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Much effort has been devoted to improving the efficiency of animal cloning. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of BRG1 contained in Xenopus egg extracts on the development of cloned mouse embryos. The results showed that mouse NIH/3T3 cells were able to express pluripotent genes after treatment with egg extracts, indicating that the egg extracts contained reprogramming factors. After co-injection of Xenopus egg extracts and single mouse cumulus cells into enucleated mouse oocytes, statistically higher pronucleus formation and development rates were observed in the egg Extract− co-injected group compared with those in the no egg extract-injected (NT) group (38–66% vs 18–34%, P<0.001). Removal of BRG1 protein from Xenopus egg extracts was conducted, and the BRG1-depleted extracts were co-injected with single donor cells into recipient oocytes. The results showed that the percentages of pronucleus formation were significantly higher in both BRG1-depleted and BRG1-intact groups than that in the nuclear transfer (NT) group (94, 64% vs 50%, P<0.05). Furthermore, percentages in the BRG1-depleted group were even higher than in the BRG1-intact group (94% vs 64%). More confined expression of Oct4 in the inner cell mass (ICM) was observed in the blastocyst derived from the egg extract-injected groups. However, Nanog expression was more contracted in the ICM of cloned blastocysts in the BRG1-depleted group than in the BGR1-intact group. Based on the present study, BRG1 might not play an essential role in reprogramming, but the factors enhancing pronucleus formation and development of cloned mouse embryos are contained in Xenopus egg extracts.
We developed novel and polymorphic microsatellite primers for Spathoglottis plicata, a tropical and subtropical terrestrial orchid, to investigate the genetic patterns and population structure among wild populations, and also to identify the varieties and hybrids of S. plicata in horticultural industry. The 12 novel microsatellites from S. plicata were developed by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based isolation of microsatellite arrays. These markers that were successfully PCR amplified exhibited polymorphisms in S. plicata. The number of alleles, observed heterozygosity, expected heterozygosity and polymorphism information content values across loci ranged from 2.000 to 8.000, 0.000 to 0.756, 0.208 to 0.813 and 0.405 to 0.805 in total populations, respectively. The newly developed microsatellite markers exhibited variation in S. plicata. These markers can be used as a tool to further investigate the genetic diversity, conservation genetics and variety/hybrid identification of S. plicata.
Evidence regarding the relationships between the socioeconomic status and
long-term outcomes of individuals with bipolar affective disorder (BPD)
We aimed to estimate the effects of baseline socioeconomic status on
A national cohort of adult participants with newly diagnosed BPD was
identified in 2008. The effects of personal and household socioeconomic
status were explored on outcomes of hospital treatment, mortality and
healthcare costs, over a 3-year follow-up period (2008–2011).
A total of 7987 participants were recruited. The relative risks of
hospital treatment and mortality were found elevated for the ones from
low-income households who also had higher healthcare costs. Low premium
levels did not correlate with future healthcare costs.
Socioeconomic deprivation is associated with poorer outcome and higher
healthcare costs in BPD patients. Special care should be given to those
with lower socioeconomic status to improve outcomes with potential
benefits of cost savings in the following years.
Apathy is a condition characterized by a lack of motivation that manifests in emotional, behavioral, and cognitive domains. Although previous studies have indicated that apathy is associated with frontal lesions, few studies have focused on the different subdomains of apathy, and no in vivo human biochemical data have been obtained to examine the neurochemical changes related to apathy in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thus, we investigated the frontal neurochemical alterations related to apathy among patients with AD using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS).
Apathy was assessed through the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES). 1H MRS was performed to measure neurochemical metabolite levels in the anterior cingulate region and right orbitofrontal region. Associations between neurochemical metabolites and the total score and subscores of each domain of the AES were analyzed.
Altogether, 36 patients completed the study. Patients with lower N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios (NAA/Cr) in the anterior cingulate region demonstrated higher total apathy scores (β = −0.56, p = 0.003) with adjustments for age, gender, educational level, dementia severity, and depression severity. In a further analysis, a lower NAA/Cr in the anterior cingulate region was associated with all subdomains of apathy, including cognition (β = −0.43, p = 0.028), behavior (β = −0.55, p = 0.002), and emotion (β = −0.50, p = 0.005). No statistically significant associations were discovered in the right orbitofrontal region.
Our results suggest that apathy, in each of its cognitive, behavioral, or emotional subdomains is associated with brain neurochemical alterations in the anterior cingulate region. Abnormal neuronal integrity over the anterior cingulate cortex may exhibit a central role in causing all aspects of apathy in patients with AD.
Isolation of multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria (MDR-GNB) from patients in the community has been increasingly observed. A prediction model for MDR-GNB colonization and infection risk stratification on hospital admission is needed to improve patient care.
