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Predicting asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations with machine learning techniques

Chatterjee et al. | Oct 25, 2021

Predicting asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations with machine learning techniques

Seeking to investigate the effects of ambient pollutants on human respiratory health, here the authors used machine learning to examine asthma in Lost Angeles County, an area with substantial pollution. By using machine learning models and classification techniques, the authors identified that nitrogen dioxide and ozone levels were significantly correlated with asthma hospitalizations. Based on an identified seasonal surge in asthma hospitalizations, the authors suggest future directions to improve machine learning modeling to investigate these relationships.

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The knowledge and perception of opioid abuse and its long-term effects among high schoolers

Shroff et al. | Nov 27, 2021

The knowledge and perception of opioid abuse and its long-term effects among high schoolers

Due to the susceptibility of adolescent age groups to opioid misuse, here the authors sought to determine if there was a difference in the perception and knowledge between 9th and 12th graders regarding the opioid crisis. An educational intervention trial was done with the 9th graders and surveys were used to identify its effects. Although the authors acknowledge a small sample size, their results suggest that their are gaps within the knowledge of adolescents in regards to opioid misuse and its long-term effects that could be addressed with further education.

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A novel encoding technique to improve non-weather-based models for solar photovoltaic forecasting

Ahmed et al. | Jun 09, 2023

A novel encoding technique to improve non-weather-based models for solar photovoltaic forecasting

Several studies have applied different machine learning (ML) techniques to the area of forecasting solar photovoltaic power production. Most of these studies use weather data as inputs to predict power production; however, there are numerous practical issues with the procurement of this data. This study proposes models that do not use weather data as inputs, but rather use past power production data as a more practical substitute to weather-based models. Our proposed models demonstrate a better, cheaper, and more reliable alternatives to current weather models.

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Using machine learning to develop a global coral bleaching predictor

Madireddy et al. | Feb 21, 2023

Using machine learning to develop a global coral bleaching predictor
Image credit: Madireddy, Bosch, and McCalla

Coral bleaching is a fatal process that reduces coral diversity, leads to habitat loss for marine organisms, and is a symptom of climate change. This process occurs when corals expel their symbiotic dinoflagellates, algae that photosynthesize within coral tissue providing corals with glucose. Restoration efforts have attempted to repair damaged reefs; however, there are over 360,000 square miles of coral reefs worldwide, making it challenging to target conservation efforts. Thus, predicting the likelihood of bleaching in a certain region would make it easier to allocate resources for conservation efforts. We developed a machine learning model to predict global locations at risk for coral bleaching. Data obtained from the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office consisted of various coral bleaching events and the parameters under which the bleaching occurred. Sea surface temperature, sea surface temperature anomalies, longitude, latitude, and coral depth below the surface were the features found to be most correlated to coral bleaching. Thirty-nine machine learning models were tested to determine which one most accurately used the parameters of interest to predict the percentage of corals that would be bleached. A random forest regressor model with an R-squared value of 0.25 and a root mean squared error value of 7.91 was determined to be the best model for predicting coral bleaching. In the end, the random model had a 96% accuracy in predicting the percentage of corals that would be bleached. This prediction system can make it easier for researchers and conservationists to identify coral bleaching hotspots and properly allocate resources to prevent or mitigate bleaching events.

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Do elders care about eHealth? A correlational study between eHealth consumption and literacy

Liang et al. | Jul 19, 2023

Do elders care about eHealth? A correlational study between eHealth consumption and literacy
Image credit: Liang and Sposa

As digital tools become more prevalent in medicine, the ability for individuals to understand and take actions based on what they read on the internet is crucial. eHealth literacy is defined as as the ability to seek, find, understand, and evaluate health information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem. In general, Americans have low eHealth literacy rates. However, limited research has been conducted to understand the eHealth literacy level among older Chinese adult immigrants in the U.S. To determine the eHealth literacy of elderly Chinese immigrants, we sent out an eHealth survey and relevant computer skills survey using a modified version of the eHEALS (eHealth Literacy Scale) health literacy test. We hypothesized that elders who consumed more electronic health content would have a higher eHealth literacy score. The results of this survey showed that there was a positive correlation between the frequency of electronic health information consumption and the participant's eHealth literacy rate. In addition, the results of our computer literacy test show that the frequency of consumption and computer literacy are positively correlated as well. There is a strong positive correlation between the level of computer skills and eHealth literacy of participants. These results reveal possible steps individuals can take to reduce health misinformation and improve their own health by attaining, understanding, and taking action on health material on the internet.

