- Genetically encoded indicators of neuronal activity. [Journal Article, Review]
- Nat Neurosci 2016 Aug 26; 19(9):1142-53.
Experimental efforts to understand how the brain represents, stores and processes information require high-fidelity recordings of multiple different forms of neural activity within functional circuits. Thus, creating improved technologies for large-scale recordings of neural activity in the live brain is a crucial goal in neuroscience. Over the past two decades, the combination of optical microscopy and genetically encoded fluorescent indicators has become a widespread means of recording neural activity in nonmammalian and mammalian nervous systems, transforming brain research in the process. In this review, we describe and assess different classes of fluorescent protein indicators of neural activity. We first discuss general considerations in optical imaging and then present salient characteristics of representative indicators. Our focus is on how indicator characteristics relate to their use in living animals and on likely areas of future progress.
- Public's Health Risk Awareness on Urban Air Pollution in Chinese Megacities: The Cases of Shanghai, Wuhan and Nanchang. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016; 13(9)
This study assessed the public's health risk awareness of urban air pollution triggered by three megacities in China, and the data are the responses from a sample size of 3868 megacity inhabitants from Shanghai, Nanchang and Wuhan. Descriptive analyses were used to summarize the respondents' demographics, perceived health risks from air pollution and sources of health-related knowledge on urban air pollution. Chi-square tests were used to examine if participants' demographics were associated with participant's general attitudes towards current air quality and the three perceived highest health risks due to urban air pollution. We found low rate of satisfaction of current urban air quality as well as poor knowledge of air pollution related indicator. Participants' gender, age and travel experience were found to be associated with the satisfaction of current air quality. The knowledge of air pollution related indicator was significantly affected by respondents' education, monthly income, health status, and sites of study. As many as 46.23% of the participants expressed their feelings of anxiety when exposed to polluted air, especially females, older adults and those with poor health conditions. Most participants believed that coughs/colds, eye problems and skin allergies were the three highest health risks due to urban air pollution based on public education through television/radio, internet and newspaper/magazine. Further public health education is needed to improve public awareness of air pollution and its effects.
- A New Statistical Parameter for Identifying the Main Transition Velocities in Bubble Columns. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Chem Eng Technol 2015 Nov; 38(11):1940-1946.
The identification of the main flow regime boundaries in bubble columns is essential since the degrees of mixing and mass and heat transfer vary with the flow regime. In this work, a new statistical parameter was extracted from the time series of the cross-sectional averaged gas holdup. The measurements were performed in bubble columns by means of conductivity wire-mesh sensors at very high sampling frequency. The columns were operated with an air/deionized water system under ambient conditions. As a flow regime indicator, a new dimensionless statistical parameter called "relative maximum number of visits in a region" was introduced. This new parameter is a function of the difference between the maximum numbers of visits in a region, calculated from two different division schemes of the signal range.
- Association of C1q Binding Status With De Novo HLA Antibody Clinical Features and Allograft Function in Kidney Transplantation Patients During Eight Years of Dynamic Follow-up. [Journal Article]
- Transplant Proc 2016 Jul-Aug; 48(6):1944-54.
C1q-binding donor-specific antibody (DSA) is detrimental to transplanted kidney function. However, the factors that affect C1q binding status are unclear.A total of 519 samples from 129 consecutive kidney transplantation patients during 8 years of dynamic follow-up were collected for HLA antibody (Ab) screening and C1q detection.Among the detected HLA Abs, the majority were class II, and the DQ subtypes composed the highest proportion. The C1q-binding Abs were all HLA-II, and the DQ subtypes had the highest rate of C1q positivity. With a cutoff mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) value of 7349, the sensitivity and specificity of detecting C1q-binding Abs from all HLA-II Abs were 84.48% and 83.56%, respectively. Additionally, C1q is more likely to be bound by DSA than non-donor-specific antibody (NDSA). Compared with free DSA/NDSA, the MFI values of C1q-binding DSA/NDSA are more closely correlated with serum creatinine levels and reflect the effect of anti-antibody-mediated rejection treatment more sensitively.HLA-II Abs (particularly DQ subtypes), high titers of Abs, and DSA are important relevant factors of C1q positivity. The MFI value of C1q-binding DSA may be a useful clinical indicator of HLA antibody-mediated graft injury before the appearance of histologically typical humoral rejection.
- Is Signature Size Associated With Organ Donor Designation on Driver's Licenses? [Journal Article]
- Transplant Proc 2016 Jul-Aug; 48(6):1911-5.
