Sequencing-based studies of the human faecal microbiota are increasingly common. Appropriate storage of sample material is essential to avoid the introduction of post-collection bias in microbial community composition. Rapid freezing to -80 °C is commonly considered to be best-practice. However, this is not feasible in many studies, particularly those involving sample collection in participants' homes. We determined the extent to which a range of stabilisation and storage strategies maintained the composition of faecal microbial community structure relative to freezing to -80 °C. Refrigeration at 4 °C, storage at ambient temperature, and the use of several common preservative buffers (RNAlater, OMNIgene.GUT, Tris-EDTA) were assessed relative to freezing. Following 72 hours of storage, faecal microbial composition was assessed by 16 S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Refrigeration was associated with no significant alteration in faecal microbiota diversity or composition. However, samples stored using other conditions showed substantial divergence compared to -80 °C control samples. Aside from refrigeration, the use of OMNIgene.GUT resulted in the least alteration, while the greatest change was seen in samples stored in Tris-EDTA buffer. The commercially available OMNIgene.GUT kit may provide an important alternative where refrigeration and cold chain transportation is not available.
People often forget information because they fail to effectively encode it. Here, we test the hypothesis that targeted electrical stimulation can modulate neural encoding states and subsequent memory outcomes. Using recordings from neurosurgical epilepsy patients with intracranially implanted electrodes, we trained multivariate classifiers to discriminate spectral activity during learning that predicted remembering from forgetting, then decoded neural activity in later sessions in which we applied stimulation during learning. Stimulation increased encoding-state estimates and recall if delivered when the classifier indicated low encoding efficiency but had the reverse effect if stimulation was delivered when the classifier indicated high encoding efficiency. Higher encoding-state estimates from stimulation were associated with greater evidence of neural activity linked to contextual memory encoding. In identifying the conditions under which stimulation modulates memory, the data suggest strategies for therapeutically treating memory dysfunction.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 7 years ago
Sensitive biological compounds, such as vaccines and antibiotics, traditionally require a time-dependent “cold chain” to maximize therapeutic activity. This flawed process results in billions of dollars worth of viable drug loss during shipping and storage, and severely limits distribution to developing nations with limited infrastructure. To address these major limitations, we demonstrate self-standing silk protein biomaterial matrices capable of stabilizing labile vaccines and antibiotics, even at temperatures up to 60 °C over more than 6 months. Initial insight into the mechanistic basis for these findings is provided. Importantly, these findings suggest a transformative approach to the cold chain to revolutionize the way many labile therapeutic drugs are stored and utilized throughout the world.
The manner by which the human brain learns and recognizes stimuli is a matter of ongoing investigation. Through examination of meta-analyses of task-based functional MRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI, we identified a novel network strongly related to learning and memory. Activity within this network at encoding predicts subsequent item memory, and at retrieval differs for recognized and unrecognized items. The direction of activity flips as a function of recent history: from deactivation for novel stimuli to activation for stimuli that are familiar due to recent exposure. We term this network the ‘parietal memory network’ (PMN) to reflect its broad involvement in human memory processing. We provide a preliminary framework for understanding the key functional properties of the network.
Low-temperature breakdown (LTB), a disorder inducing quality loss, during and after cold storage of ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit was investigated. Harvested kiwifruits during fruit maturation or after delayed storage (DS) at 20 °C for 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks and 1 µL L(-1) ethylene treatment for 24 h were stored at - 0.5 °C for 24 weeks and additional ripening at 20 °C for 5 days. Fruit quality indices and LTB incidence and severity were determined before and after treatments.
Brain oscillations across all frequency bands play a key role for memory formation [1-4]. Specifically, desynchronization of local neuronal assemblies in the left inferior prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the beta frequency (∼18 Hz) has been shown to be central for encoding of verbal memories [5-8]. However, it remains elusive whether prefrontal beta desynchronization is causally relevant for memory formation and whether these endogenous beta oscillations can be entrained by external stimulation. By using combined EEG-TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation), we here address these fundamental questions in human participants performing a word-list learning task. Confirming our predictions, memory encoding was selectively impaired when the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) was driven at beta (18.7 Hz) compared to stimulation at other frequencies (6.8 Hz and 10.7 Hz) and to ineffective sham stimulation (18.7 Hz). Furthermore, a sustained oscillatory “echo” in the left IFG, which outlasted the stimulation period by approximately 1.5 s, was observed solely after beta stimulation. The strength of this beta echo was related to memory impairment on a between-subjects level. These results show endogenous oscillatory entrainment effects and behavioral impairment selectively in beta frequency for stimulation of the left IFG, demonstrating an intimate causal relationship between prefrontal beta desynchronization and memory formation.
