- Ashley W Kranjac
- Dinko Kranjac
- Zeev N Kain
- Brooke N Jenkins
Neighborhood socioeconomic context where Latinx children live may influence body weight status. Los Angeles County and Orange County of Southern California both are on the list of the top ten counties with the largest Latinx population in the USA. This heterogeneity allowed us to estimate differential impacts of neighborhood environment on children's body mass index z-scores by race/ethnicity using novel methods and a rich data source. We geocoded pediatric electronic medical record data from a predominantly Latinx sample and characterized neighborhoods into unique residential contexts using latent profile modeling techniques. We estimated multilevel linear regression models that adjust for comorbid conditions and found that a child's place of residence independently associates with higher body mass index z-scores. Interactions further reveal that Latinx children living in Middle-Class neighborhoods have higher BMI z-scores than Asian and Other Race children residing in the most disadvantaged communities. Our findings underscore the complex relationship between community racial/ethnic composition and neighborhood socioeconomic context on body weight status during childhood.
Hagfishes defend themselves from gill-breathing predators by producing large volumes of fibrous slime when attacked. The slime's effectiveness comes from its ability to clog predators' gills, but the mechanisms by which hagfish slime clogs are uncertain, especially given its remarkably dilute concentration of solids. We quantified the clogging performance of hagfish slime over a range of concentrations, measured the contributions of its mucous and thread components, and measured the effect of turbulent mixing on clogging. To assess the porous structure of hagfish slime, we used a custom device to measure its Darcy permeability. We show that hagfish slime clogs at extremely dilute concentrations like those found in native hagfish slime and displays clogging performance that is superior to three thickening agents. We report an extremely low Darcy permeability for hagfish slime, and an effective pore size of 10-300 nm. We also show that the mucous and thread components play distinct yet crucial roles, with mucus being responsible for effective clogging and low permeability and the threads imparting mechanical strength and retaining clogging function over time. Our results provide new insights into the mechanisms by which hagfish slime clogs gills and may inspire the development of ultra-soft materials with novel properties.
This paper considers the matter of representation in Vedānta by examining key claims in the Ṛgveda and the Upaniṣad s, which are some of its principal texts. Specifically, we consider the logic behind the paradoxical verses on creation and the conception of consciousness as the ground on which the physical universe exists. This also is the template that explains the logical structure underlying the principal affirmations of the Upaniṣad s. The five elements and consciousness are taken to pervade each other, which explains how gross matter is taken to consist of all the four different kinds of atoms that get manifested in different states of the substance. The verses on creation are an example of the use of catuṣkoṭi in Indian philosophy prior to the use of it by Nāgārjuna in the Madhyamaka tradition. It also contrasts central ideas of Vedānta with the corresponding contemporary scientific ideas on consciousness.
The connection between epipelagic and deep-sea mesopelagic realms controls a variety of ecosystem processes including oceanic carbon storage and the provision of harvestable fish stocks. So far, these two layers have been mostly addressed in isolation and the ways they connect remain poorly understood. Furthermore, both systems are affected by climate change, exploitation of resources, and increasing pervasion of pollutants. Here we use bulk isotopes of δ13C and δ15N of 60 ecosystem components to evaluate the trophic linkage between epipelagic and mesopelagic ecosystems in warm oligotrophic waters. Additionally, we determined and compare isotopic-niche sizes and overlaps for multiple species to evaluate how environmental gradients between epipelagic and mesopelagic ecosystems shape ecological patterns of resource use and competition between species. Our database comprises siphonophores, crustaceans, cephalopods, salpas, fishes, and seabirds. It also includes five zooplankton size classes, two groups of fish larvae, and particulate organic matter collected at different depths. Through this wide taxonomic and trophic variety of epipelagic and mesopelagic species, we show that pelagic species access resources originating from different food sources, mostly autotrophic-based (epipelagics) and microbial heterotrophic-based (mesopelagics). This leads to a sharp trophic dissimilarity between vertical layers. Additionally, we show that trophic specialization increases in deep-sea species and argue that food availability and environmental stability are among the main drivers of this pattern. Finally, we discuss how the ecological traits of pelagic species highlighted in this study can respond to human impacts and increase their vulnerability in the Anthropocene.
