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  1. Zhang D, Hussain HI
    J Environ Manage, 2021 Nov 01;297:113360.
    PMID: 34346402 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113360
    The triple components of energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and economic expansion are important to achieving sustained economic activity and sound ecological advancement. This study aims to estimate the impact of wide-ranging parameters on environmental circumstances in South Asian countries. This analysis required two approaches: 1)quantile autoregressive distributed lag (QARDL) as an econometric model, and 2) data envelopment analysis (DEA) non-parametric comparable composite index to examine concurrently South Asian nations' data for the 2000-2018 period. The underscored category of the parameters were grouped into four key indices, namely financial, fiscal, human, and energy. The DEA's mathematical composite findings reveal varied circumstances regarding environmental self-maintenance in South Asian nations. India and Pakistan are doing quite well; Afghanistan is abysmal. In addition, the QARDL approach findings reveal that energy use and fiscal indicators abate pollution. Furthermore, the correlation between fiscal decentralization and ecological attributes is strengthened by the excellent level of institutions and human capital progress. There is a unidirectional impact emanating from fiscal devolution, gross domestic product, human capital, eco-innovation, and institutional excellence on carbon dioxide pollution, although different from the other correlations obtained.
  2. Zhang D, Gao C, Li R, Zhang L, Tian J
    Arch Pharm Res, 2017 May;40(5):579-591.
    PMID: 28211011 DOI: 10.1007/s12272-017-0899-9
    2α,3α,24-Thrihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oicacid (TEOA), a pentacyclic triterpenoid, isolated from the roots of Actinidia eriantha, exhibits significant cytotoxicity against SW620, BGC-823, HepG-2, A549 and PC-3 cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the underlying molecular mechanism of the anticancer activity of TEOA in SW620 cells. We demonstrated that TEOA induced apoptosis through cleavage of caspase-9 and PARP in SW620 cells. In addition, evidence of TEOA-mediated autophagy included the induction of autophagolysosomes and activation of autophagic markers LC-3B and p62. Further analysis illustrated that TEOA promoted the phosphorylation of PERK and elF2α, followed by up-regulation of the downstream protein CHOP, suggesting the involvement of PERK/eIF2α/CHOP pathway and ER stress in TEOA-induced autophagy in SW620 cells. Meanwhile, TEOA-mediated PINK1, Parkin, ubiquitin and p62 activation revealed that TEOA induced specific autophagy-mitophagy in SW620 cells. Additionally, an antioxidant NAC attenuated the TEOA-induced mitophagy, indicating that TEOA triggers mitophagy via a ROS-dependent pathway. Collectively, our findings revealed a novel cellular mechanism of TEOA in the colon cancer cell line SW620, thus providing a molecular basis for developing TEOA into an anti-tumor candidate.
  3. Zhang L, Cenci A, Rouard M, Zhang D, Wang Y, Tang W, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2019 06 03;9(1):8199.
    PMID: 31160634 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44637-x
    Fusarium wilt disease, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, especially by tropical race 4 (Foc TR4), is threatening the global banana industry. Musa acuminata Pahang, a wild diploid banana that displays strong resistance to Foc TR4, holds great potential to understand the underlying resistance mechanisms. Microscopic examination reports that, in a wounding inoculation system, the Foc TR4 infection processes in roots of Pahang (resistant) and a triploid cultivar Brazilian (susceptible) were similar by 7 days post inoculation (dpi), but significant differences were observed in corms of both genotypes at 14 dpi. We compare transcriptomic responses in the corms of Pahang and Brazilian, and show that Pahang exhibited constitutive defense responses before Foc TR4 infection and inducible defense responses prior to Brazilian at the initial Foc TR4 infection stage. Most key enzymatic genes in the phenylalanine metabolism pathway were up-regulated in Brazilian, suggesting that lignin and phytotoxin may be triggered during later stages of Foc TR4 infection. This study unravels a few potential resistance candidate genes whose expression patterns were assessed by RT-qPCR assay and improves our understanding the defense mechanisms of Pahang response to Foc TR4.
  4. Kong Y, Ma NL, Yang X, Lai Y, Feng Z, Shao X, et al.
    Environ Pollut, 2020 Oct;265(Pt A):114951.
    PMID: 32554093 DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114951
