[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
32 manuscripts available for review volunteers
December 8, 2017
This paper selected clonal cutting seedlings from the F1 hybrid varieties of Physocarpus amurensis Maxim (♀) × Physocarpus opulifolius “Diabolo” (♂) as research material to study the response of the photosynthetic gas exchange parameters and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters of Physocarpus amurensis hybrids and their parental leaves to NaCl stress (with concentrations of 0, 50, 100 and 200 mmol·L-1). The results showed that under saline stress, the stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration rate (Tr), and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) of the three kinds of P. amurensis all significantly decreased. When the NaCl concentration was below 100 mmol·L-1, the intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) of leaves of the three samples declined with the increase of salt concentration; however, when the concentration increased to 200 mmol·L-1, Ci did not decrease significantly, especially when the Ci of P. opulifolius “Diabolo” presented a slight increase. This indicated that the decline of photosynthetic carbon assimilation capacity induced by saline stress was the consequence of interaction between stomatal factors and non-stomatal factors, and the non-stomatal factors played an important role when the saline concentration was below 200 mmol·L-1. Compared with P. amurensis, the photosynthetic gas exchange capability of P. opulifolius “Diabolo” leaves was more sensitive to saline stress, and the limitation of non-stomatal factors was relatively evident, but the photosynthetic capacity of hybrid Physocarpus amurensis Maxim leaves with the desired purple color was improved compared with Physocarpus amurensis. Under saline stress, the PSII activity of the three kinds of P. amurensis leaves declined, the electron transfer was inhibited, and obvious signs of photoinhibition were present. The PSII activity of P. opulifolius “Diabolo” leaves was more sensitive to saline stress than in Physocarpus amurensis. Under saline stress, the NPQ of P. opulifolius “Diabolo” leaves decreased greatly, while under high saline concentrations the degree of photoinhibition in Physocarpus amurensis and hybrid P. amurensis were reduced due to a relatively high NPQ. With the increase of saline concentration, the Vk of P. amurensis and hybrid P. amurensis leaves presented a decreasing trend, but the Vk of P. opulifolius “Diabolo” leaves increased slightly. This suggested that the effects of saline stress on the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of the three P. amurensis sample types were relatively limited and only the OEC of P.s opulifolius “Diabolo” leaves were slightly sensitive to saline stress. The salt tolerance of photosynthetic functions of hybrid Physocarpus amurensis (♀) × Physocarpus opulifolius “Diabolo” (♂) leaves was improved compared with that of parental Physocarpus opulifolius “Diabolo,” and the hybrid shows obvious hybrid vigor in the aspect of photosynthesis.
December 6, 2017
Extremes in climate, such as heat waves and drought, are expected to become more frequent and intense with forecasted climate change. Plant species will almost certainly differ in their responses to these stressors. We experimentally imposed a heat wave and drought in the tallgrass prairie ecosystem near Manhattan, Kansas, USA to assess transcriptional responses of two ecologically important C4 grass species, Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans. Based on previous research, we expected that S. nutans would regulate more genes, particularly those related to stress response, under high heat and drought. Across all treatments, S. nutans showed greater expression of negative regulatory and catabolism genes while A. gerardii upregulated cellular and protein metabolism. As predicted, S. nutans showed greater sensitivity to water stress, particularly with downregulation of non-coding RNAs and upregulation of water stress and catabolism genes. A. gerardii was less sensitive to drought, although A. gerardii tended to respond with upregulation in response to drought versus S. nutans which downregulated more genes under drier conditions. Surprisingly, A. gerardii onlyshowed minimal gene expression response to increased temperature, while S. nutans showed no response. Gene functional annotation suggested that these two species may respond to stress via different mechanisms. Specifically, A. gerardii tends to maintain molecular function while S. nutans prioritizes avoidance. Sorghastrum nutans may strategize abscisic acid response and catabolism to respond rapidly to stress. These results have important implications for success of these two important grass species under a more variable and extreme climate forecast for the future.
December 5, 2017
The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor gene family is one of the largest gene families and extensively involved in plant growth, development, and stress responses. However, limited studies are available on the gene family in poplar. In this study, we focused on 202 bHLH genes, exploring their DNA and protein sequences and physicochemical properties. According to their protein sequence similarities and the bootstrap values, the genes can be classified into 25 groups with specific motif structures each. In addition, we performed gene expression profiling using RNA-Seq and identified 19 genes that display tissue-differential expression patterns before salt treatment. Furthermore, under salt stress, we found 74 differentially expressed genes, which are responsive to the treatment. Eighteen of the 19 genes correspond well to the differentially expressed genes. Besides, we validated the results using quantitative real-time PCR. This study lays the foundation for future work in gene cloning, transgenes, and biological mechanisms.