The present study provides a comparative analysis of the media convergence of China Media Group and US Agency for Global Media to illustrate the increasing US–China rivalry in international communication. It yields the following tentative findings: Both have been undergoing rigorous development at the technological and operational levels of convergence to enhance international communication; both are made to show more explicit loyalty to its official ideology, and both have become more monolithic via convergence; both have integrated their broadcasting services for an increasingly integrated market of information and news; both seem to be weaponizing itself against each other to fuel rivalry in international communication between the two nations rather than deepening mutual understanding and cooperation for mutual good and global good. The two case studies reveal that media convergence has not been able to liberate journalism from nationalistic constraints and transform it into an instrument to spawn new ideas and disseminate high-quality information and news for global public good.
This paper contributes to the literature on how diversity impacts groups by exploring how communication mediates the ability of diverse individuals to work together. To do so we incorporate a communication channel into a representative model of problem-solving by teams of diverse agents that provides the foundations for one of the most widely cited analytical results in the literature on diversity and team performance: the "Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem". We extend the model to account for the fact that communication between agents is a necessary feature of team problem-solving, and we introduce the possibility that this communication occurs with error, and that this error might sometimes be correlated with how different agents are from one another. Accounting for communication does not give us reason to reject the claim associated with the theorem, that functionally diverse teams tend to outperform more homogeneous teams (even when the homogeneous teams are comprised of individuals with more task relevant expertise). However, incorporating communication into our model clarifies the role that four factors play in moderating the extent to which teams capture the benefits of functional diversity: i) the complexity of the problem, ii) the number of available approaches to solving the problem, iii) the ways of encoding or conceptualizing a problem, and iv) institutional characteristics, such as how teams work together. Specifically, we find that whether (and to what extent) teams capture the benefits of functional diversity depends on how these four factors interact with one another. Particularly important is the role institutional dynamics (like search methods) play in moderating or amplifying interpersonal frictions (like miscommunication), and notably we find that institutions that work in one setting can be counterproductive in other settings.
The entry of proteins through the cell membrane is challenging, thus limiting their use as potential therapeutics. Seven cell-penetrating peptides, designed in our laboratory, were evaluated for the delivery of proteins. Fmoc solid-phase peptide synthesis was utilized for the synthesis of seven cyclic or hybrid cyclic–linear amphiphilic peptides composed of hydrophobic (tryptophan (W) or 3,3-diphenylalanine (Dip) and positively-charged arginine (R) residues, such as [WR]4, [WR]9, [WWRR]4, [WWRR]5, [(RW)5K](RW)5, [R5K]W7, and [DipR]5. Confocal microscopy was used to screen the peptides as a protein delivery system of model cargo proteins, green and red fluorescein proteins (GFP and RFP). Based on the confocal microscopy results, [WR]9 and [DipR]5 were found to be more efficient among all the peptides and were selected for further studies. [WR]9 (1–10 µM) + protein (GFP and RFP) physical mixture did not show high cytotoxicity (>90% viability) in triple-negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) after 24 h, while [DipR]5 (1–10 µM) physical mixture with GFP exhibited more than 81% cell viability. Confocal microscopy images revealed internalization of GFP and RFP in MDA-MB-231 cells using [WR]9 (2–10 μM) and [DipR]5 (1–10 µM). Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis indicated that the cellular uptake of GFP was concentration-dependent in the presence of [WR]9 in MDA-MB-231 cells after 3 h of incubation at 37 °C. The concentration-dependent uptake of GFP and RFP was also observed in the presence of [DipR5] in SK-OV-3 and MDA-MB-231 cells after 3 h of incubation at 37 °C. FACS analysis indicated that the cellular uptake of GFP in the presence of [WR]9 was partially decreased by methyl-β-cyclodextrin and nystatin as endocytosis inhibitors after 3 h of incubation in MDA-MB-231 cells, whereas nystatin and chlorpromazine as endocytosis inhibitors slightly reduced the uptake of GFP in the presence of [DipR]5 after 3 h of incubation in MDA-MB-231. [WR]9 was able to deliver therapeutically relevant proteins (Histone H2A) at different concentrations. These results provide insight into the use of amphiphilic cyclic peptides in the delivery of protein-related therapeutics.
