to confirm its long-term clinical outcomes.
Current available methods to detect cow milk adulteration or accidental contamination of goat milk are both laborious and time consuming. The aim of this technical research communication was to develop a simple, rapid, specific and sensitive method for quantitative detection of cow milk in goat milk. A competitive lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) strip was developed using a specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) labeled with colloidal gold nanoparticles (GNPs) for specifically binding to cow milk casein. The detection limit of this rapid detection was 0.07% of cow milk in goat milk, providing equal specificity and higher sensitivity when compared with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). These result suggest that the established rapid GNPs-LFIA strip could be used for monitoring cow milk adulteration/contamination of goat milk.
Few studies have examined the association of various types of Fe with colorectal cancer risk. The aim of this study was to investigate different forms and sources of Fe in relation to colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population. A total of 2138 patients with colorectal cancer and 2144 sex- and age-matched (5-year interval) controls were recruited from July 2010 to November 2017. Dietary information was assessed by face-to-face interviews using a validated FFQ. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the OR and 95 % CI on models. Intake of Fe from plants and Fe from white meat were inversely associated with the risk of colorectal cancer, while haem Fe and Fe from red meat were positively associated with colorectal cancer risk. The multivariable OR for the highest quartile v. the lowest quartile were 0·72 (95 % CI 0·59, 0·87, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from plants, 0·54 (95 % CI 0·45, 0·66, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from white meat, 1·26 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·53, Ptrend=0·005) for haem Fe and 1·83 (95 % CI 1·49, 2·24, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from red meat intake, respectively. However, no significant association was found between the consumption of total dietary Fe, non-haem Fe, Fe from meat and colorectal cancer risk. This study showed that lower intake of Fe from plants and white meat, as well as higher intake of haem Fe and Fe from red meat, were associated with colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population.
Energy chirp compensation of the electron bunch (e-bunch) in a laser wakefield accelerator, which is caused by the phase space rotation in the gradient wakefield, has been applied in many schemes for low energy spread e-bunch generation. We report the experimental observation of energy chirp compensation of the e-bunch in a nonlinear laser wakefield accelerator with a negligible beam loading effect. By adjusting the acceleration length using a wedge-roof block, the chirp compensation of the accelerated e-bunch was observed via an electron spectrometer. Apart from this, some significant parameters for the compensation process, such as the longitudinal dispersion and wakefield slope at the bunch position, were also estimated. A detailed comparison between experiment and simulation shows good agreement of the wakefield and bunch parameters. These results give a clear demonstration of the longitudinal characteristics of the wakefield in a plasma and the bunch dynamics, which are important for better control of a compact laser wakefield accelerator.
In this study, we investigate a new simple scheme using a planar undulator (PU) together with a properly dispersed electron beam (
beam) with a large energy spread (
) to enhance the free-electron laser (FEL) gain. For a dispersed
beam in a PU, the resonant condition is satisfied for the center electrons, while the frequency detuning increases for the off-center electrons, inhibiting the growth of the radiation. The PU can act as a filter for selecting the electrons near the beam center to achieve the radiation. Although only the center electrons contribute, the radiation can be enhanced significantly owing to the high-peak current of the beam. Theoretical analysis and simulation results indicate that this method can be used for the improvement of the radiation performance, which has great significance for short-wavelength FEL applications.
A carbohydrate-rich diet results in hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia; it may further induce the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer. However, epidemiological evidence among Chinese population is quite limited. The aim of this study was to investigate total carbohydrate, non-fibre carbohydrate, total fibre, starch, dietary glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) in relation to colorectal cancer risk in Chinese population. A case–control study was conducted from July 2010 to April 2017, recruiting 1944 eligible colorectal cancer cases and 2027 age (5-year interval) and sex frequency-matched controls. Dietary information was collected by using a validated FFQ. The OR and 95 % CI of colorectal cancer risk were assessed by multivariable logistic regression models. There was no clear association between total carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer risk. The adjusted OR was 0·85 (95 % CI 0·70, 1·03, Ptrend=0·08) comparing the highest with the lowest quartile. Total fibre was related to a 53 % reduction in colorectal cancer risk (adjusted ORquartile 4 v. 1 0·47; 95 % CI 0·39, 0·58). However, dietary GI was positively associated with colorectal cancer risk, with an adjusted ORquartile 4 v. 1 of 3·10 (95 % CI 2·51, 3·85). No significant association was found between the intakes of non-fibre carbohydrate, starch and dietary GL and colorectal cancer risk. This study indicated that dietary GI was positively associated with colorectal cancer risk, but no evidence supported that total carbohydrate, non-fibre carbohydrate, starch or high dietary GL intake were related to an increased risk of colorectal cancer in a Chinese population.
