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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.
Anticipatory pleasure deficits are closely correlated with negative symptoms in schizophrenia, and may be found in both clinical and subclinical populations along the psychosis continuum. Prospection, which is an important component of anticipatory pleasure, is impaired in individuals with social anhedonia (SocAnh). In this study, we examined the neural correlates of envisioning positive future events in individuals with SocAnh.
Forty-nine individuals with SocAnh and 33 matched controls were recruited to undergo functional MRI scanning, during which they were instructed to simulate positive or neutral future episodes according to cue words. Two stages of prospection were distinguished: construction and elaboration.
Reduced activation at the caudate and the precuneus when prospecting positive (v. neutral) future events was observed in individuals with SocAnh. Furthermore, compared with controls, increased functional connectivity between the caudate and the inferior occipital gyrus during positive (v. neutral) prospection was found in individuals with SocAnh. Both groups exhibited a similar pattern of brain activation for the construction v. elaboration contrast, regardless of the emotional context.
Our results provide further evidence on the neural mechanism of anticipatory pleasure deficits in subclinical individuals with SocAnh and suggest that altered cortico-striatal circuit may play a role in anticipatory pleasure deficits in these individuals.
Schizotypy refers to schizophrenia-like traits below the clinical threshold in the general population. The pathological development of schizophrenia has been postulated to evolve from the initial coexistence of ‘brain disconnection’ and ‘brain connectivity compensation’ to ‘brain connectivity decompensation’.
In this study, we examined the brain connectivity changes associated with schizotypy by combining brain white matter structural connectivity, static and dynamic functional connectivity analysis of diffusion tensor imaging data and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data. A total of 87 participants with a high level of schizotypal traits and 122 control participants completed the experiment. Group differences in whole-brain white matter structural connectivity probability, static mean functional connectivity strength, dynamic functional connectivity variability and stability among 264 brain sub-regions of interests were investigated.
We found that individuals with high schizotypy exhibited increased structural connectivity probability within the task control network and within the default mode network; increased variability and decreased stability of functional connectivity within the default mode network and between the auditory network and the subcortical network; and decreased static mean functional connectivity strength mainly associated with the sensorimotor network, the default mode network and the task control network.
These findings highlight the specific changes in brain connectivity associated with schizotypy and indicate that both decompensatory and compensatory changes in structural connectivity within the default mode network and the task control network in the context of whole-brain functional disconnection may be an important neurobiological correlate in individuals with high schizotypy.
We report on a diverse and abundant mammal fauna from Chongphadae Cave—Hwangju region in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The cave sediments include many mammal fossils and consist of fluvial, cave clay, and calcareous deposits. During our field excavation 33 species were encountered: 9 species of rodents, 1 species of lagomorph, 1 species of insectivore, 8 species of carnivores, 4 species of perissodactyls, 9 species of artiodactyls, and 1 species of primates. Of these, perissodactyls and artiodactyls dominate the fauna in terms of diversity. The cave sediments include 15 layers. Radiocarbon dating showed that Layers 12 and 13 were formed from 34,770 to 27,800 cal yr BP and from 24,980 to 21,340 cal yr BP, respectively. Additional identification of various palyno-botanical remains including 25 families and genera of trees, 19 families and genera of grasses and herbs, and 10 families and genera of ferns provides a wealth of information on the past ecology of the Chongphadae Cave Site area. During the Late Pleistocene, the Chongphadae area was surrounded by luxuriant forests associated with hills and grasslands in a cool and humid temperate climatic environment.