    Greenhouse gases (GHGs) carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O), contribute significantly to global warming, and they have increased substantially over the years. Reforestation is considered as an important forestry application for carbon sequestration and GHGs emission reduction, however, it remains unknown whether reforestation may instead produce too much CO2 and N2O contibuting to GHGs pollution. This study was performed to characterize and examine the CO2 and N2O emissions and their controlling factors in different species and types of pure and mixture forest used for reforestation. Five soil layers from pure forest Platycladus orientalis (PO), Robinia pseudoacacia (RP), and their mixed forest P-R in the Taihang mountains of central China were sampled and incubated aerobically for 11 days. The P-R soil showed lower CO2 and N2O production potentials than those of the PO soils (P 
  5. Sadaghiani MS, Arami-Niya A, Zhang D, Tsuji T, Tanaka Y, Seiki Y, et al.
    J Hazard Mater, 2021 04 05;407:124781.
    PMID: 33412363 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124781
    Given the safety issues associated with flammability characteristics of alternative environmentally-friendly refrigerants, it is vital to establish measurement systems to accurately analyse the flammability of these mildly flammable refrigerants. In this study, we used a customised Hartmann bomb analogue to measure the minimum ignition energy (MIE) and laminar burning velocity (BV) for refrigerant/air mixtures of pure ammonia (R717), R32, R1234yf and mixtures of R32 and R1234yf with non-flammable refrigerants of R134a, R125 and carbon dioxide (R744). The MIEs of R717, R32, and R1234yf were measured at an ambient temperature of 24 °C to be (18.0 ± 1.4), (8.0 ± 1.5) and (510 ± 130) mJ at equivalence ratios of 0.9, 1.27 and 1.33, respectively. Adding the non-flammable refrigerants R134a, R125 and R744 along with R32 at volumetric concentrations of 5% each to R1234yf reduced the latter compound's flammability and increased its MIE by one order of magnitude. The laminar burning velocities of pure R717 and R32 were measured at an equivalence ratio of 1.1 using the flat flame method and found to be 8.4 and 7.4 cm/s, respectively. Adding 5% R1234yf to R32 decreased the laminar burning velocity by 11%, while a further 5% addition of R1234yf resulted in a decrease of over 30% in the laminar burning velocity.
  6. Huang L, Liu Z, Li H, Wang Y, Li Y, Zhu Y, et al.
    Geohealth, 2020 Jul 07.
    PMID: 32838101 DOI: 10.1029/2020GH000272
    The outbreak of COVID-19 in China has led to massive lockdowns in order to reduce the spread of the epidemic and control human-to-human transmission. Subsequent reductions in various anthropogenic activities have led to improved air quality during the lockdown. In this study, we apply a widely used exposure-response function to estimate the short-term health impacts associated with PM2.5 changes over the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region due to COVID-19 lockdown. Concentrations of PM2.5 during lockdown period reduced by 22.9% to 54.0% compared to pre-lockdown level. Estimated PM2.5-related daily premature mortality during lockdown period is 895 (95% confidential interval: 637-1081), which is 43.3% lower than pre-lockdown period and 46.5% lower compared with averages of 2017-2019. According to our calculation, total number of avoided premature death associated PM2.5 reduction during the lockdown is estimated to be 42.4 thousand over the YRD region, with Shanghai, Wenzhou, Suzhou (Jiangsu province), Nanjing, and Nantong being the top five cities with largest health benefits. Avoided premature mortality is mostly contributed by reduced death associated with stroke (16.9 thousand, accounting for 40.0%), ischemic heart disease (14.0 thousand, 33.2%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (7.6 thousand, 18.0%). Our calculations do not support or advocate any idea that pandemics produce a positive note to community health. We simply present health benefits from air pollution improvement due to large emission reductions from lowered human and industrial activities. Our results show that continuous efforts to improve air quality are essential to protect public health, especially over city-clusters with dense population.
  7. van der Eijk Y, Tan Ping Ping G, Ong SE, Tan Li Xin G, Li D, Zhang D, et al.
    PMID: 33906338 DOI: 10.34172/ijhpm.2021.25
    BACKGROUND: The global e-cigarette market has proliferated and is increasingly dominated by transnational tobacco companies. While Southeast Asian countries have received relatively little attention in e-cigarette research, the region represents an area of potentially untapped growth for the industry. We review the e-cigarette situation in Southeast Asia in terms of the e-cigarette markets, advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes, reported health impacts of e-cigarette use, and policy responses in the region.

