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Chronic inflammation exerts pleiotropic effects in the aetiology and progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Glucosamine is widely used in many countries and may have anti-inflammatory properties. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the association of regular glucosamine use with incident COPD risk and explore whether such association could be modified by smoking in the UK Biobank cohort, which recruited more than half a million participants aged 40–69 years from across the UK between 2006 and 2010. Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for potential confounding factors were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) as well as 95 % CI for the risk of incident COPD. During a median follow-up of 8·96 years (interquartile range 8·29–9·53 years), 9016 new-onset events of COPD were documented. We found that the regular use of glucosamine was associated with a significantly lower risk of incident COPD with multivariable adjusted HR of 0·80 (95 % CI, 0·75, 0·85; P < 0·001). When subgroup analyses were performed by smoking status, the adjusted HR for the association of regular glucosamine use with incident COPD were 0·84 (0·73, 0·96), 0·84 (0·77, 0·92) and 0·71 (0·62, 0·80) among never smokers, former smokers and current smokers, respectively. No significant interaction was observed between glucosamine use and smoking status (Pfor interaction = 0·078). Incident COPD could be reduced by 14 % to 84 % through a combination of regular glucosamine use and smoking cessation.
Despite the fact that social deficits among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are lifelong and impact many aspects of personal functioning, evidence-based programs for social skills training were not available until recently. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) has been shown to effectively improve social skills for adolescents on the spectrum across different social cultures. However, the effectiveness for young adults beyond North America has yet to be examined. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the PEERS intervention in Taiwanese young adults with ASD, and examine its durability and clinical correlates.
We recruited 82 cognitively-able young adults with ASD, randomized to the PEERS treatment or treatment-as-usual.
Following treatment, significant improvement was found in aspects of social deficits, autism severity, social interaction anxiety, empathy, and social skills knowledge either by self-report or coach-report. Additionally, communicative behaviors rated by observers improved throughout the sessions, showing a trend toward more appropriate eye contact, gestures, facial expression during conversation, and appropriate maintenance of conversation and reciprocity. Most effects maintained at 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. The improvement of social deficits was positively correlated with baseline severity, while gains in social skills knowledge were positively correlated with IQ. The improvement of social deficits, autism severity, and empathy were positively correlated with each other.
Overall, the PEERS intervention appears to effectively improve social functioning in Taiwanese young adults with ASD. Improvement of social response and knowledge may be predicted by baseline severity and intelligence respectively.
In C-Band transfer measuring systems, the Precise Orbit Determination (POD) precision of Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites is limited by signal biases such as the station delay biases, transponder delay biases, the ionospheric delay model bias, etc. In order to improve the POD precision, the signal biases of the Chinese Area Positioning System (CAPS) are calibrated using Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) and C-Band Transfer Ranging (CBTR) observations. Since the Changchun SLR site and C-Band station are close to each other, the signal biases of the Changchun C-Band station are calibrated using the co-location comparison method. Then the signal biases of the other two CAPS C-Band stations, located in Linton and Kashi, are calibrated using the combined POD method, with the signal biases of the Changchun C-Band station being fixed. After the signal biases are calibrated, the RMS of the line-of-sight residuals of the Changchun SLR observations decrease by 0·4 m, with the percentage improvement being 75·19%.
The spin Hamiltonian parameters (g factor and hyperfine structure constants) of Cr+ in ZnX (X = S, Se, Te) and CdTe are theoretically investigated, using the perturbation formulas of these parameters for a tetrahedral 3d5 cluster. Both the contributions from the crystal-field (CF) and charge transfer (CT) mechanisms are considered from the cluster approach. The calculated results show good agreement with the experimental data. The CT contribution to g-shift Δg (=g − gs, where gs =2.0023 is the spin only value) is opposite (positive) in sign related to the CF one, and its importance (characterized by the relative ratio (|ΔgCT/ΔgCF|) is 11%, 66% and 104% (71%) for ZnS, ZnSe and ZnTe (CdTe), respectively. ACT from the CT contribution to hyperfine structure constant is the same (positive) in sign and about 50–53% in magnitude as compared with ACF from the CF one.
Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites play a significant role in the space segment of the Chinese Area Navigation System. The C-Band transfer ranging method developed by the National Time Service Center (NTSC) has been widely used in the Chinese Area Positioning System (CAPS), with its advantages of separating satellite ranging from time synchronization and being unaffected by weather. The explicit ranging correction models for the C-Band transfer ranging method are introduced in detail in this article for the first time. Precise Orbit Determination (POD) using C-Band pseudo-range observation of GEO satellite 2010-001A in July 2012 has been conducted. The residual Root Mean Square (RMS) of each site and POD are analysed with orbit difference over overlaps of adjacent orbit arcs. Moreover, the orbit of the GEO satellite has been evaluated by Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) data from both domestic and foreign SLR sites for the first time. The residual RMS of POD using C-Band observation is better than 0·1 m, and the orbit difference over overlaps of adjacent orbit arcs is better than 3 m. In addition, the residual RMS in line-of-sight for a SLR site in China are better than 1 m, while the RMS for the Yarragadee site in Australia is about 3·4 m. It has been shown that the GEO satellite orbit accords very well with the C-Band observation. Also, the distribution of CAPS stations affects the orbit precision. All sites in CAPS are now located in China with low and medium latitudes. The residual RMS of the SLR site in the southern hemisphere is larger than that of the site in China.
Polycrystalline Ba8Ga16MgxGe30−x compounds were synthesized by combining solid-state reaction with spark plasma sintering (SPS) method. The structural and electronic properties of Mg-substituted Ge type-I clathrate phase Ba8Ga16MgxGe30−x (x = 1, 2, 3, 4) were investigated experimentally and theoretically. Theoretically structural and electronic properties of Ba8Ga16MgxGe30−x were calculated by first-principles method based on the density-functional theory. The results indicate a strong preference for the occupation of the 6c sites by Mg. It is found that Mg substitution for Ge can lower the melting points and bulk modulus of this system. The formation energies and the binding energies decrease with increasing Mg content, suggesting that the Mg-doped Ba8Ga16Ge30 clathrates are stable in a limited range of composition. The calculated results show that these alloys are all indirect gap semiconductors and the values of band gap increase with the increase of Mg content. All specimens exhibit the behavior of the p-type conduction, which is originated from the presence of a shallow acceptor energy level. The electrical conductivity and the room-temperature carrier mobility decrease with increasing Mg content, while the room-temperature carrier concentration increases with increasing Mg content.
Background: Several studies have investigated the association of FKBP5 gene polymorphisms with mood disorders, but findings are not always consistent. The aim of our study was to assess the association of FKBP5 gene polymorphisms with mood disorders using a meta-analysis.
Methods: Data were collected from the following electronic databases: PubMed, Elsevier Science Direct, Cochrane Library, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Wanfang, with the last report up to March 2010. Meta-analysis was performed in a fixed/random effect model.
Results: We identified six studies using search, and one study was excluded because of unavailable data. One study contained data on two different ethnicities and we treated them independently. Thus, six separate studies (2655 cases and 3593 controls) were included in the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis was performed for three FKBP5 gene polymorphisms (rs1360780, rs3800373 and rs4713916) in overall and Caucasian populations. We did not detect any association of FKBP5 gene rs1360780 and rs3800373 polymorphisms with mood disorders (p > 0.05). However, a significant association of FKBP5 gene rs4713916 polymorphism with mood disorders was found, and the heterozygous individual (GA genotype) was more susceptible to mood disorders in comparison to homozygous analogues (GG or AA genotype) [overall: GA vs. GG: OR (odds ratio) = 1.20, 95% CI (confidence interval) = 1.03–1.40, p = 0.02; GA vs. AA: OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.09–1.90, p = 0.009; Caucasian: GA vs. GG: OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.04–1.44, p = 0.01; GA vs. AA: OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.09–1.89, p = 0.01].
Conclusion: This meta-analysis shows that mood disorders are associated with FKBP5 gene rs4713916 polymorphism, but not with rs1360780 and rs3800373.
