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Ramifications of natural and artificial sweeteners on the gastrointestinal system

Cowen et al. | Jun 19, 2023

Ramifications of natural and artificial sweeteners on the gastrointestinal system

This study aimed to determine whether artificial sweeteners are harmful to the human microbiome by investigating two different bacteria found to be advantageous to the human gut, Escherichia coli and Bacillus coagulans. Results showed dramatic reduction in bacterial growth for agar plates containing two artificial sweeteners in comparison to two natural sweeteners. This led to the conclusion that both artificial sweeteners inhibit the growth of the two bacteria and warrants further study to determine if zero-sugar sweeteners may be worse for the human gut than natural sugar itself.

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Enhancing activity of antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus with Shuang-Huang-Lian

Liu et al. | Sep 29, 2022

Enhancing activity of antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus with Shuang-Huang-Lian

Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen in both hospitals and the community and can cause systemic infections such as pneumonia. Multi-drug resistant strains, such as Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are particularly worrisome. In order to reduce the development of bacterial resistance, we hypothesized that two selected traditional Chinese medicines, Shuang-Huang-Lian (SHL) and Lan-Qin, would be effective against S. aureus. The results showed that SHL had a synergistic effect with gentamicin as well as additive effects with penicillin and cefazolin against S. aureus compared with using antibiotics alone.

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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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Antibacterial effectiveness of turmeric against gram-positive Staphylococcus epidermidis

Cox et al. | Jan 10, 2022

Antibacterial effectiveness of turmeric against gram-positive <i>Staphylococcus epidermidis</i>

Infections caused by antibiotic resistance are a leading issue faced by the medical field. The authors studied the antibacterial effectiveness of turmeric against gram-positive Staphylococcus epidermidis using antibiotic sensitivity disks. They infused blank antibiotic sensitivity disks with a 5% concentrated solution of turmeric and placed them on agar plates inoculated with bacteria. Overall, there was no measurable ZOI surrounding the turmeric disk so the measurements for all trials were 0 cm, suggesting that turmeric at a 5% concentration is not an effective antibacterial against S. epidermidis.

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Zinc-related Treatments Combined with Chloroquine and Gemcitabine for Treating Pancreatic Cancer

Ma et al. | Sep 11, 2021

Zinc-related Treatments Combined with Chloroquine and Gemcitabine for Treating Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with a 10% 5-year survival rate. The authors studied various dosages of TPEN and zinc in combination with Chloroquine and Gemcitabine as treatments to reduce cell proliferation. Results showed that when combined with Chloroquine and Gemcitabine, zinc and TPEN both significantly lowered cell proliferation compared to Gemcitabine, suggesting a synergistic effect that resulted in a more cytotoxic treatment. Further research and clinical trials on this topic are needed to determine whether this could be a viable treatment for pancreatic cancer.

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The Effects of Atmospheric Attenuation on Cosmic Ray Muons: How is Surface Level Cosmic Ray Muon Flux Affected by Atmospheric Attenuation?

Sun et al. | Sep 11, 2021

The Effects of Atmospheric Attenuation on Cosmic Ray Muons: How is Surface Level Cosmic Ray Muon Flux Affected by Atmospheric Attenuation?

Cosmic rays are high-energy astronomical particles originating from various sources across the universe. Here, The authors sought to understand how surface-level cosmic-ray muon flux is affected by atmospheric attenuation by measuring the variation in relative muon-flux rate relative to zenith angle, testing the hypothesis that muons follow an exponential attenuation model. The attenuation model predicts an attenuation length of 6.3 km. This result implies that only a maximum of 24% of muons can reach the Earth’s surface, due to both decay and atmospheric interactions.

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Phytochemical Analysis of Amaranthus spinosus Linn.: An in vitro Analysis

Sharma et al. | Mar 20, 2021

Phytochemical Analysis of <em>Amaranthus spinosus</em> Linn.: An <em>in vitro</em> Analysis

Mainstream cancer treatments, which include radiotherapy and chemotherapeutic drugs, are known to induce oxidative damage to healthy somatic cells due to the liberation of harmful free radicals. In order to avert this, physiological antioxidants must be complemented with external antioxidants. Here the authors performed a preliminary phytochemical screen to identify alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins in all parts of the Amaranthus spinosus Linn. plant. This paper describes the preparation of this crude extract and assesses its antioxidant properties for potential use in complementary cancer treatment.

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Characterization of antibacterial properties of common spices

Gehad et al. | Oct 03, 2020

Characterization of antibacterial properties of common spices

Bacterial infection is resurging as one of the most dangerous challenges facing the medical establishment. Americans spend about 55 to 70 billion dollars per year on antibiotics, yet these antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective as illness-causing bacteria gain resistance to the prescribed drugs. We tested if 11 commonly-used spices could inhibit growth of the gram-negative bacteria, E. coli, the main takeaway from these experiments is that certain spices and herbs have antibacterial effects that inhibit growth of E.coli , and these spices could show similarly promising activity towards other bacteria.

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Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance in School Bathrooms

Ciarlet et al. | Aug 24, 2020

Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance in School Bathrooms

Since school bathrooms are widely suspected to be unsanitary, we wanted to compare the total amount of bacteria with the amount of bacteria that had ampicillin or streptomycin resistance across different school bathrooms in the Boston area. We hypothesized that because people interact with the faucet, outdoor handle, and indoor handle of the bathroom, based on whether or not they have washed their hands, there would be differences in the quantity of the bacteria presented on these surfaces. Therefore, we predicted certain surfaces of the bathroom would be less sanitary than others.

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The Prevalence of Brain-Eating Roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis in Merrick County, Nebraska

Reeves et al. | Sep 20, 2018

The Prevalence of Brain-Eating Roundworm <i>Baylisascaris procyonis</i> in Merrick County, Nebraska

The authors investigated an important parasite-host relationship between the raccoon roundworm and the raccoon to understand how parasite prevalence is affected by location. They found that the parasite infection was more prevalent in raccoons found closer to human dwellings, though the number of roundworm eggs was not significantly different. These results are important human health, since roundworm infection is lethal to humans and can be transmitted from raccoons to humans - the authors suggest that more research into this parasite and awareness of its prevalence is needed to prevent disease.

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