December 5, 2017
Similar to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), disease relapse occurs in unrelated cord blood transplantation (CBT) even the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles are fully matched between donor and recipient. A total of fourteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the region of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) have been reported previously by Petersdorf et al. (Blood 2013;121:1896-1905) and Piras et al . ( Bone Marrow Transplant. 2014;49:1400-1404) to associate with transplantation determinants post-HSCT. The genomic sequences within 500 base pairs upstream and downstream of the fourteen HSCT-related SNPs were analyzed in this study to investigate whether geneticvariants within the MHC region are associated with disease relapse of unrelated HLA-matched CBT. A panel of seven SNPs was revealed to associate with the risk of relapse after unrelated CBT after analysis of fifty-three donor-recipient pairs. These SNPs included the donor type SNPs of rs2523675 and rs2518028 at the telomeric end of HCP5 gene, rs 2071479 in the intron of HLA-DOB gene, and rs 2523958 in the MICD gene; and the recipient type SNPs of rs 9276982 in the HLA-DOA gene and rs435766 and rs 380924 in the MICD gene. These SNPs have not yet been reported to associate with the transplant outcome of HSCT, implying that different SNPs were associated with the effectiveness of unrelated HSCT and CBT. As measured by pair-wise linkage disequilibrium (LD), the SNP of rs2523675 had high LD with the SNPs of rs4713466 (D’ = 0.86) and rs2523676 (D’ = 0.91) in the HCP5 gene. The SNP of rs2518028 had no LD with all other SNPs except rs2523675. This study provides a basis to meliorate strategies of searching and selecting better candidate donors for unrelated CBT.
December 4, 2017
Background: N-acetylcarnosine (NAC), a dipeptide with powerful antioxidant properties that is extensively used as a pharmaceutical drug for the treatment of cataracts as an ophthalmic prodrug and acute gastric disease, was investigated by molecular dynamics (MD) and molecular docking simulation by using the GROMACS and AutoDock Vina programs, respectively. A delivery system based on poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles loaded with NAC (NAC-PLGA-NPs) for the treatment of cataracts was prepared for the first time in this study in order to enhance drug bioavailability and biocompatibility.
Results: PLGA and NAC-PLGA-NPs were prepared using the double emulsion (w/o/w) method, and characterizations of the NPs were carried out with a UV-Vis spectrometer, the Zetasizer system, a Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectrometer, and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis. It was clearly observed from the TEM analysis that the peptide-loaded NPs had spherical and non-aggregated morphology. The cell toxicity of NPs at different concentrations was determined by XTT methods on L929 fibroblast cells; the NPs had low toxicity at lower concentrations, and toxicity was augmented by increasing the concentration of the drug.
Conclusions: The objective of this work was to prepare and evaluate the structural formulation, characterization, and cytotoxicity studies of NAC-loaded NPs based on PLGA for cataract treatment.
December 4, 2017
Background Reward seeking and avoidance of punishment are key motivational processes. Brain-imaging studies often use the Monetary Incentive Delay Task (MIDT) to evaluate motivational processes involved in maladaptive behavior. Although the bulk of research has been done on the MIDT reward events, little is known about the neural basis of avoidance of punishment. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis of brain activations during anticipation and receipt of monetary losses in healthy controls. Methods All functional neuro-imaging studies using the MIDT in healthy controls were retrieved using PubMed and Google Scholar databases. Functional neuroi-imaging data was analyzed using the Seed-based d Mapping Software. Results Thirty-five studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 699 healthy adults. In both anticipation and loss outcome phases, participants showed large and robust activations in the bilateral striatum, (anterior) insula, and anterior cingulate gyrus. Although relatively similar activation patterns were observed during the two event types, they differed in the pattern of prefrontal activations: ventro-lateral prefrontal activations were observed during loss anticipation, while medial prefrontal activations were observed during loss receipt. Discussion Considering that previous meta-analyses highlighted activations in the medial prefrontal cortex / anterior cingulate cortex, the anterior insula and the ventral striatum, the current meta-analysis highlighted the potential specificity of the ventro-lateral prefrontal regions, the median cingulate cortex and the amygdala in the loss events. Future studies can rely on these latter results to examine the neural correlates of loss processing in psychiatric populations characterized by harm avoidance or insensitivity to punishment.
