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Recognition of animal body parts via supervised learning

Kreiman et al. | Oct 28, 2023

Recognition of animal body parts via supervised learning
Image credit: Kreiman et al. 2023

The application of machine learning techniques has facilitated the automatic annotation of behavior in video sequences, offering a promising approach for ethological studies by reducing the manual effort required for annotating each video frame. Nevertheless, before solely relying on machine-generated annotations, it is essential to evaluate the accuracy of these annotations to ensure their reliability and applicability. While it is conventionally accepted that there cannot be a perfect annotation, the degree of error associated with machine-generated annotations should be commensurate with the error between different human annotators. We hypothesized that machine learning supervised with adequate human annotations would be able to accurately predict body parts from video sequences. Here, we conducted a comparative analysis of the quality of annotations generated by humans and machines for the body parts of sheep during treadmill walking. For human annotation, two annotators manually labeled six body parts of sheep in 300 frames. To generate machine annotations, we employed the state-of-the-art pose-estimating library, DeepLabCut, which was trained using the frames annotated by human annotators. As expected, the human annotations demonstrated high consistency between annotators. Notably, the machine learning algorithm also generated accurate predictions, with errors comparable to those between humans. We also observed that abnormal annotations with a high error could be revised by introducing Kalman Filtering, which interpolates the trajectory of body parts over the time series, enhancing robustness. Our results suggest that conventional transfer learning methods can generate behavior annotations as accurate as those made by humans, presenting great potential for further research.

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The Effect of Neem on Common Nosocomial Infection-Causing Organisms

Shah et al. | Jan 27, 2020

The Effect of Neem on Common Nosocomial Infection-Causing Organisms

Nosocomial infections acquired in hospitals pose a risk to patients, a risk compounded by resistant microorganisms. To combat this problem, researchers have turned to bioactive compounds from medicinal plants such as the widely used neem. In the present study, researchers sought to determine the effectiveness of different neem preparations against several hospital acquired human pathogens. Neem powder in water successfully inhibited microorganism growth making it a potential agent to combat these infections.

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The role of xpa-1 and him-1 in UV protection of Caenorhabditis elegans

Tung et al. | Feb 25, 2022

The role of <em>xpa-1</em> and <em>him-1</em> in UV protection of <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em>

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.

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Optimizing airfoil shape for small, low speed, unmanned gliders: A homemade investigation

Lara et al. | Mar 30, 2023

Optimizing airfoil shape for small, low speed, unmanned gliders: A homemade investigation
Image credit: Konrad Wojciechowski

Here, the authors sought to identify a method to optimize the lift generated by an airfoil based solely on its shape. By beginning with a Bernoullian model to predict an optimized wing shape, the authors then tested their model against other possible shapes by constructing them from Styrofoam and testing them in a small wind tunnel. Contrary to their hypothesis, they found their expected optimal airfoil shape did not result in the greatest lift generation. They attributed this to a variety of confounding variables and concluded that their results pointed to a correlation between airfoil shape and lift generation.

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Combined Progestin-Estrogenic Contraceptive Pills May Promote Growth in Crop-Plants

Saha et al. | Feb 21, 2020

Combined Progestin-Estrogenic Contraceptive Pills May Promote Growth in Crop-Plants

Ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel are commonly present in contraceptive tablets and it is unknown how they affect the environment. In this study, the authors investigate the role that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel have on the growth of flowering plants. The percentage germination, embryonic and adventitious tissue proliferation, root length, and shoot length were measured in V. radiata and T. aestivum treated with each compound and results demonstrate that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel can induce growth in both plants at certain concentrations. These findings have important implications as societal use of chemicals increases and more make their way into the environment.

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Sports Are Not Colorblind: The Role of Race and Segregation in NFL Positions

Coleman et al. | Oct 23, 2018

Sports Are Not Colorblind: The Role of Race and Segregation in NFL Positions

In this study, the authors conducted a statistical investigation into the history of position-based racial segregation in the NFL. Specifically, they focused on the cornerback position, which they hypothesized would be occupied disproportionately by black players due to their historical stereotyping as more suitable for positions requiring extreme athletic ability. Using publicly available datasets on the demographics of NFL players over the past several decades, they confirmed their hypothesis that the cornerback position is skewed towards black players. They additionally discovered that, unlike in the quarterback position, this trend has shown no sign of decreasing over time.

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Thermoelectric Power Generation: Harnessing Solar Thermal Energy to Power an Air Conditioner

Lew et al. | Jul 06, 2021

Thermoelectric Power Generation: Harnessing Solar Thermal Energy to Power an Air Conditioner

The authors test the feasibility of using thermoelectric modules as a power source and as an air conditioner to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. The results showed that, at its peak, their battery generated 27% more power – in watts per square inch – than a solar panel, and the thermoelectric air conditioner operated despite an unsteady input voltage. The battery has incredible potential, especially if its peak power output can be maintained.

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Using the COmplex PAthway SImulator, Stage Analysis, and Chemical Kinetics to Develop a Novel Solution to Lower Tau Concentrations in Alzheimer’s Disease

Carroll et al. | Sep 28, 2020

Using the COmplex PAthway SImulator, Stage Analysis, and Chemical Kinetics to Develop a Novel Solution to Lower Tau Concentrations in Alzheimer’s Disease

In this study, the authors ask whether a Tau immunotherapy treatment, Hsp70 protein treatment, or dual treatment approach of both the Tau imunotherapy treatment and Hsp70 protein treatment leads to a greater reduction in Tau protein concentration in Alzheimer's disease. Overall, they conclude that the effectiveness of the treatment ultimately relies on the stage of Alzheimer’s.

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