Recent evidence suggests that synchronizing eating-fasting schedules with body's circadian rhythms or day-night cycles is important for metabolic health. Besides food quantity and quality, food timing may contribute to weight regulation. However, it is unclear if this factor during pregnancy can influence maternal weight retention after childbirth. Using data from a prospective cohort, the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study, we examined the associations of maternal circadian eating pattern and diet quality in pregnancy with substantial postpartum weight retention (PPWR) at 18 months. We assessed 687 pregnant women for their circadian eating pattern (night-eating, night-fasting and eating episodes) and diet quality (Healthy Eating Index) based on information derived from 24-h dietary recall at 26–28 weeks’ gestation. Night-eating was defined as > 50% of total energy intake during 1900–0659 h; night-fasting duration was determined based on the longest fasting interval between consumption of a calorie-containing food or beverage during 1900–0659 h; eating episodes were defined as events that provided ≥ 210 kJ with time intervals between eating episodes of ≥ 15 min; diet quality was ascertained using the Healthy Eating Index which measures adherence to the Singapore dietary guidelines for pregnant women. PPWR was calculated by subtracting the weight at the first antenatal clinic visit from weight at 18-month postpartum. Substantial PPWR was defined as weight retention of 5 kg or more. Adjusting for maternal age, ethnicity, education, parity, night shift, mood, body mass index and total energy intake, multivariable binary logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate odds ratio (OR) of substantial PPWR in relation to circadian eating pattern and diet quality. Of 687 women, 110 (16%) had substantial PPWR. After confounders adjustment, night-eating (OR 1.95; 95% confidence interval 1.05, 3.62) and lower diet quality (1.91; 1.17, 3.10) were independently associated with higher odds of substantial PPWR. No associations with substantial PPWR were observed for night-fasting duration and number of eating episodes. During pregnancy, women with higher caloric consumption at night and lower diet quality had a greater likelihood of substantial PPWR. These findings suggest that aligning eating time with day-night cycles and adherence to dietary guidelines during pregnancy may help to alleviate overweight and obesity risk in postpartum life. There is a possibility that these eating patterns persist beyond pregnancy and pose implications for long-term obesity development. Further investigation on this area is required.
Land masking of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images is generally accomplished by applying either archived shoreline databases or image segmentation. However, those methods cannot be solely applied to geographical areas complicated with many small islands and exposed rocks. Therefore, we have proposed a new procedure where Sobel edge extraction is applied to detect the edges of all objects from KOMPSAT-5 X-band SAR images, followed by a merging process with the edges from the land objects based on Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) coastlines. Using the land mask data, geometrically corrected SAR images were masked before applying a ship detection algorithm. This land masking procedure was applied to several images covering different areas of the Korean Peninsula. The results show that land targets such as newly constructed and natural objects were also masked, and thus did not create false alarms during ship detection. Therefore, this method can be used to assist precise ship detection using SAR images in coastal waters.
Despite the rapid expansion of online educational resources for emergency medicine, barriers remain to their effective use by emergency physicians and trainees. This article expands on previous descriptions of techniques to aggregate online educational resources, outlining four strategies to help learners navigate, evaluate, and contribute online. These strategies include 1) cultivating digital mentors, 2) browsing the most popular free open access medical education (FOAM) websites, 3) using critical appraisal tools developed for FOAM, and 4) contributing new online content.
This study examined the role of transcription skills (including spelling and handwriting fluency) and oral language skills in Chinese writing development among upper elementary grade students in Hong Kong. Measures assessing verbal working memory, spelling, handwriting fluency, oral narrative skills, syntactic skills, and written composition were administered to 97 students in Grade 4 (n = 47) and Grade 6 (n = 50). Hierarchical multiple regression results showed that spelling and oral narrative skills were unique predictors of Chinese writing performance. The significant interaction effect of grade and spelling showed that transcription skills played a more important role in Chinese writing performance among sixth graders than among fourth graders. Together, the present results provide important support for the “simple view of writing” model and underscore the importance of transcription skills and oral narrative skills in children's writing development in Chinese.
