To gain insight into the complex microbiome-gut-brain axis in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), several modalities of biological and clinical data must be combined. We aimed to identify profiles of fecal microbiota and metabolites associated with IBS and to delineate specific phenotypes of IBS that represent potential pathophysiological mechanisms. Fecal metabolites were measured using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy and gut microbiome using shotgun metagenomic sequencing (MGS) in a combined dataset of 142 IBS patients and 120 healthy controls (HCs) with extensive clinical, biological and phenotype information. Data were analyzed using support vector classification and regression and kernel t-SNE. Microbiome and metabolome profiles could distinguish IBS and HC with an area-under-the-receiver-operator-curve of 77.3% and 79.5%, respectively, but this could be improved by combining microbiota and metabolites to 83.6%. No significant differences in predictive ability of the microbiome-metabolome data were observed between the three classical, stool pattern-based, IBS subtypes. However, unsupervised clustering showed distinct subsets of IBS patients based on fecal microbiome-metabolome data. These clusters could be related plasma levels of serotonin and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetate, effects of psychological stress on gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, onset of IBS after stressful events, medical history of previous abdominal surgery, dietary caloric intake and IBS symptom duration. Furthermore, pathways in metabolic reaction networks were integrated with microbiota data, that reflect the host-microbiome interactions in IBS. The identified microbiome-metabolome signatures for IBS, associated with altered serotonin metabolism and unfavorable stress response related to GI symptoms, support the microbiota-gut-brain link in the pathogenesis of IBS.
There is considerable variability in disease progression for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) including the age of disease onset, site of disease onset, and survival time. There is growing evidence that short structural variations (SSVs) residing in frequently overlooked genomic regions can contribute to complex disease mechanisms and can explain, in part, the phenotypic variability in ALS patients. Here, we discuss SSVs recently characterized by our laboratory and how these discoveries integrate into the current literature on ALS, particularly in the context of application to future clinical trials. These markers may help to identify and differentiate patients for clinical trials that have a similar ALS disease mechanism(s), thereby reducing the impact of participant heterogeneity. As evidence accumulates for the genetic markers discovered in SQSTM1 , SCAF4 , and STMN2 , we hope to improve the outcomes of future ALS clinical trials.
Background Clinical data suggest that male reproductive dysfunction especially infertility is a critical issue for type 1 diabetic patient (T1D) because most of them are at the reproductive age. Gut dysbiosis is involved in T1D related male infertility. However, the improved gut microbiota can be used to boost spermatogenesis and male fertility in T1D remains incompletely understood. Methods T1D was established in ICR (CD1) mice with streptozotocin. Alginate oligosaccharide (AOS) improved gut microbiota (fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from AOS improved gut microbiota; A10-FMT) was transplanted into the T1D mice by oral administration. Semen quality, gut microbiota, blood metabolism, liver, and spleen tissues were determined to investigate the beneficial effects of A10-FMT on spermatogenesis and underlying mechanisms. Results We found that A10-FMT significantly decreased blood glucose and glycogen, and increased semen quality in streptozotocin-induced T1D subjects. A10-FMT improved T1D-disturbed gut microbiota, especially the increase in small intestinal lactobacillus , and blood and testicular metabolome to produce n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to ameliorate spermatogenesis and semen quality. Moreover, A10-FMT can improve spleen and liver functions to strengthen the systemic environment for sperm development. FMT from gut microbiota of control animals (Con-FMT) produced some beneficial effects; however, to a smaller extent. Conclusions AOS-improved gut microbiota (specific microbes) may serve as a novel, promising therapeutic approach for the improvement of semen quality and male fertility in T1D patients via gut microbiota-testis axis.
