Climate records indicate that there has been a trend of decreasing annual snowfall totals throughout the United States during the peak winter season. However, New Jersey has seen a significant increase in snowfall over the past 126 years of recorded observations. The authors hypothesize that although annual snowfall has remained the same on average, the frequencies of major and minor snowfall events have noticeably increased. They found that there was no significant evidence for an increase in the frequency of minor events (1.1-inch to 4.0-inch events), but there was evidence for an increase in the frequency of major events (4.1+ inch events). The results imply that a warming climate might be opening up opportunities for more snowfall.
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.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 81% of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) patients in the renal fibrosis stage later develop CAD. In this study, Mathew and Joykutty aimed to create a cost-effective strategy to treat AKI and thus prevent CAD using a model of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. They first tested whether AKI is induced in Danio rerio upon exposure to environmental toxins, then evaluated nitrotyrosine as an early biomarker for toxin-induced AKI. Finally, they evaluated 4 treatments of renal fibrosis, the last stage of AKI, and found that the compound SB431542 was the most effective treatment (reduced fibrosis by 99.97%). Their approach to treating AKI patients, and potentially prevent CAD, is economically feasible for translation into the clinic in both developing and developed countries.
Economic disruptions and housing instabilities have for long propelled a homelessness epidemic among adults and youth in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this phenomenon with a 2.2% increase in the number of homeless individuals and more than 70% of Americans fearing this outcome for themselves. This study aimed to analyze the perception of homelessness in two groups: Those who have previously experienced and overcome homelessness and those who are at-risk for experiencing the same. The study analyzed publicly available Reddit posts by people in both groups and found that at-risk individuals tended to associate primarily fearful emotions with the event, and those who had overcome homelessness tended to view the event in a negative context. These results may encourage the establishment of resources to support the currently homeless and help them transition into society, and services to help them cope with negative emotions, as negative attitudes have been shown to decrease life expectancy.
In the United States, there are currently 17.8 million affected by atopic dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema. It is characterized by itching and skin inflammation. AD patients are at higher risk for infections, depression, cancer, and suicide. Genetics, environment, and stress are some of the causes of the disease. With the rise of personalized medicine and the acceptance of gene-editing technologies, AD-related variations need to be identified for treatment. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have associated the Filaggrin (FLG) gene with AD but have not identified specific problematic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This research aimed to refine known SNPs of FLG for gene editing technologies to establish a causal link between specific SNPs and the diseases and to target the polymorphisms. The research utilized R and its Bioconductor packages to refine data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) Variation Viewer. The algorithm filtered the dataset by coding regions and conserved domains. The algorithm also removed synonymous variations and treated non-synonymous, frameshift, and nonsense separately. The non-synonymous variations were refined and ordered by the BLOSUM62 substitution matrix. Overall, the analysis removed 96.65% of data, which was redundant or not the focus of the research and ordered the remaining relevant data by impact. The code for the project can also be repurposed as a tool for other diseases. The research can help solve GWAS's imprecise identification challenge. This research is the first step in providing the refined databases required for gene-editing treatment.
Nolt and Elwonger examine how different types of music impact our emotional and physical states. They found that music can influence a subject's emotional state, with sad music inspiring sadness and exciting music bringing excitement. They were not able to find a clear relationship between heart rate and music type. Music's effect on emotional state can be useful when designing novel therapies for emotional and mental disorders.
Racial inequality has been a major issue throughout the history of the United States. In recent years, however, especially with the election of America's first black president, many have claimed that we have made progress and are moving towards a post-racial society. The authors of this study sought to test that claim by evaluating whether high school age students still experience a phenomenon known as white guilt. White guilt is defined as remorse or shame felt by people of Caucasian descent about racial inequality.
Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are projected to lead to a 0.3- 0.4 unit decrease in ocean surface pH levels over the next century. In this study, the authors investigate the effect of pH change on the mass of calcified exoskeletons of common aquatic organisms found in South Florida coastal waters.