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Purpose: Animal studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, and anti-nociceptive properties of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). However, physiological data are scarce in humans. In a recent experimental study, the authors used the burn injury (BI) model observing a decrease in secondary hyperalgesia area (SHA) in the HBOT-group compared to a control-group.Surprisingly, a long-lasting neuroplasticity effect mitigating the BI-induced SHA-response was seen in the HBOT-preconditioned group. The objective of the present study, therefore, was to confirm our previous findings using an examiner-blinded, block-randomized, controlled, crossover study design. Patients and methods: Nineteen healthy subjects attended two BI-sessions with an inter-session interval of ≥28 days. The BIs were induced on the lower legs by a contact thermode (12.5 cm2, 47C°, 420 s). The subjects were block-randomized to receive HBOT (2.4 ATA, 100% O2, 90 min) or ambient conditions ([AC]; 1 ATA, 21% O2), dividing cohorts equally into two sequence allocations: HBOT-AC or AC-HBOT. All sensory assessments performed during baseline, BI, and post-intervention phases were at homologous time points irrespective of sequence allocation. The primary outcome was SHA, comparing interventions and sequence allocations. Data are mean (95% CI). Results: During HBOT-sessions a mitigating effect on SHAs was demonstrated compared to AC-sessions, ie, 18.8 (10.5–27.0) cm2 vs 32.0 (20.1–43.9) cm2 (P=0.021), respectively. In subjects allocated to the sequence AC-HBOT a significantly larger mean difference in SHA in the AC-session vs the HBOT-session was seen 25.0 (5.4–44.7) cm2 (P=0.019). In subjects allocated to the reverse sequence, HBOT-AC, no difference in SHA between sessions was observed (P=0.55), confirming a preconditioning, long-lasting (≥28 days) effect of HBOT. Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that a single HBOT-session compared to control is associated with both acute and long-lasting mitigating effects on BI-induced SHA, confirming central anti-inflammatory, neuroplasticity effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
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In-silico and in-vitro studies have made progress in understanding protein-protein complexes formation; however, the molecular mechanisms for their dissociation are unclear. Protein-protein complexes, lasting from microseconds to years, often involve induced-fit, challenging computational or kinetic analysis. Charybdotoxin (CTX), a peptide from the Leiurus scorpion venom, blocks voltage-gated K+-channels in a unique example of binding/unbinding simplicity. CTX plugs the external mouth of K+-channels pore, stopping K+-ion conduction, without inducing conformational changes. Conflicting with a tight binding, we show that external permeant ions enhance CTX-dissociation, implying a path connecting the pore, in the toxin-bound channel, with the external solution. This sensitivity is explained if CTX wobbles between several bound conformations, producing transient events that restore the electrical and ionic trans-pore gradients. Wobbling may originate from a network of contacts in the interaction interface that are in dynamic stochastic equilibria. These partially-bound intermediates could lead to distinct, and potentially manipulable, dissociation pathways.
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Accurate knowledge of skeletal ontogeny in extant organisms is crucial in understanding important morpho-functional systems and in enabling inferences of the ontogenetic stage of fossil specimens. However, detailed knowledge of skeletal ontogeny is lacking for most squamates, including snakes. Very few studies have discussed postnatal development in snakes, with none incorporating data from all three major ontogenetic stages – embryonic, juvenile, and adult. Here, we provide the first analysis encompassing these three ontogenetic stages for any squamate, using the first complete micro-computed tomography (micro-CT)-based segmentations of any non-adult snake, based on fresh specimens of Thamnophis radix. The most significant changes involve the feeding apparatus, with major elongation of the tooth-bearing elements and jaw suspensorium causing a posterior shift in the jaw articulation. This shift enables macrostomy (large-gaped feeding in snakes) and occurs in T. radix via a different developmental trajectory than in most other macrostomatans, indicating that the evolution of macrostomy is more complex than previously thought. The braincase of T. radix is also evolutionarily unique among derived snakes in lacking a crista circumfenestralis, a phenomenon considered herein to represent paedomorphic retention of the embryonic condition. We thus present a number of important challenges to current paradigms regarding snake cranial evolution.