December 1, 2017
The present study examined the effects of exercise utilising traditional resistance training (leg press) or ‘cardio’ exercise (recumbent cycle ergometry) modalities upon acute physiological responses. Nine healthy males underwent a within session randomised crossover design where they completed both the leg press and recumbent cycle ergometer conditions. Conditions were approximately matched for effort and duration (leg press: 4 x 12RM, recumbent cycle ergometer: 4 x 60 second sprints). Measurements included VO2, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), blood lactate, energy expenditure, muscle swelling, and electromyography. Perceived effort was similar between conditions and thus both were well matched with respect to effort. There were no significant effects by ‘condition’ in any of the physiological responses examined (all p > 0.05). The present study shows that, when both effort and duration are matched, resistance training and ‘cardio’ exercise produce largely similar physiological responses.
November 30, 2017
The science of vaccinology has substantially progressed over the past 40 years and has remarkably helped to prevent or contain diseases. Oncovaccines development, however, has been less steady due to some unique challenges presented by cancer. With the recent advancement of our insight in oncoimmunology, vaccine technology, and medicine, we hope to better comprehend the intricate process of antitumor immunity to combat our old adversary. Numerous prophylactic and one therapeutic oncovaccine have been authorized by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for manufacturing and marketing. Where prophylactic vaccines have seen momentous success in terms of effectiveness and clinical acknowledgment, a significant amount of research is still lacking to achieve same destiny for therapeutic vaccines. This review shines a light on the development of both types of vaccines and their acceptance into the marketplace. We would likewise discuss FDA approved products, their mechanism of antitumor immunity, indications, and uses.
November 30, 2017
Occlusive artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Bypass graft surgery remains the prevalently performed treatments for occlusive arterial disease, and veins are the most frequently used conduits for surgical revascularization. However, clinical efficacy is highly affected by the long-term potency rates of vein grafts, and there are no optimal treatments available for the prevention of vein graft restenosis (VGR) until today. Hence, there is an urgent need to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in mediating VGR. The past decade has seen the rapid development of genomic technologies, such as the genomic sequencing and microarray technologies, which will definitely provide novel insights into potential molecular mechanisms involved in VGR program. Ironically, high-through put data associated with VGR is extremely scarce until today. The main goal of the current study was to explore potential crucial genes and pathways associated with VGR and provide valid biological information for further investigation of VGR. Based on high-throughput gene expression data, a further comprehensive bioinformatics analysis was performed. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified using R and Bioconductor packages. After functional enrichment analyses of DEGs, protein–protein interaction (PPI) network and sub-PPI network analyses were performed. Finally, 9 potential hub genes and 14 pathways were found out. In conclusion, these results not only may explain the causes of VGR, but could also open new avenues for therapeutic strategies of VGR. Despite its exploratory nature, this work offers valuable insights into our knowledge of the molecular mechanism involved in VGR.
November 29, 2017
The Kaidu-Konqi River Basin was chosen as the study site in this paper in order to investigate suitable scales of natural and artificial oases with a specified water resource and water quantity planned by the local government. Combined with remote-sensing images in 2013, water resources in 2013, 2020 and 2030, and weather and socioeconomic data, suitable scales of oases were analyzed. The results showed that: (1) The total available water quantities in the Yanqi Basin and the Konqi River Basin without river base flow, and the input of water into Bosten Lake and Tarim River, over high-, normal and low-flow periods, in 2020 and 2030, were 19.04×108m3, 10.52×108m3, 4.95×108m3, 9.95×108m3 and 9.95×108m3, as well as 21.77×108m3, 13.95×108m3, 10.11×108m3, 12.50×108m3, and 9.74×108m3. (2) The water demand of the natural oasis in the Yanqi Basin and the Konqi River Basin was 5.33×108m3, and 5.91×108m3, respectively. (3) The total water consumption of the artificial oasis in 2013, 2020, and 2030 were 18.16×108m3, 17.63×108m3 and 17.63×108m3 in the Yanqi Basin, respectively, and 17.11×108m3, 16.54×108m3 and 16.54×108m3 in the Konqi River Basin, respectively. (4) Under government planning, the optimal area in 2020 and 2030 should be 3198.98 km2 in the Yanqi Basin oases, and 3858.87 km2 and 3081.17 km2 in the Konqi River Basin oases, respectively, under the different inflow variations, and 3129.07 km2 in the Yanqi Basin oases, and 3834.58 km2 and 3061.78 km2 in the konqi River Basin oases, respectively, under the appropriate proportion. (5) The natural and artificial oases in these basins should be greatly decreased in the future due to limited water resources.
November 28, 2017

