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This paper introduces a new julia package, LRMoE, a statistical software tailor-made for actuarial applications, which allows actuarial researchers and practitioners to model and analyse insurance loss frequencies and severities using the Logit-weighted Reduced Mixture-of-Experts (LRMoE) model. LRMoE offers several new distinctive features which are motivated by various actuarial applications and mostly cannot be achieved using existing packages for mixture models. Key features include a wider coverage on frequency and severity distributions and their zero inflation, the flexibility to vary classes of distributions across components, parameter estimation under data censoring and truncation and a collection of insurance ratemaking and reserving functions. The package also provides several model evaluation and visualisation functions to help users easily analyse the performance of the fitted model and interpret the model in insurance contexts.
There is ongoing debate regarding the relationship between clinical symptoms and cognition in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD). The present study aimed to explore the potential relationships between symptoms, with an emphasis on negative symptoms, and social and non-social cognition.
Hierarchical cluster analysis with k-means optimisation was conducted to characterise clinical subgroups using the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms in n = 130 SSD participants. Emergent clusters were compared on the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery, which measures non-social cognition and emotion management as well as demographic and clinical variables. Spearman’s correlations were then used to investigate potential relationships between specific negative symptoms and emotion management and non-social cognition.
Four distinct clinical subgroups were identified: 1. high hallucinations, 2. mixed symptoms, 3. high negative symptoms, and 4. relatively asymptomatic. The high negative symptom subgroup was found to have significantly poorer emotion management than the high hallucination and relatively asymptomatic subgroups. No further differences between subgroups were observed. Correlation analyses revealed avolition-apathy and anhedonia-asociality were negatively correlated with emotion management, but not non-social cognition. Affective flattening and alogia were not associated with either emotion management or non-social cognition.
The present study identified associations between negative symptoms and emotion management within social cognition, but no domains of non-social cognition. This relationship may be specific to motivation, anhedonia and apathy, but not expressive deficits. This suggests that targeted interventions for social cognition may also result in parallel improvement in some specific negative symptoms.
A variable annuity (VA) is an equity-linked annuity that provides investment guarantees to its policyholder and its contributions are normally invested in multiple underlying assets (e.g., mutual funds), which exposes VA liability to significant market risks. Hedging the market risks is therefore crucial in risk managing a VA portfolio as the VA guarantees are long-dated liabilities that may span decades. In order to hedge the VA liability, the issuing insurance company would need to construct a hedging portfolio consisting of the underlying assets whose positions are often determined by the liability Greeks such as partial dollar Deltas. Usually, these quantities are calculated via nested simulation approach. For insurance companies that manage large VA portfolios (e.g., 100k+ policies), calculating those quantities is extremely time-consuming or even prohibitive due to the complexity of the guarantee payoffs and the stochastic-on-stochastic nature of the nested simulation algorithm. In this paper, we extend the surrogate model-assisted nest simulation approach in Lin and Yang [(2020) Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 91, 85–103] to efficiently calculate the total VA liability and the partial dollar Deltas for large VA portfolios with multiple underlying assets. In our proposed algorithm, the nested simulation is run using small sets of selected representative policies and representative outer loops. As a result, the computing time is substantially reduced. The computational advantage of the proposed algorithm and the importance of dynamic hedging are further illustrated through a profit and loss (P&L) analysis for a large synthetic VA portfolio. Moreover, the robustness of the performance of the proposed algorithm is tested with multiple simulation runs. Numerical results show that the proposed algorithm is able to accurately approximate different quantities of interest and the performance is robust with respect to different sets of parameter inputs. Finally, we show how our approach could be extended to potentially incorporate stochastic interest rates and estimate other Greeks such as Rho.
Considering the decision-making requirements of airport, airlines and passengers, a bilevel programming model which contains two parts was proposed in this paper. One part is to improve the utilization of gates of the airport (upper level), so the objective function of the upper level to the minimum overall variance of slack time between two consecutive air crafts at the same gate. The other part looks at maximize the airline revenue and passengers more conveniently and comfortably (lower level). The lower level has two objective functions — the minimum passenger transfer failure and the minimum passenger average transfer time, respectively. According to the latest data of an airport in Eastern China, the adaptive genetic algorithm is used to solve the above-mentioned bilevel optimisation problems. The numerical experiment shows that the model not only reduces the variance of the relaxation time, but also optimises the flight gate allocation and achieves the initial goal.
