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A few former studies suggested that there are partial overlaps in abnormal brain structure and cognitive function between hypochondriasis (HS) and schizophrenia (SZ). But their differences in brain activity and cognitive function were unclear.
Twenty-one HS patients, 23 SZ patients, and 24 healthy controls (HC) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) with the regional homogeneity analysis (ReHo), subsequently exploring the relationship between ReHo value and cognitive functions. The support vector machines (SVM) were used on effectiveness evaluation of ReHo for differentiating HS from SZ.
Compared with HC, HS showed significantly increased ReHo values in right middle temporal gyrus (MTG), left inferior parietal lobe (IPL), and right fusiform gyrus (FG), while SZ showed increased ReHo in left insula, decreased ReHo values in right paracentral lobule. Additionally, HS showed significantly higher ReHo values in FG, MTG, and left paracentral lobule, but lower in insula than SZ. The higher ReHo values in insula were associated with worse performance in MATRICS consensus cognitive battery (MCCB) in HS group. SVM analysis showed a combination of the ReHo values in insula and FG was able to satisfactorily distinguish the HS and SZ patients.
Our results suggested that the altered default mode network (DMN), of which abnormal spontaneous neural activity occurs in multiple brain regions, might play a key role in the pathogenesis of HS, and the resting-state alterations of insula are closely related to cognitive dysfunction in HS. Furthermore, the combination of the ReHo in FG and insula was a relatively ideal indicator to distinguish HS from SZ.
Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations in single ventricle congenital heart disease are poorly understood. Previous studies investigating pulmonary arteriovenous malformations predominantly focus on patients with heterotaxy syndrome and interrupted inferior caval vein. It is unknown if development and resolution of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations are similar for patients with and without heterotaxy syndrome.
In this retrospective single-institution study, we identified patients with a history of single ventricle congenital heart disease and Fontan palliation. We then matched patients with heterotaxy syndrome (intact and interrupted inferior caval vein) and non-heterotaxy hypoplastic left heart syndrome. To compare development of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, we identified the frequency of positive diagnoses pre-Fontan. To compare resolution of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, we recorded oxygen saturation changes for 12 months following Fontan.
A total of 124 patients were included. Patients with heterotaxy and interrupted inferior caval vein were more likely to have a pre-Fontan contrast echocardiogram performed (p < 0.01) and more likely to be diagnosed with pulmonary arteriovenous malformations pre-Fontan (p < 0.01). There was no difference in oxygen saturation prior to Fontan, yet all patient groups had increased their oxygen saturations in the first year after Fontan discharge.
Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations are variably diagnosed prior to Fontan palliation; however, all study groups had increased oxygen saturations after Fontan discharge, potentially indicating resolution of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations in all groups. The prevalence of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations pre-Fontan is likely underestimated. A quantitative, systematic approach to diagnosis and follow-up of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations is needed to better understand susceptibility and pathophysiology.
Inflammation might play a role in bipolar disorder (BD), but it remains unclear the relationship between inflammation and brain structural and functional abnormalities in patients with BD. In this study, we focused on the alterations of functional connectivity (FC), peripheral pro-inflammatory cytokines and their correlations to investigate the role of inflammation in FC in BD depression.
In this study, 42 unmedicated patients with BD II depression and 62 healthy controls (HCs) were enrolled. Resting-state-functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed in all participants and independent component analysis was used. Serum levels of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and Interleukin-8 (IL-8) were measured in all participants. Correlation between FC values and IL-6 and IL-8 levels in BD was calculated.
Compared with the HCs, BD II patients showed decreased FC in the left orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) implicating the limbic network and the right precentral gyrus implicating the somatomotor network. BD II showed increased IL-6 (p = 0.039), IL-8 (p = 0.002) levels. Moreover, abnormal FC in the right precentral gyrus were inversely correlated with the IL-8 (r = −0.458, p = 0.004) levels in BD II. No significant correlation was found between FC in the left OFC and cytokines levels.
Our findings that serum IL-8 levels are associated with impaired FC in the right precentral gyrus in BD II patients suggest that inflammation might play a crucial role in brain functional abnormalities in BD.
