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Observational studies have linked elevated homocysteine to vascular conditions. Folate intake has been associated with lower homocysteine concentration, although randomised controlled trials of folic acid supplementation to decrease the incidence of vascular conditions have been inconclusive. We investigated determinants of maternal homocysteine during pregnancy, particularly in a folic acid-fortified population.
Data were from the Ottawa and Kingston Birth Cohort of 8085 participants. We used multivariable regression analyses to identify factors associated with maternal homocysteine, adjusted for gestational age at bloodwork. Continuous factors were modelled using restricted cubic splines. A subgroup analysis examined the modifying effect of MTHFR 677C>T genotype on folate, in determining homocysteine concentration.
Participants were recruited in Ottawa and Kingston, Canada, from 2002 to 2009.
Women were recruited when presenting for prenatal care in the early second trimester.
In 7587 participants, factors significantly associated with higher homocysteine concentration were nulliparous, smoking and chronic hypertension, while factors significantly associated with lower homocysteine concentration were non-Caucasian race, history of a placenta-mediated complication and folic acid supplementation. Maternal age and BMI demonstrated U-shaped associations. Folic acid supplementation of >1 mg/d during pregnancy did not substantially increase folate concentration. In the subgroup analysis, MTHFR 677C>T modified the effect of folate status on homocysteine concentration.
We identified determinants of maternal homocysteine relevant to the lowering of homocysteine in the post-folic acid fortification era, characterised by folate-replete populations. A focus on periconceptional folic acid supplementation and improving health status may form an effective approach to lower homocysteine.
Flax seed meal (FSM) is rich in various nutrients, especially CP and energy, and can be used as animal protein feed. In animal husbandry production, it is a long-term goal to replace soybean meal (SBM) in animal feed with other plant protein feed. However, studies on the effects of replacing SBM with FSM in fattening sheep are limited. The aim of this experiment was to study the effects of replacing a portion of SBM with FSM on nutrient digestibility, rumen microbial protein synthesis and growth performance in sheep. Thirty-six Dorper × Small Thin-Tailed crossbred rams (BW = 40.4 ± 1.73 kg, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned into four groups. The dietary treatments (forage/concentrate, 45 : 55) were isocaloric according to the nutrient requirements of rams. Soybean meal was replaced with FSM at different levels (DM basis): (1) 18% SBM (18SBM), (2) 12% SBM and 6% FSM (6FSM), (3) 6% SBM and 12% FSM (12FSM) and (4) 18% FSM (18FSM). The rams were fed in individual pens for 60 days, with the first 10 days for adaptation to diets, and then the digestibility of nutrients was determined. There was no significant difference in DM intake, but quadratic (P < 0.001) effects on the average daily gain and feed efficiency were detected, with the highest values in the 6FSM and 12FSM groups. For DM and NDF digestibility, quadratic effects were observed with the higher values in the 6FSM and 12FSM groups, but the digestibility of CP linearly decreased with the increase in FSM in the diet (P = 0.043). There was a quadratic (P < 0.001) effect of FSM inclusion rate on the estimated microbial CP yield. However, the values of intestinally absorbable dietary protein decreased linearly (P < 0.001). For the supply of metabolisable protein, both the linear (P = 0.001) and quadratic (P = 0.044) effects were observed with the lowest value in the 18FSM group. Overall, the results indicated that SBM can be effectively replaced by FSM in the diets of fattening sheep and the optimal proportion was 12.0% under the conditions of this experiment.
