Publications by authors named "Ran Zhang"

799 Publications

Mettl14-driven senescence-associated secretory phenotype facilitates somatic cell reprogramming.

Stem Cell Reports 2022 Aug;17(8):1799-1809

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Clinical and Translational Research Center of Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China; Frontier Science Center for Stem Cell Research, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China. Electronic address:

The METTL3-METTL14 complex, the "writer" of N-methyladenosine (mA), plays an important role in many biological processes. Previous studies have shown that Mettl3 overexpression can increase the level of mA and promote somatic cell reprogramming. Here, we demonstrate that Mettl14, another component of the methyltransferase complex, can significantly enhance the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in an mA-independent manner. In cooperation with Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc, overexpressed Mettl14 transiently promoted senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) gene expression in non-reprogrammed cells in the late stage of reprogramming. Subsequently, we demonstrated that interleukin-6 (IL-6), a component of the SASP, significantly enhanced somatic cell reprogramming. In contrast, blocking the SASP using a senolytic agent or a nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) inhibitor impaired the effect of Mettl14 on reprogramming. Our results highlight the mA-independent function of Mettl14 in reprogramming and provide new insight into the interplay between senescence and reprogramming in vitro.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2022.06.012DOI Listing
August 2022

Promoting the Brand Inside: The Conceptualization of Nonprofit Internal Branding and Its Relationship With Employees' Brand Performance.

Front Psychol 2022 13;13:722057. Epub 2022 Jul 13.

School of Law, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, Shanghai, China.

As a value-led entity, the nonprofit depends on its staff for the delivery of the brand value outsides and thus promoting the brand inside is crucial to the development of the nonprofits. Using a sample of 290 full-time staff working in 270 nonprofits in China, two related studies were conducted. Study 1 aimed to develop and validate a new scale for internal branding in the nonprofit context, while Study 2 aimed to investigate the linking mechanism between internal branding and brand performance with the mediating roles (including chain mediation) of the person-organization fit (POF) and intent to stay with the brand (IntSB). As predicted, the results revealed that: (1) the nonprofit internal branding (NIB) scale is a three-dimensional construct that is composed of brand-centered training, internal brand communication, and brand-oriented leadership, (2) internal branding positively predicts POF, IntSB, and brand performance, and (3) POF and IntSB sequentially mediate the internal branding-brand performance relationship. The implications of our findings for internal branding in the nonprofit context are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.722057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9350544PMC
July 2022

Accurate identification of kidney injury progression via a fluorescent biosensor array.

Mikrochim Acta 2022 08 1;189(8):304. Epub 2022 Aug 1.

State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of TCM Evaluation and Translational Research, Research Center for Traceability and Standardization of TCMs, School of Traditional Chinese Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, 211198, People's Republic of China.

Identifying the progress of kidney injury may aid the effective treatment and intervention. Herein, we developed a fluorescent biosensor array for instantaneous and accurate identification of the kidney injury progression via "doubled" signals. The multichannel biosensor array consisted of polydopamine-polyethyleneimine (PDA-PEI) and multicolor-labelled different length of DNAs including AAAAA-Cyanine7 (5A-Cy7), AAAAAAAAAA-Texas Red (10A-Texas Red), and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-VIC (20A-VIC). Facing to the variety of protein in urine with alterable charge accompanied with different progress of kidney injury, the composition of urine replaces the DNA signal molecules, forming their special fluorescence patterns. Taking the size of protein into consideration, the original three variables induced by the protein charge were extended to six variables induced by the two factors of protein particle size and charge difference, which could provide a more accurate strategy to identify the progress of kidney injury. Notably, this strategy not only opened up new perspective for identification the progress of kidney injury via the size and charge of urine protein, but also improved the resolving power of sensor array by increasing the number of sensor elements for extending their potential application to various diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00604-022-05380-9DOI Listing
August 2022

The role of leptin in indirectly mediating "somatic anxiety" symptoms in major depressive disorder.

Front Psychiatry 2022 15;13:757958. Epub 2022 Jul 15.

Department of Psychiatry, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China.

Background: Leptin is a multifunctional hormone secreted from adipose tissue, which plays a core role in regulating energy intake and expenditure. Evidence has demonstrated that leptin receptors are located in brain areas involved in emotional processing, and major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterized by dysfunction of emotional processing. Taken together, these features suggest that leptin may play a potential role in the pathophysiology of MDD. However, the precise roles of leptin in modulating depressive symptoms in MDD remain unclear.

Methods: Participants [18 drug-naïve MDD patients, 15 unaffected first-degree relatives of MDD patients (FDR-MDD), and 40 healthy controls] completed clinical assessments and provided blood samples for measurement of leptin levels. We evaluated the effect of leptin on clinical status (MDD or FDR-MDD) and symptomatic dimensionalities of MDD using mediation analysis.

Results: We found that leptin was increased in MDD patients and this only predicted "somatic anxiety" symptoms. Furthermore, leptin was a significant and indirect mediator of the association between clinical status (MDD or FDR-MDD) and "somatic anxiety" symptoms.

Conclusion: Our finding that leptin was a significant and indirect mediator of clinical status (MDD or FDR-MDD) and "somatic anxiety" symptoms suggests that leptin may indirectly affect somatic depressive symptoms in MDD. Our findings may provide a theoretical basis for novel clinical interventions in MDD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.757958DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9337242PMC
July 2022

Social Life of Females with Persistent COVID-19 Symptoms: A Qualitative Study.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2022 Jul 26;19(15). Epub 2022 Jul 26.

Department of Health Promotion Education and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.

