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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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Locating sources of a high energy cosmic ray extensive air shower using HiSPARC data

Aziz et al. | Oct 24, 2023

Locating sources of a high energy cosmic ray extensive air shower using HiSPARC data

Using the data provided by the University of Twente High School Project on Astrophysics Research with Cosmics (HiSPARC), an analysis of locations for possible high-energy cosmic ray air showers was conducted. An example includes an analysis conducted of the high-energy rain shower recorded in January 2014 and the use of Stellarium™ to discern its location.

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Automated dynamic lighting control system to reduce energy consumption in daylight

Jagannathan et al. | Jun 17, 2024

Automated dynamic lighting control system to reduce energy consumption in daylight
Image credit: Jagannathan and Mehrotra 2024

Buildings, which are responsible for the majority of electricity consumption in cities like Dubai, are often exclusively reliant on electrical lighting even in the presence of daylight to meet the illumination requirements of the building. This inefficient use of lighting creates potential to further optimize the energy efficiency of buildings by complementing natural light with electrical lighting. Prior research has mostly used ballasts (variable resistors) to regulate the brightness of bulbs. There has been limited research pertaining to the use of pulse width modulation (PWM) and the use of ‘triodes for alternating current’ (TRIACs). PWM and TRIACs rapidly stop and restart the flow of current to the bulb thus saving energy whilst maintaining a constant illumination level of a space. We conducted experiments to investigate the feasibility of using TRIACs and PWM in regulating the brightness of bulbs. We also established the relationship between power and brightness within the experimental setups. Our results indicate that lighting systems can be regulated through these alternate methods and that there is potential to save up to 16% of energy used without affecting the overall lighting of a given space. Since most energy used in buildings is still produced through fossil fuels, energy savings from lighting systems could contribute towards a lower carbon footprint. Our study provides an innovative solution to conserve light energy in buildings during daytime.

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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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Reduce the harm of acid rain to plants by producing nitrogen fertilizer through neutralization

Xu et al. | Apr 25, 2023

Reduce the harm of acid rain to plants by producing nitrogen fertilizer through neutralization
Image credit: Ave Calvar Martinez, pexels.com

The phenomenon of dying trees and plants in areas affected by acid rain has become increasingly problematic in recent times. Is there any method to efficiently utilize the rainwater and reduce the harmfulness of acid rain or make it beneficial to plants? This study aimed to investigate the potential of neutralizing acid rainwater infiltrating the soil to increase soil pH, produce beneficial salts for plants, and support better plant growth. To test this hypothesis, precipitation samples were collected from six states in the U.S. in 2022, and the pH of the acid rain was measured to obtain a representative pH value for the country. Experiments were then conducted to simulate the neutralization of acid rain and the subsequent change in soil pH levels. To evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of this method, cat grass was planted in pots of soil soaked with solutions mimicking acid rain, with control and experimental groups receiving neutralizing agents (ammonium hydroxide) or not. Plant growth was measured by analyzing the height of the plants. Results demonstrated that neutralizing agents were effective in improving soil pH levels and that the resulting salts produced were beneficial to the growth of the grass. The findings suggest that this method could be applied on a larger agricultural scale to reduce the harmful effects of acid rain and increase agricultural efficiency.

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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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Association of agenesis of the corpus callosum with epilepsy and anticonvulsant drug treatment

Steger et al. | Feb 21, 2023

Association of agenesis of the corpus callosum with epilepsy and anticonvulsant drug treatment
Image credit: Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC) is a birth defect where an infant’s corpus callosum, the structure linking the brain’s two hemispheres to allow interhemispheric communication, fails to develop in a typical manner during pregnancy. Existing research on the connection between ACC and epilepsy leaves significant gaps, due to the lack of focused investigation. One important gap is the degree to which ACC may impact the course of epilepsy treatment and outcomes. The present study was conducted to test the hypotheses that epilepsy is highly prevalent among individuals with ACC, and that those with both ACC and epilepsy have a lower response rate to anticonvulsant drugs than other patients treated with anticonvulsant drugs. A weighted average of epilepsy rates was calculated from a review of existing literature, which supported the hypothesis that epilepsy was more common among individuals with ACC (25.11%) than in the general population (1.2%). An empirical survey administered to 57 subjects or parents of subjects showed that rate of intractable epilepsy among study subjects with both ACC and epilepsy was substantially higher than the rate found in the general population, indicating that individuals with both conditions had a lower response rate to the anticonvulsant drugs. This study contributes novel results regarding the potential for concurrence of ACC and epilepsy to interfere with anticonvulsant drug treatment. We also discuss implications for how medical professionals may use the findings of this study to add depth to their treatment decisions.

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Exploring natural ways to maintain keratin production in hair follicles

Roy et al. | Apr 29, 2024

Exploring natural ways to maintain keratin production in hair follicles
Image credit: Roy and Roy, 2024

We are looking into natural ways to help hair grow better and stronger by studying keratin synthesis in human hair follicles. The reason for conducting this research was to have the ability to control hair growth through future innovations. We wanted to answer the question: How can we find natural ways to enhance hair growth by understanding the connection with natural resources, particularly keratin dynamics? The main focus of this experiment is understanding the promotion of keratin synthesis within human hair follicles, which is important for hair development and health. While keratin is essential for the growth and strength of body tissues, including skin and hair, our research hints at its specific synthesis within hair follicles. In our research utilizing castor oil, coconut oil, a turmeric and baking soda mixture, and a sugar, honey, and lemon mixture, we hypothesize that oils, specifically coconut oil and castor oil, will enhance keratin synthesis, whereas mixtures, such as the turmeric and baking soda mixture and the sugar, honey, and lemon mixture, will result in a decrease keratin synthesis. The methods used show how different natural substances influence keratin formation within the hair follicles. The experiment involved applying natural resources to hair strands and follicles, measuring their length under the microscope daily, and assessing their health and characteristics over seven days. In summary, our research helps us understand how hair grows better. We found that using natural items like essential oils effectively alters keratin growth within the hair follicles and hair strands.

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