SciCombinator

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

 

0

Soft tissues observed in clinical medical images are often prestrained in tension by internal pressure or tissue hydration. For a native disc, nucleus swelling occurs in equilibrium with osmotic pressure induced by the high concentration of proteoglycan in the nucleus. The objective of this computational study was to investigate the effects of nucleus swelling on disc geometry, fiber orientation, and mechanical behavior by comparing those of prestrained and zero-pressure (unswelled) discs. Thermoelastic analysis techniques were repurposed in order to determine the zero-pressure disc geometry which, when pressurized, matches the prestrained disc geometry observed in clinical images. The zero-pressure geometry was then used in simulations to approximately represent a degenerated disc, which loses the ability of nucleus swelling but has not undergone distinct soft tissue remodeling/deterioration. Our simulation results demonstrated that the loss of nucleus swelling caused a slight change in the disc geometry and fiber orientation, but a distinct deterioration in the resistance to intervertebral rotations (i.e., sagittal bending, lateral bending, and axial torsion). Different from rotational loading, in compression (with a displacement of 0.45 mm applied), a much larger stiffness (3.02 KN/mm) and a greater intradiscal pressure (0.61 MPa) were measured in the zero-pressure disc, compared to the prestrained disc (1.41 KN/mm and 0.52 MPa). This computational study could be useful to understand mechanisms of disc degeneration, and guide the future design of disc tissue engineering material.

0

Laxity of the anterior oblique ligament (AOL) and/or the dorsoradial ligament (DRL) are believed to contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis in the trapeziometacarpal joint through increased dorsal subluxation. Stress radiographs during functional tasks, such as key pinch, can be used to evaluate such joint instability. Cadaveric experiments can explore joint contact pressures as well as subluxation under varying conditions, to gain knowledge about joint mechanics. The disturbance of supporting tissues, such as the joint capsule, during experiments may affect the recorded stability of the joint. To evaluate potential effects of opening the joint capsule and severing the AOL, eleven cadaveric specimens were rigged to simulate key pinch. An anteroposterior (AP) radiograph of the hand was recorded for each specimen while intact, after partially opening the joint capsule and after sectioning the AOL. First metacarpal subluxation levels were compared between the intact joint, partially open joint capsule, and sectioned AOL. Neither opening the joint capsule nor cutting the AOL had a statistically significant effect on metacarpal subluxation. The results indicate that partially opening the joint capsule has a negligible effect on joint mechanics and support recent studies that postulate that the AOL plays a less substantial role in preventing subluxation.

0

Design of helmets used in contact sports has been driven by the necessity of preventing traumatic head injuries. Manufacturing standards and pass or fail grading systems help ensure that protective headgear can be manufactured to withstand large impacts, but design standards do no account for impacts resulting in subconcussive episodes and the effects of cumulative impacts on its user. Thus, it is important to explore new design parameters, such as the frequency-domain measures of transmissibility and mechanical impedance that are based on energy absorption from a range of impact loads. Within the experimentally determined frequency range of interest, transmissibilities above unity were found in the 0-40 Hz range with the magnitude characteristics varying considerably with impact location. Similar variability with location was observed for the mechanical impedance, which ranged from 9 N/m to 50 N/m. Additional research is required to further understand how changes in the components or materials of the components will affect the performance of helmets, and how they may be used to reduce both transmissibility and dynamic impedance.

0

To present the ligament effects on sacroiliac joint (SIJ) stability and human pelvis biomechanical characteristics in two different positions by using three-dimensional finite element models (FEM) of pelvis.

0

A novel photocatalyst (Cu-TiO2@HQ) had been synthesized by combining Cu-doped TiO2 nanoparticles with 8-Hydroxyquinoline (HQ) via hydrothermal method. The photocatalytic activities of Cu-TiO2@HQ were investigated by using phenol and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) as target pollutants, respectively. The results indicated that the degradation efficiencies of phenol and TBBPA by Cu-TiO2@HQ were 99.2% (in 30 min) and 99.4% (in 10 min) under visible light irradiation. Both of them were much better than that of pure TiO2 (8.63% in 30 min) and Cu-TiO2 (14.74% in 30 min). When phenol or TBBPA were degraded together with the reduction of Cr (VI), the reaction rate of each pollutant was significantly increased, and the cyclic stability of photocatalyst Cu-TiO2@HQ was greatly improved. Based on the spectroscopic and photoelectric characteristic analysis we found that in the mixture of phenol-Cr (VI) or TBBPA-Cr (VI) both photo-generated electrons and holes can be consumed simultaneously, thus preventing their recombination. The possible degradation products of phenol and TBBPA including its degradation path way were also analyzed by high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry.

0

There is clear evidence of severe honeybee declines in recent years, and parallel declines of plant community and crop productivity that rely on them. Different stresses, including heat stress, are among the primary drivers of this decline. However, the mechanisms by which honeybees respond to heat stress are elusive. Though heat shock proteins (Hsps) play important roles in heat stress response, the function of DnaJs (a subfamily of Hsps) is unclear. Here, we aimed to determine the underlying regulatory mechanism of honeybees to heat stress mediated by DnaJs. We found that several DnaJ genes, including DnaJA1, DnaJB12 and DnaJC8, are key for honeybee heat tolerance. DnaJA1 and DnaJB12 are cytoplasmic proteins, and DnaJC8 is a nuclear protein. The expression of DnaJA1, DnaJB12 and DnaJC8 was induced at different levels under short-term and long-term heat stress. Phenotypic analysis indicated that DnaJA1, DnaJB12 and DnaJC8 knockdown attenuated honeybee heat resistance. In addition, DnaJA1 participated in the heat stress response by upregulating many heat-inducible genes at the transcriptome-wide level, especially LOC108002668 and LOC107995148. Importantly, the upregulation of LOC108002668 and LOC107995148 was significantly repressed under heat stress when DnaJA1 was knocked down. We also found that knockdown of DnaJA1, DnaJB12 and DnaJC8 decreased antioxidant defense ability and increased the degree of oxidative damage in the honeybee. Taken together, our results indicate that DnaJ genes play important roles under heat stress in the honeybee. Overexpression of DnaJ genes may protect honeybees from heat stress-induced injuries and increase their survival rate.