The origins of evolutionary games are rooted in both economics and animal behaviour, but economics has, until recently, focused primarily on humans. Although historically, specific games were used in targeted circumstances with non-human species (i.e. the Prisoner's Dilemma), experimental economics has been increasingly recognized as a valuable method for directly comparing both the outcomes of economic decisions and their underlying mechanisms across species, particularly in comparison with humans, thanks to the structured procedures that allow for them to be instantiated across a variety of animals. So far, results in non-human primates suggest that even when outcomes are shared, underlying proximate mechanisms can vary substantially. Intriguingly, in some contexts non-human primates more easily find a Nash equilibrium than do humans, possibly owing to their greater willingness to explore the parameter space, but humans excel at more complex outcomes, such as alternating between two Nash equilibria, even when deprived of language or instruction, suggesting potential mechanisms that humans have evolved to allow us to solve complex social problems. We consider what these results suggest about the evolution of economic decision-making and suggest future directions, in particular the need to expand taxonomic diversity, to expand this promising approach. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Half a century of evolutionary games: a synthesis of theory, application and future directions'.
Little is known about brain aging or dementia in nonindustrialized environments that are similar to how humans lived throughout evolutionary history. This paper examines brain volume (BV) in middle and old age among two indigenous South American populations, the Tsimane and Moseten, whose lifestyles and environments diverge from those in high-income nations. With a sample of 1,165 individuals aged 40 to 94, we analyze population differences in cross-sectional rates of decline in BV with age. We also assess the relationships of BV with energy biomarkers and arterial disease and compare them against findings in industrialized contexts. The analyses test three hypotheses derived from an evolutionary model of brain health, which we call the embarrassment of riches (EOR). The model hypothesizes that food energy was positively associated with late life BV in the physically active, food-limited past, but excess body mass and adiposity are now associated with reduced BV in industrialized societies in middle and older ages. We find that the relationship of BV with both non-HDL cholesterol and body mass index is curvilinear, positive from the lowest values to 1.4 to 1.6 SDs above the mean, and negative from that value to the highest values. The more acculturated Moseten exhibit a steeper decrease in BV with age than Tsimane, but still shallower than US and European populations. Lastly, aortic arteriosclerosis is associated with lower BV. Complemented by findings from the United States and Europe, our results are consistent with the EOR model, with implications for interventions to improve brain health.
Context: The Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test (BCTT) is a standard assessment of exercise tolerance utilized for exercise prescription following concussion and to inform decisions regarding return to play. One limitation of the BCTT is that interpretation of test results is dependent on individuals' self-report of symptom exacerbation with exertion. Symptoms following concussion are significantly underreported or unreported. Combining objective neurocognitive assessment with exercise tolerance testing may enable clinicians to objectively identify those requiring further assessment or rehabilitation before return to play. The purpose of this study was to investigate how performance on a neurocognitive assessment battery is affected by provocative exercise testing. Design: Prospective cohort study, pretest/posttest. Methods: A total of 30 participants included 13 women (43.3%), age 23.4 (1.93) years, height 173.56 (10) cm, weight 77.35 (16.3) kg, and 11 (36.7%) with history of concussion. All participants completed a neurocognitive assessment battery, including the Stroop Test and standardized assessments of working memory, attention, and information processing speed/accuracy in single-task (seated position) and dual-task conditions (walking on a treadmill at 2.0 miles per hour). The neurocognitive assessment battery was performed at baseline and after the standard BCTT test protocol. Results: BCTT: Average percentage of heart rate maximum (%HRmax) = 93.97% (4.8%); average maximum rating of perceived exertion = 18.6 (1.5). Time-based performance in single-task and dual-task conditions significantly improved from baseline (P < .05) following maximal exercise testing on the BCTT for the following neurocognitive assessments: concentration-reverse digits, Stroop congruent, and Stroop incongruent. Conclusions: Healthy participants demonstrated improvements across multiple domains of neurocognitive performance following the exercise tolerance testing on the BCTT. Understanding normal responses in neurocognitive performance for healthy individuals following exercise tolerance testing may allow clinicians to more objectively monitor the trajectory of recovery following sports-related concussion.