Solitary bees in seasonal environments have to align their life-cycles with favorable environmental conditions and resources; the timing of their emergence is highly fitness relevant. Overwintering temperature influences the emergence date and body weight at emergence in several bee species. A high variability in emergence dates among specimens overwintering at the same temperatures suggests that the timing of emergence also depends on individual body conditions. However, possible causes for this variability such as individual differences in body size or weight have hardly been studied.

In a climate chamber experiment with two spring-emerging mason bees (Osmia cornuta and O. bicornis) we investigated the relationship between temperature, body size, which is not affected by overwintering temperature, body weight and emergence date. Our study shows that body weight declined during hibernation more strongly in warm than in cold overwintering temperatures. Although bees emerged earlier in warm than in cold overwintering temperatures, at the time of emergence, bees in warm overwintering temperatures had a lower body weight than bees in cold temperatures (all except male O. cornuta). Among specimens that experienced the same overwintering temperatures, small and light bees emerged later than their larger and heavier conspecifics. By means of a simple mechanistic model we are able to reveal that spring-emerging solitary bees follow a strategic approach and emerge at a date that is most promising for their individual fitness expectations.

Our results suggest that increased overwintering temperature reduces bee fitness because it decreases body weight at emergence. For adjusting emergence dates, bees do not only use temperature but also their individual body condition as triggers. This may explain differing responses to climate warming within and among bee populations and may have consequences for bee-plant interactions and the persistence of bee populations under climate change.

November 27, 2017

The Californian single-leaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla var. californiarum), a subspecies of the single-leaf pinyon (the world's only 1-needled pine), inhabits semi-arid zones of the Mojave Desert in southern Nevada and southeastern California (US) and also of northern Baja California (Mexico). This subspecies is distributed as a relict in the geographically isolated arid Sierra La Asamblea, between 1,010 and 1,631 m, with mean annual precipitation levels of between 184 and 288 mm. The aim of this research was i) to establish the distribution of Pinus monophylla var. californiarum in Sierra La Asamblea, Baja California (Mexico) using Sentinel-2 images, and ii) to test and describe the relationship between this distribution of Pinus monophylla and five topographic and 18 climate variables. We hypothesized that i) the Sentinel-2 images can be used to accurately detect the P. monophylla distribution in the study site due to higher resolution (x3) and increased number of bands (x2) relative to Landsat-8, and ii) the topographical variables aspect, ruggedness and slope are particularly influential because they represent important microhabitat factors that can affect where conifers can become established and persist.

Methods. It was used an atmospherically corrected a 12-bit Sentinel-2A MSI image with eleven spectral bands in the visible, near infrared, and short-wave infrared light region combined with the normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI). Supervised classification of this image was carried out using a backpropagation-type artificial neural network algorithm. Stepwise multivariate binominal logistical regression and Random Forest regression including cross valuation (10 fold) were used to model the associations between presence/absence of pinesand the five topographical and 18 climate variables.

Results. Probably, P. monophylla covers 4,955 hectares in the isolated in Sierra La Asamblea, Baja California (Mexico) via supervised classification of Sentinel-2 satellite images. The NDVI was one of the variables that contributed to the detection and clearly separated the forest cover (NDVI > 0.35) from the other vegetation cover (NDVI < 0.20). The ruggedness was the best environmental predictor variable and indicated that the probability of P. monophylla occurrence was higher than 50% when the degree of ruggedness was greater than 17.5 m. When average temperature in the warmest month increased from 23.5 to 25.2 °C, the probability of occurrence of P. monophylla decreased.

Discussion. The classification accuracy (Kappa) was similar to other studies using Sentinel-2A MSI images.Ruggedness is known to generate microclimates and provides shade that decreases evapotranspiration from pines in desert environments. Identification of P. monophylla in Sierra La Asamblea as the most southern populations represents an opportunity for research on climatic tolerance and community responses to climatic variation and change.