0

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is both a product and a cause of soil development. Previous studies found that less carbon © is fixed by Phragmites communis than Spartina alterniflora in the Jiuduansha wetland of the Yangtze River Estuary. However, the P. communis zone presented higher contents of SOC and humus, which was mainly related to lower soil respiration (SR). It is not well known how different plants affect turnover of original SOC in the Jiuduansha wetland, and thus soil development and tidal flat evolution. In this study, in-field surveys and microcosm experiments were conducted to trace turnover of plant C and evaluate dynamics of SOC using stable C isotopic techniques. Spartina alterniflora decayed faster than P. communis, and more of its derived OC was lost through SR and leaching. Although S. alterniflora-derived OC suppressed the degradation of original SOC, it was consumed to a greater extent, making less supplementation to SOC. Phragmites communis-derived OC showed less degradability and accelerated the degradation of original SOC, but was more incorporated into new SOC and finally caused higher increase in SOC, specifically in bare tidal flat soil with poor original SOC. Overall, compared with S. alterniflora, P. communis-derived OC more effectively replaced the unstable original SOC, thereby improving the content and stability of SOC, especially for soil in early-development stages of tidal flats.

0

Storm surge and waves associated with tropical cyclones carry significant amounts of pollutants into the marine environment. This study evaluated the effects of Typhoon Mangkhut (7-18 September 2018) on marine debris pollution including macro-debris (>2.5 cm) and microplastics (5 μm-5 mm) in Hong Kong. Sampling was repeated on four beaches, two each from protected and exposed coastal areas, spanning from the eastern to western waters before and after the cyclone. For macro-debris, an average density of 0.047 items m-2 and 0.54 items m-2 was obtained before and after the cyclone, respectively or an 11.4-fold increase, with plastic being the most dominant type (61.9-93.3% and 80.7-92.4% before and after the cyclone, respectively) among total beached debris in all four beaches. Likewise, higher mean microplastic abundances were found in the post-cyclone period (335 items kg-1 sediment) when compared with the pre-cyclone period (188 items kg-1 sediment). The depositional dynamics for both macro-debris and microplastic were site-specific due to factors such as wind direction and the associated storm surge, topography and orientation of the site, and proximity to urban areas. This study has demonstrated the role cyclone induced overwash plays on introducing plastic pollution to beach environments. Considering an increase in both the intensity and frequency of cyclone in the future due to global warming, and a tremendous increase in marine plastic debris, more research effort should be spent on this understudied problem.

0

The presence of arsenic in irrigation and drinking waters is a threat to worldwide human health. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a ubiquitous and photoreactive sorbent of arsenic, capable of both suppressing and enhancing its mobility. Microbes can control the mobilization of mineral-bound arsenic, through redox processes thought to occur intracellularly. The role that DOM plays on the bioavailability of arsenic to microbes is often invoked but remains untested experimentally. Here, using a whole-cell biosensor, we tested the role of DOM on As(III) and As(V) bioavailability. Using cation amendments, we explored the nature of As-DOM interactions. We found As bioavailability to be dependent on [As]/[DOM] ratio and on the strength of As binding to DOM which varied as a function of time. We further tested the role of DOM on As(III) photooxidation and showed that As(III) photooxidation rate is limited by the strength of its interactions with DOM and sensitive to ionic competitive desorption. Our study demonstrates the dynamic control that photoreactive DOM poses on the bioavailability and reactivity of As in the environment and highlights the kinetic controls that DOM can possibly exert on As toxicity at various levels in foodwebs.

0

The nitrate concentration in groundwater has increased in many irrigated areas worldwide due to the excessive use of both water and fertilizers. Abandoned farmlands in such irrigated areas may alter the nitrogen (N) cycle because of drastically changed water and N inputs. However, the mechanisms of the N cycle in response to such changes remain unclear. We studied biogeochemical N cycling and microbiological responses from abandoned arable lands (AF), for the topsoil (20 cm depth) and subsoil (100 cm depth) layers, in comparison with irrigation-fertilization (control = CK) land, by using 15N tracing techniques, the 16S rRNA gene, and real-time PCR (qPCR) to reveal the mechanisms underpinning the N cycle. We found that the biogeochemical environment of abandoned soils shifted their N-cycling pathways. Except for reduced soil moisture, soil properties of total C and N, as well pH, showed improvement in the two layers of AF. But the microbial abundances of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB-amoA), archaea (AOA-amoA), bacteria and fungi were all significantly lower in the AF; and they presented a consistent trend in the subsoil of the two lands. Significant differences in gross N transformation rates were found for mineralization rates (MN) and autotrophic nitrification rate (ONH4) between lands or depths. Compared with AF, MN was increased by 1.45- and 11.75-times, and ONH4 by 1.69- and 2.89-times in the topsoil and subsoil of CK, respectively. Our results suggest that the SM × C/N interaction provides insight into the mechanisms underlying the soil microbe-driven changes to transformation rates in nitrogen dynamics after abandoning water-limited lands. The high moisture and N inputs reported here highlight the dynamics and prevalence of MN and ONH4, and an increasing the nitrate leaching rate in the unsaturated zone, which poses a major threat to groundwater quality.