Background Changes in pain sensitivity are a commonly suggested mechanism for the clinical effect of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). Most research has examined pressure pain thresholds (PPT) and has primarily been conducted in controlled experimental setups and on asymptomatic populations. Many important factors are likely to differ between research and clinical settings, which may affect PPT changes following SMT. Therefore, we planned to investigate PPT before and after clinical chiropractic care and investigate relationships with various potentially clinically-relevant factors. Methods We recruited participants from four Danish chiropractic clinics between May and August 2021. A total of 129 participants (72% of the invited) were included. We measured PPT at eight pre-determined test sites (six spinal and two extra-spinal) immediately before ( pre-session ) and immediately after ( post-session ) the chiropractic consultation. We used regression analyses to investigate PPT changes, including the following factors: (i) vertebral distance to the nearest SMT site, (ii) rapid clinical response, (iii) baseline PPT, (iv) number of SMTs performed, (v) at the region of clinical pain compared to other regions, and (vi) if other non-SMT treatment was provided. We also performed topographic mapping of pre-session PPTs. Results After the consultation, there was a non-significant mean increase in PPT of 0.14 kg (95% CIs = − 0.01 to 0.29 kg). No significant associations were found with the distance between the PPT test site and nearest SMT site, the clinical response of participants to treatment, the pre-session PPT, the total number of SMTs performed, or the region/s of clinical pain. A small increase was observed if myofascial treatment was also provided. Topographic mapping found greater pre-session PPTs in a caudal direction, not affected by the region/s of clinical pain. Conclusions This study of real-world chiropractic patients failed to demonstrate a substantial local or generalized increase in PPT following a clinical encounter that included SMT. This runs counter to prior laboratory research and questions the generalizability of highly experimental setups investigating the effect of SMT on PPT to clinical practice.
Introduction Some chiropractors seem to have an inflated belief in the powers of spinal manipulation (SMT), for example aiming at preventing future spinal degeneration and health problems, activities that are without supporting evidence. Non-evidenced health beliefs have been shown to be associated with a tendency toward magical thinking. Holding such beliefs about SMT is associated with a limitless scope of practice (LLSoP). Recent studies have shown that “chiropractic conservatism” (ChiroCon) is also associated with such approaches. We wanted to understand ChiroCon and these attitudes toward SMT by exploring three different factors: intolerance to uncertainty, academic achievement, and tendency toward magical thinking and how they relate to ChiroCon and LLSoP. Method A cross-sectional survey of 243 chiropractic students from an Australian chiropractic program was conducted in May 2020. Students answered a questionnaire involving a patient case-scenario for LLSoP, levels of ChiroCon, validated questionnaires on (i) Intolerance of uncertainty, (ii) Academic achievement, and (iii) Magical thinking. LLSoP was defined as wanting to treat with SMT a 5-year-old asymptomatic child for future (i) Musculoskeletal (MSK) problems and/or (ii) Non-musculoskeletal diseases. Logistic regression models were used to confirm if there was an association between ChiroCon and LLSoP and to explore associations between LLSoP and (i) Intolerance of uncertainty, (ii) Academic achievement, and (iii) Magical thinking. We repeated the same analyses using ChiroCon as the outcome variable. Results We confirmed that chiropractic students in the more extreme ChiroCon group were more likely to want to prevent future spinal disorders in an asymptomatic 5-year-old child as compared to those with lower levels (OR = 3.9, (95%CI 1.97–7.72). This was also the case for the prevention of future diseases in the same child (OR = 6.9, (95%CI 3.11–15.06). Of the three predictor variables, magical belief was positively associated with both ChiroCon and LLSoP. Conclusion Not surprisingly, ChiroCon is closely related to LLSoP and both were linked to magical thinking. Therefore, the questionnaire ‘Magical Health Beliefs’ could be a useful instrument to screen future chiropractic students to prevent a mismatch between student and institution. Depending on the outlook of the school, some schools would welcome these students, whereas other institutions would want to avoid them in their education program.
Many anthropogenic pressures are being exerted on terrestrial ecosystems globally, perhaps the most pressing of which include microplastics (MPs; <5 mm in size) pollution and climate change, both of which may have unpredictable consequences on soil ecosystem functioning. We therefore hypothesized that a dual pressure (MPs and warming) on plant-soil functioning would be more severe than either stress alone. Thus, we studied the interactive effects of MPs and warming on soil quality and ecosystem multifunctionality. Maize (Zea mays L.) was grown for 6 weeks under ambient and warming (+5 °C) conditions in the absence (control) or presence (5 % loading) of either polyethylene (PE), polyvinylchloride (PVC), or biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). We found that PHA stimulated microbial biomass and enzyme activity due to the additional C resources, thus changing soil quality and ecosystem multifunctionality under ambient temperature. However, the accelerated microbial growth in PHA-treated soils also promoted N immobilization and plant–microbe nutrient competition, consequently decreasing plant health index by 65 % relative to the Control. As PVC and PE are chemically more stable than PHA, they had limited effect on soil quality and plant health under ambient temperature in the short term (6 weeks). Most of the negative impacts of MPs only occurred under ambient temperature, with few effects evident under warming conditions. This suggested that the effect of heat stress (evidenced by stunted growth and chlorophyll content) was noticeably more acute than the effect of MPs. In conclusion, we showed that MPs do affect plant health, soil quality, and ecosystem multifunctionality but these effects on plant-soil health were not exacerbated by the effects of a warmer climate.
