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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
There is compelling evidence for gradient effects of household income on school readiness. Potential mechanisms are described, yet the growth curve trajectory of maternal mental health in a child's early life has not been thoroughly investigated. We aimed to examine the relationships between household incomes, maternal mental health trajectories from antenatal to the postnatal period, and school readiness.
Prospective data from 505 mother–child dyads in a birth cohort in Singapore were used, including household income, repeated measures of maternal mental health from pregnancy to 2-years postpartum, and a range of child behavioural, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes from 2 to 6 years of age. Antenatal mental health and its trajectory were tested as mediators in the latent growth curve models.
Household income was a robust predictor of antenatal maternal mental health and all child outcomes. Between children from the bottom and top household income quartiles, four dimensions of school readiness skills differed by a range of 0.52 (95% Cl: 0.23, 0.67) to 1.21 s.d. (95% CI: 1.02, 1.40). Thirty-eight percent of pregnant mothers in this cohort were found to have perinatal depressive and anxiety symptoms in the subclinical and clinical ranges. Poorer school readiness skills were found in children of these mothers when compared to those of mothers with little or no symptoms. After adjustment of unmeasured confounding on the indirect effect, antenatal maternal mental health provided a robust mediating path between household income and multiple school readiness outcomes (χ2 126.05, df 63, p < 0.001; RMSEA = 0.031, CFI = 0.980, SRMR = 0.034).
Pregnant mothers with mental health symptoms, particularly those from economically-challenged households, are potential targets for intervention to level the playing field of their children.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
The current study aims to describe the Mediterranean diet (MD) adherence across the US regions, and explore the predictive factors of MD adherence among US adults.
Cross-sectional secondary data analysis. MD adherence score (0–9) was calculated using the Block 98 FFQ. Hot spot analysis was conducted to describe the geospatial distribution of MD adherence across the US regions. Logistic regression explored predictors of MD adherence.
Nationwide community-dwelling residency in the USA.
Adults aged ≥45 years (n 20 897) who participated in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study and completed baseline assessment during January 2003 and October 2007.
The mean of MD adherence score was 4·36 (sd 1·70), and 46·5 % of the sample had high MD adherence (score 5–9). Higher MD adherence clusters were primarily located in the western and northeastern coastal areas of the USA, whereas lower MD adherence clusters were majorly observed in south and east-north-central regions. Being older, black, not a current smoker, having a college degree or above, an annual household income ≥ $US 75K, exercising ≥4 times/week and watching TV/video <4 h/d were each associated with higher odds of high MD adherence.
There were significant geospatial and population disparities in MD adherence across the US regions. Future studies are needed to explore the causes of MD adherence disparities and develop effective interventions for MD promotion in the USA.
Metabolic abnormality is common among schizophrenia patients. Some metabolic traits were found associated with subgroups of schizophrenia patients.
We examined a possible relationship between metabolic abnormality and psychosis profile in schizophrenia patients.
Three hundred and seventy-two chronic schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotics for more than 2 years were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. A set of metabolic traits was measured at scheduled checkpoints between October 2004 and September 2006.
Multiple regressions adjusted for sex showed negative correlations between body mass index (BMI) and total score and all subscales; triglycerides (TG) was negatively correlated with total score and negative syndrome, while HDLC was positively correlated with negative syndrome. When sex interaction was concerned, total score was negatively correlated with BMI but not with others; negative syndrome was negatively correlated with BMI and positively with HDLC. No metabolic traits were correlated with positive syndrome or general psychopathology.
Loss of body weight is a serious health problem in schizophrenia patients with severe psychosis syndrome, especially the negative syndrome. Schizophrenia patients with severe negative syndrome may have a distinct lipid pathophysiology in comparison with those who were less severe in the domain.
Alcohol is legally accessible and widely used in Taiwan, but few studies have addressed alcohol-drinking problems in hospital settings.
To explore (1) the prevalence and risk factors for hazardous alcohol-drinking problems and (2) previous assessments and interventions for alcohol-drinking problems among a general Chinese patient population.
Self-report data were collected from 484 patients at five randomly selected hospitals.
The prevalence of hazardous alcohol-drinking problems was 19.2%. Logistic regression analysis revealed that risk factors for hazardous drinking problems were being male, smoking, and chewing betel quid. Only 29.1% of participants were assessed for drinking problems in the past year. Only 38.7% of participants with drinking problems had received a drinking intervention in the past year.
