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To evaluate the impacts of guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) and coated folic acid (CFA) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and hepatic gene expression, fifty-two Angus bulls were assigned to four groups in a 2 × 2 factor experimental design. The CFA of 0 or 6 mg/kg dietary DM folic acid was supplemented in diets with GAA of 0 (GAA−) or 0·6 g/kg DM (GAA+), respectively. Average daily gain (ADG), feed efficiency and hepatic creatine concentration increased with GAA or CFA addition, and the increased magnitude of these parameters was greater for addition of CFA in GAA− diets than in GAA+ diets. Blood creatine concentration increased with GAA or CFA addition, and greater increase was observed when CFA was supplemented in GAA+ diets than in GAA− diets. DM intake was unchanged, but rumen total SCFA concentration and digestibilities of DM, crude protein, neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased with the addition of GAA or CFA. Acetate:propionate ratio was unaffected by GAA, but increased for CFA addition. Increase in blood concentrations of albumin, total protein and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was observed for GAA or CFA addition. Blood folate concentration was decreased by GAA, but increased with CFA addition. Hepatic expressions of IGF-1, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, protein kinase B, mammalian target of rapamycin and ribosomal protein S6 kinase increased with GAA or CFA addition. Results indicated that the combined supplementation of GAA and CFA could not cause ADG increase more when compared with GAA or CFA addition alone.
This study aimed to investigate the benefit of Bonebridge devices in patients with single-sided deafness.
Five patients with single-sided deafness who were implanted with Bonebridge devices were recruited in a single-centre study. Participants’ speech perception and horizontal sound localisation abilities were assessed at 6 and 12 months post-operatively. Speech intelligibility in noisy environments was measured in three different testing conditions (speech and noise presented from the front, speech and noise presented from the front and contralateral (normal ear) side separately, and speech presented from the ipsilateral (implanted Bonebridge) side and noise from the contralateral side). Sound localisation was evaluated in Bonebridge-aided and Bonebridge-unaided conditions at different stimuli levels (65, 70 and 75 dB SPL).
All participants showed a better capacity for speech intelligibility in quiet environments with the Bonebridge device. The speech recognition threshold with the Bonebridge device was significantly decreased at both short- and long-term follow up in the speech presented from the ipsilateral (implanted Bonebridge) side and noise from the contralateral side condition (p < 0.05). Additionally, participants maintained similar levels of sound localisation between the Bonebridge-aided and unaided conditions (p > 0.05). However, the accuracy of localisation showed some improvement at 70 dB SPL and 75 dB SPL post-operatively.
The Bonebridge device provides the benefit of improved speech perception performance in patients with single-sided deafness. Sound localisation abilities were neither improved nor worsened with Bonebridge implantation at the follow-up assessments.
Ovarian follicle selection is a natural biological process in the pre-ovulatory hierarchy in birds that drives growing follicles to be selected within the ovulatory cycle. Follicle selection in birds is strictly regulated, involving signaling pathways mediated by dietary nutrients, gonadotrophic hormones and paracrine factors. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that dietary Ca may participate in regulating follicle selection in laying ducks through activating the signaling pathway of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), possibly mediated by gonadotrophic hormones. Female ducks at 22 weeks of age were initially fed one of two Ca-deficient diets (containing 1.8% or 0.38% Ca) or a Ca-adequate control diet (containing 3.6% Ca) for 67 days (depletion period), then all birds were fed the Ca-adequate diet for an additional 67 days (repletion period). Compared with the Ca-adequate control, ducks fed 0.38% Ca during the depletion period had significantly decreased (P < 0.05) numbers of hierarchical follicles and total ovarian weight, which were accompanied by reduced egg production. Plasma concentration of FSH was decreased by the diet containing 1.8% Ca but not by that containing 0.38%. The ovarian content of cAMP was increased with the two Ca-deficient diets, and phosphorylation of PKA and ERK1/2 was increased with 0.38% dietary Ca. Transcripts of ovarian estradiol receptor 2 and luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) were reduced in the ducks fed the two Ca-deficient diets (P < 0.05), while those of the ovarian follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) were decreased in the ducks fed 0.38% Ca. The transcript abundance of ovary gap junction proteins, A1 and A4, was reduced with the Ca-deficient diets (P < 0.05). The down-regulation of gene expression of gap junction proteins and hormone receptors, the increased cAMP content and the suppressed hierarchical follicle numbers were reversed by repletion of dietary Ca. These results indicate that dietary Ca deficiency negatively affects follicle selection of laying ducks, independent of FSH, but probably by activating cAMP/PKA/ERK1/2 signaling pathway.
