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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.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
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.
The major component of aphid alarm pheromone is (E)-β-farnesene (EβF), but the molecular mechanisms of EβF synthesis are poorly understood. Here we established a biological model to study the modulation of EβF synthesis in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and RNA interference. Our results showed that the rearing conditions significantly affected the weight of adult and modulated EβF synthesis in a transgenerational manner. Specifically, the quantity of EβF per milligram of aphid was significantly reduced in the individually reared adult or 1st-instar nymphs derived from 1-day-old adult reared individually, but EβF in the nymph derived from 2-day-old adult that experienced collective conditions returned to normal. Further study revealed that the production of EβF started in embryo and was extended to early nymphal stage, which was modulated by farnesyl diphosphate synthase genes (RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2) and rearing conditions. Knockdown of RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2 confirmed the role played by FPPS in the biosynthesis of aphid alarm pheromone. Our results suggested that the production of EβF starts at the embryo stage and is modulated by FPPS and rearing conditions in R. padi, which sheds lights on the modulatory mechanisms of EβF in the aphid.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
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.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
To determine whether probiotic prophylaxes reduce the odds of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults and children.
Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), adjusting for risk factors.
We searched 6 databases and 11 grey literature sources from inception to April 2016. We identified 32 RCTs (n=8,713); among them, 18 RCTs provided IPD (n=6,851 participants) comparing probiotic prophylaxis to placebo or no treatment (standard care). One reviewer prepared the IPD, and 2 reviewers extracted data, rated study quality, and graded evidence quality.
Probiotics reduced CDI odds in the unadjusted model (n=6,645; odds ratio [OR] 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25–0.55) and the adjusted model (n=5,074; OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.23–0.55). Using 2 or more antibiotics increased the odds of CDI (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.11–4.37), whereas age, sex, hospitalization status, and high-risk antibiotic exposure did not. Adjusted subgroup analyses suggested that, compared to no probiotics, multispecies probiotics were more beneficial than single-species probiotics, as was using probiotics in clinical settings where the CDI risk is ≥5%. Of 18 studies, 14 reported adverse events. In 11 of these 14 studies, the adverse events were retained in the adjusted model. Odds for serious adverse events were similar for both groups in the unadjusted analyses (n=4,990; OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89–1.26) and adjusted analyses (n=4,718; OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89–1.28). Missing outcome data for CDI ranged from 0% to 25.8%. Our analyses were robust to a sensitivity analysis for missingness.
Moderate quality (ie, certainty) evidence suggests that probiotic prophylaxis may be a useful and safe CDI prevention strategy, particularly among participants taking 2 or more antibiotics and in hospital settings where the risk of CDI is ≥5%.
In vivo and in vitro trials were conducted to assess the effects of tributyrin (TB) supplementation on short-chain fatty acid (SFCA) concentrations, fibrolytic enzyme activity, nutrient digestibility and methanogenesis in adult sheep. Nine 12-month-old ruminally cannulated Small Tail ewes (initial body weight 55 ± 5.0 kg) without pregnancy were used for the in vitro trial. In vitro substrate made to offer TB at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 g/kg on a dry matter (DM) basis was incubated by ruminal microbes for 72 h at 39°C. Forty-five adult Small Tail ewes used for the in vivo trial were randomly assigned to five treatments with nine animals each for an 18-d period according to body weight (55 ± 5.0 kg). Total mixed ration fed to ewes was also used to offer TB at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 g/kg on a DM basis. The in vitro trial showed that TB supplementation linearly increased apparent digestibility of DM, crude protein, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre, and enhanced gas production and methane emissions. The in vivo trial showed that TB supplementation decreased DM intake, but enhanced ruminal fermentation efficiency. Both in vitro and in vivo trials showed that TB supplementation enhanced total SFCA concentrations and carboxymethyl cellulase activity. The results indicate that TB supplementation might exert advantage effects on rumen microbial metabolism, despite having an enhancing effect on methanogenesis.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
An updated compilation of published and new data of major-ion (Ca, Cl, K, Mg, Na, NO3, SO4) and methylsulfonate (MS) concentrations in snow from 520 Antarctic sites is provided by the national ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition) programmes of Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the national Antarctic programme of Finland. The comparison shows that snow chemistry concentrations vary by up to four orders of magnitude across Antarctica and exhibit distinct geographical patterns. The Antarctic-wide comparison of glaciochemical records provides a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the fundamental factors that ultimately control the chemistry of snow or ice samples. This paper aims to initiate data compilation and administration in order to provide a framework for facilitation of Antarctic-wide snow chemistry discussions across all ITASE nations and other contributing groups. The data are made available through the ITASE web page (http://www2.umaine.edu/itase/content/syngroups/snowchem.html) and will be updated with new data as they are provided. In addition, recommendations for future research efforts are summarized.