The current case study examines the process and components of a multi-site school-wide restorative justice (SWRJ) implementation program. Using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology and the Outcome Logic Model (OLM), the authors describe results from a collaborative program evaluation conducted by university researchers and external specialists implementing SWRJ in five middle schools. OLM results include operational definitions and analyses of the program’s implementation resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes, as well as findings surrounding gaps in practice and outcome monitoring. Key learnings from this case study included the importance of administrator buy-in, focused implementation teams, strong professional development systems, and the utility of systematic program mapping frameworks like OLMs. Identified challenges included leadership turnover in schools, overreliance on individual RJ specialists for implementation, and an imbalance of activities across the tiers. Implications and recommendations for organizational consultants, educational leaders, and school-based restorative justice scholars are discussed.
Correlations are ubiquitous in nature and their principled study is of paramount importance in scientific development. The seminal contributions from John Bell offer a framework for analyzing the correlations between the components of quantum mechanical systems and have instigated an experimental tradition which has recently culminated with the Nobel Prize in Physics (2022). In physics, Bell’s framework allows the demonstration of the non-classical nature of quantum systems just from the analysis of the observed correlation patterns. Bell’s ideas need not be restricted to physics. Our contribution is to show an example of a Bell approach, based on the insight that correlations can be broken down into a part due to common, ostensibly significant causes, and a part due to noise. We employ data from finance (price changes of securities) as an example to demonstrate our approach, highlighting several general applications: first, we demonstrate a new measure of association, informed by the assumed causal relationship between variables. Second, our framework can lead to streamlined Bell-type tests of widely employed models of association, which are in principle applicable to any discipline. In the area of finance, such models of association are Factor Models and the bivariate Gaussian model. Overall, we show that Bell’s approach and the models we consider are applicable as general statistical techniques, without any domain specificity. We hope that our work will pave the way for extending our general understanding for how the structure of associations can be analyzed.
Promises to perform supererogatory actions present an interesting puzzle. On the one hand, this seems like a promise that one should be able to keep simply by performing some good deed or other. On the other hand, the only way to keep it is to do something that exceeds one’s duties. But any good deed that one performs, which might otherwise have been supererogatory, will not go above and beyond what one is morally required to do in such a case because one has an obligation that one does not normally have—namely, an obligation to do something supererogatory. Thus, some scholars have argued that promises of this sort cannot possibly be kept and so are wrong to make. I show that, far from being impossible, keeping promises to supererogate is easy, and so there is nothing wrong with making promises of this sort.
Higher education is a source of skill acquisition for many middle- and high-skilled jobs. But what specific skills do universities impart on students to prepare them for desirable careers? In this study, we analyze a large novel corpora of over one million syllabi from over eight hundred bachelors' granting US educational institutions to connect material taught in higher education to the detailed work activities in the US economy as reported by the US Department of Labor. First, we show how differences in taught skills both within and between college majors correspond to earnings differences of recent graduates. Further, we use the co-occurrence of taught skills across all of academia to predict the skills that will be taught in a major moving forward. Our unified information system connecting workplace skills to the skills taught during higher education can improve the workforce development of high-skilled workers, inform educational programs of future trends, and enable employers to quantify the skills of potential workers.