    METHODS: We examined e-cigarette market data from the Euromonitor Global Market Information Database (GMID) Passport database, searched in the academic literature, grey literature and news archives for any reports or studies of e-cigarette related diseases or injuries, e-cigarette marketing, and e-cigarette policy responses in Southeast Asian countries, and browsed the websites of online e-cigarette retailers catering to the region's active e-cigarette markets.

    RESULTS: In 2019, e-cigarettes were sold in six Southeast Asian markets with a total market value of $595 million, projected to grow to $766 million by 2023. E-commerce is a significant and growing sales channel in the region, with most of the popular or featured brands in online shops originating from China. Southeast Asian youth are targeted with a wide variety of flavours, trendy designs and point of sale promotions, and several e-cigarette related injuries and diseases have been reported in the region. Policy responses vary considerably between countries, ranging from strict bans to no or partial regulations.

    CONCLUSION: Although Southeast Asia's e-cigarette market is relatively nascent, this is likely to change if transnationals invest more heavily in the region. Populous countries with weak e-cigarette regulations, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are desirable targets for the transnationals. Regulatory action is needed to prevent e-cigarette use from becoming entrenched into these societies, especially among young people.

  8. Ma J, Ma NL, Zhang D, Wu N, Liu X, Meng L, et al.
    Chemosphere, 2021 Dec 16;292:133345.
    PMID: 34922964 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133345
    Zero waste multistage utilization of biomass from Ginkgo biloba branches (GBBs) was achieved through extraction of bioactive components, analysis of antioxidant and antibacterial activities, preparation and composition of pyrolyzate, adsorption and reuse of modified biochar. The results showed that GBBs had abundant bioactive components for potential application in the industry of food, chemical raw materials and biomedicine. Especially, the bioactive compounds in acetone extract (10 mg/mL) of GBBs identified by DPPH and ABTS had free radical scavenging abilities of 92.28% and 98.18%, respectively, which are equivalent to Vitamin C used as an antioxidant in food additives. Fourier Transform Infrared and X-Ray Diffraction analysis showed that carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and magnetic Fe3O4 were successfully incorporated into raw biochar (RB) to form CMC-Fe3O4-RB nanomaterial. Scanning electron microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction spectroscopy displayed Fe, C, and O existed on the surface of CMC-Fe3O4-RB. Compared with RB, CMC-Fe3O4-RB had a larger specific surface area, pore volume and pore size. Meanwhile, nanomagnetic CMC-Fe3O4-RB solved the problem of agglomeration in traditional magnetized biochar production, and improved the adsorption capacity of Pb2+, which was 29.90% higher than that of RB by ICP-OES. Further, the Pb2+ (10 mg/L) adsorption capacity of CMC-Fe3O4-RB reached the highest level in 2 h at the dosage of 0.01 g/L, and remained stable at 52.987 mg/g after five cycles of adsorption and desorption. This research aided in the creation of a strategy for GBBs zero waste multistage usage and a circular economic model for GBBs industry development, which can be promoted and applied to the fields of food industry and environment improvement.
  9. Guan R, Van Le Q, Yang H, Zhang D, Gu H, Yang Y, et al.
