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Cathodal galvanotaxis: the effect of voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Zheng et al. | Jun 10, 2019

Cathodal galvanotaxis: the effect of voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

The surface of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena pyriformis, is covered with thousands of hair-like cilia. These cilia are very similar to cilia of the human olfactory and respiratory tracts making them model organisms for studying cilia function and pathology. The authors of this study investigated the effect of voltage on T. pyriformis galvanotaxis, the movement towards an electrical stimulus. They observed galvanotaxis towards the cathode at voltages over 4V which plateau, indicating opening of voltage gated-ion channels to trigger movement.

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Pichia kudriavzevii yeast exposure increases the asthmatic behavior of alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Ortega et al. | Jun 07, 2019

Pichia kudriavzevii yeast exposure increases the asthmatic behavior of alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Asthma affects over 334 million people worldwide and is triggered by inhalation of environmental stimuli. The authors of this study characterized the effect of exposure to common spoilage yeast, Pichia kidriavzevii, on alveolar epithelial cells. A direct correlation between infection duration and asthmatic status of these cells was found, indicating the potential for this yeast to be an environmental stimulus of asthma and warranting further study.

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The effect of ultraviolet radiation and the antioxidant curcumin on the longevity, fertility, and physical structure of Drosophila melanogaster: Can we defend our DNA?

Lateef et al. | May 18, 2019

The effect of ultraviolet radiation and the antioxidant curcumin on the longevity, fertility, and physical structure of Drosophila melanogaster: Can we defend our DNA?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to alter DNA structure and impair cellular function in all living organisms. In this study, Lateef et al examine the effects of UV radiation to determine whether antioxidant-enriched nutrition can combat the potential deleterious effects of UV radiation on Drosophila melanogaster. They found that UVB (320nm) radiation caused a 59% decrease in the Drosophila lifespan and mutagenic effects on flies' physical appearance, but did not significantly affect fertility. Curcumin significantly prolonged lifespan and enhanced fertility for both UV- and non-UV-exposed flies. The research demonstrates the positive potential of natural antioxidants as weapons against radiation-induced diseases including cancer.

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The effect of caffeine on the regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

Lazorik et al. | May 10, 2019

The effect of caffeine on the regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

The degeneration of nerve cells in the brain can lead to pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease. It has been suggested that neurons in humans may regenerate. In this study, the effect of different doses of caffeine on regeneration was explored in the planeria model. Caffeine has been shown to enhance dopamine production, and dopamine is found in high concentrations in regenerating planeria tissues. Higher doses of caffeine accelerated planeria regeneration following decapitation, indicating a potential role for caffeine as a treatment to stimulate regeneration.

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Cytokine treatment for myocarditis may directly impact cardiomyocytes negatively

Kasner et al. | Apr 26, 2019

Cytokine treatment for myocarditis may directly impact cardiomyocytes negatively

The purpose of our study was to determine if direct administration of CXCL1/KC to cardiomyocytes causes negative changes to cell density or proliferation. This molecule has been shown to reduce inflammation in certain instances. Homocysteine models the direct effect of an inflammatory agent on cardiomyocytes. Our question was whether these molecules directly impact cell density through an interaction with the cell proliferation process. We hypothesized that cells treated with CXCL1/KC would maintain the same cell density as untreated cells. In contrast, cells treated with Homocysteine or both Homocysteine and CXCL1/KC, were expected to have a higher cell density that than that of untreated cells.

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3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Jayatissa et al. | Apr 26, 2019

3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Scientists are always on the quest to improve the body's healing abilities and broken bones are no exception. In this article, the authors investigate properties of 3D-printed biocompatible polymers used to improve bone healing. With such efforts, we can hope to, one day, improve bone scaffolding materials in ways that make the natural healing processes more efficient, reducing the time needed for recovery from bone fractures.

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Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

Jayram et al. | Apr 08, 2019

Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

A primary cause of diabetes is insulin resistance, which is caused by disruption of insulin signal transduction. The objective of this study was to maximize insulin sensitivity by creating a more effective, early intervention-based treatment to avert severe T2D. This treatment combined metformin, “the insulin sensitizer”, and medicinal plants, curcumin, fenugreek, and nettle.

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QuitPuff: A Simple Method Using Saliva to Assess the Risk of Oral Pre-cancerous Lesions and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Chronic Smokers

Shamsher et al. | Mar 27, 2019

QuitPuff: A Simple Method Using Saliva to Assess the Risk of Oral Pre-cancerous Lesions and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Chronic Smokers

Smoking generates free radicals and reactive oxygen species which induce cell damage and lipid peroxidation. This is linked to the development of oral cancer in chronic smokers. The authors of this study developed Quitpuff, simple colorimetric test to measure the extent of lipid peroxidation in saliva samples. This test detected salivary lipid peroxidation with 96% accuracy in test subjects and could serve as an inexpensive, non-invasive test for smokers to measure degree of salivary lipid peroxidation and potential risk of oral cancer.

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Glyphosate Levels in American Food Products Meet Government Safety Levels Yet Exceed Concentrations Associated with Negative Effects

Lee et al. | Mar 25, 2019

Glyphosate Levels in American Food Products Meet Government Safety Levels Yet Exceed Concentrations Associated with Negative Effects

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, frequently used in the agricultural industry worldwide. Current literature reveals contradictory findings regarding the effects of glyphosate on vertebrates, leading to concerns about human consumption and differing views on safety levels. Here, authors sought to measure glyphosate levels in common commercially available food products. While some product levels exceed the thresholds at which negative effects have been observed, none exceed government limits.

