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Increasing Average Yearly Temperature in Two U.S. Cities Shows Evidence for Climate Change

Savage et al. | Sep 20, 2018

Increasing Average Yearly Temperature in Two U.S. Cities Shows Evidence for Climate Change

The authors were interested in whether they could observe the effects of climate change by analyzing historical temperature data of two U.S. cities. They predicted that they should observe a warming trend in both cities. Their results showed that despite yearly variations, warming trends can be observed both in Rochester, NY and Seattle, WA which fit the predictions of climate change forecasts.

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Starts and Stops of Rhythmic and Discrete Movements: Modulation in the Excitability of the Corticomotor Tract During Transition to a Different Type of Movement

Lim et al. | Aug 27, 2018

Starts and Stops of Rhythmic and Discrete Movements: Modulation in the Excitability of the Corticomotor Tract During Transition to a Different Type of Movement

Control of voluntary and involuntary movements is one of the most important aspects of human neurological function, but the mechanisms of motor control are not completely understood. In this study, the authors use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to stimulate a portion of the motor cortex while subjects performed either discrete (e.g. throwing) or rhythmic (e.g. walking) movements. By recording electrical activity in the muscles during this process, the authors showed that motor evoked potentials (MEPs) measured in the muscles during TMS stimulation are larger in amplitude for discrete movements than for rhythmic movements. Interestingly, they also found that MEPs during transitions between rhythmic and discrete movements were nearly identical and larger in amplitude than those recorded during either rhythmic or discrete movements. This research provides important insights into the mechanisms of neurological control of movement and will serve as the foundation for future studies to learn more about temporal variability in neural activity during different movement types.

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Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Ravi et al. | Aug 22, 2018

Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential  Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are two of the fastest growing comorbid diseases in the world. Using publicly available datasets from the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Ravi and Lee conducted a differential gene expression analysis using 184 blood samples from either control individuals or individuals with comorbid MDD and PTSD. As a result, the authors identified 253 highly differentially-expressed genes, with enrichment for proteins in the gene ontology group 'Ribosomal Pathway'. These genes may be used as blood-based biomarkers for susceptibility to MDD or PTSD, and to tailor treatments within a personalized medicine regime.

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The role of temporal lobe epilepsy in cardiac structure and function

Choi et al. | Aug 15, 2018

The role of temporal lobe epilepsy in cardiac structure and function

Cardiac autonomic and structural changes may occur in temporal lobe epilepsy patients and contribute to the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy patients. Choi and colleagues reviewed clinical charts to obtain patients’ lifetime seizure count, antiepileptic drug use, and history of heart disease, followed by transthoracic echocardiogram to calculate left ventricle dimensions, ejection fraction, and left ventricle mass. By comparing epilepsy patients to control subjects, they found that epilepsy patients had thinner left ventricle walls and smaller ejection fraction, but with no significant difference in left ventricle mass.

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Synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril on C. elegans

Kadıoğlu et al. | Jul 10, 2018

Synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril on C. elegans

Kadıoğlu and Oğuzalp study the synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril, two commonly prescribed drugs for type 2 diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Using C. elegans nematodes as a model system, the authors find that the nematodes decreased in average body length when exposed to Metformin or Captopril individually, but grew 11% in body length when both drugs were used together. Because C. elegans body size is regulated in part by the TGF-β signaling pathway, the authors suggest that synergistic effects of these two drugs may be modulating TGF-β activity, a previously uncharacterized phenomenon.

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The Effect of Radiant Energy on Radish Seed Germination

Simon et al. | Jul 06, 2018

The Effect of Radiant Energy on Radish Seed Germination

Simon and colleagues test how exposure to microwaves affect radish seed germination, either microwaving seeds for ninety seconds or four minutes prior to planting. Surprisingly, the authors found that seeds microwaved for four minutes exhibited 150% increased germination as compared to controls. The authors hypothesize that breakdown of the radish seed coat when exposed to heat may allow seedlings to sprout more efficiently.

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Development of Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster and Characterization of the Anti-Diabetic Effects of Resveratrol and Pterostilbene

Dhar et al. | Jul 02, 2018

Development of Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster and Characterization of the Anti-Diabetic Effects of Resveratrol and Pterostilbene

Dhar and colleagues established a Type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) model in fruit flies, using this model to induce insulin resistance and characterize the effects Resveratrol and Pterostilbene on a number of growth and activity metrics. Resveratrol and Pterostilbene treatment notably overturned the weight gain and glucose levels. The results of this study suggest that Drosophila can be utilized as a model organism to study T2DM and novel pharmacological treatments.

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A Novel Method for Assessment of Proprioception

Trevithick et al. | Jun 22, 2018

A Novel Method for Assessment of Proprioception

Trevithick & Park were interested in whether proprioception, the sense of the relative position of body parts and movement, differed between varsity and non-varsity athletes, as well as between the sport practiced. The authors found that there was no correlation between athleticism and better proprioception, but that dancers had superior proprioceptive abilities compared to those that practiced other sports.