    Chemosphere, 2021 May;271:129499.
    PMID: 33445014 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129499
    Phytochemicals refer to active substances in plant-based diets. Phytochemicals found in for example fruits, vegetables, grains and seed oils are considered relatively safe for consumption due to mammal-plant co-evolution and adaptation. A number of human diseases are related to oxidative stress caused by for example chemical environmental contaminants in air, water and food; while also lifestyle including smoking and lack of exercise and dietary preferences are important factors for disease development in humans. Here we explore the dietary sources of antioxidant phytochemicals that have beneficial effects on oxidative stress, cardiovascular and neurological diseases as well as cancer. Plant-based diets usually contain phenolic acids, flavonoids and carotenoids, which have strong antioxidant properties, and therefore remove the excess of active oxygen in the body, and protect cells from damage, reducing the risk of cardiovascular and Alzheimer's disease. In most cases, obesity is related to diet and inactivity and plant-based diets change lipid composition and metabolism, which reduce obesity related hazards. Cruciferous and Allium vegetables are rich in organic sulphides that can act on the metabolism of carcinogens and therefore used as anti-cancer and suppressing agents while dietary fibres and plant sterols may improve intestinal health and prevent intestinal diseases. Thus, we recommend a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains as its content of phytochemicals may have the potential to prevent or improve a broad sweep of various diseases.
  10. Wang Y, Cho SH, Lin HC, Ghoshal AG, Bin Abdul Muttalif AR, Thanaviratananich S, et al.
    Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 2018;177(1):69-79.
    PMID: 29874659 DOI: 10.1159/000489015
    BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis (AR), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and rhinosinusitis are common and little studied in the Asia-Pacific region.

    OBJECTIVES: We sought to investigate real-world practice patterns for these respiratory diseases in India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

    METHODS: This cross-sectional observational study enrolled adults (age ≥18 years) presenting to general practitioners (GP) or specialists for physician-diagnosed AR, asthma, COPD, or rhinosinusitis. Physicians and patients completed study-specific surveys at one visit, recording patient characteristics, health-related quality of life (QoL), work impairment, and healthcare resource use. Findings by country and physician category (GP or specialist) were summarized.

    RESULTS: Of the 13,902 patients screened, 7,243 (52%) presented with AR (18%), asthma (18%), COPD (7%), or rhinosinusitis (9%); 5,250 of the 7,243 (72%) patients were eligible for this study. Most eligible patients (70-100%) in India, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore attended GP, while most (83-85%) in Taiwan and Thailand attended specialists. From 42% (rhinosinusitis) to 67% (AR) of new diagnoses were made by GP. On average, patients with COPD reported the worst health-related QoL, particularly to GP. Median losses of work productivity for each condition and activity impairment, except for asthma, were numerically greater for patients presenting to GP vs. specialists. GP prescribed more antibiotics for AR and asthma, and fewer intranasal corticosteroids for AR, than specialists (p < 0.001 for all comparisons).