Although previous studies have investigated the association of cruciferous vegetable consumption with breast cancer risk, few studies focused on the association between bioactive components in cruciferous vegetables, glucosinolates (GSL) and isothiocyanates (ITC), and breast cancer risk. This study aimed to examine the association between consumption of cruciferous vegetables and breast cancer risk according to GSL and ITC contents in a Chinese population. A total of 1485 cases and 1506 controls were recruited into this case–control study from June 2007 to March 2017. Consumption of cruciferous vegetables was assessed using a validated FFQ. Dietary GSL and ITC were computed by using two food composition databases linking GSL and ITC contents in cruciferous vegetables with responses to the FFQ. The OR and 95 % CI were assessed by unconditional logistic regression after adjusting for the potential confounders. Significant inverse associations were found between consumption of cruciferous vegetables, GSL and ITC and breast cancer risk. The adjusted OR comparing the highest with the lowest quartile were 0·51 (95 % CI 0·41, 0·63) for cruciferous vegetables, 0·54 (95 % CI 0·44, 0·67) for GSL and 0·62 (95 % CI 0·50, 0·76) for ITC, respectively. These inverse associations were also observed in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Subgroup analysis by hormone receptor status found inverse associations between cruciferous vegetables, GSL and ITC and both hormone-receptor-positive or hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer. This study indicated that consumption of cruciferous vegetables, GSL and ITC was inversely associated with breast cancer risk among Chinese women.
The tea green leafhopper, Empoasca vitis Göthe, is one of the most serious pests in tea growing areas. This study investigated the roles played by olfaction and vision in host orientation behavior. The compound eye of E. vitis was found to be a photopic eye; few olfactory sensilla were found on the antennae, while abundant gustatory sensilla were recorded on the mouthparts. Three opsin genes (EV_LWop, EV_UVop, EV_Bop) were isolated and found to be mainly expressed in the compound eye compared with other parts of the body. Immunolocalization indicated that the opsins mainly located in the different regions of rhabdom. The transcription levels of EV_LWop, EV_Bop and EV_UVop were reduced by 77.3, 70.0 and 40.0%, respectively, by RNA interference induced by being fed a special RNA-rich diet for 6 days. The rate of tropism to host color was effectively impaired by 67.6 and 29.5% in the dsEV_LWop and dsEV_Bop treatment groups, but there was no significant change in the dsEV_UVop group. The determination of the cause of the tropism indicated that odors from the host over long distances were unable to attract E. vitis and were only detected when the insects were close to the host. The developed compound eye of E. vitis plays a leading role in host location, and the long-wavelength opsin significantly affects the tropism to host color; the lack of olfactory sensilla results in long-distance odors not being able to be detected until the insect is near to the host-plant. The understanding of these behavioral mechanisms, especially the importance of opsin genes is expected to be useful for pest management.
This research communication describes the profile of gene expression related to the synthesis of yak milk as determined via quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Significant up-regulation during lactation were observed in genes related to fatty acid (FA) uptake from blood (LPL, CD36), intracellular FA transport (FABP3), intracellular FA activation of long- and short-chain FAs (ACSS1, ACSS2, ACSL1), de novo synthesis (ACACA), desaturation (SCD), triacyglycerol (TAG) synthesis (AGPAT6, GPAM, LPIN1), lipid droplet formation (PLIN2, BTN1A1, XDH), ketone body utilisation (BDH1, OXCT1), and transcription regulation (THRSP, PPARGC1A). In particular, intracellular de novo FA synthesis (ACSS2, ACACA, and FABP3) and TAG synthesis (GPAM, AGPAT6, and LPIN1), whose regulation might be orchestrated as part of the gene network under the control of SERBF1 in the milk fat synthesis process, were more activated compared to levels in dairy cows. However, the genes involved in lipid droplet formation (PLIN2, XDH, and BTN1A1) were expressed at lower levels compared to those in dairy cows, where these genes are mainly controlled by the PPARG regulator.
Previous studies have supported the theory that there is a positive association between ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis in Western people. Diet plays an important role in determining serum ferritin concentration. Asian dietary patterns are different from Western dietary patterns, implying that there may be a difference in the association of ferritin with carotid atherosclerosis between Asian and Western people. However, few studies focus on the association between ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis among Asians. The aim of this study was to investigate how serum ferritin levels are associated with carotid atherosclerosis in an Asian adult population. A cross-sectional assessment was performed in 8302 adults in Tianjin, China. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques were assessed using ultrasonography, and serum ferritin was measured using the protein chip-chemiluminescence method. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between quartiles of serum ferritin concentration and carotid atherosclerosis. In the present study, the overall prevalence of IMT and carotid plaques in participants is 29·2 and 22·7 %, respectively. In women, after adjustments for potentially confounding factors, the OR of IMT and carotid plaques by increasing serum ferritin quartiles were 1·00, 1·39 (95 % CI 0·98–1·99), 1·39 (95 % CI 0·99–1·97), 1·81 (95 % CI 1·30–2·55) (Pfor trend<0·001) and 1·00, 1·24 (95 % CI 0·89–1·73), 1·18 (95 % CI 0·85–1·65), 1·59 (95 % CI 1·15–2·20) (Pfor trend<0·01), respectively. However, no association was found between serum ferritin and carotid atherosclerosis in men. The study demonstrated that increased serum ferritin levels are independently associated with IMT and carotid plaques in Asian women but not in Asian men.