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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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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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Honey Bee Pollen in Allergic Rhinitis Healing

Bjelajac et al. | Jun 24, 2020

Honey Bee Pollen in Allergic Rhinitis Healing

The most common atopic disease of the upper respiratory tract is allergic rhinitis. It is defined as a chronic inflammatory condition of nasal mucosa due to the effects of one or more allergens and is usually a long-term problem. The purpose of our study was to test the efficiency of apitherapy in allergic rhinitis healing by the application of honey bee pollen. Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products. Honey bee pollen can act as an allergen and cause new allergy attacks for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Conversely, we hoped to prove that smaller ingestion of honey bee pollen on a daily basis would desensitize participants to pollen and thus reduce the severity of allergic rhinitis.

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Access to public parks, drinking fountains, and clean public drinking water in the Bay Area is not driven by income

Zaroff et al. | Jul 15, 2021

Access to public parks, drinking fountains, and clean public drinking water in the Bay Area is not driven by income

Access to green space—an area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an urban environment—and clean drinking water can be unequally distributed in urban spaces, which are often associated with income inequality. Little is known about public drinking water and green space inequities in the Bay Area. For our study, we sought to understand how public park access, drinking fountain access, and the quality of public drinking water differ across income brackets in the Bay Area. Though we observed smaller-scale instances of inequalities, in the park distribution in the Bay Area as a whole, and in the Southern Bay’s water quality and park distribution, our results indicate that other factors could be influencing water quality, and park and fountain access in the Bay Area.

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Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant Caenorhabditis elegans Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Mishra et al. | Sep 14, 2019

Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is characterized by neurodegeneration. Mishra et al. wanted to understand the role of two transport proteins, LRP1 and AQP4, in the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease. They used a model organism for Alzheimer's disease, the nematode C. elegans, and genetic engineering to look at whether they would see a decrease in neurodegeneration if they increased the amount of these two transport proteins. They found that the best improvements were caused by increased expression of both transport proteins, with smaller improvements when just one of the proteins is overly expressed. Their work has important implications for how we understand neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and what we can do to slow or prevent the progression of the disease.

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Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett et al. | Sep 03, 2019

Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett and Joykutty test whether growth hormone directly or indirectly affected the rate at which cartilage renewed itself. Growth hormone could exert a direct effect on cartilage or chondrocytes by modifying the expression of different genes, whereas an indirect effect would come from growth hormone stimulating insulin-like growth factor. The results from this research support the hypothesis that growth hormone increases proliferation rate using the direct pathway. This research can be used in the medical sciences for people who suffer from joint damage and other cartilage-related diseases, since the results demonstrated conditions that lead to increased proliferation of chondrocytes. These combined results could be applied in a clinical setting with the goal of allowing patient cartilage to renew itself at a faster pace, therefore keeping those patients out of pain from these chondrocyte-related diseases.

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The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Gohari et al. | Aug 12, 2019

The Effects of Altered Microbiome on <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Egg Laying Behavior

Since the discovery that thousands of different bacteria colonize our gut, many of which are important for human wellbeing, understanding the significance of balancing the different species on the human body has been intensely researched. Untangling the complexity of the gut microbiome and establishing the effect of the various strains on human health is a challenge in many circumstances, and the need for simpler systems to improve our basic understanding of microbe-host interactions seems necessary. C. elegans are a well-established laboratory animal that feed on bacteria and can thus serve as a less complex system for studying microbe-host interactions. Here the authors investigate how the choice of bacterial diet affects worm fertility. The same approach could be applied to many different outcomes, and facilitate our understanding of how the microbes colonizing our guts affect various bodily functions.

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Differential privacy in machine learning for traffic forecasting

Vinay et al. | Dec 21, 2022

Differential privacy in machine learning for traffic forecasting

In this paper, we measured the privacy budgets and utilities of different differentially private mechanisms combined with different machine learning models that forecast traffic congestion at future timestamps. We expected the ANNs combined with the Staircase mechanism to perform the best with every value in the privacy budget range, especially with the medium high values of the privacy budget. In this study, we used the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) and neural network models to forecast and then added differentially private Laplacian, Gaussian, and Staircase noise to our datasets. We tested two real traffic congestion datasets, experimented with the different models, and examined their utility for different privacy budgets. We found that a favorable combination for this application was neural networks with the Staircase mechanism. Our findings identify the optimal models when dealing with tricky time series forecasting and can be used in non-traffic applications like disease tracking and population growth.

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Combinatorial treatment by siNOTCH and retinoic acid decreases A172 brain cancer cell growth

Richardson et al. | Nov 14, 2022

Combinatorial treatment by siNOTCH and retinoic acid decreases A172 brain cancer cell growth

Treatments inhibiting Notch signaling pathways have been explored by researchers as a new approach for the treatment of glioblastoma tumors, which is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. Recently, retinoic acid (RA) therapy, which inhibits Notch signaling, has shown a promising effect on inhibiting glioblastoma progression. RA, which is a metabolite of vitamin A, is very important in embryonic cellular development, which includes the regulation of multiple developmental processes, such as brain neurogenesis. However, high doses of RA treatment caused many side effects such as headaches, nausea, redness around the injection site, or allergic reactions. Therefore, we hypothesized that a combination treatment of RA and siRNA targeting NOTCH1 (siNOTCH1), the essential gene that activates Notch signaling, would effectively inhibit brain cancer cell proliferation. The aim of the study was to determine whether inhibiting NOTCH1 would inhibit the growth of brain cancer cells by cell viability assay. We found that the combination treatment of siNOTCH1 and RA in low concentration effectively decreased the NOTCH1 expression level compared to the individual treatments. However, the combination treatment condition significantly decreased the number of live brain cancer cells only at a low concentration of RA. We anticipate that this novel combination treatment can provide a solution to the side effects of chemotherapy.

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Societal awareness regarding viral Hepatitis in developed and developing countries

Srivastava et al. | Oct 03, 2022

Societal awareness regarding viral Hepatitis in developed and developing countries

Many cases of viral hepatitis are easily preventable if caught early; however, a lack of public awareness regarding often leads to diagnoses near the final stages of disease when it is most lethal. Thus, we wanted to understand to what extent an individual's sex, age, education and country of residence (India or Singapore) impacts disease identification. We sent out a survey and quiz to residents in India (n = 239) and Singapore (n = 130) with questions that test their knowledge and awareness of the disease. We hypothesized that older and more educated individuals would score higher because they are more experienced, but that the Indian population will not be as knowledgeable as the Singaporean population because they do not have as many resources, such as socioeconomic access to schools and accessibility to healthcare, available to them. Additionally, we predicted that there would not be any notable differences between make and females. The results revealed that the accuracy for all groups we looked at was primarily below 50%, demonstrating a severe knowledge gap. Therefore, we concluded that if more medical professionals discussed viral hepatitis during hospital visits and in schools, patients can avoid the end stages of the disease in notable cases.

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