Malaria is responsible for close to1 million deaths each year, mostly among African children. Red blood cells (RBCs) of children with severe malarial anemia show loss of complement regulatory proteins such as complement receptor 1 (CR1). We carried out this study to identify socio-economic, environmental, and biological factors associated with the loss of RBC CR1. A cross-sectional study was conducted in a malaria holoendemic area of western Kenya. Twelve socioeconomic, environmental, and biological factors were examined for a relationship with RBC CR1 level using bivariate linear regression followed by creation of a multivariate linear regression model. A significant positive relationship between RBC CR1 level and use of mosquito countermeasures was found. However, there was no evidence of a significant relationship between RBC CR1 level and malaria infection or parasitemia level. Reducing mosquito exposure may aid in the prevention of severe malarial anemia by reducing the number of infections and thus preserving RBC CR1.
Most genetic studies of Holocene fauna have been performed with ancient samples from dry and cold regions, in which preservation of fossils is facilitated and molecular damage is reduced. Ancient DNA work from tropical regions has been precluded owing to factors that limit DNA preservation (e.g. temperature, hydrolytic damage). We analysed ancient DNA from rodent jawbones identified as Ototylomys phyllotis, found in Holocene and Late Pleistocene stratigraphic layers from Loltún, a humid tropical cave located in the Yucatan peninsula. We extracted DNA and amplified six short overlapping fragments of the cytochrome b gene, totalling 666 bp, which represents an unprecedented success considering tropical ancient DNA samples. We performed genetic, phylogenetic and divergence time analyses, combining sequences from ancient and modern O. phyllotis, in order to assess the ancestry of the Loltún samples. Results show that all ancient samples fall into a unique clade that diverged prior to the divergence of the modern O. phyllotis, supporting it as a distinct Pleistocene form of the Ototylomys genus. Hence, this rodent's tale suggests that the sister group to modern O. phyllotis arose during the Miocene-Pliocene, diversified during the Pleistocene and went extinct in the Holocene.
Brain machine interfaces (BMIs) have the potential to provide intuitive control of neuroprostheses to restore grasp to patients with paralyzed or amputated upper limbs. For these neuroprostheses to function, the ability to accurately control grasp force is critical. Grasp force can be decoded from neuronal spikes in monkeys, and hand kinematics can be decoded using electrocorticogram (ECoG) signals recorded from the surface of the human motor cortex. We hypothesized that kinetic information about grasping could also be extracted from ECoG, and sought to decode continuously-graded grasp force. In this study, we decoded isometric pinch force with high accuracy from ECoG in 10 human subjects. The predicted signals explained from 22% to 88% (60 ± 6%, mean ± SE) of the variance in the actual force generated. We also decoded muscle activity in the finger flexors, with similar accuracy to force decoding. We found that high gamma band and time domain features of the ECoG signal were most informative about kinetics, similar to our previous findings with intracortical LFPs. In addition, we found that peak cortical representations of force applied by the index and little fingers were separated by only about 4mm. Thus, ECoG can be used to decode not only kinematics, but also kinetics of movement. This is an important step toward restoring intuitively-controlled grasp to impaired patients.
Stroke survivors are typically affected by hand motor impairment. Despite intensive rehabilitation and spontaneous recovery, improvements typically plateau a year after a stroke. Therefore, novel approaches capable of restoring or augmenting lost motor behaviors are needed. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) may offer one such approach by using neurophysiological activity underlying hand movements to control an upper extremity orthosis. To test the performance of such a system, we developed an electroencephalogram-based BCI controlled electrically actuated hand orthosis. Six able-bodied participants voluntarily grasped/relaxed one hand to elicit BCI-mediated closing/opening of the orthosis mounted on the opposite hand. Following a short training/calibration procedure, participants demonstrated real-time, online control of the orthosis by following computer cues. Their performances resulted in an average of 1.15 (standard deviation: 0.85) false alarms and 0.22 (0.36) omissions per minute. Analysis of signals from electrogoniometers mounted on both hands revealed an average correlation between voluntary and BCI-mediated movements of 0.58 (0.13), with all but one online performance being statistically significant. This suggests that a BCI driven hand orthosis is feasible, and therefore should be tested in stroke individuals with hand weakness. If proven viable, this technology may provide a novel approach to the neuro-rehabilitation of hand function after stroke.
