Objectives: To examine the variation in patient’s health outcomes across different type, route, and strength of menopausal hormone therapy (HT). Design: Retrospective case-control study Setting: United States 2007-2020 Population: 10 million women aged 65 or more in US Medicare. Methods: Cox regression models with time-varying type, route, and strength of HT as well as patient characteristics. Main Outcome(s): all-cause mortality; 5 cancers- breast, lung, endometrial, colorectal, ovarian cancers; 6 CV conditions- ischemic heart diseases, heart failure, venous thromboembolism, stroke, atrial fibrillation, acute myocardial infarction; and dementia. Results Estrogen monotherapy (ET) exhibited a significant, 19% (HR=0.81; 95% CI 0.79-0.82), relative risk reduction on mortality. The reduction was greater with estradiol and vaginal/transdermal than conjugated estrogen and oral preparations. ET also exhibited significant risk reductions for all study cancers; breast (15%), lung (13%), endometrial (29%), colorectal (13%) and ovarian (14%). All ET preparations except low-dose slightly increased risk of ischemic heart diseases (1-4%). Both combination therapy and progestogen monotherapy exhibited significantly increased risk of breast cancer (7-14%). Oral ET exhibited moderately increased risk of stroke (6%) and dementia (2%). Conclusions: Among senior Medicare women, the effect of menopausal HT varies by type, route, and strength. The use of estradiol, vaginal/transdermal, and low/medium for menopausal care is safer than its counterparts.
Body condition is a frequently used physiological indicator of avian health and is affected by an array of environmental variables. Although a number of studies have investigated the specific effects of individual weather variables on body condition in birds, few have analyzed the effects of both temperature and precipitation within the context of an extreme weather event such as hurricanes. In this study we examined the relationship between breeding season body condition and daily maximum temperature, daily minimum temperature, and monthly total precipitation for three passerine bird species at the Welder Wildlife Refuge near Rockport, Texas. We also evaluated yearly changes in body condition over a twelve-year period for northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), painted buntings (Passerina ciris), and white-eyed vireos (Vireo griseus), focusing on the extreme precipitation event of Hurricane Harvey which caused heavy localized flooding. We found that body condition declined with average daily minimum and maximum temperatures, while precipitation had varied, species-specific effects in the three species analyzed. Our results also suggest that northern cardinals experienced a notable reduction in average body condition in the two years following Hurricane Harvey. Taken together, we conclude that short-term precipitation and temperature drivers can be important correlates of body condition in songbirds and that severe weather events may reduce body condition in some bird species.
The differences in the functional diversity and species diversity of macroinvertebrates can be based to evaluate the changes in local environment. However, there are little available analysis on the effect mechanism of seasons on the functional characteristics of macroinvertebrate communities in the subtropical region. This work compared the functional feeding groups (FFG) of macroinvertebrates in wet season, normal season, and dry season of 2021 in Jingui River in Shenzhen. This work mainly was aimed to comprehend the connection between the environmental driving elements in the Jingui River and the seasonal distribution of the FFG of macroinvertebrates. The highest species diversity and abundance were found among the collector-gatherers (GC), while the largest biomass was observed among the predators. Overall, the functional diversity of the Jingui River exhibited a significantly seasonal change. In particular, the functional diversity decreased in wet season, implying a stronger disturbance. A multiple regression analysis revealed that the species diversity and stream environmental parameters might account for 12.8% - 72.9% of the functional diversity of macroinvertebrates.
Raptors are apex predators threatened globally by electrocution, collisions, and habitat fragmentation. Most species of raptors are understudied and largely unexplored. Top predators like raptors depend on the sustainability of the ecosystems in which they live and migrate. Knowing how endangered raptors are geographically dispersed, as well as the factors that may influence how they use their habitat, is critical for their protection. This research focuses on Kenya, where there are gaps in knowledge on appropriate habitats and raptor dispersal patterns. With several species of raptors endangered, it is crucial to determine their distribution patterns for management and conservation. To evaluate the size of the realized niches for five Kenyan raptor species at the risk of extinction, we applied species distribution models (SDMs) through an ensembling approach using occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and environmental covariates. These species were: Martial eagle, Secretarybird, Bateleur, Steppe Eagle, and Southern ground hornbill. The five raptors’ distribution within and outside protected areas and the role of key environmental predictors in predicting their distribution was estimated. Our findings indicate raptor distribution in several areas in Kenya that is predominantly in the south-western region, extending into the country’s central region. Martial eagle had the largest niche range amounting to ca.49,169 km2 while the Southern ground hornbill had the smallest niche range amounting to ca.4,145 km2. Secretarybird had the highest distribution outside protected areas at 77.57% followed by the Martial eagle at 76.89%. Significant predictors of raptor species distribution in Kenya were; precipitation during the warmest quarter, precipitation during the driest month, and precipitation during the coldest quarter. Key areas for raptor conservation listed here could serve as foundation for a number of additional Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Kenya, according to the A1 Global IBA Criterion for species that are globally threatened.
