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Assessing grass water use efficiency through smartphone imaging and ImageJ analysis

Shen et al. | Jul 27, 2022

Assessing grass water use efficiency through smartphone imaging and ImageJ analysis

Overwatering and underwatering grass are widespread issues with environmental and financial consequences. This study developed an accessible method to assess grass water use efficiency (WUE) combining smartphone imaging with open access color unmixing analysis. The method can be applied in automated irrigation systems or apps, providing grass WUE assessment for regular consumer use.

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Motion tracking and analysis of spray water droplets studied by high-speed photography using an iPhone X

Geng et al. | Sep 11, 2021

Motion tracking and analysis of spray water droplets  studied by high-speed photography using an iPhone X

Smartphones are not only becoming an inseparable part of our daily lives, but also a low-cost, powerful optical imaging tool for more and more scientific research applications. In this work, smartphones were used as a low-cost, high-speed, photographic alternative to expensive equipment, such as those typically found in scientific research labs, to accurately perform motion tracking and analysis of fast-moving objects. By analyzing consecutive images, the speed and flight trajectory of water droplets in the air were obtained, thereby enabling us to estimate the area of the water droplets landing on the ground.

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Aberrant response to dexamethasone suppression test associated with inflammatory response in MDD patients

Ulery et al. | Nov 06, 2023

Aberrant response to dexamethasone suppression test associated with inflammatory response in MDD patients

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a prevalent mood disorder. The direct causes and biological mechanisms of depression still elude understanding, though genetic factors have been implicated. This study looked to identify the mechanism behind the aberrant response to the dexamethasone suppression test (DST) displayed by MDD patients, in which they display a lack of cortisol suppression. Analysis revealed several pro-inflammatory genes that were significant and differentially expressed between affected and non-affected groups in response to the DST. Looking at ways to decrease the inflammatory response could have implications for treatment and may explain why some people treated for depression still display symptoms or may lead researchers to different classes of drugs for treatment.

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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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Contrasting role of ASCC3 and ALKBH3 in determining genomic alterations in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Sriram et al. | Sep 27, 2022

Contrasting role of <i>ASCC3</i> and <i>ALKBH3</i> in determining genomic alterations in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant brain tumor with the highest fraction of genome alterations (FGA), manifesting poor disease-free status (DFS) and overall survival (OS). We explored The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and cBioportal public dataset- Firehose legacy GBM to study DNA repair genes Activating Signal Cointegrator 1 Complex Subunit 3 (ASCC3) and Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase AlkB Homolog 3 (ALKBH3). To test our hypothesis that these genes have correlations with FGA and can better determine prognosis and survival, we sorted the dataset to arrive at 254 patients. Analyzing using RStudio, both ASCC3 and ALKBH3 demonstrated hypomethylation in 82.3% and 61.8% of patients, respectively. Interestingly, low mRNA expression was observed in both these genes. We further conducted correlation tests between both methylation and mRNA expression of these genes with FGA. ASCC3 was found to be negatively correlated, while ALKBH3 was found to be positively correlated, potentially indicating contrasting dysregulation of these two genes. Prognostic analysis showed the following: ASCC3 hypomethylation is significant with DFS and high ASCC3 mRNA expression to be significant with OS, demonstrating ASCC3’s potential as disease prediction marker.

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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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Effects of various alkaline carbonic solutions on the growth of the freshwater algae Chlorophyceae

Jani et al. | Aug 11, 2023

Effects of various alkaline carbonic solutions on the growth of the freshwater algae Chlorophyceae
Image credit: Jordan Whitfield

Modern day fossil fuels are prone to polluting our environment, which can provide major habitat loss to many animals in our ecosystems. Algae-based biofuels have become an increasingly popular alternative to fossil fuels because of their sustainability, effectiveness, and environmentally-friendly nature. To encourage algae growth and solidify its role as an emerging biofuel, we tested basic (in terms of pH) solutions on pond water to determine which solution is most efficient in inducing the growth of algae.

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Efficient synthesis of superabsorbent beads using photopolymerization with a low-cost method

Wang et al. | Jun 09, 2023

Efficient synthesis of superabsorbent beads using photopolymerization with a low-cost method

Superabsorbent beads are remarkable, used throughout our daily lives for various practical applications. These beads, as suggested by their name, possess a unique ability to absorb and retain large quantities of liquids. This characteristic of absorbency makes them essential throughout the medical field, agriculture, and other critical industries as well as in everyday products. To create these beads, the process of photopolymerization is fast growing in favor with distinct advantages of cost efficiency, speed, energy efficiency, and mindfulness towards the environment. In this article, researchers explore the pairing of cheap monomers with accessible equipment for creation of superabsorbent beads via the photopolymerization process. This research substantially demonstrates the successful application of photopolymerization in producing highly absorbent beads in a low-cost context, thereby expanding the accessibility of this process for creating superabsorbent beads in both research and practical applications.

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The study of technology and the use of individual cognitive effort

Neravetla et al. | Jan 24, 2023

The study of technology and the use of individual cognitive effort
Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters

A trial study was performed in 2021 to investigate the link between technology and transactive memory. Transactive memory is shared knowledge in which members share the responsibility to encode, store, and retrieve certain tasks or assignments, leading to a successful and collective performance. We hypothesize that a participants’ expected access to an external source affects the recall rate and retrieval of information.

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