Excessive reliance on wheelchairs in individuals with tetraplegia or paraplegia due to spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to many medical co-morbidities, such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic derangements, osteoporosis, and pressure ulcers. Treatment of these conditions contributes to the majority of SCI health care costs. Restoring able-body-like ambulation in this patient population can potentially reduce the incidence of these medical co-morbidities, in addition to increasing independence and quality of life. However, no biomedical solution exists that can reverse this loss of neurological function, and hence novel methods are needed. Brain-computer interface (BCI) controlled lower extremity prostheses may constitute one such novel approach.
Efficacy trials suggest that extra-fine particle beclometasone dipropionate-formoterol (efBDP-FOR) is comparable to fluticasone propionate-salmeterol (FP-SAL) in preventing asthma exacerbations at a clinically equivalent dosage. However, switching from FP-SAL to efBDP-FOR has not been evaluated in real-world asthma patients.
Electrocorticogram (ECoG)-based brain computer interfaces (BCI) can potentially be used for control of arm prostheses. Restoring independent function to BCI users with such a system will likely require control of many degrees-of-freedom (DOF). However, our ability to decode many-DOF arm movements from ECoG signals has not been thoroughly tested. To this end, we conducted a comprehensive study of the ECoG signals underlying 6 elementary upper extremity movements. Two subjects undergoing ECoG electrode grid implantation for epilepsy surgery evaluation participated in the study. For each task, their data were analyzed to design a decoding model to classify ECoG as idling or movement. The decoding models were found to be highly sensitive in detecting movement, but not specific in distinguishing between different movement types. Since sensitivity and specificity must be traded-off, these results imply that conventional ECoG grids may not provide sufficient resolution for decoding many-DOF upper extremity movements.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) can leave the affected individuals with paraparesis or paraplegia, thus rendering them unable to ambulate. Since there are currently no restorative treatments for this population, novel approaches such as brain-controlled prostheses have been sought. Our recent studies show that a brain-computer interface (BCI) can be used to control ambulation within a virtual reality environment (VRE), suggesting that a BCI-controlled lower extremity prosthesis for ambulation may be feasible. However, the operability of our BCI has not yet been tested in a SCI population.
Kaposis sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), multicentric Castlemans disease (MCD), and the inflammation-driven neoplasm Kaposis sarcoma (KS). A triad of processes, including abnormal proliferation of endothelial cells, aberrant angiogenesis, and chronic inflammation, characterize KS lesions. STAT3 is a key transcription factor governing these processes, and deregulation of STAT3 activity is linked to a wide range of cancers, including PEL and KS. Using primary human endothelial cells (ECs), I demonstrate that KSHV infection modulated STAT3 activation in two ways: (i) KSHV induced uncoupling of canonical tyrosine (Y) and serine (S) phosphorylation events while (ii) concomitantly inducing the phosphorylation and inactivation of TRIM28 (also known as KAP-1 or TIF-1?), a newly identified negative regulator of STAT3 activity. KSHV infection of primary ECs induced chronic STAT3 activation characterized by a shift from the canonical dual P-STAT3 Y705 S727 form to a mono P-STAT3 S727 form. Expression of the latent protein kaposin B promoted the unique phosphorylation of STAT3 at S727, in the absence of Y705, activated the host kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein (MAPKAP) kinase 2 (MK2), and stimulated increased expression of STAT3-dependent genes, including CCL5, in ECs. TRIM28-mediated repression of STAT3 is relieved by phosphorylation of S473, and in vitro kinase assays identified TRIM28 S473 as a bona fide target of MK2. Together, these data suggest that kaposin B significantly contributes to the chronic inflammatory environment that is a hallmark of KS by unique activation of the proto-oncogene STAT3, coupled with MK2-mediated inactivation of the STAT3 transcriptional repressor TRIM28.
