[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
22 manuscripts available for review volunteers
November 16, 2017
Elevated ozone (O3) concentration in the tropospheric atmosphere has profoundly influenced forest ecosystems, but the decomposition characteristics of forest litters under O3 exposureare still less known. By using open-top cambers (OTCs) simulation, 5-year-old Ginkgo biloba was used to investigate the impact of elevated O3 (120 ppb) on chemical composition and decomposition rate of leaf litters of the urban tree. The results showed that compared with the ambient air, elevated O3 significantly improved N and K contents in the litters, reduced the contents of total phenols, condensed tannins and soluble sugars. Furthermore, elevated O3 significantly decreased the residual rate of dry weight by 11.9% of G. biloba litters (P<0.05). The nutrient components of foliar litter of G. biloba showed net release during decomposition regardless of O3 treatment. We found that elevated O3 accelerated the litter decomposition, as is mainly related to strong oxidation of elevated O3 concentration.
November 12, 2017
Background.Coronary artery disease has been the most common cause of death nowadays, and the prognosis of it still needs further improving. Differences in the incidence and prognosis of male and female patients with coronary artery disease have been observed. We constructed this study hoping to understand those differences at the level of gene expression and help establish gender-specific therapies. Methods. We downloaded the series matrix file of GSE34198 from the Gene Expression Omnibus database and identified the differentially expressed genes between male and female patients. Gene ontology, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis and GSEA analysis of differentially expressed genes were performed. We also constructed the protein protein interaction network of the differentially expressed genes and identified the hub genes in them. Results. 215 up-regulated genes and 353 down-regulated genes were identified. The differentially expressed pathways were mainly related to the function of ribosomes, virus and related immune response as well as the cell growth and proliferation. The protein protein interaction network of all differentially expressed genes contained 4 hub genes, FOS, UTY, KDM6A and SMARCA4, whose function in acute myocardial infarction is related to the sex hormone and sex chromosomes.Conclusion. Our study provided a global view of the gene expression differences between male and female patients with acute myocardial infarction, including differentially expressed genes and related pathways. But further studies are still needed to verify our results.
November 9, 2017

Over the last decades, clinical decision support systems have been gaining importance. They help clinicians to make effective use of the overload of available information to obtain correct diagnoses and appropriate treatments. However, their power often comes at the cost of a black box model which cannot be interpreted easily. This interpretability is of paramount importance in a medical setting with regard to trust and (legal) responsibility. In contrast, existing medical scoring systems are easy to understand and use, but they are often a simplified rule-of-thumb summary of previous medical experience rather than a well-founded system based on available data.

Interval Coded Scoring (ICS) connects these two approaches, exploiting the power of sparse optimization to derive scoring systems from training data. The presented toolbox interface makes this theory easily applicable to both small and large datasets. It contains two possible problem formulations based on linear programming or elastic net. Both allow to construct a model for a (binary) classification problem and establish risk profiles that can be used for future diagnosis. All of this requires only a few lines of code.

ICS differs from standard machine learning through its model consisting of interpretable main effects and interactions. Furthermore, insertion of expert knowledge is possible because the training can be semi-automatic. This allows end users to make a trade-off between complexity and performance based on cross-validation results and expert knowledge.

Additionally, the toolbox offers an accessible way to assess classification performance via accuracy and the ROC curve, whereas the calibration of the risk profile can be evaluated via a calibration curve. Finally, the colour-coded model visualization has particular appeal if one wants to apply ICS manually on new observations, as well as for validation by experts in the specific application domains.

The validity and applicability of the toolbox is demonstrated by comparing it to standard Machine Learning approaches such as Naive Bayes and Support Vector Machines for several real-life datasets. These case studies on medical problems show its applicability as a decision support system. ICS performs similarly in terms of classification and calibration. Its slightly lower performance is countered by its model simplicity which makes it the method of choice if interpretability is a key issue.

November 9, 2017

Background. Work related accidents are common and may lead to permanent physical disability or death. Besides specific injury related challenges these workers face numerous socioeconomic stresses. These stresses are associated with cortical reorganization that may result in cognitive problems. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the stress level and attention in adults with work related physical disabilities.

