SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

167

Monitoring temperature of aquatic waters is of great importance, with modelled, satellite and in-situ data providing invaluable insights into long-term environmental change. However, there is often a lack of depth-resolved temperature measurements. Recreational dive computers routinely record temperature and depth, so could provide an alternate and highly novel source of oceanographic information to fill this data gap. In this study, a citizen science approach was used to obtain over 7,000 scuba diver temperature profiles. The accuracy, offset and lag of temperature records was assessed by comparing dive computers with scientific conductivity-temperature-depth instruments and existing surface temperature data. Our results show that, with processing, dive computers can provide a useful and novel tool with which to augment existing monitoring systems all over the globe, but especially in under-sampled or highly changeable coastal environments.

Concepts: Oxygen, Oxygen toxicity, Underwater diving, Scuba diving, Scuba set, Nitrox, Dive computer, Diving equipment

87

Understanding the amazingly complex human cerebral cortex requires a map (or parcellation) of its major subdivisions, known as cortical areas. Making an accurate areal map has been a century-old objective in neuroscience. Using multi-modal magnetic resonance images from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and an objective semi-automated neuroanatomical approach, we delineated 180 areas per hemisphere bounded by sharp changes in cortical architecture, function, connectivity, and/or topography in a precisely aligned group average of 210 healthy young adults. We characterized 97 new areas and 83 areas previously reported using post-mortem microscopy or other specialized study-specific approaches. To enable automated delineation and identification of these areas in new HCP subjects and in future studies, we trained a machine-learning classifier to recognize the multi-modal ‘fingerprint’ of each cortical area. This classifier detected the presence of 96.6% of the cortical areas in new subjects, replicated the group parcellation, and could correctly locate areas in individuals with atypical parcellations. The freely available parcellation and classifier will enable substantially improved neuroanatomical precision for studies of the structural and functional organization of human cerebral cortex and its variation across individuals and in development, aging, and disease.

Concepts: Neuroanatomy, Brain, Cerebral cortex, Cortical column, Area, Cortical area

71

To determine whether preschool-aged children with earlier bedtimes have a lower risk for adolescent obesity and whether this risk reduction is modified by maternal sensitivity.

Concepts: Bedtime

60

Severe amyloidosis and plaque-localized neuro-inflammation are key pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In addition to astrocyte and microglial reactivity, emerging evidence suggests a role of gut microbiota in regulating innate immunity and influencing brain function. Here, we examine the role of the host microbiome in regulating amyloidosis in the APPSWE/PS1ΔE9 mouse model of AD. We show that prolonged shifts in gut microbial composition and diversity induced by long-term broad-spectrum combinatorial antibiotic treatment regime decreases Aβ plaque deposition. We also show that levels of soluble Aβ are elevated and that levels of circulating cytokine and chemokine signatures are altered in this setting. Finally, we observe attenuated plaque-localised glial reactivity in these mice and significantly altered microglial morphology. These findings suggest the gut microbiota community diversity can regulate host innate immunity mechanisms that impact Aβ amyloidosis.

Concepts: Immune system, Neuron, Bacteria, Gut flora, Innate immune system, Antibiotic, Mouse, Animal model

57

Alcohol consumption during attempts at smoking cessation can provoke relapse and so smokers are often advised to restrict their alcohol consumption during this time. This study assessed at a population-level whether smokers having recently initiated an attempt to stop smoking are more likely than other smokers to report i) lower alcohol consumption and ii) trying to reduce their alcohol consumption.

Concepts: Alcohol, Smoking, Nicotine, Smoking cessation

54

 To measure the association between a surgeon’s degree of specialization in a specific procedure and patient mortality.

Concepts: United States, Physician, The Association, Sunshine pop

51

Thioesters and thioacetic acid (TAA) have been invoked as key reagents for the origin of life as activated forms of acetate analogous to acetyl-CoA. These species could have served as high-energy group-transfer reagents and allowed carbon insertions to form higher molecular weight compounds such as pyruvate. The apparent antiquity of the Wood-Ljungdahl CO2 fixation pathway and its presence in organisms which inhabit hydrothermal (HT) environments has also led to suggestions that there may be a connection between the abiotic chemistry of compounds similar to TAA and the origins of metabolism. These compounds' apparent chemical simplicity has made their prebiotic availability assumed, however, although the kinetic behavior and thermochemical properties of TAA and analogous esters have been preliminarily explored in other contexts, the geochemical relevance of these compounds merits further evaluation. Therefore, the chemical behavior of the simplest thiolated acetic acid derivatives, TAA and methylthioacetate (MTA) were explored here. Using laboratory measurements, literature data, and thermochemical models, we examine the plausibility of the accumulation of these compounds in various geological settings. Due to the high free energy change of their hydrolysis and corresponding low equilibrium constants, it is unlikely that these species could have accumulated abiotically to any significant extant.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Life, Molecule, Chemistry, Acid dissociation constant, Acetic acid, Carboxylic acid, Gibbs free energy