Lysosomes are integration hubs for several signaling pathways, such as autophagy and endocytosis, and also crucial stores of ions, including Zn2+. Lysosomal dysfunction caused by changes in their morphology by fusion and fission processes can result in several pathological disorders. However, the role of Zn2+ in modulating the morphology of lysosomes is unclear. The resolution of conventional epifluorescence microscopy restricts accurate observation of morphological changes of subcellular fluorescence punctum. In this study, we used a modified epifluorescence microscopy to identify the center of a punctum from a series of z-stack images and calculate the morphological changes. We stained primary cultured rat embryonic cortical neurons with FluoZin3, a Zn2+-sensitive fluorescent dye, and Lysotracker, a lysosome-specific marker, to visualize the distribution of Zn2+-enriched vesicles and lysosomes, respectively. Our results revealed that treating neurons with N,N,N′,N′-tetrakis(2-pyridylmethyl)ethylenediamine, a cell-permeable Zn2+ chelator, shrank Zn2+-enriched vesicles and lysosomes by up to 25% in an hour. Pretreating the neurons with YM201636, a blocker of lysosome fission, could suppress this shrinkage. These results demonstrate the usefulness of the modified epifluorescence microscopy for investigating the homeostasis of intracellular organelles and related disorders.
While having social support can contribute to better health, those in poor health may be limited in their capacity to receive social support. We studied the health factors associated with social support among community-dwelling older adults in Singapore. We used data from the third follow-up interviews (2014–2016) of 16,943 participants of the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a population-based cohort of older Singapore Chinese. Participants were interviewed at a mean age of 73 years (range 61–96 years) using the Duke Social Support Scale (DUSOCS). We first applied ordinary least squares regression to DUSOCS scores and found that those with instrumental limitations, poor self-rated health, cognitive impairment and depression had lower social support scores. We then applied latent class analysis to DUSOCS answer patterns and revealed four groups of older adults based on the source and amount of social support. Among them, compared to the ‘overall supported’ group (17%) with the highest social support scores and broad support from family members and non-family individuals, the ‘family restricted’ (50%) group had the lowest social support scores and only received support from children. Health factors associated with being ‘family restricted’ were instrumental limitations (odds ratio (OR) = 1.33, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.19–1.49), poor self-rated health (OR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.28–1.53), cognitive impairment (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.04–1.37) and depression (OR = 2.50, 95% CI = 2.22–2.82). We found that while older adults in poor health have lower social support scores, they were more likely to receive a lot of support from children. Our results showed that lower social support scores among Singaporean older adults in poor health may not indicate lack of social support, but rather that social support is restricted in scope and intensified around children. These results may apply to other Asian societies where family plays a central role in elder-care.
Our previous research showed that increased phosphorylation of connexin (Cx)36 indicated extended coupling of AII amacrine cells (ACs) in the rod-dominant mouse myopic retina. This research will determine whether phosphorylation at serine 276 of Cx35-containing gap junctions increased in the myopic chicken, whose retina is cone-dominant. Refractive errors and ocular biometric dimensions of 7-days-old chickens were determined following 12 h and 7 days induction of myopia by a −10D lens. The expression pattern and size of Cx35-positive plaques were examined in the early (12 h) and compensated stages (7 days) of lens-induced myopia (LIM). At the same time, phosphorylation at serine 276 (functional assay) of Cx35 in strata 5 (S5) of the inner plexiform layer was investigated. The axial length of the 7 days LIM eyes was significantly longer than that of non-LIM controls (P < 0.05). Anti-phospho-Ser276 (Ser276-P)-labeled plaques were significantly increased in LIM retinas at both 12 h and 7 days. The density of Ser276-P of Cx35 was observed to increase after 12 h LIM. In the meanwhile, the areas of existing Cx35 plaques did not change. As there was more phosphorylation of connexin35 at Ser276 at both the early and late stages (12 h) and 7 days of LIM chicken retinal activity, the coupling with ACs could be increased in myopia development of the cone-dominated chicken retina.