Biochar application is not only being widely promoted as an ideal strategy to mitigate global climate warming, but it also has the advantage of reducing heavy metal bioavailability and migration in the soil. However, studies on the effects of field aging on biochar to reduce heavy metals from the soil are still limited. The present study aimed to explore the effects and mechanisms of aged biochar added to the soil planted with pepper plants on cadmium (Cd) uptake. To achieve this, un-amended soil (control), soil amended with fresh biochar, and aged biochar (biochar recovered from a long-term field trial after 9 years) were used to investigate the effects of field aging on biochar adsorption efficiency. The results revealed that the amount of Cd in the plant planted in control soil, amended with fresh and aged biochar, accounted for 40 ± 6.10, 17.18 ± 1.19, and 18.68 ± 0.79, respectively. There was a significant difference (P < 0.05) in the amount of Cd that was uptaken by plants among all treatments. However, soil amended with fresh biochar significantly (P < 0.05) decreased the amount of Cd in plants compared with soil amended with aged biochar. This indicates that field aging declines the potential of biochar to lower heavy metal bioavailability and retention in the soil. This study demonstrates that long-term burial lessens the ability of biochar to interact with Cd and suggests that biochar amendment can lower Cd in the soil, depending on the freshness and aging of biochar.
The impacts of microplastics (MPs) pollution on the nitrogen (N) cycle in soil ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention. Meanwhile, dissolved organic matter (DOM)-rich hydrochar (HBC) is being tried as an emerging soil conditioner for gaseous N reduction load to the atmosphere. However, the influence of MPs and HBC on soil DOM and ammonia (NH3) volatilization in wheat soils remains poorly understood. In this study, a soil column experiment was established in wheat growing soils to determine the impacts of HBC, MPs (i.e., polyethylene and polyacrylonitrile), and the co-occurrence of HBC and MPs (HBC + MPs) on soil NH3 volatilization, physicochemical properties and wheat growth. In comparison with the control (CK, without MPs or HBC), HBC, MPs, and HBC + MPs reduced cumulative NH3 volatilization by 45.4%, 66.7–67.4% and 29.8–58.7%, respectively. Soil DOM fulvic acid-like and humic aid substance abundances of the other treatments were increased by 18.5–56.2% and 12.7–39.3%, respectively, compared to CK. Besides, soil NH3 fluxes were positively correlated to soil NH4⁺-N concentration at basal fertilization and soil NO3⁻-N concentration at first supplementary fertilization. HBC, MPs and HBC + MPs treatments promoted soil urease activity and plant N uptake by 6.5–24.2% and 31.9–74.3%, respectively, compared to CK. This study provides an insight into the variation of NH3 volatilization caused by anthropogenic carbon in wheat soil ecosystems.
Aims Individuals with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and low motor competence (LMC) may be at increased risk of low bone health due to their lifetime physical activity patterns. Impaired bone health increases an individual’s risk of osteoporosis and fracture; therefore, it is necessary to determine whether a bone health detriment is present in this group. Accordingly, this systematic review explores the association between DCD/LMC and bone health. Methods and Procedures Studies were included with assessment of bone health in a DCD/LMC population. Study bias was assessed using the JBI critical appraisal checklist. Due to heterogeneity, meta-analysis was not possible and narrative synthesis was performed with effect size and direction assessed via harvest plots. Outcomes and Results A total of 16 (15 paediatric/adolescent) studies were included. Deficits in bone measures were reported for the DCD/LMC group and were more frequent in weight-bearing sites. Critical appraisal indicated very low confidence in the results, with issues relating to indirectness and imprecision relating to comorbidities. Conclusions and Implications Individuals with DCD or LMC are at increased risk of bone health deficits. Bone impairment locations indicate insufficient loading via physical activity as a potential cause of bone deficits. Results indicate a potential for earlier osteoporosis onset.