This chapter argues that ‘communicating with Asia’ requires intercultural competence. Such competence will not only imply awareness but also understanding of cultural differences. Traditional descriptivist approaches in sociolinguistics, arguably, do not or only insufficiently capture this cultural dimension. Using Hong Kong English as an example, the chapter will attempt to show how the newly emerging paradigms of Cognitive Sociolinguistics and Cultural Linguistics can contribute to a more comprehensive linguistic description and hence to intercultural understanding. The chapter will be divided into three parts: The first part will stress the hermeneutic nature of intercultural communication in English. The second part will demonstrate how cultural patterns expressed in Hong Kong English − specifically conceptualizations pertaining to ghosts1 and related concepts – can be systematically elicited and analyzed. The third part will introduce a concrete lexicographic application of the insights discussed in the preceding parts, as realized in A Dictionary of Hong Kong English (Cummings and Wolf 2011).
The purpose of this study was to validate the Sense of Well-Being Inventory (SWBI), a quality of life measure, for people with spinal cord injury. Four hundred and five participants were recruited from the Canadian Paraplegia Association for this study. The participants were asked to complete a research packet containing a demographic questionnaire, the SWBI, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Acceptance of Disability Scale. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the SWBI and correlational analyses of the SWBI factors with other psychosocial variables were conducted. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses validated a four-factor structure (financial, family and social, psychological, and physical wellbeing) for the SWBI. SWBI factors are positively related to self-esteem and disability acceptance. With continuing research to document reliability and validity, the SWBI appears to have great potential as a vocational rehabilitation outcome measurement for people with spinal cord injury.
A novel nano-scale manipulator capable of handling low-dimensional materials with three-dimensional linear motion, gripping action, and push–pull action of the gripper was developed for an in situ experiment in transmission electron microscopy. X-Y-Z positioning and push–pull action were accomplished by a piezotubing system, combined with a specially designed assembly stage that consisted of a lever-action gripping tip backed by a push–pull piezostack. The gripper tip consisted of tungsten wire fabricated by electrochemical etching followed by a focused ion beam process. Performance of the nano-scale manipulator was demonstrated in a grab-and-pick test of a single silver nanowire and in an in situ tensile test of a pearlitic steel sample with a specific orientation.
The need for higher energy density batteries has spawned recent renewed interest in alternatives to lithium ion batteries, including multivalent chemistries that theoretically can provide twice the volumetric capacity if two electrons can be transferred per intercalating ion. Initial investigations of these chemistries have been limited to date by the lack of understanding of the compatibility between intercalation electrode materials, electrolytes, and current collectors. This work describes the utilization of hybrid cells to evaluate multivalent cathodes, consisting of high surface area carbon anodes and multivalent nonaqueous electrolytes that are compatible with oxide intercalation electrodes. In particular, electrolyte and current collector compatibility was investigated, and it was found that the carbon and active material play an important role in determining the compatibility of PF6-based multivalent electrolytes with carbon-based current collectors. Through the exploration of electrolytes that are compatible with the cathode, new cell chemistries and configurations can be developed, including a magnesium-ion battery with two intercalation host electrodes, which may expand the known Mg-based systems beyond the present state of the art sulfide-based cathodes with organohalide-magnesium based electrolytes.
Recent studies that describe the multidimensionality of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) challenge the traditional dual-factor paradigm of personal and role strains (Whitlatch et al., 1991). These studies consistently reported a distinct dimension of worry about caregiver performance (WaP) comprising items 20 and 21.The present study aims to compare WaP against conventional ZBI domains in a predominantly Chinese multi-ethnic Asian population.
We studied 130 consecutive dyads of family caregivers and patients. Factor analysis of the 22-item ZBI revealed four factors of burden. We compared WaP (factor 4) with the other three factors, personal strain, and role strain via: internal consistency; inter-factor correlation; item-to-total ratio across Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) stages; predictors of burden; and interaction effect on total ZBI score using two-way analysis of variance.
WaP correlated poorly with the other factors (r = 0.05–0.21). It had the highest internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.92) among the factors. Unlike other factors, WaP was highly endorsed in mild cognitive impairment and did not increase linearly with disease severity, peaking at CDR 1. Multiple regression revealed younger caregiver age as the major predictor of WaP, compared with behavioral and functional problems for other factors. There was a significant interaction between WaP and psychological strain (p = 0.025).