The FNDC5 gene encodes the fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5 that is a membrane protein mainly expressed in skeletal muscle, and the FNDC5 rs3480 polymorphism may be associated with liver disease severity in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We investigated the influence of the FNDC5 rs3480 polymorphism on the relationship between sarcopenia and the histological severity of NAFLD. A total of 370 adult individuals with biopsy-proven NAFLD were studied. The association between the key exposure sarcopenia and the outcome liver histological severity was investigated by binary logistic regression. Stratified analyses were undertaken to examine the impact of FNDC5 rs3480 polymorphism on the association between sarcopenia and the severity of NAFLD histology. Patients with sarcopenia had more severe histological grades of steatosis and a higher prevalence of significant fibrosis and definite non-alcoholic steatohepatitis than those without sarcopenia. There was a significant association between sarcopenia and significant fibrosis (adjusted OR 2·79, 95 % CI 1·31, 5·95, P = 0·008), independent of established risk factors and potential confounders. Among patients with sarcopenia, significant fibrosis occurred more frequently in the rs3480 AA genotype carriers than in those carrying the FNDC5 rs3480 G genotype (43·8 v. 17·2 %, P = 0·031). In the association between sarcopenia and liver fibrosis, there was a significant interaction between the FNDC5 genotype and sarcopenia status (P value for interaction = 0·006). Sarcopenia is independently associated with significant liver fibrosis, and the FNDC5 rs3480 G variant influences the association between sarcopenia and liver fibrosis in patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD.
Accumulating studies have found structural and functional abnormalities of the striatum in bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). However, changes in intrinsic brain functional connectivity dynamics of striato-cortical circuitry have not been investigated in BD and MDD. This study aimed to investigate the shared and specific patterns of dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) variability of striato-cortical circuitry in BD and MDD.
Brain resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 128 patients with unmedicated BD II (current episode depressed), 140 patients with unmedicated MDD, and 132 healthy controls (HCs). Six pairs of striatum seed regions were selected: the ventral striatum inferior (VSi) and the ventral striatum superior (VSs), the dorsal-caudal putamen (DCP), the dorsal-rostral putamen (DRP), and the dorsal caudate and the ventral-rostral putamen (VRP). The sliding-window analysis was used to evaluate dFC for each seed.
Both BD II and MDD exhibited increased dFC variability between the left DRP and the left supplementary motor area, and between the right VRP and the right inferior parietal lobule. The BD II had specific increased dFC variability between the right DCP and the left precentral gyrus compared with MDD and HCs. The MDD had increased dFC variability between the left VSi and the left medial prefrontal cortex compared with BD II and HCs.
The patients with BD and MDD shared common dFC alteration in the dorsal striatal-sensorimotor and ventral striatal-cognitive circuitries. The patients with MDD had specific dFC alteration in the ventral striatal-affective circuitry.
In recent years, intracranial thrombectomy stent has been an important method to treat ischemic stroke caused by acute thrombosis. In this paper, a new intracranial thrombectomy stent with a fish scale-like structure was designed and its mechanical properties were studied by a finite element method. The porosity of all stents was more than 80%. The space occupation ratio (SOR) of the stents increased linearly with the increase of strut thickness, while the strut width had little effect on SOR. The maximum equivalent stress and strain, the directional deformation and overall radial load of the stent decreased with the increase of strut thickness, however, the strut width has little impact on these parameters. The stents with 0.2 mm strut width and the thickness of 0.15 and 0.20 mm had better radial load performance, and the stent with 0.2 mm strut width and 0.15 mm strut thickness had better contact performance with the vessel wall and displayed better flexibility. Therefore, the present study provides a theoretical basis for the design of new intracranial thrombectomy stent.
This study aimed to examine the efficacy of combining paroxetine and mirtazapine v. switching to mirtazapine, for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who have had an insufficient response to SSRI monotherapy (paroxetine) after the first 2 weeks of treatment.
This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, three-arm study recruited participants from five hospitals in China. Eligible participants were aged 18–60 years with MDD of at least moderate severity. Participants received paroxetine during a 2-week open-label phase and patients who had not achieved early improvement were randomized to paroxetine, mirtazapine or paroxetine combined with mirtazapine for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was improvement on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression 17-item (HAMD-17) scores 6 weeks after randomization.
A total of 204 patients who showed early non-response to paroxetine monotherapy were randomly assigned to receive either mirtazapine and placebo (n = 68), paroxetine and placebo (n = 68) or mirtazapine and paroxetine (n = 68), with 164 patients completing the outcome assessment. At week 8, the least squares (LS) mean change of HAMD-17 scores did not significantly differ among the three groups, (12.98 points) in the mirtazapine group, (12.50 points) in the paroxetine group and (13.27 points) in the mirtazapine plus paroxetine combination group. Participants in the paroxetine monotherapy group were least likely to experience adverse effects.
After 8 weeks follow-up, paroxetine monotherapy, mirtazapine monotherapy and paroxetine/mirtazapine combination therapy were equally effective in non-improvers at 2 weeks. The results of this trial do not support a recommendation to routinely offer additional treatment or a switch in treatment strategies for MDD patients who do not show early improvement after 2 weeks of antidepressant treatment.
Pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, a pine parasitic nematode, poses a serious threat to its host pine forests globally. When dispersal-stage larvae 4 (dauer, DL4) of B. xylophilus enters the new pine, it moults into propagative adult (dauer recovery) and reproduces quickly to kill the host pine. Here, we found pine chemical volatiles, rather than the common dauer recovery factors of nematodes (e.g. suitable temperatures, nutrient availability or density), promote B. xylophilus dauer recovery. The results showed that volatilization of chemicals in host pines could attract DL4 and promote DL4 recovery. To identify which chemicals promote this process, we determined the stimulated activity of the main volatiles of pines including six monoterpenes and two sesquiterpenes. Results showed that all the six monoterpenes promoted dauer recovery, especially β-pinene and β-myrcene, but the two sesquiterpenes have no effect on the transformation. Furthermore, β-pinene performed gradient effects on dauer recovery. We hypothesized that when DL4 infect pine trees, the pine volatiles released from the feeding wounds are used as chemical signals for DL4 transformation to adult to reproduce and rapidly kill the pines. Our study identified the B. xylophilus dauer recovery chemical signal and may contribute to preventing pine wilt disease.
Few studies have examined the association of various types of Fe with colorectal cancer risk. The aim of this study was to investigate different forms and sources of Fe in relation to colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population. A total of 2138 patients with colorectal cancer and 2144 sex- and age-matched (5-year interval) controls were recruited from July 2010 to November 2017. Dietary information was assessed by face-to-face interviews using a validated FFQ. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the OR and 95 % CI on models. Intake of Fe from plants and Fe from white meat were inversely associated with the risk of colorectal cancer, while haem Fe and Fe from red meat were positively associated with colorectal cancer risk. The multivariable OR for the highest quartile v. the lowest quartile were 0·72 (95 % CI 0·59, 0·87, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from plants, 0·54 (95 % CI 0·45, 0·66, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from white meat, 1·26 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·53, Ptrend=0·005) for haem Fe and 1·83 (95 % CI 1·49, 2·24, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from red meat intake, respectively. However, no significant association was found between the consumption of total dietary Fe, non-haem Fe, Fe from meat and colorectal cancer risk. This study showed that lower intake of Fe from plants and white meat, as well as higher intake of haem Fe and Fe from red meat, were associated with colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population.
Identifying the relative importance of urban and non-urban land-use types for potential denitrification derived N2O at a regional scale is critical for quantifying the impacts of human activities on nitrous oxide (N2O) emission under changing environments. In this study we used a regional dataset from China including 197 soil samples and six land-use types to evaluate the main predictors (land use, heavy metals, soil pH, soil moisture, substrate availability, functional and broad microbial abundances) of potential denitrification using multivariate and pathway analysis. Our results provide empirical evidence that soils on farms have the greatest potential denitrifying ability (PDA) (10.92±6.08ng N2O-N·g–1 dry soil·min–1) followed by urban soil (6.80±5.35ng N2O-N·g–1 dry soil·min–1). Our models indicate that land use (low vs. high human activity), followed by total nitrogen (TN) and heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd) was the most important driver of PDA. In addition, our path analysis suggests that at least part of the impacts of land use on potential denitrification were mediated via microbial abundance, soil pH and substrates including TN, dissolved organic carbon and nitrate. This study identifies the main predictors of denitrification at a regional scale which is needed to quantify the impact of human activities on ecosystem functionality under changing conditions.
