In this study, the authors investigate whether the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of teens. Using data from a study done in Islamabad, Pakistan, the authors find that many teens between the ages of 13 and 19 show signs of mental illness. This study reports important data regarding the mental health of youth and points toward an increased need to address this topic during the pandemic.
Here, recognizing a declining supply of rock phosphate, as well as its role in crop fertilization, the authors investigated a fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with many crops. They found that symbiosis between the fungus and common bean plant increased the affinity of the plant towards absorbing nutrients as evidenced by lower root-to-shoot ratios in beans planted in soil with various concentrations of phosphorous and salinity.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to alter DNA structure and impair cellular function in all living organisms. In this study, Lateef et al examine the effects of UV radiation to determine whether antioxidant-enriched nutrition can combat the potential deleterious effects of UV radiation on Drosophila melanogaster. They found that UVB (320nm) radiation caused a 59% decrease in the Drosophila lifespan and mutagenic effects on flies' physical appearance, but did not significantly affect fertility. Curcumin significantly prolonged lifespan and enhanced fertility for both UV- and non-UV-exposed flies. The research demonstrates the positive potential of natural antioxidants as weapons against radiation-induced diseases including cancer.
In the United States, there are currently 17.8 million affected by atopic dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema. It is characterized by itching and skin inflammation. AD patients are at higher risk for infections, depression, cancer, and suicide. Genetics, environment, and stress are some of the causes of the disease. With the rise of personalized medicine and the acceptance of gene-editing technologies, AD-related variations need to be identified for treatment. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have associated the Filaggrin (FLG) gene with AD but have not identified specific problematic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This research aimed to refine known SNPs of FLG for gene editing technologies to establish a causal link between specific SNPs and the diseases and to target the polymorphisms. The research utilized R and its Bioconductor packages to refine data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) Variation Viewer. The algorithm filtered the dataset by coding regions and conserved domains. The algorithm also removed synonymous variations and treated non-synonymous, frameshift, and nonsense separately. The non-synonymous variations were refined and ordered by the BLOSUM62 substitution matrix. Overall, the analysis removed 96.65% of data, which was redundant or not the focus of the research and ordered the remaining relevant data by impact. The code for the project can also be repurposed as a tool for other diseases. The research can help solve GWAS's imprecise identification challenge. This research is the first step in providing the refined databases required for gene-editing treatment.
Caenorhabditis elegans xpa-1 and him-1 are orthologs of human XPA and human SMC1A, respectively. Mutations in the XPA are correlated with Xeroderma pigmentosum, a condition that induces hypersensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Alternatively, SMC1A mutations may lead to Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a multi-organ disorder that makes patients more sensitive to UVinduced DNA damage. Both C. elegans genes have been found to be involved in protection against UV radiation, but their combined effects have not been tested when they are both knocked down. The authors hypothesized that because these genes are involved in separate pathways, the simultaneous knockdown of both of these genes using RNA interference (RNAi) in C. elegans will cause them to become more sensitive to UV radiation than either of them knocked down individually. UV protection was measured via the percent survival of C. elegans post 365 nm and 5.4x10-19 joules of UV radiation. The double xpa-1/him-1 RNAi knockdown showed a significantly reduced percent survival after 15 and 30 minutes of UV radiation relative to wild-type and xpa-1 and him-1 single knockdowns. These measurements were consistent with their hypothesis and demonstrated that xpa-1 and him-1 genes play distinct roles in resistance against UV stress in C. elegans. This result raises the possibility that the xpa-1/him-1 double knockdown could be useful as an animal model for studying the human disease Xeroderma pigmentosum and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.
Many diabetics agree that the current glucometer methods are invasive, inefficient, and unsustainable for measuring blood glucose. These authors investigate the possibility of using a non-invasive glucometer patch that predicts blood glucose from patient sweat, with high accuracy.
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.
One largely untapped source of clean energy is the use of osmotic gradients where freshwater and saltwater are mixed, for example at estuaries. To harness such energy, charge-selective membranes are needed to separate the anions and cations in saltwater, establishing an electric potential like a battery. The objective of this study was twofold: to investigate the creation of the polymer matrix and test the properties of boron nitride nanotubes, as both are essential in the creation of an ion-selective membrane. Out of three polymer samples tested in this study, the mixture known as Soltech 704 showed the best resistance to etching, as well as the highest UV cure rate.
Berberine is a natural product isoquinoline alkaloid derived from plants of the genus Berberis. When exposed to photoirradiation, it produces singlet oxygen through photosensitization of triplet oxygen. Through qNMR analysis of 1H NMR spectra gathered through kinetic experiments, we were able to track the generation of a product between singlet oxygen and alpha terpinene, allowing us to quantitatively measure the photosensitizing properties of our scaffolds.