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Article: Detecting the unexpected[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensory input is inherently dynamic and redundant. Humans and animals alike show a remarkable ability to extract regularities from the sensory scene and dynamically update their responses to the environment. This type of short-term plasticity occurs on time scales ranging from seconds to minutes (and possibly longer). Mismatch Negativity (a component of the human event-related potentials, MMN) and Stimulus Specific Adaptation (a single-neuron analogue, SSA) are two examples of this form of short-term plasticity. Conceptually, both are thought to express a form of surprise and to represent predictive processing. MMN and SSA therefore provide us with handles for investigating this important time scale of short-term plasticity. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abscission of young fruitlets is a widespread phenomenon in fruit trees termed ‘physiological fruitlet drop’ (PFD). For some fruit crops, the rate of PFD is agriculturally sufficient, and in many cases too intense. In apples (Malus domestica) PFD is insufficient since without additional fruitlet thinning, fruits will not reach commercial size and trees will enter a cycle of alternate bearing. An apple inflorescence contains 5–6 flowers, the terminal king flower is the first to initiate, the first to reach anthesis, and is considered the fruitlet with the lowest chance to go through PFD. The last flower to initiate and later reach anthesis is termed lateral 1 (L1), and it has the highest probability to enter PFD. A better understanding of the PFD process might lead to more precise thinning procedures. The current hypothesis is that the ‘sink strength’ of the L1 fruitlet is weak compared to king fruitlet, thus L1 will enter a nutritional shortage which will lead to its developmental arrest and abscission. Based on this hypothesis, we assumed that the concentration of carbohydrates (soluble sugars and starch) would be highest in king and lowest in L1.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death among kidney transplant recipients. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for cardiovascular events and decreases graft survival. Lately, guidelines for management of the metabolic syndrome, primarily hypertension, diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypercholesterolemia have dramatically changed in an attempt to decrease cardiovascular risks among kidney transplant recipients. In the present study we examined whether these guideline changes had impact on our management of post-transplantation patients and the subsequent treatment outcomes for these diseases. Methods: Data were obtained from kidney transplant clinic files from two follow-up (FU) periods-between 1994-1997 and between 2008-2011. Demographic data, monitoring and screening frequency for cardiovascular risk factors, immunosuppression regimen, treatment for hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia, treatment outcomes and graft function changes were compared between the two follow-up periods. Results: There was a significant increase in the percentage of patients undergoing transplantation due to renal failure secondary to diabetes and/or hypertension. Patient monitoring and screening during the second FU period were less frequent, but more targeted, reflecting changes in clinic routines. Blood pressure was better controlled in the second FU period (p < 0.01), as was hypercholesterolemia (p < 0.001). High fasting glucose levels were more prevalent among patients in the second group (p < 0.005), although more patients received treatment for DM (p < 0.001). Significantly, fewer patients experienced deterioration of kidney functions during the second FU period (p < 0.001). Conclusions: We found that guideline changes had impact on clinical practice, which translated to better control of the metabolic syndrome. DM control is challenging. Overall, stability of kidney function improved.
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