A 2-stage, prospective study was performed with 995 and 998 emergency department patients enrolled, respectively. MDR-GNB colonization was defined as isolates resistant to 3 or more classes of antibiotics, identified in either the surveillance or early (≤48 hours) clinical cultures.
A score-assigned MDR-GNB colonization prediction model was developed and validated using clinical and microbiological data from 995 patients enrolled in the first stage of the study; 122 of these patients (12.3%) were MDR-GNB colonized. We identified 5 independent predictors: age>70 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.84 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06–3.17]; 1 point), assigned point value in the model), residence in a long-term-care facility (OR, 3.64 [95% CI, 1.57–8.43); 3 points), history of cerebrovascular accidents (OR, 2.23 [95% CI, 1.24–4.01]; 2 points), hospitalization within 1 month (OR, 2.63 [95% CI, 1.39–4.96]; 2 points), and recent antibiotic exposure (OR, 2.18 [95% CI, 1.16–4.11]; 2 points). The model displayed good discrimination in the derivation and validation sets (area under ROC curve, 0.75 and 0.80, respectively) with the best cutoffs of<4 and ≥4 points for low- and high-risk MDR-GNB colonization, respectively. When applied to 998 patients in the second stage of the study, the model successfully stratified the risk of MDR-GNB infection during hospitalization between low- and high-risk groups (probability, 0.02 vs 0.12, respectively; log-rank test, P<.001).
A model was developed to optimize both the decision to initiate antimicrobial therapy and the infection control interventions to mitigate threats from MDR-GNB.
The prevalence of CHD has been well described worldwide except in Tibet. This study aimed to illustrate the prevalence and composition of CHD in Tibetan children according to altitude.
Methods and results
In the first part, we prospectively recruited 7088 unselected Tibetan children (4–17 years) from south-west Tibet. The total prevalence of CHD increased from 4.6/1000 below 4200 m to 13.4/1000 above 4700 m, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.3:3.1. The total prevalence and female prevalence of patent ductus arteriosus increased more than 10-fold. Females living above 4700 m had exceptionally high prevalence of patent ductus arteriosus (14.9/1000). The prevalence of atrial septal defect was comparable among different altitudes (3.3–3.8/1000). The prevalence of ventricular septal defect was 1.3/1000 below 4700 m, and no cases were found above this altitude. In the second part, we retrospectively reviewed the clinical data of 383 CHD children in Tibet and 73 children at lower altitudes. The percentage of isolated ventricular septal defect decreased from 54.8 to 3.1%, and the percentage of isolated patent ductus arteriosus increased from 8.2 to 68.4% with elevation. Children living below 4200 m (10.4–13.7%) had a larger proportion of complex CHD than those above this altitude (2.0–3.1%). Of the 20 Tibetan children with complex CHD, 14 (70.0%) lived below 4200 m.
A wide variation in CHD prevalence and composition existed in Tibetan children among different altitudes.
Previous studies have demonstrated that betaine supplements increase lean body mass in livestock and improve muscle performance in human beings, but evidence for its effect on human lean mass is limited. Our study assessed the association of circulating betaine with lean mass and its composition in Chinese adults. A community-based study was conducted on 1996 Guangzhou residents (weight/mass: 1381/615) aged 50–75 years between 2008 and 2010. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect general baseline information. Fasting serum betaine was assessed using HPLC-MS. A total of 1590 participants completed the body composition analysis performed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry during a mean of 3·2 years of follow-up. After adjustment for age, regression analyses demonstrated a positive association of serum betaine with percentage of lean mass (LM%) of the entire body, trunk and limbs in men (all P<0·05) and LM% of the trunk in women (P=0·016). Each sd increase in serum betaine was associated with increases in LM% of 0·609 (whole body), 0·811 (trunk), 0·422 (limbs), 0·632 (arms) and 0·346 (legs) in men and 0·350 (trunk) in women. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the prevalence of lower LM% decreased by 17 % (whole body) and 14 % (trunk) in women and 23 % (whole body), 28 % (trunk), 22 % (arms) and 26 % (percentage skeletal muscle index) in men with each sd increment in serum betaine. Elevated circulating betaine was associated with a higher LM% and lower prevalence of lower LM% in middle-aged and elderly Chinese adults, particularly men.
Depression is closely associated with quality of life (QOL) in older adults. Being elderly and exhibiting mild depressive symptoms may not lead to a depression diagnosis, but these attributes are clinically important. However, the extent to which these factors influence QOL and its determinants in older adults remains unclear.
