65 research outputs found

    Cerebrospinal fluid sodium rhythms

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    Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sodium levels have been reported to rise during episodic migraine. Since migraine frequently starts in early morning or late afternoon, we hypothesized that natural sodium chronobiology may predispose susceptible persons when extracellular CSF sodium increases. Since no mammalian brain sodium rhythms are known, we designed a study of healthy humans to test if cation rhythms exist in CSF. Methods: Lumbar CSF was collected every ten minutes at 0.1 mL/min for 24 h from six healthy participants. CSF sodium and potassium concentrations were measured by ion chromatography, total protein by fluorescent spectrometry, and osmolarity by freezing point depression. We analyzed cation and protein distributions over the 24 h period and spectral and permutation tests to identify significant rhythms. We applied the False Discovery Rate method to adjust significance levels for multiple tests and Spearman correlations to compare sodium fluctuations with potassium, protein, and osmolarity. Results: The distribution of sodium varied much more than potassium, and there were statistically significant rhythms at 12 and 1.65 h periods. Curve fitting to the average time course of the mean sodium of all six subjects revealed the lowest sodium levels at 03.20 h and highest at 08.00 h, a second nadir at 09.50 h and a second peak at 18.10 h. Sodium levels were not correlated with potassium or protein concentration, or with osmolarity. Conclusion: These CSF rhythms are the first reports of sodium chronobiology in the human nervous system. The results are consistent with our hypothesis that rising levels of extracellular sodium may contribute to the timing of migraine onset. The physiological importance of sodium in the nervous system suggests that these rhythms may have additional repercussions on ultradian functions

    Probabilistic Computation in Human Perception under Variability in Encoding Precision

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    A key function of the brain is to interpret noisy sensory information. To do so optimally, observers must, in many tasks, take into account knowledge of the precision with which stimuli are encoded. In an orientation change detection task, we find that encoding precision does not only depend on an experimentally controlled reliability parameter (shape), but also exhibits additional variability. In spite of variability in precision, human subjects seem to take into account precision near-optimally on a trial-to-trial and item-to-item basis. Our results offer a new conceptualization of the encoding of sensory information and highlight the brain’s remarkable ability to incorporate knowledge of uncertainty during complex perceptual decision-making

    Would school closure for the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic have been worth the cost?: a computational simulation of Pennsylvania

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>During the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic, policy makers debated over whether, when, and how long to close schools. While closing schools could have reduced influenza transmission thereby preventing cases, deaths, and health care costs, it may also have incurred substantial costs from increased childcare needs and lost productivity by teachers and other school employees.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>A combination of agent-based and Monte Carlo economic simulation modeling was used to determine the cost-benefit of closing schools (vs. not closing schools) for different durations (range: 1 to 8 weeks) and symptomatic case incidence triggers (range: 1 to 30) for the state of Pennsylvania during the 2009 H1N1 epidemic. Different scenarios varied the basic reproductive rate (R<sub>0</sub>) from 1.2, 1.6, to 2.0 and used case-hospitalization and case-fatality rates from the 2009 epidemic. Additional analyses determined the cost per influenza case averted of implementing school closure.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>For all scenarios explored, closing schools resulted in substantially higher net costs than not closing schools. For R<sub>0 </sub>= 1.2, 1.6, and 2.0 epidemics, closing schools for 8 weeks would have resulted in median net costs of 21.0billion(9521.0 billion (95% Range: 8.0 - 45.3billion).Themediancostperinfluenzacaseavertedwouldhavebeen45.3 billion). The median cost per influenza case averted would have been 14,185 (5,4235,423 - 30,565) for R<sub>0 </sub>= 1.2, 25,253(25,253 (9,501 - 53,461)forR<sub>0</sub>=1.6,and53,461) for R<sub>0 </sub>= 1.6, and 23,483 (8,8708,870 - 50,926) for R<sub>0 </sub>= 2.0.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Our study suggests that closing schools during the 2009 H1N1 epidemic could have resulted in substantial costs to society as the potential costs of lost productivity and childcare could have far outweighed the cost savings in preventing influenza cases.</p