Alcohol problems in Taiwanese general hospitals are insufficiently assessed and targeted with interventions. Targeting high-risk groups and integrating psychiatric healthcare teams in general hospitals are important to prevent patients’ drinking problems.
We aimed to investigate the heterogeneity of seasonal suicide patterns among multiple geographically, demographically and socioeconomically diverse populations.
Weekly time-series data of suicide counts for 354 communities in 12 countries during 1986–2016 were analysed. Two-stage analysis was performed. In the first stage, a generalised linear model, including cyclic splines, was used to estimate seasonal patterns of suicide for each community. In the second stage, the community-specific seasonal patterns were combined for each country using meta-regression. In addition, the community-specific seasonal patterns were regressed onto community-level socioeconomic, demographic and environmental indicators using meta-regression.
We observed seasonal patterns in suicide, with the counts peaking in spring and declining to a trough in winter in most of the countries. However, the shape of seasonal patterns varied among countries from bimodal to unimodal seasonality. The amplitude of seasonal patterns (i.e. the peak/trough relative risk) also varied from 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33–1.62) to 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.1) among 12 countries. The subgroup difference in the seasonal pattern also varied over countries. In some countries, larger amplitude was shown for females and for the elderly population (≥65 years of age) than for males and for younger people, respectively. The subperiod difference also varied; some countries showed increasing seasonality while others showed a decrease or little change. Finally, the amplitude was larger for communities with colder climates, higher proportions of elderly people and lower unemployment rates (p-values < 0.05).
Despite the common features of a spring peak and a winter trough, seasonal suicide patterns were largely heterogeneous in shape, amplitude, subgroup differences and temporal changes among different populations, as influenced by climate, demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Our findings may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms of seasonal suicide patterns and aid in improving the design of population-specific suicide prevention programmes based on these patterns.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Ceramics are strong but brittle. According to the classical theories, ceramics are brittle mainly because dislocations are suppressed by cracks. Here, the authors report the combined elastic and plastic deformation measurements of nanoceramics, in which dislocation-mediated stiff and ductile behaviors were detected at room temperature. In the synchrotron-based deformation experiments, a marked slope change is observed in the stress–strain relationship of MgAl2O4 nanoceramics at high pressures, indicating that a deformation mechanism shift occurs in the compression and that the nanoceramics sample is elastically stiffer than its bulk counterpart. The bulk-sized MgAl2O4 shows no texturing at pressures up to 37 GPa, which is compatible with the brittle behaviors of ceramics. Surprisingly, substantial texturing is seen in nanoceramic MgAl2O4 at pressures above 4 GPa. The observed stiffening and texturing indicate that dislocation-mediated mechanisms, usually suppressed in bulk-sized ceramics at low temperature, become operative in nanoceramics. This makes nanoceramics stiff and ductile.
In this prospective study, we monitored 4 epidemiologically important pathogens (EIPs): methicillin-resistane Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), Clostridium difficile, and multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter to assess the effectiveness of 3 enhanced disinfection strategies for terminal room disinfection against standard practice. Our data demonstrated that a decrease in room contamination with EIPs of 94% was associated with a 35% decrease in subsequent patient colonization and/or infection.
TAOS II is a next-generation occultation survey with the goal of measuring the size distribution of the small end of the Kuiper Belt (objects with diameters 0.5–30 km). Such objects have magnitudes r > 30, and are thus undetectable by direct imaging. The project will operate three telescopes at San Pedro Mártir Observatory in Baja California, México. Each telescope will be equipped with a custom-built camera comprised of a focal-plane array of CMOS imagers. The cameras will be capable of reading out image data from 10,000 stars at a cadence of 20 Hz. The telescopes will monitor the same set of stars simultaneously to search for coincident occultation detections, thus minimising the false-positive rate. This talk described the project, and reported on the progress of the development of the survey infrastructure.
H9 avian influenza virus played a key role during generation of the novel H7N9 virus. A surveillance programme was conducted to assess the H9 virus in relation to the risk of H7N9 virus contamination in the environment. Risk of H7N9 virus contamination in the presence of H9 virus was higher than without (adjusted odds ratio 4·49, 95% confidence interval 3·79–5·31). Adjusted odds ratios of the H7N9 virus associated with co-presence of H9 virus and interacting factors were 4·93 (rural vs. urban area), 46·80 (live poultry markets vs. other premises), 6·86 (Huzhou vs. Hangzhou prefecture), 40·67 (year 2015 vs. 2013), and 9·63 (sewage from cleaning poultry vs. poultry faeces). Regular surveillance on gene variability of H7N9 and H9 viruses should be conducted and extra measures are needed to reduce co-circulation of H7N9 and H9 viruses in the environment.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.
