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Urinary Na excretion is a potential risk factor for CVD. However, the underlying biological mechanisms and effects of salt sensitivity are unclear. The purpose of this study was to characterise the relative contribution of biological factors to the Na–CVD association. A total of 2112 participants were enrolled in this study. Structured questionnaires and blood and urine samples were obtained. Twenty-four-hour Na excretion was estimated using a single overnight urine sample. Hypertension, the metabolic syndrome and overweight status were considered to indicate salt sensitivity. Cox proportional hazard models were used to investigate the effects of salt sensitivity on urinary Na excretion and CVD risk. The traditional mediation approach was used to calculate the proportion of mediation. The mean age (sd) of the 2112 participants was 54·5 (sd 12·2) years, and they were followed up for a mean of 14·1 (sd 8·1) years. Compared with those in the lowest quartile, the highest baseline urinary Na excretion (>4·2 g/24 h) was associated with a 43 % higher CVD risk (hazard ratio, 1·43; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·99). Participants with high urinary Na excretion, hypertension or the metabolic syndrome had a significantly high risk of CVD. The carotid intima-media thickness had the largest mediating effect (accounting for 35 % of the Na–CVD association), followed by systolic blood pressure (BP) (33 %), left ventricular mass (28 %) and diastolic BP (14 %). Higher urinary Na excretion increased the risk of CVD, which was explained largely by carotid media-thickness and systolic BP.
Nosocomial outbreaks leading to healthcare worker (HCW) infection and death have been increasingly reported during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
We implemented a strategy to reduce nosocomial acquisition.
We summarized our experience in implementing a multipronged infection control strategy in the first 300 days (December 31, 2019, to October 25, 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic under the governance of Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.
Of 5,296 COVID-19 patients, 4,808 (90.8%) were diagnosed in the first pandemic wave (142 cases), second wave (896 cases), and third wave (3,770 cases) in Hong Kong. With the exception of 1 patient who died before admission, all COVID-19 patients were admitted to the public healthcare system for a total of 78,834 COVID-19 patient days. The median length of stay was 13 days (range, 1–128). Of 81,955 HCWs, 38 HCWs (0.05%; 2 doctors and 11 nurses and 25 nonprofessional staff) acquired COVID-19. With the exception of 5 of 38 HCWs (13.2%) infected by HCW-to-HCW transmission in the nonclinical settings, no HCW had documented transmission from COVID-19 patients in the hospitals. The incidence of COVID-19 among HCWs was significantly lower than that of our general population (0.46 per 1,000 HCWs vs 0.71 per 1,000 population; P = .008). The incidence of COVID-19 among professional staff was significantly lower than that of nonprofessional staff (0.30 vs 0.66 per 1,000 full-time equivalent; P = .022).
A hospital-based approach spared our healthcare service from being overloaded. With our multipronged infection control strategy, no nosocomial COVID-19 in was identified among HCWs in the first 300 days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong.
The role of severe respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)–laden aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains uncertain. Discordant findings of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples were noted in early reports.
Sampling of air close to 6 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients with and without surgical masks was performed with sampling devices using sterile gelatin filters. Frequently touched environmental surfaces near 21 patients were swabbed before daily environmental disinfection. The correlation between the viral loads of patients’ clinical samples and environmental samples was analyzed.
All air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the 6 patients singly isolated inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with 12 air changes per hour. Of 377 environmental samples near 21 patients, 19 (5.0%) were positive by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with a median viral load of 9.2 × 102 copies/mL (range, 1.1 × 102 to 9.4 × 104 copies/mL). The contamination rate was highest on patients’ mobile phones (6 of 77, 7.8%), followed by bed rails (4 of 74, 5.4%) and toilet door handles (4 of 76, 5.3%). We detected a significant correlation between viral load ranges in clinical samples and positivity rate of environmental samples (P < .001).
SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable by air samplers, which suggests that the airborne route is not the predominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Wearing a surgical mask, appropriate hand hygiene, and thorough environmental disinfection are sufficient infection control measures for COVID-19 patients isolated singly in AIIRs. However, this conclusion may not apply during aerosol-generating procedures or in cohort wards with large numbers of COVID-19 patients.
The condition of caregivers is important to the quality of care received by people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), especially at the late disease stages. This study addresses the distress placed on caregivers by participants’ neuropsychiatric symptoms at different stages of PD in Taiwan
This prospective study enrolled 108 people with PD. All participants were examined with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI), and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale. Caregiver distress was measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale (NPI-D). Statistical analysis was used to explore the PD-related factors that contribute to caregiver distress.