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Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of Chaetoceros gracilis in the Monterey Bay

Harvell et al. | Jan 16, 2020

Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of <i>Chaetoceros gracilis</i> in the Monterey Bay

In this article, Harvell and Nicholson hypothesized that increased ocean acidity would decrease the photosynthetic ability of Chaetoceros gracilis, a diatom prolific in Monterey Bay, because of the usually corrosive effects of carbonic acid on both seashells and cells’ internal structures. They altered pH of algae environments and measured the photosynthetic ability of diatoms over four days by spectrophotometer. Overall, their findings indicate that C. gracilis may become more abundant in Monterey Bay as the pH of the ocean continues to drop, potentially contributing to harmful algal blooms.

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Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Anand et al. | Nov 14, 2020

Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Oil spills are one of the most devastating events for marine life. Finding ways to clean up oil spills without the need for harsh chemicals could help decrease the negative impact of such spills. Here the authors demonstrate that using a combination of several biodegradable substances can effectively adsorb oil in seawater in a laboratory setting. They suggest further exploring the potential of such a combination as a possible alternative to commonly-used non-biodegradable substances in oil spill management.

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Developing anticholinergic drugs for the treatment of asthma with improved efficacy

Wong et al. | Jul 05, 2023

Developing anticholinergic drugs for the treatment of asthma with improved efficacy
Image credit: Wong et al.

Anticholinergics are used in treating asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways. These drugs block human M1 and M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, inhibiting bronchoconstriction. However, studies have reported complications of anticholinergic usage, such as exacerbated eosinophil production and worsened urinary retention. Modification of known anticholinergics using bioisosteric replacements to increase efficacy could potentially minimize these complications. The present study focuses on identifying viable analogs of anticholinergics to improve binding energy to the receptors compared to current treatment options. Glycopyrrolate (G), ipratropium (IB), and tiotropium bromide (TB) were chosen as parent drugs of interest, due to the presence of common functional groups within the molecules, specifically esters and alcohols. Docking score analysis via AutoDock Vina was used to evaluate the binding energy between drug analogs and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. The final results suggest that G-A3, IB-A3, and TB-A1 are the most viable analogs, as binding energy was improved when compared to the parent drug. G-A4, IB-A4, IB-A5, TB-A3, and TB-A4 are also potential candidates, although there were slight regressions in binding energy to both muscarinic receptors for these analogs. By researching the effects of bioisosteric replacements of current anticholinergics, it is evident that there is a potential to provide asthmatics with more effective treatment options.

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Effect of Gram-positive bacteria on antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria

Willem et al. | Mar 12, 2024

Effect of Gram-positive bacteria on antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria

Antibiotics are one of the most common treatments for bacterial infections, but the emergence of antibiotic resistance is a major threat to the control of infectious diseases. Many factors contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance. One is bacterial conjugation from Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacteria where there is a transfer of resistance genes from Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacteria that could increase antibiotic resistance in the latter. In light of these observations, we decided to test whether Gram-negative bacteria that came into contact with Gram-positive bacteria had a higher resistance to the antimicrobial properties of spices than Gram-negative bacteria that did not come into contact with Gram-positive bacteria.

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Willingness to visit the pediatric dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rossitch et al. | Mar 24, 2022

Willingness to visit the pediatric dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are missing important appointments because they are viewed as nonessential, possibly including children's pediatric dentist appointments. This study aims to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic has effected parents' willingness to allow children to visit pediatric dental practices and what safety measures would make them feel more comfortable visiting the dentist. The authors found a weak positive correlation between parents' unwillingness to allow their child to visit the dentist, however overall anxiety towards visiting the dentist during the pandemic was low.

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