Types of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) can differ greatly between countries, with greater consumption of sweetened tea in Asia. This study aimed to understand changes in SSB consumption by adolescents in Taiwan over 18 years and their association with demographic characteristics and clinical outcome. This study used survey data from the 1993–1996 and 2010–2011 Nutrition and Health Surveys in Taiwan. Participants were high school students aged 13 to 18 years. Data were weighted and analysed using SUDAAN 11.0 and SAS 9.4. Participants were asked about intake frequencies of SSB and were grouped into four different SSB intake groups based on the combination of high or low frequency (including moderate frequency) of intake of sweetened tea and soda/sports/energy drinks. Results indicated over 99 % of teens reported having at least one SSB in the past week. Smoking status was significantly associated with SSB intake types with high tea intake (high tea and low soda (HL) group, OR 7·56, P < 0·001; high tea and high soda (HH) group, OR 9·96, P < 0·001). After adjustment for potential confounders, adolescents in the low tea and high soda (LH) group (β = 0·05, P = 0·034) had significantly higher mean serum uric acid values. In conclusion, sugary tea remains the SSB of choice for Taiwanese adolescents. Those with a frequent intake of soda/sports/energy drinks had a higher chance of being hyperuricaemic.
This study evaluated the effects of rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) and betaine (BT) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and blood metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design. BT of 0 or 0·6 g/kg DM was supplemented to diet without or with the addition of 6 mg/kg DM of folic acid from RPFA, respectively. Average daily gain increased by 25·2 and 6·29 % for addition of BT without RPFA and with RPFA, respectively. Digestibility and ruminal total volatile fatty acids of neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased, feed conversion ratio and blood folate decreased with the addition of BT without RPFA, but these parameters were unchanged with BT addition in diet with RPFA. Digestibility of DM, organic matter and crude protein as well as acetate:propionate ratio increased with RPFA or BT addition. Ruminal ammonia-N decreased with RPFA addition. Activity of carboxymethyl cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase and protease as well as population of total bacteria, protozoa, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus increased with RPFA or BT addition. Laccase activity and total fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Prevotella ruminicola population increased with RPFA addition, whereas Ruminococcus albus population increased with BT addition. Blood glucose, total protein, albumin, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 increased with RPFA addition. Addition of RPFA or BT decreased blood homocysteine. The results indicated that addition of BT stimulated growth and nutrient digestion in bulls only when RPFA was not supplemented.
Several studies suggested that depression might worsen the clinical outcome of diabetes mellitus; however, such association was confounded by duration of illness and baseline complications. This study aimed to assess whether depression increases the risk of diabetes complications and mortality among incident patients with diabetes.
This was a population-based matched cohort study using Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. A total of 38 537 incident patients with diabetes who had depressive disorders and 154 148 incident diabetes patients without depression who were matched by age, sex and cohort entry year were randomly selected. The study endpoint was the development of macrovascular and microvascular complications, all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality.
Among participants, the mean (±SD) age was 52.61 (±12.45) years, and 39.63% were male. The average duration of follow-up for mortality was 5.5 years, ranging from 0 to 14 years. The adjusted hazard ratios were 1.35 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32–1.37) for macrovascular complications and 1.08 (95% CI, 1.04–1.12) for all-cause mortality. However, there was no association of depression with microvascular complications, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases or mortality due to diabetes mellitus. The effect of depression on diabetes complications and mortality was more prominent among young adults than among middle-aged and older adults.
Depression was associated with macrovascular complications and all-cause mortality in our patient cohort. However, the magnitude of association was less than that in previous studies. Further research should focus on the benefits and risks of treatment for depression on diabetes outcome.
We continue to investigate the design, synthesis, and characterization of electrically and ionically active conjugated polythiophene copolymers for integrating a variety of biomedical devices with living tissue. This paper will describe some of our most recent results, including the development of several new monomers that can tailor the surface chemistry, adhesion, and biointegration of these materials with neural cells. Our efforts have focused on copolymers of 3,4 ethylenedioxythiophene (EDOT), functionalized variants of EDOT (including EDOT-acid and the trifunctional EPh), and dopamine (DOPA). The resulting PEDOT-based copolymers have electrical, optical, mechanical, and adhesive properties that can be precisely tailored by fine tuning the chemical composition and structure. Here we present results on EDOT-dopamine bifunctional monomers and their corresponding polymers. We discuss the design and synthesis of an EDOT-cholesterol that combines the thiophene with a biological moiety known to exhibit surface-active behaviour. We will also introduce EDOT-aldehyde and EDOT-maleimide monomers and show how they can be used as the starting point for a wide variety of functionalized monomers and polymers.
