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Background: Chronic intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is used to treat refractory myasthenia gravis (MG). This subgroup analysis evaluated response to eculizumab in patients receiving chronic IVIg before entry to REGAIN, a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of eculizumab in anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive refractory generalized MG. Methods: IVIg was only permitted during REGAIN as rescue therapy; previously treated patients underwent a 4-week washout before randomization. Patients included in this analysis had received chronic IVIg ≥4 times in 1 year, with ≥1 dose within 6 months before REGAIN entry. Exacerbations and MG status changes were assessed. Results: Eighteen patients were evaluated; four experienced exacerbations (eculizumab-treated, 1/9; placebo-treated, 3/9). Clinically relevant improvements were larger with eculizumab than placebo, respectively (mean change, standard deviation [SD]: MG Activities of Daily Living score [MG-ADL], -5.3 [4.0] vs -2.1 [2.8]; Quantitative MG score [QMG], -4.1 [6.1] vs -1.3 [3.5]). More patients receiving eculizumab (7/9) had clinically meaningful responses (MG-ADL ≥3 and/or QMG ≥5 points) than those receiving placebo (3/9). Eculizumab safety was consistent with previous reports. Interim data from the open-label extension of REGAIN will be presented. Conclusions: In patients previously receiving chronic IVIg, eculizumab showed a trend toward meaningful clinical improvements and fewer exacerbations compared with placebo. (NCT01997229, NCT02301624).
In this paper, a novel single-cavity triangular substrate-integrated waveguide (TSIW) dual-band filter loading a complementary triangular split ring resonator (CTSRR) is proposed, which has three transmission zeros (TZs) in the stopband in total. The dual-band response is achieved by the CTSRR and the degenerate modes of the TSIW cavity. In order to control the TZs, we propose two adjustment techniques, shift feeding technique and adding via perturbation. In addition, the CTSRR etched on the surface can produce a new TZ in the upper first-passband. Finally, a dual-band filter with three TZs is simulated, fabricated, and measured. There is a good agreement between the simulated results and measured ones.
Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease resulting in muscle weakness, dysarthria and dysphagia, and ultimately respiratory failure leading to death. Half of the ALS patients survive less than 3 years, and 80% of the patients survive less than 5 years. Riluzole is the only approved medication in Canada with randomized controlled clinical trial evidence to slow the progression of ALS, albeit only to a modest degree. The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) collects data on over 140 different neuromuscular diseases including ALS across ten academic institutions and 28 clinics including ten multidisciplinary ALS clinics. Methods: In this study, CNDR registry data were analyzed to examine potential differences in ALS care among provinces in time to diagnosis, riluzole and feeding tube use. Results: Significant differences were found among provinces, in time to diagnosis from symptom onset, in the use of riluzole and in feeding tube use. Conclusions: Future investigations should be undertaken to identify factors contributing to such differences, and to propose potential interventions to address the provincial differences reported.
Pheromones play an important role in mediating interspecific interactions in insects. In an insect community, pheromones can reveal information about the senders, which could be used by other members of the food web (competitor, natural enemies, etc.) to their own advantage. The aggregation pheromones of two closely related thrips species, Frankliniella occidentalis and Frankliniella intonsa, have been identified with the same major compounds, (R)-lavandulyl acetate and neryl (S)-2-methylbutanoate, but in different ratios. However, the roles of the aggregation pheromones in the interspecific interactions between these two closely related species are unknown. Here, we investigated the roles of major aggregation pheromone compounds in interspecific interactions between F. occidentalis and F. intonsa for both long and short ranges. The results showed that, at tested doses, neither aggregation pheromone-induced long range cross-attraction nor short range cross-mating was detected between F. occidentalis and F. intonsa. Field-trapping trials showed that the species-specificity in aggregation pheromones was regulated by the ratio of two major compounds. However, species-specific blends of the two major compounds had no effect on short-range interactions between these two species. Our data from the thrips species provide support for the ‘aggregation model of coexistence’, explaining the species-specific pheromone-mediated coexistence of closely related species. Thus, species-specific pheromones could be one of the factors affecting population dynamics and community structure in closely related insects with similar niches.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
Patients with schizophrenia have intact ability to experience emotion, but empirical evidence suggests that they fail to translate emotional salience into effortful behaviour. Previous research in patients with chronic schizophrenia suggests that working memory is important in integrating emotion and behaviour. This study aimed to examine avolition and anhedonia in patients with first-episode schizophrenia and clarify the role of working memory in emotion–behaviour coupling.
We recruited 72 participants with first-episode schizophrenia and 61 healthy controls, and used a validated emotion-inducing behavioural paradigm to measure participants' affective experiences and how experienced emotion coupled with behaviour. Participants were given the opportunity to expend effort to increase or decrease their exposure to emotion-inducing photographs. Participants with schizophrenia having poor working memory were compared with those with intact working memory in their liking and emotion–behaviour coupling.
