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Choices between options represented in a multidimensional space, in which each dimension signifies a distinct attribute describing the objects, are presumably guided by the principle of value maximization. However, the current study assumes that in a real-world setting, those who are able to imagine things that do not actually exist could modify the multidimensional space by self-generating an unoffered but fictional dimension. We define the utility (Uv) assigned by the decision makers to the options on the offered/given dimension as value (v[x]) and the utility (Uw) on the self-generated/fictional dimension as worth (w[xc]). Our series of experiments demonstrated that an option with a greater value established strictly on that given set of dimensions might not necessarily be chosen (which contradicted the principle of value maximization). Choosing an option with less value (i.e. giving away the bigger pear) behavior can be described and explained by the “worth-based choice” approach, as people behave to select the option with the highest worth rather than that with the highest value. We are optimistic that the resulting findings will facilitate our understanding of the beauty of such a “one step further” choice and assist us in understanding the following: the ability to further generate a fictional dimension and to assign a delayed utility (worth) to the options on the fictional dimension, and to make a worth-based choice, which could eventually be taken as the operational definition to measure the degree of “fiction-generating ability”, as proposed by Harari (2014).
The present study was undertaken to investigate the antiparasitic activity of extracellular products of Streptomyces albus. Bioactivity-guided isolation of chloroform extracts affording a compound showing potent activity. The structure of the compound was elucidated as salinomycin (SAL) by EI-MS, 1H NMR and 13C NMR. In vitro test showed that SAL has potent anti-parasitic efficacy against theronts of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis with 10 min, 1, 2, 3 and 4 h (effective concentration) EC50 (95% confidence intervals) of 2.12 (2.22–2.02), 1.93 (1.98–1.88), 1.42 (1.47–1.37), 1.35 (1.41–1.31) and 1.11 (1.21–1.01) mg L−1. In vitro antiparasitic assays revealed that SAL could be 100% effective against I. multifiliis encysted tomonts at a concentration of 8.0 mg L−1. In vivo test demonstrated that the number of I. multifiliis trophonts on Erythroculter ilishaeformis treated with SAL was markedly lower than that of control group at 10 days after exposed to theronts (P < 0.05). In the control group, 80% mortality was observed owing to heavy I. multifiliis infection at 10 days. On the other hand, only 30.0% mortality was recorded in the group treated with 8.0 mg L−1 SAL. The median lethal dose (LD50) of SAL for E. ilishaeformis was 32.9 mg L−1.
Environmental filtering and competitive interactions are important ecological processes in community assembly. The contribution of the two processes to community assembly can be evaluated by shifts in functional diversity patterns. We examined the correlations between functional diversity of six traits (leaf chlorophyll concentration, dry matter content, size, specific leaf area, thickness and wood density) and environmental gradients (topography and soil) for 92 species in the 20-ha Dinghushan forest plot in China. A partial Mantel test showed that most of the community-weighted mean trait values changed with terrain convexity and soil fertility, which implied that environmental filtering was occurring. Functional diversity of many traits significantly increased with increasing terrain convexity and soil fertility, which was associated with increased light and below-ground resources respectively. These results suggest that co-occurring species are functionally convergent in regions of strong abiotic stress under the environmental filtering, but functionally divergent in more benign environments due to resource partitioning and competitive interactions. Single-trait diversity and multivariate functional diversity had different relationships with environmental factors, indicating that traits were related to different niche axes, and associated with different ecological processes, which demonstrated the importance of focusing niche axes in traits selection. Between 9% and 41% of variation in functional diversity of different traits was explained by environmental factors in stepwise multiple regression models. Terrain convexity and soil fertility were the best predictors of functional diversity, which contributed 30.5% and 29.0% of total R2 to the model. These provided essential evidence that different environmental factors had distinguishing impacts on regulating diversity of traits.
Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder
(MDD) are likely to be caused by multiple susceptibility genes, each with
small effects in increasing the risk of illness. Identifying DNA variants
associated with schizophrenia and MDD is a crucial step in understanding
the pathophysiology of these disorders.
To investigate whether the SP4 gene plays a significant
role in schizophrenia or MDD in the Han Chinese population.
We focused on nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) harbouring the
SP4 gene and carried out case–control studies in 1235
patients with schizophrenia, 1045 patients with MDD and 1235 healthy
controls recruited from the Han Chinese population.