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Phages Can Be More Effective and Specific Than Antibiotics in Combating Bacteria

Wu et al. | Feb 17, 2019

Phages Can Be More Effective and Specific Than Antibiotics in Combating Bacteria

Phage therapy has been suggested as an alternative to antibiotics because bacteria resistant to antibiotics may still be susceptible to phages. However, phages may have limited effectiveness in combating bacteria since bacteria possess several antiviral defense mechanisms and can quickly develop resistance to phages. In this study, Wu and Pinta compare the effectiveness and specificity of antibiotics and phages in combating bacteria. They found that T4 phages are more specific and effective in fighting or inhibiting both antibiotic-resistant and sensitive bacteria than antibiotics, suggesting that phage therapy can be developed as an efficient tool to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

Kisling et al. | Feb 12, 2019

Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

As humans, not all our body organs can adequately regenerate after injury, an ability that declines with age. In some species, however, regeneration is a hallmark response that can occur limitless numbers of time throughout the life of an organism. Understanding how such species can regenerate so efficiently is of central importance to regenerative medicine. Sea urchins, unlike humans, can regenerate their spinal tissue after injury. Here the authors study the effect of a growth factor, FGF2, on sea urchin regeneration but find no conclusive evidence for a pro-regenerative effect after spinal tissue injury.

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Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Gardner et al. | Feb 02, 2019

Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Cilia are little hair-like protrusions on many cells in the human body, including those lining the trachea where they play a role in clearing our respiratory tract of mucous and other irritants. Genetic mutations that impair ciliary function have serious consequences on our well-being making it important to understand how ciliary function is regulated. By using a simple organism, such as the worm C. elegans that use cilia to move, the authors explore the effect of certain genetic mutations on the cilia of the worms by measuring their ability to move towards or away from certain odorants.

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The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Lee et al. | Jan 26, 2019

The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Salmonella is a genus of bacteria responsible for over 90 million cases of intestinal illnesses yearly. Like many bacteria, Salmonella can create a biofilm matrix, which confers stronger resistance against antibiotics. However, there has been relatively little research on the inhibition of Salmonella biofilm formation, which is a crucial factor in its widespread growth. In this study, Lee and Kim quantitatively measure the effectiveness of several common probiotics in inhibiting Salmonella bacterial growth. They found concentration-dependent antibacterial effects varied among the probiotics tested, indicating the possibility of probiotic species-specific mechanisms of Salmonella growth inhibition.

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Investigating the role of biotic factors in host responses to rhizobia in the system Medicago truncatula

Rathod et al. | Jan 22, 2019

Investigating the role of biotic factors in host responses to rhizobia in the system Medicago truncatula

Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, such as the legume mutualist rhizobia, convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that is usable by living organisms. Leguminous plants, like the model species Medicago truncatula, directly benefit from this process by forming a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia. Here, Rathod and Rowe investigate how M. truncatula responds to non-rhizobial bacterial partners.

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Evaluation of Tea Extract as an Inhibitor of Oxidative Stress in Prostate Cells

Zhang et al. | Jan 22, 2019

Evaluation of Tea Extract as an Inhibitor of Oxidative Stress in Prostate Cells

One important factor that contributes to human cancers is accumulated damage to cells' DNA due to the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In this study, the authors investigate the effects of several different tea leaf extracts on oxidative stress in cultured human prostate cells to see if antioxidants in the tea leaves could help protect cells from this type of DNA damage. They found that all four types of tea extract (as well as direct application of the antioxidant EGCG) improved the outcomes for the cultured cells, with white tea extract having the strongest effect. This research suggests that tea extracts and the antioxidants that they contain may have applications in the treatment of the many diseases associated with cellular DNA damage, including cancer.

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The effects of antioxidants on the climbing abilities of Drosophila melanogaster exposed to dental resin

Prashanth et al. | Jan 17, 2019

The effects of antioxidants on the climbing abilities of Drosophila melanogaster exposed to dental resin

Dental resins can be a source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which in unruly amounts can be toxic to cellular and overall health. In this report, the authors test whether the consumption of antioxidant rich foods like avocado and asparagus can protect against the effect of dental resin-derived ROS. However, rather than testing humans, they use fruit flies and their climbing abilities as an experimental readout.

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Characterization of drought tolerance in Arabidopsis mutant fry1-6

Kim et al. | Jan 07, 2019

Characterization of drought tolerance in Arabidopsis mutant  fry1-6

In a world where water shortage is becoming an increasing concern, and where population increase seems inevitable, food shortage is an overwhelming concern for many. In this paper, the authors aim to characterize a drought-resistant strain of A. thaliana, investigating the cause for its water resistance. These and similar studies help us learn how plants could be engineered to improve their ability to flourish in a changing climate.

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The Development of a Highly Sensitive Home Diagnosis Kit for Group A Streptococcus Bacteria (GAS)

Mai et al. | Dec 05, 2018

The Development of a Highly Sensitive Home Diagnosis Kit for Group A Streptococcus Bacteria (GAS)

In this article, Mai et al. have developed a do-it-yourself kit for the detection of Strep A bacterial infections. While Strep A infections require antibiotic administration, viral infections, which can present with similar symptoms, often resolve on their own. The problem with delayed antibiotic treatment is an increasing risk of complications. Currently an accurate diagnosis requires that patients make the trip to the hospital where sensitive tests can be performed. The method described here, bundled into a commercially available kit, could help speed up the identification of such bacterial infections. When presented with symptoms of a sore throat and fever, you could just buy the kit at your local pharmacy, perform the simple yet highly accurate and sensitive test, and know whether an urgent trip to the doctor's for an antibiotic prescription is necessary. How convenient!

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