Designer drugs, like Spice, are synthetic psychoactive analogs of illegal substances with understudied health effects since they have traditionally been sold in packages labeled “not for human consumption” and the molecular structures can be specifically altered to circumvent legislation. Recent legislation has focused on regulating packaging and has reduced, but not eliminated, the distribution of Spice in Alaska. Legally obtained Spice samples from three geographic regions in Alaska were analyzed using liquid injection gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Most (70%) of the samples contained illegal cannabinoids that have been regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency and 47% contained multiple active ingredients. We hypothesized that the heterogeneity of the active ingredients between brands and across regions could be used to indicate small or larger-scale manufacturing, and the results indicate multiple manufacturing scales.
Although the idea that beauty is hereditary seems commonsensical, considering that other facial features have been shown to be affected by genes, it is not clear what the overall effect on attractiveness these inherited features have. The purpose of the study was to investigate the veracity of the statement that beauty is hereditary.
With the rise of individuals attending music festivals each year, some have turned to illicit substances like 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in hopes to enhance their experience. MDMA is known to activate dopaminergic mesolimbic reward pathway areas of the brain such as the ventral pallidum, the ventral striatum, and the nucleus accumbens. In addition, the perception of positive consonant music also increases the activation of similar areas of the mesolimbic pathway as activated by MDMA, thus reinforcing any addictive behaviors during the consumption of MDMA at music festivals. Recently, the reappearance of opioids, such as fentanyl, with MDMA has contributed to fatalities correlated to MDMA consumption at music festivals.
Depression is a serious mental disorder that is highly prevalent among Canadians. Stigma associated with depression is a key barrier in preventing depressed individuals from seeking psychological services. This type of help-seeking behavior is especially low in Asian individuals, which can be accounted for by the stigmatization of depression in this population. However, little research has been conducted on depression stigma in East Asian Canadians; specifically, those who are Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Furthermore, no research has directly investigated self-stigma for depression in this population.
The Lorentz-violating Standard-Model Extension is a general framework with coefficients that describe potential violations of special and general relativity. Many constraints that have been placed on the Standard-Model Extension (SME) involve combinations of multiple coefficients. We untangle some of these constraints to obtain simpler bounds on the basic SME coefficients that appear in the fundamental action of the framework and focus on the electron cμv coefficients, which affect the electron’s dispersion relation in a Lorentz-violating vacuum. We find several constraints are some of the most sensitive yet reported.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a very important role in the human body for our survival. This is due to its ability to play a critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of the human body, which encompasses the brain, endocrine, and immune system, to name a few. ECS is a unique system in multiple dimensions. To begin with, it is a retrograde system functioning post- to pre-synapse, allowing it to be a “master regulator” in the body. Secondly, it has a very wide scope of influence due to an abundance of cannabinoid receptors located anywhere from immune cells to neurons. Finally, cannabinoids are rapidly synthesized and degraded, so they do not stay in the body for very long in high amounts, possibly enabling cannabinoid therapy to be a safer alternative to opioids or benzodiazepines.
The confocal laser fluorescence microscope (CLFM) enables viewing fluorescing objects and creating 3D images by optical sectioning. The CLFM can potentially be used to view, count, and analyze oil droplets, which have naturally fluorescing properties, by image processing techniques. However, many factors, including sample oil concentration, number of optical sections per stack, quantity and location of stacks, and threshold value for grayscale to binary image processing affect the intensity of fluorescence in the images produced and the oil concentration that is calculated. This study aims to establish patterns between these variables and a methodology to accurately calculate oil concentrations.
The main aim of the World Hope Index (WHI) is to help readers understand that hope can be perceived as a social product. This has been done through creating an index and quantifying Hope levels for 131 countries around the world for 2017. The paper also attempts to move the discourse of measuring human welfare and prosperity forward, from GDP growth rate and the Human Development Index to a new form of measure, being the World Hope Index.
Social isolation and loneliness are strong risk factors for depression. Depression is highly prevalent, comorbid with eating disorders and disproportionately diagnosed in women. Still, the mechanisms underlying these disorders are incompletely understood and understudied in females. We used a social isolation model for depression to investigate its impact on binge- eating high-fat food in female mice.