Previous studies suggest that large signature size is associated with narcissistic characteristics. By contrast, organ donation is an indicator of altruism. Because altruism and narcissism may be viewed as opposites, we sought to determine if smaller signature size is associated with willingness to be an organ donor.Using a cross-sectional study design, we reviewed the health records of 571 randomly selected primary care patients at a large urban safety-net medical system to obtain their demographic and medical characteristics. We also examined driver's licenses that were scanned into electronic health records as part of the patient registration process. We measured signature sizes and obtained the organ donor designation from these driver's licenses.Overall, 256 (45%) patients were designated as donors on their driver's licenses. Signature size averaged 113.3 mm(2) but varied greatly across patients (10th percentile 49.1 mm(2), 90th percentile 226.1 mm(2)). On multivariate analysis, donor designation was positively associated with age 18-34 years, non-black race, having private insurance, and not having any comorbid conditions. However, signature size was not associated with organ donor designation.Signature size is not associated with verified organ donor designation. Further work is needed to understand the relationship between personality types and willingness to be an organ donor.
- Forecasted trends in vaccination coverage and correlations with socioeconomic factors: a global time-series analysis over 30 years. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lancet Glob Health 2016 Aug 25.
Incomplete immunisation coverage causes preventable illness and death in both developing and developed countries. Identification of factors that might modulate coverage could inform effective immunisation programmes and policies. We constructed a performance indicator that could quantitatively approximate measures of the susceptibility of immunisation programmes to coverage losses, with an aim to identify correlations between trends in vaccine coverage and socioeconomic factors.We undertook a data-driven time-series analysis to examine trends in coverage of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccination across 190 countries over the past 30 years. We grouped countries into six world regions according to WHO classifications. We used Gaussian process regression to forecast future coverage rates and provide a vaccine performance index: a summary measure of the strength of immunisation coverage in a country.Overall vaccine coverage increased in all six world regions between 1980 and 2010, with variation in volatility and trends. Our vaccine performance index identified that 53 countries had more than a 50% chance of missing the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) target of 90% worldwide coverage with three doses of DTP (DTP3) by 2015. These countries were mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, but Austria and Ukraine also featured. Factors associated with DTP3 immunisation coverage varied by world region: personal income (Spearman's ρ=0·66, p=0·0011) and government health spending (0·66, p<0·0001) were informative of immunisation coverage in the Eastern Mediterranean between 1980 and 2010, whereas primary school completion was informative of coverage in Africa (0·56, p<0·0001) over the same period. The proportion of births attended by skilled health staff correlated significantly with immunisation coverage across many world regions.Our vaccine performance index highlighted countries at risk of failing to achieve the GVAP target of 90% coverage by 2015, and could aid policy makers' assessments of the strength and resilience of immunisation programmes. Weakening correlations with socioeconomic factors show a need to tackle vaccine confidence, whereas strengthening correlations point to clear factors to address.UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
- Dysphagia in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Relationships between disease progression and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Auris Nasus Larynx 2016 Aug 25.
Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between the disease severity of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and the following parameters of Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES): premature spillage, post-swallowing residue and aspiration.We studied 202 patients (95 women and 107 men) with ALS; of these, 136 had spinal and 66 had bulbar onset. They were analyzed according to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functioning Rating Scale (ALSFRS) and the b-ALSFRS subscale (bulbar scale). All subjects underwent FEES. Post-swallowing residue was classified into four classes (0-3); premature spillage and aspiration were considered either present or absent.Spearman's correlation test showed a highly significant correlation (p<0.0001) between the value of ALSFRS and b-ALSFRS and the FEES parameters as the following: disease severity and dysphagia severity are closely related, both in spinal and bulbar onset, no matter what bolus texture was used. Spearman's Rho was more significant for post-swallowing residue, ≤-0.500 with all three consistencies (p<0.0001) in spinal onset and -0.520 only with liquid bolus (p<0.0001) in bulbar onset. Independent T-Test revealed a significant difference (p<0.0001) between the mean ALSFRS and b-ALSFRS scores and the presence/absence of aspiration. For the premature spillage in spinal onset (ALSFRS), we found a statistically significant difference for all three bolus textures (p<0.0001). Analysis of variance for the post-swallowing residue in spinal onset (ALSFRS) revealed a statistically significant difference (p<0.0001) for most of the comparisons between groups for all three textures. For the premature spillage in bulbar onset (b-ALSFRS), we found a statistically significant difference for all three textures (p<0.0001). Analysis of variance for the post-swallowing residue in bulbar onset (b-ALSFRS) showed a statistically significant difference (p<0.0001) for most of the comparisons between groups for all three textures. Kruskal-Wallis test showed a highly significant association between the classes of severity in bulbar forms and all the FEES parameters, no matter what type of bolus was administered (p<0.0001), whereas a significant correlation in spinal forms only for post-swallowing residue with solid (p=0.026) and semisolid (p=0.031) boluses.There is a highly significant relationship as the following between the FEES parameters and the disease severity assessed via ALSFRS and b-ALSFRS: classes of greater severity entail a greater deterioration of FEES parameters. FEES can be considered a good indicator of the dysphagia severity and a useful test for the follow-up of dysphagia in patients with ALS, whether of spinal or bulbar onset.