Estimated heritability of educational attainment (EA) varies widely, from 23% to 80%, with growing evidence suggesting the degree to which genetic variation contributes to individual differences in EA is highly dependent upon situational factors. We aimed to decompose EA into influences attributable to genetic propensity and to environmental context and their interplay, while considering influences of rearing household economic status (HES) and sex. We use the Project Talent Twin and Sibling Study, drawn from the population-representative cohort of high school students assessed in 1960 and followed through 2014, to ages 68-72. Data from 3552 twins and siblings from 1741 families were analyzed using multilevel regression and multiple group structural equation models. Individuals from less-advantaged backgrounds had lower EA and less variation. Genetic variance accounted for 51% of the total variance, but within women and men, 40% and 58% of the total variance respectively. Men had stable genetic variance on EA across all HES strata, whereas high HES women showed the same level of genetic influence as men, and lower HES women had constrained genetic influence on EA. Unexpectedly, middle HES women showed the largest constraints in genetic influence on EA. Shared family environment appears to make an outsized contribution to greater variability for women in this middle stratum and whether they pursue more EA. Implications are that without considering early life opportunity, genetic studies on education may mischaracterize sex differences because education reflects different degrees of genetic and environmental influences for women and men.
A picture description task is a component of Miro Health's platform for self-administration of neurobehavioral assessments. Picture description has been used as a screening tool for identification of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), but currently requires in-person administration and scoring by someone with access to and familiarity with a scoring rubric. The Miro Health implementation allows broader use of this assessment through self-administration and automated processing, analysis, and scoring to deliver clinically useful quantifications of the users' speech production, vocal characteristics, and language. Picture description responses were collected from 62 healthy controls (HC), and 33 participants with MCI: 18 with amnestic MCI (aMCI) and 15 with non-amnestic MCI (naMCI). Speech and language features and contrasts between pairs of features were evaluated for differences in their distributions in the participant subgroups. Picture description features were selected and combined using penalized logistic regression to form risk scores for classification of HC versus MCI as well as HC versus specific MCI subtypes. A picture-description based risk score distinguishes MCI and HC with an area under the receiver operator curve (AUROC) of 0.74. When contrasting specific subtypes of MCI and HC, the classifiers have an AUROC of 0.88 for aMCI versus HC and and AUROC of 0.61 for naMCI versus HC. Tests of association of individual features or contrasts of pairs of features with HC versus aMCI identified 20 features with p-values below 5e-3 and False Discovery Rates (FDRs) at or below 0.113, and 61 contrasts with p-values below 5e-4 and FDRs at or below 0.132. Findings suggest that performance of picture description as a screening tool for MCI detection will vary greatly by MCI subtype or by the proportion of various subtypes in an undifferentiated MCI population.
When attacked, hagfishes produce a soft, fibrous defensive slime within a fraction of a second by ejecting mucus and threads into seawater. The rapid setup and remarkable expansion of the slime make it a highly effective and unique form of defense. How this biomaterial evolved is unknown, although circumstantial evidence points to the epidermis as the origin of the thread- and mucus-producing cells in the slime glands. Here, we describe large intracellular threads within a putatively homologous cell type from hagfish epidermis. These epidermal threads averaged ~2 mm in length and ~0.5 μm in diameter. The entire hagfish body is covered by a dense layer of epidermal thread cells, with each square millimeter of skin storing a total of ~96 cm threads. Experimentally induced damage to a hagfish's skin caused the release of threads, which together with mucus, formed an adhesive epidermal slime that is more fibrous and less dilute than the defensive slime. Transcriptome analysis further suggests that epidermal threads are ancestral to the slime threads, with duplication and diversification of thread genes occurring in parallel with the evolution of slime glands. Our results support an epidermal origin of hagfish slime, which may have been driven by selection for stronger and more voluminous slime.
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