Questionnaires were administered to people aged 65 years or older at community senior centers in Taiwan to collect socio-demographic information and to assess results from the brief version of the World Health Organization's Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL-BREF), Modified Barthel Index (MBI), 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Levels of depressive symptoms were classified as no depressive symptoms (NDS), lower level of depressive symptoms (LLDS), and higher level of depressive symptoms (HLDS), corresponding to GDS = 0, 1≦GDS≦5, and GDS>5, respectively. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to assess associations between the WHOQOL-BREF and its covariates for different levels of depressive symptoms.
A total of 454 older adults participated. The GDS and MBI scores significantly affected the WHOQOL-BREF physical and psychological domain scores in the LLDS group. Gender influenced the WHOQOL-BREF scores in the NDS group, and increased age demonstrated protective effects on the three domains in the HLDS group. Moreover, the association between the WHOQOL-BREF and its covariates varied for different levels of depressive symptoms.
Treatment for depressive symptoms is of high priority, and early recognition of and appropriate intervention for mild depressive symptoms may improve community-dwelling older adults’ QOLs.
To evaluate vitamin D deficiency prevalence and risk factors among pregnant Chinese women.
A descriptive cross-sectional analysis.
China National Nutrition and Health Survey (CNNHS) 2010–2013.
A total of 1985 healthy pregnant women participated. Possible predictors of vitamin D deficiency were evaluated via multiple logistic regression analyses.
The median serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was 15·5 (interquartile range 11·9–20·0, range 3·0–51·5) ng/ml, with 74·9 (95 % CI 73·0, 76·7) % of participants being vitamin D deficient (25-hydroxyvitamin D <20 ng/ml). According to the multivariate logistic regression analyses, vitamin D deficiency was positively correlated with Hui ethnicity (P=0·016), lack of vitamin D supplement use (P=0·021) and low ambient UVB level (P<0·001). In the autumn months, vitamin D deficiency was related to Hui ethnicity (P=0·012) and low ambient UVB level (P<0·001). In the winter months, vitamin D deficiency was correlated with younger age (P=0·050), later gestational age (P=0·035), higher pre-pregnancy BMI (P=0·019), low ambient UVB level (P<0·001) and lack of vitamin D supplement use (P=0·007).
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among pregnant Chinese women. Residing in areas with low ambient UVB levels increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially for women experiencing advanced stages of gestation, for younger pregnant women and for women of Hui ethnicity; therefore, vitamin D supplementation and sensible sun exposure should be encouraged, especially in the winter months. Further studies must determine optimal vitamin D intake and sun exposure levels for maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels in pregnant Chinese women.
Many studies have suggested that folate-related one-carbon metabolism-related nutrients may play a role in certain cancer risks, but few studies have assessed their associations with the risk for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). In this study, we investigated the association between four folate-related one-carbon metabolism-related nutrients (folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine) and NPC risk in Chinese adults. A total of 600 patients newly diagnosed (within 3 months) with NPC were individually matched with 600 hospital-based controls by age, sex and household type (urban v. rural). Folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine intakes were measured using a validated seventy-eight-item FFQ. A higher dietary folate or vitamin B6 intake was associated with a lower NPC risk after adjusting for potential confounders. The adjusted OR of NPC for quartiles 2–4 (v. 1) were 0·66 (95 % CI 0·48, 0·91), 0·52 (95 % CI 0·37, 0·74) and 0·34 (95 % CI 0·23, 0·50) (Ptrend<0·001) for folate and 0·72 (95 % CI 0·52, 1·00), 0·55 (95 % CI 0·39, 0·78) and 0·44 (95 % CI 0·30, 0·63) (Ptrend<0·001) for vitamin B6. No significant association with NPC risk was observed for dietary vitamin B12 or methionine intake. The risk for NPC with dietary folate intake was more evident in the participants who were not exposed to toxic substances than in those who were exposed (Pinteraction=0·014). This study suggests that dietary folate and vitamin B6 may be protective for NPC in a high-risk population.
Introduction: The mortality of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and its associated risk factors among clinically definite PD patients in China has been rarely investigated. Our study aimed to identify the mortality rates and predictors of death in PD patients in China. Methods: 157 consecutive, clinically definite PD patients from the urban area of Shanghai were recruited from a central hospital based movement disorder clinic in 2006. All patients were regularly followed up at the clinic until December 31, 2011, or death. Mortality and associations with baseline demographics, health and medical factors were then determined within the cohort. Results: After 5 years, 11(7%) patients had died. The standardised mortality ratio was 0.62 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.07, P=0.104). The main causes of death were pneumonia (54.5%, 6/11) and digestive disorders (18.2%, 2/11), respectively. Age at onset, independent living, the mini mental state examination score, the Parkinson’s disease sleep scale score and the Epworth sleepiness scale score at baseline were statistically significantly different between the survival group and the deceased group (P<0.05). Across all participants, risk factors for death included low mini mental state examination score, and high Epworth sleepiness scale score according to a binary variable logistic regression analysis. Conclusions: This study confirms the similar survival of patients with PD to the control population up to a follow-up of 5 years. Interventions tailored to potential risk factors associated with death may offer further benefits.
