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Concept: People's Republic of China


Phytoliths and biomolecular components extracted from ancient plant remains from Chang'an (Xi'an, the city where the Silk Road begins) and Ngari (Ali) in western Tibet, China, show that the tea was grown 2100 years ago to cater for the drinking habits of the Western Han Dynasty (207BCE-9CE), and then carried toward central Asia by ca.200CE, several hundred years earlier than previously recorded. The earliest physical evidence of tea from both the Chang'an and Ngari regions suggests that a branch of the Silk Road across the Tibetan Plateau, was established by the second to third century CE.

Concepts: China, People's Republic of China, Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Central Asia, Xi'an, Silk Road, Chang'an


Background Stroke is common during the first few weeks after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor ischemic stroke. Combination therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin may provide greater protection against subsequent stroke than aspirin alone. Methods In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at 114 centers in China, we randomly assigned 5170 patients within 24 hours after the onset of minor ischemic stroke or high-risk TIA to combination therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin (clopidogrel at an initial dose of 300 mg, followed by 75 mg per day for 90 days, plus aspirin at a dose of 75 mg per day for the first 21 days) or to placebo plus aspirin (75 mg per day for 90 days). All participants received open-label aspirin at a clinician-determined dose of 75 to 300 mg on day 1. The primary outcome was stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) during 90 days of follow-up in an intention-to-treat analysis. Treatment differences were assessed with the use of a Cox proportional-hazards model, with study center as a random effect. Results Stroke occurred in 8.2% of patients in the clopidogrel-aspirin group, as compared with 11.7% of those in the aspirin group (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.57 to 0.81; P<0.001). Moderate or severe hemorrhage occurred in seven patients (0.3%) in the clopidogrel-aspirin group and in eight (0.3%) in the aspirin group (P=0.73); the rate of hemorrhagic stroke was 0.3% in each group. Conclusions Among patients with TIA or minor stroke who can be treated within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms, the combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is superior to aspirin alone for reducing the risk of stroke in the first 90 days and does not increase the risk of hemorrhage. (Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China; CHANCE number, NCT00979589 .).

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, People's Republic of China, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Aspirin, Randomness, People's Republic


Assessing oil pollution using traditional field-based methods over large areas is difficult and expensive. Remote sensing technologies with good spatial and temporal coverage might provide an alternative for monitoring oil pollution by recording the spectral signals of plants growing in polluted soils. Total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations of soils and the hyperspectral canopy reflectance were measured in wetlands dominated by reeds (Phragmites australis) around oil wells that have been producing oil for approximately 10 years in the Yellow River Delta, eastern China to evaluate the potential of vegetation indices and red edge parameters to estimate soil oil pollution. The detrimental effect of oil pollution on reed communities was confirmed by the evidence that the aboveground biomass decreased from 1076.5 g m(-2) to 5.3 g m(-2) with increasing total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations ranging from 9.45 mg kg(-1) to 652 mg kg(-1). The modified chlorophyll absorption ratio index (MCARI) best estimated soil TPH concentration among 20 vegetation indices. The linear model involving MCARI had the highest coefficient of determination (R(2) = 0.73) and accuracy of prediction (RMSE = 104.2 mg kg(-1)). For other vegetation indices and red edge parameters, the R(2) and RMSE values ranged from 0.64 to 0.71 and from 120.2 mg kg(-1) to 106.8 mg kg(-1) respectively. The traditional broadband normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), one of the broadband multispectral vegetation indices (BMVIs), produced a prediction (R(2) = 0.70 and RMSE = 110.1 mg kg(-1)) similar to that of MCARI. These results corroborated the potential of remote sensing for assessing soil oil pollution in large areas. Traditional BMVIs are still of great value in monitoring soil oil pollution when hyperspectral data are unavailable.

Concepts: Petroleum, People's Republic of China, Approximation, Estimation, Remote sensing, Hyperspectral imaging, Yellow River, Landfill


During March 2013-February 24, 2017, annual epidemics of avian influenza A(H7N9) in China resulted in 1,258 avian influenza A(H7N9) virus infections in humans being reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China and other regional sources (1). During the first four epidemics, 88% of patients developed pneumonia, 68% were admitted to an intensive care unit, and 41% died (2). Candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs) were developed, and vaccine was manufactured based on representative viruses detected after the emergence of A(H7N9) virus in humans in 2013. During the ongoing fifth epidemic (beginning October 1, 2016),* 460 human infections with A(H7N9) virus have been reported, including 453 in mainland China, six associated with travel to mainland China from Hong Kong (four cases), Macao (one) and Taiwan (one), and one in an asymptomatic poultry worker in Macao (1). Although the clinical characteristics and risk factors for human infections do not appear to have changed (2,3), the reported human infections during the fifth epidemic represent a significant increase compared with the first four epidemics, which resulted in 135 (first epidemic), 320 (second), 226 (third), and 119 (fourth epidemic) human infections (2). Most human infections continue to result in severe respiratory illness and have been associated with poultry exposure. Although some limited human-to-human spread continues to be identified, no sustained human-to-human A(H7N9) transmission has been observed (2,3).