Persistent COVID-19 symptoms (long COVID) may bring challenges to long haulers' social lives. Females may endure more profound impacts given their special social roles and existing structural inequality. This study explores the effects of long COVID on the social life of female long haulers. We conducted semi-structured interviews via Zoom between April and June 2021 with 15 female long haulers in the United States, purposely recruited from Facebook and Slack groups and organization websites related to long COVID. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim with consent. The interview data were managed using MAXQDA and examined by thematic analysis. Long COVID negatively affected female long haulers' social lives by causing physical limitations, economic issues, altered social relationships, social roles' conflicts, and social stigma. Long COVID prevented female long haulers' recovery process. Physical limitations altered their perceptions on body, and family-work conflicts caused tremendous stress. They also experienced internalized stigma and job insecurities. This study provides insights into challenges that COVID-19 female long haulers could face in their return to normal social life, underscoring the vulnerability of females affected by long COVID due to significant alterations in their social lives. Shifting to new methods of communication, especially social media, diminished the adverse effects of long COVID (e.g., social isolation).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159076DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9331983PMC
July 2022

Listening to Voices from African American Communities in the Southern States about COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Communication: A Qualitative Study.

Vaccines (Basel) 2022 Jun 29;10(7). Epub 2022 Jun 29.

Department of Health Promotion Education and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina SmartState Center for Healthcare Quality, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.

The high uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most promising measures to control the pandemic. However, some African American (AA) communities exhibit vaccination hesitancy due to mis- or disinformation. It is important to understand the challenges in accessing reliable COVID-19 vaccine information and to develop feasible health communication interventions based on voices from AA communities. We conducted 2 focus group discussions (FGDs) among 18 community stakeholders recruited from 3 counties in South Carolina on 8 October and 29 October 2021. The FGDs were conducted online via Zoom meetings. The FGD data were managed and thematically analyzed using NVivo 12. Participants worked primarily in colleges, churches, and health agencies. We found that the challenges of accessing reliable vaccine information in AA communities primarily included structural barriers, information barriers, and a lack of trust. Community stakeholders recommended recruiting trusted messengers, using social events to reach target populations, and conducting health communication campaigns through open dialogue among stakeholders. Health communication interventions directed at COVID-19 vaccine uptake should be grounded in ongoing community engagement, trust-building activities, and transparent communication about vaccine development. Tailoring health communication interventions to different groups may help reduce misinformation spread and thus promote vaccination in AA communities in the southern states.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10071046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9319640PMC
June 2022

UAV Path Planning Algorithm Based on Improved Harris Hawks Optimization.

Sensors (Basel) 2022 Jul 13;22(14). Epub 2022 Jul 13.

School of Information Engineering, Dalian University, Dalian 116622, China.

In the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system, finding a flight planning path with low cost and fast search speed is an important problem. However, in the complex three-dimensional (3D) flight environment, the planning effect of many algorithms is not ideal. In order to improve its performance, this paper proposes a UAV path planning algorithm based on improved Harris Hawks Optimization (HHO). A 3D mission space model and a flight path cost function are first established to transform the path planning problem into a multidimensional function optimization problem. HHO is then improved for path planning, where the Cauchy mutation strategy and adaptive weight are introduced in the exploration process in order to increase the population diversity, expand the search space and improve the search ability. In addition, in order to reduce the possibility of falling into local extremum, the Sine-cosine Algorithm (SCA) is used and its oscillation characteristics are considered to gradually converge to the optimal solution. The simulation results show that the proposed algorithm has high optimization accuracy, convergence speed and robustness, and it can generate a more optimized path planning result for UAVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s22145232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9321467PMC
July 2022

Optimal Performance and Application for Seagull Optimization Algorithm Using a Hybrid Strategy.

Entropy (Basel) 2022 Jul 14;24(7). Epub 2022 Jul 14.

Communication and Network Laboratory, Dalian University, Dalian 116622, China.

This paper aims to present a novel hybrid algorithm named SPSOA to address problems of low search capability and easy to fall into local optimization of seagull optimization algorithm. Firstly, the Sobol sequence in the low-discrepancy sequences is used to initialize the seagull population to enhance the population's diversity and ergodicity. Then, inspired by the sigmoid function, a new parameter is designed to strengthen the ability of the algorithm to coordinate early exploration and late development. Finally, the particle swarm optimization learning strategy is introduced into the seagull position updating method to improve the ability of the algorithm to jump out of local optimization. Through the simulation comparison with other algorithms on 12 benchmark test functions from different angles, the experimental results show that SPSOA is superior to other algorithms in stability, convergence accuracy, and speed. In engineering applications, SPSOA is applied to blind source separation of mixed images. The experimental results show that SPSOA can successfully realize the blind source separation of noisy mixed images and achieve higher separation performance than the compared algorithms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/e24070973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9317883PMC
July 2022

Transcriptomic and proteomic retinal pigment epithelium signatures of age-related macular degeneration.

Nat Commun 2022 Jul 26;13(1):4233. Epub 2022 Jul 26.

Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW, 2010, Australia.

There are currently no treatments for geographic atrophy, the advanced form of age-related macular degeneration. Hence, innovative studies are needed to model this condition and prevent or delay its progression. Induced pluripotent stem cells generated from patients with geographic atrophy and healthy individuals were differentiated to retinal pigment epithelium. Integrating transcriptional profiles of 127,659 retinal pigment epithelium cells generated from 43 individuals with geographic atrophy and 36 controls with genotype data, we identify 445 expression quantitative trait loci in cis that are asssociated with disease status and specific to retinal pigment epithelium subpopulations. Transcriptomics and proteomics approaches identify molecular pathways significantly upregulated in geographic atrophy, including in mitochondrial functions, metabolic pathways and extracellular cellular matrix reorganization. Five significant protein quantitative trait loci that regulate protein expression in the retinal pigment epithelium and in geographic atrophy are identified - two of which share variants with cis- expression quantitative trait loci, including proteins involved in mitochondrial biology and neurodegeneration. Investigation of mitochondrial metabolism confirms mitochondrial dysfunction as a core constitutive difference of the retinal pigment epithelium from patients with geographic atrophy. This study uncovers important differences in retinal pigment epithelium homeostasis associated with geographic atrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-31707-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9325891PMC
July 2022

Predicting the success of multimodal rehabilitation in chronic ankle instability based on patient-reported outcomes.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2022 Jul 25;23(1):706. Epub 2022 Jul 25.

