2,222 research outputs found

    An SO(10) Grand Unified Theory of Flavor

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    We present a supersymmetric SO(10) grand unified theory (GUT) of flavor based on an S4S_4 family symmetry. It makes use of our recent proposal to use SO(10) with type II seesaw mechanism for neutrino masses combined with a simple ansatz that the dominant Yukawa matrix (the {\bf 10}-Higgs coupling to matter) has rank one. In this paper, we show how the rank one model can arise within some plausible assumptions as an effective field theory from vectorlike {\bf 16} dimensional matter fields with masses above the GUT scale. In order to obtain the desired fermion flavor texture we use S4S_4 flavon multiplets which acquire vevs in the ground state of the theory. By supplementing the S4S_4 theory with an additional discrete symmetry, we find that the flavon vacuum field alignments take a discrete set of values provided some of the higher dimensional couplings are small. Choosing a particular set of these vacuum alignments appears to lead to an unified understanding of observed quark-lepton flavor: (i) the lepton mixing matrix that is dominantly tri-bi-maximal with small corrections related to quark mixings; (ii) quark lepton mass relations at GUT scale: mbmτm_b\simeq m_{\tau} and mμ3msm_\mu\simeq 3 m_s and (iii) the solar to atmospheric neutrino mass ratio m/matmθCabibbom_\odot/m_{\rm atm}\simeq \theta_{\rm Cabibbo} in agreement with observations. The model predicts the neutrino mixing parameter, Ue3θCabibbo/(32)0.05U_{e3} \simeq \theta_{\rm Cabibbo}/(3\sqrt2) \sim 0.05, which should be observable in planned long baseline experiments.Comment: Final version of the paper as it will appear in JHEP

    Impaired decisional impulsivity in pathological videogamers

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    Abstract Background Pathological gaming is an emerging and poorly understood problem. Impulsivity is commonly impaired in disorders of behavioural and substance addiction, hence we sought to systematically investigate the different subtypes of decisional and motor impulsivity in a well-defined pathological gaming cohort. Methods Fifty-two pathological gaming subjects and age-, gender- and IQ-matched healthy volunteers were tested on decisional impulsivity (Information Sampling Task testing reflection impulsivity and delay discounting questionnaire testing impulsive choice), and motor impulsivity (Stop Signal Task testing motor response inhibition, and the premature responding task). We used stringent diagnostic criteria highlighting functional impairment. Results In the Information Sampling Task, pathological gaming participants sampled less evidence prior to making a decision and scored fewer points compared with healthy volunteers. Gaming severity was also negatively correlated with evidence gathered and positively correlated with sampling error and points acquired. In the delay discounting task, pathological gamers made more impulsive choices, preferring smaller immediate over larger delayed rewards. Pathological gamers made more premature responses related to comorbid nicotine use. Greater number of hours played also correlated with a Motivational Index. Greater frequency of role playing games was associated with impaired motor response inhibition and strategy games with faster Go reaction time. Conclusions We show that pathological gaming is associated with impaired decisional impulsivity with negative consequences in task performance. Decisional impulsivity may be a potential target in therapeutic management

    Different SO(10) Paths to Fermion Masses and Mixings

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    Recently SO(10) models with type-II see-saw dominance have been proposed as a promising framework for obtaining Grand Unification theories with approximate Tri-bimaximal (TB) mixing in the neutrino sector. We make a general study of SO(10) models with type-II see-saw dominance and show that an excellent fit can be obtained for fermion masses and mixings, also including the neutrino sector. To make this statement more significant we compare the performance of type-II see-saw dominance models in fitting the fermion masses and mixings with more conventional models which have no built-in TB mixing in the neutrino sector. For a fair comparison the same input data and fitting procedure is adopted for all different theories. We find that the type-II dominance models lead to an excellent fit, comparable with the best among the available models, but the tight structure of this framework implies a significantly larger amount of fine tuning with respect to other approaches.Comment: 24 pages, References and minor wording changes adde

    A new rhynchocephalian from the late jurassic of Germany with a dentition that is unique amongst tetrapods.

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    Rhynchocephalians, the sister group of squamates (lizards and snakes), are only represented by the single genus Sphenodon today. This taxon is often considered to represent a very conservative lineage. However, rhynchocephalians were common during the late Triassic to latest Jurassic periods, but rapidly declined afterwards, which is generally attributed to their supposedly adaptive inferiority to squamates and/or Mesozoic mammals, which radiated at that time. New finds of Mesozoic rhynchocephalians can thus provide important new information on the evolutionary history of the group. A new fossil relative of Sphenodon from the latest Jurassic of southern Germany, Oenosaurus muehlheimensis gen. et sp. nov., presents a dentition that is unique amongst tetrapods. The dentition of this taxon consists of massive, continuously growing tooth plates, probably indicating a crushing dentition, thus representing a previously unknown trophic adaptation in rhynchocephalians. The evolution of the extraordinary dentition of Oenosaurus from the already highly specialized Zahnanlage generally present in derived rhynchocephalians demonstrates an unexpected evolutionary plasticity of these animals. Together with other lines of evidence, this seriously casts doubts on the assumption that rhynchocephalians are a conservative and adaptively inferior lineage. Furthermore, the new taxon underlines the high morphological and ecological diversity of rhynchocephalians in the latest Jurassic of Europe, just before the decline of this lineage on this continent. Thus, selection pressure by radiating squamates or Mesozoic mammals alone might not be sufficient to explain the demise of the clade in the Late Mesozoic, and climate change in the course of the fragmentation of the supercontinent of Pangaea might have played a major role

    Hepatoprotective effects of Spirulina maxima in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a case series

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Introduction</p> <p>Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases range from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The "two hits" hypothesis is widely accepted for its pathogenesis: the first hit is an increased fat flux to the liver, which predisposes our patient to a second hit where increasing free fatty acid oxidation into the mitochondria leads to oxidative stress, lipoperoxidation and a chain reaction with increased ROS. Clinical indications include abdominal cramps, meteorism and fatigue. Most patients, however, are asymptomatic, and diagnosis is based on aminotransferase elevation and ultrasonography (or "brilliant liver"). Spirulina maxima has been experimentally proven to possess <it>in vivo </it>and <it>in vitro </it>hepatoprotective properties by maintaining the liver lipid profile. This case report evaluates the hepatoprotective effects of orally supplied Spirulina maxima.</p> <p>Case presentation</p> <p>Three Hispanic Mexican patients (a 43-year-old man, a 77-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman) underwent ultrasonography and were treated with 4.5 g/day of Spirulina maxima for three months. Their blood samples before and after the treatment determined triacylglycerols, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The results were assessed using ultrasound.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Treatment had therapeutic effects as evidenced by ultrasonography and the aminotransferase data. Hypolipidemic effects were also shown. We conclude that Spirulina maxima may be considered an alternative treatment for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases and dyslipidemic disorder.</p