DNA sequencing of ancient permafrost samples can be used to reconstruct past plant, animal and bacterial communities. In this study, we assess the small-scale reproducibility of taxonomic composition obtained from sequencing four molecular markers (mitochondrial 12S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), prokaryote 16S rDNA, mitochondrial cox1 and chloroplast trnL intron) from two soil cores sampled 10 cm apart. In addition, sequenced control reactions were used to produce a contaminant library that was used to filter similar sequences from sample libraries. Contaminant filtering resulted in the removal of 1% of reads or 0.3% of operational taxonomic units. We found similar richness, overlap, abundance and taxonomic diversity from the 12S, 16S and trnL markers from each soil core. Jaccard dissimilarity across the two soil cores was highest for metazoan taxa detected by the 12S and cox1 markers. Taxonomic community distances were similar for each marker across the two soil cores when the chi-squared metric was used; however, the 12S and cox1 markers did not cluster well when the Goodall similarity metric was used. A comparison of plant macrofossil vs. read abundance corroborates previous work that suggests eastern Beringia was dominated by grasses and forbs during cold stages of the Pleistocene, a habitat that is restricted to isolated sites in the present-day Yukon.
The iboga alkaloids are a class of small molecules defined structurally on the basis of a common ibogamine skeleton, some of which modify opioid withdrawal and drug self-administration in humans and preclinical models. These compounds may represent an innovative approach to neurobiological investigation and development of addiction pharmacotherapy. In particular, the use of the prototypic iboga alkaloid ibogaine for opioid detoxification in humans raises the question of whether its effect is mediated by an opioid agonist action, or if it represents alternative and possibly novel mechanism of action. The aim of this study was to independently replicate and extend evidence regarding the activation of ?-opioid receptor (MOR)-related G proteins by iboga alkaloids.
Neurological conditions, such as stroke, can leave the affected individual with hand motor impairment despite intensive treatments. Novel technologies, such as brain-computer interface (BCI), may be able to restore or augment impaired motor behaviors by engaging relevant cortical areas. Here, we developed and tested an electroencephalogram (EEG) based BCI system for control of hand orthosis. An able-bodied subject performed contralateral hand grasping to achieve continuous online control of the hand orthosis, suggesting that the integration of a noninvasive BCI with a hand orthosis is feasible. The adoption of this technology to stroke survivors may provide a novel neurorehabilitation therapy for hand motor impairment in this population.
Multi-sensor electrodes for extracellular recording of neuronal action potentials have significantly increased the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in neurophysiological experiments, ultimately leading to a more accurate interpretation of scientific data. Apart from improving SNR, we hypothesize that these electrodes can be used to estimate the location of underlying neuronal signal sources, and perhaps other parameters such as the size and shape of neurons whose activities are being recorded. This study introduces the multiple signal classification (MUSIC) algorithm to the problem of neuron localization and presents the first experimental demonstration of signal source localization using commercially available 4-sensor electrodes (tetrodes).
Late Pleistocene North America hosted at least two divergent and ecologically distinct species of mammoth: the periglacial woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) and the subglacial Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi). To date, mammoth genetic research has been entirely restricted to woolly mammoths, rendering their genetic evolution difficult to contextualize within broader Pleistocene paleoecology and biogeography. Here, we take an interspecific approach to clarifying mammoth phylogeny by targeting Columbian mammoth remains for mitogenomic sequencing.
The discovery of antibiotics more than 70 years ago initiated a period of drug innovation and implementation in human and animal health and agriculture. These discoveries were tempered in all cases by the emergence of resistant microbes. This history has been interpreted to mean that antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is a modern phenomenon; this view is reinforced by the fact that collections of microbes that predate the antibiotic era are highly susceptible to antibiotics. Here we report targeted metagenomic analyses of rigorously authenticated ancient DNA from 30,000-year-old Beringian permafrost sediments and the identification of a highly diverse collection of genes encoding resistance to ?-lactam, tetracycline and glycopeptide antibiotics. Structure and function studies on the complete vancomycin resistance element VanA confirmed its similarity to modern variants. These results show conclusively that antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use.
Many neurological conditions, such as stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury, can cause chronic gait function impairment due to foot-drop. Current physiotherapy techniques provide only a limited degree of motor function recovery in these individuals, and therefore novel therapies are needed. Brain-computer interface (BCI) is a relatively novel technology with a potential to restore, substitute, or augment lost motor behaviors in patients with neurological injuries. Here, we describe the first successful integration of a noninvasive electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI with a noninvasive functional electrical stimulation (FES) system that enables the direct brain control of foot dorsiflexion in able-bodied individuals.
