SciCombinator

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

607

The rapid growth of the use and disposal of plastic materials has proved to be a challenge for solid waste management systems with impacts on our environment and ocean. While recycling and the circular economy have been touted as potential solutions, upward of half of the plastic waste intended for recycling has been exported to hundreds of countries around the world. China, which has imported a cumulative 45% of plastic waste since 1992, recently implemented a new policy banning the importation of most plastic waste, begging the question of where the plastic waste will go now. We use commodity trade data for mass and value, region, and income level to illustrate that higher-income countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation have been exporting plastic waste (70% in 2016) to lower-income countries in the East Asia and Pacific for decades. An estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will be displaced with the new Chinese policy by 2030. As 89% of historical exports consist of polymer groups often used in single-use plastic food packaging (polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate), bold global ideas and actions for reducing quantities of nonrecyclable materials, redesigning products, and funding domestic plastic waste management are needed.

551

Flight attendants are an understudied occupational group, despite undergoing a wide range of adverse job-related exposures, including to known carcinogens. In our study, we aimed to characterize the prevalence of cancer diagnoses among U.S. cabin crew relative to the general population.

386

Mycobacterium are among the oldest co-evolutionary partners of humans. The attenuated Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) strain has been administered globally for 100 years as a vaccine against tuberculosis. BCG also shows promise as treatment for numerous inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Here, we report on a randomized 8-year long prospective examination of type 1 diabetic subjects with long-term disease who received two doses of the BCG vaccine. After year 3, BCG lowered hemoglobin A1c to near normal levels for the next 5 years. The BCG impact on blood sugars appeared to be driven by a novel systemic and blood sugar lowering mechanism in diabetes. We observe a systemic shift in glucose metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis, a state of high glucose utilization. Confirmation is gained by metabolomics, mRNAseq, and functional assays of cellular glucose uptake after BCG vaccinations. To prove BCG could induce a systemic change to promote accelerated glucose utilization and impact blood sugars, murine data demonstrated reduced blood sugars and aerobic induction in non-autoimmune mice made chemically diabetic. BCG via epigenetics also resets six central T-regulatory genes for genetic re-programming of tolerance. These findings set the stage for further testing of a known safe vaccine therapy for improved blood sugar control through changes in metabolism and durability with epigenetic changes even in advanced Type 1 diabetes.

376

The psychological state of a person is characterised by cognitive and emotional variables which can be inferred by psychometric methods. Using the word lists from the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, designed to infer a range of psychological states from the word usage of a person, we studied temporal changes in the average expression of psychological traits in the general population. We sampled the contents of Twitter in the United Kingdom at hourly intervals for a period of four years, revealing a strong diurnal rhythm in most of the psychometric variables, and finding that two independent factors can explain 85% of the variance across their 24-h profiles. The first has peak expression time starting at 5am/6am, it correlates with measures of analytical thinking, with the language of drive (e.g power, and achievement), and personal concerns. It is anticorrelated with the language of negative affect and social concerns. The second factor has peak expression time starting at 3am/4am, it correlates with the language of existential concerns, and anticorrelates with expression of positive emotions. Overall, we see strong evidence that our language changes dramatically between night and day, reflecting changes in our concerns and underlying cognitive and emotional processes. These shifts occur at times associated with major changes in neural activity and hormonal levels.

335

To examine the association between an overall maternal healthy lifestyle (characterized by a healthy body mass index, high quality diet, regular exercise, no smoking, and light to moderate alcohol intake) and the risk of developing obesity in offspring.

272

To evaluate the relation between penicillin allergy and development of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and C difficile.

268

This paper details an investigation into the characteristic ‘plink’ sound produced by water droplets impacting a liquid surface, such as those falling from a dripping tap. Modern high-speed video and audio capture techniques have been applied to this problem for the first time. Previous literature investigating the underwater sound produced has been validated, with the key sound producing feature both above and below the water confirmed to be the entrainment of a small underwater air bubble. Recorded sound frequencies have been shown to align with the theoretical natural oscillation frequency of the entrained bubble, confirming this to be the driver of the characteristic ‘plink’ sound. For the first time these oscillations of the entrained bubble have been directly observed on video footage. An investigation into the effect of underwater reverberation showed that the airborne sound field is not simply the underwater field propagating through the water-air interface, as had previously been assumed. An alternative hypothesis is that the oscillating bubble induces oscillations of the water surface itself, giving a more efficient mechanism by which the underwater bubble drives the airborne sound field. A model for this new hypothesis produces good agreement with experimental data.

267

To use mendelian randomisation to investigate whether 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration has a causal effect on gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia.

256

While current research is largely consistent as to the harms of heavy drinking in terms of both cancer incidence and mortality, there are disparate messages regarding the safety of light-moderate alcohol consumption, which may confuse public health messages. We aimed to evaluate the association between average lifetime alcohol intakes and risk of both cancer incidence and mortality.

207

We show that the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1B (CDKN1B)/p27, previously known as a cell cycle inhibitor, is also localized within mitochondria. The migratory capacity of endothelial cells, which need intact mitochondria, is completely dependent on mitochondrial p27. Mitochondrial p27 improves mitochondrial membrane potential, increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content, and is required for the promigratory effect of caffeine. Domain mapping of p27 revealed that the N-terminus and C-terminus are required for those improvements. Further analysis of those regions revealed that the translocation of p27 into the mitochondria and its promigratory activity depend on serine 10 and threonine 187. In addition, mitochondrial p27 protects cardiomyocytes against apoptosis. Moreover, mitochondrial p27 is necessary and sufficient for cardiac myofibroblast differentiation. In addition, p27 deficiency and aging decrease respiration in heart mitochondria. Caffeine does not increase respiration in p27-deficient animals, whereas aged mice display improvement after 10 days of caffeine in drinking water. Moreover, caffeine induces transcriptome changes in a p27-dependent manner, affecting mostly genes relevant for mitochondrial processes. Caffeine also reduces infarct size after myocardial infarction in prediabetic mice and increases mitochondrial p27. Our data characterize mitochondrial p27 as a common denominator that improves mitochondria-dependent processes and define an increase in mitochondrial p27 as a new mode of action of caffeine.