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This paper presents an approach for evaluating exoskeleton support concepts through biomechanical analyses on a musculoskeletal human model. By simplifying the support forces of an exoskeleton as external forces, different support concepts can be biomechanically evaluated for the respective use case without concrete design specifications of the exoskeleton. This enables an estimation of the resulting relief and strain on the human body in the early stages of exoskeleton development. To present the approach, the use case of working at and above head height with a power tool is chosen.
We report the experimental results of the commissioning phase in the 10 PW laser beamline of the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF). The peak power reaches 2.4 PW on target without the last amplifying during the experiment. The laser energy of 72 ± 9 J is directed to a focal spot of approximately 6 μm diameter (full width at half maximum) in 30 fs pulse duration, yielding a focused peak intensity around 2.0 × 1021 W/cm2. The first laser-proton acceleration experiment is performed using plain copper and plastic targets. High-energy proton beams with maximum cut-off energy up to 62.5 MeV are achieved using copper foils at the optimum target thickness of 4 μm via target normal sheath acceleration. For plastic targets of tens of nanometers thick, the proton cut-off energy is approximately 20 MeV, showing ring-like or filamented density distributions. These experimental results reflect the capabilities of the SULF-10 PW beamline, for example, both ultrahigh intensity and relatively good beam contrast. Further optimization for these key parameters is underway, where peak laser intensities of 1022–1023 W/cm2 are anticipated to support various experiments on extreme field physics.
Schizophrenia has been primarily conceptualized as a disorder of high-order cognitive functions with deficits in executive brain regions. Yet due to the increasing reports of early sensory processing deficit, recent models focus more on the developmental effects of impaired sensory process on high-order functions. The present study examined whether this pathological interaction relates to an overarching system-level imbalance, specifically a disruption in macroscale hierarchy affecting integration and segregation of unimodal and transmodal networks.
We applied a novel combination of connectome gradient and stepwise connectivity analysis to resting-state fMRI to characterize the sensorimotor-to-transmodal cortical hierarchy organization (96 patients v. 122 controls).
We demonstrated compression of the cortical hierarchy organization in schizophrenia, with a prominent compression from the sensorimotor region and a less prominent compression from the frontal−parietal region, resulting in a diminished separation between sensory and fronto-parietal cognitive systems. Further analyses suggested reduced differentiation related to atypical functional connectome transition from unimodal to transmodal brain areas. Specifically, we found hypo-connectivity within unimodal regions and hyper-connectivity between unimodal regions and fronto-parietal and ventral attention regions along the classical sensation-to-cognition continuum (voxel-level corrected, p < 0.05).
The compression of cortical hierarchy organization represents a novel and integrative system-level substrate underlying the pathological interaction of early sensory and cognitive function in schizophrenia. This abnormal cortical hierarchy organization suggests cascading impairments from the disruption of the somatosensory−motor system and inefficient integration of bottom-up sensory information with attentional demands and executive control processes partially account for high-level cognitive deficits characteristic of schizophrenia.
Supraglacial lakes and rivers dominate the storage and transport of meltwater on the southwest Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface. Despite functioning as interconnected hydrologic networks, supraglacial lakes and rivers are commonly studied as independent features, resulting in an incomplete understanding of their collective impact on meltwater storage and routing. We use Landsat 8 satellite imagery to assess the seasonal evolution of supraglacial lakes and rivers on the southwest GrIS during the 2015 melt season. Remotely sensed meltwater areas and volumes are compared with surface runoff simulations from three climate models (MERRA-2, MAR 3.6 and RACMO 2.3), and with in situ observations of proglacial discharge in the Watson River. We find: (1) at elevations >1600 m, 21% of supraglacial lakes and 28% of supraglacial rivers drain into moulins, signifying the presence of high-elevation surface-to-bed meltwater connections even during a colder-than-average melt season; (2) while supraglacial lakes dominate instantaneous surface meltwater storage, supraglacial rivers dominate total surface meltwater area and discharge; (3) the combined surface area of supraglacial lakes and rivers is strongly correlated with modeled surface runoff; and (4) of the three models examined here, MERRA-2 runoff yields the highest overall correlation with observed proglacial discharge in the Watson River.