Methods. Morning salivary cortisol was used as a stress marker while the event-related potential during the performance of the auditory oddball paradigm was conducted to investigate the attentive ability to sound stimuli. Eighteen injured workers (IW) and ten unaffected healthy workers (CW) were recruited for this study with half being men and the other half women (aged 21 to 55). Behavioral performance measures including reaction time (RT), accuracy rate, and commission error as well as the latency and amplitude of P300 wave over the central (Cz), centroparietal (CPz), and parietal (Pz) electrode sites were used to compare the two groups.

Results. This study demonstrated significantly higher salivary cortisol levels, longer RT, less accuracy to respond to the target during the auditory oddball paradigm in the IW group as compared to CW group. In addition, a significant prolongation of the peak latency of auditory P300 wave over Cz, CPz, and Pz electrodes was also detected in IW group.

Discussion. The increased cortisol levels found in the IW group reflect the alteration of the basal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as a result of the stresses of living with a physical disability. Delayed RT and the decreased in accuracy together with changing in peak latencies of auditory P300 wave indicate the impairment of attention networks in IW.

Conclusion. Our study revealed that the workers with permanent physical disabilities exhibit the higher level of stress and attention deficits as compared to their uninjuried peers.

November 9, 2017
Grazing exclusion is one of most efficient approaches to restore degraded grasslands but this practice may have negative effects on the restoration of species diversity. Species diversity can provide information about the factors driving present and future community structure. However, diversity patterns emerging as a result of different ecological processes are poorly understood between grazed and fenced grasslands, especially in harsh, desert environments. Here, six plots were established in a desert steppe ecosystems in northern China and soil properties and species diversity were examined under grazed and fenced conditions. Three models were used to describe the species-area curve (SAR): the logistic model, the exponential model and the power model. Variograms applied to examine the spatial characteristics of diversity. Variation partitioning and Null models used to determine the relative contributions of different processes. Results showed that species richness, abundance and Shannon diversity were found to respond to sampling unit in a dissimilar way both inside and outside of the exclusion. Grazing exclusion had a significant impact on the species richness- area curves. For both inside and outside of the exclusion, fine scale effects (around 1 m) were dominant and strong spatial autocorrelations in the diversity variables existed. After grazing exclusion, the spatial heterogeneity declined for species richness, increased for abundance and did not change for the Shannon diversity, the ecological processes were more complex and competitive exclusion may play a significant role in reducing richness, the important of deterministic processes (environmental filtering) decreased while the contribution of an undetermined component increased. Our results suggest that management of these ecosystems should take into account the impact of grazing exclusion on species diversity and incorporate fine scale assembly processes to maximize species diversity in semi-arid regions, especially when manipulating processes that reduce dominant species, introduce new species, and promote environmental heterogeneity.
November 8, 2017
Background. The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) mediated proteins, including Snail, Slug, Twist1 and YB-1 are as transcription factors that downregulation E-cadherin protein level and induce EMT in many tumour tissues. We evaluated which parsimonious combination of EMT biomarkers most efficiently predicted oncological outcomes in patients with cervical cancer (CC). Methods. We retrospectively identified every initial diagnosis of cervical carcinoma among patients treated at our single-centre hospital in China from March 2010 to December 2015. Snail, Slug, Twist1, YB-1 and E-cadherin protein levels and subcellular localization were assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 127 human CC patients. Results. IHC analysis demonstrated that Snail, Slug, YB-1 were elevated with increasing FIGO staging, the grade, lymph node metastasis in cervical tumour. Patients with E-cadherin-low tumours showed advance FIGO staging, aggressive degree of differentiation, and positive LNM than those with E-cadherin-high tumours in CC. Patients with Snail-high tumours also showed larger tumour size than those with E-cadherin-low tumours in CC. Moreover, univariate analysis revealed that CC patients with low E-cadherin expression levels and high Snail, Slug, Twist1 and YB-1 expression levels were associated with a shorter overall survival (OS). Multivariable analyses for OS showed that changes in Snail and E-cadherin expression levels were superior to Slug, Twist1, and YB-1, and both were independently correlated with OS in CC. Discussion. Combining Snail and E-cadherin increases the prognostic accuracy of testing in CC patients. Inhibiting the expression of Snail, Slug, Twist1, and YB-1 upregulating the expression of E-cadherin may constitute an effective therapeutic strategy for combating cervical cancer.
November 7, 2017

Background and Aim: To compare the impact of neoadjuvant radiotherapy and adjuvant radiotherapy on survival for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Methods: Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. The Kaplan-Meier method and multivariate Cox regression analysis were used to compare the impact of neoadjuvant radiotherapy on survival with adjuvant radiotherapy. Subsequently, a propensity score matched analysis was performed to confirm the result.