The combined addition of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFAs) and folic acid (FA) could improve growth performance and nutrient utilization by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA and FA addition on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, microbial enzyme activity, microflora and excretion of urinary purine derivatives (PDs) in calves. Thirty-six Chinese Holstein weaned calves (60 ± 5.4 days of age and 107 ± 4.7 kg of BW) were assigned to one of four groups in a randomized block design. Treatments were control (without additives), FA (with 10 mg FA/kg dietary DM), BCVFA (with 5 g BCVFA/kg dietary DM) and the combined addition of FA and BCVFA (10 mg/kg DM of FA and 5 g/kg DM of BCVFA). Supplements were hand-mixed into the top one-third of total mixed ration. Dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 on a DM basis. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect dry matter intake but increased average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion efficiency. Ruminal pH and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect acetate proportion but decreased propionate proportion and increased acetate to propionate ratio. Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter, CP and NDF was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition increased activity of carboxymethyl cellulase and cellobiase, population of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Prevotella ruminicola as well as total PD excretion. Ruminal xylanase, pectinase and protease activity and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens population were increased by BCVFA addition, whereas population of protozoa and methanogens was increased by FA addition. The BCVFA × FA interaction was significant for acetate to propionate ratio, cellobiase activity and total PD excretion, and these variables increased more with FA addition in diet without BCVFA than in diet with BCVFA. The data indicated that supplementation with BCVFA or FA increased ADG, nutrient digestibility, ruminal total VFA concentration and microbial protein synthesis by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity in calves.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Precise bone cut is fundamental in total knee arthroplasty. However, notching of anterior femoral is not uncommon in clinical practice. Reviewing the article, notching and its complication may reach up to 30% and 2.5%, and there is scanty study of notching on the femoral strength. We therefore conduct the finite element analysis to elucidate the effect of notching on femoral mechanical strength. The computerized tomography images were used as the basis to develop the knee model, which was assumed mainly to consist of cortical and cancellous bones. For the implant joint, Zimmer data was considered partly as the basis to develop the model. This study investigated the femoral improper cut effect on the surgery with a static standing condition. The results show that the anterior femoral cut should be undercut 2 mm to overcut 1 mm during the surgery, in order to prevent bone materials from yielding. The exposure of the cancellous bone may cause bone materials to yield when the femur overcut was 2 mm; the cancellous bone may load too much and result in a fracture when the undercut was 3 mm. The effect of undercut, which was rarely discussed, was particularly addressed in our study. Precise femoral cut is crucial for the longevity of total knee arthroplasty.
The neuro-endoscopy is a surgical technique that allows the neurosurgeon to maintain a visual contact while operating inside the brain of a patient. A special instrument called the neuro-endoscope is inserted in the brain until the neurosurgeon reaches his/her target. Its manipulation requires a high level of training for neurosurgeons. To enforce both quality and safety of neuro-endoscopy, we propose a robotic manipulator based on a Spherical Decoupled Mechanism. This mechanical architecture has been modified from a 5-Bar Spherical Linkages and adapted to this medical application. It is able to generate a Remote Center of Motion of 2 Degrees of Freedom. It merges the advantages of parallel mechanisms with the kinematic and control simplicity of decoupled mechanisms, while having a very simple architecture. Motion capture experiments using a brain simulation model have been performed with a team of neurosurgeons to obtain the kinematic data of the neuro-endoscope during brain exploration. Based on the identified workspace, the mechanism has been optimized using kinematic performance and architectural compactness as criteria. An optimum mechanism has been selected, showing better kinematic performances than the original 5-bar spherical linkage mechanism.
We have detected 27 new supernova remnants (SNRs) using a new data release of the GLEAM survey from the Murchison Widefield Array telescope, including the lowest surface brightness SNR ever detected, G 0.1 – 9.7. Our method uses spectral fitting to the radio continuum to derive spectral indices for 26/27 candidates, and our low-frequency observations probe a steeper spectrum population than previously discovered. None of the candidates have coincident WISE mid-IR emission, further showing that the emission is non-thermal. Using pulsar associations we derive physical properties for six candidate SNRs, finding G 0.1 – 9.7 may be younger than 10 kyr. Sixty per cent of the candidates subtend areas larger than 0.2 deg2 on the sky, compared to < 25% of previously detected SNRs. We also make the first detection of two SNRs in the Galactic longitude range 220°–240°.