Amphiphilic self-assembly is integral to membrane formation in the cellular environment. Prebiotic structures are guided by carbonaceous meteorites representative of components found on primitive Earth, such as simpler amphiphiles and fatty acids. The membrane assembly is an essential step to the protection of protocells in the hydrothermal environment, where they are introduced to high temperatures and osmotic tensions in hydrative and dehydrative cycles. Stabilization factors allow vesicles to compartmentalize from the larger hydrothermal environment, preventing the denaturation of non-template directed nucleic acid chains and other synthesized peptides. The presence of protein homopolymers in carbonaceous materials and their synthesis in simulated prebiotic conditions make them likely candidates for stabilizing lipid vesicles. In this study, protein homopolymers were analyzed for efficiency in decreasing vesicle permeability through kinetic spectrophotometry and retention of fluorescent labels in internal lamellar layers.
Early intervention is often recommended for children with cleft palate, although speech outcomes over the course of intervention have not been extensively documented. The primary objective of this study was to describe the change in use of deletions and substitutions in speech over the course of early intervention for children with cleft palate, with or without cleft lip (CP +/- L). Data from 25 participants were included in this analysis. The participants were part of a randomized control trial comparing Enhanced Milieu Teaching with Phonological Emphasis (EMT+PE) to a business-as-usual (BAU) group. Participants’ speech errors were evaluated at four time points using the Profiles of Early Expressive Phonological Skills.
The increased popularity of micro-satellites puts great demand for precise measurement of thrust and impulse bits. Conventional methods cannot be used for this purpose because the extremely low values are significantly affected by background noise. This paper explains the development of a test bench to measure thrust between 0.1 and 1.0mN and impulse bits between 0.01 and 1mNs for micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) based micro-thrusters.
Improper handling and the failure to maintain vaccines in a safe temperature range results in significant losses of vaccines in the rural developing world. This issue has reduced the success of immunization programs in the developing world, and consequently confidence in vaccinations. For vaccine refrigeration and delivery at the end stage of the cold chain, active thermoelectric cooling is a potentially viable alternative because the coolers are small and require few or no moving parts. A vaccine cooling system was constructed employing a Peltier-based thermoelectric chip (TEC) affixed to an aluminum block that holds the vaccine vials; a movable copper plate was interposed between the block and the TEC, acting as a thermal diode to prevent backflow of heat from the TEC into the vaccine holder.
Modern cancer treatments have numerous negative side effects and do not always produce desired outcomes. Herbs and spices represent alternative solutions to modern medicine and provide effective cancer prevention and treatment. They have also been used for generations in treating various ailments. Traditional Ayurvedic herbs and spices provide promising new therapeutic agents for breast cancer treatment due to their anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Allopathic treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy present several side-effects that affect cell growth and negatively impact human organs. Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies slow the growth of breast cancer cells, which improves the patient’s quality of life when an allopathic line of treatment is contraindicated. Turmeric has a long history of use as a traditional Ayurvedic medicine not only due to its antibiotic characteristics but also its ability to improve digestion and strengthen intestinal flora.
Cancer patients experience a higher rate of depression and anxiety which can result in negative healthcare outcomes. With the limited treatment options available, there has been an interest in using psychedelics such as psilocybin to manage such complications. Recently, two studies demonstrated the potential of psilocybin in not only reducing distress, but also increasing positive emotions in cancer patients. It is thus interesting to further examine this issue. This review paper will first provide a brief introduction to psilocybin and proceed to summarize key findings from these two studies.
This study developed a method for the assay of respiration in free swimming Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). The technique employed direct monitoring of acidification of medium by these nematodes. Samples which might affect respiration were examined, including sugars and Escherichia coli (E. coli), the laboratory food source for C. elegans. The bacteria stimulated respiration but the sugars did not. The decrease in fluid environment pH is blocked by sodium azide, a known mitochondrial inhibitor. This monitoring was achieved using pH probes.