November 25, 2017
Trait-based approaches represent a promising avenue for improving our understanding of species coexistence and community assembly, meanwhile intraspecific trait variation (ITV) across different spatial scales are non-negligible in trait-based community assembly mechanisms, especially in extreme environments. In this study, we focused on the community assembly patterns of a desert community at different spatial scales and proved whether intraspecific trait variation plays a significant role for biodiversity in extreme arid habitats. A 50 × 50 m2 plot with different small quadrats was established for a typical desert community at the transition zone between the Tengger Desert and Loess Plateau in China. Fourteen traits were chosen to calculate the functional distances of single traits and multiple traits. Species diversity and functional diversity at different spatial scales were then calculated. A null model approach was used to test the trait-based assembly processes of the ecosystem studied. intraspecific trait variation has a large impact on functional diversity, and the effect is related to different types of traits (chemical traits or morphological traits). Functional and species diversity show inconsistent patterns at different spatial scales (in α and β levels), suggesting that the traits that we selected were conservative. Different even opposite functional structures were found with increasing scales in single-trait analyses without ITV, while they showed similar convergence in multiple-trait analyses. Intriguingly, when considering intraspecific trait variation, plant communities showed stochastic distribution patterns either based on single traits or multiple traits, indicating that intraspecific trait variation diluted deterministic processes in community assembly across multiple scales. All of the results demonstrate that intraspecific trait variation is possibly more important in species-poor communities than species-rich communities in multi-scale community assemblies.
November 25, 2017

ABSTRACT

Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) has been prevalent in swine herds in China since 2002, causing severe economic loss to the pig industry. The number of live pigs in southeast China is > 20 million. Since information on the genetic variation of PCV2 in the Fujian province is limited, the objective of the present work was to investigate the epidemiological and evolutionary characteristics of PCV2 in southeast China from 2013 to 2017. Of the 685 samples collected from 90 different swine herds from 2013 to 2017, 356 samples from 84 different swine herds were positive for PCV2. PCV2a, PCV2b, PCV2d, and PCV2e co-existed in the Fujian province, with PCV2d-2 being the predominant circulating strain in swineherds and PCV2e being reported for the first time in China. Strikingly, PCV2-FJ-water DNA comes from contaminated river water and not infected animals. Sequence comparison among all isolates indicated that 92 isolates shared approximately 78.7–100% nucleotide identity and 74.5–100% amino acid identity for open reading frame (ORF). Amino acid alignment showed that the Cap protein of PCV2e and two strains (CN-FJ-CTS04 and FJ-6S-2017) differed markedly from those of PCV2a, PCV2b, PCV2c, and PCV2d. These results indicated that various PCV2 genotypes exist in China, and that PCV2 is continuously evolving, leading to rapid emergence of new variant stains.