51

Temporal lobe epilepsy or limbic epilepsy lacks effective therapies due to a void in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that set in motion aberrant neuronal network formations during the course of limbic epileptogenesis (LE). Here we show in in vivo rodent models of LE that the phospholipid mediator platelet-activating factor (PAF) increases in LE and that PAF receptor (PAF-r) ablation mitigates its progression. Synthetic PAF-r antagonists, when administered intraperitoneally in LE, re-establish hippocampal dendritic spine density and prevent formation of dysmorphic dendritic spines. Concomitantly, hippocampal interictal spikes, aberrant oscillations, and neuronal hyper-excitability, evaluated 15-16 weeks after LE using multi-array silicon probe electrodes implanted in the dorsal hippocampus, are reduced in PAF-r antagonist-treated mice. We suggest that over-activation of PAF-r signaling induces aberrant neuronal plasticity in LE and leads to chronic dysfunctional neuronal circuitry that mediates epilepsy.

Concepts: Cerebral cortex, Temporal lobe, Cerebrum, Hippocampus, Epilepsy, Temporal lobe epilepsy, Hippocampal sclerosis, Dendritic spine

44

Amyloid β1-42 (Aβ1-42) plays a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. The link between structure, assembly and neuronal toxicity of this peptide is of major current interest but still poorly defined. Here, we explored this relationship by rationally designing a variant form of Aβ1-42 (vAβ1-42) differing in only two amino acids. Unlike Aβ1-42, we found that the variant does not self-assemble, nor is it toxic to neuronal cells. Moreover, while Aβ1-42 oligomers impact on synaptic function, vAβ1-42 does not. In a living animal model system we demonstrate that only Aβ1-42 leads to memory deficits. Our findings underline a key role for peptide sequence in the ability to assemble and form toxic structures. Furthermore, our non-toxic variant satisfies an unmet demand for a closely related control peptide for Aβ1-42 cellular studies of disease pathology, offering a new opportunity to decipher the mechanisms that accompany Aβ1-42-induced toxicity leading to neurodegeneration.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Protein, Neuron, Amino acid, Model organism, Peptide, Toxicity, Typography

40

Biological resurfacing of entire articular surfaces represents an important but challenging strategy for treatment of cartilage degeneration that occurs in osteoarthritis. Not only does this approach require anatomically sized and functional engineered cartilage, but the inflammatory environment within an arthritic joint may also inhibit chondrogenesis and induce degradation of native and engineered cartilage. The goal of this study was to use adult stem cells to engineer anatomically shaped, functional cartilage constructs capable of tunable and inducible expression of antiinflammatory molecules, specifically IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). Large (22-mm-diameter) hemispherical scaffolds were fabricated from 3D woven poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibers into two different configurations and seeded with human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). Doxycycline (dox)-inducible lentiviral vectors containing eGFP or IL-1Ra transgenes were immobilized to the PCL to transduce ASCs upon seeding, and constructs were cultured in chondrogenic conditions for 28 d. Constructs showed biomimetic cartilage properties and uniform tissue growth while maintaining their anatomic shape throughout culture. IL-1Ra-expressing constructs produced nearly 1 µg/mL of IL-1Ra upon controlled induction with dox. Treatment with IL-1 significantly increased matrix metalloprotease activity in the conditioned media of eGFP-expressing constructs but not in IL-1Ra-expressing constructs. Our findings show that advanced textile manufacturing combined with scaffold-mediated gene delivery can be used to tissue engineer large anatomically shaped cartilage constructs that possess controlled delivery of anticytokine therapy. Importantly, these cartilage constructs have the potential to provide mechanical functionality immediately upon implantation, as they will need to replace a majority, if not the entire joint surface to restore function.

Concepts: Biology, Extracellular matrix, Receptor, Cellular differentiation, Histology, Osteoarthritis, Engineering, Adult stem cell