This article introduces a method and step-by-step instructions for the design of a low-cost, flexible electrogoniometer, suitable for kinesiology, rehabilitation, and biometric applications. Two unidirectional flexible sensors are placed back-to-back, and a multivariate linear regression model was used to combine measurements from the two sensors. Following a short calibration procedure, the electrogoniometer can be reliably used for measurement of flexion/extension angles of various hinge joints. The performance of the goniometer has been tested on a population of 21 healthy subjects performing flexion/extension of index finger, wrist and elbow. The proposed device achieves the quality of joint angle measurements comparable to that of commercial electrogoniometers, while having a significantly higher durability-to-cost ratio.
Inhibition is problematic in many applications of PCR, particularly those involving degraded or low amounts of template DNA, when simply diluting the extract is undesirable. Two basic approaches to monitoring inhibition in such samples using real-time or quantitative PCR (qPCR) have been proposed. The first method analyzes the quantification cycle (Cq) deviation of a spiked internal positive control. The second method considers variations in reaction efficiency based on the slopes of individual amplification plots. In combining these methods, we observed increased Cq values together with reduced amplification efficiencies in some samples, as expected; however, deviations from this pattern in other samples support the use of both measurements. Repeat inhibition testing enables optimization of PCR facilitator combinations and sample dilution such that DNA yields and/or quantitative accuracy can be maximized in subsequent PCR runs. Although some trends were apparent within sample types, differences in inhibition levels, optimal reactions conditions, and expected recovery of DNA under these conditions suggest that all samples be routinely tested with this approach.
Gilbert et al. (Reports, 9 May 2008, p. 786) analyzed DNA from radiocarbon-dated paleofecal remains from Paisley Cave, Oregon, which ostensibly demonstrate a human presence in North America predating the well-established Clovis complex. We question the authenticity of their DNA results and argue that in the absence of intact stratigraphy and diagnostic artifacts, and in view of carbon isotope anomalies, the radiocarbon dates of the oldest specimens are unreliable.
Severe forms of dengue virus disease, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, result from an aberrant immune response involving antibody-dependent enhancement of infection, thrombocytopenia, and a loss of vascular integrity, culminating in hemorrhage, shock, and in some cases, death. Several studies have indicated that dengue virus infection results in the induction of apoptosis of certain cells believed to be contributory players in dengue pathogenesis. However, none have specifically examined the role of antibody enhancement in the context of induction of apoptosis. Here, we show that antibody-enhanced dengue virus infection of the FcR-bearing mast cell/basophil KU812 cell line results in a massive induction of apoptosis. Confocal microscopy and flow cytometry indicate two distinct subpopulations consisting of productively infected cells and apoptotic-uninfected bystanders. Apoptosis was found to be caspase-dependent, involving global caspase activation and cleavage of poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) and D4-guanosine diphosphate dissociation inhibitor (D4-GDI). Additional FcR-bearing cells, including K562, U937, and human mast cell 1 (HMC-1), were analyzed for apoptosis induction following infection. Although all cells displayed high susceptibility to antibody-enhanced dengue virus infection, only cells of a mast cell phenotype (KU812 and HMC-1) were found to undergo apoptosis. Dengue-induced apoptosis of KU812 cells was shown to require antibody-enhanced dengue virus infection by blockade of FcgammaRII. Transfection of KU812 cells with L-SIGN/DC-SIGNR was able to overcome the requirement for antibody enhancement with regard to dengue virus infection and apoptosis.
Infection with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) modulates the expression of a number of cellular receptors and is known to inhibit expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a cell surface receptor that can promote cell proliferation through a cascade of intracellular signalling events. We have examined the mechanisms by which HCMV mediates downregulation of EGFR expression and show that virus infection results in the profound upregulation of Wilms Tumour 1 (WT1) protein, a transcription factor associated with the negative regulation of a number of growth factors and growth factor receptors, including EGFR. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments also show that HCMV infection results in increased binding of WT1 to the EGFR promoter. Finally, we show that depleting the cell of WT1 using small interfering RNA abrogates virus-mediated downregulation of EGFR. Taken together, our observations suggest that HCMV-mediated repression of EGFR expression results from a virus-mediated increase in cellular WT1, a known pleiotropic regulator of mitogenesis, apoptosis and differentiation.