Concepts: Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, People's Republic of China, Pandemic, Influenza vaccine, World Health Organization, Hong Kong


The Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test is commonly used as a clinical visual-verbal ocular motor assessment tool to screen and diagnose reading problems at the onset. No established norm exists for using the DEM test with Mandarin Chinese-speaking Chinese children. This study aims to establish the normative values of the DEM test for the Mandarin Chinese-speaking population in China; it also aims to compare the values with three other published norms for English-, Spanish-, and Cantonese-speaking Chinese children. A random stratified sampling method was used to recruit children from eight kindergartens and eight primary schools in the main urban and suburban areas of Nanjing. A total of 1,425 Mandarin Chinese-speaking children aged 5 to 12 years took the DEM test in Mandarin Chinese. A digital recorder was used to record the process. All of the subjects completed a symptomatology survey, and their DEM scores were determined by a trained tester. The scores were computed using the formula in the DEM manual, except that the “vertical scores” were adjusted by taking the vertical errors into consideration. The results were compared with the three other published norms. In our subjects, a general decrease with age was observed for the four eye movement indexes: vertical score, adjusted horizontal score, ratio, and total error. For both the vertical and adjusted horizontal scores, the Mandarin Chinese-speaking children completed the tests much more quickly than the norms for English- and Spanish-speaking children. However, the same group completed the test slightly more slowly than the norms for Cantonese-speaking children. The differences in the means were significant (P<0.001) in all age groups. For several ages, the scores obtained in this study were significantly different from the reported scores of Cantonese-speaking Chinese children (P<0.005). Compared with English-speaking children, only the vertical score of the 6-year-old group, the vertical-horizontal time ratio of the 8-year-old group and the errors of 9-year-old group had no significant difference (P>0.05); compared with Spanish-speaking children, the scores were statistically significant (P<0.001) for the total error scores of the age groups, except the 6-, 9-, 10-, and 11-year-old age groups (P>0.05). DEM norms may be affected by differences in language, cultural, and educational systems among various ethnicities. The norms of the DEM test are proposed for use with Mandarin Chinese-speaking children in Nanjing and will be proposed for children throughout China.

Concepts: Statistical significance, China, People's Republic of China, English language, Chinese language, Stratified sampling, Standard Mandarin, Mandarin Chinese


Ventricular septal defects (VSD) are the most common subtype of congenital heart defects (CHD) and are estimated to account for 20 to 30% of all cases of CHD. The etiology of isolated VSD remains poorly understood. Eight core aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) (EPRS, MARS, QARS, RARS, IARS, LARS, KARS, and DARS) combine with three nonenzymatic components to form a complex known as the multisynthetase complex (MSC). Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in EPRS have been reported to be associated with risks of CHD in Chinese populations.

Concepts: DNA, China, Han Chinese, People's Republic of China, Overseas Chinese, Ventricular septal defect, Qing Dynasty, World population


Few studies addressed trans-regional differences in allergen sensitization between areas within a similar latitudinal range but with distinct geomorphological features. We investigated specific IgE (sIgE) positivity to common allergens in populations from two southern China provinces. Using a uniformed protocol, serum samples were collected from 2778 subjects with suspected atopy in coastal Guangdong and inland Yunnan. The overall prevalence of sIgE positivity were 57.8% (95% CI: 56.0%, 59.6%) from Guangdong vs 60.9% (95% CI: 59.1%, 62.7%) from Yunnan. House dust mite (d1) was the most common allergen in both regions. Among d1-sensitized subjects, only 35.7% (208/583) in Guangdong and 22.9% (147/642) in Yunnan tested positive for d1 alone. Among those poly-sensitized d1-positive subjects, cockroach was the most common co-sensitizing aeroallergen. 41.9% of the d1-sensitized Guangdong subjects showed high-class sIgE reactivity (≥class 4), in contrast to a very low percentage of such reactivity in Yunnan. However, 36.3% of d1-sensitized subjects in Yunnan were concomitantly positive for tree pollen mix. Surprisingly, Yunnan subjects showed high prevalence of sIgE positivity for crabs and shrimps, either by overall or by age-group analysis, compared with their Guangdong counterparts (both P < 0.05). These findings may add to data about local allergies in China and worldwide.

Concepts: Asthma, Allergy, Atopy, Allergen, People's Republic of China, Arachnid, Mite, House dust mite


To determine the prevalence and associated factors for myopia and high myopia among older population in a rural community in Eastern China.

Concepts: People's Republic of China, East Asia


Existing research on the extensive Chinese censorship organization uses observational methods with well-known limitations. We conducted the first large-scale experimental study of censorship by creating accounts on numerous social media sites, randomly submitting different texts, and observing from a worldwide network of computers which texts were censored and which were not. We also supplemented interviews with confidential sources by creating our own social media site, contracting with Chinese firms to install the same censoring technologies as existing sites, and–with their software, documentation, and even customer support–reverse-engineering how it all works. Our results offer rigorous support for the recent hypothesis that criticisms of the state, its leaders, and their policies are published, whereas posts about real-world events with collective action potential are censored.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Observation, People's Republic of China, Philosophy of science, Hypothesis, Political science, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989


Few studies have explored age and sex differences in the disease burden of influenza, although men and women probably differ in their susceptibility to influenza infections. In this study, quasi-Poisson regression models were applied to weekly age- and sex-specific hospitalization numbers of pneumonia and influenza cases in the Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China, from 2004 to 2010. Age and sex differences were assessed by age- and sex-specific rates of excess hospitalization for influenza A subtypes A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and A(H1N1)pdm09 and influenza B, respectively. We found that, in children younger than 18 years, boys had a higher excess hospitalization rate than girls, with the male-to-female ratio of excess rate (MFR) ranging from 1.1 to 2.4. MFRs of hospitalization associated with different types/subtypes were less than 1.0 for adults younger than 40 years except for A(H3N2) (MFR = 1.6), while all the MFRs were equal to or higher than 1.0 in adults aged 40 years or more except for A(H1N1)pdm09 in elderly persons aged 65 years or more (MFR = 0.9). No MFR was found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05) for hospitalizations associated with influenza type/subtype. There is some limited evidence on age and sex differences in hospitalization associated with influenza in the subtropical city of Hong Kong.

Concepts: Influenza, China, Severe acute respiratory syndrome, People's Republic of China, Chinese language, Hong Kong, Standard Mandarin, Economy of the People's Republic of China