Department of Rehabilitation, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, 1 Dongjiaominxiang, Beijing, 100730, China.

Background: The aim of this study was to identify potential indicators to predict the success of multimodal rehabilitation in chronic ankle instability (CAI) patients based on patient-reported outcomes.

Methods: Sixty patients with self-reported CAI participated. Their demographic information, injury history, and symptoms were recorded. Physical examinations and dynamic posture control tests were performed. The participants underwent sixteen 30-min treatment sessions of multimodal rehabilitation over 8 weeks. Fifty-one patients (85.0%) were available for follow-up after 8 weeks of the intervention. Treatment success was defined based on the participants' perceived recovery using the global rating of change (GRC). Potential predictor variables were entered into a stepwise logistic regression model to identify variables for the prediction of treatment success.

Results: Forty of 51 participants (78.4%) were considered to have a successful outcome. Of the variables assessed, time since last sprain ≤ 8 months was a predictor of treatment success (p < 0.05). If a patient met the criteria, there was an 88.03% probability of successful multimodal rehabilitation.

Conclusion: A time since the last sprain ≤ 8 months may predict successful patient-reported outcomes after multimodal rehabilitation in CAI patients.

Level Of Evidence: Prospective study, Level 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-022-05676-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9310506PMC
July 2022

[Isolation, identification and biodegradation characterization of a novel monensin-degrading bacterial strain].

Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao 2022 Jul;38(7):2618-2627

College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.

Biodegradation of antibiotic pollutants by microorganisms has received widespread attention, to which the identification of microorganisms capable of efficiently degrading antibiotics is a key. In this study, a strain DM-1 with high degradation capability was successfully isolated from monensin-contaminated chicken manure by using monensin as the sole carbon source. The strain was further identified basing on morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics and 16S rRNA gene sequence-based phylogenetic analysis. The degradation efficiency of DM-1 for monensin was determined by HPLC post-column derivatization, and then the degradation conditions of DM-1 were optimized. DM-1 was identified as a strain of and named as DM-1. The optimal conditions for monensin degradation by strain DM-1 were pH 7.0, 30 ℃, and initial monensin concentration of 50 mg/L. The strain DM-1 degraded more than 87.51% of monensin at an initial concentration of 10 mg/L in 28 days, while only a slight decrease in monensin concentration was observed in the control without monensin-degrading strain. This study indicates that the strain DM-1 has a promising application prospect in the bioremediation of monensin-contaminated environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13345/j.cjb.220155DOI Listing
July 2022

A Metabolic Gene Signature to Predict Breast Cancer Prognosis.

Front Mol Biosci 2022 29;9:900433. Epub 2022 Jun 29.

Hunan Normal University School of Medicine, Changsha, China.

The existing metabolic gene signatures for predicting breast cancer outcomes only focus on gene expression data without considering clinical characteristics. Therefore, this study aimed to establish a predictive risk model combining metabolic enzyme genes and clinicopathological characteristics to predict the overall survival in patients with breast cancer. Transcriptomics and corresponding clinical data for patients with breast cancer were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) databases. Differentially expressed metabolic genes between tumors and normal tissues were identified in the TCGA dataset (training dataset). A prognostic model was then built using univariate and multifactorial Cox proportional hazards regression analyses in the training dataset. The capability of the predictive model was then assessed using the receiver operating characteristic in both datasets. Pathway enrichment analysis and immune cell infiltration were performed using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG)/Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment and CIBERSORT algorithm, respectively. In breast cancer and normal tissues, 212 metabolic enzyme genes were differentially expressed. The predictive model included four factors: age, stage, and expression of SLC35A2 and PLA2G10. Patients with breast cancer were classified into high- and low-risk groups based on the model; the high-risk group had a significantly poorer overall survival rate than the low-risk group. Furthermore, the two risk groups showed different activation of pathways and alterations in the properties of tumor microenvironment-infiltrating immune cells. We developed a powerful model to predict prognosis in patients with breast cancer by combining the gene expression of metabolic enzymes with clinicopathological characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2022.900433DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9277072PMC
June 2022

Association of PFKM gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to cryptorchidism in a Chinese Han population.

Pediatr Surg Int 2022 Sep 15;38(9):1311-1316. Epub 2022 Jul 15.

Department of Immunology, West China School of Basic Medical Science and Forensic Medicine, Sichuan University, No. 17 Ren Min Nan Lu Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, China.

Background: Cryptorchidism is one of the most common congenital anomalies in newborn boys. There are various risk factors that have been verified to have relationship with cryptorchidism, including exogenous and genetic, but the pathogenesis of cryptorchidism remains unclear. PFKM gene is a critical gene encodes for a regulatory enzyme, which limits the rate in the pathway of glycolysis. We assumed that cryptorchidism risk may associated with PFKM gene single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Thus we selected three tag SNPs in the PFKM gene and aimed to investigate the possible association between PFKM gene polymorphisms and cryptorchidism risk.

Methods: The SNPs were genotyped using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis. 140 cases and 227 controls were enrolled in this study, including 105 unilateral cryptorchidism and 35 bilateral cases. The testis position was decided by the higher one in bilateral cases.