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A Novel Method for Auto-Suturing in Laparoscopic Robotic-Assisted Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Anastomosis

Levy et al. | Jun 21, 2018

A Novel Method for Auto-Suturing in Laparoscopic Robotic-Assisted Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Anastomosis

Levy & Levy tackle the optimization of the coronary artery bypass graft, a life-saving surgical technique that treats artery blockage due to coronary heart disease. The authors develop a novel auto-suturing method that saves time, allows for an increased number of sutures, and improves graft quality over hand suturing. The authors also show that increasing the number of sutures from four to five with their new method significantly improves graft quality. These promising findings may help improve outcomes for patients undergoing surgery to treat coronary heart disease.

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Don’t Waste the Medical Waste: Reducing Improperly Classified Hazardous Waste in a Medical Facility

Hemani et al. | Jun 20, 2018

Don’t Waste the Medical Waste: Reducing Improperly Classified Hazardous Waste in a Medical Facility

Hemani et al. tackled the problem of rampant hospital waste by implementing staff training to help inform hospital workers about proper waste disposal. The authors observed a significant increase in proper waste disposal after the training, showing that simple strategies, such as in-person classroom training and posters, can have a profound effect on limiting improper waste handling.

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FRUGGIE – A board game to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in young children

Huprikar et al. | Jun 13, 2018

FRUGGIE – A board game to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in young children

The authors created a board game to teach young children about healthy eating habits to see whether an interactive and family-oriented method would be effective at introducing and maintaining a love for fruits and veggies. Results showed that children developed a liking for fruits and vegetables, and none regressed. Half maintained their level of enjoyment for fruits and vegetables during the research period, while the other half had a positive increase. The results show that a simple interactive game can shape how young children relate to food and encourage them to maintain healthy habits.

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Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

Bing et al. | Jun 12, 2018

Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

The "Uncanny Valley" is a phenomenon in which humans feel discomfort in the presence of objects that are almost, but not quite, human-like. In this study, the authors tested whether this phenomenon could be overcome by sharing a stressful experience with a humanoid robot. They found that human subjects more readily accepted a robot partner that they had previously shared a stressful experience with, suggesting a potential method for increasing the effectiveness of beneficial human-robot interactions by reducing the Uncanny Valley effect.

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DyGS: a dynamic gene searching algorithm for cancer detection

Wang et al. | Jun 05, 2018

DyGS: a dynamic gene searching algorithm for cancer detection

Wang and Gong developed a novel dynamic gene-searching algorithm called Dynamic Gene Search (DyGS) to create a gene panel for each of the 12 cancers with the highest annual incidence and death rate. The 12 gene panels the DyGS algorithm selected used only 3.5% of the original gene mutation pool, while covering every patient sample. About 40% of each gene panel is druggable, which indicates that the DyGS-generated gene panels can be used for early cancer detection as well as therapeutic targets in treatment methods.

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Reducing Crop Damage Caused by Folsomia candida by Providing an Alternate Food Source

Tamura et al. | May 28, 2018

Reducing Crop Damage Caused by Folsomia candida by Providing an Alternate Food Source

Tamura and Moché found that Folsomia candida, a common crop pest, prefers to consume yeast instead of lettuce seedlings. The authors confirmed that even with the availability of both lettuce seedlings and yeast in the same dish, Folsomia candida preferred to eat the yeast, thereby reducing the number of feeding injuries on the lettuce seedlings. The authors propose that using this preference for yeast may be a way to mitigate crop damage by this pest.

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Differentiation of Waste Plastic Pyrolysis Fuels to Conventional Diesel Fuel

Jewison et al. | May 25, 2018

Differentiation of Waste Plastic Pyrolysis Fuels to Conventional Diesel Fuel

Plastic pollution and energy shortages are pressing issues in today’s world. The authors examined whether waste plastic pyrolysis fuels are similar to conventional diesel and, thus, a plausible alternative fuel. Results showed that waste plastic pyrolysis fuels did not match up to diesel overall, though several fuels came close in calorific value.

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Young People Drinking: The Effect of Group Size on Drinking Habits

Palermo et al. | May 10, 2018

Young People Drinking: The Effect of Group Size on Drinking Habits

Palermo et al. examined the effect of group size on drinking habits of college and high school students. The authors found that both high school and college students tended to consume the most alcohol in group sizes of 4 or more, independent of how frequently they drink. They also found that the proportion of college students that drink is nearly twice the proportion of high school students that drink. This study supports previous findings that underage drinking happens in large groups and suggests that effective intervention in underage drinking would be at the group level.

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The Effect of Interactive Electronics Use on Psychological Well Being and Interpersonal Relationship Quality in Adults

Belkin et al. | Apr 19, 2018

The Effect of Interactive Electronics Use on Psychological Well Being and Interpersonal Relationship Quality in Adults

In recent years, usage of interactive electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets has increased dramatically. Many studies have examined the potential adverse effects of excessive usage of such devices on children and adolescents, but the effects on adults are not well understood. In this study, the authors examined the relationship between adult usage of interactive electronic devices and a variety of clinical measures of psychological well-being. They found that according to some metrics, higher usage of interactive electronic devices is associated with several adverse psychological outcomes, suggesting a need for more careful consideration of such usage patterns in clinical settings.

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