    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings, albeit mostly descriptive and influenced by between-country differences, suggest that practice patterns differ between physician types, and the disease burden may be substantial for patients presenting in general practice.
  11. Peng W, Ma NL, Zhang D, Zhou Q, Yue X, Khoo SC, et al.
    Environ Res, 2020 12;191:110046.
    PMID: 32841638 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110046
    Locusts differ from ordinary grasshoppers in their ability to swarm over long distances and are among the oldest migratory pests. The ecology and biology of locusts make them among the most devastating pests worldwide and hence the calls for actions to prevent the next outbreaks. The most destructive of all locust species is the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria). Here, we review the current locust epidemic 2020 outbreak and its causes and prevention including the green technologies that may provide a reference for future directions of locust control and food security. Massive locust outbreaks threaten the terrestrial environments and crop production in around 100 countries of which Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are the most affected. Six large locust outbreaks are reported for the period from 1912 to 1989 all being closely related to long-term droughts and warm winters coupled with occurrence of high precipitation in spring and summer. The outbreaks in East Africa, India and Pakistan are the most pronounced with locusts migrating more than 150 km/day during which the locusts consume food equivalent to their own body weight on a daily basis. The plague heavily affects the agricultural sectors, which is the foundation of national economies and social stability. Global warming is likely the main cause of locust plague outbreak in recent decades driving egg spawning of up to 2-400,000 eggs per square meter. Biological control techniques such as microorganisms, insects and birds help to reduce the outbreaks while reducing ecosystem and agricultural impacts. In addition, green technologies such as light and sound stimulation seem to work, however, these are challenging and need further technological development incorporating remote sensing and modelling before they are applicable on large-scales. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the 2020 locust outbreak is the worst in 70 years probably triggered by climate change, hurricanes and heavy rain and has affected a total of 70,000 ha in Somalia and Ethiopia. There is a need for shifting towards soybean, rape, and watermelon which seems to help to prevent locust outbreaks and obtain food security. Furthermore, locusts have a very high protein content and is an excellent protein source for meat production and as an alternative human protein source, which should be used to mitigate food security. In addition, forestation of arable land improves local climate conditions towards less precipitation and lower temperatures while simultaneously attracting a larger number of birds thereby increasing the locust predation rates.
  12. Li L, Li Q, Huang L, Wang Q, Zhu A, Xu J, et al.
    Sci Total Environ, 2020 Aug 25;732:139282.
    PMID: 32413621 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139282
    The outbreak of COVID-19 has spreaded rapidly across the world. To control the rapid dispersion of the virus, China has imposed national lockdown policies to practise social distancing. This has led to reduced human activities and hence primary air pollutant emissions, which caused improvement of air quality as a side-product. To investigate the air quality changes during the COVID-19 lockdown over the YRD Region, we apply the WRF-CAMx modelling system together with monitoring data to investigate the impact of human activity pattern changes on air quality. Results show that human activities were lowered significantly during the period: industrial operations, VKT, constructions in operation, etc. were significantly reduced, leading to lowered SO2, NOx, PM2.5 and VOCs emissions by approximately 16-26%, 29-47%, 27-46% and 37-57% during the Level I and Level II response periods respectively. These emission reduction has played a significant role in the improvement of air quality. Concentrations of PM2.5, NO2 and SO2 decreased by 31.8%, 45.1% and 20.4% during the Level I period; and 33.2%, 27.2% and 7.6% during the Level II period compared with 2019. However, ozone did not show any reduction and increased greatly. Our results also show that even during the lockdown, with primary emissions reduction of 15%-61%, the daily average PM2.5 concentrations range between 15 and 79 μg m-3, which shows that background and residual pollutions are still high. Source apportionment results indicate that the residual pollution of PM2.5 comes from industry (32.2-61.1%), mobile (3.9-8.1%), dust (2.6-7.7%), residential sources (2.1-28.5%) in YRD and 14.0-28.6% contribution from long-range transport coming from northern China. This indicates that in spite of the extreme reductions in primary emissions, it cannot fully tackle the current air pollution. Re-organisation of the energy and industrial strategy together with trans-regional joint-control for a full long-term air pollution plan need to be further taken into account.
