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Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Zirvi et al. | Sep 13, 2022

Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Modern artificial neural networks have been remarkably successful in various applications, from speech recognition to computer vision. However, it remains less clear whether they can implement abstract concepts, which are essential to generalization and understanding. To address this problem, the authors investigated the above vs. below task, a simple concept-based task that honeybees can solve, using a conventional neural network. They found that networks achieved 100% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a black bar, however only 50% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a reference shape.

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Modular mimics of neuroactive alkaloids - design, synthesis, and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of rivastigmine analogs

Yu et al. | Sep 12, 2022

Modular mimics of neuroactive alkaloids - design, synthesis, and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of rivastigmine analogs

Naturally occurring neuroactive alkaloids are often studied for their potential to treat Neurological diseases. This team of students study Rivastigmine, a potent cholinesterase inhibitor that is a synthetic analog of physostigmine, which comes from the Calabar bean plant Physostigma venenosum. By comparing the effects of optimized synthetic analogs to the naturally occurring alkaloid, they determine the most favorable analog for inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) to terminate neuronal transmission and signaling between synapses.

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Assessing CDK5 as a Nanomotor for Chemotactic Drug Delivery

Jiang et al. | Sep 08, 2022

Assessing CDK5 as a Nanomotor for Chemotactic Drug Delivery

Enzyme chemotaxis is a thermodynamic phenomenon in which enzymes move along a substrate concentration gradient towards regions with higher substrate concentrations and can be used to steer nanovehicles towards targets along natural substrate concentrations. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a gradient of tau protein forms in the bloodstream. Tau protein is a substrate of the enzyme CDK5, which catalyzes the phosphorylation of tau protein and can travel using chemotaxis along tau protein gradients to increasing concentrations of tau and amyloid-beta proteins. The authors hypothesized that CDK5 would be able to overcome these barriers of Brownian motion and developed a quantitative model using Michaelis-Menten kinetics to define the necessary parameters to confirm and characterize CDK5’s chemotactic behavior to establish its utility in drug delivery and other applications.

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The feeling of beauty in music: Relaxing and not confusing

Jain et al. | Sep 07, 2022

The feeling of beauty in music: Relaxing and not confusing

Here, the authors sought to better understand how and why people experience beauty in music. They explored this fundamental aesthetic response by considering numerous emotional responses of participants to diverse musical excerpts using a 42-item Aesthetic Emotions Scale assessment. They found that the highly nuanced emotional experience of beauty in music includes positive, negative, and knowledge-related feelings.

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The impact of COVID-19 quarantine on physical activities in Basra, Iraq: A cross-sectional study

Al Saeedi et al. | Aug 30, 2022

The impact of COVID-19 quarantine on physical activities in Basra, Iraq: A cross-sectional study

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the authors noticed a change in the physical activity of many people, as well as a change in the type of physical activity they practice. Here, the authors used a cross-sectional survey of 150 participants from the province of Basra in Iraq. They found an overall decrease in the number of days of physical activity for participants along with an increasing proportion of at-home exercises compared to other activities that are performed inside sports clubs during the pandemic.

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Application of gene therapy for reversing T-cell dysfunction in cancer

Hyun Lee et al. | Aug 25, 2022

Application of gene therapy for reversing T-cell dysfunction in cancer

Since cancer cells inhibit T-cell activity, the authors investigated a method to reverse T-cell disfunction with gene therapy, so that the T-cells would become effective once again in fighting cancer cells. They used the inhibition of proprotein convertases (PCSK1) in T cells and programmed death-ligand 1 (CD274) in cancer cells. They observed the recovery of IL-2 expression in Jurkat cells, with increased recovery noted in a co-culture sample. This study suggests a novel strategy to reactivate T cells.

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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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Characterizing the association between hippocampal reactive astrogliosis, anhedonia-like behaviors, and neurogenesis in a monkey model of stress and antidepressant treatment

Kim et al. | Aug 25, 2022

Characterizing the association between hippocampal reactive astrogliosis, anhedonia-like behaviors, and neurogenesis in a monkey model of stress and antidepressant treatment

This study examined the effects of stress and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on a measure of astrocyte reactivity in nonhuman primate (NHP) models of stress. Results showed that chronic separation stress in NHPs leads to increased signs of astrogliosis in the NHP hippocampus. The findings were consistent with the hypotheses that hippocampal astrogliosis is an important mechanism in stress-induced cognitive and behavioral deficits.

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