It is common for patients to experience positive and negative psychological changes (e.g., posttraumatic growth or demoralization) after being diagnosed with cancer. Although demoralization and posttraumatic growth are both related to meaning-making, little attention has been paid to the associations among these concepts. The current study investigated the relationship between demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making (focusing on sense-making and benefit-finding during the experience of illness) in cancer patients.
Some 200 cancer patients (with lung cancer, lymphoma, or leukemia) at the MacKay Memorial Hospital in New Taipei completed the Demoralization Scale–Mandarin Version (DS–MV), the Chinese Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (CPTGI), and a self-designed questionnaire for assessing sense-making and benefit-finding.
Demoralization was negatively correlated with posttraumatic growth, sense-making, benefit-finding, and time-since-diagnosis. Multiple regression analysis showed that meaning-making had different effects on demoralization and posttraumatic growth. The interactions of sense-making with either benefit-finding or time-since-diagnosis significantly predicted demoralization. Individuals with relatively higher sense-making and benefit-finding or shorter time-since-diagnosis experienced less demoralization.
Significance of Results:
The suffering of cancer may turn on the psychological process of demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making in patients. Cancer patients who evidenced higher posttraumatic growth experienced less demoralization. Trying to identify positive changes in the experience of cancer may be a powerful way to increase posttraumatic growth. As time goes by, patients experienced less demoralization. Facilitating sense-making can have similar effects. Cancer patients with less benefit-finding experience higher demoralization, but sense-making buffers this effect.
Video streaming over mobile wireless networks is getting popular in recent years. High video quality relies on large bandwidth provisioning, however, it decreases the number of supported users in wireless networks. Thus, effective bandwidth utilization becomes a crucial issue in wireless network as the bandwidth resource in wireless environment is precious and limited. The NGN quality of service mechanisms should be designed to reduce the impact of traffic burstiness on buffer management. For this reason, we propose an active dropping mechanism to deal with the effective bandwidth utilization in this paper. We use scalable video coding extension of H.264/AVC standard to provide different video quality for users of different levels. In the proposed dropping mechanism, when the network loading exceeds the threshold, the dropping mechanism starts to drop data of the enhancement layers for users of low service level. The dropping probability alters according to the change in network loading. With the dropping mechanism, the base station increases the system capability and users are able to obtain better service quality when the system is under heavy loading. We also design several methods to adjust the threshold value dynamically. By using the proposed mechanism, better quality can be provided when the network is in congestion.
The present study aims to evaluate the antiparasitic activity of active components from Costus speciosus against Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Bioassay-guided fractionation was employed to identify active compounds from C. speciosus yielding 2 bioactive compounds: Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin. In-vitro assays revealed that Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin could be 100% effective against I. multifiliis at concentrations of 0·8 and 4·5 mg L−1, with median effective concentration (EC50) values of 0·53 and 3·2 mg L−1, respectively. All protomonts and encysted tomonts were killed when the concentrations of Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin were 1·0 and 5·0 mg L−1. In-vivo experiments demonstrated that fish treated with Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin at concentrations of 1·0 and 5·0 mg L−1 carried significantly fewer parasites than the control (P<0·05). Mortality of fish did not occur in the treatment group (Zingibernsis newsaponin at 5·0 mg L−1) during the trial, although 100% of untreated fish died. Acute toxicities (LD50) of Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin for grass carp were 1·64 and 20·7 mg L−1, respectively. These results provided evidence that the 2 compounds can be selected as lead compounds for the development of new drugs against I. multifiliis.
This study aims to investigate barriers to the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) for teachers of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) in US universities. Although the development of ICT for teaching is growing, few published studies address ICT specifically regarding CFL teaching. Therefore, this study has reviewed the existing ICT literature's treatment of important ICT-related matters, including barrier factors, and has examined them in the context of CFL teaching. The current study features a mixed method, consisting of a survey and semi-structured interviews. Of the 47 CFL teachers who participated in the study, five volunteered for in-depth interviews. According to our findings, the most critical barriers to these CFL teachers’ adoption of ICT were insufficient support and insufficient time for developing technology-driven pedagogy and activities. These issues are reflected in CFL teachers’ unique subject expertise and workloads in existing universities’ curricula and approaches to instruction. In addition, age influences CFL teachers’ confidence in their use of ICT for the preparation of subject material and for teaching, whereas gender influences their willingness to spend time working on ICT.