The aim of this study was to explore the frequency and distribution of gene mutations that are related to isoniazid (INH) and rifampin (RIF)-resistance in the strains of the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) in Beijing, China. In this retrospective study, the genotypes of 173 MDR-TB strains were analysed by spoligotyping. The katG, inhA genes and the promoter region of inhA, in which genetic mutations confer INH resistance; and the rpoB gene, in which genetic mutations confer RIF resistance, were sequenced. The percentage of resistance-associated nucleotide alterations among the strains of different genotypes was also analysed. In total, 90.8% (157/173) of the MDR strains belonged to the Beijing genotype. Population characteristics were not significantly different among the strains of different genotypes. In total, 50.3% (87/173) strains had mutations at codon S315T of katG; 16.8% (29/173) of strains had mutations in the inhA promoter region; of them, 5.5% (15/173) had point mutations at −15 base (C→T) of the inhA promoter region. In total, 86.7% (150/173) strains had mutations at rpoB gene; of them, 40% (69/173) strains had mutations at codon S531L of rpoB. The frequency of mutations was not significantly higher in Beijing genotypic MDR strains than in non-Beijing genotypes. Beijing genotypic MDR-TB strains were spreading in Beijing and present a major challenge to TB control in this region. A high prevalence of katG Ser315Thr, inhA promoter region (−15C→T) and rpoB (S531L) mutations was observed. Molecular diagnostics based on gene mutations was a useful method for rapid detection of MDR-TB in Beijing, China.
Property-based random testing á la QuickCheck requires building efficient generators for well-distributed random data satisfying complex logical predicates, but writing these generators can be difficult and error prone. This chapter introduces a probabilistic domain-specific language in which generators are conveniently expressed by decorating predicates with lightweight annotations to control both the distribution of generated values and the amount of constraint solving that happens before each variable is instantiated. This language, called Luck, makes generators easier to write, read and maintain. We give Luck a probabilistic formal semantics and prove several fundamental properties, including the soundness and completeness of random generation with respect to a standard predicate semantics. We evaluate Luck on common examples from the property-based testing literature and on two significant case studies, showing that it can be used in complex domains with comparable bug-finding effectiveness and a significant reduction in testing code size compared to handwritten generators.
Electronic skins are critical for many applications in human-machine-environment interactions. Tactile sensitivity over large areas can be especially applied to prosthetics. Moreover, the potential for wearables, interactive surfaces, and human robotics have propelled research in this area. In this Element, we provide an account and directional atlas of the progress in materials and devices for electronic skins, in the context of sensing principles and skin-like features. Additionally, we give an overview of essential electronic circuits and systems used in large-area tactile sensor arrays. Finally, we present the challenges and provide perspectives on future developments.
Serotonin transporter (SERT) and dopamine transporter (DAT) levels differ in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who are in a depressed state in comparison with healthy controls. In addition, a family history of depression is a potent risk factor for developing depression, and inherited vulnerability to serotonergic and dopaminergic dysfunction is suspected in this. The aim of this study was to examine the availabilities of midbrain SERT and striatal DAT in healthy subjects with and without a first-degree family history of MDD.
Eight healthy subjects with first-degree relatives with MDD and 16 sex- and age-matched healthy controls were recruited. The availabilities of SERT and DAT were approximated using SPECT, employing [123I] 2-((2-((dimethylamino)methyl)phenyl)thio)-5-iodophenylamine (ADAM) and [99mTc] TRODAT-1 as the ligands, respectively. There are missing data for one participant with a first-degree family history of MDD from the ADAM study, due to a lack of the radio-ligand at the time of experiment.
SERT availability in the midbrain was significantly lower in subjects with a first-degree family history of MDD than in healthy subjects. However, DAT availability was no different between two groups.
The results with regard to the midbrain SERT level suggest the heritability of MDD.
