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Modeling and forecasting of mortality rates are closely related to a wide range of actuarial practices, such as the designing of pension schemes. To improve the forecasting accuracy, age coherence is incorporated in many recent mortality models, which suggests that the long-term forecasts will not diverge infinitely among age groups. Despite their usefulness, misspecification is likely to occur for individual mortality models when applied in empirical studies. The reliableness and accuracy of forecast rates are therefore negatively affected. In this study, an ensemble averaging or model averaging (MA) approach is proposed, which adopts age-specific weights and asymptotically achieves age coherence in mortality forecasting. The ensemble space contains both newly developed age-coherent and classic age-incoherent models to achieve the diversity. To realize the asymptotic age coherence, consider parameter errors, and avoid overfitting, the proposed method minimizes the variance of out-of-sample forecasting errors, with a uniquely designed coherent penalty and smoothness penalty. Our empirical data set include ten European countries with mortality rates of 0–100 age groups and spanning 1950–2016. The outstanding performance of MA is presented using the empirical sample for mortality forecasting. This finding robustly holds in a range of sensitivity analyses. A case study based on the Italian population is finally conducted to demonstrate the improved forecasting efficiency of MA and the validity of the proposed estimation of weights, as well as its usefulness in actuarial applications such as the annuity pricing.
COVID-19 has long-term impacts on public mental health, while few research studies incorporate multidimensional methods to thoroughly characterise the psychological profile of general population and little detailed guidance exists for mental health management during the pandemic. This research aims to capture long-term psychological profile of general population following COVID-19 by integrating trajectory modelling approaches, latent trajectory pattern identification and network analyses.
Longitudinal data were collected from a nationwide sample of 18 804 adults in 12 months after COVID-19 outbreak in China. Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 and Insomnia Severity Index were used to measure depression, anxiety and insomnia, respectively. The unconditional and conditional latent growth curve models were fitted to investigate trajectories and long-term predictors for psychological symptoms. We employed latent growth mixture model to identify the major psychological symptom trajectory patterns, and ran sparse Gaussian graphical models with graphical lasso to explore the evolution of psychopathological network.
At 12 months after COVID-19 outbreak, psychological symptoms generally alleviated, and five psychological symptom trajectories with different demographics were identified: normal stable (63.4%), mild stable (15.3%), mild-increase to decrease (11.7%), mild-decrease to increase (4.0%) and moderate/severe stable (5.5%). The finding indicated that there were still about 5% individuals showing consistently severe distress and approximately 16% following fluctuating psychological trajectories, who should be continuously monitored. For individuals with persistently severe trajectories and those with fluctuating trajectories, central or bridge symptoms in the network were mainly ‘motor abnormality’ and ‘sad mood’, respectively. Compared with initial peak and late COVID-19 phase, aftermath of initial peak might be a psychologically vulnerable period with highest network connectivity. The central and bridge symptoms for aftermath of initial peak (‘appetite change’ and ‘trouble of relaxing’) were totally different from those at other pandemic phases (‘sad mood’).
This research identified the overall growing trend, long-term predictors, trajectory classes and evolutionary pattern of psychopathological network of psychological symptoms in 12 months after COVID-19 outbreak. It provides a multidimensional long-term psychological profile of the general population after COVID-19 outbreak, and accentuates the essentiality of continuous psychological monitoring, as well as population- and time-specific psychological management after COVID-19. We believe our findings can offer reference for long-term psychological management after pandemics.
Mechanistic studies have suggested that antioxidants have beneficial effects on age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This study aimed to investigate the association between the types and sources of dietary vitamin and carotenoid intakes and AMD risk in China. A matched case–control study of 260 AMD cases and 260 matched controls was performed. The participants were interviewed for dietary information and potential confounders, and comprehensive ophthalmic examinations were performed. Conditional logistic models were used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95 % confidence interval (CI) of specific vitamins and carotenoids and their main sources. When comparing the extreme quartiles, the ORs (95 % CI) were 0·30 (0·10, 0·88) for lutein and 0·28 (0·11, 0·74) for β-cryptoxanthin. The associations for other dietary vitamin and carotenoid intakes were generally weaker and non-significant. Higher intakes of spinach and egg, which are important sources of lutein, were associated with a reduced odds of AMD. ORs (95% CIs) comparing extreme categories were 0·42 (0·20, 0·88) for spinach and 0·52 (95% CI: 0·27, 0·98) for egg. Participants who were in the highest category of both egg intake and spinach intake had a much greater reduced odds of having AMD (OR: 0·23; 95% CI: 0·08, 0·71) than those in the lowest category of egg intake and spinach intake. In conclusion, a higher intake of lutein and lutein-rich foods was associated with a significantly decreased odds of AMD. These findings provide further evidence of the benefits of lutein and lutein-rich foods in the prevention of AMD.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a major threat to the public. However, the comprehensive profile of suicidal ideation among the general population has not been systematically investigated in a large sample in the age of COVID-19.
A national online cross-sectional survey was conducted between February 28, 2020 and March 11, 2020 in a representative sample of Chinese adults aged 18 years and older. Suicidal ideation was assessed using item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. The prevalence of suicidal ideation and its risk factors was evaluated.
A total of 56,679 participants (27,149 males and 29,530 females) were included. The overall prevalence of suicidal ideation was 16.4%, including 10.9% seldom, 4.1% often, and 1.4% always suicidal ideation. The prevalence of suicidal ideation was higher in males (19.1%) and individuals aged 18–24 years (24.7%) than in females (14.0%) and those aged 45 years and older (11.9%). Suicidal ideation was more prevalent in individuals with suspected or confirmed infection (63.0%), frontline workers (19.2%), and people with pre-existing mental disorders (41.6%). Experience of quarantine, unemployed, and increased psychological stress during the pandemic were associated with an increased risk of suicidal ideation and its severity. However, paying more attention to and gaining a better understanding of COVID-19-related knowledge, especially information about psychological interventions, could reduce the risk.
The estimated prevalence of suicidal ideation among the general population in China during COVID-19 was significant. The findings will be important for improving suicide prevention strategies during COVID-19.
This paper investigates a high-dimensional vector-autoregressive (VAR) model in mortality modeling and forecasting. We propose an extension of the sparse VAR (SVAR) model fitted on the log-mortality improvements, which we name “spatially penalized smoothed VAR” (SSVAR). By adaptively penalizing the coefficients based on the distances between ages, SSVAR not only allows a flexible data-driven sparsity structure of the coefficient matrix but simultaneously ensures interpretable coefficients including cohort effects. Moreover, by incorporating the smoothness penalties, divergence in forecast mortality rates of neighboring ages is largely reduced, compared with the existing SVAR model. A novel estimation approach that uses the accelerated proximal gradient algorithm is proposed to solve SSVAR efficiently. Similarly, we propose estimating the precision matrix of the residuals using a spatially penalized graphical Lasso to further study the dependency structure of the residuals. Using the UK and France population data, we demonstrate that the SSVAR model consistently outperforms the famous Lee–Carter, Hyndman–Ullah, and two VAR-type models in forecasting accuracy. Finally, we discuss the extension of the SSVAR model to multi-population mortality forecasting with an illustrative example that demonstrates its superiority in forecasting over existing approaches.
The upsurge in the number of people affected by the COVID-19 is likely to lead to increased rates of emotional trauma and mental illnesses. This article systematically reviewed the available data on the benefits of interventions to reduce adverse mental health sequelae of infectious disease outbreaks, and to offer guidance for mental health service responses to infectious disease pandemic. PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, PsycINFO, WHO Global Research Database on infectious disease, and the preprint server medRxiv were searched. Of 4278 reports identified, 32 were included in this review. Most articles of psychological interventions were implemented to address the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, followed by Ebola, SARS, and MERS for multiple vulnerable populations. Increasing mental health literacy of the public is vital to prevent the mental health crisis under the COVID-19 pandemic. Group-based cognitive behavioral therapy, psychological first aid, community-based psychosocial arts program, and other culturally adapted interventions were reported as being effective against the mental health impacts of COVID-19, Ebola, and SARS. Culturally-adapted, cost-effective, and accessible strategies integrated into the public health emergency response and established medical systems at the local and national levels are likely to be an effective option to enhance mental health response capacity for the current and for future infectious disease outbreaks. Tele-mental healthcare services were key central components of stepped care for both infectious disease outbreak management and routine support; however, the usefulness and limitations of remote health delivery should also be recognized.
Fullerene dimers have attracted extensive attention due to their unique structures and fascinating properties. Here, fullerene dimer derivatives with four to six carbon atoms in the esters are designed and synthesized. The property differences that caused by the carbon number in the esters of the fullerene dimers are investigated by performing their electrochemical, optical, and photoelectric measurements. As the carbon atom numbers in the esters increase from four to five and six, the absorption intensities increase to 1.6- and 4.4-folds. The intensities of the fluorescence spectra increase to 1.8- and 5.2-folds. Their photocurrent increases to 2- and 7-folds under the irradiation of a 405-nm laser. The LUMO energy levels move downward slightly from −3.89 to −3.90 and −3.92 eV, respectively. Our results indicate that as the carbon number increases, the carbon chain lengths in the ester structures increase, very slight effects produced on the energy levels of the fullerene dimers, but strongly contribute to their chemical activities and thus the photoelectronic efficiencies.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Nutritional therapy is a cornerstone of burns management. The optimal macronutrient intake for wound healing after burn injury has not been identified, although high-energy, high-protein diets are favoured. The present study aimed to identify the optimal macronutrient intake for burn wound healing. The geometric framework (GF) was used to analyse wound healing after a 10 % total body surface area contact burn in mice ad libitum fed one of the eleven high-energy diets, varying in macronutrient composition with protein (P5−60 %), carbohydrate (C20−75 %) and fat (F20−75 %). In the GF study, the optimal ratio for wound healing was identified as a moderate-protein, high-carbohydrate diet with a protein:carbohydrate:fat (P:C:F) ratio of 1:4:2. High carbohydrate intake was associated with lower mortality, improved body weight and a beneficial pattern of body fat reserves. Protein intake was essential to prevent weight loss and mortality, but a protein intake target of about 7 kJ/d (about 15 % of energy intake) was identified, above which no further benefit was gained. High protein intake was associated with delayed wound healing and increased liver and spleen weight. As the GF study demonstrated that an initial very high protein intake prevented mortality, a very high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate diet (P40:C42:F18) was specifically designed. The dynamic diet study was also designed to combine and validate the benefits of an initial very high protein intake for mortality, and subsequent moderate protein, high carbohydrate intake for optimal wound healing. The dynamic feeding experiment showed switching from an initial very high-protein diet to the optimal moderate-protein, high-carbohydrate diet accelerated wound healing whilst preventing mortality and liver enlargement.
Geochronological, elemental and isotopic data of the Dashizhuzi granites and lamprophyre dykes from the eastern Hebei – western Liaoning on the northern North China Craton (NCC) provide an insight into the nature of their magma sources and subcontinental lithospheric mantle. The Dashizhuzi granites have an emplacement age of 226 Ma. They have enriched lithospheric mantle type 1 (EM1-like) Sr–Nd isotopic compositions, and have distinctive features of high Na2O and Sr and low Y with high Sr/Y and (La/Yb)N ratios. These characteristics show that the Dashizhuzi granites originated directly from melting of mafic lower crust composed of pre-existing ancient crustal and enriched mantle-derived juvenile crustal materials at normal continental crustal depth of 33–40 km. The lamprophyre dykes are dated at 167 Ma, and can be divided into two groups. The Group 1 dykes have variable Sr–Nd isotopic compositions and mid-ocean-ridge basalt (MORB-) like Th/U, Ba/Th and Ce/Pb ratios, whereas the Group 2 dykes have enriched Sr–Nd isotopic compositions and notable high Co, Cr, MgO and low Al2O3 characteristics. These distinctive features suggest that the Group 1 dykes were derived from a relatively fertile lithospheric mantle source (garnet-facies amphibole-bearing lherzolite) which has experienced variable degrees of asthenospheric mantle-derived melt–peridotite interaction prior to melting. However, the Group 2 dykes were derived from an ancient garnet-facies phlogopite and/or amphibole-bearing lherzolite lithospheric mantle. Thinning of the Early Mesozoic lithospheric mantle beneath the northern NCC is dominantly through melt–peridotite interaction and thermo-mechanical erosion prior to Middle Jurassic time. The chemical compositions have been modified at the bottom of the lithospheric mantle through melt–peridotite interaction processes.
As the demands of scientific research and application for specimens increase rapidly, biobanks in China have been springing up over the recent years. This paper summarizes Chinese biobanks through investigation and survey on operative, managerial, ethical conditions and challenges of biobanks. At present, hospitals and research institutes in China set up and operate most of the biobanks, collecting human specimens to support clinical and scientific research. With the development of bio-industry and arrival of the big data era, biobanks need not only collect and store human and non-human specimens but also to manage the big data associated with these specimens.
What follows is a short report on the Business Meeting of the Astronomy and World Heritage Working Group held on Thursday August 6, 2009. This was the first formal Business Meeting of the Working Group since its formation following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the IAU and UNESCO on Astronomy and World Heritage in October 2008.
A facile, surfactant-assisted, hydrothermal approach has been developed to synthesize lanthanide phosphate single-crystalline nanowires/nanorods with smooth surface, uniform diameter, and good crystallinity. The surfactant Pluronic P123 was found to play a crucial role on the uniform morphology of lanthanide phosphate single-crystalline nanowires/nanorods. Photoluminescence spectra of the lanthanide phosphate single-crystalline nanowires/nanorods show that these nanowires/nanorods have strong photoluminescent emissions in the ultraviolet-visible and near-infrared regions. The present work is a preliminary and significant step toward the potential luminescent and catalytic applications of lanthanide compound based one-dimensional nanostructures.
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