Results: A total of 244 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma identified from the SEER database (2004-2014) included in this study. 151 patients received postoperative radiotherapy, 93 patients received preoperative radiotherapy. Preoperative radiotherapy had a clear superiority in terms of unadjusted overall and cancer-specific survival (p<0.001 for log-rank test). After adjusting for confounding variables, hazard ratios for all-cause (HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.19-0.53, p<0.001) and cancer cause-specific (HR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.19-0.53, p<0.001) mortality risk in preoperative radiotherapy group were significantly lower than that of postoperative radiotherapy group. Subsequently, a propensity score matched analysis was performed to confirm this result.

Conclusion: We found that neoadjuvant radiotherapy was associated with improved long-term survival for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma versus adjuvant radiotherapy.

November 4, 2017

Background. E-health technology applications are essential tools of modern information technology that improve quality of healthcare delivery in hospitals of both developed and developing countries. However, despite its positive benefits, studies indicate that the rate of the e-health adoption in some developing countries is either low or underutilized. This is due in part, to barriers such as resistance from healthcare professionals, poor infrastructure, and low technical expertise among others.

Objective. The aim of this study is to investigate, identify and analyze the underlying factors that affect healthcare professionals decision to adopt and use e-health technology applications in developing countries, with particular reference to hospitals in Nigeria.

Methods. The study used quantitative method in the form of close-ended questionnaire to collect data from a sample of 465 healthcare professionals randomly selected from 15 hospitals in Nigeria. We used variables of modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) as dependent variables and external factors as independent variables. The collected data was then analyzed using SPSS statistical analysis such as frequency test, reliability analysis, and correlation coefficient analysis.

Results. The results obtained, which correspond with findings from other researches published, indicate that perceived usefulness, belief, as well as attitude of healthcare professionals have significant influence on their willingness to adopt and use the e-health technology applications. Other strategic factors identified include low literacy level and experience in using the e-health technology applications, lack of motivation, poor organizational and management policies.

Conclusion. The study contributes to the literature by pin-pointing significant areas its findings can positively affect or be useful, such as serving as guide to healthcare policy decision makers in Nigeria and other developing countries to understand their areas of priorities and weaknesses when planning for e-health technology adoption and implementation.

November 3, 2017
Vinasses are the main byproducts from ethanol distillation and distilled beverages worldwide and are generated in large amounts. Tequila vinasses (TV) are considered as a possible feedstock for biohydrogen production through dark fermentative (DF) process due to the high content of organic matter. However, the composition of TV composition has not been previously studied to determine if they contain compounds that may inhibit DF. This work aimed to identify and quantify volatile compounds (VC) in TV, and determine if their VC profile dependent upon the type of production process. TV were sampled from 3 NC (not cooking agave stems) process, and 3 C (cooking agave stem) and volatile compounds were determined by GC-MS. A total of 111 volatile compounds were identified, the TV from cooking process (C) showed the higher presence of furanic compounds (furfural and 5-(hydroxymethyl) furfural) and organic acids (acetic acid and butyric acid), which were reported as potential inhibitors for dark fermentation. To our knowledge, this is the first description of the volatile compounds composition from TV. This study could serve as a base for further investigations related with vinasse from different sources.
November 1, 2017

Background: Kawasaki disease (KD) is an immune-mediated systemic vasculitis and infection plays an important role in the pathophysiology of KD. The susceptibility to infectious disease in patients with KD remains largely unclear. This study aimed to investigate the risk of respiratory tract infection (RTI)-related hospitalizations in children with KD.

Methods: Data from Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database was analyzed. Children with KD were selected as KD group and age- and sex-matched non-KD patients were selected as control group with 1:1 ratio. Both cohorts were tracked for 1 year to investigate the incidences of RTI-related hospitalizations. Cox regression hazard model was used to adjust for confounding factors and calculate the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR).

Results: Between January 1996 and December 2012, 13,760 patients with KD were identified as KD group and 13,709 patients were enrolled as control group. An obviously reduced risk of RTI-related hospitalizations was observed in KD patients (aHR: 0.53, 95% confidence interval: 0.49-0.57). The decreased risk persisted through the 1-year follow-up period with a peak protection in 3-6 months (aHR: 0.46, 95% confidence interval: 0.40-0.53).