Results: The frequency of allele G of SNP rs2228500 is increased in cryptorchidism patients compared to that in controls (p < 0.05). Genotypic frequencies of rs2228500 are associated with the susceptibility of cryptorchidism in the codominant model (p < 0.05). And compared with G/G genotype in the dominant model, notable decreased frequencies of A carriers (A/G-A/A genotypes) were observed in cryptorchidism patients (p = 0.0069, OR = 1.80, 95% CI  1.17-2.75).

Conclusions: This research first revealed that PFKM gene polymorphisms were associated with cryptorchidism in a Chinese Han population. We have offered primary evidence that the G allele and the G/G genotype of rs2228500 SNP in the PFKM gene are more frequent in patients with cryptorchidism than healthy controls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00383-022-05167-2DOI Listing
September 2022

Single-cell profiling of immune cells after neoadjuvant pembrolizumab and chemotherapy in IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Cell Death Dis 2022 Jul 13;13(7):607. Epub 2022 Jul 13.

Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Tianjin, 300060, China.

The combination of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) with chemotherapy (chemoimmunotherapy) in the neoadjuvant setting have achieved favorable clinical benefits in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but the mechanism of clinical responses remain unclear. We provide a rich resource of 186,477 individual immune cells from 48 samples of four treatment-naive and eight neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy treated IIIA NSCLC patients (responders versus non-responders) by single-cell RNA-seq and TCR-seq. We observed the synergistic increase of B cells and CD4 T cells were associated with a positive therapeutic response of neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy. B cell IgG subclasses IgG1 and IgG3 played a critical role in anti-tumor immune response in tumor lesions, and this process was driven by increased IL-21 secreted by infiltrated T follicular helper (Tfh) cells after neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy. Furthermore, we uncovered several critical events for positive clinical outcomes, including the diminished activated TNFRSF4 regulatory T cells (Tregs), increased LAMP3 dendritic cells (DCs), and the expansion of intratumoral CD4 T clones and peripheral C3-Cytotoxic CD8 T clones. A validation cohort of 26 treatment-naive and 30 neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy treated IIIA/ IIIB NSCLC patients verified these findings. In total, our comprehensive study of the single-cell profile of immune cells provides insights into mechanisms underlying anti-PD-1-based therapies and identified potential predictive factors and therapeutic targets for improving the efficiency of neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy in NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41419-022-05057-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9279493PMC
July 2022

Utilizing an Oxygen-Rich Interface by Hydroxyapatite to Regulate the Linear Diffusion for the Stable Solid-State Electrolytes.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2022 Jul 13. Epub 2022 Jul 13.

Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials Technology, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China.

Improving dissociation and diffusion of lithium ions is the key to solving the practical application of polymer-based solid-state electrolytes (SSE). Here, a low-cost three-dimensional hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanowire is used in polyethene oxide to obtain an enhanced lithium-ion electrolyte. The oxygen-rich interface of HAP provides an integrated dissociation-diffusion platform for lithium salts. The TFSI anions tend to coordinate with calcium ions, which makes it easier for lithium ions to escape and stay in a free state. The lateral nucleus in the HAP polyethene electrolyte regulates the diffusion from spherical diffusion into linear planar diffusion, which is confirmed by chronoamperometry curves and in situ observation. The stability of the electrolyte at high voltages is improved by inhibiting the superoxide radicals of polyethene oxide chains, which is demonstrated by nuclear magnetic resonance and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy methods. The initial specific charge capacity of the Li/SPE/LiFePO cell with HAP-modified polyethene oxide at 2 C is 148.8 mA h/g, and its initial Coulombic efficiency is 95.17%. After 100 cycles, the specific discharge capacity is 125.5 mA h/g with 99.91% retention per cycle. This oxygen-rich interface strategy would guide the discovery of novel materials for polymer-based SSE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.2c09207DOI Listing
July 2022

[Effectiveness of transoral endoscopic thyroid surgery for lymph node dissection in the central region of thyroid cancer].

Lin Chung Er Bi Yan Hou Tou Jing Wai Ke Za Zhi 2022 Jul;36(7):540-544;558

Department of Head and Neck Surgery,the third Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University,Kunming,650118,China.

To investigate the effect of transoral endoscopic thyroid surgery in the central lymph node dissection of thyroid cancer. Twenty patients underwent endoscopic thyroidectomy via oral vestibular approach (TOETVA group) and 20 gender and age matched patients underwent conventional open thyroidectomy were selected in this study. The clinical data, number of lymph node dissection and postoperative complications of the two groups were collected and analyzed. SPSS 24.0 statistical software was used for data analysis. There was no significant differences in age, BMI, tumor size or the number of Hashimoto's thyroiditis patients between the TOETVA group and the open group(>0.05). The operation time([117.30±10.54]min) and postoperative drainage volume([146.05±30.66]mL) in the TOETVA group were significantly higher than those in the open group([59.05±6.40]min, [77.90±22.18]mL), <0.001. The pain in the open group 24 h after surgery was more severe than that in the TOETVA group(<0.05). The total number of central lymph nodes, the number of pre-laryngeal lymph nodes and the number of pre-tracheal lymph nodes cleared by the two groups were similar, and the number of final positive lymph nodes had no significant difference. However, the number of paratracheal lymph nodes removed in the TOETVA group was more(7.8±4.2) nodes than that in the open group(6.4±3.9) nodes, <0.05. There was no significant difference in postoperative complications between the two groups. The scores of cosmetic evaluation and rating of cicatrices in the TOETVA group six months after surgery were(0.77±0.58) significantly lower than those in the open group(4.30±1.54), <0.001. In central lymph node dissection, the efficiency of TOETVA is similar to that of traditional open thyroid surgery. For special anatomical regions, endoscopic surgery is more efficient. At the same time, TOETVA does not increase the incidence of related complications, and has good cosmetic effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13201/j.issn.2096-7993.2022.07.012DOI Listing
July 2022

Late Miocene Tarim desert wetting linked with eccentricity minimum and East Asian monsoon weakening.

