SciCombinator

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

Concept: Proposal

226

BACKGROUND TO THE DEBATE: Tobacco continues to kill millions of people around the world each year and its use is increasing in some countries, which makes the need for new, creative, and radical efforts to achieve the tobacco control endgame vitally important. One such effort is discussed in this PLOS Medicine Debate, where Simon Chapman presents his proposal for a “smoker’s license” and Jeff Collin argues against. Chapman sets out a case for introducing a smart card license for smokers designed to limit access to tobacco products and encourage cessation. Key elements of the smoker’s license include smokers setting daily limits, financial incentives for permanent license surrender, and a test of health risk knowledge for commencing smokers. Collin argues against the proposal, saying that it would shift focus away from the real vector of the epidemic-the tobacco industry-and that by focusing on individuals it would censure victims, increase stigmatization of smokers, and marginalize the poor.

Concepts: Tobacco, English-language films, Vector space, Proposal, Focusing, Limit, Limit of a sequence, Ryan Reynolds

193

BACKGROUND TO THE DEBATE: Tobacco continues to kill millions of people around the world each year and its use is increasing in some countries, which makes the need for new, creative, and radical efforts to achieve the tobacco control endgame vitally important. One such effort is discussed in this PLOS Medicine Debate, where Simon Chapman presents his proposal for a “smoker’s license” and Jeff Collin argues against. Chapman sets out a case for introducing a smart card license for smokers designed to limit access to tobacco products and encourage cessation. Key elements of the smoker’s license include smokers setting daily limits, financial incentives for permanent license surrender, and a test of health risk knowledge for commencing smokers. Collin argues against the proposal, saying that it would shift focus away from the real vector of the epidemic-the tobacco industry-and that by focusing on individuals it would censure victims, increase stigmatization of smokers, and marginalize the poor.

Concepts: Tobacco, English-language films, Vector space, Proposal, Focusing, Limit, Limit of a sequence, Ryan Reynolds

92

Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) typically requires painful blood drawn from patients. We propose a painless and minimally-invasive alternative for TDM using hollow microneedles suitable to extract extremely small volumes (<1 nL) of interstitial fluid to measure drug concentrations. The inner lumen of a microneedle is functionalized to be used as a micro-reactor during sample collection to trap and bind target drug candidates during extraction, without requirements of sample transfer. An optofluidic device is integrated with this microneedle to rapidly quantify drug analytes with high sensitivity using a straightforward absorbance scheme. Vancomycin is currently detected by using volumes ranging between 50-100 μL with a limit of detection (LoD) of 1.35 μM. The proposed microneedle-optofluidic biosensor can detect vancomycin with a sample volume of 0.6 nL and a LoD of <100 nM, validating this painless point of care system with significant potential to reduce healthcare costs and patients suffering.

Concepts: Volume, Measurement, Illness, Integral, Pain, Analytical chemistry, Proposal, Lymph

43

People use more positive words than negative words. Referred to as “linguistic positivity bias” (LPB), this effect has been found across cultures and languages, prompting the conclusion that it is a panhuman tendency. However, although multiple competing explanations of LPB have been proposed, there is still no consensus on what mechanism(s) generate LPB or even on whether it is driven primarily by universal cognitive features or by environmental factors. In this work we propose that LPB has remained unresolved because previous research has neglected an essential dimension of language: time. In four studies conducted with two independent, time-stamped text corpora (Google books Ngrams and the New York Times), we found that LPB in American English has decreased during the last two centuries. We also observed dynamic fluctuations in LPB that were predicted by changes in objective environment, i.e., war and economic hardships, and by changes in national subjective happiness. In addition to providing evidence that LPB is a dynamic phenomenon, these results suggest that cognitive mechanisms alone cannot account for the observed dynamic fluctuations in LPB. At the least, LPB likely arises from multiple interacting mechanisms involving subjective, objective, and societal factors. In addition to having theoretical significance, our results demonstrate the value of newly available data sources in addressing long-standing scientific questions.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Environment, Cognition, Linguistics, Language, Proposal, The Conclusion

31

A comprehensive understanding of the phenomenology of auditory hallucinations (AHs) is essential for developing accurate models of their causes. Yet, only 1 detailed study of the phenomenology of AHs with a sample size of N ≥ 100 has been published. The potential for overreliance on these findings, coupled with a lack of phenomenological research into many aspects of AHs relevant to contemporary neurocognitive models and the proposed (but largely untested) existence of AH subtypes, necessitates further research in this area. We undertook the most comprehensive phenomenological study of AHs to date in a psychiatric population (N = 199; 81% people diagnosed with schizophrenia), using a structured interview schedule. Previous phenomenological findings were only partially replicated. New findings included that 39% of participants reported that their voices seemed in some way to be replays of memories of previous conversations they had experienced; 45% reported that the general theme or content of what the voices said was always the same; and 55% said new voices had the same content/theme as previous voices. Cluster analysis, by variable, suggested the existence of 4 AH subtypes. We propose that there are likely to be different neurocognitive processes underpinning these experiences, necessitating revised AH models.