The mean follow-up interval in the 108 PD participants were 24.0 ± 10.2 months with no participant lost to follow-up due to death. NPI-distress (the sum of NPI caregiver distress scale across the 12 domains of the NPI) was positively correlated with NPI-sum (the total score across the 12 domains of the NPI) (r = 0.787, p < 0.001), CDR (r = 0.403, p < 0.001), UPRDS (r = 0.276, p = 0.004), and disease duration (r = 0.246, p = 0.002), but negatively correlated with CASI (r = −0.237, p = 0.043) and MMSE (r = −0.281, p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that only NPI-sum and disease duration were independently correlated with NPI-distress.
The disease duration and NPI-sum are independent predictors of caregiver distress in Taiwanese populations with PD. Early detection and reduction of neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with PD can help decrease caregiver distress.
In a second-best optimal growth setup with only factor taxes, it is in general optimal to fully replace capital by labor income taxation in the long run. We revisit this important issue by developing a human-capital-based endogenous growth model with frictional labor search, allowing each firm to create multiple vacancies and each worker to determine market participation. We find that the conventional efficient bargaining condition is necessary but not sufficient for achieving constrained social optimality. We then conduct tax incidence exercises in balanced growth by calibrating to the U.S. economy with a preexisting 20% flat tax on capital and labor income. Our quantitative results suggest that, due to a dominant channel via the interactions between vacancy creation and market participation, it is optimal to switch only partially from capital to labor taxation in a benchmark economy where human-capital formation depends on both physical and human-capital stocks. This main finding is robust even along the transition with time-varying factor tax rates. Moreover, our quantitative analysis under alternative setups suggests that while endogenous human capital and labor-market frictions are essential for obtaining a positive optimal capital tax, endogenous leisure, nonlinear human-capital accumulation and endogenous growth are not crucial.
Improvement of environmental cleaning in hospitals has been shown to decrease in-hospital cross transmission of pathogens. Several objective methods, including aerobic colony counts (ACCs), the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence assay, and the fluorescent marker method have been developed to assess cleanliness. However, the standard interpretation of cleanliness using the fluorescent marker method remains uncertain.
To assess the fluorescent marker method as a tool for determining the effectiveness of hospital cleaning.
A prospective survey study.
An academic medical center.
The same 10 high-touch surfaces were tested after each terminal cleaning using (1) the fluorescent marker method, (2) the ATP assay, and (3) the ACC method. Using the fluorescent marker method under study, surfaces were classified as totally clean, partially clean, or not clean. The ACC method was used as the standard for comparison.
According to the fluorescent marker method, of the 830 high-touch surfaces, 321 surfaces (38.7%) were totally clean (TC group), 84 surfaces (10.1%) were partially clean (PC group), and 425 surfaces (51.2%) were not clean (NC group). The TC group had significantly lower ATP and ACC values (mean ± SD, 428.7 ± 1,180.0 relative light units [RLU] and 15.6 ± 77.3 colony forming units [CFU]/100 cm2) than the PC group (1,386.8 ± 2,434.0 RLU and 34.9 ± 87.2 CFU/100 cm2) and the NC group (1,132.9 ± 2,976.1 RLU and 46.8 ± 119.2 CFU/100 cm2).
The fluorescent marker method provided a simple, reliable, and real-time assessment of environmental cleaning in hospitals. Our results indicate that only a surface determined to be totally clean using the fluorescent marker method could be considered clean.
To investigate the reciprocal relationship between unhealthy eating behaviours and depressive symptoms from childhood to adolescence.
Unhealthy eating behaviours were measured by the frequencies of eating foods with excess salt, sugar or fat in the past week. Depressive symptoms in the past two weeks were measured using a seven-item scale. Hierarchical linear growth models were used to analyse longitudinal associations between unhealthy eating behaviours and depressive symptoms. Time-fixed variables (sex, parents’ education level and household monthly income) and time-varying variables (parents’ marital status, family activities, body weight, vegetable or fruit consumption, exercising and smoking) were controlled for.
The Child and Adolescent Behaviors in Long-Term Evolution study, which commenced in 2001 and has annual follow-up.
Students (n 2630) followed from 2nd grade (8 years old in 2002) to 11th grade.
The frequency of unhealthy eating behaviours in the previous year and the difference between the frequency in the previous and successive year were positively associated with the initiation and growth rate of depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms in the previous year and the difference in depressive symptoms between the previous and successive year were positively associated with the initial state and growth rate of unhealthy eating behaviours.
Our results suggest a reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and unhealthy eating behaviours. This relationship should be considered when developing programmes targeting depressive symptoms and unhealthy diet in children and adolescents.
Factors affecting quality of life (QOL) ratings for people with dementia (PWD) have been well studied, but few studies have examined the effect of residence on PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL for PWDs. We designed this study to determine the factors related to PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL in dementia as well as factors related to the discrepancy in these ratings.