The meat quality of chicken is an important factor affecting the consumer’s health. It was hypothesized that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) could be effectively deposited in chicken, by incorporating antioxidation of soybean isoflavone (SI), which led to improved quality of chicken meat for good health of human beings. Effects of partial or complete dietary substitution of lard (LA) with linseed oil (LO), with or without SI on growth performance, biochemical indicators, meat quality, fatty acid profiles, lipid-related health indicators and gene expression of breast muscle were examined in chickens. A total of 900 males were fed a corn–soybean meal diet supplemented with 4% LA, 2% LA + 2% LO and 4% LO and the latter two including 30 mg SI/kg (2% LA + 2% LO + SI and 4% LO + SI) from 29 to 66 days of age; each of the five dietary treatments included six replicates of 30 birds. Compared with the 4% LA diet, dietary 4% LO significantly increased the feed efficiency and had no negative effect on objective indices related to meat quality; LO significantly decreased plasma triglycerides and total cholesterol (TCH); abdominal fat percentage was significantly decreased in birds fed the 4% LO and 4% LO + SI diets. Chickens with LO diets resulted in higher contents of α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3), EPA (C20:5n-3) and total n-3 PUFA, together with a lower content of palmitic acid (C16:0), lignoceric acid (C24:0), saturated fatty acids and n-6:n-3 ratio in breast muscle compared to 4% LA diet (P < 0.05); they also significantly decreased atherogenic index, thrombogenic index and increased the hypocholesterolemic to hypercholesterolemic ratio. Adding SI to the LO diets enhanced the contents of EPA and DHA (C22:6n-3), plasma total superoxide dismutase, reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione and muscle GSH content, while decreased plasma total triglyceride and TCH and malondialdehyde content in plasma and breast muscle compared to its absence (P < 0.05). Expression in breast muscle of fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1), FADS2, elongase 2 (ELOVL2) and ELOVL5 genes were significantly higher with the LO diets including SI than with the 4% LA diet. Significant interactions existed between LO level and inclusion of SI on EPA and TCH contents. These findings indicate that diet supplemented with LO combined with SI is an effective alternative when optimizing the nutritional value of chicken meat for human consumers.
Impairments of attention and memory are evident in early psychosis, and often lead to severe, longstanding functional disability. Effective non-pharmacological interventions are needed due to the unsuccessful results of pharmacological interventions.
To determine whether yoga is effective for cognitive impairments, and the neural mechanism underlying these effects.
It was a randomized controlled study of 12-week of yoga and aerobic exercise (walking and cycling) intervention vs wait-list control for female early psychotic patients. Memory was measured with Hong Kong List Learning Test and Digit Span test, and attention was measured with Letter Cancellation test. Cognitive data analysis was based on the Intention-to-Treat method using a mixed-model analysis. Seed based functional connectivity was applied using posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) as seed with AFNI. Cortical thickness analyses were performed using FreeSurfer. Results from yoga and control groups were presented.
A total of 140 women were recruited and randomized into three groups. 95 completed the study, and 115 were included for cognitive data analysis. For imaging data, 42 participants were used for cortical thickness analyses; and 60 were included for neural connectivity analyses. Yoga group demonstrated significant improvements in working memory, verbal acquisition and attention (P=.01). Cortical thickness increased in the postcentral gyrus (P<.01); connectivity between PCC and bilateral inferior parietal gyrus increased after yoga intervention (P<.005).
Yoga has been found to be effective for memory and attention in early psychotic patients. The increases of thickness and neural connectivity indicate the possible neural mechanisms underlying the improvements of cognition.
The present study identified the neural mechanism of risky decision-making in Internet gaming disorder (IGD) under a probability discounting task.
Independent component analysis was used on the functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 19 IGD subjects (22.2 ± 3.08 years) and 21 healthy controls (HC, 22.8 ± 3.5 years).
For the behavioral results, IGD subjects prefer the risky to the fixed options and showed shorter reaction time compared to HC. For the imaging results, the IGD subjects showed higher task-related activity in default mode network (DMN) and less engagement in the executive control network (ECN) than HC when making the risky decisions. Also, we found the activities of DMN correlate negatively with the reaction time and the ECN correlate positively with the probability discounting rates.