Our results corroborate earlier studies that WaP is a distinct burden dimension not correspondent with traditional ZBI domains. WaP is germane to many Asian societies where obligation values to care for family members are strongly influential. Further studies are needed to better delineate the construct of WaP.
The in vitro corrosion mechanism of the biodegradable cast Mg–10% Ca binary alloy in Hanks' solution was evaluated through transmission electron microscopy observations. The corrosion behavior depends strongly on the microstructural peculiarity of Mg2Ca phase surrounding the island-like primary Mg phase and the fast corrosion induced by the interdiffusion of O and Ca via the Mg2Ca phase of lamellar structure. At the corrosion front, we found that a nanosized crack-like pathway was formed along the interface between the Mg2Ca phase and the primary Mg phase. Through the crack-like pathway, O and Ca are atomically exchanged each other and then the corroded Mg2Ca phase was transformed to Mg oxides. The in vitro corrosion by the exchange of Ca and O at the nanosized pathway led to the rapid bulk corrosion in the Mg–Ca alloys.
Accumulating evidence suggests that dysfunction of the amygdala is related to abnormal fear processing, anxiety, and social behaviors noted in autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs). In addition, studies have shown that disrupted brain serotonin homeostasis is linked to ASD. With a valproate (VPA)-induced rat ASD model, we investigated the possible role of amygdala serotonin homeostasis in autistic phenotypes and further explored the underlying mechanism. We first discovered that the distribution of tryptophan hydroxylase immunoreactivity in the caudal raphe system was modulated on postnatal day (PD) 28 of the VPA-exposed offspring. Then, we found a significantly higher serotonin transporter availability in the amygdala of the VPA-exposed offspring on PD 56 by using single photon emission computed tomography and computed tomography co-registration following injection of 123I-labeled 2-((2-(dimethylamino)methyl)phenyl)thio)-5-iodophenylamine(123I[ADAM]). Furthermore, treatment with 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT), a 5-HT1A receptor agonist, increased social interaction and improved fear memory extinction in the VPA-exposed offspring. 8-OH-DPAT treatment also reversed the characteristics of miniature excitatory post-synaptic currents as well as paired pulse facilitation observed in lateral amygdala slices. These results provided further evidence to support the role of the amygdala in characteristic behavioral changes in the rat ASD model. The serotonergic projections that modulate the amygdala function might play a certain role in the development and treatment of behavioral symptoms exhibited in individuals with ASD.
We developed the Hong Kong Specific Learning Difficulties Behavior Checklist for Junior Secondary School Students (BCL-JS) for teachers to rate the frequency of 52 reading-related behavioral characteristics of Chinese secondary school students. An item factor analysis based on ratings on 947 students yielded seven distinct dimensions. In a separate sample of 90 students, the seven constructs of the BCL-JS significantly correlated with students’ performances on most literacy and reading-related cognitive measures, and differentiated adolescents with or without dyslexia. Discriminant analysis showed that the BCL-JS had a high rate of correct classification (82.2%). These findings support that the BCL-JS is a reliable screening tool for Chinese junior secondary school students at risk for dyslexia.
The longitudinal predictive power of four important reading-related skills (phonological skills, rapid naming, orthographic skills, and morphological awareness) to Chinese word reading and writing to dictation (i.e., spelling) was examined in a 3-year longitudinal study among 251 Chinese elementary students. Rapid naming, orthographic skills, and morphological awareness assessed in Grade 1 were significant longitudinal predictors of Chinese word reading in Grades 1 to 4. As for word spelling, rapid naming was the only significant predictor across grades. Morphological awareness was a robust predictor of word spelling in Grade 1 only. Phonological skills and orthographic skills significantly predicted word spelling in Grades 2 and 4. After controlling for autoregressive effects, morphological awareness and orthographic skills were the significant longitudinal predictors of Chinese word reading and word spelling, respectively. These findings reflected the impacts of the Chinese orthography on children's reading and spelling development.