There seems to be geographical differences in decisions about breast conserving surgery (BCS) in breast cancer patients. This study was to evaluate patients’ attitude to BCS and to assess the factors affecting cancer practice in West China.
A structured questionnaire was distributed to 184 patients, eliciting information about the patients’ characteristics, occupation, education, family life, recognition of illness, knowledge about BCS, the main means of gaining surgery information, selecting surgery approaches, preferences to breast reservation.
In all, 163 patients completed the questionnaire. The results indicated that only 7.4% of patients received BCS and 23% of the remaining patients desired to have BCS and the affecting factors were significantly associated with their family life, recognition of illness and the main means of gaining surgery information (P < 0.05). No associations were between BCS selecting and the other variables studied. The most frequent reasons for selecting BCS were keeping the female shape and improving quality of life (71%), the second most were postoperative recovery, minimal influence of physical function (47%) and patients’ knowledge about BCS (42%). The most frequent reasons for not selecting BCS were uncertainty about BCS results and worry about recurrence (81%), the second most was the elderly age unnecessary for BCS (40%).
The findings indicate that breast cancer patients in West China do not take BCS as the first choice as the best treatment method. It is warranted that further study of more patients, attitude of patients’ partners and physicians to BCS.
Two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations have been used to investigate the interaction between a laser pulse and a foil exposed to an external strong longitudinal magnetic field. Compared with that in the absence of the external magnetic field, the divergence of proton with the magnetic field in radiation pressure acceleration (RPA) regimes has improved remarkably due to the restriction of the electron transverse expansion. During the RPA process, the foil develops into a typical bubble-like shape resulting from the combined action of transversal ponderomotive force and instabilities. However, the foil prefers to be in a cone-like shape by using the magnetic field. The dependence of proton divergence on the strength of magnetic field has been studied, and an optimal magnetic field of nearly 60 kT is achieved in these simulations.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Starch digestion in the small intestines of the dairy cow is low, to a large extent, due to a shortage of syntheses of α-amylase. One strategy to improve the situation is to enhance the synthesis of α-amylase. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway, which acts as a central regulator of protein synthesis, can be activated by leucine. Our objectives were to investigate the effects of leucine on the mTOR signalling pathway and to define the associations between these signalling activities and the synthesis of pancreatic enzymes using an in vitro model of cultured Holstein dairy calf pancreatic tissue. The pancreatic tissue was incubated in culture medium containing l-leucine for 3 h, and samples were collected hourly, with the control being included but not containing l-leucine. The leucine supplementation increased α-amylase and trypsin activities and the messenger RNA expression of their coding genes (P <0.05), and it enhanced the mTOR synthesis and the phosphorylation of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (P <0.05). In addition, rapamycin inhibited the mTOR signal pathway factors during leucine treatment. In sum, the leucine regulates α-amylase and trypsin synthesis in dairy calves through the regulation of the mTOR signal pathways.
The strong-coupling mode, called the “quasimode”, is excited by stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) in high-intensity laser–plasma interactions. Also SBS of the quasimode competes with SBS of the fast mode (or slow mode) in multi-ion species plasmas, thus leading to a low-frequency burst behavior of SBS reflectivity. Competition between the quasimode and the ion-acoustic wave (IAW) is an important saturation mechanism of SBS in high-intensity laser–plasma interactions. These results give a clear explanation of the low-frequency periodic burst behavior of SBS and should be considered as a saturation mechanism of SBS in high-intensity laser–plasma interactions.
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.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
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.
Dysfunction of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to examine the efficacy and safety of memantine, a non-competitive NMDAR antagonist, in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Standardized/weighted mean differences (SMDs/WMDs), risk ratio (RR), and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and analyzed.