An outbreak of acute hepatitis recently occurred in a nursing home in Zhejiang Province, China. The objectives of this study were to confirm the outbreak and identify the aetiology, source and transmission patterns. All residents and staff in or near the nursing home during the period from 1 October 2014 to 21 May 2015 were investigated regarding hygiene and for epidemiological information including water and food (eating meat especially pork products). Serum and stool specimens were collected for detection of hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies using ELISA and RNA using RT–PCR. Samples that were RNA positive were genotyped. Of 185 senior residents and 24 staff in the nursing home, there were 37 laboratory-confirmed cases during the outbreak. Of these cases, 12 patients (three deaths) were symptomatic with jaundice, a common clinical symptom for hepatitis E infection. HEV strains were isolated from three cases and they formed a single cluster within genotype 4d. A case-control study was conducted to investigate potential risk factors for the outbreak and the results revealed that cases more often washed their dishes and rinsed their mouths using tap water than the controls (P < 0·05). Based on hygiene investigation and meteorological information, it is likely that HEV-infected sewage and faeces contaminated the water network on rainy days. Collectively, these results suggest that the outbreak of HEV genotype 4 infection was most likely caused by contaminated tap water rather than food.
Drought risk is considered to be among the main limiting factors for maize (Zea mays L.) production in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR). Maize yield data from 44 stations over the period 1961–2010 were combined with data from weather stations to evaluate the effects of climatic factors, drought risk and irrigation requirement on rain-fed maize yield in specific maize growth phases. The maize growing season was divided into four growth phases comprising seeding, vegetative, flowering and maturity based on observations of phenological data from 1981 to 2010. The dual crop coefficient was used to calculate crop evapotranspiration and soil water balance during the maize growing season. The effects of mean temperature, solar radiation, effective rainfall, water deficit, drought stress days, actual crop evapotranspiration and irrigation requirement in different growth phases were included in the statistical model to predict maize yield. During the period 1961–2010, mean temperature increased significantly in all growth phases in NFR, while solar radiation decreased significantly in southern NFR in the seeding, vegetative and flowering phases. Effective rainfall increased in the seeding and vegetative phases, reducing water deficit over the period, whereas decreasing effective rainfall over time in the flowering and maturity phases enhanced water deficit. An increase in days with drought stress was concentrated in western NFR, with larger volumes of irrigation needed to compensate for increased dryness. The present results indicate that higher mean temperature in the seeding and maturity phases was beneficial for maize yield, whereas excessive rainfall would damage maize yield, in particular in the seeding and flowering phases. Drought stress in any growth stage was found to reduce maize yield and water deficit was slightly better than other indicators of drought stress for explaining yield variability. The effect of drought stress was particularly strong in the seeding and flowering phases, indicating that these periods should be given priority for irrigation. The yield-reducing effects of both drought and intense rainfall illustrate the importance of further development of irrigation and drainage systems for ensuring the stability of maize production in NFR.
Crop production in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR) is affected considerably by variation in climatic conditions. Data on crop yield and weather conditions from a number of agro-meteorological stations in NFR were used in a mixed linear model to evaluate the impacts of climatic variables on the yield of maize (Zea mays L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in different crop growth phases. The crop growing season was divided into three growth phases based on the average crop phenological dates from records covering 1981 and 2010 at each station, comprising pre-flowering (from sowing to just prior to flowering), flowering (20 days around flowering) and post-flowering (10 days after flowering to maturity). The climatic variables were mean minimum temperature, thermal time (which is used to indicate changes in the length of growth cycles), average daily solar radiation, accumulated precipitation, aridity index (which is used to assess drought stress) and heat degree-days index (HDD) (which is used to indicate heat stress) were calculated for each growth phase and year. Over the 1961–2010 period, the minimum temperature increased significantly in each crop growth phase, the thermal time increased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of each crop and in the post-flowering phases of maize, rice and soybean, and HDD increased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of soybean and wheat. Average solar radiation decreased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of all four crops and in the flowering phase of soybean and wheat. Precipitation increased during the pre-flowering phase leading to less aridity, whereas reduced precipitation in the flowering and post-flowering phases enhanced aridity. Statistical analyses indicated that higher minimum temperature was beneficial for maize, rice and soybean yields, whereas increased temperature reduced wheat yield. Higher solar radiation in the pre-flowering phase was beneficial for maize yield, in the post-flowering phase for wheat yield, whereas higher solar radiation in the flowering phase reduced rice yield. Increased aridity in the pre-flowering and flowering phases severely reduced maize yield, higher aridity in the flowering and post-flowering phases reduced rice yield, and aridity in all growth phases reduced soybean and wheat yields. Higher HDD in all growth phases reduced maize and soybean yield and HDD in the pre-flowering phase reduced rice yield. Such effects suggest that projected future climate change may have marked effects on crop yield through effects of several climatic variables, calling for adaptation measures such as breeding and changes in crop, soil and agricultural water management.