The experimental materials comprised cooked coarsely-ground and finely-ground sausages. The sausages were packaged in vacuum (V) and in modified atmospheres with the following composition: 20 % CO2, 80 % N2 (A1); 50 % CO2, 50 % N2 (A2); 80 % CO2, 20 % N2 (A3). The samples were stored at around 4 °C for 15 days. The measurements were repeated 8 times: at the completion of the production process and at 3-day intervals (day 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15) during storage. Drip loss changes in the package were analyzed during storage. Meat products were subjected to a sensory evaluation. The obtained results show that changes in the quality of meat products packaged under modified atmosphere are significantly influenced by the composition of the applied atmosphere. A wider range of quality changes were noted in vacuum-packaged products. Changes in the quality of modified atmosphere packaged products were less significant.
Training in mindfulness skills has been shown to increase autobiographical memory specificity. The aim of this study was to examine whether there is also an association between individual differences in trait mindfulness and memory specificity using a non-clinical student sample (N = 70). Also examined were the relationships between other memory characteristics and trait mindfulness, self-reported depression and rumination. Participants wrote about 12 autobiographical memories, which were recalled in response to emotion word cues in a minimal instruction version of the Autobiographical Memory Test, rated each memory for seven characteristics, and completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, and the Ruminative Responses Scale. Higher rumination scores were associated with more reliving and more intense emotion during recall. Depression scores were not associated with any memory variables. Higher trait mindfulness was associated with lower memory specificity and with more intense and more positive emotion during recall. Thus, trait mindfulness is associated with memory specificity, but the association is opposite to that found in mindfulness training studies. It is suggested that this difference may be due to an influence of trait mindfulness on memory encoding as well as retrieval processes and an influence on the mode of self-awareness that leads to a greater focus on momentary rather than narrative self-reference.
In order to find and develop new botanical pesticides against tobacco storage pests, bioactivity screening was performed. The essential oil obtained from the aerial parts of Liriope muscari was investigated by GC/MS and GC/FID. A total of 14 components representing 96.12% of the oil were identified and the main compounds in the oil were found to be methyl eugenol (42.15%) and safrole (17.15%), followed by myristicin (14.18%) and 3,5-dimethoxytoluene (10.60%). After screening, the essential oil exhibit potential insecticidal activity. In the progress of assay, it showed that the essential oil exhibited potent contact toxicity against Tribolium castaneum, Lasioderma serricorne and Liposcelis bostrychophila adults, with LD50 values of 13.36, 11.28 µg/adult and 21.37 µg/cm2, respectively. The essential oil also exhibited strong repellency against the three stored product insects. At the same concentrations, the essential oil was more repellent to T. castaneum than to L. serricorne adults. The results indicate that the essential oil of Liriope muscari has potential to be developed into a natural insecticide or repellent for controlling insects in stored tobacco and traditional Chinese medicinal materials.
Reactivating memories during sleep by re-exposure to associated memory cues (e.g., odors or sounds) improves memory consolidation. Here, we tested for the first time whether verbal cueing during sleep can improve vocabulary learning. We cued prior learned Dutch words either during non-rapid eye movement sleep (NonREM) or during active or passive waking. Re-exposure to Dutch words during sleep improved later memory for the German translation of the cued words when compared with uncued words. Recall of uncued words was similar to an additional group receiving no verbal cues during sleep. Furthermore, verbal cueing failed to improve memory during active and passive waking. High-density electroencephalographic recordings revealed that successful verbal cueing during NonREM sleep is associated with a pronounced frontal negativity in event-related potentials, a higher frequency of frontal slow waves as well as a cueing-related increase in right frontal and left parietal oscillatory theta power. Our results indicate that verbal cues presented during NonREM sleep reactivate associated memories, and facilitate later recall of foreign vocabulary without impairing ongoing consolidation processes. Likewise, our oscillatory analysis suggests that both sleep-specific slow waves as well as theta oscillations (typically associated with successful memory encoding during wakefulness) might be involved in strengthening memories by cueing during sleep.