Gait impairment due to foot drop is a common outcome of stroke, and current physiotherapy provides only limited restoration of gait function. Gait function can also be aided by orthoses, but these devices may be cumbersome and their benefits disappear upon removal. Hence, new neuro-rehabilitative therapies are being sought to generate permanent improvements in motor function beyond those of conventional physiotherapies through positive neural plasticity processes. Here, the authors describe an electroencephalogram (EEG) based brain-computer interface (BCI) controlled functional electrical stimulation (FES) system that enabled a stroke subject with foot drop to re-establish foot dorsiflexion. To this end, a prediction model was generated from EEG data collected as the subject alternated between periods of idling and attempted foot dorsiflexion. This prediction model was then used to classify online EEG data into either "idling" or "dorsiflexion" states, and this information was subsequently used to control an FES device to elicit effective foot dorsiflexion. The performance of the system was assessed in online sessions, where the subject was prompted by a computer to alternate between periods of idling and dorsiflexion. The subject demonstrated purposeful operation of the BCI-FES system, with an average cross-correlation between instructional cues and BCI-FES response of 0.60 over 3 sessions. In addition, analysis of the prediction model indicated that non-classical brain areas were activated in the process, suggesting post-stroke cortical re-organization. In the future, these systems may be explored as a potential therapeutic tool that can help promote positive plasticity and neural repair in chronic stroke patients.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) often leaves affected individuals unable to ambulate. Electroencephalogram (EEG) based brain-computer interface (BCI) controlled lower extremity prostheses may restore intuitive and able-body-like ambulation after SCI. To test its feasibility, the authors developed and tested a novel EEG-based, data-driven BCI system for intuitive and self-paced control of the ambulation of an avatar within a virtual reality environment (VRE).
During lytic Kaposis sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection, host gene expression is severely restricted by a process of global mRNA degradation known as host shutoff, which rededicates translational machinery to the expression of viral proteins. A subset of host mRNAs is spared from shutoff, and a number of these contain cis-acting AU-rich elements (AREs) in their 3 untranslated regions. AREs are found in labile mRNAs encoding cytokines, growth factors, and proto-oncogenes. Activation of the p38/MK2 signal transduction pathway reverses constitutive decay of ARE-mRNAs, resulting in increased protein production. The viral G-protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR) is thought to play an important role in promoting the secretion of angiogenic molecules from KSHV-infected cells during lytic replication, but to date it has not been clear how vGPCR circumvents host shutoff. Here, we demonstrate that vGPCR activates the p38/MK2 pathway and stabilizes ARE-mRNAs, augmenting the levels of their protein products. Using MK2-deficient cells, we demonstrate that MK2 is essential for maximal vGPCR-mediated ARE-mRNA stabilization. ARE-mRNAs are normally delivered to cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein granules known as processing bodies (PBs) for translational silencing and decay. We demonstrate that PB formation is prevented during KSHV lytic replication or in response to vGPCR-mediated activation of RhoA subfamily GTPases. Together, these data show for the first time that vGPCR impacts gene expression at the posttranscriptional level, coordinating an attack on the host mRNA degradation machinery. By suppressing ARE-mRNA turnover, vGPCR may facilitate escape of certain target mRNAs from host shutoff and allow secretion of angiogenic factors from lytically infected cells.
Ramadan fasting, involving abstinence from fluid and food from sunrise to sundown, results in prolonged periods without nutrient intake and inflexibility with the timing of eating and drinking over the day. Dietary choices may also change due to special eating rituals. Although nutrition guidelines are specific to the sport, to the periodized training and competition calendar, and to the individual, many promote the consumption of carbohydrate and fluid before and during exercise, and consumption of protein, carbohydrate, and fluids soon after the session is completed. Failing to meet overall nutritional needs, or to provide specific nutritional support to a session of exercise, is likely to impair acute performance and reduce the effectiveness of training or recovery. Muslim athletes who fast during Ramadan should use overnight opportunities to consume foods and drinks that can supply the nutrients needed to promote performance, adaptation, and recovery in their sports. Because of the benefits of being able to consume at least some of these nutrients before, during or after an exercise session, the schedule of exercise should be shifted where possible to the beginning or end of the day, or during the evening when some nutritional support can be provided.
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