For this cross-sectional study, we analyzed data from a convenience sample of 106 PWD-family caregiver dyads (58 community-dwelling dyads and 48 nursing-home dyads). PWDs’ data included socio-demographic variables, QOL (assessed by the Quality of Life-Alzheimer's Disease [QOL-AD] scale), cognition, dementia severity, depression, comorbidities, and quality of the dyadic relationship. Caregivers’ data included socio-demographic variables, depressive symptoms, and mutuality of the dyadic relationship.
QOL-AD scores were lower when rated by caregivers than by PWDs. The key factors positively related to both PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL for PWDs were fewer PWD depressive symptoms and higher quality of the PWD-caregiver relationship. The key factors related to the discrepancy in PWD- and caregiver-rated QOL in dementia were PWD residence in a nursing home and lower dementia severity, as well as higher caregiver depression, being an adult child caregiver, and lower caregiver-PWD mutuality.
Caregiver-rated QOL for PWDs and the discrepancy in rated QOL were significantly associated with PWD residence. If caregiver-rated QOL is needed, the effect of residence of PWD should be taken into consideration. Caregivers’ depressive status and mutuality with PWD must be also carefully assessed.
Business groups not only help affiliates circumvent market imperfections, but they also have great influence on the economic development of emerging markets. This study applies three ways to clarify the influence of business-group effects on affiliate performance. First, this study finds that the business group can explain a respectable portion of the variations in affiliate performance. Second, this study examines the impact of family ownership, resource abundance, and resource dispersion on affiliate performance and finds that group size and financial resources positively affect affiliate performance, while family ownership and group diversification do not have a significant effect on affiliate performance. Finally, the magnitude of business-group effects is subject to the ownership and resources of each business group. Family groups, large groups, and highly diversified groups have smaller business-group effects, while groups with high financial resources have greater business-group effects, indicating that business-group effects are heterogeneous and dependent on different group features. This study provides support to the resource-based and the institution-based views of business groups.
To compare potential risk factors for complications and recurrence after radiofrequency catheter ablation in symptomatic atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia in children and adolescents.
We retrospectively reviewed the data of 213 consecutive patients with symptomatic atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia who underwent both electrophysiological study and radiofrequency catheter ablation, divided these patients into two groups, children (age <12 years) and adolescents (12 ≤ age < 18 years), and compared the location of the accessory pathway, success rate, recurrence rate, complications, presence of congenital heart disease, presence of intermittent ventricular pre-excitation, and presence of Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome in the two groups.
The position of the accessory pathway was mostly right sided in children (61.3%) and left sided in adolescents (61.5%). Children had significantly more congenital heart disease than adolescents (6.4% versus 0.8%). Univariate analysis showed children or adolescents with right-sided accessory pathways to be 6.84 times and those with accessory pathways on both sides of the septum 25 times more likely to relapse than those with a single accessory pathway. Multivariate analysis indicated that children or adolescents with two accessory pathways were six times, and those with intermittent ventricular pre-excitation nine times more at risk of relapsing following radiofrequency ablation than those with single accessory pathways. All five complications occurred in children.
The findings suggest that the position and number of accessory pathways and presence of intermittent ventricular pre-excitation are related to risks of recurrence of atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia in children and adolescents.
Chronic subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of d-galactose (DG) to BL/6J mice has been shown to induce oxidative stress and is considered a model to mimic accelerated ageing. Fructo-oligosaccharide (FO) is a well-defined prebiotic and its fermentation by lactic acid bacteria has been shown to exert antioxidative capacity. The present study was aimed to determine whether FO attenuated DG-induced oxidative stress and hepatopathy in Balb/cJ mice. Mice (12 weeks of age, n 40) were divided into control (s.c. saline), DG (s.c. 1·2 g/kg body weight), DG+FO (5 %, w/w) and DG+vitamin E (0·2 %, w/w) groups and were killed after 52 d of treatment. Results indicated that DG significantly decreased the hepatic superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities. These alterations were ameliorated both by FO and vitamin E. DG increased the hepatic TAG content approximately by 7·2 % compared with the vehicle control, which was in agreement with the histological alteration. FO, similar to vitamin E, almost normalised the hepatic TAG content and ameliorated the histological characteristics of fatty liver. Similarly, the increased plasma alanine aminotransferase activity induced by DG was normalised by FO and vitamin E, respectively. Faecal bifidobacteria counts were greater in the DG+FO and DG+vitamin E groups compared with the DG group, respectively. In conclusion, the present study indicated that FO diminished the altered hepatic antioxidative enzyme activities and morphology caused by chronic DG administration in Balb/cJ mice, partially associated with its prebiotic role in the colon.
The hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) thin film transistors (TFTs) having a very high field-effect mobility of 1.76 cm2/V-s and a low threshold voltage of 2.43 V have been fabricated successfully using the hot wire chemical vapor deposition (HWCVD).
N-polar and Ga-polar GaN grown on c-plane sapphire by a metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) system were used to fabricate platinum deposited Schottky contacts for hydrogen sensing at room temperature. Wurtzite GaN is a polar material. Along the c-axis, there are N-face (N-polar) or Ga-face (Ga-polar) orientations on the GaN surface. The Ohmic contacts were formed by lift-off of e-beam deposited Ti (200 Å)/Al (1000 Å)/Ni (400 Å)/Au (1200 Å). The contacts were annealed at 850°C for 45 s under a flowing N2 ambient. Isolation was achieved with 2000 Å plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposited SiNx formed at 300°C. A 100 Å of Pt was deposited by e-beam evaporation to form Schottky contacts. After exposure to hydrogen, Ga-polar GaN Schottky showed 10% of current change, while the N-polar GaN Schottky contacts became fully Ohmic. The N-polar GaN Schottky diodes showed stronger and faster response to 4% hydrogen than that of Ga-polar GaN Schottky diodes. The abrupt current increase from N-polar GaN Schottky exposure to hydrogen was attributed to the high reactivity of the N-face surface termination. The surface termination dominates the sensitivity and response time of the hydrogen sensors made of GaN Schottky diodes. Current-voltage characteristics and the real-time detection of the sensor for hydrogen were investigated. These results demonstrate that the surface termination is crucial in the performance of hydrogen sensors made of GaN Schottky diodes.
The impact of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was enormous, but few studies have focused on the infectious and general health status of healthcare workers (HCWs) who treated patients with SARS.
We prospectively evaluated the general health status of HCWs during the SARS epidemic.The Medical Outcome Study Short-Form 36 Survey was given to all HCWs immediately after caring for patients with SARS and 4 weeks after self-quarantine and off-duty shifts. Tests for detection of SARS Coronavirus antibody were performed for HCWs at these 2 time points and for control subjects during the SARS epidemic.
Tertiary care referral center in Taipei, Taiwan.
Ninety SARS-care task force members (SARS HCWs) and 82 control subjects.
All serum specimens tested negative for SARS antibody. Survey scores for SARS HCWs immediately after care were significantly lower than those for the control group (P < .05 by the t test) in 6 categories. Vitality, social functioning, and mental health immediately after care and vitality and mental health after self-quarantine and off-duty shifts were among the worst subscales. The social functioning, role emotional, and role physical subscales significantly improved after self-quarantine and off-duty shifts (P < .05, by paired t test). The length of contact time (mean number of contact-hours per day) with patients with SARS was associated with some subscales (role emotional, role physical, and mental health) to a mild extent. The total number of contact-hours with symptomatic patients with SARS was a borderline predictor (adjusted R2 = 0.069; P = .038) of mental health score.
The impact of the SARS outbreak on SARS HCWs was significant in many dimensions of general health. The vitality and mental health status of SARS HCWs 1 month after self-quarantine and off-duty shifts remained inferior to those of the control group.
Twenty-one Candida albicans isolates from three HIV-infected patients were collected over a period of 3 years and characterized for fluconazole susceptibility, infectivity and genetic relatedness. Fluconazole resistance was found in five isolates, four exhibited dose-dependent susceptibility and the remainder were fully susceptible to this agent. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of SfiI restriction digests of the genomic DNA from the isolates revealed that isolates from the same swab specimen were identical despite differences in susceptibility to fluconazole and isolates recovered over time from the three patients retained clonally related DNA fingerprints within each patient. This small-scale study confirms the persistence of oral colonization of C. albicans strains in HIV-infected patients. Clinical data also suggests that the primary infecting strain may become a persistent colonist in the oral cavity once the immune function of the patient has been restored.
The conventional concept of alloy design is based on the principal metallic element (>40 at.%); therefore, it is novel and challenging for a new alloy design to synthesize several (5∼7) principal elements (each <35 at.%), i.e. equal or near-equal molar ratio. With the design concept of multi-principal-element alloy, this paper will present the mechanical behaviors and workability of this alloy, Fe0.71Cr1.48Al0.38Ni1.42Co in molar ratio. The alloy possessed the simple FCC crystal structure even though these elements come from three categories of crystalline structures, FCC, BCC and HCP. The hardness can also reach 367(Hv) after precipitated treatment at 700°C for 24 Hr.. Meanwhile, the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of Fe0.71Cr1.48Al0.38Ni1.42Co can be elevated to 1112 MPa as almost triple as the original sample, and the elongation rate can be kept at 20%.