This work makes available a further
of the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) survey, covering half of the accessible galactic plane, across 20 frequency bands sampling 72–231 MHz, with resolution
. Unlike previous GLEAM data releases, we used multi-scale CLEAN to better deconvolve large-scale galactic structure. For the galactic longitude ranges
$345^\circ < l < 67^\circ$
$180^\circ < l < 240^\circ$
, we provide a compact source catalogue of 22 037 components selected from a 60-MHz bandwidth image centred at 200 MHz, with RMS noise
and position accuracy better than 2 arcsec. The catalogue has a completeness of 50% at
, and a reliability of 99.86%. It covers galactic latitudes
towards the galactic centre and
for other regions, and is available from Vizier; images covering
for all longitudes are made available on the GLEAM Virtual Observatory (VO).server and SkyView.
We examined the latest data release from the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) survey covering 345° < l < 60° and 180° < l < 240°, using these data and that of the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer to follow up proposed candidate Supernova Remnant (SNR) from other sources. Of the 101 candidates proposed in the region, we are able to definitively confirm ten as SNRs, tentatively confirm two as SNRs, and reclassify five as H ii regions. A further two are detectable in our images but difficult to classify; the remaining 82 are undetectable in these data. We also investigated the 18 unclassified Multi-Array Galactic Plane Imaging Survey (MAGPIS) candidate SNRs, newly confirming three as SNRs, reclassifying two as H ii regions, and exploring the unusual spectra and morphology of two others.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an electronically steered low-frequency (<300 MHz) radio interferometer, with a ‘slew’ time less than 8 s. Low-frequency (∼100 MHz) radio telescopes are ideally suited for rapid response follow-up of transients due to their large field of view, the inverted spectrum of coherent emission, and the fact that the dispersion delay between a 1 GHz and 100 MHz pulse is on the order of 1–10 min for dispersion measures of 100–2000 pc/cm3. The MWA has previously been used to provide fast follow-up for transient events including gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), fast radio bursts (FRBs), and gravitational waves, using systems that respond to gamma-ray coordinates network packet-based notifications. We describe a system for automatically triggering MWA observations of such events, based on Virtual Observatory Event standard triggers, which is more flexible, capable, and accurate than previous systems. The system can respond to external multi-messenger triggers, which makes it well-suited to searching for prompt coherent radio emission from GRBs, the study of FRBs and gravitational waves, single pulse studies of pulsars, and rapid follow-up of high-energy superflares from flare stars. The new triggering system has the capability to trigger observations in both the regular correlator mode (limited to ≥0.5 s integrations) and using the Voltage Capture System (VCS, 0.1 ms integration) of the MWA and represents a new mode of operation for the MWA. The upgraded standard correlator triggering capability has been in use since MWA observing semester 2018B (July–Dec 2018), and the VCS and buffered mode triggers will become available for observing in a future semester.
Melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats can increase cashmere yield and improve cashmere fibre quality by inducing cashmere growth during cashmere non-growth period, of which time cashmere goats are in the mid and late stages of lactation. However, whether melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats affects their offspring’s growth performance remains unknown. Therefore, the objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats on cashmere and milk production performance in dams and on hair follicle development and subsequent cashmere production in their offspring. Twenty-four lactating Inner Mongolian Cashmere goat dams (50 ± 2 days in milk, mean ± SD) and their single-born female offspring (50 ± 2 days old, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned to one of two groups supplemented with melatonin implants (MEL; n = 12) or without (CON; n = 12). The melatonin implants were subcutaneously implanted behind the ear at a dose of 2 mg/kg live weight on two occasions – 30 April and 30 June 2016. The results demonstrated that melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats increased cashmere production and improved cashmere fibre quality as indicated by greater cashmere yield, longer cashmere fibre staple length, finer cashmere fibre diameter and thicker cashmere fibre density. The milk fat content was higher in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. The daily yields of milk production, milk protein and milk lactose were lower in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. Serum melatonin concentrations were greater, serum prolactin concentrations were lower and milk melatonin concentrations and yields were greater in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. With regard to offspring, there were no differences in cashmere yield, fibre staple length, fibre diameter and fibre density at yearling combing, and the primary and secondary hair follicles population and maturation between treatments. In conclusion, melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats during cashmere non-growth period is a practical and an effective way in cashmere industry as indicated by not only increasing cashmere yield and improving cashmere fibre quality in adult cashmere goat dams but also having no impairment in hair follicle development and the subsequent cashmere production in their single-born offspring.
