SciCombinator

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Concept: Density

184

BACKGROUND: Cycling is considered to be a highly beneficial sport for significantly enhancing cardiovascular fitness in individuals, yet studies show little or no corresponding improvements in bone mass. METHODS: A scientific literature search on studies discussing bone mass and bone metabolism in cyclists was performed to collect all relevant published material up to April 2012. Descriptive, cross-sectional, longitudinal and interventional studies were all reviewed. Inclusion criteria were met by 31 studies. RESULTS: Heterogeneous studies in terms of gender, age, data source, group of comparison, cycling level or modality practiced among others factors showed minor but important differences in results. Despite some controversial results, it has been observed that adult road cyclists participating in regular training have low bone mineral density in key regions (for example, lumbar spine). Conversely, other types of cycling (such as mountain biking), or combination with other sports could reduce this unsafe effect. These results cannot yet be explained by differences in dietary patterns or endocrine factors. CONCLUSIONS: From our comprehensive survey of the current available literature it can be concluded that road cycling does not appear to confer any significant osteogenic benefit. The cause of this may be related to spending long hours in a weight-supported position on the bike in combination with the necessary enforced recovery time that involves a large amount of time sitting or lying supine, especially at the competitive level. See related commentary http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/169.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone density, Density, Skeletal system, Lumbar vertebrae, Cycling, Bicycle

173

Vitamin D insufficiency in children may have long-term skeletal consequences as vitamin D affects calcium absorption, bone mineralization and bone mass attainment.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Vitamin D, Bone density, Density, Skeletal system, Calcium, Dietary mineral

172

A finding of high BMD on routine DXA scanning is not infrequent and most commonly reflects degenerative disease. However, BMD increases may also arise secondary to a range of underlying disorders affecting the skeleton. Although low BMD increases fracture risk, the converse may not hold for high BMD, since elevated BMD may occur in conditions where fracture risk is increased, unaffected or reduced. Here we outline a classification for the causes of raised BMD, based on identification of focal or generalized BMD changes, and discuss an approach to guide appropriate investigation by clinicians after careful interpretation of DXA scan findings within the context of the clinical history. We will also review the mild skeletal dysplasia associated with the currently unexplained high bone mass phenotype and discuss recent advances in osteoporosis therapies arising from improved understanding of rare inherited high BMD disorders.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone density, Density, Skeletal system, Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, Human skeleton, Skeleton

170

BACKGROUND: The anti-JC virus (JCV) antibody status has been introduced to stratify patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) for higher or lower risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). OBJECTIVE: To assess the potential utility of anti-JCV antibody levels for earlier diagnosis or prediction of PML. METHODS: An analytically validated antibody assay was used to determine serological status, normalised optical density values, and dilution titres for anti-JCV antibodies. The method was applied to stored sera of 1157 patients with MS including five cases of PML, all enrolled in the Swedish pharmacovigilance study for natalizumab (NAT). Anticytomegalovirus (CMV) and antivaricella-zoster (VZV) antibody levels served as controls. RESULTS: Prior to treatment with NAT, anti-JCV antibody levels were stable in the anti-JCV positive patients. During therapy, a slight decrease in anti-JCV and anti-VZV antibody levels, but not anti-CMV antibody levels, was observed. All five patients who developed PML showed a mild to moderate increase in anti-JCV antibody levels at time of PML diagnosis; pre-PML samples suggested that this increase might start already prior to diagnosis of PML. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment initiation with NAT may lead to a slight decrease in anti-JCV and anti-VZV antibody levels, suggestive of a mild suppressive effect of NAT on antibody levels. Our findings in five cases of PML demonstrate that the onset of PML can be accompanied by increasing anti-JCV antibodies in serum. Monitoring of anti-JCV antibody levels could potentially be used as a tool for prediction or earlier diagnosis of PML during NAT treatment for MS. Further studies are warranted.

Concepts: Antibody, Density, Multiple sclerosis, ELISA, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, JC virus, Serology, Natalizumab

168

Recent advances in three-dimensional (3D) graphene assembly have shown how we can make solid porous materials that are lighter than air. It is plausible that these solid materials can be mechanically strong enough for applications under extreme conditions, such as being a substitute for helium in filling up an unpowered flight balloon. However, knowledge of the elastic modulus and strength of the porous graphene assembly as functions of its structure has not been available, preventing evaluation of its feasibility. We combine bottom-up computational modeling with experiments based on 3D-printed models to investigate the mechanics of porous 3D graphene materials, resulting in new designs of carbon materials. Our study reveals that although the 3D graphene assembly has an exceptionally high strength at relatively high density (given the fact that it has a density of 4.6% that of mild steel and is 10 times as strong as mild steel), its mechanical properties decrease with density much faster than those of polymer foams. Our results provide critical densities below which the 3D graphene assembly starts to lose its mechanical advantage over most polymeric cellular materials.

