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

Concept: Das Model


The synchronization of two pendulum clocks hanging from a wall was first observed by Huygens during the XVII century. This type of synchronization is observed in other areas, and is fundamentally different from the problem of two clocks hanging from a moveable base. We present a model explaining the phase opposition synchronization of two pendulum clocks in those conditions. The predicted behaviour is observed experimentally, validating the model.

Concepts: Scientific method, Hypothesis, Das Model, Base, Problem of evil, Pendulum clock, Christiaan Huygens


The link between adept parental monitoring (PM) and later positive behavioral and health outcomes already has motivated intervention trials, but questions remain about which specific facets and mechanisms of PM make a difference. Our current research questions concern fundamental male-female differences in PM facets as manifest in a US cohort, re-sampled each year at age 12 through 17¬†years during an interval from 2004 to 2009. We hypothesized emergence, by mid-adolescence, of a specific male-female difference in a “limit time with friends” (LTF) facet of adept PM, with overall PM levels held constant. The data, arranged using a “mutoscope” approach, are from six successive nationally representative independent cross-sectional sample surveys of the cohort, with each adolescent measured only once, via a multi-item PM module nested within the larger survey. Estimates and tests of male-female differences are from a “multiple indicators, multiple causes” latent structure model appropriate for complex survey data. In evidence consistent with the advance hypothesis and with PM level held constant via the model, the LTF facet generally was more relaxed for boys as compared to girls, in a difference that emerged by mid-adolescence, possibly due to greater LTF constraints for girls at mid-adolescence. This research adds to the knowledge base about male-female similarities and differences in facets of PM. As a specific PM facet, LTF might function as a mechanism suitable for deliberate intervention and as a possible specific target in “micro-trials” of new prevention research. We acknowledge limitations such as omitted variables, including social media effects, not measured in this investigation’s national surveys, but of potential importance in future research on peer influence as might have more distal parenting determinants.

Concepts: Scientific method, Parent, Difference, Das Model, Exploratory research


Ferric citrate (FC) has demonstrated efficacy as a phosphate binder and reduces the requirements for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and intravenous (IV) iron in dialysis patients. We developed a net budgetary impact model to evaluate FC vs. other phosphate binders from the vantage of a large dialysis provider. We used a Markov microsimulation model to simulate mutually referential longitudinal effects between serum phosphate and phosphate binder dose; categories of these defined health states. Health states probabilistically determined treatment attendance and utilization of ESA and IV iron. We derived model inputs from a retrospective analysis of incident phosphate binder users from a large dialysis organization (January 2011-June 2013) and incorporated treatment effects of FC from a phase III trial. The model was run over a 1-year time horizon. We considered fixed costs of providing dialysis; costs of administering ESA and IV iron; and payment rates for dialysis, ESAs, and IV iron. In the base-case model, FC had a net budgetary impact (savings) of +US$213,223/year per 100 patients treated vs. standard of care. One-way sensitivity analyses showed a net budgetary impact of up to +US$316,296/year per 100 patients treated when higher hemoglobin levels observed with FC translated into a 30% additional ESA dose reduction, and up to +US$223,281/year per 100 patients treated when effects on missed treatment rates were varied. Two-way sensitivity analyses in which acquisition costs for ESA and IV iron were varied showed a net budgetary impact of +US$104,840 to +US$213,223/year per 100 patients treated. FC as a first-line phosphate binder would likely yield substantive savings vs. standard of care under current reimbursement.

Concepts: Nephrology, Iron, Retrospective, Calcium carbonate, Das Model, Renal osteodystrophy, Phosphate binders, Hyperphosphatemia


Ooids are typically spherical sediment grains characterised by concentric layers encapsulating a core. There is no universally accepted explanation for ooid genesis, though factors such as agitation, abiotic and/or microbial mineralisation and size limitation have been variously invoked. Here we examine the possible influence of microbial organomineralisation on the formation of some naturally occurring ooids. We develop a mathematical model for ooid growth, inspired by work on avascular brain tumours, that assumes mineralisation in a biofilm to form a central core which then nucleates the progressive growth of concentric laminations. The model predicts a limiting size with the sequential width variation of growth rings comparing favourably with those observed in experimentally grown ooids generated from biomicrospheres. In reality, this model pattern may be complicated during growth by syngenetic aggrading neomorphism of the unstable mineral phase, followed by diagenetic recrystallisation that further complicates the structure. Our model provides a potential key to understanding the genetic archive preserved in the internal structures of some ooids.

Concepts: Bacteria, Mathematics, Structure, Brain tumor, Sedimentary rock, Das Model, Limestone, Oolite


A system is said to be meritocratic if the compensation and power available to individuals is determined by their abilities and merits. A system is topocratic if the compensation and power available to an individual is determined primarily by her position in a network. Here we introduce a model that is perfectly meritocratic for fully connected networks but that becomes topocratic for sparse networks-like the ones in society. In the model, individuals produce and sell content, but also distribute the content produced by others when they belong to the shortest path connecting a buyer and a seller. The production and distribution of content defines two channels of compensation: a meritocratic channel, where individuals are compensated for the content they produce, and a topocratic channel, where individual compensation is based on the number of shortest paths that go through them in the network. We solve the model analytically and show that the distribution of payoffs is meritocratic only if the average degree of the nodes is larger than a root of the total number of nodes. We conclude that, in the light of this model, the sparsity and structure of networks represents a fundamental constraint to the meritocracy of societies.