    Expression Profiling of Autism Candidate Genes during Human Brain Development Implicates Central Immune Signaling Pathways

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    The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) represent a clinically heterogeneous set of conditions with strong hereditary components. Despite substantial efforts to uncover the genetic basis of ASD, the genomic etiology appears complex and a clear understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying Autism remains elusive. We hypothesized that focusing gene interaction networks on ASD-implicated genes that are highly expressed in the developing brain may reveal core mechanisms that are otherwise obscured by the genomic heterogeneity of the disorder. Here we report an in silico study of the gene expression profile from ASD-implicated genes in the unaffected developing human brain. By implementing a biologically relevant approach, we identified a subset of highly expressed ASD-candidate genes from which interactome networks were derived. Strikingly, immune signaling through NFκB, Tnf, and Jnk was central to ASD networks at multiple levels of our analysis, and cell-type specific expression suggested glia—in addition to neurons—deserve consideration. This work provides integrated genomic evidence that ASD-implicated genes may converge on central cytokine signaling pathways

    Cross-Sectional Detection of Acute HIV Infection: Timing of Transmission, Inflammation and Antiretroviral Therapy

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    BACKGROUND: Acute HIV infection (AHI) is a critical phase of infection when irreparable damage to the immune system occurs and subjects are very infectious. We studied subjects with AHI prospectively to develop better treatment and public health interventions. METHODS: Cross-sectional screening was employed to detect HIV RNA positive, antibody negative subjects. Date of HIV acquisition was estimated from clinical history and correlated with sequence diversity assessed by single genome amplification (SGA). Twenty-two cytokines/chemokines were measured from enrollment through week 24. RESULTS: Thirty-seven AHI subjects were studied. In 7 participants with limited exposure windows, the median exposure to HIV occurred 14 days before symptom onset. Lack of viral sequence diversification confirmed the short duration of infection. Transmission dates estimated by SGA/sequencing using molecular clock models correlated with transmission dates estimated by symptom onset in individuals infected with single HIV variants (mean of 28 versus 33 days). Only 10 of 22 cytokines/chemokines were significantly elevated among AHI participants at enrollment compared to uninfected controls, and only 4 participants remained seronegative at enrollment. DISCUSSION: The results emphasize the difficulty in recruiting subjects early in AHI. Viral sequence diversity proved accurate in estimating time of infection. Regardless of aggressive screening, peak viremia and inflammation occurred before enrollment and potential intervention. Given the personal and public health importance, improved AHI detection is urgently needed

    Effect of Dietary Zinc Oxide on Morphological Characteristics, Mucin Composition and Gene Expression in the Colon of Weaned Piglets

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    The trace element zinc is often used in the diet of weaned piglets, as high doses have resulted in positive effects on intestinal health. However, the majority of previous studies evaluated zinc supplementations for a short period only and focused on the small intestine. The hypothesis of the present study was that low, medium and high levels of dietary zinc (57, 164 and 2,425 mg Zn/kg from zinc oxide) would affect colonic morphology and innate host defense mechanisms across 4 weeks post-weaning. Histological examinations were conducted regarding the colonic morphology and neutral, acidic, sialylated and sulphated mucins. The mRNA expression levels of mucin (MUC) 1, 2, 13, 20, toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, 4, interleukin (IL)-1β, 8, 10, interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) were also measured. The colonic crypt area increased in an age-depending manner, and the greatest area was found with medium concentration of dietary zinc. With the high concentration of dietary zinc, the number of goblet cells containing mixed neutral-acidic mucins and total mucins increased. Sialomucin containing goblet cells increased age-dependently. The expression of MUC2 increased with age and reached the highest level at 47 days of age. The expression levels of TLR2 and 4 decreased with age. The mRNA expression of TLR4 and the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-8 were down-regulated with high dietary zinc treatment, while piglets fed with medium dietary zinc had the highest expression. It is concluded that dietary zinc level had a clear impact on colonic morphology, mucin profiles and immunological traits in piglets after weaning. Those changes might support local defense mechanisms and affect colonic physiology and contribute to the reported reduction of post-weaning diarrhea