Duckweed plays an important role in its aquatic environment by removing pollutants, such as zinc, from the water. In this study, the authors demonstrate that uptake of zinc by duckweed is inhibited by the presence of oil in the water, but this effect can be reversed with the addition of a dispersing agent.
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.
The authors investigate whether Western Bluebirds and other perching birds consume eggshells, as a source of calcium, at a greater rate before reproduction and during nest building when they are unable to store calcium.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most prevalent chronic liver diseases worldwide, but there are few studied warning signs for early detection of the disease. Here, researchers study alterations that occur in a mouse model of NAFLD, which indicate the onset of NAFLD sooner. Earlier detection of diseases can lead to better prevention and treatment.
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.
In a world where plastic waste accumulation is threatening both land and sea life, Green et al. investigate the ability of mealworms to breakdown polystyrene, a non-recyclable form of petrochemical-based polymer we use in our daily lives. They confirm that these organisms, can degrade various forms of polystyrene, even after it has been put to use in our daily lives. Although the efficiency of the degradation process still requires improvement, the good news is, the worms are tiny and themselves are biodegradable, so we can use plenty of them without worrying about space and how to get rid of them. This is very promising and certainly good news for the planet.
In this paper, we measured the privacy budgets and utilities of different differentially private mechanisms combined with different machine learning models that forecast traffic congestion at future timestamps. We expected the ANNs combined with the Staircase mechanism to perform the best with every value in the privacy budget range, especially with the medium high values of the privacy budget. In this study, we used the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) and neural network models to forecast and then added differentially private Laplacian, Gaussian, and Staircase noise to our datasets. We tested two real traffic congestion datasets, experimented with the different models, and examined their utility for different privacy budgets. We found that a favorable combination for this application was neural networks with the Staircase mechanism. Our findings identify the optimal models when dealing with tricky time series forecasting and can be used in non-traffic applications like disease tracking and population growth.
Industrialization has transformed human life and improved it for many. Nonetheless, a side effect has been an increase in chemical waste, which when not disposed of properly, has detrimental effects on surrounding habitats. An increase in ocean acidification could potentially affect many forms of life, disrupting the ecological balance in unforeseeable ways. In this article the authors explore the effect of acidification on corals and shells, and observe that an increase in ocean acidity has a significant effect on corals, but not shells. This illustrates how acidification could negatively affect marine life, and calls our attention to managing the factors that contribute to increasing the pH of the Earth's water bodies.
In this article the authors address the complex and life quality-diminishing neurodegenerative disease known as Parkinson's. Although genetic and/or environmental factors contribute to the etiology of the disease, the diagnostic symptoms are the same. By genetically modifying fruit flies to exhibit symptoms of Parkinson's disease, they investigate whether drugs that inhibit mitochondrial calcium uptake or activate the lysosomal degradation of proteins could improve the symptoms of Parkinson's these flies exhibit. The authors report the most promising outcome to be that when both types of drugs were used together. Their data provides encouraging evidence to support further investigation of the utility of such drugs in the treatment of human Parkinson's patients.