Recently, a triple-network model suggested the abnormal interactions between the executive-control network (ECN), default-mode network (DMN) and salience network (SN) are important characteristics of addiction, in which the SN plays a critical role in allocating attentional resources toward the ECN and DMN. Although increasing studies have reported dysfunctions in these brain networks in Internet gaming disorder (IGD), interactions between these networks, particularly in the context of the triple-network model, have not been investigated in IGD. Thus, we aimed to assess alterations in the inter-network interactions of these large-scale networks in IGD, and to associate the alterations with IGD-related behaviors.
DMN, ECN and SN were identified using group-level independent component analysis (gICA) in 39 individuals with IGD and 34 age and gender matched healthy controls (HCs). Then alterations in the SN-ECN and SN-DMN connectivity, as well as in the modulation of ECN versus DMN by SN, using a resource allocation index (RAI) developed and validated previously in nicotine addiction, were assessed. Further, associations between these altered network coupling and clinical assessments were also examined.
Compared with HCs, IGD had significantly increased SN-DMN connectivity and decreased RAI in right hemisphere (rRAI), and the rRAI in IGD was negatively associated with their scores of craving.
These findings suggest that the deficient modulation of ECN versus DMN by SN might provide a mechanistic framework to better understand the neural basis of IGD and might provide novel evidence for the triple-network model in IGD.
Monolayer (ML) molybdenum disulfide (MoS₂) is a novel 2-dimensional (2D) semiconductor whose properties have many applications in devices. Despite its potential, ML MoS₂ is limited in its use due to its degradation under exposure to ambient air. Therefore, studies of possible degradation prevention methods are important. It is well established that air humidity plays a major role in the degradation. In this paper, we investigate the effects of substrate hydrophobicity on the degradation of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) grown ML MoS2. We use optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Raman mapping to investigate the degradation of ML MoS2 grown on SiO2 and Si3N4 that are hydrophilic and hydrophobic substrates, respectively. Our results show that the degradation of ML MoS₂ on Si3N4 is significantly less than the degradation on SiO2. These results show that using hydrophobic substrates to grow 2D transition metal dichalcogenide ML materials may diminish ambient degradation and enable improved protocols for device manufacturing.
Perceived loneliness, an increasingly prevalent social issue, is closely associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). However, the neural mechanisms previously implicated in key cognitive and affective processes in loneliness and MDD still remain unclear. Such understanding is critical for delineating the psychobiological basis of the relationship between loneliness and MDD.
We isolated the unique and interactive cognitive and neural substrates of loneliness and MDD among 27 MDD patients (mean age = 51.85 years, 20 females), and 25 matched healthy controls (HCs; mean age = 48.72 years, 19 females). We assessed participants' behavioral performance and neural regional and network functions on a Stroop color-word task, and their resting-state neural connectivity.
Behaviorally, we found greater incongruence-related accuracy cost in MDD patients, but reduced incongruence effect on reaction time in lonelier individuals. When performing the Stroop task, loneliness positively predicted prefrontal-anterior cingulate-parietal connectivity across all participants, whereas MDD patients showed a decrease in connectivity compared to controls. Furthermore, loneliness negatively predicted parietal and cerebellar activities in MDD patients, but positively predicted the same activities in HCs. During resting state, MDD patients showed reduced parietal-anterior cingulate connectivity, which again positively correlated with loneliness in this group.
We speculate the distinct neurocognitive profile of loneliness might indicate increase in both bottom-up attention and top-down executive control functions. However, the upregulated cognitive control processes in lonely individuals may eventually become exhausted, which may in turn predispose to MDD onset.
The diet of most adults is low in fish and, therefore, provides limited quantities of the long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3FAs), eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA, DHA). Since these compounds serve important roles in the brain, we sought to determine if healthy adults with low-LCn-3FA consumption would exhibit improvements in neuropsychological performance and parallel changes in brain morphology following repletion through fish oil supplementation.
In a randomized, controlled trial, 271 mid-life adults (30–54 years of age, 118 men, 153 women) consuming ⩽300 mg/day of LCn-3FAs received 18 weeks of supplementation with fish oil capsules (1400 mg/day of EPA and DHA) or matching placebo. All participants completed a neuropsychological test battery examining four cognitive domains: psychomotor speed, executive function, learning/episodic memory, and fluid intelligence. A subset of 122 underwent neuroimaging before and after supplementation to measure whole-brain and subcortical tissue volumes.
