478 research outputs found

    Orbits for the Impatient: A Bayesian Rejection Sampling Method for Quickly Fitting the Orbits of Long-Period Exoplanets

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    We describe a Bayesian rejection sampling algorithm designed to efficiently compute posterior distributions of orbital elements for data covering short fractions of long-period exoplanet orbits. Our implementation of this method, Orbits for the Impatient (OFTI), converges up to several orders of magnitude faster than two implementations of MCMC in this regime. We illustrate the efficiency of our approach by showing that OFTI calculates accurate posteriors for all existing astrometry of the exoplanet 51 Eri b up to 100 times faster than a Metropolis-Hastings MCMC. We demonstrate the accuracy of OFTI by comparing our results for several orbiting systems with those of various MCMC implementations, finding the output posteriors to be identical within shot noise. We also describe how our algorithm was used to successfully predict the location of 51 Eri b six months in the future based on less than three months of astrometry. Finally, we apply OFTI to ten long-period exoplanets and brown dwarfs, all but one of which have been monitored over less than 3% of their orbits, producing fits to their orbits from astrometric records in the literature.Comment: 32 pages, 28 figures, Accepted to A

    Treadmill exercise has minimal impact on obesogenic diet-related gut microbiome changes but alters adipose and hypothalamic gene expression in rats

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    Exercise has been extensively utilised as an effective therapy for overweight- and obesity-associated changes that are linked to health complications. Several preclinical rodent studies have shown that treadmill exercise alongside an unhealthy diet improves metabolic health and microbiome composition. Furthermore, chronic exercise has been shown to alter hypothalamic and adipose tissue gene expression in diet-induced obesity. However, limited work has investigated whether treadmill exercise commenced following exposure to an obesogenic diet is sufficient to alter microbiome composition and metabolic health. To address this gap in the literature, we fed rats a high-fat/high-sugar western-style cafeteria diet and assessed the effects of 4 weeks of treadmill exercise on adiposity, diet-induced gut dysbiosis, as well as hypothalamic and retroperitoneal white adipose tissue gene expression. Forty-eight male Sprague-Dawley rats were allocated to either regular chow or cafeteria diet and after 3 weeks half the rats on each diet were exposed to moderate treadmill exercise for 4 weeks while the remainder were exposed to a stationary treadmill. Microbial species diversity was uniquely reduced in exercising chow-fed rats, while microbiome composition was only changed by cafeteria diet. Despite limited effects of exercise on overall microbiome composition, exercise increased inferred microbial functions involved in metabolism, reduced fat mass, and altered adipose and hypothalamic gene expression. After controlling for diet and exercise, adipose Il6 expression and liver triglyceride concentrations were significantly associated with global microbiome composition. Moderate treadmill exercise induced subtle microbiome composition changes in chow-fed rats but did not overcome the microbiome changes induced by prolonged exposure to cafeteria diet. Predicted metabolic function of the gut microbiome was increased by exercise. The effects of exercise on the microbiome may be modulated by obesity severity. Future work should investigate whether exercise in combination with microbiome-modifying interventions can synergistically reduce diet- and obesity-associated comorbidities

    Vesicular stomatitis virus chimeras expressing the oropouche virus glycoproteins elicit protective immune responses in mice

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    Oropouche virus (OROV) infection of humans is associated with a debilitating febrile illness that can progress to meningitis or encephalitis. First isolated from a forest worker in Trinidad and Tobago in 1955, the arbovirus OROV has since been detected throughout the Amazon basin with an estimated 500,000 human infections over 60 years. Like other members of the famil

    Differential Growth of Francisella tularensis, Which Alters Expression of Virulence Factors, Dominant Antigens, and Surface-Carbohydrate Synthases, Governs the Apparent Virulence of Ft SchuS4 to Immunized Animals

