126 research outputs found

    A hypothetico-deductive approach to assessing the social function of chemical signalling in a non-territorial solitary carnivore

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    The function of chemical signalling in non-territorial solitary carnivores is still relatively unclear. Studies on territorial solitary and social carnivores have highlighted odour capability and utility, however the social function of chemical signalling in wild carnivore populations operating dominance hierarchy social systems has received little attention. We monitored scent marking and investigatory behaviour of wild brown bears Ursus arctos, to test multiple hypotheses relating to the social function of chemical signalling. Camera traps were stationed facing bear ‘marking trees’ to document behaviour by different age sex classes in different seasons. We found evidence to support the hypothesis that adult males utilise chemical signalling to communicate dominance to other males throughout the non-denning period. Adult females did not appear to utilise marking trees to advertise oestrous state during the breeding season. The function of marking by subadult bears is somewhat unclear, but may be related to the behaviour of adult males. Subadults investigated trees more often than they scent marked during the breeding season, which could be a result of an increased risk from adult males. Females with young showed an increase in marking and investigation of trees outside of the breeding season. We propose the hypothesis that females engage their dependent young with marking trees from a young age, at a relatively ‘safe’ time of year. Memory, experience, and learning at a young age, may all contribute towards odour capabilities in adult bears

    Deleterious Effects of Intermittent Recombinant Parathyroid Hormone on Cartilage Formation in a Rabbit Microfracture Model: a Preliminary Study

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    Intermittent parathyroid hormone administration can enhance fracture healing in an animal model. Despite the success of exogenous parathyroid hormone on fracture healing and spine fusion, few studies have examined the role of parathyroid hormone on cartilage formation. We determined the effects of intermittent parathyroid hormone on cartilage formation in a rabbit microfracture model of cartilage regeneration. Twelve rabbits were divided into three equal groups: (1) microfracture alone, (2) microfracture + parathyroid hormone daily for 7 days, and (3) microfracture + parathyroid hormone for 28 days. Nonoperated contralateral knees were used as controls. The animals were sacrificed at 3 months and gross and histologic analysis was performed. The microfracture alone group demonstrated the most healing on gross and histologic analysis. Treatment with either 1 or 4 weeks of parathyroid hormone inhibited cartilage formation. Although discouraging from a cartilage repair point of view, this study suggests that the role parathyroid hormone administration has in clinical fracture healing must be examined carefully. Although parathyroid hormone is beneficial to promote healing in spine fusion and midshaft fractures, its deleterious effects on cartilage formation suggests that it may have adverse effects on the outcomes of periarticular fractures such as tibial plateau injuries that require cartilage healing for a successful clinical outcome

    Connexin-mimetic peptide Gap 27 decreases osteoclastic activity

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    BACKGROUND: Bone remodelling is dependent on the balance between bone resorbing osteoclasts and bone forming osteoblasts. We have shown previously that osteoclasts contain gap-junctional protein connexin-43 and that a commonly used gap-junctional inhibitor, heptanol, can inhibit osteoclastic bone resorption. Since heptanol may also have some unspecific effect unrelated to gap-junctional inhibition we wanted to test the importance of gap-junctional communication to osteoclasts using a more specific inhibitor. METHODS: A synthetic connexin-mimetic peptide, Gap 27, was used to evaluate the contribution of gap-junctional communication to osteoclastic bone resorption. We utilised the well-characterised pit-formation assay to study the effects of the specific gap-junctional inhibitor to the survival and activity of osteoclasts. RESULTS: Gap 27 caused a remarked decrease in the number of both TRAP-positive mononuclear and multinucleated rat osteoclasts cultured on bovine bone slices. The decrease in the cell survival seemed to be restricted to TRAP-positive cells, whereas the other cells of the culture model seemed unaffected. The activity of the remaining osteoclasts was found to be diminished by measuring the percentage of osteoclasts with actin rings of all TRAP-positive cells. In addition, the resorbed area in the treated cultures was greatly diminished. CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of these results we conclude that gap-junctional communication is essential for the action of bone resorbing osteoclasts and for proper remodelling for bone

