SciCombinator

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

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Non-specific symptoms, as well as the lack of a cost-effective test to triage patients in primary care, has resulted in increased time-to-diagnosis and a poor prognosis for brain cancer patients. A rapid, cost-effective, triage test could significantly improve this patient pathway. A blood test using attenuated total reflection (ATR)-Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy for the detection of brain cancer, alongside machine learning technology, is advancing towards clinical translation. However, whilst the methodology is simple and does not require extensive sample preparation, the throughput of such an approach is limited. Here we describe the development of instrumentation for the analysis of serum that is able to differentiate cancer and control patients at a sensitivity and specificity of 93.2% and 92.8%. Furthermore, preliminary data from the first prospective clinical validation study of its kind are presented, demonstrating how this innovative technology can triage patients and allow rapid access to imaging.

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The objective was to measure the association between badger culling and bovine tuberculosis (TB) incidents in cattle herds in three areas of England between 2013-2017 (Gloucestershire and Somerset) and 2015-2017 (Dorset). Farming industry-selected licensed culling areas were matched to comparison areas. A TB incident was detection of new Mycobacterium bovis infection (post-mortem confirmed) in at least one animal in a herd. Intervention and comparison area incidence rates were compared in central zones where culling was conducted and surrounding buffer zones, through multivariable Poisson regression analyses. Central zone incidence rates in Gloucestershire (Incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.34 (95% CI 0.29 to 0.39, p < 0.001) and Somerset (IRR 0.63 (95% CI 0.58 to 0.69, p < 0.001) were lower and no different in Dorset (IRR 1.10, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.27, p = 0.168) than comparison central zone rates. The buffer zone incidence rate was lower for Gloucestershire (IRR 0.64, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.70, p < 0.001), no different for Somerset (IRR 0.97, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.16, p = 0.767) and lower for Dorset (IRR 0.45, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.54, p < 0.001) than comparison buffer zone rates. Industry-led culling was associated with reductions in cattle TB incidence rates after four years but there were variations in effects between areas.

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Physicians often refer patients with musculoskeletal conditions to physical therapy. However, it is unclear to what extent physical therapists' treatment choices align with the evidence. The aim of this systematic review was to determine what percentage of physical therapy treatment choices for musculoskeletal conditions agree with management recommendations in evidence-based guidelines and systematic reviews.

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Genome editing followed by reproductive cloning was previously used to produce two hornless dairy bulls. We crossed one genome-edited dairy bull, homozygous for the dominant PC Celtic POLLED allele, with horned cows (pp) and obtained six heterozygous (PCp) polled calves. The calves had no horns and were otherwise healthy and phenotypically unremarkable. We conducted whole-genome sequencing of all animals using an Illumina HiSeq4000 to achieve ~20× coverage. Bioinformatics analyses revealed the bull was a compound heterozygote, carrying one naturally occurring PC Celtic POLLED allele and an allele containing an additional introgression of the homology-directed repair donor plasmid along with the PC Celtic allele. These alleles segregated in the offspring of this bull, and inheritance of either allele produced polled calves. No other unintended genomic alterations were observed. These data can be used to inform conversations in the scientific community, with regulatory authorities and with the public around ‘intentional genomic alterations’ and future regulatory actions regarding genome-edited animals.

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The magnitude and pace of global change demand rapid assessment of nature and its contributions to people. We present a fine-scale global modeling of current status and future scenarios for several contributions: water quality regulation, coastal risk reduction, and crop pollination. We find that where people’s needs for nature are now greatest, nature’s ability to meet those needs is declining. Up to 5 billion people face higher water pollution and insufficient pollination for nutrition under future scenarios of land use and climate change, particularly in Africa and South Asia. Hundreds of millions of people face heightened coastal risk across Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas. Continued loss of nature poses severe threats, yet these can be reduced 3- to 10-fold under a sustainable development scenario.

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The selective regulation of bacteria in complex microbial populations is key to controlling pathogenic bacteria. CRISPR nucleases can be programmed to kill bacteria, but require an efficient and broad-host range delivery system to be effective. Here, using an Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica co-culture system, we show that plasmids based on the IncP RK2 conjugative system can be used as delivery vectors for a TevSpCas9 dual nuclease. Notably, a cis-acting plasmid that encodes the conjugation and CRISPR machinery conjugates from E. coli to S. enterica with high frequency compared to a trans system that separates conjugation and CRISPR machinery. In culture conditions that enhance cell-to-cell contact, conjugation rates approach 100% with the cis-acting plasmid. Targeting of single or multiplexed sgRNAs to non-essential genes results in high S. enterica killing efficiencies. Our data highlight the potential of cis-acting conjugative plasmids as a delivery system for CRISPR nucleases or other microbial-altering agents for targeted bacterial killing.

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Vaccinating pregnant women with influenza vaccine and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) can reduce influenza and pertussis risk for themselves and their infants.

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The risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following trauma is heritable, but robust common variants have yet to be identified. In a multi-ethnic cohort including over 30,000 PTSD cases and 170,000 controls we conduct a genome-wide association study of PTSD. We demonstrate SNP-based heritability estimates of 5-20%, varying by sex. Three genome-wide significant loci are identified, 2 in European and 1 in African-ancestry analyses. Analyses stratified by sex implicate 3 additional loci in men. Along with other novel genes and non-coding RNAs, a Parkinson’s disease gene involved in dopamine regulation, PARK2, is associated with PTSD. Finally, we demonstrate that polygenic risk for PTSD is significantly predictive of re-experiencing symptoms in the Million Veteran Program dataset, although specific loci did not replicate. These results demonstrate the role of genetic variation in the biology of risk for PTSD and highlight the necessity of conducting sex-stratified analyses and expanding GWAS beyond European ancestry populations.

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Gait speed is a well-known indicator of risk of functional decline and mortality in older adults, but little is known about the factors associated with gait speed earlier in life.