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft) is both a potential biological weapon and a naturally occurring microbe that survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with distinct phenotypes in various environments. Previously, we used a number of measurements to characterize Ft grown in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) broth as (1) more similar to infection-derived bacteria, and (2) slightly more virulent in naïve animals, compared to Ft grown in Mueller Hinton Broth (MHB). In these studies we observed that the free amino acids in MHB repress expression of select Ft virulence factors by an unknown mechanism. Here, we tested the hypotheses that Ft grown in BHI (BHI-Ft) accurately displays a full protein composition more similar to that reported for infection-derived Ft and that this similarity would make BHI-Ft more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity than MHB-Ft. We performed comprehensive proteomic analysis of Ft grown in MHB, BHI, and BHI supplemented with casamino acids (BCA) and compared our findings to published “omics” data derived from Ft grown in vivo. Based on the abundance of ~1,000 proteins, the fingerprint of BHI-Ft is one of nutrient-deprived bacteria that—through induction of a stringent-starvation-like response—have induced the FevR regulon for expression of the bacterium's virulence factors, immuno-dominant antigens, and surface-carbohydrate synthases. To test the notion that increased abundance of dominant antigens expressed by BHI-Ft would render these bacteria more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity, we employed a battery of LVS-vaccination and S4-challenge protocols using MHB- and BHI-grown Ft S4. Contrary to our hypothesis, these experiments reveal that LVS-immunization provides a barrier to infection that is significantly more effective against an MHB-S4 challenge than a BHI-S4 challenge. The differences in apparent virulence to immunized mice are profoundly greater than those observed with primary infection of naïve mice. Our findings suggest that tularemia vaccination studies should be critically evaluated in regard to the growth conditions of the challenge agent

    Different Whole-Brain Functional Connectivity Correlates of Reactive-Proactive Aggression and Callous-Unemotional Traits in Children and Adolescents with Disruptive Behaviors

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    Background: Disruptive behavior in children and adolescents can manifest as reactive aggression and proactive aggression and is modulated by callous-unemotional traits and other comorbidities. Neural correlates of these aggression dimensions or subtypes and comorbid symptoms remain largely unknown. This multi-center study investigated the relationship between resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) and aggression subtypes considering comorbidities. Methods: The large sample of children and adolescents aged 8–18 years (n = 207; mean age = 13.30 ± 2.60 years, 150 males) included 118 cases with disruptive behavior (80 with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and/or Conduct Disorder) and 89 controls. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety symptom scores were analyzed as covariates when assessing group differences and dimensional aggression effects on hypothesis-free global and local voxel-to-voxel whole-brain rsFC based on functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3 Tesla. Results: Compared to controls, the cases demonstrated altered rsFC in frontal areas, when anxiety but not ADHD symptoms were controlled. For cases, reactive and proactive aggression scores related to global and local rsFC in the central gyrus and precuneus, regions linked to aggression-related impairments. Callous-unemotional trait severity was correlated with ICC in the inferior and middle temporal regions implicated in empathy, emotion, and reward processing. Most observed aggression subtype-specific patterns could only be identified when ADHD and anxiety were controlled for. Conclusions: This study clarifies that hypothesis-free brain connectivity measures can disentangle distinct though overlapping dimensions of aggression in youths. Moreover, our results highlight the importance of considering comorbid symptoms to detect aggression-related rsFC alterations in youths

    A chemical survey of exoplanets with ARIEL

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    Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered with a huge range of masses, sizes and orbits: from rocky Earth-like planets to large gas giants grazing the surface of their host star. However, the essential nature of these exoplanets remains largely mysterious: there is no known, discernible pattern linking the presence, size, or orbital parameters of a planet to the nature of its parent star. We have little idea whether the chemistry of a planet is linked to its formation environment, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s birth, and evolution. ARIEL was conceived to observe a large number (~1000) of transiting planets for statistical understanding, including gas giants, Neptunes, super-Earths and Earth-size planets around a range of host star types using transit spectroscopy in the 1.25–7.8 ÎŒm spectral range and multiple narrow-band photometry in the optical. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets to take advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres which should show minimal condensation and sequestration of high-Z materials compared to their colder Solar System siblings. Said warm and hot atmospheres are expected to be more representative of the planetary bulk composition. Observations of these warm/hot exoplanets, and in particular of their elemental composition (especially C, O, N, S, Si), will allow the understanding of the early stages of planetary and atmospheric formation during the nebular phase and the following few million years. ARIEL will thus provide a representative picture of the chemical nature of the exoplanets and relate this directly to the type and chemical environment of the host star. ARIEL is designed as a dedicated survey mission for combined-light spectroscopy, capable of observing a large and well-defined planet sample within its 4-year mission lifetime. Transit, eclipse and phase-curve spectroscopy methods, whereby the signal from the star and planet are differentiated using knowledge of the planetary ephemerides, allow us to measure atmospheric signals from the planet at levels of 10–100 part per million (ppm) relative to the star and, given the bright nature of targets, also allows more sophisticated techniques, such as eclipse mapping, to give a deeper insight into the nature of the atmosphere. These types of observations require a stable payload and satellite platform with broad, instantaneous wavelength coverage to detect many molecular species, probe the thermal structure, identify clouds and monitor the stellar activity. The wavelength range proposed covers all the expected major atmospheric gases from e.g. H2O, CO2, CH4 NH3, HCN, H2S through to the more exotic metallic compounds, such as TiO, VO, and condensed species. Simulations of ARIEL performance in conducting exoplanet surveys have been performed – using conservative estimates of mission performance and a full model of all significant noise sources in the measurement – using a list of potential ARIEL targets that incorporates the latest available exoplanet statistics. The conclusion at the end of the Phase A study, is that ARIEL – in line with the stated mission objectives – will be able to observe about 1000 exoplanets depending on the details of the adopted survey strategy, thus confirming the feasibility of the main science objectives.Peer reviewedFinal Published versio