November 24, 2017
Cycads, an ancient group of gymnosperms, that are almost all threatened or endangered an are now popular landscape plants. The Cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS), Aulacaspis yasumatsui Takagi (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), has been one of the most serious pests of cycads in recent years; however, the potential distribution range and the management policy of this pest are unclear. A potential risk map of CAS was created by MaxEnt and using occurrence data under changing climatic conditions. Moreover, this research provide a theoretical reference framework for developing policy for the management and control of this invasive pest. The model suggested the current invasive risk was mainly constrained by the annual temperature range (Bio07), mean temperature of coldest quarter (Bio11) and mean temperature of driest quarter (Bio09). Meanwhile, the niche models showed high environmental suitability for the continents of Asia and North America, where the species has already been recorded. The potential expansions or reductions of distribution ranges were also predicted under different climate change conditions. Although biotic factor and spread factors were not considered in the current analysis, using climatic factors to achieve a better understanding of the invasion patterns of this species can help improve the management of this invasive species and develop policies for its control.
November 21, 2017
Many studies have shown that during the resting state cerebral activity recorded by electroencephalography (EEG) is strongly modulated by the eyes-closed condition compared to the eyes-open condition. However, little research has demonstrated the influence of the eyes-closed condition on the motor cortex, particularly during a self-paced movement. This prompted the question: how does the motor cortex activity changes between the eyes-closed and eyes-open conditions. To answer this question, we recorded EEG signals from 15 voluntary healthy subjects who performed a simple motor task (i.e., a voluntary isometric flexion of the right-hand index) under two conditions: eyes-closed and eyes-open. Our results confirmed strong modulation in the alpha band (7-13 Hz) with a large event-related desynchronisation. However, no significant differences have been observed in the beta band (15-30 Hz). Furthermore, evidence suggests that the closed-eye condition influences the behaviour of subjects. This study gives us greater insight into the motor cortex and could also be useful in the brain-computer interface (BCI) domain.
November 21, 2017
The emissions of CO 2 from soil in response to precipitation are correlated with changes in water availability and depend on the resources of available carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in soil. However, global warming results in increased precipitation in semiarid and arid ecosystems in some regions of the world , and the effects of C and N availability on soil CO 2 emissions are poorly understood. In a field experiment, soil in a semiarid grassland region of northern China was subjected to simulated increased precipitation to investigate the response of soil CO 2 effluxes to the addition of labile C (glucose (G) , 48 g C/(m 2·a)) and N (NH4 NO3 , 10g N /(m2·a)). Soil microbial biomass C (MBC) content displayed a positive response to G addition alone as well as to the addition of both N and G, whereas no response to N addition alone was observed. N addition alone had no effect on soil CO 2 emissions, but G addition and the addition of both N and G significantly increased soil CO 2 emissions. The cumulative CO 2 effluxes over 168 hours displayed positive linear relationships with soil MBC and DOC content in both of the two water addition events (WEs) that occurred in the experiment. Although N addition, G addition and their interaction had no significant impacts on the rate of soil CO 2 efflux, G addition significantly increased the rate of soil CO2 efflux after individual rainfall events; moreover, the rate of soil CO 2 efflux was unrelated to soil temperature and had a significant but weak relationship with soil moisture. These findings imply that under patterns of increased precipitation in the future, C availability might be a primary limiting factor for soil microbes, particularly under increased N deposition. Moreover, C availability might influence the magnitude of soil CO 2 efflux after rainfall.
November 21, 2017
Science communication is seen as critical for the disciplines of ecology and conservation, where research products are often used to shape policy and decision making. Engagement is increasingly performed online, on social media, or news. Such media engagement has been thought to influence or predict traditional metrics of scholarship, such as citation rates. Here, we measure the association between citation rates and Altmetric Score, along with other forms of bibliometric performance (year published, journal impact factor, and article type). We found that Altmetric Score was positively correlated with citation rates, but with increasing media exposure required per citation over time to achieve equivalent citations. Citations correlated with journal impact factors up to ~10, but then plateaued, demonstrating that maximizing citations does not require publishing in the highest-impact journals. We conclude that ecology and conservation researchers can increase exposure of their research through social media engagement and, simultaneously, enhance their performance under traditional measures of scholarly activity.
November 20, 2017

Background. Different anticancer drugs are used in combination or alone to treat breast cancer depending upon the status of the patient. Oncologists need to know a drug’s efficacy; therefore, they compare different chemotherapies by considering side effects and overall survival so that suitable drugs can be prescribed. We present a comparison of adjuvant chemotherapies treating breast cancer with docetaxel plus cyclophosphamide (TC) and doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide (AC) showing pathological markers and overall survival.

Method. For 4 to 8 cycles, (after every 21 days) out of 358 patients, 189 received TC (140 ml/m2 of docetaxel (IV) plus 1000 mg/m2 of cyclophosphamide) and 169 women were treated with AC (50/100 ml/m2 of doxorubicin (IV) plus 1000 mg/m2 of cyclophosphamide. On the basis of patients’ assessment by pathological markers, side effects of docetaxel, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide are listed in our database using R programming language. The common factors and side effects given in MedlinePlus, NIH US database and from our database are separated to be included in comparison for this study. Statistically, we used Chi-Square Test for Homogeneity of Proportions at α = 0.05.

Results. There was no significant difference between proportions of patients with vomiting, extreme tiredness, diarrhoea, mild anaemia, stability and overall survival because p value > 0.05. However, p value < 0.05 for AC remains less toxic by 22.6%, 25.7% and 25.3% than TC in changes in taste, muscle pain and hands burning respectively, whereas TC remains less toxic by 52.9%, 26.3%, 11.3%, 32.5%, 15.5% and 1.75% in dizziness, sore throat, moderate anaemia, weight loss, blood transfusion and haemoglobin level respectively.

Discussion. TC is less toxic than AC in more aspects, whereas both combinations have same overall survival rate.

