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Investigation of unknown causes of uveal melanoma uncovers seven recurrent genetic mutations

Nanda et al. | Aug 25, 2022

Investigation of unknown causes of uveal melanoma uncovers seven recurrent genetic mutations

Uveal melanoma (UM) is a rare subtype of melanoma but the most frequent primary cancer of the eye in adults. The goal of this study was to research the genetic causes of UM through a comprehensive frequency analysis of base-pair mismatches in patient genomes. Results showed a total of 130 genetic mutations, including seven recurrent mutations, with most mutations occurring in chromosomes 3 and X. Recurrent mutations varied from 8.7% to 17.39% occurrence in the UM patient sample, with all mutations identified as missense. These findings suggest that UM is a recessive heterogeneous disease with selective homozygous mutations. Notably, this study has potential wider significance because the seven genes targeted by recurrent mutations are also involved in other cancers.

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A machine learning approach for abstraction and reasoning problems without large amounts of data

Isik et al. | Jun 25, 2022

A machine learning approach for abstraction and reasoning problems without large amounts of data

While remarkable in its ability to mirror human cognition, machine learning and its associated algorithms often require extensive data to prove effective in completing tasks. However, data is not always plentiful, with unpredictable events occurring throughout our daily lives that require flexibility by artificial intelligence utilized in technology such as personal assistants and self-driving vehicles. Driven by the need for AI to complete tasks without extensive training, the researchers in this article use fluid intelligence assessments to develop an algorithm capable of generalization and abstraction. By forgoing prioritization on skill-based training, this article demonstrates the potential of focusing on a more generalized cognitive ability for artificial intelligence, proving more flexible and thus human-like in solving unique tasks than skill-focused algorithms.

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The Effect of Anubias barteri Plant Species on Limiting Freshwater Acidification

Ramanathan et al. | Jul 06, 2021

The Effect of <i>Anubias barteri</i> Plant Species on Limiting Freshwater Acidification

Research relating to freshwater acidification is minimal, so the impact of aquatic plants, Anubias barteri var. congensis and Anubias barteri var. nana, on minimizing changes in pH was explored in an ecosystem in Northern California. Creek water samples, with and without the aquatic plants, were exposed to dry ice to simulate carbon emissions and the pH was monitored over an eight-hour period. There was a 25% difference in the observed pH based on molar hydrogen ion concentration between the water samples with plants and those without plants, suggesting that aquatic plants have the potential to limit acidification to some extent. These findings can guide future research to explore the viable partial solution of aquatic plants in combating freshwater acidification.

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Attitudes towards mental health in Indians who practice yoga regularly and those who do not

Komar et al. | Jul 13, 2022

Attitudes towards mental health in Indians who practice yoga regularly and those who do not

Whether it is through implicit association or intentional practice, yoga has been known to help individuals maintain good mental health. However, many communities, such as South Asian communities, often project the stereotype that embodies neglecting topics such as mental health and considering them taboo. In this online survey-based study, the authors focused on examining whether yoga would alter individuals’ attitudes toward mental health. They hypothesized that 1) participants who regularly practiced yoga would be more familiar with the term mental health, 2) participants who practiced yoga would value their mental health more, and 3) participants who practiced yoga regularly would be more open about their mental health and be more likely to reach out for professional help if needed. They did not find a statistical significance for any of our hypotheses which suggests that yoga may not have an effect on perceptions of mental health in yoga-practicing Indian adults.

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Modulation of VEGF and TGF beta in 5-FU induced inflammation in MCF-7 using an herbal formulation

Vinay Nair et al. | Jun 03, 2022

Modulation of VEGF and TGF beta in 5-FU induced inflammation in MCF-7 using an herbal formulation

Acquired drug resistance is an increasing challenge in treating cancer with chemotherapy. One mechanism
behind this resistance is the increased inflammation that supports the progression and development of
cancer that arises because of the drug’s presence. Integrative oncology is the field that focuses on including natural products alongside traditional therapy to create a treatment that focuses on holistic patient well-being.
In this study, the authors demonstrate that the use of an herbal formulation, consisting of turmeric and green tea, alongside a traditional chemotherapeutic drug, 5-fluorouracil (FU) significantly decreases the level of cytokines produced in breast cancer cells when compared to the levels produced when exposed solely to the chemo drug. The authors conclude that this combination of treatment, based on the principle of integrative oncology, shows potential for reducing the resistance against treatment conferred through increased inflammation. Consequently, this suggests a prospective way forward in improving the efficacy of cancer treatment.

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Analyzing honey’s ability to inhibit the growth of Rhizopus stolonifer

Johnecheck et al. | Jun 06, 2023

Analyzing honey’s ability to inhibit the growth of <i>Rhizopus stolonifer</i>
Image credit: Johnecheck et al. 2023

Rhizopus stolonifer is a mold commonly found growing on bread that can cause many negative health effects when consumed. Preservatives are the well-known answer to this problem; however, many preservatives are not naturally found in food, and some have negative health effects of their own. We focused on honey as a possible solution because of its natural origin and self-preservation ability. We hypothesized that honey would decrease the growth rate of R. stolonifer . We evaluated the honey with a zone of inhibition (ZOI) test on agar plates. Sabouraud dextrose agar was mixed with differing volumes of honey to generate concentrations between 10.0% and 30.0%. These plates were then inoculated with a solution of spores collected from the mold. The ZOI was measured to determine antifungal effectiveness. A statistically significant difference was found between the means of all concentrations except for 20.0% and 22.5%. Our findings support the hypothesis as we showed a positive correlation between the honey concentration and growth rate of mold. By using this data, progress could be made on an all-natural, honey-based preservative.

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Do elders care about eHealth? A correlational study between eHealth consumption and literacy

Liang et al. | Jul 19, 2023

Do elders care about eHealth? A correlational study between eHealth consumption and literacy
Image credit: Liang and Sposa

As digital tools become more prevalent in medicine, the ability for individuals to understand and take actions based on what they read on the internet is crucial. eHealth literacy is defined as as the ability to seek, find, understand, and evaluate health information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem. In general, Americans have low eHealth literacy rates. However, limited research has been conducted to understand the eHealth literacy level among older Chinese adult immigrants in the U.S. To determine the eHealth literacy of elderly Chinese immigrants, we sent out an eHealth survey and relevant computer skills survey using a modified version of the eHEALS (eHealth Literacy Scale) health literacy test. We hypothesized that elders who consumed more electronic health content would have a higher eHealth literacy score. The results of this survey showed that there was a positive correlation between the frequency of electronic health information consumption and the participant's eHealth literacy rate. In addition, the results of our computer literacy test show that the frequency of consumption and computer literacy are positively correlated as well. There is a strong positive correlation between the level of computer skills and eHealth literacy of participants. These results reveal possible steps individuals can take to reduce health misinformation and improve their own health by attaining, understanding, and taking action on health material on the internet.

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