- Macrophage Inhibitory Cytokine-1 as a Novel Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarker in Stage I and II Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer. [Journal Article]
- Chin Med J (Engl) 2016 5th Sep; 129(17):2026-32.
Increased level of serum macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 (MIC-1), a member of transforming growth factor-μ superfamily, was found in patients with epithelial tumors. This study aimed to evaluate whether serum level of MIC-1 can be a candidate diagnostic and prognostic indicator for early-stage nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC).A prospective study enrolled 152 patients with Stage I-II NSCLC, who were followed up after surgical resection. Forty-eight patients with benign pulmonary disease (BPD) and 105 healthy controls were also included in the study. Serum MIC-1 levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the association with clinical and prognostic features was analyzed.In patients with NSCLC, serum protein levels of MIC-1 were significantly increased compared with healthy controls and BPD patients (all P< 0.001). A threshold of 1000 pg/ml of MIC-1 was found in patients with early-stage (Stage I and II) NSCLC, with sensitivity and specificity of 70.4% and 99.0%, respectively. The serum levels of MIC-1 were associated with age (P = 0.001), gender (P = 0.030), and T stage (P = 0.022). Serum MIC-1 threshold of 1465 pg/ml was found in patients with poor early outcome, with sensitivity and specificity of 72.2% and 66.1%, respectively. The overall 3-year survival rate of NSCLC patients with high serum levels of MIC-1 (≥1465 pg/ml) was lower than that of NSCLC patients with low serum MIC-1 levels (77.6% vs. 94.8%). Multivariate Cox regression survival analysis showed that a high serum level of MIC-1 was an independent risk factor for reduced overall survival (hazard ratio = 3.37, 95% confidential interval: 1.09-10.42, P= 0.035).The present study suggested that serum MIC-1 may be a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for patients with early-stage NSCLC.
- Identifying the performance characteristics of a winning outcome in elite mixed martial arts competition. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Sci Med Sport 2016 Aug 9.
To determine those performance indicators that have the greatest influence on classifying outcome at the elite level of mixed martial arts (MMA). A secondary objective was to establish the efficacy of decision tree analysis in explaining the characteristics of victory when compared to alternate statistical methods.Cross-sectional observational.Eleven raw performance indicators from male Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts (n=234) from July 2014 to December 2014 were screened for analysis. Each raw performance indicator was also converted to a rate-dependent measure to be scaled to fight duration. Further, three additional performance indicators were calculated from the dataset and included in the analysis. Cohen's d effect sizes were employed to determine the magnitude of the differences between Wins and Losses, while decision tree (chi-square automatic interaction detector (CHAID)) and discriminant function analyses (DFA) were used to classify outcome (Win and Loss).Effect size comparisons revealed differences between Wins and Losses across a number of performance indicators. Decision tree (raw: 71.8%; rate-scaled: 76.3%) and DFA (raw: 71.4%; rate-scaled 71.2%) achieved similar classification accuracies. Grappling and accuracy performance indicators were the most influential in explaining outcome. The decision tree models also revealed multiple combinations of performance indicators leading to victory.The decision tree analyses suggest that grappling activity and technique accuracy are of particular importance in achieving victory in elite-level MMA competition. The DFA results supported the importance of these performance indicators. Decision tree induction represents an intuitive and slightly more accurate approach to explaining bout outcome in this sport when compared to DFA.
- MiR124 Suppresses Collagen Formation of human tendon derived stem cells through targeting egr1. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Cell Res 2016 Aug 25.
Collagen formation is used as a crucial indicator of tenogenic differentiation of human tendon derived stem cell (hTDSC). Early growth response-1(egr1), a transcriptional factor, has been demonstrated to regulate tendon differentiation and promote tendon repair. Considering that the therapeutic options for tendon injuries remain limited, investigating the regulation of egr1 could facilitate the understanding of tendon development at molecular level so as to find a promising therapeutic target. MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been considered as epigenetic regulators to mediate multiple biological activities including stem cell differentiation. In the present study, biological experiments confirmed the prediction that miR124-3p (miR124) could have direct binding with egr1. We also found that miR124 suppressed collagen formation during the tendon differentiation of hTDSC while anti-miR124 promoted it. Furthermore, egr1 knockdown abolished the promotive effect of anti-miR124, suggesting that miR124 prevents tendon differentiation via suppressing egr1 expression. Therefore, miR124 may be a promising therapeutic target for tendon injury.