There is an overabundance of microswimmers in nature, including bacteria, algae, mammalian cells and so on. They use flagellum, cilia or global shape changes (amoeboid motion) to move forward. In the presence of confining channels, these swimmers exhibit often non-trivial behaviours, such as accumulation at the wall, navigation and so on, and their swimming speed may be strongly influenced by the geometric confinement. Several numerical studies have reported that the presence of walls either enhances or reduces the swimming speed depending on the nature of the swimmer, and also on the confinement. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical explanation of several previously obtained numerical results. We treat the case of amoeboid swimmers and the case of squirmers having either a tangential (the classical situation) or normal velocity prescribed at the swimmer surface (pumper). For amoeboid motion we consider a quasi-circular swimmer which allows us to tackle the problem analytically and to extract the equations of the motion of the swimmer, with several explicit analytical or semi-analytical solutions. It is found that the deformation of the amoeboid swimmer as well as a high enough order effect due to confinement are necessary in order to account for previous numerical results. The analytical theory accounts for several features obtained numerically also for non-deformable swimmers.
This study proposed the application of a novel immersed boundary method (IBM) for the treatment of irregular geometries using Cartesian computational grids for high speed compressible gas flows modelled using the unsteady Euler equations. Furthermore, the method is accelerated through the use of multiple Graphics Processing Units – specifically using Nvidia’s CUDA together with MPI - due to the computationally intensive nature associated with the numerical solution to multi-dimensional continuity equations. Due to the high degree of locality required for efficient multiple GPU computation, the Split Harten-Lax-van-Leer (SHLL) scheme is employed for vector splitting of fluxes across cell interfaces. NVIDIA visual profiler shows that our proposed method having a computational speed of 98.6 GFLOPS and 61% efficiency based on the Roofline analysis that provides the theoretical computing speed of reaching 160 GLOPS with an average 2.225 operations/byte. To demonstrate the validity of the method, results from several benchmark problems covering both subsonic and supersonic flow regimes are presented. Performance testing using 96 GPU devices demonstrates a speed up of 89 times that of a single GPU (i.e. 92% efficiency) for a benchmark problem employing 48 million cells. Discussions regarding communication overhead and parallel efficiency for varying problem sizes are also presented.
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.
Temperature resulting from the joule heating power and the turn-on and turn-off dissipation of high-power, high-frequency applications is the root cause of their thermal instability, electrical performance degradation, and even thermal-fatigue failure. Thus, the study presents thermal and electrical characterizations of the power MOSFET module packaged in SOT-227 under natural convection and forced convection through three-dimensional (3D) thermal-electric (TE) coupled field analysis. In addition, the influences of some key parameters like electric loads, ambient conditions, thermal management considerations (heat sink, heat spreader) and operation conditions (duty cycle and switching frequency) on the power loss and thermal performance of the power module are addressed. The study starts from a suitable estimation of the power losses, where the conduction losses are calculated using the temperature- and gate-voltage-dependent on-state resistance and drain current through the device, and the switching losses are predicted based on the ideal switching waveforms of the power MOSFETs applied. The effectiveness of the theoretical predictions in terms of device’s power losses and temperatures is demonstrated through comparison with the results of circuit simulation and thermal experiment.