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Repurposing citrus peel waste and its positive effects on our health and communities

Kim et al. | Feb 08, 2021

Repurposing citrus peel waste and its positive effects on our health and communities

Every year, more than 30% of food products go to waste. This is approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, which is equivalent to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars. While conventional solid waste treatments and fertilization of food waste are common, citrus fruit peels require secondary applications and advanced disposal management due to their low pH values and high antimicrobial characteristics. Since citrus fruits are well-known sources of vitamin C and antioxidants, we hypothesized that their peels also contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. In our study, five common citrus peels including grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, and tangerine, were used to determine the amounts of vitamin C and total soluble antioxidants.

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Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)?

Elias et al. | Jan 30, 2021

Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (<em>Lymnaea stagnalis</em>)?

Stress and anxiety have become more prevalent issues in recent years with teenagers especially at risk. Recent studies show that experiencing stress while learning can impair brain-cell communication thus negatively impacting learning. Green tea is believed to have the opposite effect, aiding in learning and memory retention. In this study, the authors used Lymnaea stagnalis , a pond snail, to explore the relationship between green tea and a stressor that impairs memory formation to determine the effects of both green tea and stress on the snails’ ability to learn, form, and retain memories. Using a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) assay, where snails are exposed to a sweet substance followed by a bitter taste with the number of biting responses being recorded, the authors found that stress was shown to be harmful to snail learning and memory for short-term, intermediate, and long-term memory.

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Starts and Stops of Rhythmic and Discrete Movements: Modulation in the Excitability of the Corticomotor Tract During Transition to a Different Type of Movement

Lim et al. | Aug 27, 2018

Starts and Stops of Rhythmic and Discrete Movements: Modulation in the Excitability of the Corticomotor Tract During Transition to a Different Type of Movement

Control of voluntary and involuntary movements is one of the most important aspects of human neurological function, but the mechanisms of motor control are not completely understood. In this study, the authors use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to stimulate a portion of the motor cortex while subjects performed either discrete (e.g. throwing) or rhythmic (e.g. walking) movements. By recording electrical activity in the muscles during this process, the authors showed that motor evoked potentials (MEPs) measured in the muscles during TMS stimulation are larger in amplitude for discrete movements than for rhythmic movements. Interestingly, they also found that MEPs during transitions between rhythmic and discrete movements were nearly identical and larger in amplitude than those recorded during either rhythmic or discrete movements. This research provides important insights into the mechanisms of neurological control of movement and will serve as the foundation for future studies to learn more about temporal variability in neural activity during different movement types.

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Computational development of aryl sulfone compounds as potential NNRTIs

Zhang et al. | Oct 12, 2022

Computational development of aryl sulfone compounds as potential NNRTIs

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are allosteric inhibitors that bind to the HIV reverse transcriptase and prevent replication. Indolyl aryl sulfones (IAS) and IAS derivatives have been found to be highly effective against mutant strains of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Here, we analyzed molecules designed using aryl sulfone scaffolds paired to cyclic compounds as potential NNRTIs through the computational design and docking of 100 novel NNRTI candidates. Moreover, we explored the specific combinations of functional groups and aryl sulfones that resulted in the NNRTI candidates with the strongest binding affinity while testing all compounds for carcinogenicity. We hypothesized that the combination of an IAS scaffold and pyrimidine would produce the compounds with the best binding affinity. Our hypothesis was correct as the series of molecules with an IAS scaffold and pyrimidine exhibited the best average binding affinity. Additionally, this study found 32 molecules designed in this procedure with higher or equal binding affinities to the previously successful IAS derivative 5-bromo-3-[(3,5-dimethylphenyl)sulfonyl]indole-2-carboxyamide when docked to HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.

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Cleaning up the world’s oceans with underwater laser imaging

Gurbuz et al. | Jul 07, 2023

Cleaning up the world’s oceans with underwater laser imaging
Image credit: Naja Bertolt Jensen

Here recognizing the growing amount of plastic waste in the oceans, the authors sought to develop and test laser imaging for the identification of waste in water. They found that while possible, limitations such as increasing depth and water turbidity result in increasing blurriness in laser images. While their image processing methods were somewhat insufficient they identified recent methods to use deep learning-based techniques as a potential avenue to viability for this method.

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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 between nonpharmacological interventions and dementia: A retrospective cohort study

Yerabandi et al. | Jan 09, 2023

Association between nonpharmacological interventions and dementia: A retrospective cohort study
Image credit: Ross Sneddon

Here, the authors investigated the role of nonpharmacological interventions in preventing or delaying cognitive impairment in individuals with and without dementia. By using a retrospective case-control study of 22 participants across two senior centers in San Diego, they found no significant differences in self-reported activities. However, they found that their results reflected activity rather than the activity itself, suggesting the need for an alternative type of study.

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An Analysis of the Density and Patterns of the Solutions of Diophantine Equations of the Third Power

Grewal et al. | Oct 05, 2020

An Analysis of the Density and Patterns of the Solutions of Diophantine Equations of the Third Power

In this study, the authors sought to find out how many mathematical solutions there were to the Indian mathematician Ramanujan's formula, which is a3 + b3 + c3 = d3, and also quantify the densities its solutions. They wrote their own computer program to do so and kept values of a, b, and c less than 10,000. While conducting the analysis, they were also looking for perfect power taxicab numbers and their frequency. They were able to find solutions and densities for the equation. Additionally, while they found that most perfect cube taxicab numbers had a frequency of 2 or 3, they also found on number with a frequency of 42!

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Flight paths over greenspace in major United States airports

Lee et al. | Sep 26, 2023

Flight paths over greenspace in major United States airports
Image credit: Mostafijur Rahman Nasim

Greenspaces (urban and wetland areas that contain vegetation) are beneficial to reducing pollution, while airplanes are a highly-polluting method of transportation. The authors examine the intersection of these two environmental factors by processing satellite images to reveal what percentage of flight paths go over greenspaces at major US airports.

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Deciphering correlation and causation in risk factors for heart disease with Mendelian randomization

Singh et al. | Feb 08, 2023

Deciphering correlation and causation in risk factors for heart disease with Mendelian randomization
Image credit: Robina Weermeijer

Here, seeking to identify the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), a major cause of cardiovascular disease, the authors used Mendelian randomization. With this method they identified several traits such as blood pressure readings, LDL cholesterol and BMI as significant risk factors. While other traits were not found to be significant risk factors.

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