The results suggest that people with IGD show altered modulation in DMN and deficit in executive control function, which might be the reason for why the IGD subjects continue to play online games despite the potential negative consequences.
The fatty acid composition of chicken’s meat is largely influenced by dietary lipids, which are often used as supplements to increase dietary caloric density. The underlying key metabolites and pathways influenced by dietary oils remain poorly known in chickens. The objective of this study was to explore the underlying metabolic mechanisms of how diets supplemented with mixed or a single oil with distinct fatty acid composition influence the fatty acid profile in breast muscle of Qingyuan chickens. Birds were fed a corn-soybean meal diet supplemented with either soybean oil (control, CON) or equal amounts of mixed edible oils (MEO; soybean oil : lard : fish oil : coconut oil = 1 : 1 : 0.5 : 0.5) from 1 to 120 days of age. Growth performance and fatty acid composition of muscle lipids were analysed. LC-MS was applied to investigate the effects of CON v. MEO diets on lipid-related metabolites in the muscle of chickens at day 120. Compared with the CON diet, chickens fed the MEO diet had a lower feed conversion ratio (P < 0.05), higher proportions of lauric acid (C12:0), myristic acid (C14:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1n-7), oleic acid (C18:1n-9), EPA (C20:5n-3) and DHA (C22:6n-3), and a lower linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) content in breast muscle (P < 0.05). Muscle metabolome profiling showed that the most differentially abundant metabolites are phospholipids, including phosphatidylcholines (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamines (PE), which enriched the glycerophospholipid metabolism (P < 0.05). These key differentially abundant metabolites – PC (14:0/20:4), PC (18:1/14:1), PC (18:0/14:1), PC (18:0/18:4), PC (20:0/18:4), PE (22:0/P-16:0), PE (24:0/20:5), PE (22:2/P-18:1), PE (24:0/18:4) – were closely associated with the contents of C12:0, C14:0, DHA and C18:2n-6 in muscle lipids (P < 0.05). The content of glutathione metabolite was higher with MEO than CON diet (P < 0.05). Based on these results, it can be concluded that the diet supplemented with MEO reduced the feed conversion ratio, enriched the content of n-3 fatty acids and modified the related metabolites (including PC, PE and glutathione) in breast muscle of chickens.
Patients with severe mental disorders in low-resource settings have limited access to services, resulting in overwhelming caregiving burden for families. In extreme cases, this has led to the long-term restraining of patients in their homes. China underwent a nationwide initiative to unlock patients and provide continued treatment. This study aims to quantify household economic burden in families after unlocking and treatment, and to identify factors associated with increased burden due to schizophrenia.
A total of 264 subjects were enrolled from three geographically diverse provinces in 2012. Subjects were patients with schizophrenia who were previously put under restraints and had participated in the ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention. The primary outcome was the current household economic burden, obtained from past year financial information collected through on-site interview. Patient disease characteristics, treatment, outcomes and family caregiving burden were collected as well. Univariate and multivariate linear regression were used to construct risk factor models for indirect economic burden.
After participating in the intervention, 85% of patients continued to receive mental health services, 70% used medication as prescribed and 80% were never relocked. Family members reported significantly decreased caregiving burden after receiving the intervention. Mean direct and indirect household economic burdens were CNY963 (US$31.7) and CNY11 724 (US$1670) per year, respectively, while family total income was on average CNY12 108 (US$1913) per year. Greater disease severity and poorer patient psychosocial function at time of study were found to be independent factors related to increased indirect burden.
The ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention has improved the lives of patients and families. Indirect burden due to disease is still a major economic issue that needs to be addressed, potentially through improving treatment and patient functioning. Our findings contribute to the unravelling and eventual elimination of chronic restraining of mentally ill patients in low-resource settings.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
This paper focuses on the estimation and application aspects of the Erlang count logit-weighted reduced mixture of experts model (EC-LRMoE), which is a fully flexible multivariate insurance claim frequency regression model. We first prove the identifiability property of the proposed model to ensure that it is a suitable candidate for statistical inference. An expectation conditional maximization (ECM) algorithm is developed for efficient model calibrations. Three simulation studies are performed to examine the effectiveness of the proposed ECM algorithm and the versatility of the proposed model. The applicability of the EC-LRMoE is shown through fitting an European automobile insurance data set. Since the data set contains several complex features, we find it necessary to adopt such a flexible model. Apart from showing excellent fitting results, we are able to interpret the fitted model in an insurance perspective and to visualize the relationship between policyholders’ information and their risk level. Finally, we demonstrate how the fitted model may be useful for insurance ratemaking.