    Homosexual Women Have Less Grey Matter in Perirhinal Cortex than Heterosexual Women

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    Is sexual orientation associated with structural differences in the brain? To address this question, 80 homosexual and heterosexual men and women (16 homosexual men and 15 homosexual women) underwent structural MRI. We used voxel-based morphometry to test for differences in grey matter concentration associated with gender and sexual orientation. Compared with heterosexual women, homosexual women displayed less grey matter bilaterally in the temporo-basal cortex, ventral cerebellum, and left ventral premotor cortex. The relative decrease in grey matter was most prominent in the left perirhinal cortex. The left perirhinal area also showed less grey matter in heterosexual men than in heterosexual women. Thus, in homosexual women, the perirhinal cortex grey matter displayed a more male-like structural pattern. This is in accordance with previous research that revealed signs of sex-atypical prenatal androgenization in homosexual women, but not in homosexual men. The relevance of the perirhinal area for high order multimodal (olfactory and visual) object, social, and sexual processing is discussed

    Ordering theories: typologies and conceptual frameworks for sociotechnical change

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    What theories or concepts are most useful at explaining socio technical change? How can – or cannot – these be integrated? To provide an answer, this study presents the results from 35 semi-structured research interviews with social science experts who also shared more than two hundred articles, reports and books on the topic of the acceptance, adoption, use, or diffusion of technology. This material led to the identification of 96 theories and conceptual approaches spanning 22 identified disciplines. The article begins by explaining its research terms and methods before honing in on a combination of fourteen theories deemed most relevant and useful by the material. These are: Sociotechnical Transitions, Social Practice Theory, Discourse Theory, Domestication Theory, Large Technical Systems, Social Construction of Technology, Sociotechnical Imaginaries, Actor-Network Theory, Social Justice Theory, Sociology of Expectations, Sustainable Development, Values Beliefs Norms Theory, Lifestyle Theory, and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology. It then positions these theories in terms of two distinct typologies. Theories can be placed into five general categories of being centered on agency, structure, meaning, relations or norms. They can also be classified based on their assumptions and goals rooted in functionalism, interpretivism, humanism or conflict. The article lays out tips for research methodology before concluding with insights about technology itself, analytical processes associated with technology, and the framing and communication of results. An interdisciplinary theoretical and conceptual inventory has much to offer students, analysts and scholars wanting to study technological change and society

    Biocatalytic Synthesis of Polymers of Precisely Defined Structures

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    The fabrication of functional nanoscale devices requires the construction of complex architectures at length scales characteristic of atoms and molecules. Currently microlithography and micro-machining of macroscopic objects are the preferred methods for construction of small devices, but these methods are limited to the micron scale. An intriguing approach to nanoscale fabrication involves the association of individual molecular components into the desired architectures by supramolecular assembly. This process requires the precise specification of intermolecular interactions, which in turn requires precise control of molecular structure

    To Fear is to Gain? The Role of Fear Recognition in Risky Decision Making in TBI Patients and Healthy Controls

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    Fear is an important emotional reaction that guides decision making in situations of ambiguity or uncertainty. Both recognition of facial expressions of fear and decision making ability can be impaired after traumatic brain injury (TBI), in particular when the frontal lobe is damaged. So far, it has not been investigated how recognition of fear influences risk behavior in healthy subjects and TBI patients. The ability to recognize fear is thought to be related to the ability to experience fear and to use it as a warning signal to guide decision making. We hypothesized that a better ability to recognize fear would be related to a better regulation of risk behavior, with healthy controls outperforming TBI patients. To investigate this, 59 healthy subjects and 49 TBI patients were assessed with a test for emotion recognition (Facial Expression of Emotion: Stimuli and Tests) and a gambling task (Iowa Gambling Task (IGT)). The results showed that, regardless of post traumatic amnesia duration or the presence of frontal lesions, patients were more impaired than healthy controls on both fear recognition and decision making. In both groups, a significant relationship was found between better fear recognition, the development of an advantageous strategy across the IGT and less risk behavior in the last blocks of the IGT. Educational level moderated this relationship in the final block of the IGT. This study has important clinical implications, indicating that impaired decision making and risk behavior after TBI can be preceded by deficits in the processing of fear