This study aims to present an overview of the evolutionary policy process in reforming the health care system in Taiwan, through dissecting the forces of knowledge, social-cultural context, economic resources and political system. We further identify factors, which had a significant impact on health care reform policies in Taiwan through illustrative policy examples. One of the most illuminating examples highlighted is the design and implementation of a single-payer National Health Insurance (NHI) program in 1995, after nearly five years of planning efforts (1988–1993) and a two-year legislative marathon. The NHI is one of the most popular social programs ever undertaken in the history of Taiwan, which greatly enhances financial protection against unexpected medical expenses and assures access to health services. Nonetheless, health care reform still has an unfinished agenda. Despite high satisfaction ratings, Taiwan’s health care system today is encountering mounting pressure for new reforms as a result of its rapidly aging population, economic stagnation, and imbalanced NHI checkbook. Although there may exist some heterogeneous system characteristics and challenges among different health care systems around the world, Taiwan’s experiences in reforming its health care system for the past few decades may provide valuable lessons for countries going through rapid economic and political transition.
It is well known that noctuid moths respond to ultrasound frequencies produced by insectivorous bats performing a series of evasive maneuvers such as loops, dives, rolls, and turns. Certain ultrasound frequencies may be considered an environmental stress factor for these moths, causing physiological and behavioral effects. We investigated changes in acetylcholinesterase activity of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) exposed to ultrasound produced from a commercial device (LHC20). Our results indicated that stress effects on acetylcholinesterase activity resulting from exposure to ultrasound do not differ according to sex, but effects on different developmental stages of H. armigera differ significantly depending on duration of exposure. Enzyme activity increased in adults after 20 min exposure to ultrasound and decreased in pupae after 30 and 50 min exposure. Enzyme activity in larvae was reduced after 20 min and increased after 40 and 60 min. The results of this study also indicate that stress caused by exposure to ultrasound could modulate the cholinergic system in H. armigera.
Intergeneric transfer of plasmid vectors pSET152 and pHL212 from donor Escherichia coli ET12567/pUZ8002 and S17-1 to Streptomyces cinnamonensis was demonstrated and optimized. Assisted by this conjugation system, nsdA gene disruption was achieved through PCR-targeted gene replacement. One AprRKanS exconjugant BIB309 was then isolated and confirmed to be the nsdA null mutant. Compared with the starting strain, monensin production by the nsdA− mutant BIB309 increased 270% in vitro.
The crystallization and phase transformation of amorphous Si3N4 ceramics under high pressure (1.0–5.0 GPa) between 800 and 1700 °C were investigated. A greatly enhanced crystallization and α–β transformation of the amorphous Si3N4 ceramics were evident under the high pressure, as characterized by that, at 5.0 GPa, the amorphous Si3N4 began to crystallize at a temperature as low as 1000 °C (to transform to a modification). The subsequent a–b transformation occurred completed between 1350 and 1420 °C after only 20 min of pressing at 5.0 GPa. In contrast, under 0.1 MPa N2, the identical amorphous materials were stable up to 1400 °C without detectable crystallization, and only a small amount of a phase was detected at 1500 °C. The crystallization temperature and the a–b transformation temperatures are reduced by 200–350 °C compared to that at normal pressure. The enhanced phase transformations of the amorphous Si3N4 were discussed on the basis of thermodynamic and kinetic consideration of the effects of pressure on nucleation and growth.
Nanopowders of amorphous silicon nitride were densified and sintered without additives under ultrahigh pressure (1.0–5.0 GPa) between room temperature and 1600 °C. The powders had a mean diameter of 18 nm and contained ∼5.0 wt% oxygen that came from air-exposure oxidation. Sintering results at different temperatures were characterized in terms of sintering density, hardness, phase structure, and grain size. It was observed that the nanopowders can be pressed to a high density (87%) even at room temperature under the high pressure. Bulk Si3N4 amorphous and crystalline ceramics (relative density: 95–98%) were obtained at temperatures slightly below the onset of crystallization (1000–1100 °C) and above 1420 °C, respectively. Rapid grain growth occurred during the crystallization leading to a grain size (>160 nm) almost 1 order of magnitude greater than the starting particulate diameters. With the rise of sintering temperature, a final density was reached between 1350 and 1420 °C, which seemed to be independent of the pressure applied (1.0–5.0 GPa). The densification temperature observed under the high pressure is lower by 580 °C than that by hot isostatic pressing sintering, suggesting a significantly enhanced low-temperature sintering of the nanopowders under a high external pressure.
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