The development of DNA-based methods in recent decades has opened the door to numerous new lines of research in the biological sciences. While their speed and accuracy are clearly beneficial, the sensitivity of these methods has the adverse effect of increased susceptibility to false positives resulting from contamination in field or lab. Here, we present findings from a metabarcoding study on the diet of and food availability for several insectivorous birds, in which multiple lepidopteran species not known to occur locally were discovered. After describing the pattern of occurrences of these non-local species in the samples, we discuss various potential origins of these sequences. First, we assess that the taxonomic assignments appear reliable, and local occurrences of many of the species can be plausibly ruled out. Then, we look into the possibilities of natural environmental contamination, judging it to be unlikely, albeit impossible to fully falsify. Finally, while the pattern of occurrences did not suggest lab contamination, we find overlap with material handled in the same lab, which was undoubtedly not coincidental. Even so, not all exact sequences were accounted for in these locally conducted studies, nor was it clear if these and other sequences could remain detectable years later. Although the full explanation for the observations of non-local species remains inconclusive, these findings highlight the importance of critical examination of metabarcoding results, and showcase how species-level taxonomic assignments utilizing comprehensive reference libraries may be a tool in detecting potential contamination events, and false positives in general.
Ecosystem management aims at providing many ecosystem services simultaneously. Such ecosystem multifunctionality can be limited by trade-offs and increased by synergies among the underlying ecosystem functions (EF), which need to be understood to develop targeted management. Previous studies found differences in the correlation between EFs. We hypothesised that correlations between EFs are variable even under the controlled conditions of a field experiment and that seasonal and annual variation, plant species richness, and plot identity (identity effects of plant communities such as the presence and absence of functional groups and species) are drivers of these correlations. We used data on 31 EFs related to plants, consumers, and physical soil properties that were measured over 5 to 19 years, up to three times per year, in a temperate grassland experiment with 80 different plots, constituting six sown plant species richness levels (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 60 species). We found that correlations between pairs of EFs were variable, and correlations between two particular EFs could range from weak to strong correlations or from negative to positive correlations among the repeated measurements. To determine the drivers of pairwise EF correlations, the covariance between EFs was partitioned into contributions from plant species richness, plot identity, and time (including years and seasons). We found that most of the covariance for synergies was explained by species richness (26.5%), whereas for trade-offs, most covariance was explained by plot identity (29.5%). Additionally, some EF pairs were more affected by differences among years and seasons and therefore showed a higher temporal variation. Therefore, correlations between two EFs from single measurements are insufficient to draw conclusions on trade-offs and synergies. Consequently, pairs of EFs need to be measured repeatedly under different conditions to describe their relationships with more certainty and be able to derive recommendations for the management of grasslands.
The 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) melanin is one of important virulence factors for Cryptococcus neoformans, which may trigger immune responses in the host. It is worth exploring the genetic function of C. neoformans, by which we may derive more antifungal strategies. Therefore, we established two systems that were constructed quickly and easily for the knock-down/knock-out of LAC1 gene: RNA interference (RNAi) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9. The RNAi system used pSilencer 4.1-CMV neo plasmid and short hairpin RNA to realize the effective transcriptional suppression. The CRISPR-Cas9 system used the PNK003 vectors to obtain a stable albino mutant strain. The results of phenotype, qRT-PCR, Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and spectrophotometry were used to assess the ability of melanin production. As a result, the RNAi system displayed attenuation of transcriptional suppression when the transformants continuously passed on new plates. However, the transcriptional suppression of long loop in short hairpin RNA were more powerful and lasted longer. The CRISPR-Cas9 system constructed an albino strain completely without the ability to produce melanin. Considering the weakening of transcriptional suppression, we recommend using a long loop for the RNAi system and 1st or 2nd passage of knockdown strains for the subsequent studies. Besides, the different capacities of melanin production might be useful for exploring the linear relation between melanin and immunoreaction of the host. In addition, we recommend applying the PNK003 vectors to other serotypes of C. neoformans for quick screening of possible trait-regulating genes because of its easy construction and valid knockout effect.
