In many cultures and for many centuries, the implications of birth order have been examined. Birth order has been shown to affect personality, accomplishments, and even career choice. This study investigated the impact of birth order and ethnicity on two measures of academic success in high school: a student’s grade point average (GPA) and the number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes he or she took.
As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.
Van der Woude syndrome is a common birth defect caused by mutations in the gene Irf6. In this project, students used microarray expression analysis from wild-type and Irf6-deficient mice in order to identify gene networks or pathways differentially regulated due to the Irf6 mutation. They found NF-κB pathway to be activated in deficient mice.
This unique research study evaluated the potential use of the flatworm, brown planaria (Dugesia tigrine), as an alternative model for teratogenicity testing. In this study, we exposed amputated planaria to varying concentrations of a known teratogen, vitamin A (retinol), for approximately 2 weeks, and evaluated multiple parameters including the formation of blastema and eyes. The results from this study demonstrated that high concentrations of retinol caused defects in head and eye formation in regenerating planaria, with similarities to vitamin A related teratogenicity findings in mammals. Based on these results, regenerating brown planaria are a promising alternative model for teratogenicity testing, which can potentially be paradigm shifting as it can reduce cost, time, and pregnant animal use in research.
Over the last few decades, childhood stunting has persisted as a major global challenge. This study hypothesized that TPTO (Tree-based Pipeline Optimization Tool), an AutoML (automated machine learning) tool, would outperform all pre-existing machine learning models and reveal the positive impact of economic prosperity, strong familial traits, and resource attainability on reducing stunting risk. Feature correlation plots revealed that maternal height, wealth indicators, and parental education were universally important features for determining stunting outcomes approximately two years after birth. These results help inform future research by highlighting how demographic, familial, and socio-economic conditions influence stunting and providing medical professionals with a deployable risk assessment tool for predicting childhood stunting.
Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC) is a birth defect where an infant’s corpus callosum, the structure linking the brain’s two hemispheres to allow interhemispheric communication, fails to develop in a typical manner during pregnancy. Existing research on the connection between ACC and epilepsy leaves significant gaps, due to the lack of focused investigation. One important gap is the degree to which ACC may impact the course of epilepsy treatment and outcomes. The present study was conducted to test the hypotheses that epilepsy is highly prevalent among individuals with ACC, and that those with both ACC and epilepsy have a lower response rate to anticonvulsant drugs than other patients treated with anticonvulsant drugs. A weighted average of epilepsy rates was calculated from a review of existing literature, which supported the hypothesis that epilepsy was more common among individuals with ACC (25.11%) than in the general population (1.2%). An empirical survey administered to 57 subjects or parents of subjects showed that rate of intractable epilepsy among study subjects with both ACC and epilepsy was substantially higher than the rate found in the general population, indicating that individuals with both conditions had a lower response rate to the anticonvulsant drugs. This study contributes novel results regarding the potential for concurrence of ACC and epilepsy to interfere with anticonvulsant drug treatment. We also discuss implications for how medical professionals may use the findings of this study to add depth to their treatment decisions.
Two dams in Santa Clara County were evaluated for water and soil nitrate levels in order to determine whether nitrification rates were higher upstream than downstream of the dam. This could indicate a detrimental effect of dams on the nitration cycle in the environment.
In this work, the authors investigate the accuracy with which two different population growth models can predict population growth over time. They apply the Malthusian law or Logistic law to US population from 1951 until 2019. To assess how closely the growth model fits actual population data, a least-squared curve fit was applied and revealed that the Logistic law of population growth resulted in smaller sum of squared residuals. These findings are important for ensuring optimal population growth models are implemented to data as population forecasting affects a country's economic and social structure.
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.