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Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Ravi et al. | Aug 22, 2018

Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential  Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are two of the fastest growing comorbid diseases in the world. Using publicly available datasets from the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Ravi and Lee conducted a differential gene expression analysis using 184 blood samples from either control individuals or individuals with comorbid MDD and PTSD. As a result, the authors identified 253 highly differentially-expressed genes, with enrichment for proteins in the gene ontology group 'Ribosomal Pathway'. These genes may be used as blood-based biomarkers for susceptibility to MDD or PTSD, and to tailor treatments within a personalized medicine regime.

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The role of temporal lobe epilepsy in cardiac structure and function

Choi et al. | Aug 15, 2018

The role of temporal lobe epilepsy in cardiac structure and function

Cardiac autonomic and structural changes may occur in temporal lobe epilepsy patients and contribute to the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy patients. Choi and colleagues reviewed clinical charts to obtain patients’ lifetime seizure count, antiepileptic drug use, and history of heart disease, followed by transthoracic echocardiogram to calculate left ventricle dimensions, ejection fraction, and left ventricle mass. By comparing epilepsy patients to control subjects, they found that epilepsy patients had thinner left ventricle walls and smaller ejection fraction, but with no significant difference in left ventricle mass.

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Synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril on C. elegans

Kadıoğlu et al. | Jul 10, 2018

Synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril on C. elegans

Kadıoğlu and Oğuzalp study the synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril, two commonly prescribed drugs for type 2 diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Using C. elegans nematodes as a model system, the authors find that the nematodes decreased in average body length when exposed to Metformin or Captopril individually, but grew 11% in body length when both drugs were used together. Because C. elegans body size is regulated in part by the TGF-β signaling pathway, the authors suggest that synergistic effects of these two drugs may be modulating TGF-β activity, a previously uncharacterized phenomenon.

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The Effect of Radiant Energy on Radish Seed Germination

Simon et al. | Jul 06, 2018

The Effect of Radiant Energy on Radish Seed Germination

Simon and colleagues test how exposure to microwaves affect radish seed germination, either microwaving seeds for ninety seconds or four minutes prior to planting. Surprisingly, the authors found that seeds microwaved for four minutes exhibited 150% increased germination as compared to controls. The authors hypothesize that breakdown of the radish seed coat when exposed to heat may allow seedlings to sprout more efficiently.

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Development of Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster and Characterization of the Anti-Diabetic Effects of Resveratrol and Pterostilbene

Dhar et al. | Jul 02, 2018

Development of Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster and Characterization of the Anti-Diabetic Effects of Resveratrol and Pterostilbene

Dhar and colleagues established a Type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) model in fruit flies, using this model to induce insulin resistance and characterize the effects Resveratrol and Pterostilbene on a number of growth and activity metrics. Resveratrol and Pterostilbene treatment notably overturned the weight gain and glucose levels. The results of this study suggest that Drosophila can be utilized as a model organism to study T2DM and novel pharmacological treatments.

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A Novel Method for Assessment of Proprioception

Trevithick et al. | Jun 22, 2018

A Novel Method for Assessment of Proprioception

Trevithick & Park were interested in whether proprioception, the sense of the relative position of body parts and movement, differed between varsity and non-varsity athletes, as well as between the sport practiced. The authors found that there was no correlation between athleticism and better proprioception, but that dancers had superior proprioceptive abilities compared to those that practiced other sports.

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A Novel Method for Auto-Suturing in Laparoscopic Robotic-Assisted Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Anastomosis

Levy et al. | Jun 21, 2018

A Novel Method for Auto-Suturing in Laparoscopic Robotic-Assisted Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Anastomosis

Levy & Levy tackle the optimization of the coronary artery bypass graft, a life-saving surgical technique that treats artery blockage due to coronary heart disease. The authors develop a novel auto-suturing method that saves time, allows for an increased number of sutures, and improves graft quality over hand suturing. The authors also show that increasing the number of sutures from four to five with their new method significantly improves graft quality. These promising findings may help improve outcomes for patients undergoing surgery to treat coronary heart disease.

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Don’t Waste the Medical Waste: Reducing Improperly Classified Hazardous Waste in a Medical Facility

Hemani et al. | Jun 20, 2018

Don’t Waste the Medical Waste: Reducing Improperly Classified Hazardous Waste in a Medical Facility

Hemani et al. tackled the problem of rampant hospital waste by implementing staff training to help inform hospital workers about proper waste disposal. The authors observed a significant increase in proper waste disposal after the training, showing that simple strategies, such as in-person classroom training and posters, can have a profound effect on limiting improper waste handling.

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FRUGGIE – A board game to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in young children

Huprikar et al. | Jun 13, 2018

FRUGGIE – A board game to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in young children

The authors created a board game to teach young children about healthy eating habits to see whether an interactive and family-oriented method would be effective at introducing and maintaining a love for fruits and veggies. Results showed that children developed a liking for fruits and vegetables, and none regressed. Half maintained their level of enjoyment for fruits and vegetables during the research period, while the other half had a positive increase. The results show that a simple interactive game can shape how young children relate to food and encourage them to maintain healthy habits.

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Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

Bing et al. | Jun 12, 2018

Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

The "Uncanny Valley" is a phenomenon in which humans feel discomfort in the presence of objects that are almost, but not quite, human-like. In this study, the authors tested whether this phenomenon could be overcome by sharing a stressful experience with a humanoid robot. They found that human subjects more readily accepted a robot partner that they had previously shared a stressful experience with, suggesting a potential method for increasing the effectiveness of beneficial human-robot interactions by reducing the Uncanny Valley effect.

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