November 19, 2017
Background. Satisfaction evaluation is widely used in healthcare systems around the world to improve healthcare service quality and levels, in order to obtain better health outcomes. In the evaluation of healthcare reform, patient and medical staff satisfaction with this reform is a key criterion. The aim of this study was to measure employee work satisfaction and patient satisfaction status in the Wuhan region, China; the unsatisfactory factors as discovered through the evaluation will be used as a reference by healthcare policy makers and management so that they can adopt reasonable and effective measures to decrease the risk of dissatisfaction in the future. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 14 medical institutions in Wuhan from October to November 2016. The medical institutions included public general hospitals (tertiary and secondary) and community healthcare service centers/stations (primary). Stratified sampling of target medical staff and patients was carried out and the final valid sample comprised a total of 696 medical staff and 668 patients. Results. In the Wuhan area, it was found that the reliability levels of medical staff work satisfaction scales and patient satisfaction scales comprised Cronbach's alpha=0.973 and Cronbach's alpha=0.949, respectively. The studies in Wuhan and Guangzhou showed that the psychometric characteristics of the scales were basically the same. The overall satisfaction levels of medical staff and patients were 58.28±14.60 and 65.82±14.66, respectively. The medical staff satisfaction ranking in sequence from most to least satisfied was: work itself, work environment and atmosphere, hospital management, practicing environment, and job rewards. The patient satisfaction ranking in sequence from most to least satisfied was: physician-patient relationship and communication, service organization and facilities, continuity and collaboration of medical care, access to relevant information and support, and healthcare and related services. There were differences in the overall satisfaction levels of medical staff based on gender, age, educational level, job title, nature of the job, employment status, and whether staff were at the standardized training stage (p<.05 or .01). There was no statistically significant difference in various demographic variables in terms of overall patient satisfaction (p>.05). Discussion. The overall satisfaction evaluation of medical staff was average. In the future, healthcare policy makers and management staff of medical institutions should focus on job rewards and practicing environment in order to decrease the risk of dissatisfaction amongst medical staff. This would allow them to increase their work happiness and sense of belonging, which in turn would allow them to provide better medical services to patients. The overall patient evaluation was satisfactory, with patients satisfied at all levels of the satisfaction evaluation.
November 17, 2017
Introduction: Using spatial-temporal analyses to understand coverage and trends in elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (eMTCT) efforts may be helpful in ensuring timely services are delivered to the right place. We present spatial-temporal analysis of 7-years of HIV early infant diagnosis data collected from 12 districts in western Kenya from January 2007 to November 2013, during pre-Option B+ use. Methods: We included in the analysis infants up to one year old. We performed trend analysis using extended Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel stratified test and logistic regression models to examine trends and associations of infant HIV status at first diagnosis with: early diagnosis (<8 weeks after birth), age at specimen collection, infant ever having breastfed, use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP), and maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART) status. We examined these covariates and fitted spatial and spatial-temporal semi-parametric Poisson regression models to explain HIV-infection rates using R-Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (INLA) package. We calculated new infections per 100,000 live births and used Quantum GIS to map fitted MTCT estimates for each district in Nyanza region. Results: Median age was 2 months, interquartile range (IQR) 1.5 to 5.8 months. Unadjusted pooled positive rate was 11.8% in the 7-years period and declined from 19.7% in 2007 to 7.0% in 2013, p<0.01. Uptake of testing ≤8 weeks after birth was under 50% in 2007 and increased to 64.1% by 2013, p<0.01. By 2013, the overall case rate was 447 infections per 100,000 live births. Based on Bayesian deviance information criterion comparisons, the spatial-temporal model with maternal and infant covariates was best in explaining geographical variation in MTCT. Discussion: Improved EID uptake and reduced MTCT rates are indicators of progress towards e-MTCT. Co-joined analysis of time and covariates in a spatial context provides a robust approach for explaining differences in programmatic impact over time. Conclusions: During this pre-Option B+ period, the PMTCT program in this region has not achieved e-MTCT target of ≤50 case rates per 100,000 live births. Geographical disparities in program achievements may signify gaps in spatial distribution of e-MTCT efforts and could indicate areas needing further resources and interventions.
November 16, 2017
Effective approaches for assessing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation are important to multiple scientific disciplines. Mitochondrial haplogroups characterize branch points in the phylogeny of mtDNA. Several tools exist for mitochondrial haplogroup classification. However, most require full or partial mtDNA sequence which is often cost prohibitive for studies with large sample sizes. The purpose of this study was to develop Hi-MC, a high-throughput method for mitochondrial haplogroup classification that is cost effective and applicable to large sample sizes making mitochondrial analysis more accessible in genetic studies. Using rigorous selection criteria, we defined and validated a custom panel of mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that allows for accurate classification of European, African, and Native American mitochondrial haplogroups at broad resolution with minimal genotyping and cost. We demonstrate that Hi-MC performs well in samples of European, African, and Native American ancestries, and that Hi-MC performs comparably to a commonly used classifier. Implementation as a software package in R enables users to download and run the program locally, grants greater flexibility in the number of samples that can be run, and allows for easy expansion in future revisions. The source code is freely available at https://github.com/vserch/himc .
November 16, 2017
Although water and sanitation are considered as a human right, about three out of ten people (2.1 billion) do not have access to safe drinking water. In 2016, 5.6 million students were enrolled in the 33.9% of Brazilian schools located in rural areas. Only 72% of them have a public water supply network. Herein, we proposed to evaluate the efficacy of environmental intervention for water treatment in rural schools of the Western Amazonia. The study is characterized by an experimental design with environmental intervention for the treatment of water for human consumption, through the installation of a simplified chlorinator, in 20 public schools in the rural area of Rio Branco municipality, Acre state. Before the intervention, the results revealed 20% (n = 4), 100% (n = 20) and 70% (n = 14) of schools having water outside the potability standards for Turbidity, Faecal coliforms, and Escherichia coli, respectively. There was no significant difference in the turbidity results after the intervention (p = 0.71). On the other hand, there was a very significant difference in the results of Faecal coliforms and Escherichia coli after the intervention (p<0.001). The actions carried out in this intervention have considerably improved the water quality of the schools, thus decreasing children’s health vulnerability due to inadequate water provided to the school community in the rural area. The activities of training, educational lectures, installation of equipment, supply of materials and supplies (65% calcium hypochlorite, and reagents) were fundamental to the obtained results.
November 15, 2017