Mesenchymal progenitor cells are widely studied for their ability to regulate macrophage cell responses and can be suppressive or supportive during an inflammatory response. Mouse aorta-derived progenitors (mAo) support the macrophage inflammatory response and highly express CD105, also known as endoglin. Elevated CD105 expression is consistently associated with inflammatory disease. Therefore, we hypothesized that suppression of CD105 will reduce the immunosupportive capacity of mAo mesenchymal progenitors. We used siRNA to reduce expression of CD105 in mAo cells. We subsequently examined the effect of this deficiency in their response to both lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and their ability to support the macrophage inflammatory response.
Mitochondrial proteins are vital regulators of cellular metabolism, with their roles ranging from energy generation to cell apoptosis. Furthering our understanding of the structures and spatio-temporal dynamics of mitochondrial proteins is therefore central to the elucidation of various metabolic mechanisms. Mitochondrial metabolic disorder is one of the most commonly inherited human diseases. Despite its prevalence, it is difficult to be diagnosed at early stages because of the disparate disease genotypes and phenotypes. Thus, advancing means of cataloguing the extensive mitochondrial proteome is crucial for clarifying the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases. Such information would provide considerable insight into the improvement of current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the disorders. The requirement of purification and the low resolution of conventional imaging techniques impede the study of mitochondrial proteins in situ. Recent developments of imaging techniques, such as single molecule holography, photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM), and stimulated emission depletion (STED), allow for the visualization of proteins down to single molecule resolution in situ. This enables direct study of protein activity mechanisms with considerations of the contributions given by their native environments. In this review, we summarize the limitations of conventional structural techniques, such as X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), specific to studying mitochondrial proteins.
Past studies have examined the impact of M-rated, very violent video games and E-rated non-violent video games on attention and concentration ability. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of brief exposure to an E10-rated, mildly-violent video game had on short-term attention and concentration ability in 15- to 17-year-old males with moderate-use video gameplay histories. Subjects were randomly assigned into playing either an E10-rated, mildly-violent video game or a trivia card game for 45 minutes. The subjects in the experimental group performed significantly worse on the neuropsychological measure of attention and concentration (Digit Span Forward [DSF]) compared to those in the control group, who showed consistent performance before and after the exposure. The findings in this study are unique, as this is the first time that the impact of an E10-rated, mildly-violent video game on a player’s short-term attention and concentration ability has been examined.
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) systems have revolutionized the life sciences since their development as an experimental tool in 2012. Native CRISPR systems act in prokaryotes as an adaptive immune system against invading genetic elements, such as viral DNA. These systems recognize invading nucleic acids, insert segments of the sequence in the host genome, and use these sequences to recognize and destroy the viral element if the cell is invaded again. In recent years, proteins from CRISPR systems, particularly the Cas9 nuclease, have been repurposed for different applications, such as gene editing experiments, large scale genetic screens, and imaging of DNA elements. CRISPR systems have dramatically increased the ease and efficiency of genome engineering, and further investigation and development of these systems is likely to continue for years to come.
Infections caused by H. pylori are associated with multiple gastrointestinal diseases. To effectively reduce disease-related morbidity is to ensure the absolute eradication of the organism. The stomach plays a vital role in endowing survival strategies to H. pylori by inducing stress-hardening and cross-resistance, which helps them resist the acidic gastric ecosystem and administered antibiotics, respectively. An unstable gastric pH can cause phenotypic alteration, which induces a non-proliferative state in the bacteria, makes them refractory to antibiotics.
Etheostoma is a genus of North American darter fish whose species have similar habitats and breeding seasons, yet hybridization is rare. Behavioral barriers have been demonstrated to play a key role in maintaining species boundaries. Further, conspecific (same species) sperm precedence has also been observed when the gametes of two different species come into contact. In this study, we investigated if physical characteristics of sperm could be a mechanism for the lower fertilization success of heterospecific (different species) males when eggs are simultaneously exposed to conspecific and heterospecific sperm. We chose to examine the sperm of two closely related species, E. zonale and E. barrenense.