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Nitric Oxide Synthesis/Pathway Inhibitors in Daphnia magna Reverse Alcohol-Induced Heart Rate Decrease

Gunturi et al. | Sep 17, 2019

Nitric Oxide Synthesis/Pathway Inhibitors in Daphnia magna Reverse Alcohol-Induced Heart Rate Decrease

Chronic alcohol consumption can cause cardiac myopathy, which afflicts about 500,000 Americans annually. Gunturi et al. wanted to understand the effects of alcohol on heart rate and confirm the role of nitric oxide (NO) signaling in heart rate regulation. Using the model organism Daphnia magna, a water crustacean with a large, transparent heart, they found that the heart rate of Daphnia magna was reduced after treatment with alcohol. This depression could be reversed after treatment with inhibitors of NO synthesis and signaling. Their work has important implications for how we understand alcohol-induced effects on heart rate and potential treatments to reverse heart rate depression as a result of alcohol consumption.

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The Bioactive Ingredients in Niuli Lactucis Agrestibus Possess Anticancer Effects

Zhu et al. | Sep 17, 2019

The Bioactive Ingredients in Niuli Lactucis Agrestibus Possess Anticancer Effects

In​ the​ field​ of​ medicine,​ natural​ treatments​ are​ becoming ​increasingly ​vital ​towards ​the ​cure ​of ​cancer. Zhu et al. wanted to investigate the effects of lettuce extract on cancer cell survival and proliferation. They used an adenocarcinoma cell line, COLO320DM, to determine whether crude extract from a lettuce species called Niuli​ Lactucis Agrestibus​ would affect cancer cell survival, migration, and proliferation. They found that Niuli extract inhibited cancer cell survival, increased expression of cell cycle inhibitors p21 and p27, and inhibited migration. However, Niuli extract did not have these effects on healthy cells. This work reveals important findings about a potential new source of anti-colorectal cancer compounds.

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Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant Caenorhabditis elegans Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Mishra et al. | Sep 14, 2019

Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is characterized by neurodegeneration. Mishra et al. wanted to understand the role of two transport proteins, LRP1 and AQP4, in the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease. They used a model organism for Alzheimer's disease, the nematode C. elegans, and genetic engineering to look at whether they would see a decrease in neurodegeneration if they increased the amount of these two transport proteins. They found that the best improvements were caused by increased expression of both transport proteins, with smaller improvements when just one of the proteins is overly expressed. Their work has important implications for how we understand neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and what we can do to slow or prevent the progression of the disease.

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The Development of a Highly Sensitive Home Diagnosis Kit for Group A Streptococcus Bacteria (GAS)

Mai et al. | Dec 05, 2018

The Development of a Highly Sensitive Home Diagnosis Kit for Group A Streptococcus Bacteria (GAS)

In this article, Mai et al. have developed a do-it-yourself kit for the detection of Strep A bacterial infections. While Strep A infections require antibiotic administration, viral infections, which can present with similar symptoms, often resolve on their own. The problem with delayed antibiotic treatment is an increasing risk of complications. Currently an accurate diagnosis requires that patients make the trip to the hospital where sensitive tests can be performed. The method described here, bundled into a commercially available kit, could help speed up the identification of such bacterial infections. When presented with symptoms of a sore throat and fever, you could just buy the kit at your local pharmacy, perform the simple yet highly accurate and sensitive test, and know whether an urgent trip to the doctor's for an antibiotic prescription is necessary. How convenient!

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Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Zirvi et al. | Sep 13, 2022

Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Modern artificial neural networks have been remarkably successful in various applications, from speech recognition to computer vision. However, it remains less clear whether they can implement abstract concepts, which are essential to generalization and understanding. To address this problem, the authors investigated the above vs. below task, a simple concept-based task that honeybees can solve, using a conventional neural network. They found that networks achieved 100% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a black bar, however only 50% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a reference shape.

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The feeling of beauty in music: Relaxing and not confusing

Jain et al. | Sep 07, 2022

The feeling of beauty in music: Relaxing and not confusing

Here, the authors sought to better understand how and why people experience beauty in music. They explored this fundamental aesthetic response by considering numerous emotional responses of participants to diverse musical excerpts using a 42-item Aesthetic Emotions Scale assessment. They found that the highly nuanced emotional experience of beauty in music includes positive, negative, and knowledge-related feelings.

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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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Attitudes towards mental health in Indians who practice yoga regularly and those who do not

Komar et al. | Jul 13, 2022

Attitudes towards mental health in Indians who practice yoga regularly and those who do not

Whether it is through implicit association or intentional practice, yoga has been known to help individuals maintain good mental health. However, many communities, such as South Asian communities, often project the stereotype that embodies neglecting topics such as mental health and considering them taboo. In this online survey-based study, the authors focused on examining whether yoga would alter individuals’ attitudes toward mental health. They hypothesized that 1) participants who regularly practiced yoga would be more familiar with the term mental health, 2) participants who practiced yoga would value their mental health more, and 3) participants who practiced yoga regularly would be more open about their mental health and be more likely to reach out for professional help if needed. They did not find a statistical significance for any of our hypotheses which suggests that yoga may not have an effect on perceptions of mental health in yoga-practicing Indian adults.

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