Included in the meta-analysis were eight RCTs (n = 452) of 11.5 ± 2.6 weeks duration, with 229 patients on memantine (20 mg/day) and 223 patients on placebo. Adjunctive memantine outperformed placebo in the measures of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale negative symptoms [SMD: −0.63 (95% CI −1.10 to −0.16), p = 0.009, I2 = 77%], but not in the total, positive and general symptoms [SMD: −0.46 to −0.08 (95% CI −0.93 to 0.22), p = 0.06–0.60, I2 = 0–74%] or the Clinical Global Impression Severity Scale [WMD: 0.04 (95% CI −0.24 to 0.32), p = 0.78]. The negative symptoms remained significant after excluding one outlying RCT [SMD: −0.41 (95% CI −0.72 to −0.11), p = 0.008, I2 = 47%]. Compared with the placebo group, adjunctive memantine was associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) [WMD: 3.09, (95% CI 1.77–4.42), p < 0.00001, I2 = 22%]. There was no significant difference in the discontinuation rate [RR: 1.34 (95% CI 0.76–2.37), p = 0.31, I2 = 0%] and adverse drug reactions between the two groups.
This meta-analysis showed that adjunctive memantine appears to be an efficacious and safe treatment for improving negative symptoms and neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia. Higher quality RCTs with larger samples are warranted to confirm these findings.
Retreatment of tuberculosis (TB) often fails in China, yet the risk factors associated with the failure remain unclear. To identify risk factors for the treatment failure of retreated pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients, we analyzed the data of 395 retreated PTB patients who received retreatment between July 2009 and July 2011 in China. PTB patients were categorized into ‘success’ and ‘failure’ groups by their treatment outcome. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between treatment outcome and socio-demographic as well as clinical factors. We also created an optimized risk score model to evaluate the predictive values of these risk factors on treatment failure. Of 395 patients, 99 (25·1%) were diagnosed as retreatment failure. Our results showed that risk factors associated with treatment failure included drug resistance, low education level, low body mass index (<18·5), long duration of previous treatment (>6 months), standard treatment regimen, retreatment type, positive culture result after 2 months of treatment, and the place where the first medicine was taken. An Optimized Framingham risk model was then used to calculate the risk scores of these factors. Place where first medicine was taken (temporary living places) received a score of 6, which was highest among all the factors. The predicted probability of treatment failure increases as risk score increases. Ten out of 359 patients had a risk score >9, which corresponded to an estimated probability of treatment failure >70%. In conclusion, we have identified multiple clinical and socio-demographic factors that are associated with treatment failure of retreated PTB patients. We also created an optimized risk score model that was effective in predicting the retreatment failure. These results provide novel insights for the prognosis and improvement of treatment for retreated PTB patients.
Worldwide 350 million people suffer from major depression, with the majority of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. We examined the patterns, correlates and care-seeking behaviour of adults suffering from major depressive episode (MDE) in China.
A nationwide study recruited 512 891 adults aged 30–79 years from 10 provinces across China during 2004–2008. The 12-month prevalence of MDE was assessed by the Modified Composite International Diagnostic Interview-short form. Logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of MDE associated with socio-economic, lifestyle and health-related factors and major stressful life events.
Overall, 0.7% of participants had MDE and a further 2.4% had major depressive symptoms. Stressful life events were strongly associated with MDE [adjusted OR 14.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7–15.7], with a dose–response relationship with the number of such events experienced. Family conflict had the highest OR for MDE (18.9, 95% CI 16.8–21.2) among the 10 stressful life events. The risk of MDE was also positively associated with rural residency (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4–1.7), low income (OR 2.3, 95% CI 2.1–2.4), living alone (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.3–3.0), smoking (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3–1.6) and certain other mental disorders (e.g. anxiety, phobia). Similar, albeit weaker, associations were observed with depressive symptoms. Among those with MDE, about 15% sought medical help or took psychiatric medication, 15% reported having suicidal ideation and 6% reported attempting suicide.
Among Chinese adults, the patterns and correlates of MDE were generally consistent with those observed in the West. The low rates of seeking professional help and treatment highlight the great gap in mental health services in China.
Under ‘cocktail party’ listening conditions, healthy listeners and listeners with schizophrenia can use temporally pre-presented auditory speech-priming (ASP) stimuli to improve target-speech recognition, even though listeners with schizophrenia are more vulnerable to informational speech masking.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, this study searched for both brain substrates underlying the unmasking effect of ASP in 16 healthy controls and 22 patients with schizophrenia, and brain substrates underlying schizophrenia-related speech-recognition deficits under speech-masking conditions.