We found that rs40245 was significantly associated with schizophrenia in
both allele and genotype distributions (Pallele = 0.0005, Pallele = 0.004 after Bonferroni correction; Pgenotype = 0.0023, Pgenotype = 0.0184 after Bonferroni correction). The rs6461563
SNP was significantly associated with schizophrenia in the allele
distributions (Pallele = 0.0033, Pallele = 0.0264 after Bonferroni correction).
Our results suggest that common risk factors in the SP4
gene are associated with schizophrenia, although not with MDD, in the Han
Objective: To study the relationship of Nε-(carboxymethyl)-lysine level (CML) with microstructure changes of white matter (WM), and cognitive impairment in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and to discuss the potential mechanism underlying T2DM-associated cognitive impairment. Methods: The study was performed in T2DM patients (n=22) with disease course ≥5 years and age ranging from 65 to 75 years old. A control group consisted of 25 sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers. Fractional anisotropy (FA) of several WM regions was analyzed by diffusion tensor imaging scan. Plasma CML levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and cognitive function was assessed by Mini-Mental State Examination and Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA). Results: The total Mini-Mental State Examination score in the patient group (25.72±3.13) was significantly lower than the control group (28.16±2.45) (p<0.05). In addition, the total MoCA score in the patient group (22.15±3.56) was significantly lower than the control group 25.63±4.12) (p<0.01). In the patient group, FA values were significantly decreased in the corpus callosum, cingulate fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, parietal WM, hippocampus, and temporal lobes relative to corresponding regions of healthy controls (p<0.05). Plasma CML level was negatively correlated with average FA values in the global brain (r=−0.58, p<0.01) and MoCA scores (r=−0.47, p<0.05). Conclusions: In T2DM, WM microstructure changes occur in older patients, and elevations in CML may play a role in the development of cognitive impairment.
Nanoindentation is useful for evaluating the mechanical properties, such as elastic modulus, of multilayer thin film materials. A fundamental assumption in the derivation of the elastic modulus from nanoindentation is that the unloading process is purely elastic. In this work, the validity of elastic assumption as it applies to multilayer thin films is studied using the finite element method. The elastic modulus and hardness from the model system are compared to experimental results to show validity of the model. Plastic strain is shown to increase in the multilayer system during the unloading process. The indentation-derived modulus of a monolayer material shows no dependence on unloading plasticity while the modulus of the multilayer system is dependent on unloading-induced plasticity. Lastly, the cyclic behavior of the multilayer thin film is studied in relation to the influence of unloading-induced plasticity. It is found that several cycles are required to minimize unloading-induced plasticity.
Tributyltin, an organotin, is ubiquitous in estuaries and freshwater systems. Previous reports suggest that tributyltin is an endocrine disruptor in many wildlife species and it inhibits aromatase in mammalian placental and granulosa-like tumor cell lines. However, no evidence showing the effects of tributyltin on oocytes or preimplantation embryonic developmental competence exists. Therefore, we investigated the role of tributyltin chloride (TBTCl) in the development of female oocytes and preimplantation embryos. Briefly, female ICR mice were gavaged with 0 (vehicle), 4, and 8 mg/kg of TBTCl each day for 18 days. The fluorescence intensity analysis showed that the 5-methylcytosine level decreased after TBTCl treatment, indicating that the general DNA methylation level decreased in the treated oocytes. Our results demonstrate that TBTCl treatment results in decreased mRNA levels of imprinted genes H19, Igf2r, and Peg3 during oocyte growth. The TBTCl-treated oocytes showed a significant increase in reactive oxygen species levels in germinal vesicle oocytes. In TBTCl-treated oocytes, there was no difference in GPx and Sod1 expression, but a decreased mRNA level of Cat occurred when compared with control. Moreover, the blastocysts with TBTCl exposure displayed higher apoptotic signals. These results suggest that TBTCl induces developmental defects in oocytes and preimplantation embryos.
Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 2, with its profound environmental and climatic changes from before the last glacial maximum (LGM) to the last deglaciation, is an ideal period for understanding the evolution of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) and Indian summer monsoon (ISM), two Asian monsoon sub-systems. With 875 stable oxygen isotope ratios and 43 230Th dates from stalagmites in Sanxing Cave, southwestern China, we construct and interpret a new, replicated, Asian summer monsoon (ASM) record covering 30.9–9.7 ka with decadal resolution. δ18O records from this site and other reported Chinese caves display similar long-term orbitally dominated trends and synchronous millennial-scale strong and weak monsoonal events associated with climate changes in high northern latitudes. Interestingly, Sanxing δ18O and Arabian Sea records show a weakening ISM from 22 to 17 ka, while the Hulu and Qingtian records from East and Central China express a 3-ka intensifying EASM from 20 to 17 ka. This decoupling between EASM and ISM may be due to different sensitivities of the two ASM sub-systems in response to internal feedback mechanisms associated with the complex geographical or land-ocean configurations.
Structure and demographics in many tropical forests is changing, but the causes of these changes remain unclear. We studied 5 y (2005–2010) of species turnover, recruitment, mortality and population change data from a 20-ha subtropical forest plot in Dinghushan, China, to identify trends in forest change, and to test whether tree mortality is associated with intraspecific or interspecific competition. We found the Dinghushan forest to be more dynamic than one temperate and two tropical forests in a comparison of large, long-term forest dynamics plots. Within Dinghushan, size-class distributions were bell-shaped only for the three most dominant species and reverse J-shaped for other species. Bell-shaped population distributions can indicate a population in decline, but our data suggest that these large and long-lived species are not in decline because the pattern is driven by increasing probabilities of transition to larger size class with increasing size and fast growth in saplings. Spatially aggregated tree species distributions were common for surviving and dead individuals. Competitive associations were more frequently intraspecific than interspecific. The competition that induced tree mortality was more associated with intraspecific than interspecific interactions. Intraspecific competitive exclusion and density-dependence appear to play important roles in tree mortality in this subtropical forest.
This study aims at assessing the role played by the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and elastic modulus of low-k dielectric, in affecting the stress and deformation fields in copper interconnects. Parametric finite element analyses are conducted, varying one parameter at a time, for gaining fundamental understanding of the effect of individual properties. The analyses are based on a three dimensional model containing two levels of metal lines connected by a via. It is found that both the high CTE and low modulus values of the polymer-based dielectric contribute to the evolution of stress/strain fields in the metal structure. The low-k CTE plays a more significant role. Within certain limits, decreasing the low-k CTE and/or increasing the low-k modulus can help alleviate the plastic deformation, and thus the propensity of damage initiation, in the metal. Reducing the low-k CTE will be a more efficient and safer approach.
GaN film grown on Si substrate with AlN/AlxGa1−xN buffer is studied by low pressure metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) method. The AlxGa1−xN film with Al composition varying from 0∼ 0.66 was used. The correlation of the Al composition in the AlxGa1−xN film with the stress of the GaN film grown was studied using high resolution X-ray diffraction including symmetrical and asymmetrical ω/2θscans and reciprocal space maps. It is found that with proper design of the Al composition in the AlxGa1−xN buffer layer, crack-free GaN films can be successfully grown on Si (111) substrates using AlN and AlxGa1−xN buffer layers.
The interfacial regimes of cobalt/pentacene/cobalt (Co/Pc/Co) trilayers were emulated through the ultrathin pentacene/cobalt (Pc/Co) and cobalt/pentacene (Co/Pc) bilayers. Employing the magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE) measurement, we found the coercivity of Co bottom film in a thickness of 3.4 nm experienced a slight reduction upon the adsorption of Pc molecules. For the bilayers prepared with reversed order of deposition, the Co film deposited on a 6.4 nm Pc layer showed no observable ferromagnetic order at room temperature until its thickness reached 3 nm. After the onset of magnetic order, the x-ray images acquired on Pc/Co revealed a complicated magnetization patterns comparing to those observed on Co/Pc bilayers. Because the spin-polarized carriers will interact with the environment along their transport path, the presence of a non-magnetic layer and the occurrence of complicated domain structures suggested the spin-polarized carriers would experience a greater disturbance on their spin coherence when crossing the Pc/Co interface.