Nat Commun 2022 Jul 8;13(1):3977. Epub 2022 Jul 8.

Xinjiang Research Center for Mineral Resources, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi, China.

Periodic wetting is an inherent feature of many monsoon marginal region deserts. Previous studies consistently demonstrate desert wetting during times of Earth's high orbital eccentricity and strong summer monsoon. Here we report the first evidence demonstrating desert wetting during Earth's low orbital eccentricity from the late Miocene strata of the northwestern Tarim Basin of northern China, which is commonly thought to be beyond the range of Asian monsoon precipitation. Using mechanisms for modern Tarim wetting as analogs, we propose that East Asian summer monsoon weakening enhanced westward moisture transport and caused opposite desert wetting pattern to that observed in monsoon marginal region deserts. This inference is supported by our model simulations. This result has far-reaching implications for understanding environmental variations in non-monsoonal deserts in the next few thousands of years under high atmospheric CO content and low eccentricity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-31577-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9270403PMC
July 2022

Active Sulfur-Host Material VS with Surface Defect Engineering: Intercalation-Conversion Hybrid Cathode Boosting Electrochemical Performance of Li-S Batteries.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2022 Jul 8;14(28):32474-32485. Epub 2022 Jul 8.

College of Chemistry, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan 450001, China.

Transition-metal sulfides as late-model electrocatalysts usually remain inactive in lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries in spite of their advantages to accelerate the rapid conversion of lithium polysulfides (LiPSs). Herein, a series of cobalt-doped vanadium tetrasulfide/reduced graphene oxide (%Co-VS/rGO) composites with an ultrathin layered structure as an active sulfur-host material are prepared by a one-pot hydrothermal method. The well-designed two-dimensional ultrathin 3%Co-VS/rGO with heteroatom architecture defects (defect of Co-doping and defect of S-vacancies) can significantly improve the adsorption ability on LiPSs, the electrocatalytic activity in the LiS potentiostatic deposition, and the active sulfur reduction/oxidation conversion reactions and greatly boost the electrochemical performances of Li-S batteries. On the one hand, the ultrathin 3%Co-VS/rGO possesses good conductivity inheriting from rGO which contributes to the capacity of internal redox reactions on lithiation from VS. On the other hand, the hybrid architectures provide strong adsorption and excellent electrocatalytic ability on LiPSs, which benefit from the surface defects caused by heteroatom doping. The [email protected]%Co-VS/rGO cathode displays a high specific capacity of 1332.6 mA h g at 0.2 C and a low-capacity decay of only 0.05% per cycle over 1000 cycles at 3 C with a primary capacity of 633.1 mA h g. Furthermore, when the sulfur loading (single-side coating) reaches 4.48 mg cm, it still can deliver 756.2 mA h g after the 100th cycle at 0.2 C with 89.5% capacity retention. In addition, the in situ X-ray diffraction test reveals that the sulfur conversion mechanism is the processes of α-S → LiS → β-S (first cycle) and then β-S ↔ LiS during the subsequent cycles. The designing strategy with heteroatom doping and self-intercalation capacity adopted in this work would provide novel inspiration for fabricating advanced sulfur-host materials to achieve excellent electrochemical capability in Li-S batteries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.2c06067DOI Listing
July 2022

Study of an acoustic energy harvester consisting of electro-spun polyvinylidene difluoride nanofibers.

J Acoust Soc Am 2022 Jun;151(6):3838

School of Engineering, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia.

Sound pollution has been capturing more and more attention around the world. Piezoelectric materials convert acoustic energy into electrical energy and actively attenuate the sound simultaneously. In this paper, an electro-spun nonwoven polyvinylidene difluoride nanofiber membrane as a high-performance piezoelectric material is found to have an ultra-high acoustoelectric conversion capability at the low sound frequency range. The novelty of the material in this paper is the proposed electro-spun piezoelectric nano-fiber web, which presents a strong acoustic-to-electric conversion performance. The piezoelectric acoustic energy harvester consists of the polyvinylidene difluoride nanofiber membrane that vibrates under the sound wave excitation. The piezoelectric acoustic energy harvester device can precisely detect the sound of 72.5 Hz with a sensitivity as high as 711.3 mV Pa which is higher than the sensitivity of a commercial piezoelectric poly (vinylidene fluoride) membrane device. The energy harvesting performance of the piezoelectric acoustic energy harvester device is simulated by the comsol software and then validated with the experimental results to illustrate its excellent energy harvesting ability. Based on the validated simulation model, a regression parameter model is developed from the comsol software simulation results using the response surface method. The empirical regression parameter model is applied to predict the energy harvesting performance of the acoustic energy harvester from input design parameters or material property parameters where the sensitivity of the design parameters or material property parameters and their interactions can be analyzed. The design or material property parameters can be optimized for the best energy harvesting performance based on the regression parameter model. The optimization results show a significant improvement in the energy harvesting performance. The sensitivity of the parameters on the energy harvesting performance also indicates the potential of the large-scale application of this acoustic energy harvester.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/10.0011638DOI Listing
June 2022

Aberrant ROS Served as an Acquired Vulnerability of Cisplatin-Resistant Lung Cancer.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2022 20;2022:1112987. Epub 2022 Jun 20.

Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Research Center, Shandong Cancer Hospital and Institute, Shandong First Medical University and Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, Shandong 250117, China.