    Comparative genome analysis and genome-guided physiological analysis of Roseobacter litoralis

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p><it>Roseobacter litoralis </it>OCh149, the type species of the genus, and <it>Roseobacter denitrificans </it>OCh114 were the first described organisms of the <it>Roseobacter </it>clade, an ecologically important group of marine bacteria. Both species were isolated from seaweed and are able to perform aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The genome of <it>R. litoralis </it>OCh149 contains one circular chromosome of 4,505,211 bp and three plasmids of 93,578 bp (pRLO149_94), 83,129 bp (pRLO149_83) and 63,532 bp (pRLO149_63). Of the 4537 genes predicted for <it>R. litoralis</it>, 1122 (24.7%) are not present in the genome of <it>R. denitrificans</it>. Many of the unique genes of <it>R. litoralis </it>are located in genomic islands and on plasmids. On pRLO149_83 several potential heavy metal resistance genes are encoded which are not present in the genome of <it>R. denitrificans</it>. The comparison of the heavy metal tolerance of the two organisms showed an increased zinc tolerance of <it>R. litoralis</it>. In contrast to <it>R. denitrificans</it>, the photosynthesis genes of <it>R. litoralis </it>are plasmid encoded. The activity of the photosynthetic apparatus was confirmed by respiration rate measurements, indicating a growth-phase dependent response to light. Comparative genomics with other members of the <it>Roseobacter </it>clade revealed several genomic regions that were only conserved in the two <it>Roseobacter </it>species. One of those regions encodes a variety of genes that might play a role in host association of the organisms. The catabolism of different carbon and nitrogen sources was predicted from the genome and combined with experimental data. In several cases, e.g. the degradation of some algal osmolytes and sugars, the genome-derived predictions of the metabolic pathways in <it>R. litoralis </it>differed from the phenotype.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The genomic differences between the two <it>Roseobacter </it>species are mainly due to lateral gene transfer and genomic rearrangements. Plasmid pRLO149_83 contains predominantly recently acquired genetic material whereas pRLO149_94 was probably translocated from the chromosome. Plasmid pRLO149_63 and one plasmid of <it>R. denitrifcans </it>(pTB2) seem to have a common ancestor and are important for cell envelope biosynthesis. Several new mechanisms of substrate degradation were indicated from the combination of experimental and genomic data. The photosynthetic activity of <it>R. litoralis </it>is probably regulated by nutrient availability.</p

    Identifying an indoor air exposure limit for formaldehyde considering both irritation and cancer hazards

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    Formaldehyde is a well-studied chemical and effects from inhalation exposures have been extensively characterized in numerous controlled studies with human volunteers, including asthmatics and other sensitive individuals, which provide a rich database on exposure concentrations that can reliably produce the symptoms of sensory irritation. Although individuals can differ in their sensitivity to odor and eye irritation, the majority of authoritative reviews of the formaldehyde literature have concluded that an air concentration of 0.3 ppm will provide protection from eye irritation for virtually everyone. A weight of evidence-based formaldehyde exposure limit of 0.1 ppm (100 ppb) is recommended as an indoor air level for all individuals for odor detection and sensory irritation. It has recently been suggested by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) that formaldehyde is causally associated with nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) and leukemia. This has led US EPA to conclude that irritation is not the most sensitive toxic endpoint and that carcinogenicity should dictate how to establish exposure limits for formaldehyde. In this review, a number of lines of reasoning and substantial scientific evidence are described and discussed, which leads to a conclusion that neither point of contact nor systemic effects of any type, including NPC or leukemia, are causally associated with exposure to formaldehyde. This conclusion supports the view that the equivocal epidemiology studies that suggest otherwise are almost certainly flawed by identified or yet to be unidentified confounding variables. Thus, this assessment concludes that a formaldehyde indoor air limit of 0.1 ppm should protect even particularly susceptible individuals from both irritation effects and any potential cancer hazard
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