Recently, semiconductor nanocrystals or quantum dots (QDs) aroused great concern because of their unique properties such as the size-dependent photoluminescence. They have many excellent applications in areas of molecular bioimaging, medical detection and even energy, especially as biosensing and imaging instead of fluorescent dyes. For the bio-safety, however, we should assess the cytotoxicity of QDs before used in biomedical imaging. Here, the cytotoxicity of amino-functionalized CdSe/CdS (CdSe/CdS-NH2) QDs and carboxy-functionalized CdSe/CdS (CdSe/CdS-COOH) QDs was investigated by MTT assay method. According to our findings, both CdSe/CdS-NH2 and CdSe/CdS-COOH have a dose-dependent effect on cell proliferation. The cytotoxicity of QDs varies with storing time of QDs and kinds of cells. The cytotoxicity of QDs modified with -COOH or -NH2 groups both vary with concentrations in positive linear or change with QD storing time in negative linear. The results indicate that CdSe/CdS-COOH QDs have lower toxicity than CdSe/CdS-NH2 QDs. Hela cell is somewhat more sensitive to amino- and carboxy-modified QDs than Bel7404 cell for MTT assays.
Total body fat mass (TBFM) and total body lean mass (TBLM) are the major components of the human body. Although these highly correlated phenotypic traits are frequently used to characterize obesity, the specific shared genetic factors that influence both traits remain largely unknown. Our study was aimed at identifying common quantitative trait loci (QTLs) contributing to both TBFM and TBLM. We performed a whole genome-linkage scan study in a large sample of 3255 subjects from 420 Caucasian pedigrees. Bivariate linkage analysis was carried out in both the entire sample and gender-specific subsamples. Several potentially important genomic regions that may harbour QTLs important for TBFM and TBLM were identified. For example, 20p12-11 achieved a LOD score of 2·04 in the entire sample and, in the male subsample, two genomic regions, 20p12 (LOD=2·08) and 3p26-25 (LOD=1·92), showed suggestive linkage. In addition, two-point linkage analyses for chromosome X showed suggestive linkages on Xp22 in the entire sample (LOD=2·14) and significant linkage on Xp22 in the female subsample (LOD=3·05). Complete pleiotropy was suggested for 20p12 and 3p26-25 in males. Our results suggest that QTLs on chromosomes 20p12, 3p26-25 and Xp22 may jointly influence TBFM and TBLM. Further fine mapping and gene identification studies for these pleiotropic effects are needed.
This study investigated the behavior of Cu-containing intermetallic compounds (IMCs) in liquid Sn–Ag and Sn–Zn solders. Experimental results show that for the intermetallics investigated, Cu–Sn and Cu–Zn compounds, the occurrence of settling was dominated by the crystalline temperature of IMCs, buoyancy due to difference in densities, and dissolution potential for the compounds into the liquid. The complete dissolution of Cu–Zn compounds, which took place in the Sn–Zn solders when the Cu content exceeded a critical value, might be ascribed to the depletion of Zn in the melt.
The hollow mesoporous spheres (HMS) with cubic pore network have been synthesized via a simple two-step method. Two drugs of different molecules size, Aspirin and Gentamicin, were tested by one simple adsorption process. Up to 336 mg Aspirin molecules can be stored in 1.0 g HMS, while Gentamicin molecules of much larger size are much more difficult to be introduced into the pore channels of HMS. The same results can be obtained by using MCM-48 and MCM-41 as comparative mesoporous carriers. The HMS shows significantly higher storage amount of Aspirin than conventional MCM-48 and MCM-41 due to its hollow core structure. The release process of HMS-Aspirin, MCM-48-Aspirin and MCM-41-Aspirin are found to have a sustained-release property and follow a Fickian diffusion mechanism. Moreover, the HMS is suitable for storage of drug molecules of much smaller size.
This study reviews the results of the surgical management of 154 cases of ruptured aneurysm of the sinus of Valsalva. Of the patients0 73% were male, with an average age of 28 years. An associated ventricular septal defect was found in 40% and 23% had aortic valvar regurgitation. The aneurysms originated from the right coronary sinus in 79% and from the non-coronary sinus in the remainders. The aneurysms ruptured into the right ventricle in 73%, into the right atrium in 27% and into the left ventricle in less than 1%. Operative mortality was 4.5%. Long-term follow-up was achieved in 80% of patients, with a mean duration of 5.7 years and a range from two months to 29 years. Preoperative aortic regurgitation and preoperative functional class (NYHA III or IV) were both predictive of a worse long-term outcome. The optimal surgical approach was closure of the distal end of the fistula by direct suture together with reinforcement of the aortic sinus with a Dacron patch.
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