Lung cancer has become a global health issue in recent decades. Approximately 80-85% of cases are non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Despite the high rate of resistance, cisplatin-base chemotherapy is still the main treatment for NSCLC patients. Thus, overcoming cisplatin resistance is urgently needed in NSCLC therapy. In this study, we identify NADPH metabolism and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels as the main causes accounting for cisplatin resistance. Based on a small panel consisting of common chemotherapy drugs or compounds, APR-246 is proved to be an effective compound targeting cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells. APR-246 specially inhibits proliferation and colony formation of cisplatin-resistant cells. In details, APR-246 can significantly cause G0/G1 accumulation and S phase arrest of cisplatin resistant cells and gives rise to severe mitochondria dysfunction as well as elevated apoptosis. Further study proves that it is the aberrant ROS levels as well as NRF2/SLC7A11/GSH axis dysfunction accounting for the specific antitumor effects of APR-246. Scavenging ROS with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) disrupts the inhibitory effect of APR-246 on cisplatin-resistant cells. Mechanistically, NRF2 is specifically degraded by the proteasome following its own ubiquitylation in APR-246-treated cisplatin-resistant cells, which in turn decreases NRF2/SLC7A11/GSH axis activity. Our study provides new insights into the biology driving cisplatin resistance of lung cancer and highlights APR-246 as a potential therapeutic reagent for overcoming cisplatin resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2022/1112987DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9236771PMC
July 2022

Screening and Identification of A Novel Anti-Siglec-15 Human Antibody 3F1 and Relevant Antitumor Activity.

Mol Pharmacol 2022 Jun 28. Epub 2022 Jun 28.

Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, China

Siglec-15 is an important immunosuppressive molecule considered to be a key target in next generation tumor immunotherapy. In this study, we screened 22 high affinity antibodies that specifically recognize human siglec-15 by using a large human phage antibody library and 5 representative sequences were selected for further study. The results showed the binding activity of 5 antibodies to siglec-15 (EC ranged from 0.02368μg /mL to 0.07949 μg /mL) and in 2 siglec-15 overexpressed cell lines, 3 antibodies had the strongest binding activity, so the 2 clones were discarded for further study. Subsequently the affinity of 3 antibodies were measured by Bio-layer interferometry technology (5-9×10E-09M). As the reported ligands of siglec-15, the binding activity of siglec-15 and sialyl-Tn, CD44, MAG and LRRC4C can be blocked by 3 of the antibodies. Among these, 3F1 had a competitive advantage. Then, the antibody 3F1 showed an obvious ADCC effect (EC were 0.85 μg/mL). Further, antibody 3F1 can reverse the inhibitory effect of siglec-15 on lymphocyte proliferation (especially CD4T, CD8T) and cytokine release (IFN-γ). Given the above results, 3F1 was selected as a candidate for the pharmacodynamics study. In the tumor model of Balb/c Nude mice, 3F1 (10 mg/kg) showed certain anti-tumor effects (TGI was 31.5%) while the combination of 3F1 (5 mg/kg) and ERBITUX (5 mg/kg) showed significant antitumor effects (TGI was 48.7%) compared with the PBS group. In conclusion, novel human antibody 3F1 has anti-tumor activity and is expected to be an innovative candidate drug targeting siglec-15 for tumor immunotherapy Siglec-15 is considered as an important target in the next generation of tumor immunotherapy. 3F1 is expected to be the most promising potential candidate for targeting siglec-15 for cancer treatment, and could provide a reference for the development of anti-tumor drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/molpharm.121.000470DOI Listing
June 2022

Intelligent depression detection with asynchronous federated optimization.

Complex Intell Systems 2022 Jun 23:1-17. Epub 2022 Jun 23.

Faculty of Engineering and IT, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

The growth of population and the various intensive life pressures everyday deepen the competitions among people. Tens of millions of people each year suffer from depression and only a fraction receives adequate treatment. The development of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, and QQ provides more convenient communication and provides a new emotional vent window. People communicate with their friends, sharing their opinions, and shooting videos to reflect their feelings. It provides an opportunity to detect depression in social networks. Although depression detection using social networks has reflected the established connectivity across users, fewer researchers consider the data security and privacy-preserving schemes. Therefore, we advocate the federated learning technique as an efficient and scalable method, where it enables the handling of a massive number of edge devices in parallel. In this study, we conduct the depression analysis on the basis of an online microblog called Weibo. A novel algorithm termed as CNN Asynchronous Federated optimization (CAFed) is proposed based on federated learning to improve the communication cost and convergence rate. It is shown that our proposed method can effectively protect users' privacy under the premise of ensuring the accuracy of prediction. The proposed method converges faster than the Federated Averaging (FedAvg) for non-convex problems. Federated learning techniques can identify quality solutions of mental health problems among Weibo users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40747-022-00729-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9217731PMC
June 2022

Translating and evaluating the Chinese version of Pediatric Eye Questionnaire (PedEyeQ-CN) for children.

Eye (Lond) 2022 Jun 27. Epub 2022 Jun 27.

School of Ophthalmology and Optometry, Eye Hospital, State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Optometry and Vision Science, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.

Objectives: To investigate the reliability and validity of Chinese version of the Pediatric Eye Questionnaire (PedEyeQ-CN) by testing ophthalmic patients in China.

Methods: The PedEyeQ (standard English version) was translated by local researchers. Children were asked to complete the Child section, and their parents the Proxy and Parent sections. 160 children (32 normal controls, 77 with refractive error, 48 with strabismus/amblyopia, 3 with other eye conditions) aged 5-11 years old, and one parent of each child were recruited. Cronbach's α and intraclass correlation coefficient were calculated to examine the reliability and test-retest reliability; the score differences between controls and patients were compared to examine the validity.