Capsule adherence was over 95%, participant blinding was verified, and red blood cell EPA and DHA levels increased as expected. Supplementation did not affect performance in any of the four cognitive domains. Exploratory analyses revealed that, compared to placebo, fish oil supplementation improved executive function in participants with low-baseline DHA levels. No changes were observed in any indicator of brain morphology.
In healthy mid-life adults reporting low-dietary intake, supplementation with LCn-3FAs in moderate dose for moderate duration did not affect neuropsychological performance or brain morphology. Whether salutary effects occur in individuals with particularly low-DHA exposure requires further study.
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.
Microorganisms are the most abundant organisms on Earth, and microbial abundance records preserved in ice cores have been connected to records of environmental change. As an alternative to high resolution abundance records, which can be difficult to recover, we used culture-dependent and culture-independent methods to examine bacteria in glacier ice from the Tibetan Plateau (TP). We recovered a total of 887 bacterial isolates from ice cores of up to 164 m in depth retrieved from seven glaciers, located across the TP. These isolates were related to 53 genera in the Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria, with 13 major genera accounting for 78% of isolates. Most of the genera were common across the geographic region covered by our sampling, but there were differences in the genera recovered from different depths in the ice, with the deepest portions of the ice cores dominated by a single genus (Sporosarcina). Because microorganisms deposited on glaciers must survive atmospheric transport under a range of temperatures, temperature tolerance should be an important survival mechanism. We tested isolate growth across a range of temperatures (0–35 °C), and found psychrotolerance to be common. Together, our results show that ice depth, and by extension age, are characterized by different types of microorganisms, providing new information about microbial records in ice.
The 2017 plague outbreak in Madagascar was unprecedented in the African region, resulting in 2417 cases (498 confirmed, 793 probable and 1126 suspected) and 209 deaths by the end of the acute urban pneumonic phase of the outbreak. The Health Emergencies Programme of the WHO Regional Office for Africa together with the WHO Country Office and WHO Headquarters assisted the Ministry of Public Health of Madagascar in the rapid implementation of plague prevention and control measures while collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data to inform immediate interventions. We document the key findings of the evidence available to date and actions taken as a result. Based on the four goals of operational research – effective dissemination of results, peer-reviewed publication, changes to policy and practice and improvements in programme performance and health – we evaluate the use of evidence to inform response to the outbreak and describe lessons learned for future outbreak responses in the WHO African region. This article may not be reprinted or reused in any way in order to promote any commercial products or services.
Background: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (hiPS-NSCs) represent an exciting therapeutic approach for traumatically spinal cord injury (SCI). Unfortunately, most patients are the in chronic injury phase where a dense perilesional chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) scar significantly hinders regeneration. CSPG-degrading enzymes can enhance NSC-mediated recovery, however, nonspecific intrathecal administration causes off-target effects. We aimed to genetically engineer hiPS-NSCs to express a scar-degrading ENZYME into their local environment to enhance functional recovery. Methods: A bicistronic scar-degrading ENZYME and RFP reporter vector was non-virally integrated into hiPS-NSCs and monoclonalized. ENZYME activity was assessed by WST-1 and DMMB biochemical assays and an in vitro CSPG spot assay with hiPS-NSC-derived neurons. To assess in vivo efficacy, T-cell deficient rats (N=60) with chronic (8wk) C6-7 SCIs were randomized to receive (1)SMaRT cells, (2)hiPS-NSCs, (3)vehicle, or (4)sham surgery. Results: SMaRT cells retained key hiPS-NSC characteristics while stably expressing ENZYME. The expressed ENZYME could appropriately degrade in vitro and ex vivo CSPGs. While blinded neurobehavioural and immunohistochemical assessments are ongoing at 40wks post-injury, an interim analysis demonstrated human cells extending remarkably long (≥20,000µm) axons along host white matter tracts. Conclusions: This work provides exciting proof-of-concept data that genetically-engineered SMaRT cells can degrade CSPGs and human NSCs can extend long-distance processes in chronic SCI.