Conclusions: KD patients had approximately half reduction of risk for RTI-related hospitalizations. The protective effects persisted for at least 1 year. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the entire mechanism and investigate the influences of intravenous immunoglobulin.

October 31, 2017

Background

The transversus abdominus plane (TAP) block provides analgesia for abdominal wall incisions and reduces post operative opioid consumption. However, the pharmacokinetics of local anesthestics in children receiving this block remain understudied. Bupivacaine has been the local anesthetic used to perform TAP blocks in most studies published to date. The aim of this study was to establish the population pharmacokinetics of bupivacaine following single dose TAP block administration in children and to investigate the influence of patient covariates on drug disposition.

Methods

Following Research Ethics Board approval and parental/patient consent, 20 ASA I-III children over 3 months of age undergoing elective surgery with a scheduled TAP block were recruited into this observational study. After general anesthesia was induced, children received an ultrasound-guided TAP block with 0.25% bupivacaine with epinephrine 1:200 000. Venous blood samples were drawn at predetermined times using a population pharmacokinetic (PK) protocol following the TAP block.

Results

20 children were included in the study. The mean serum bupivacaine level was 0.58 mcg/l occurring 30 minutes following administration of local anesthetic. There was wide inter-patient variability and age was a major covariate. There were no adverse events.

Conclusions

The main finding of this study is that serum bupivacaine levels were below the toxic level after single-injection TAP block in children undergoing surgical procedures. The major covariate was patient age.

October 30, 2017
Obesity and sleep fragmentation (SF) are often co-occurring pro-inflammatory conditions in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Leptin is a peptide hormone produced by adipocytes that has anorexigenic effects upon appetite while regulating immunity. The role of leptin in mediating inflammatory responses to SF is incompletely understood. Male C57BL/6j (lean) and ob/ob mice (leptin-deficient mice exhibiting obese phenotype) were subjected to SF or control conditions for 24 hours using an automated SF chamber. Trunk blood and tissue samples from the periphery (liver, spleen, fat, and heart) and brain (hypothalamus, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus) were collected. Quantitative PCR was used to determine relative cytokine gene expression of pro-inflammatory (IL-1β, TNF-α) and anti-inflammatory (TGF-β1) cytokines. ELISA was used to determine serum corticosterone concentration. Ob/ob mice exhibited elevated cytokine gene expression in liver (TNF-α, TGF- β1), heart (TGF- β1), fat (TNF-α) and brain (hippocampus, hypothalamus, prefrontal cortex: IL-1β, TNF-α) compared with wild-type mice. Conversely, leptin deficiency decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in heart (IL-1β, TNF-α). SF significantly increased IL-1β and TNF-α gene expression in fat and TGF- β1 expression in spleen relative to controls, but only in wild-type mice. SF increased basal serum corticosterone regardless of genotype. Taken together, these findings suggest that leptin deficiency alters cytokine gene expression differently in the brain compared to peripheral tissues with minimal interaction from sleep fragmentation.
October 28, 2017
Background : Although, most of the research focus on the effect of birth methods on postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), there is, however, a lack of studies that examine whether the association between PPH and birth methods is different between nulliparous and multiparous women. We aims to compare the effects of birth methods on PPH between nulliparous and multiparous women. Methods: The data on 151,333 eligible women, who gave birth between January 2014 and May 2016, was obtained from the electronic health records in Shanxi province, China. The ordered logistic regression model was used to examine the association of birth methods and varying degrees of PPH between nulliparous and multiparous women. Results: In comparison with the odds for SVB, the odds of increased PPH for CS in multiparous women (aOR: 4.32; 95% CI: 3.03-6.14) was more than twice that in the nulliparous women (aOR: 2.04; 95% CI: 1.40-2.97). However, the PPH risk for episiotomy between multiparous (aOR: 1.24; 95% CI: 0.96-1.62) and nulliparous women (aOR: 1.55; 95% CI: 0.92-2.60) were nearly the same. The PPH risk of forceps-assisted birth was much higher in multiparous women (aOR: 9.32; 95% CI: 3.66-23.71) than in nulliparous women (aOR: 1.70; 95% CI: 0.91-3.18). Meanwhile, that for vacuum-assisted birth in multiparous women (aOR: 2.41; 95% CI: 0.36-16.29) was more than twice the PPH risk in the nulliparous women (aOR: 1.05; 95% CI: 0.40-2.73). However, the difference was insignificant. Uterine inertia was more prone to cause PPH in the multiparous women (aOR: 5.54; 95% CI: 1.76-17.50) than in the nulliparous women (aOR: 3.03; 95% CI: 1.48-6.21). In contrast to uterine inertia, vertex malposition presented a decreased effect to the development of PPH in the multiparous (aOR: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.25-3.00) and nulliparous women (aOR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.63-1.22). Conclusion: The associations between birth methods and PPH are different between nulliparous and multiparous women. Therefore, the choice of birth methods should be tailored for nulliparous and multiparous women at labor to lower the severity of postpartum hemorrhage.
October 27, 2017
Background. Studies on the method of treatment of condylar fractures (CFs) are still timely and important. Despite many publications published in this area there are many controversies about how to treat these fractures. The aim of this review was to present and discuss the current views on the treatment of condylar fractures (CFs). The authors address the following issues: the etiology, epidemiology and mechanisms of CFs; the strategies and methods for the treatment of CFs. Moreover, the choice of surgical approach for the open treatment of CFs as well as techniques and materials used for fixation of CF are discussed. Methods. The scientific database PubMed was used to search for relevant articles published between 2000 and 2016. The following search terms were used: “Mandibular condylar fractures”, “Mandibular condylar process”, ”Mandibular trauma”, “Mandibular condyle fracture treatment”. The analysis referred to both original and review papers (including meta-analyses) that concerned adult patients. The case reports and conference proceedings were excluded from the analysis. Results. There are still differences in opinions among researchers regarding the choice of appropriate treatment - closed or open. There is no consensus among open treatment supporters in the context of choosing the right surgical approach. Important question is which material to choose for osteosynthesis of condylar fracture. Discussion. The recent studies show satisfactory results in terms of stability of condylar osteosynthesis with the use of 3D plates. When seeking an optimal technique of condylar osteosynthesis, one should take into consideration not only the biomechanical aspects, but also the effects of implants on organism, in particular on cellular, humoral and vascular mechanisms responsible for the inflammatory response. In the future, further discussion is required on the choice of the type of material for fixation of condylar fracture and, in particular, on the possibility of using resorbable materials. With the development of virtual surgical planning techniques as well as the increasing use of individual implants, it is possible to use these methods in the future for surgical treatment of condylar fractures.
October 24, 2017