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Humans usually assess things not according to their absolute value, but relative to reference points - a main tenant of Prospect Theory. For example, people rate a new salary relative to previous salaries and salaries of their peers, rather than absolute income. We demonstrate a similar effect in an insect: ants expecting to find low quality food showed higher acceptance of medium quality food than ants expecting medium quality, and vice versa for high expectations. Further experiments demonstrate that these contrast effects arise from cognitive rather than mere sensory or pre-cognitive perceptual causes. Social information gained inside the nest can also serve as a reference point: the quality of food received from other ants affected the perceived value of food found later. Value judgement is a key element in decision making, and thus relative value perception strongly influences which option is chosen and ultimately how all animals make decisions.
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Extant medusozoans (phylum Cnidaria) are dominated by forms showing tetraradial symmetry, but stem-group medusozoans of early Cambrian age collectively exhibit tetra-, bi-, penta-, and hexa-radial symmetry. Moreover, the developmental and evolutionary relationships between four-fold and other types of radial symmetry in medusozoans remain poorly understood. Here we describe a new hexangulaconulariid, Septuconularia yanjiaheensis n. gen. n. sp., from Bed 5 of the Yanjiahe Formation (Cambrian Stage 2) in the Three Gorges area of Hupei Province, China. The laterally compressed, biradially symmetrical periderm of this species possesses 14 gently tapered faces, the most of any hexangulaconulariid described thus far. The faces are bordered by longitudinal ridges and crossed by short, irregularly spaced transverse ribs. Longitudinally, the periderm consists of three regions that probably correspond, respectively, to an embryonic stage, a transient juvenile stage, and a long adult stage. Septuconularia yanjiaheensis n. gen. n. sp. may have been derived from six-faced Hexaconularia (Fortunian Stage), which is morphologically intermediate between Septuconularia yanjiaheensis n. gen. n. sp. and Arthrochites. Furthermore, conulariids sensu stricto, carinachitiids and hexangulaconulariids may constitute a monophyletic group united by possession of an organic or organo-phosphatic periderm exhibiting longitudinal (corner) sulci, a facial midline, and offset of transverse ribs along the facial midline.
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We present an ultra-high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dataset of an ex vivo human brain specimen. The brain specimen was donated by a 58-year-old woman who had no history of neurological disease and died of non-neurological causes. After fixation in 10% formalin, the specimen was imaged on a 7 Tesla MRI scanner at 100 µm isotropic resolution using a custom-built 31-channel receive array coil. Single-echo multi-flip Fast Low-Angle SHot (FLASH) data were acquired over 100 hours of scan time (25 hours per flip angle), allowing derivation of a T1 parameter map and synthesized FLASH volumes. This dataset provides an unprecedented view of the three-dimensional neuroanatomy of the human brain. To optimize the utility of this resource, we warped the dataset into standard stereotactic space. We now distribute the dataset in both native space and stereotactic space to the academic community via multiple platforms. We envision that this dataset will have a broad range of investigational, educational, and clinical applications that will advance understanding of human brain anatomy in health and disease.
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Humans can use an intuitive sense of statistics to make predictions about uncertain future events, a cognitive skill that underpins logical and mathematical reasoning. Recent research shows that some of these abilities for statistical inferences can emerge in preverbal infants and non-human primates such as apes and capuchins. An important question is therefore whether animals share the full complement of intuitive reasoning abilities demonstrated by humans, as well as what evolutionary contexts promote the emergence of such skills. Here, we examined whether free-ranging rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) can use probability information to infer the most likely outcome of a random lottery, in the first test of whether primates can make such inferences in the absence of direct prior experience. We developed a novel expectancy-violation looking time task, adapted from prior studies of infants, in order to assess the monkeys' expectations. In Study 1, we confirmed that monkeys (n = 20) looked similarly at different sampled items if they had no prior knowledge about the population they were drawn from. In Study 2, monkeys (n = 80) saw a dynamic ‘lottery’ machine containing a mix of two types of fruit outcomes, and then saw either the more common fruit (expected trial) or the relatively rare fruit (unexpected trial) fall from the machine. We found that monkeys looked longer when they witnessed the unexpected outcome. In Study 3, we confirmed that this effect depended on the causal relationship between the sample and the population, not visual mismatch: monkeys (n = 80) looked equally at both outcomes if the experimenter pulled the sampled item from her pocket. These results reveal that rhesus monkeys spontaneously use information about probability to reason about likely outcomes, and show how comparative studies of nonhumans can disentangle the evolutionary history of logical reasoning capacities.