Purpose Successful utilization of anatomical templates in the evaluation of diffusion-weighted neuroimaging-studies requires accurate registration of intra-individual datasets. We investigated the feasibility of structural MRI image registration onto single-shot and read-out segmented echo-planar diffusion-weighted imaging variants for use in tractographic samplings of the visual system, in particular the optic nerve. Methods Slab volumes of the optic nerve pathway from thirteen volunteers were acquired and preprocessed. Three neuroradiologists marked landmarks (ROIs, regions of interest) on two diffusion-weighted and one structural dataset. Structural ROIs were respectively registered (6/12 degrees of freedom, DOF) onto single-shot (ss-EPI) and readout-segmented (rs-EPI) volumes. All six ROI/FOD (fibre orientation distribution) combinations underwent a targeted tractography task (MRtrix3: iFOD2). Results Inter-rater reliability for ROI-placement was highest in VIBE images (0.66 to 0.95, mean 0.85) and lower in both ss-EPI (mean 0.77) and rs-EPI (0.46 to 0.84, mean 0.64). Sufficient FOD generation in the optic nerve was successful in 12/26 of all cases for ss-EPI volumes (46.2% of cases) and in 18/26 for rs-EPI volumes (69.2%). Spatial shift of VIBE-drawn ROI-coordinates after 6-DOF registration was highest for ss-EPI-targets (medians: 1.15 to 1.4 mm; rs-EPI 0.82 to 0.93 mm), whereas 12-DOF registration caused less spatial shifts (ss-EPI: 0.64 to 1.03 mm; rs-EPI: 0.58 mm to 0.79 mm). Tractography results revealed no significant differences between ss-EPI and rs-EPI sequences on cases with mutual generation of sufficient FODs (n=10). Conclusion Structurally-placed ROIs (highest inter-rater reliability) with 6-DOF registration onto rs-EPI targets (highest FOD-generation rate) seems most suitable for white matter template generation.
Background: Methamphetamine use disorders (MAUD) can substantially jeopardize public security due to their high-risk social psychology and behavior. Given that the dopamine reward system is intimately associated with MAUD, we investigated the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), as well as methylation status of DRD4, COMT genes and paranoid, motor impulsive symptoms in MAUD patients. Methods: A total of 189 MAUD patients participated in our study. Samples of peripheral blood were used to detecte for 3 SNPs and levels of 35 CpG units of methylation in the DRD4 gene’s promoter region, 5 SNPs and 39 CpG units in the COMT gene. Results: MAUD patients with rs1800955 C allele have a lower percentage of paranoid symptom than those with rs1800955 TT. Individuals with paranoid symptom exhibited reduced methylation degree at particular DRD4 CpG2.3 unit. The interaction of the DRD4 rs1800955 C allele and the reduced DRD4 CpG2.3 methylation degree resulted in the lower occurrence of the paranoid symptom. Meanwhile, those with COMT rs4818 CC allele have lower motor impulsivity scores in MAUD patients, but greater COMT methylation levels in the promotor region and methylation degree at COMT CpG 51.52 unit. Therefore, based only on COMT rs4818 CC polymorphism, there was a negative correlation between COMT methylation and motor impulsivity scores in the MAUD patients. Conclusions: Our results found that the combination of SNP genotyping and methylation status of the DRD4 and COMT genes may serve as biological indicators to evaluate the prevalence of relatively high-risk psychotic symptoms in MAUD patients.
Visual context modulates perception of local orientation attributes. These spatially very localised effects are considered to correspond to specific excitatory-inhibitory connectivity patterns of early visual areas as V1, creating perceptual tilt repulsion and attraction effects. Here, orientation misperception of small Gabor stimuli was used as a probe of this computational structure by sampling a large spatio-orientation space to reveal expected asymmetries due to the underlying neuronal processing. Surprisingly, the results showed a regular iso-orientation pattern of nearby location effects whose reference point was globally modulated by the spatial structure, without any complex interactions between local positions and orientation. This pattern of results was confirmed by the two perceptual parameters of bias and discrimination ability. Furthermore, the response times to stimulus configuration displayed variations, that further provided evidence of how multiple early visual stages affect perception of simple stimuli.
The Tibeto-Himalayan Region is famous for its geography, climatic influence, and exceptional and immense biodiversity. The “mountain-geobiodiversity hypothesis (MGH)” explores the interaction of topography, climate, and biology in the evolution of mountain biodiversity. We tested this hypothesis in the Himalayas and the Hengduan Mountains on a group of caddisflies that are endemic to this region. We investigated one caddisfly species pair from each mountain respectively, each pair containing one species inhabiting high elevation and one inhabiting low elevation. We incorporated genomic and ecological evidence to reveal population structure, demographic history, and potential habitat range dating back to the last glacial maximum (LGM) of each species. The results indicated that in both mountains, the high-elevation species showed strong local differentiation, while the low-elevation species were shaped by hydro-morphology indicating greater regional dispersal activity. Results of demographic history and species distribution modelling supported demographic expansions for all species during the LGM linked to an increase in potential habitats. Caddisfly species in the Himalayas generally exhibited an East-West oriented dispersal. Species from the Hengduan Mountains showed greater connectivity on the North-South orientation, suggesting that species have a higher chance to survive in the Hengduan Mountains by both in-situ displacement (along the elevational gradients) and long-distance dispersal (along the latitudinal gradients) during glaciation. Our study demonstrates that historical geodiversity and climate fluctuations interact and influence the diversification of caddisflies in the Tibeto-Himalayan Region, thus supporting the MGH.