Background: Patellofemoral pain is often reported as a diffuse pain at the front of the knee during knee-loading activities. A patient’s description of pain location and distribution is commonly drawn on paper by clinicians, which is difficult to quantify, report and compare within and between patients. One way of overcoming these potential limitations is to have the patient draw their pain regions using digital platforms, such as personal computer tablets.

Objective: To assess the validity of using computer tablets to acquire a patient’s knee pain drawings as compared to paper based records in patients with patellofemoral pain.

Methods: Patients (N=35) completed knee pain drawings on identical images (size and color) of the knee as displayed on paper and a computer tablet. Pain area expressed as pixel density, was calculated as a percentage of the total drawable area for paper and digital records. Bland-Altman plots, Pearson’s correlation coefficients and one-sample tests were used in data analysis.

Results: No significant difference in pain area was found between the paper and digital records of mapping pain area (mean difference (95%CI; p) = 0.002% (-0.159 to 0.157; P=0.98)). A strong linear correlation (R2=0.870) was found for pain area and the limits of agreement show less than ±1% difference between paper and digital drawings.

Conclusion: Pain drawings as acquired using paper and computer tablet are equivalent in terms of total area of reported knee pain. The advantages of digital recording platforms, such as, quantification and reporting of pain area, could be realized in both research and clinical settings.