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While the ramifications associated with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) exposures during human pregnancy have yet to be determined, increasing evidence in humans and animal models suggests that these compounds cause neurodevelopmental toxicity. Human embryonic stem cell models (hESCs) can be used to study the effects of environmental chemicals on the successive stages of neuronal development. Here, using a hESC differentiation model, we investigated the effects of common PBDE congeners (BDE-47 or -99) on the successive stages of early neuronal development. First, we determined the points of vulnerability to PBDEs across four stages of in vitro neural development by using assays to assess for cytotoxicity. Differentiated neural progenitors were identified to be more sensitive to PBDEs than their less differentiated counterparts. In follow-up investigations, we observed BDE-47 to inhibit functional processes critical for neurogenesis (e.g., proliferation, migration) in hESC-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs) at sub-lethal concentrations. Finally, to determine the mechanism(s) underlying PBDE-toxicity, we conducted global transcriptomic and methylomic analyses of BDE-47. We identified 589 genes to be differentially expressed (DE) due to BDE-47 exposure, including molecules involved in oxidative stress mediation, cell cycle, hormone signaling, steroid metabolism, and neurodevelopmental pathways. In parallel analyses, we identified a significant increase in CpG methylation. In summary, our results suggest, on a cellular level, PBDEs induce human neurodevelopmental toxicity in a concentration-dependent manner and sensitivity to these compounds is dependent on the developmental stage of exposure. Proposed mRNA and methylomic perturbations may underlie toxicity in early embryonic neuronal populations.
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Objectives: The emergence of human-unique cognitive abilities has been linked to our species' extended juvenile period. Comparisons of cognitive development across species can provide new insights into the evolutionary mechanisms shaping cognition. This study examined the development of different components of spatial memory, cognitive mechanisms that support complex foraging, by comparing two species with similar life history that vary in wild ecology: bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Materials and methods: Spatial memory development was assessed using a cross-sectional experimental design comparing apes ranging from infancy to adulthood. Study 1 tested 73 sanctuary-living apes on a task examining recall of a single location after a 1-week delay, compared to an earlier session. Study 2 tested their ability to recall multiple locations within a complex environment. Study 3 examined a subset of individuals from Study 2 on a motivational control task. Results: In Study 1, younger bonobos and chimpanzees of all ages exhibited improved performance in the test session compared to their initial learning experience. Older bonobos, in contrast, did not exhibit a memory boost in performance after the delay. In Study 2, older chimpanzees exhibited an improved ability to recall multiple locations, whereas bonobos did not exhibit any age-related differences. In Study 3, both species were similarly motivated to search for food in the absence of memory demands. Discussion: These results indicate that closely related species with similar life history characteristics can exhibit divergent patterns of cognitive development, and suggests a role of socioecological niche in shaping patterns of cognition in Pan.
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Purpose: Surgical education videos currently all use a single point of view (POV) with the trainee locked onto a fixed viewpoint, which may not deliver sufficient information for complex procedures. We developed a novel multiple POV video system and evaluated its training outcome compared with traditional single POV. Methods: We filmed a hip resurfacing procedure performed by an expert attending using 8 cameras in theatre. 30 medical students were randomly and equally allocated to learn the procedure using the multiple POV (experiment group [EG]) versus single POV system (control group [CG]). Participants advanced a pin into the femoral head as demonstrated in the video. We measured the drilling trajectories and compared it with pre-operative plan to evaluate distance of the pin insertion and angular deviations. Two orthopedic attendings expertly evaluated the participants' performance using a modified global rating scale (GRS). There was a pre-video knowledge test that was repeated post-simulation alongside a Likert-scale questionnaire. Results: The angular deviation of the pin in EG was significantly less by 29% compared to CG (p=0.037), with no significant difference in the entry point's distance between groups (p=0.204). The GRS scores for EG were higher than CG (p=0.046). There was a 32% higher overall knowledge test score (p<0.001) and 21% improved Likert-scale questionnaire score (p=0.002) after video-learning in EG than CG, albeit no significant difference in the knowledge test score before video-learning (p=0.721). Conclusion: The novel multiple POV provided significant objective and subjective advantages over single POV for acquisition of technical skills in hip surgery.
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