Objective: The analysis of ill-health related job loss may be a relevant indicator for the prioritization of actions in the workplaces or in the field of public health, and a target for health promotion. The aim of this study was to analyse the medical causes, the incidence, and the characteristics of employees medically unfit to their job.

Methods: This one-year prospective study included all workers followed by occupational physicians in an occupational health service in the South of the France. Our study design allowed two data frames to be merged (followed up workers and “unfit” patients who lost their jobs due to ill-health). We performed a multivariate analysis in order to adjust the Odds ratio for the age groups, sex, occupation and the activity sectors which are strongly associated with job loss.

Results: Seventeen occupational physicians followed 51,132 workers. The all-cause incidence of being unfit to return to one’s job was 0.778%. The two main causes of being unfit for one’s job were musculoskeletal disorders (47.2%) and psychopathology (38.4%). Being over 50 years old [Odds ratio (OR) 2.63, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) [2.13-3.25] and being a woman [OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.21-1.91] were associated with the all-cause unfitness, independent of occupations and activity sectors.

Conclusions: Identification of occupational and demographic determinants independently associated with ill-health related job loss may provide significant and cost-effective arguments for health promotion and job loss prevention.
November 14, 2017

Background. Participation rate is one of the main challenges medical researchers face. We examined how demographic background and trust in medical research affect the willingness of people to participate in medical research in Taiwan.

Methods. Data from the 2011 Taiwan Genomic Survey were used. A total of 3,159 people aged 18 to 70 years were sampled, and 1,538 of them completed the survey. Missing data were excluded. A total of 1,389 respondents were included in the final analysis.

Results. About 12 percent of the respondents answered that they would be willing to participate in medical research. Respondents who had a college degree or above and were married orlived with a significant other were less likely to participate in medical research. By contrast, respondents who were men and who or their close family members had a biomedicine-related degree were more likely to participate in medical research. After adjustment for demographic factors, respondents who expressed trust in doctors who conduct medical research, agreed that doctors would never ask them to join a medical research study that might harm them, thought that participating in a medical research study is safe, and agreed that medical researchers have no selfish reasons for doing research were more likely to participate in medical research.

Discussion. Some of our findings, such as the effect of education level and marital status on participation in medical research, are different from the findings of most previous studies conducted in other countries. This study is useful for the development of strategies for improving participant recruitment.

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