October 21, 2017
Seed germination plays an important role in determining the composition and regeneration of plant populations. However, the influencing factors and strategies employed for seed germination in desert grasslands under grazing remain unknown. Therefore, in this study, the reproductive allocation, seed density, seed properties, and the corresponding seed germination rates were examined within a dominant population in a desert grassland. Possible situations encountered during dispersal were also simulated for their effects on seed germination. The results showed that reproductive individuals not subjected to grazing were significantly more abundant than those under moderate and heavy grazing. The highest seed density and soil seed bank occurred under no grazing, followed by moderate grazing and then heavy grazing. The number of seed germination in soil seed bank was basically 1/4 of the number of seeds. Grazing treatments affected the phenotypic characteristics of seeds and reduced the lower limit of the weight of germinable seeds. Awn removal dramatically increased germination. The longest germination time was for seeds that entered the soil at an angle of 0°. For the angle of seeds entering soil and the days of germination, the fitting relationship can be described by y = ax2 + bx + c. Our research demonstrated that grazing negatively affected grassland vegetation. Individual plant adopted different adaptation strategies under grazing of different intensities; for example, a fixed proportion of the seed number and seed germination number of S. breviflora in the soil seed bank was maintained by exceeding the lower limit for seed germination. In the process of seed dispersion, the awn effectively avoided germination under unfavourable conditions and helped seeds enter the soil at a optimal angle to promote germination.
October 19, 2017

Objective: To translate the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ) into Chinese, validate its reliability and validity in nursing students and investigate the perceived stress level of nursing students.

Method: Forward- and back-translation combined with expert assessment and cross-cultural adaptations were used to construct the Chinese version of the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (C-PSQ). This research adopted a stratified sampling method among 1519 nursing students in 30 classes of Ningbo College of Health Sciences to assess the reliability and validity of the C-PSQ.

Results: The C-PSQ retained all 30 items of the original scale. Principal component analysis extracted five factors that explained 52.136% of the total variance. The S-CVI/Ave was 0.913. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis were as follows: χ 2 /df=4.376, RMR=0.023, GFI=0.921, AGFI=0.907,CFI=0.921, PNFI=0.832, and PGFI=0.782. The scale’s Cronbach’s α was 0.922 CI (0.916, 0.928), and Cronbach’s α of each dimension was 0.899 CI (0.891, 0.907), 0.821 CI (0.807, 0.835), 0.688 CI (0.661, 0.713), 0.703 CI (0.678, 0.726) and 0.523 CI (0.472, 0.570). The correlation coefficient between the first and second test, the first and third test, and the second and third test was 0.725 CI (0.514, 0.878), 0.787 CI (0.607, 0.890), and 0.731 CI (0.506, 0.897), respectively. The average score of perceived stress in nursing students was 0.399±0.138. Different demographic factors were significantly associated with the perceived stress of nursing students.

Discussion:The C-PSQ has good reliability and validity, which means that the scale can be used as a universal tool for psychosomatic studies. The perceived stress of nursing students was relatively high. Further studies are needed.