  13. Shen D, Qi H, Lin W, Zhang W, Bian D, Shi X, et al.
    Sci Adv, 2021 Jun;7(23).
    PMID: 34088662 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf0614
    Balancing the biodegradability and mechanical integrity of a bioresorbable scaffold (BRS) with time after implantation to match the remodeling of the scaffolded blood vessel is important, but a key challenge in doing so remains. This study presents a novel intercalated structure of a metallic BRS by introducing a nanoscale Zn sacrificial layer between the nitrided Fe platform and the sirolimus-carrying poly(d,l-lactide) drug coating. The PDLLA-Zn-FeN BRS shows a multistage biodegradation behavior, maintaining mechanical integrity at the initial stage and exhibiting accelerated biodegradation at the subsequent stage in both rabbit abdominal aortas and human coronary arteries, where complete biodegradation was observed about 2 years after implantation. The presence of the nanoscale Zn sacrificial layer with an adjustable thickness also contributes to the tunable biodegradation of BRS and allows the reduction of the metallic strut thickness to 53 μm, with radial strength as strong as that of the current permanent drug-eluting stents.
  14. Liu C, Kanazawa T, Tian Y, Mohamed Saini S, Mancuso S, Mostaid MS, et al.
    Transl Psychiatry, 2019 08 27;9(1):205.
    PMID: 31455759 DOI: 10.1038/s41398-019-0532-4
    Over 3000 candidate gene association studies have been performed to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia. However, a comprehensive evaluation of these studies' findings has not been undertaken since the decommissioning of the schizophrenia gene (SzGene) database in 2011. As such, we systematically identified and carried out random-effects meta-analyses for all polymorphisms with four or more independent studies in schizophrenia along with a series of expanded meta-analyses incorporating published and unpublished genome-wide association (GWA) study data. Based on 550 meta-analyses, 11 SNPs in eight linkage disequilibrium (LD) independent loci showed Bonferroni-significant associations with schizophrenia. Expanded meta-analyses identified an additional 10 SNPs, for a total of 21 Bonferroni-significant SNPs in 14 LD-independent loci. Three of these loci (MTHFR, DAOA, ARVCF) had never been implicated by a schizophrenia GWA study. In sum, the present study has provided a comprehensive summary of the current schizophrenia genetics knowledgebase and has made available all the collected data as a resource for the research community.
  15. Barkham T, Zadoks RN, Azmai MNA, Baker S, Bich VTN, Chalker V, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2019 06;13(6):e0007421.
    PMID: 31246981 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007421
    BACKGROUND: In 2015, Singapore had the first and only reported foodborne outbreak of invasive disease caused by the group B Streptococcus (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae). Disease, predominantly septic arthritis and meningitis, was associated with sequence type (ST)283, acquired from eating raw farmed freshwater fish. Although GBS sepsis is well-described in neonates and older adults with co-morbidities, this outbreak affected non-pregnant and younger adults with fewer co-morbidities, suggesting greater virulence. Before 2015 ST283 had only been reported from twenty humans in Hong Kong and two in France, and from one fish in Thailand. We hypothesised that ST283 was causing region-wide infection in Southeast Asia.

    METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We performed a literature review, whole genome sequencing on 145 GBS isolates collected from six Southeast Asian countries, and phylogenetic analysis on 7,468 GBS sequences including 227 variants of ST283 from humans and animals. Although almost absent outside Asia, ST283 was found in all invasive Asian collections analysed, from 1995 to 2017. It accounted for 29/38 (76%) human isolates in Lao PDR, 102/139 (73%) in Thailand, 4/13 (31%) in Vietnam, and 167/739 (23%) in Singapore. ST283 and its variants were found in 62/62 (100%) tilapia from 14 outbreak sites in Malaysia and Vietnam, in seven fish species in Singapore markets, and a diseased frog in China.

    CONCLUSIONS: GBS ST283 is widespread in Southeast Asia, where it accounts for a large proportion of bacteraemic GBS, and causes disease and economic loss in aquaculture. If human ST283 is fishborne, as in the Singapore outbreak, then GBS sepsis in Thailand and Lao PDR is predominantly a foodborne disease. However, whether transmission is from aquaculture to humans, or vice versa, or involves an unidentified reservoir remains unknown. Creation of cross-border collaborations in human and animal health are needed to complete the epidemiological picture.

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