Concepts: Graph theory, Das Model, Marketing, Path, Shortest path problem, Network theory, Meritocracy, Merit


Archaeological accounts of cultural change reveal a fundamental conflict: Some suggest that change is gradual, accelerating over time, whereas others indicate that it is punctuated, with long periods of stasis interspersed by sudden gains or losses of multiple traits. Existing models of cultural evolution, inspired by models of genetic evolution, lend support to the former and do not generate trajectories that include large-scale punctuated change. We propose a simple model that can give rise to both exponential and punctuated patterns of gain and loss of cultural traits. In it, cultural innovation comprises several realistic interdependent processes that occur at different rates. The model also takes into account two properties intrinsic to cultural evolution: the differential distribution of traits among social groups and the impact of environmental change. In our model, a population may be subdivided into groups with different cultural repertoires leading to increased susceptibility to cultural loss, whereas environmental change may lead to rapid loss of traits that are not useful in a new environment. Taken together, our results suggest the usefulness of a concept of an effective cultural population size.

Concepts: Biology, Economics, Culture, Gain, Model, Das Model, Globalization, Punctuated equilibrium


The fear-avoidance model describes how the belief that pain is a sign of damage leads to pain-related fear and avoidance. But other beliefs may also trigger the fear and avoidance responses described by the model. Experts have called for the next generation of fear avoidance research to explore what beliefs underlie pain-related fear and how they evolve. We have previously described damage beliefs and suffering/functional loss beliefs underlying high pain-related fear in a sample of individuals with chronic back pain. The aim of this study is to identify common and differential factors associated with the beliefs in this sample.

Concepts: Back pain, Belief, Das Model, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Next Generation, Chronic pain, Standard Model, Kanye West


Miconazole nitrate is an imidazole derivative used to treat skin disorders caused by fungi. The aim of this study was to investigate in a systematic way whether miconazole nitrate can have skin penetration enhancing properties. Using Franz diffusion cells, three representative model compounds (caffeine, testosterone and ibuprofen) were applied to human skin as 10 mM aqueous-ethanolic solutions with or without 1 mM of miconazole nitrate. The apparent permeability coefficient K(p) for each of the model compounds was determined with and without miconazole nitrate. While a statistically significant penetration enhancement effect of 33% was found for testosterone, no overall statistically significant effect could be demonstrated for caffeine and ibuprofen. The increase in skin permeability of testosterone is mainly due to an improved partitioning from the dose solution into the skin, thereby resulting in a higher delivery through the human skin. Our results indicate that miconazole can act as a penetration enhancer.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Skin, Effect size, Das Model, Human skin color, ACT, Miconazole, Imidazole


Tactile stimulation of the hand evokes highly precise and repeatable patterns of activity in mechanoreceptive afferents; the strength (i.e., firing rate, Muniak et al. 2007) and timing (Johansson and Birznieks 2004; Mackevicius et al. 2012; Saal et al. 2009) of these responses have been shown to convey stimulus information. To achieve an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the representation of tactile stimuli in the nerve, we developed a two-stage computational model consisting of a nonlinear mechanical transduction stage followed by a generalized integrate-and-fire mechanism. The model improves upon a recently published counterpart (Kim et al. 2010) in two important ways. First, complexity is dramatically reduced (at least one order of magnitude fewer parameters). Second, the model comprises a saturating non-linearity and therefore can be applied to a much wider range of stimuli. We show that both the rate and timing of afferent responses are predicted with remarkable precision, and observed adaptation patterns and threshold behavior are well captured. We conclude that the responses of mechanoreceptive afferents can be understood using a very parsimonious mechanistic model, which can then be used to accurately simulate the responses of afferent populations.

Concepts: Scientific method, Chaos theory, Perception, Philosophy of science, Das Model, Metaphysics, Computational complexity theory, Nonlinear system


Aberrant repetitive behaviors are commonly observed in a variety of neurodevelopmental, neurological, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Little is known about the specific neurobiological mechanisms that underlie such behaviors, however, and effective treatments are lacking. Valid animal models can aid substantially in identifying pathophysiological factors mediating aberrant repetitive behavior and aid in treatment development. The C58 inbred mouse strain is a particularly promising model, and we have further characterized its repetitive behavior phenotype. Compared to C57BL/6 mice, C58 mice exhibit high rates of spontaneous hindlimb jumping and backward somersaulting reaching adult frequencies by 5 weeks post-weaning and adult temporal organization by 2 weeks post-weaning. The development of repetitive behavior in C58 mice was markedly attenuated by rearing these mice in larger, more complex environments. In addition to characterizing repetitive motor behavior, we also assessed related forms of inflexible behavior that reflect restricted and perseverative responding. Contrary to our hypothesis, C58 mice did not exhibit increased marble burying nor did they display reduced exploratory behavior in the holeboard task. The C58 strain appears to be a very useful model for the repetitive motor behavior characteristic of a number of clinical disorders. As an inbred mouse strain, studies using the C58 model can take full advantage of the tool kit of modern genetics and molecular neuroscience. This technical advantage makes the model a compelling choice for use in studies designed to elucidate the etiology and pathophysiology of aberrant repetitive behavior. Such findings should, in turn, translate into effective new treatments.

Concepts: Psychology, Gene, Developmental biology, Neuroscience, Developmental psychology, Das Model, Human behavior, Psychiatry