This paper investigates the finite-time preview saturated control problem for linear parameter-varying systems with input saturation. The external disturbances and input saturation, previewable reference signals, and parameter variations are considered simultaneously. First, using the error system method, we construct an augmented error system with previewed information. This transforms the finite-time preview saturated control problem into a finite-time stabilization problem. Next, static output-feedback controllers are used to guarantee the finite-time boundedness of the closed-loop system. Sufficient conditions guarantee the existence of the desired controllers are obtained using linear matrix inequalities. At last, we use a numerical simulation to show the proposed design method's effectiveness.
Root hemiparasitic Pedicularis kansuensis is an invasive native species in China and has been expanding in the Bayanbulak Grassland of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region over the past decade, threatening the local livestock industry. To understand why this damaging species expands in some areas but not in others, we compared soil water content, soil nutrient status, and plant community structures between heavily infected and non-infected sites. We hypothesized that soil nutrient levels and plant species composition would be more beneficial to the spatial expansion of P. kansuensis in heavily infected areas than in non-infected ones. Quadrat (1 m × 1 m) surveys were carried out in the Bayanbulak Grassland. Species number, percent vegetation cover, aboveground plant biomass, plant height, and relative frequency were recorded. Three topsoil samples were taken at 0–10 cm depth from each quadrat and their nutrient statuses were determined. The results showed that (1) P. kansuensis invasion reduces the species richness of the community compared to the uninvaded area (3.07%), but increases the canopy cover overall (16.99%); (2) soil water content (SW) and soil nutrient content are the main factors that determine invasion by P. kansuensis, and SW plays the more important role; (3) SW controls P. kansuensis leaf stoichiometry, decreases the Ratio of leaf nitrogen (LN) to leaf phosphorus (LP), and affects LP (P < 0.005). Finally, after combining the results, we found that the soil factor accounted for 46.50% and plants accounted for 22.50% of P. kansuensis invasions in the Bayanbulak Grassland.
Leishmania is the causative agent of the tropical neglected disease leishmaniasis and infects macrophages as its definitive host cell . In order to sustain and propagate infections, Leishmania parasites have to complete cycles of exit and re-infection. Yet, the mechanism driving the parasite spread to other cells remains unclear. Recent studies reported pro-inflammatory monocytes as replicative niche of L. major and showed prolonged expression of IL-1β at the site of infection, indicating an activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and pointing towards pyroptosis as a possible mechanism of parasite spread. To address the species-specific inflammasome activation of human cells we characterized the BLaER1 macrophages as a model for L. major infection. We found that Leishmania can infect, activate and develop in BLaER1 macrophages similar as they can do in primary human macrophages. Harnessing the possibilities of this infection model, we first showed that BLaER1 GSDMD-/- cells, which carry a deletion of the pore-forming protein gasdermin D, are more resistant to pyroptotic cell death and, concomitantly, display a strongly delayed release of intracellular parasite. Using that knockout in a co-incubation assay in comparison with wild type BLaER1 cells, we demonstrate that impairment of the pyroptosis pathway leads to lower rates of parasite spread to new host cells, thus, implicating pyroptotic cell death as a possible exit mechanism of L. major in pro-inflammatory microenvironments.
A Case of TAFRO syndrome after COVID-19 vaccinationHitomi Hirosea, Hitoshi Suzukia,c*, Yukako Umezawaa, Masako Iwasakia, Hiromitsu Fukudaa, Hisatsugu Takaharaa, Shigeki Tomitab, Yusuke Suzukica. Department of Nephrology, b. Department of Pathology, Juntendo University Urayasu Hospital, Chiba, Japan. c. Department of Nephrology, Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.Correspondence to:Hitoshi Suzuki, M.D., Ph.DDepartment of Nephrology, Juntendo University Urayasu Hospital2-1-1 Tomioka, Urayasu-shi, Chiba 279-0021, JapanEmail: email@example.comKey words: COVID-19, mRNA vaccine, TAFRO syndrome, renal dysfunction
We present a 35-year-old male who sustained a right hip GSI. Delayed THA with a two-step sequential approach is feasible management in this situation in order to manage soft tissue and decrease infection rate. At one-year follow-up visit the pain was relieved and function improved significantly and had no complaints.