In both controls and patients, introducing the ASP condition (against the auditory non-speech-priming condition) not only activated the left superior temporal gyrus (STG) and left posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), but also enhanced functional connectivity of the left STG/pMTG with the left caudate. It also enhanced functional connectivity of the left STG/pMTG with the left pars triangularis of the inferior frontal gyrus (TriIFG) in controls and that with the left Rolandic operculum in patients. The strength of functional connectivity between the left STG and left TriIFG was correlated with target-speech recognition under the speech-masking condition in both controls and patients, but reduced in patients.
The left STG/pMTG and their ASP-related functional connectivity with both the left caudate and some frontal regions (the left TriIFG in healthy listeners and the left Rolandic operculum in listeners with schizophrenia) are involved in the unmasking effect of ASP, possibly through facilitating the following processes: masker-signal inhibition, target-speech encoding, and speech production. The schizophrenia-related reduction of functional connectivity between the left STG and left TriIFG augments the vulnerability of speech recognition to speech masking.
Nanosecond (ns) pulsed dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) actuator in a laminar flat plate boundary layer is investigated numerically in an attempt to gain some new insights into the understanding of ns DBD actuation mechanism. Special emphasis is put on the examination, separation and comparison of behaviors of discharge induced micro shock wave and residual heat as well as on the investigation of response of external flow to the two effects. The shock wave is found to introduce highly transient, localized perturbation to the flow and be able to significantly alter the flow pattern shortly after its initiation. The main flow tends to quickly recover to close to its undisturbed state due to the transient nature of perturbation. However, with the shock decay and final disappearance, another perturbation source in the vicinity of discharge region, which contains contribution from both residual heat and shock, becomes increasingly pronounced and eventually develops into a perturbation wave train in the boundary layer. The perturbation is relatively weak and may not be a Tollmien-Schlichting (TS) wave and not trigger the laminar-turbulent transition of boundary layer. Instead, it is more likely to manipulate the flow stability to achieve the strong control authority of this kind of actuation in the case of flow separation control. In addition, a parametric study over the different electrical and hydrodynamic parameters is also conducted.
Large volumes of data and multiple computing platforms are now universal components of paediatric cardiovascular medicine, but are in a constant state of evolution. Often, multiple sets of related data reside in disconnected “silos”, resulting in clinical, administrative, and research activities that may be duplicative, inefficient, and at times inaccurate. Comprehensive and integrated data solutions are needed to facilitate these activities across congenital heart centres. We describe methodology, key considerations, successful use cases, and lessons learnt in developing an integrated data platform across our congenital heart centre.
The effects of various parameters, such as thermal properties of substrates, thermal interface materials (TIMs) and heat sinks on the thermal performance of the light emitting diode (LED) light bars and backlight module are investigated experimentally and numerically in terms of junction temperature (Tj) and thermal resistances from junction to air (Rj-a). The results show that the measured Rj-a of the light bars by powering-on five LEDs in the test is different from one by powering-on only one LED, resulting from the extra heat coming from the adjacent LED packages affecting the Tj for the case of powering-on five LEDs. For the modules, Rj-a is significantly reduced by using the heat sinks for all backlight modules, and aluminum and iron heat sinks do not show any obvious difference in heat dissipation along with any substrates and TIMs. Furthermore, both experimental and simulation results show that the thermal conductivity of the substrates are more important and dominant than TIM and heat sink for the Rj-a of the backlight modules concerned, and also demonstrate that the thermal field for the local model can represent the one in full-scale backlight module.
There are six strains of the complete genomic sequences of black queen cell virus (BQCV) published in the GenBank, including South Africa (AF183905), South Korea (JX149531), Hungary 10 (EF517515), Poland 4 (EF517519), Poland 5 (EF517520) and Poland 6 (EF517521). Based on the six BQCV strains published in the GenBank, ten pairs of primers were designed in the present study using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to obtain the first complete genome sequence of a BQCV strain in China, called the BQCV China-JL1 strain (KP119603). A phylogenetic tree was then built to analyse their genetic relationships. The BQCV China-JL1 strain showed 86–93% similarity with the six strains published in the GenBank. The BQCV China-JL1 strain consisted of 8358 nucleotides (nt). The 5′-proximal open reading frame (ORF1) initiated at nt position 546 and terminated at nt position 4676, ORF3 initiated at nt position 4891 and terminated at nt position 5433, and the 3′-proximal ORF (ORF2) was located between nt positions 5750 and 8203.