To produce pulses with good flat-top quality, pulse-forming lines (PFLs) have been widely used in the field of Tesla-type pulse generators. To shorten the physical length of the PFL, a double-width PFL (DWPFL) is proposed that doubles the output pulse width while maintaining flat-top quality. A repetitively 10 GW Tesla-type long-pulse generator producing pulses with flat-top width of about 110 ns was developed with a coaxial DWPFL to produce high-current electron beams. Electron beams of about 10 GW with flat-top widths of about 110 ns were obtained on a planar vacuum diode load. With this pulse generator and a C-band high-power microwave system, microwaves of ~2.2 GW power and full-width at half-maximum of 101 ns were generated. The experiment demonstrates the feasibility and ideal output waveform quality of the DWPFL.
A new minimally invasive surgical (MIS) robot consisting of a spherical remote center motion (RCM) mechanism with modular design is proposed. A multi-objective dimensional synthesis model is presented to obtain the excellent performance indices. There are four objectives: a global kinematic index, a compactness index, a global comprehensive stiffness index, and a global dynamic index. Other indices characterizing the design requirement, such as workspace, mechanical parameter, and mass, are chosen as constraints. A new decoupled mechanism is raised to solve the coupled motion between the linear platform and the four degrees of freedom (DoF) of surgical instrument as a result of post-driving motors. Another new mechanical decoupled method is proposed to eliminate the coupled motion between the wrist and the forceps, enhance the dexterity of surgical instrument, and improve the independence of each motor. Then, a 7-DoF MIS robotic prototype based on optimization results has been built up. Experiment results validate the effectiveness of the two mechanical decoupled methods. The position change of the RCM point, accuracy, and repeatability of the MIS robot meet the requirements of MIS. Successful animal experiments validate the effectiveness of the novel MIS robot.
Mycobacterial diseases are prevalent in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, especially those receiving tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor (TNFi). However, the impact of cancer development on the risk of mycobacterial diseases among RA patients is unknown. Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database were used to conduct a retrospective study to assess the occurrence of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients developing cancer (cancer-positive), those using TNFi (TNFi-exposure), those with cancer and using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-comb), and those without cancer and not using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-free). Cancer and TNFi exposure were time-dependent, and independent risk factors of mycobacterial diseases were assessed by Cox regression. Among 1344 RA patients diagnosed during 2000–2013, 68 (5·1%) developed cancer before their end points. The incidence rates of mycobacterial diseases in the cancer-positive (n = 56), TNFi-exposure (n = 290), cancer-TNFi-comb (n = 12), and cancer-TNFi-free (n = 986) subgroups were 6·7, 2·0, 7·6, and 1·3 per 1000 person-years, respectively. As compared with the cancer-TNFi-free group, the risk for mycobacterial diseases increased for the TNFi-exposure group (adjusted HR = 3·6, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1·1–11·5, P = 0·032) and remained high for cancer-positive (adjusted HR = 14·6, 95% CI 3·3–63·7, P < 0·001) after adjustment. This study suggested that cancer development increased the risk of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients, and risk assessment for this subgroup should be considered.
Elderly individuals with tuberculosis (TB) are more likely to have a non-specific clinical presentation of TB and high mortality. However, factors associated with mortality in elderly TB patients have not been extensively studied. This retrospective cohort study aimed to identify factors associated with death among elderly Taiwanese with TB. All elderly patients with TB from 2006 to 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan, were included in a study. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with death in elderly TB patients. The mean age of the 5011 patients was 79·7 years; 74·1% were men; 32·7% had mortality during the study follow-up period. After controlling for potential confounders, age ⩾75 years (reference: 65–74 years), male sex, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), malignancy, acid-fast bacilli-smear positivity, TB-culture positivity, pleural effusion on chest radiograph and notification by an ordinary ward or intensive care unit were associated with a higher risk of all-cause death; while high school, and university or higher education, cavity on chest radiograph and directly observed therapy were associated with a lower risk of all-cause death. This study found that the proportion of death among elderly patients with TB in Taipei, Taiwan, was high. To improve TB treatment outcomes, future control programmes should particularly target individuals with comorbidities (e.g. ESRD and malignancy) and those with a lower socio-economic status (e.g. not educated).