Concepts: Density, Mechanical engineering, Mechanical, Lighter than air

166

Until now, few sp carbon materials simultaneously exhibit superior performance for specific surface area (SSA) and electrical conductivity at bulk state. Thus, it is extremely important to make such materials at bulk scale with those two outstanding properties combined together. Here, we present a simple and green but very efficient approach using two standard and simple industry steps to make such three-dimensional graphene-based porous materials at the bulk scale, with ultrahigh SSA (3523 m/g) and excellent bulk conductivity. We conclude that these materials consist of mainly defected/wrinkled single layer graphene sheets in the dimensional size of a few nanometers, with at least some covalent bond between each other. The outstanding properties of these materials are demonstrated by their superior supercapacitor performance in ionic liquid with specific capacitance and energy density of 231 F/g and 98 Wh/kg, respectively, so far the best reported capacitance performance for all bulk carbon materials.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Density, Water, Chemical bond, Physical quantities, Ionic bond, Specific surface area, Porous media

140

Savannas once constituted the range of many species that human encroachment has now reduced to a fraction of their former distribution. Many survive only in protected areas. Poaching reduces the savanna elephant, even where protected, likely to the detriment of savanna ecosystems. While resources go into estimating elephant populations, an ecological benchmark by which to assess counts is lacking. Knowing how many elephants there are and how many poachers kill is important, but on their own, such data lack context. We collated savanna elephant count data from 73 protected areas across the continent estimated to hold ~50% of Africa’s elephants and extracted densities from 18 broadly stable population time series. We modeled these densities using primary productivity, water availability, and an index of poaching as predictors. We then used the model to predict stable densities given current conditions and poaching for all 73 populations. Next, to generate ecological benchmarks, we predicted such densities for a scenario of zero poaching. Where historical data are available, they corroborate or exceed benchmarks. According to recent counts, collectively, the 73 savanna elephant populations are at 75% of the size predicted based on current conditions and poaching levels. However, populations are at <25% of ecological benchmarks given a scenario of zero poaching (~967,000)-a total deficit of ~730,000 elephants. Populations in 30% of the 73 protected areas were <5% of their benchmarks, and the median current density as a percentage of ecological benchmark across protected areas was just 13%. The ecological context provided by these benchmark values, in conjunction with ongoing census projects, allow efficient targeting of conservation efforts.

Concepts: Density, Prediction, Ecosystem, Population density, Hunting, Elephant, Elephants, Savanna

57

Solar energy storage is an emerging technology which can promote the solar energy as the primary source of electricity. Recent development of laser scribed graphene electrodes exhibiting a high electrical conductivity have enabled a green technology platform for supercapacitor-based energy storage, resulting in cost-effective, environment-friendly features, and consequent readiness for on-chip integration. Due to the limitation of the ion-accessible active porous surface area, the energy densities of these supercapacitors are restricted below ~3 × 10(-3) Whcm(-3). In this paper, we demonstrate a new design of biomimetic laser scribed graphene electrodes for solar energy storage, which embraces the structure of Fern leaves characterized by the geometric family of space filling curves of fractals. This new conceptual design removes the limit of the conventional planar supercapacitors by significantly increasing the ratio of active surface area to volume of the new electrodes and reducing the electrolyte ionic path. The attained energy density is thus significantly increased to ~10(-1) Whcm(-3)- more than 30 times higher than that achievable by the planar electrodes with ~95% coulombic efficiency of the solar energy storage. The energy storages with these novel electrodes open the prospects of efficient self-powered and solar-powered wearable, flexible and portable applications.

Concepts: Density, Volume, Sun, Electrochemistry, Integral, Solar energy, Energy density, Energy storage

55

Background Sclerostin is an osteocyte-derived inhibitor of osteoblast activity. The monoclonal antibody romosozumab binds to sclerostin and increases bone formation. Methods In a phase 2, multicenter, international, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, eight-group study, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of romosozumab over a 12-month period in 419 postmenopausal women, 55 to 85 years of age, who had low bone mineral density (a T score of -2.0 or less at the lumbar spine, total hip, or femoral neck and -3.5 or more at each of the three sites). Participants were randomly assigned to receive subcutaneous romosozumab monthly (at a dose of 70 mg, 140 mg, or 210 mg) or every 3 months (140 mg or 210 mg), subcutaneous placebo, or an open-label active comparator - oral alendronate (70 mg weekly) or subcutaneous teriparatide (20 μg daily). The primary end point was the percentage change from baseline in bone mineral density at the lumbar spine at 12 months. Secondary end points included percentage changes in bone mineral density at other sites and in markers of bone turnover. Results All dose levels of romosozumab were associated with significant increases in bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, including an increase of 11.3% with the 210-mg monthly dose, as compared with a decrease of 0.1% with placebo and increases of 4.1% with alendronate and 7.1% with teriparatide. Romosozumab was also associated with large increases in bone mineral density at the total hip and femoral neck, as well as transitory increases in bone-formation markers and sustained decreases in a bone-resorption marker. Except for mild, generally nonrecurring injection-site reactions with romosozumab, adverse events were similar among groups. Conclusions In postmenopausal women with low bone mass, romosozumab was associated with increased bone mineral density and bone formation and with decreased bone resorption. (Funded by Amgen and UCB Pharma; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00896532 .).

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Clinical trial, Bone density, Density, Skeletal system, Lumbar vertebrae, Intramembranous ossification

50

Silicon materials remain unused for supercapacitors due to extreme reactivity of silicon with electrolytes. However, doped silicon materials boast a low mass density, excellent conductivity, a controllably etched nanoporous structure, and combined earth abundance and technological presence appealing to diverse energy storage frameworks. Here, we demonstrate a universal route to transform porous silicon (P-Si) into stable electrodes for electrochemical devices through growth of an ultra-thin, conformal graphene coating on the P-Si surface. This graphene coating simultaneously passivates surface charge traps and provides an ideal electrode-electrolyte electrochemical interface. This leads to 10-40X improvement in energy density, and a 2X wider electrochemical window compared to identically-structured unpassivated P-Si. This work demonstrates a technique generalizable to mesoporous and nanoporous materials that decouples the engineering of electrode structure and electrochemical surface stability to engineer performance in electrochemical environments. Specifically, we demonstrate P-Si as a promising new platform for grid-scale and integrated electrochemical energy storage.

Concepts: Density, Water, Electrochemistry, Engineering, Silicon, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode