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Concept: Elasticity


Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the biomechanical properties of locked versus nonlocked lateral fibular bridge plating of comminuted, unstable ankle fractures in a mode of catastrophic failure. Methods: We created comminuted Weber C fractures in 8 paired limbs from fresh cadavers. Fractures were plated with either standard or locked one-third tubular bridge plating techniques. Specimens were biomechanically evaluated by external rotation to failure while subjected to a compressive load approximating body weight. We measured the angle to failure, torque to failure, energy to failure and construct stiffness. Results: There was no significant difference in construct stiffness or other biomechanical properties between locked and standard one-third tubular plating techniques. Conclusion: We found no difference in biomechanical properties between locked and standard bridge plating of a comminuted Weber C fibular fracture in a model of catastrophic failure. It is likely that augmentation of fixation with K-wires or transtibial screws provides a construct superior to locked bridge plating alone. Further biomechanical and clinical analysis is required to improve understanding of the role of locked plating in ankle fractures and in osteoporotic bone.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Elasticity, Forensic engineering, Plating, Fibula


A large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that sugar drinks are harmful to health. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) is a risk factor for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Mexico has one of the largest per capita consumption of soft drinks worldwide and high rates of obesity and diabetes. Fiscal approaches such as taxation have been recommended as a public health policy to reduce SSB consumption. We estimated an almost ideal demand system with linear approximation for beverages and high-energy food by simultaneous equations and derived the own and cross price elasticities for soft drinks and for all SSB (soft drinks, fruit juices, fruit drinks, flavored water and energy drinks). Models were stratified by income quintile and marginality index at the municipality level. Price elasticity for soft drinks was -1.06 and -1.16 for SSB, i.e., a 10% price increase was associated with a decrease in quantity consumed of soft drinks by 10.6% and 11.6% for SSB. A price increase in soft drinks is associated with larger quantity consumed of water, milk, snacks and sugar and a decrease in the consumption of other SSB, candies and traditional snacks. The same was found for SSB except that an increase in price of SSB was associated with a decrease in snacks. Higher elasticities were found among households living in rural areas (for soft drinks), in more marginalized areas and with lower income. Implementation of a tax to soft drinks or to SSB could decrease consumption particularly among the poor. Substitutions and complementarities with other food and beverages should be evaluated to assess the potential impact on total calories consumed.

Concepts: Nutrition, Insulin, Supply and demand, Price elasticity of demand, Elasticity, Soft drink, Price elasticity of supply, Arc elasticity


We report the synthesis and application of an elastic, wearable crosslinked polymer layer (XPL) that mimics the properties of normal, youthful skin. XPL is made of a tunable polysiloxane-based material that can be engineered with specific elasticity, contractility, adhesion, tensile strength and occlusivity. XPL can be topically applied, rapidly curing at the skin interface without the need for heat- or light-mediated activation. In a pilot human study, we examined the performance of a prototype XPL that has a tensile modulus matching normal skin responses at low strain (<40%), and that withstands elongations exceeding 250%, elastically recoiling with minimal strain-energy loss on repeated deformation. The application of XPL to the herniated lower eyelid fat pads of 12 subjects resulted in an average 2-grade decrease in herniation appearance in a 5-point severity scale. The XPL platform may offer advanced solutions to compromised skin barrier function, pharmaceutical delivery and wound dressings.

Concepts: Skin, Materials science, Tensile strength, Strength of materials, Elasticity, Linear elasticity, Elastic modulus


Hyper-elongated structures and their penetration are widespread among insects, for example, intromittent organs, ovipositors, and piercing-sucking mouthparts. The penetration of thin structures with high aspect ratio without buckling and rupturing is mechanically very challenging. However, this problem is economically solved in nature, and the solutions might be helpful for, for example, in the development of harmless catheters. We focus on the penetration process of a hyper-elongated structure of a cassidine beetle intromittent organ, termed a flagellum. We applied a three-point bending test for the flagellum to measure its bending stiffness along the entire flagellum. We demonstrated the bending stiffness gradient, in which the basal half is relatively stiff and the apical half is softer, whose good performance during copulation had been previously numerically demonstrated. The stiffness gradient is the result of the flagellum shape, which is cylindrical and tapered toward the tip. Moreover, the curved tip comprises a harder outer curve and a softer inner curve. Considering the findings of preceding studies, the flagellum works in the following way: (i) the bending stiffness gradient supports the flagellum, easily fitting to a shape of a highly coiled spermathecal duct, (ii) the stiffness property of the very tip may make the tip tougher, and (iii) the curled tip and homogeneously cylindrical shape of the organ help the very tip to fit the shape of the spermathecal duct of the female. Our study shows that the apparently simple flagellum penetration is achieved with numerous elaborate mechanical adaptations.

Concepts: Structure, 2000s music groups, Elasticity, Aspect ratio, Penis, Elastic modulus, Intromittent organ


Poor psychological and physical resilience in response to stress drives a great deal of health care utilization. Mind-body interventions can reduce stress and build resiliency. The rationale for this study is therefore to estimate the effect of mind-body interventions on healthcare utilization.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Public health, Health insurance, Health, Clinical trial, Elasticity


The rising number of young people going to university has led to concerns about an increasing demand for student mental health services. We aimed to assess whether provision of mindfulness courses to university students would improve their resilience to stress.

Concepts: Health care, Randomized controlled trial, University, Positive psychology, Youth, Elasticity, Student, Apophony


Soft dielectric materials typically exhibit poor heat transfer properties due to the dynamics of phonon transport, which constrain thermal conductivity (k) to decrease monotonically with decreasing elastic modulus (E). This thermal-mechanical trade-off is limiting for wearable computing, soft robotics, and other emerging applications that require materials with both high thermal conductivity and low mechanical stiffness. Here, we overcome this constraint with an electrically insulating composite that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, an elastic compliance similar to soft biological tissue (Young’s modulus < 100 kPa), and the capability to undergo extreme deformations (>600% strain). By incorporating liquid metal (LM) microdroplets into a soft elastomer, we achieve a ∼25× increase in thermal conductivity (4.7 ± 0.2 W⋅m(-1)⋅K(-1)) over the base polymer (0.20 ± 0.01 W⋅m(-1)·K(-1)) under stress-free conditions and a ∼50× increase (9.8 ± 0.8 W⋅m(-1)·K(-1)) when strained. This exceptional combination of thermal and mechanical properties is enabled by a unique thermal-mechanical coupling that exploits the deformability of the LM inclusions to create thermally conductive pathways in situ. Moreover, these materials offer possibilities for passive heat exchange in stretchable electronics and bioinspired robotics, which we demonstrate through the rapid heat dissipation of an elastomer-mounted extreme high-power LED lamp and a swimming soft robot.

Concepts: Temperature, Heat, Thermal conductivity, Young's modulus, Heat transfer, Elasticity, Stiffness, Hooke's law


The widespread prevalence of commercial products made from microgels illustrates the immense practical value of harnessing the jamming transition; there are countless ways to use soft, solid materials that fluidize and become solid again with small variations in applied stress. The traditional routes of microgel synthesis produce materials that predominantly swell in aqueous solvents or, less often, in aggressive organic solvents, constraining ways that these exceptionally useful materials can be used. For example, aqueous microgels have been used as the foundation of three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting applications, yet the incompatibility of available microgels with nonpolar liquids, such as oils, limits their use in 3D printing with oil-based materials, such as silicone. We present a method to make micro-organogels swollen in mineral oil, using block copolymer self-assembly. The rheological properties of this micro-organogel material can be tuned, leveraging the jamming transition to facilitate its use in 3D printing of silicone structures. We find that the minimum printed feature size can be controlled by the yield stress of the micro-organogel medium, enabling the fabrication of numerous complex silicone structures, including branched perfusable networks and functional fluid pumps.

Concepts: Polymer, Polymer chemistry, Liquid, Glass transition, Elasticity, Linear elasticity, Oil, Lubricant


The adult brain is capable of adapting to internal and external stressors by undergoing structural plasticity, and failure to be resilient and preserve normal structure and function is likely to contribute to depression and anxiety disorders. Although the hippocampus has provided the gateway for understanding stress effects on the brain, less is known about the amygdala, a key brain area involved in the neural circuitry of fear and anxiety. Here, in mice more vulnerable to stressors, we demonstrate structural plasticity within the medial and basolateral regions of the amygdala in response to prolonged 21-day chronic restraint stress (CRS). Three days before the end of CRS, treatment with the putative, rapidly acting antidepressant, acetyl-l-carnitine (LAC) in the drinking water opposed the direction of these changes. Behaviorally, the LAC treatment during the last part of CRS enhanced resilience, opposing the effects of CRS, as shown by an increased social interaction and reduced passive behavior in a forced swim test. Furthermore, CRS mice treated with LAC show resilience of the CRS-induced structural remodeling of medial amygdala (MeA) stellate neurons. Within the basolateral amygdala (BLA), LAC did not reduce, but slightly enhanced, the CRS-increased length and number of intersections of pyramidal neurons. No structural changes were observed in MeA bipolar neurons, BLA stellate neurons or in lateral amygdala stellate neurons. Our findings identify MeA stellate neurons as an important component in the responses to stress and LAC action and show that LAC can promote structural plasticity of the MeA. This may be useful as a model for increasing resilience to stressors in at-risk populations.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 31 May 2016; doi:10.1038/mp.2016.68.

Concepts: Neuron, Amygdala, Brain, Cerebral cortex, Hippocampus, Cerebellum, Pyramidal cell, Elasticity


To examine risk and resilience factors that affect health, lifetime stress exposure histories, dispositional forgiveness levels, and mental and physical health were assessed in 148 young adults. Greater lifetime stress severity and lower levels of forgiveness each uniquely predicted worse mental and physical health. Analyses also revealed a graded Stress × Forgiveness interaction effect, wherein associations between stress and mental health were weaker for persons exhibiting more forgiveness. These data are the first to elucidate the interactive effects of cumulative stress severity and forgiveness on health, and suggest that developing a more forgiving coping style may help minimize stress-related disorders.

Concepts: Effect, Interaction, Affect, Mental disorder, Positive psychology, Personal life, Elasticity, Psychological resilience