Patients with first-episode schizophrenia experienced intact ‘in-the-moment’ emotion, but their emotion was less predictive of the effort expended, compared with controls. The emotion–behaviour coupling was significantly weaker in patients with schizophrenia with poor working memory than in those with intact working memory. However, compared with controls, patients with intact working also showed substantial emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings provide strong evidence for emotion–behaviour decoupling in first-episode schizophrenia. Although working memory deficits contribute to defective translation of liking into effortful behaviour, schizophrenia alone affects emotion–behaviour coupling.
Dysregulation of the striatum and altered corticostriatal connectivity have been associated with psychotic disorders. Social anhedonia has been identified as a predictor for the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The aim of the present study was to examine corticostriatal functional connectivity in individuals with high social anhedonia.
Twenty-one participants with high social anhedonia score and 30 with low social anhedonia score measured by the Chinese version of the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale were recruited from university undergraduates (age 17–21 years) to undergo resting-state functional MRI scans. Six subdivisions of the striatum in each hemisphere were defined as seeds. Voxel-wise functional connectivity analyses were conducted between each seed and the whole brain voxels, followed by repeated-measures ANOVA for the group effect.
Participants with high social anhedonia showed hyper-connectivity between the ventral striatum and the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, and between the dorsal striatum and the motor cortex. Hypo-connectivity in participants with high social anhedonia was also observed between the ventral striatum and the posterior cingulate cortex. Partial correlation analyses further showed that the functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex was associated with pleasure experience and emotional suppression.
Our findings suggest that altered corticostriatal connectivity can be found in participants with high levels of social anhedonia. Since social anhedonia has been considered a predictor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, our results may provide novel evidence on the early changes in brain functional connectivity in at-risk individuals.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating cause of progressive weakness, respiratory failure and death. To date there is no effective therapy to meaningfully extend survival but continuously emerging targets and putative treatments are studied in clinical trials. Canadian epidemiological data on ALS is scarce and the socioeconomic impact of ALS on Canadian society is unclear. The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) is a national clinic-based registry of patients with neuromuscular diseases with the goal of facilitating the design and execution of clinical research.
We conducted a national stakeholder survey to assess interest for a Canadian ALS registry and an assessment of expected case ascertainment. A dataset derivation meeting was held to establish the registry medical dataset.
We report the results of the national stakeholder survey, case ascertainment assessment, and the derived dataset that have resulted in the current implementation of a Canadian registry of patients with ALS.
The development of this long sought-after resource is a significant step forward for the Canadian ALS patient and research communities that will result in more efficient clinical trial recruitment and advancements in our understanding of ALS in Canada.
The current trends in stimulated Brillouin scattering and optical phase conjugation are overviewed. This report is formed by the selected papers presented in the “Fifth International Workshop on stimulated Brillouin scattering and phase conjugation 2010” in Japan. The nonlinear properties of phase conjugation based on stimulated Brillouin scattering and photo-refraction can compensate phase distortions in the high power laser systems, and they will also open up potentially novel laser technologies, e.g., phase stabilization, beam combination, pulse compression, ultrafast pulse shaping, and arbitrary waveform generation.
This study was conducted to determine the effects of soy isoflavones on changes in body and tissue weight and on insulin-like factor I (IGF-I) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) gene and protein expression in muscle and adipose tissues in Chinese Guangxi minipig, as a model for studying human nutrition. A total of 72 male Chinese Guangxi minipigs were fed basal diet (control, Con), low dose of soy isoflavones and high dose of soy isoflavones (HSI). The results showed that HSI increased the body weight (BW) gain and fat percentage of minipigs (P < 0.05). In addition, the serum concentrations of IGF-I and interleukin-6 were increased by high levels of soy isoflavones (P < 0.05). Furthermore, a diet containing soy isoflavones enhanced IGF-I mRNA expression levels in longissimus muscle, but decreased these levels in perirenal fat. However, the mRNA and protein expression levels of PPARγ in longissimus muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue were both increased when compared with the Con. The data indicated that soy isoflavones regulated the BW gain and fat percentage of Chinese Guangxi minipigs, which also showed changes in IGF-I system and PPARγ. However, further research is required to clarify the causative relationship.
Light-induced metastability of amorphous/microcrystalline (micromorph) silicon tandem solar cell, in which the microcrystalline bottom cell was deposited in a single-chamber system, has been studied under a white light for more than 1000 hours. Two different light-induced metastable behaviors were observed. The first type was the conventional light-induced degradation, where the open-circuit voltage (Voc), fill factor (FF), and short-circuit current density (Jsc) were degraded, hence the efficiency was degraded as well. This phenomenon was observed mainly in the tandem cells with a bottom cell limited current mismatch. The second type was with a light-induced increase in Voc, which sometimes resulted in an increase in efficiency. The second type of light-induced metastability was observed in the tandem cells with a top cell limited current mismatch. The possible mechanisms for these phenomena are discussed.
In this article, we present a study of boron-doped hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si: H) films by very high frequency-plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (VHF-PECVD) using high deposition pressure. Electrical, structural and optical properties of the films were investigated. Dark conductivity as high as 2.75S/cm of p-type nc-Si: H prepared at 2.5Torr pressure has been achieved at a deposition rate of 1.75Å/s for 25nm thin film. By controlling boron and phosphorus contamination, single junction nc-Si: H solar cells incorporated p-layers prepared under high pressure and low pressure, respectively, were deposited. It has been proven that nanocrystalline silicon solar cells with incorporation of p layer prepared at high pressure has resulted in enhanced open circuit voltage, short circuit current density and subsequently high conversion efficiency. Through the optimization of the bottom solar cell and application of ZnO/Al back reflector, 10.59% initial conversion efficiency of micromorph tandem solar cell (1.027cm2) with an open circuit voltage of 1.3864V, has been fabricated, where the bottom solar cell using a high pressure p layer was deposited in a single chamber.
This paper reviews our research progresses of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) and microcrystalline (μc-Si:H) based thin film solar cells. It coves the three areas of high efficiency, low cost process, and large-area proto-type multi-chamber system design and solar module deposition. With an innovative VHF power profiling technique, we have effectively controlled the crystalline evolution and made uniform μc-Si:H materials along the growth direction, which was used as the intrinsic layers of pin solar cells. We attained a 9.36% efficiency with a μc-Si:H single-junction cell structure. We have successfully resolved the cross-contamination issue in a single-chamber system and demonstrated the feasibility of using single-chamber process for manufacturing. We designed and built a large-area multi-chamber VHF system, which is used for depositing a-Si:H/μc-Si:H micromorph tandem modules on 0.79-m2 glass substrates. Preliminary module efficiency has exceeded 8%.
The effect of medium temperature upon characteristic of stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) and SBS optical limiting is investigated. The physical mechanism behind is analyzed theoretically and experimentally verified in Continuum's Nd: YAG Q-switched laser system using FC-72 as the SBS medium. The temperature affects the electrostrictive coefficient, refractive index, density and acoustic velocity of the medium weakly. In contrast, the kinematic viscosity, which is inversely proportional to the temperature, is related to gain coefficient and phonon lifetime and thus greatly affects the SBS characteristics. Therefore, in the low temperature, the kinematic viscosity is usually high, which can lead to a small gain coefficient and a short phonon lifetime. Therefore, the SBS characteristic can be changed by controlling the temperature to a great extent.
High rate deposition of hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) films and solar cells were prepared by very high frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (VHF-PECVD) process in a high power and high pressure regime. The experiment results demonstrate that in high-rate deposited μc-Si:H films, the structural evolution is much more dramatic than that in low-rate deposited μc-Si:H films. A novel VHF power profiling technique, which was designed by dynamically decreasing the VHF power step by step during the deposition of μc-Si:H intrinsic layers, has been developed to control the structural evolution along the growth direction. Another advantage of this VHF power profiling technique is the reduced ion bombardments on growth surface because of decreasing the VHF power. Using this method, a significant improvement in the solar cell performance has been achieved. A high conversion efficiency of 9.36% (Voc=542mV, Jsc=25.4mA/cm2, FF=68%) was obtained for a single junction μc-Si:H p-i-n solar cell with i-layer deposited at deposition rate over 10 �/s.
A wide bandgap microcrystalline silicon film for the window layer of microcrystalline silicon thin film solar cells was obtained with very high frequency (VHF) glow discharge technology. The material was deposited on corning 7059 substrate at about 170 When H2/SiH4 was more than 100, Raman spectra showed that this material was highly crystallized, and no peak correlation with amorphous silicon was observed. This material showed strong n type before any intentional doping. We considered that the unintentional doping of oxygen and unpurified gases. The doping performance of this material was investigated by introducing B2H6 into the reacting gas. As increasing the rate of B2H6/SiH4 from zero to 0.5%, the conductivity changed from 10-1S.cm-1 (n type) to 10-8 S.cm-1 dramatically and than backed to 10-1 S.cm-1 (p type), which indicated that this material had excellent doping ability. Raman spectra also showed that the microstructure of these materials did not change obviously in this doping range. We gained the p-uc-Si:H film with thickness less than 30nm, and the conductivity was more than 10-2 S.cm-1, and crystalline volume fraction no less than 40%, the Egopt could be wider than 2.10eV. Using this p window layer in microcrystalline silicon solar cells with no ZnO rear reflection, the conversion efficiency was 8.30% (Voc=0.531V, Jsc=24.66mA/cm2, FF=63.41% ).
Although advances have been made in the synthesis of raw carbon nanotube (CNT) materials, the lack of efficient processes for assembly and integration of CNTs into functional forms has hindered the development of CNT-based devices. Here we report a dielectrophorestic method to manipulate, align and assemble CNTs into one-dimensional nanostructures using an alternating-current electric field. Pre-formed CNTs dispersed in water are assembled into micro-electrodes and sub-micron diameter fibrils with variable lengths from 1 μm to over 1 cm. The CNTs within the fibril are bonded by van der Waals forces and are aligned along the fibril axis. This method affords fine control of the fibril length and is capable of parallel fabrication of multiple fibrils using the same material source. The short CNT fibrils can potentially be used as probes for scanning probe microscopes and the long ones as electrodes or conducting nanowires.