October 18, 2017
Venom has been associated with the ecological success of many groups of organisms, most notably reptiles, gastropods, and arachnids. In some cases, diversification has been directly linked to tailoring of venoms for dietary specialization. Spiders in particular are known for their diverse venoms and wide range of predatory behaviors, although there is much to learn about scales of variation in venom composition and function. The current study focuses on venom characteristics in different sexes within a species of spider. We chose the genus Tetragnatha (Tetragnathidae) because of its unusual courtship behavior involving interlocking of the venom delivering chelicerae (i.e., the jaws), and several species in the genus are already known to have sexually dimorphic venoms. Here, we use transcriptome and proteome analyses to identify venom components that are dimorphic in Tetragnatha versicolor. We present cDNA sequences of unique high molecular weight proteins that are only present in males and that have remote, if any, detectable similarity to known venom components in spiders or other venomous lineages and several have no detectable homologs in existing databases. While the function of these proteins is not known, their presence in association with the cheliceral locking mechanism during mating together with the presence of prolonged male-male mating attempts in a related, cheliceral-locking species (Doryonychus raptor) lacking the dimorphism suggests potential for a role in sexual communication.
October 18, 2017
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are known to promote plant growth and nutrient uptake, but the role of AM fungi play in nitrogen (N) uptake is still unclear. Therefore, a pot experiment was conducted to assess the effects of N addition (0 and 200 kg N ha−1 yr−1) and AM inoculation (Diversispora eburnea, Claroideoglomus etunicatum, Paraglomus occultum, 1:1:1 mixture of each AM fungal species and a non-mycorrhizal control) on AM root colonization, plant growth, N and P nutrition. Our results showed that AM root colonization was unaffected by N addition, but was significantly affected by different AM fungal species. D. eburnea and C. etunicatum showed a significant higher root colonization than P. occultum. Plant biomass, N and P content was significantly enhanced by N addition when inoculated with D. eburnea and AM mixture, but unaffected by N addition when inoculated with C. etunicatum and P. occultum. On the other hand, inoculation with different AM fungal species resulted in different plant response. For instance, inoculation with D. eburnea and AM mixture contributed substantially to plant biomass, N and P nutrition. Whereas, inoculation with C. etunicatum and P. occultum did not significantly enhance plant biomass, N and P content regardless of N addition. In conclusion, these results indicated that the plant response to N addition depends on AM fungal species, and emphasized that significant functional diversity exists among AM fungal species.
October 17, 2017
Background. Human pregnancy results in transfer of stem cells from the fetus to maternal circulation. This finding of genetically different fetal cells in the mother is a natural occurrence known as fetal cell microchimerism. These cells are able to migrate and differentiate within various damaged maternal tissues including cancer. This study investigated the association of fetal microchimerism to clinicopathologic features of invasive breast cancer among African-American women. Method. This is a blinded, case-case study of 202 archival microarray breast cancer tissues using automated immunohistochemistry staining protocol. An antibody for TSPY protein expression of microchimeric Y-chromosome DNA were correlated to clinicopathological features such as estrogen receptor (ER) status, progesterone receptor (PR) status, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2), stage, grade, tumor size and breast cancer molecular subtype. The Chi-square test was used to examine bivariate association between TSPY protein expression and clinical and pathologic variables. Kaplan-Meier curve was used to evaluate microchimerism expression on overall and disease free survival. Results. his study reveals that although TSPY expression is not associated with age, receptor status, or triple negative status it is significantly (p =.043) associated with higher grade breast cancer. Conclusion. Our results demonstrates that fetal cell microchimerism is found in higher grade breast tumors indicating microchimerism can potentially serve as a biomarker for advance disease although its mechanism of action remains unknown.
October 16, 2017
Background: Globally, anemia is the most widely prevalent form of micronutrient deficiencies affecting over a quarter of the population. Evidence suggests that the burden of anemia is higher in the developing countries with women of reproductive age and children being the most at-risk groups. The most common causes are believed to be malnutrition and low bioavailability of micronutrients, which usually result from poor dietary habits and inadequate intake of food rich in micronutrients such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Regular consumption of F&V have been shown to have protective effect against NCDs, however evidence on this protective effect against micronutrient deficiency diseases are limited. Objectives: 1) To measure the prevalence of anemia among adult non-pregnant women in Ghana, and 2) To investigate if there is any cross-sectional relationship between F&V consumption and anemia. Methods This is a cross-sectional study based on data extracted from Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2008. Subjects were 4290 non-pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years. Hemoglobin levels were measured by HemoCue® hemoglobin-meter. Association between anemia and F&V consumption was assessed by multivariable regression methods. Results Findings indicate that well over half (57.9%) of the women were suffering from anemia of some level. Percentage of women consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 5.4% and 2.5% respectively. Results of multivariable analysis indicated that among urban women, consumption of <5 servings fruits/day was associated with significantly higher odds of severe [AOR=9.27; 95%CI=5.15-16.70] and moderate anemia [AOR=6.63; 95%CI=4.21-10.44], and consumption of <5 servings of vegetables/day was associated with higher odds of moderate anemia [AOR=2.39; 95%CI=1.14-5.02] compared with those who consumed >5 servings/day. Conclusion The findings indicate that urban women who did not maintain WHO recommended level of F&V consumption bear a significantly higher likelihood of being moderate to severely anemic.
September 27, 2017
In the aftermath of physical exercise, the valence of people’s feelings tends to be more positive, and their level of arousal higher, than they otherwise would be. We developed a naturalistic methodology for quantifying within-individual fluctuations in affective valence and arousal in relation to bouts of exercise in a sample of 38 recreational runners. Participants provided daily affective reports for six weeks using experience sampling. Information on their runs was harvested from an online platform for athletes, and matched to the affective reports. Average valence and arousal were higher on days when the person had run than on the next day, and higher the day after a run than on the days after that. Over the course of the day of a run, valence and arousal declined significantly as the time since the run increased. Physically fitter participants had more positive valence overall, and this particularly true at baseline (i.e. when they had not run recently). There was some evidence of higher-dose (i.e. longer and faster) runs being associated with lower arousal on the next and subsequent days, though not on the day of the run. Gender did not moderate associations between running and valence or arousal.

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