    Specific cortical and subcortical alterations for reactive and proactive aggression in children and adolescents with disruptive behavior.

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    Maladaptive aggression, as present in conduct disorder (CD) and, to a lesser extent, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), has been associated with structural alterations in various brain regions, such as ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), amygdala, insula and ventral striatum. Although aggression can be subdivided into reactive and proactive subtypes, no neuroimaging studies have yet investigated if any structural brain alterations are associated with either of the subtypes specifically. Here we investigated associations between aggression subtypes, CU traits and ADHD symptoms in predefined regions of interest. T1-weighted magnetic resonance images were acquired from 158 children and adolescents with disruptive behavior (ODD/CD) and 96 controls in a multi-center study (aged 8-18). Aggression subtypes were assessed by questionnaires filled in by participants and their parents. Cortical volume and subcortical volumes and shape were determined using Freesurfer and the FMRIB integrated registration and segmentation tool. Associations between volumes and continuous measures of aggression were established using multilevel linear mixed effects models. Proactive aggression was negatively associated with amygdala volume (b = -10.7, p = 0.02), while reactive aggression was negatively associated with insula volume (b = -21.7, p = 0.01). No associations were found with CU traits or ADHD symptomatology. Classical group comparison showed that children and adolescents with disruptive behavior had smaller volumes than controls in (bilateral) vmPFC (p = 0.003) with modest effect size and a reduced shape in the anterior part of the left ventral striatum (p = 0.005). Our study showed negative associations between reactive aggression and volumes in a region involved in threat responsivity and between proactive aggression and a region linked to empathy. This provides evidence for aggression subtype-specific alterations in brain structure which may provide useful insights for clinical practice

    Aggression subtypes relate to distinct resting state functional connectivity in children and adolescents with disruptive behavior

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    There is increasing evidence for altered brain resting state functional connectivity in adolescents with disruptive behavior. While a considerable body of behavioral research points to differences between reactive and proactive aggression, it remains unknown whether these two subtypes have dissociable effects on connectivity. Additionally, callous-unemotional traits are important specifiers in subtyping aggressive behavior along the affective dimension. Accordingly, we examined associations between two aggression subtypes along with callous-unemotional traits using a seed-to-voxel approach. Six functionally relevant seeds were selected to probe the salience and the default mode network, based on their presumed role in aggression. The resting state sequence was acquired from 207 children and adolescents of both sexes [mean age (standard deviation) = 13.30 (2.60); range = 8.02-18.35] as part of a Europe-based multi-center study. One hundred eighteen individuals exhibiting disruptive behavior (conduct disorder/oppositional defiant disorder) with varying comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms were studied, together with 89 healthy controls. Proactive aggression was associated with increased left amygdala-precuneus coupling, while reactive aggression related to hyper-connectivities of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) to the parahippocampus, the left amygdala to the precuneus and to hypo-connectivity between the right anterior insula and the nucleus caudate. Callous-unemotional traits were linked to distinct hyper-connectivities to frontal, parietal, and cingulate areas. Additionally, compared to controls, cases demonstrated reduced connectivity of the PCC and left anterior insula to left frontal areas, the latter only when controlling for ADHD scores. Taken together, this study revealed aggression-subtype-specific patterns involving areas associated with emotion, empathy, morality, and cognitive control