Concepts: Sample, Cluster analysis, Philosophy of science, Schizophrenia, Hallucination, Psychosis, Proposal, Phenomenology

28

Based on studies of the forewings of two beetles, Allomyrina dichotoma and Prosopocoilus inclinatus, this paper reviews and identifies the potential benefits of studying the structure of the beetle forewing and the associated development of lightweight biomimetic composite materials. The forewings of both beetle species consist of an integrated border frame structure and a large center part with distributed trabecular supports in the hollow core. The forewings of the male A. dichotoma are constructed to reflect a lightweight honeycomb design. However, the forewings of P. inclinatus are a durable structure. The biological significance of these structures is also discussed. This work proposes an integrated honeycomb structure inspired by the beetle forewing. A series of biological models are also proposed for lightweight integrated honeycomb structures and durable sandwich structures with a trabecular core, which are intended to establish a new direction in the development of biomimetic composite materials.

Concepts: Species, Insect, Structure, Sociology, Beetle, Proposal, The Hollow, Insect wing

28

Despite the extensive interest in structurally explaining the photophysics of DNA-bound [Ru(phen)(2)dppz](2+) and [Ru(bpy)(2)dppz](2+), the origin of the two distinct emission lifetimes of the pure enantiomers when intercalated into DNA has remained elusive. In this report, we have combined a photophysical characterization with a detailed isothermal titration calorimetry study to investigate the binding of the pure Δ and Λ enantiomers of both complexes with [poly(dAdT)](2). We find that a binding model with two different binding geometries, proposed to be symmetric and canted intercalation from the minor groove, as recently reported in high-resolution X-ray structures, is required to appropriately explain the data. By assigning the long emission lifetime to the canted binding geometry, we can simultaneously fit both calorimetric data and the binding-density-dependent changes in the relative abundance of the two emission lifetimes using the same binding model. We find that all complex-complex interactions are slightly unfavorable for Δ-[Ru(bpy)(2)dppz](2+), whereas interactions involving a complex canted away from a neighbor are favorable for the other three complexes. We also conclude that Δ-[Ru(bpy)(2)dppz](2+) preferably binds isolated, Δ-[Ru(phen)(2)dppz](2+) preferably binds as duplets of canted complexes, and that all complexes are reluctant to form longer consecutive sequences than triplets. We propose that this is due to an interplay of repulsive complex-complex and attractive complex-DNA interactions modulated by allosteric DNA conformation changes that are largely affected by the nature of the ancillary ligands.

Concepts: DNA, Structure, Geometry, Complex, Explanation, Proposal, Origin, Intercalation

28

Recently the sparse representation based classification (SRC) has been proposed for robust face recognition (FR). In SRC, the testing image is coded as a sparse linear combination of the training samples, and the representation fidelity is measured by the l2-norm or l1-norm of the coding residual. Such a sparse coding model assumes that the coding residual follows Gaussian or Laplacian distribution, which may not be effective enough to describe the coding residual in practical FR systems. Meanwhile, the sparsity constraint on the coding coefficients makes SRCs computational cost very high. In this paper, we propose a new face coding model, namely regularized robust coding (RRC), which could robustly regress a given signal with regularized regression coefficients. By assuming that the coding residual and the coding coefficient are respectively independent and identically distributed, the RRC seeks for a maximum a posterior solution of the coding problem. An iteratively reweighted regularized robust coding (IR3C) algorithm is proposed to solve the RRC model efficiently. Extensive experiments on representative face databases demonstrate that the RRC is much more effective and efficient than state-of-the-art sparse representation based methods in dealing with face occlusion, corruption, lighting and expression changes, etc.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Vector space, Binomial coefficient, Proposal, Sparse matrix, Computational complexity theory, Coefficient, Lp space

28

To monitor and strategically control energy deposition in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), measured as a specific absorption rate (SAR), numerical methods using generic human models have been employed to estimate worst-case values. Radiofrequency (RF) sequences are therefore often designed conservatively with large safety margins, potentially hindering the full potential of high-field systems. To more accurately predict the patient SAR values, we propose the use of image registration techniques, in conjunction with high-resolution image and tissue libraries, to create patient-specific voxel models. To test this, a matching model from the archives was first selected. Its tissue information was then warped to the patient’s coordinates by registering the high-resolution library image to the pilot scan of the patient. Results from studying the models' 1 g SAR distribution suggest that the developed patient model can predict regions of elevated SAR within the patient with remarkable accuracy. Additionally, this work also proposes a voxel analytical metric that can assist in the construction of a patient library and the selection of the matching model from the library for a patient. It is hoped that, by developing voxel models with high accuracy in patient-specific anatomy and positioning, the proposed method can accurately predict the safety margins for high-field human applications and, therefore maximize the safe use of RF sequence power in high-field MRI systems.

Concepts: Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Radiology, Specific absorption rate, Proposal, Voxel, Volume rendering, Proposals

27

Discretization of a continuous-valued symptom (attribute) in medical data set is a crucial preprocessing step for the medical classification task. This paper proposes a supportive attribute - assisted discretization (SAAD) model for medical diagnostic problems. The intent of this approach is to discover the best supportive symptom that correlates closely with the continuous-valued symptom being discretized and to conduct the discretization process using the significant supportive information that is provided by the best supportive symptom, because we hypothesize that a good discretization scheme should rely heavily on the interaction between a continuous-valued attribute and both its supportive attribute and the class attribute. SAAD can consider each continuous-valued symptom differently and intelligently, which allows it to be capable of minimizing the information lost and the data uncertainty. Hence, SAAD results in higher classification accuracy. Empirical experiments using ten real-life datasets from the UCI repository were conducted to compare the classification accuracy achieved by several prestigious classifiers with SAAD and other state-of-the-art discretization approaches. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness and usefulness of the proposed approach in enhancing the diagnostic accuracy.

Concepts: Mathematics, Economics, Data set, Empiricism, Experiment, Proposal, Conducting, Discretization