In this study, the pull-in phenomenon of a Nano-actuator is investigated employing a nonlocal Bernoulli-Euler beam model with clamped-clamped conditions. The model accounts for viscous damping, residual stresses, the van der Waals (vdW) force and electrostatic forces with nonlocal effects. The hybrid differential transformation/finite difference method (HDTFDM) is used to analyze the nonlocal effects on a graphene sheet nanobeam, which is electrostatically actuated under the influence of the coupling effect, the von Kármán nonlinear strains and the fringing field effect. The pull-in voltage as calculated by the presented model deviates by no more than 0.29% from previous literature, verifying the validity of the HDTFDM. Furthermore, the nonlocal nonlinear behavior of the electrostatically actuated nanobeam is investigated, and the effects of viscous damping, residual stresses, and length-gap ratio are examined in detail. Overall, the results reveal that small scale effects significantly influence the characteristics of the graphene sheet nanobeam actuator.
Incurred but not reported (IBNR) loss reserving is of great importance for Property & Casualty (P&C) insurers. However, the temporal dependence exhibited in the claim arrival process is not reflected in many current loss reserving models, which might affect the accuracy of the IBNR reserve predictions. To overcome this shortcoming, we proposed a marked Cox process and showed its many desirable properties in Badescu et al. (2016).
In this paper, we consider the model estimation and applications. We first present an expectation–maximization (EM) algorithm which guarantees the efficiency of the estimators unlike the moment estimation methods widely used in estimating Cox processes. In addition, the proposed fitting algorithm can be implemented at a reasonable computational cost. We examine the performance of the proposed algorithm through simulation studies. The applicability of the proposed model is tested by fitting it to a real insurance claim data set. Through out-of-sample tests, we find that the proposed model can provide realistic predictive distributions.
Sodium and chloride are the key factors maintaining normal osmotic pressure (OSM) and volume of the extracellular fluid, and influencing the acid–base balance of body fluids. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary Na+ and Cl− level on growth performance, excreta moisture, blood biochemical parameters, intestinal Na+–glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) messenger RNA (mRNA), and Na+–H+ exchanger 2 (NHE2) mRNA, and to estimate the optimal dietary sodium and chlorine level for yellow-feathered chickens from 22 to 42days. A total of 900 22-day-old Lingnan yellow-feathered male chickens were randomly allotted to five treatments, each of which included six replicates of 30 chickens per floor pen. The basal control diet was based on corn and soybean meal (without added NaCl and NaHCO3). Treatments 2 to 5 consisted of the basal diet supplemented with equal weights of Na+ and Cl−, constituting 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.4% of the diets. Supplemental dietary Na+ and Cl− improved the growth performance (P<0.05). Average daily gain (ADG) showed a quadratic broken-line regression to increasing dietary Na+ and Cl− (R2=0.979, P<0.001), and reached a plateau at 0.1%. Supplemental Na+ and Cl− increased (P<0.05) serum Na+ and OSM in serum and showed a quadratic broken-line regression (R2=0.997, P=0.004) at 0.11%. However, supplemental Na+ and Cl− decreased (P<0.05) serum levels of K+, glucose (GLU) and triglyceride. Higher levels of Na+and Cl− decreased duodenal NHE2 transcripts (P<0.05), but had no effect on ileal SGLT1 transcripts. The activity of Na+ /K+-ATPase in the duodenum decreased (P<0.05) with higher levels of dietary Na+ and Cl−. In conclusion, the optimal dietary Na+ and Cl− requirements for yellow-feathered chickens in the grower phase, from 22 to 42 days of age, to optimize ADG, serum Na+, OSM, K+ and GLU were 0.10%, 0.11%, 0.11%,0.17% and 0.16%, respectively, by regression analysis.