Results: The internal consistency (Cronbach's α ≥ 0.76) and test-retest reliability (r > 0.80) of PedEyeQ-CN were robust. Children with eye conditions had lower scores compared with children with normal vision (refractive error: 10 out of 13 domains, P ≤ 0.021; strabismus/amblyopia: all domains, P ≤ 0.015). Children with strabismus/amblyopia had lower scores compared with children with refractive error (two domains, P = 0.048, P = 0.001). Visual acuity was significantly correlated with functional vision (P = 0.005), but not significantly correlated with the eye-related quality of life (ER-QOL).

Conclusions: The PedEyeQ-CN is a valuable tool for assessing the functional vision and ER-QOL of Chinese children and help us increase our understanding about the impact of eye conditions on children and their families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41433-022-02157-5DOI Listing
June 2022

Structural basis for the neurotropic AAV9 and the engineered AAVPHP.eB recognition with cellular receptors.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2022 Sep 29;26:52-60. Epub 2022 May 29.

MOE Key Laboratory of Protein Science & Collaborative Innovation Center of Biotherapy, School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

Clade F adeno-associated virus (AAV) 9 has been utilized as therapeutic gene delivery vector, and it is capable of crossing blood brain barrier (BBB). Recently, an AAV9-based engineering serotype AAVPHP.eB with enhanced BBB crossing ability further expanded clade F AAVs' usages in the murine central nervous system (CNS) gene delivery. In this study, we determined the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of the AAVPHP.eB and its parental serotype AAV9 in native form or in complex with their essential receptor AAV receptor (AAVR). These structures reveal the molecular details of their AAVR recognition, where the polycystic kidney disease repeat domain 2 (PKD2) of AAVR interacts with AAV9 and AAVPHP.eB virions at the 3-fold protrusions and the raised capsid regions between the 2- and 5-fold axes, termed the 2/5-fold wall. The interacting patterns of AAVR to AAV9 and AAVPHP.eB are similar to what was observed in AAV1/AAV2-AAVR complexes. Moreover, we found that the AAVPHP.eB variable region VIII (VR-VIII) may independently facilitate the new receptor recognition responsible for enhanced CNS transduction. Our study provides insights into the recognition principles of multiple receptors for engineered AAVPHP.eB and parental serotype AAV9, and further reveal the potential molecular basis underlying their different tropisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2022.05.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9198364PMC
September 2022

Quantitative analysis of 20 purine and pyrimidine metabolites by HILIC-MS/MS in the serum and hippocampus of depressed mice.

J Pharm Biomed Anal 2022 Jun 11:114886. Epub 2022 Jun 11.

Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China. Electronic address:

Purine and pyrimidine metabolism are vital metabolic pathways in the development, proliferation or repairment of cells or tissues associated with various diseases. Here, a simple, all-in-one injection hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method was developed for simultaneous determination of 20 metabolites: adenine, adenosine, deoxyadenosine, adenosine 5'-monophosphate, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, hypoxanthine, xanthine, inosine, deoxyinosine, xanthosine, xanthosine 5'-monophosphate and uric acid, which are products of purine metabolism; uridine, deoxyuridine, uridine 5'-monophosphate and uracil, are products of pyrimidine metabolism; and corticosterone, methionine, acetylcholine and serotonin. To minimize interference of endogenous molecules in sample matrixes, a combination of activated carbon adsorption and a serum substitute matrix (5% bovine serum albumin in phosphate buffered saline) was utilized and jointly applied. The sensitivity, linearity, stability, precision, accuracy and extraction recovery were evaluated, and the method was demonstrated to be accurate, sensitive and reliable. An analytical strategy was successfully applied to quantitatively determine 20 metabolite levels in the serum and hippocampus of mice with chronic social defeat stress-induced depression. The results showed greatly perturbed purine metabolism in the depressed mice, which was primarily characterized by dramatic increases in hypoxanthine, xanthine and inosine in serum and reduced levels of adenine, adenosine and adenosine 5'-monophosphate in the hippocampus. These findings suggest that this novel strategy can facilitate the quantitative analysis of adenine and other purine and pyrimidine metabolites in tissue and serum and exhibits great potential in the exploration of metabolism-related mechanisms of relevant diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpba.2022.114886DOI Listing
June 2022

Case Report: 3D-Printed Prosthesis for Limb Salvage and Joint Preservation After Tibial Sarcoma Resection.

Front Surg 2022 27;9:873272. Epub 2022 May 27.

Department of Orthopedics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China.

Introduction: Reconstruction of massive tibial defects in ankle joint-preserving surgery remains challenging though biological and prosthetic methods have been attempted. We surgically treated a patient with only 18-mm distal tibia remaining and reconstructed with a unique three-dimensional printed prosthesis.

Case Presentation Intervention And Outcomes: A 36-year-old male presented to our clinic with complaints of gradually swelling left calf and palpable painless mass for five months. Imageological exam indicated a lesion spanning the entire length of the tibia and surrounding the vascular plexus. Diagnosis of chondrosarcoma was confirmed by biopsy. Amputation was initially recommended but rejected, thus a novel one-step limb-salvage procedure was performed. After en-bloc tumor resection and blood supply rebuilding, a customized, three-dimensional printed prosthesis with porous interface was fixed that connected the tumor knee prosthesis and distal ultra-small bone segment. During a 16-month follow-up, no soft tissue or prosthesis-related complications occurred. The patient was alive with no sign of recurrence or metastasis. Walking ability and full tibiotalar range of motion were preserved.

Conclusions: Custom-made, three-dimensional printed prosthesis manifested excellent mechanical stability during the follow-up in this joint-preserving surgery. Further investigation of the durability and rate of long-term complications is needed to introduce to routine clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fsurg.2022.873272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9195185PMC
May 2022

Silybin regulates P450s activity by attenuating endoplasmic reticulum stress in mouse nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Acta Pharmacol Sin 2022 Jun 15. Epub 2022 Jun 15.