Monozygotic (MZ) twins stem from the same single fertilized egg and therefore share all their inherited genetic variation. This is one of the unequivocal facts on which genetic epidemiology and twin studies are based. To what extent this also implies that MZ twins share genotypes in adult tissues is not precisely established, but a common pragmatic assumption is that MZ twins are 100% genetically identical also in adult tissues. During the past decade, this view has been challenged by several reports, with observations of differences in post-zygotic copy number variations (CNVs) between members of the same MZ pair. In this study, we performed a systematic search for differences of CNVs within 38 adult MZ pairs who had been misclassified as dizygotic (DZ) twins by questionnaire-based assessment. Initial scoring by PennCNV suggested a total of 967 CNV discordances. The within-pair correlation in number of CNVs detected was strongly dependent on confidence score filtering and reached a plateau of r = 0.8 when restricting to CNVs detected with confidence score larger than 50. The top-ranked discordances were subsequently selected for validation by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), from which one single ~120kb deletion in NRXN1 on chromosome 2 (bp 51017111–51136802) was validated. Despite involving an exon, no sign of cognitive/mental consequences was apparent in the affected twin pair, potentially reflecting limited or lack of expression of the transcripts containing this exon in nerve/brain.
Intramuscular fat (IMF) is an important trait influencing meat quality, and intramuscular stromal-vascular cell (MSVC) differentiation is a key factor affecting IMF deposition. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is often used to screen the differentially expressed genes during differentiation of MSVCs, where proper reference genes are essential. In this study, we assessed 31 of previously reported reference genes for their expression suitability in porcine MSVCs derived form longissimus dorsi with qPCR. The expression stability of these genes was evaluated using NormFinder, geNorm and BestKeeper algorithms. NormFinder and geNorm uncovered ACTB, ALDOA and RPS18 as the most three stable genes. BestKeeper identified RPL13A, SSU72 and DAK as the most three stable genes. GAPDH was found to be the least stable gene by all of the three software packages, indicating it is not an appropriate reference gene in qPCR assay. These results might be helpful for further studies in pigs that explore the molecular mechanism underlying IMF deposition.
We conducted infrared spectroscopic observations of bright stars in the direction of the molecular clouds W33 and GMC G23.3 − 0.3. We compared stellar spectro-photometric distances with parallactic distances to these regions, and we were able to assess the association of the detected massive stars with these molecular complexes. The spatial and temporal distributions of the detected stars enabled us to locate sources of ionizing radiation and to gather precise information on the star formation history of these clouds. The studied clouds present different distributions of massive stars.
The rapid rise in syphilis cases has prompted a number of public health campaigns to assist men who have sex with men (MSM) recognize and present early with symptoms. This study aimed to investigate the temporal trend of the duration of self-report symptoms and titre of rapid plasma reagin (RPR) in MSM with infectious syphilis. Seven hundred and sixty-one syphilis cases in MSM diagnosed at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) from 2007–2013 were reviewed. Median duration of symptoms and RPR titres in each year were calculated. The median durations of symptoms with primary and secondary syphilis were 9 [interquartile range (IQR) 6–14] days and 14 (IQR 7–30) days, respectively. The overall median titre of RPR in secondary syphilis (median 128, IQR 64–256) was higher than in primary syphilis (median 4, IQR 1–32) and in early latent syphilis (median 32, IQR 4–64). The median duration of symptoms for primary syphilis, secondary syphilis and titre of RPR level did not change over time. Public health campaigns were not associated with a significant shorter time from onset of symptoms to treatment. Alternative strategies such as more frequent testing of MSM should be promoted to control the syphilis epidemic in Australia.