This study aims to investigate the prevalence and genotype distribution of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection among men with different sexual orientations with or without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in China. A cross-sectional study was conducted during 2016–2017 in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province. Convenient sampling was used to recruit male participants from HIV voluntary counselling and testing clinics and Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A face-to-face questionnaire interview was administered and an anal-canal swab was collected for HPV genotyping. A total of 160 HIV-positive and 113 HIV-negative men participated in the study. The prevalence of any type HPV was 30.6% for heterosexual men, 74.1% for homosexual and 63.6% for bisexual men among HIV-positive participants, while the prevalence was 8.3%, 29.2% and 23.8% respectively among HIV-negatives. The most prevalent genotypes were HPV-58 (16.9%), HPV-6 (15.6%) and HPV-11 (15.0%) among HIV-positive men, and were HPV-16 (4.4%), HPV-52 (4.4%) and HPV-6 (3.5%) among HIV-negative men. Having ever had haemorrhoids and having ever seen blood on tissue after defaecation was associated with HPV infection. One-fourth of the HPV infections in this study population can be covered by the quadrivalent vaccine in market. The highly prevalent anal HPV infection among men especially HIV-infected men calls for close observation and further investigation for anal cancer prevention.
Strong strain-mediated magnetoelectric (ME) coupling in magnetic/ferroelectric heterostructures has great potential for different high-frequency multiferroic devices. In this article, we present the most recent progress in integrated multiferroic devices. Integrated magnetic tunable inductors with a wide operation frequency range, integrated nonreciprocal bandpass filters with dual magnetic and electric-field tunability based on magnetostatics surface waves, and novel radio-frequency nanomechanical ME resonators with pico-Tesla sensitivity for direct current magnetic fields are presented. Finally, a new antenna miniaturization mechanism, acoustically actuated nanomechanical ME antennas, which can successfully miniaturize the size by 1–2 orders, is introduced. With the advantages of high magnetic field sensitivity, highest antenna gain among all nanoscale antennas at similar frequency, integrated capability with complementary metal oxide semiconductor technology, and ground-plane immunity from metallic surfaces and the human body, ME antennas have a bright future for biomedical applications, wearable antennas, and the Internet of Things due to their unique and particular properties.
Using an age-structured process-based simulation model for diamondback moth (DBM), we model the population dynamics of this major Brassica pest using the cropping practices and climate of Guangdong, China. The model simulates two interacting sub-populations (demes), each representing a short season crop. The simulated DBM abundance, and hence pest problems, depend on planting regime, crop hygiene and biological control. A continuous supply of hosts, a low proportion of crop harvested and long residue times between harvest and replanting each exacerbate pest levels. Biological control provided by a larval parasitoid can reduce pest problems, but not eliminate them when climate is suitable for DBM and under certain planting practices. The classic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method of insecticide application, when pest threshold is reached, proved effective and halved the number of insecticide sprays when compared with the typical practice of weekly insecticide application.
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.
Curcumin has been attributed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial activities, and has shown highly protective effects against enteropathogenic bacteria and mycotoxins. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is one of the major intestinal pathogenic mycotoxins. The possible effect of curcumin on the alleviation of enterotoxicity induced by OTA is unknown. The effects of dietary curcumin supplementation on OTA-induced oxidative stress, intestinal barrier and mitochondrial dysfunctions were examined in young ducks. A total of 540 mixed-sex 1-day-old White Pekin ducklings with initial BW (43.4±0.1 g) were randomly assigned into controls (fed only the basal diet), a group fed an OTA-contaminated diet (2 mg/kg feed), and a group fed the same OTA-contaminated feed plus 400 mg/kg of curcumin. Each treatment consisted of six replicates, each containing 30 ducklings and treatment lasted for 21 days. There was a significant decrease in average daily gain (ADG) and increased feed : gain caused by OTA (P<0.05); curcumin co-treatment prevented the decrease in BW and ADG compared with the OTA group (P<0.05). Histopathological and ultrastructural examination showed clear signs of enterotoxicity caused by OTA, but these changes were largely prevented by curcumin supplementation. Curcumin decreased the concentrations of interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α and malondialdehyde, and increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase induced by OTA in the jejunal mucosa of ducks (P<0.05). Additionally, curcumin increased jejunal mucosa occludin and tight junction protein 1 mRNA and protein levels, and decreased those of ρ-associated protein kinase 1 (P<0.05). Notably, curcumin inhibited the increased expression of apoptosis-related genes, and downregulated mitochondrial transcription factors A, B1 and B2 caused by OTA without any effects on RNA polymerase mitochondrial (P<0.05). These results indicated that curcumin could protect ducks from OTA-induced impairment of intestinal barrier function and mitochondrial integrity.