Key Laboratory of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, 210009, China.

Cytochrome P450s are important phase I metabolic enzymes located on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) involved in the metabolism of endogenous and exogenous substances. Our previous study showed that a hepatoprotective agent silybin restored CYP3A expression in mouse nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this study we investigated how silybin regulated P450s activity during NAFLD. C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat-diet (HFD) for 8 weeks to induce NAFLD, and were administered silybin (50, 100 mg ·kg ·d, i.g.) in the last 4 weeks. We showed that HFD intake induced hepatic steatosis and ER stress, leading to significant inhibition on the activity of five primary P450s including CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A in liver microsomes. These changes were dose-dependently reversed by silybin administration. The beneficial effects of silybin were also observed in TG-stimulated HepG2 cells in vitro. To clarify the underlying mechanism, we examined the components involved in the P450 catalytic system, membrane phospholipids and ER membrane fluidity, and found that cytochrome b5 (cyt b5) was significantly downregulated during ER stress, and ER membrane fluidity was also reduced evidenced by DPH polarization and lower polyunsaturated phospholipids levels. The increased ratios of NADP/NADPH and PC/PE implied Ca release and disruption of cellular Ca homeostasis resulted from mitochondria dysfunction and cytochrome c (cyt c) release. The interaction between cyt c and cyt b5 under ER stress was an important reason for P450s activity inhibition. The effect of silybin throughout the whole course suggested that it regulated P450s activity through its anti-ER stress effect in NAFLD. Our results suggest that ER stress may be crucial for the inhibition of P450s activity in mouse NAFLD and silybin regulates P450s activity by attenuating ER stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41401-022-00924-4DOI Listing
June 2022

Effects of mutual intercropping on cadmium accumulation of Nakamura et Odashima and its post-grafting generations.

Int J Phytoremediation 2022 Jun 14:1-9. Epub 2022 Jun 14.

College of Animal Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, China.

The cadmium (Cd) contaminated agricultural soil has become serious in recent years, but it will take long time for Cd-hyperaccumulator to remedy. To speed up the remediation of agricultural soil and achieve the safe agricultural production as soon as possible, the potential Cd-hyperaccumulator Nakamura et Odashima was intercropped with its post-grafting generations in Cd-contaminated soil. Intercropping increased the biomass, Cd contents and Cd extractions of and its post-grafting generations in the pot and field experiments. Both the whole plant or shoot biomass and the Cd extraction by whole plant or shoot in intercroppings had a linear regression relationship with that in monocultures. In the field experiment, intercropping increased the shoot Cd extraction of by 9.86%-40.06% compared with the monoculture. Intercropping increased the content of chlorophyll, activity of superoxide dismutase, activity of catalase, and soluble protein content of and its post-grafting generations but reduced their peroxidase activities in the pot experiment. Therefore, intercropping with its post-grafting generations can improve their phytoremediation ability, and the best choice is intercropped with its post-grafting generation of wild potato rootstock. Intercropping Nakamura et Odashima with its post-grafting generations could mutually promote the Cd accumulation in the two types of plant species, and improve their phytoremediation ability for remedying the Cd-contaminated soil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15226514.2022.2085239DOI Listing
June 2022

The influence of gene polymorphisms on risperidone response in a Chinese Han population.

Pharmacogenomics 2022 Jul 14;23(10):575-583. Epub 2022 Jun 14.

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Psychotic Disorders, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.

To investigate whether the gene affects risperidone treatment outcomes in the Chinese population. A total of 148 unrelated inpatients who received risperidone for six weeks were enrolled. The selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; rs2088885, rs7627954 and rs13065441) were genotyped using the MassARRAY SNP IPLEX platform. The analysis showed that one novel SNP of , rs7627954, had a significant association with the response to risperidone (χ = 4.472; p = 0.034). This work also identified rs2088885 as significantly associated with risperidone response (χ = 5.257; p = 0.022). The result revealed that the rs2088885-rs7627954 C-T haplotype was more prevalent in good responders than in poor responders (p = 0.0278). This study revealed that the rs2088885 and rs7627954 SNPs of are associated with risperidone treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/pgs-2022-0052DOI Listing
July 2022

A simulated experiment to explore robotic dialogue strategies for people with dementia.

J Rehabil Assist Technol Eng 2022 Jan-Dec;9:20556683221105768. Epub 2022 Jun 5.

Department of Mechanical, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA.

Introduction: Persons with dementia (PwDs) often show symptoms of repetitive questioning, which brings great burdens on caregivers. Conversational robots hold promise of helping cope with PwDs' repetitive behavior. This paper develops an adaptive conversation strategy to answer PwDs' repetitive questions, follow up with new questions to distract PwDs from repetitive behavior, and stimulate their conversation and cognition.

Methods: We propose a general reinforcement learning model to interact with PwDs with repetitive questioning. Q-learning is exploited to learn adaptive conversation strategy (from the perspectives of rate and difficulty level of follow-up questions) for four simulated PwDs. A demonstration is presented using a humanoid robot.

Results: The designed Q-learning model performs better than random action selection model. The RL-based conversation strategy is adaptive to PwDs with different cognitive capabilities and engagement levels. In the demonstration, the robot can answer a user's repetitive questions and further come up with a follow-up question to engage the user in continuous conversations.

Conclusions: The designed Q-learning model demonstrates noteworthy effectiveness in adaptive action selection. This may provide some insights towards developing conversational social robots to cope with repetitive questioning by PwDs and increase their quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/20556683221105768DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9174559PMC
June 2022
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