SERU production system (SERU) demonstrates more manufacturing flexibility in response to volatile market demands. Although many firms have implemented SERU successfully, little research on manufacturing flexibility in SERU exists, especially empirical evidence in the context of Chinese firms. Manufacturing flexibility considers two major dimensions in SERU, namely, product mix flexibility and volume flexibility. We propose a contingency-based framework to explore the source factors of manufacturing flexibility and their impact on firm performance. We examine the moderating effects of both multi-skilled worker turnover and industry type. Using a total of 357 samples from China, we test the hypotheses with structural equation modeling. Our results reveal that both SERU reconfiguration and multi-skilled worker involvement are important sources of product mix flexibility and volume flexibility, and the two kinds of flexibility subsequently improve firm performance. Multi-skilled worker involvement has a stronger impact than SERU reconfiguration on improving manufacturing flexibility. Both multi-skilled worker turnover and industry type are important moderators. We also conduct tests indicating that the mediation effects of manufacturing flexibility are moderated by multi-skilled worker turnover and industry type. Overall, the acquisition of manufacturing flexibility and its impact on performance in SERU are situation dependent.
Residential gardens can provide essential opportunities for native wildlife and represent a valuable way of creating new habitats. Bandicoots (marsupial family Peramelidae) are medium-sized digging mammals that play a valuable role in maintaining ecosystem health; retaining these important ecosystem engineers across urban landscapes, including in private gardens, can have enormous conservation benefits. Urbanisation is a significant threat for some bandicoot species, and therefore understanding the factors associated with their activity can help guide urban landscape and garden design. To identify key features associated with the activity of a local endemic bandicoot species, the quenda (Isoodon fusciventer), we carried out a camera trap survey of front and back yards for 65 residential properties in the City of Mandurah, Western Australia. We compared quenda activity with biotic and abiotic factors that could indicate potential predation risk (activity of domestic dogs Canis familiaris and cats Felis catus, and the presence of artificial or natural protective cover), food availability (including deliberate or inadvertent supplementary feeding, provision of water, and diggable surfaces) and garden accessibility (distance to bushland, permeability of boundary fencing, and garden position). Supplementary feeding was strongly associated with quenda activity. Quenda were also more active in back yards, and in gardens where there was greater vegetation cover. Of concern, quenda activity was positively associated with cat activity, which could reflect that straying pet cats are attracted to gardens that harbour wildlife populations, including quenda. Furthermore, almost half of the gardens showed cat activity despite only a small sample of the surveyed residents owning a pet cat. Results of this study can help guide the design of residential gardens to increase useful habitat for these important digging mammals. Vegetation, wood mulch and semi-permeable fencing can provide valuable resources needed to support the persistence of quendas across the rapidly changing urban landscape mosaic, where natural and managed (e.g., gardens and parks) green spaces are becoming less common and more isolated.
Microplastic contamination in agroecosystems is becoming more prevalent due to the direct use of plastics in agriculture (e.g., mulch films) and via contamination of amendments (e.g., compost, biosolids application). Long-term use of agricultural plastics and microplastic pollution could lead to soil degradation and reduced crop health due to the slow degradation of conventional plastics creating legacy plastic. Biodegradable plastics are more commonly being used, both domestically and in agriculture, to minimise plastic pollution due to their biodegradable nature. However, the influence of a biodegradable plastics on soil function at the field scale is largely unknown. We investigated the effect of conventional (polyethylene) and biodegradable (PHBV) microplastics on N2O emissions and soil biochemical processes in a field trial of winter barley. Microplastic was added to the soil at realistic levels (100 kg ha⁻¹) for both conventional and biodegradable treatments. N2O emissions were measured throughout the growing season alongside key soil quality indicators (microbial community composition, ammonium, nitrate, moisture content, pH and EC). Overall, microplastic addition had no observable effect on crop yield, microbial communities or soil biochemical properties. Yet, we found cumulative N2O emissions were reduced by two-thirds following conventional microplastic addition compared to the no-plastic and biodegradable microplastic treatments. We believe this response is due to the lower soil moisture levels over the winter in the conventional microplastic treatment. Overall, the response of key soil parameters to microplastic addition show fewer negative effects to those seen in high dose laboratory mesocosm experiments. Thus, it is imperative that long-term field experiments at realistic dose rates be undertaken to quantify the real risk that microplastics pose to agroecosystem health.
Currently approved repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocols for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) involve once-daily (weekday) stimulation sessions, with 10 Hz or intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) frequencies, over 4–6 weeks. Recently, accelerated treatment protocols (multiple daily stimulation sessions for 1–2 weeks) have been increasingly studied to optimize rTMS treatments. Accelerated protocols might confer unique advantages for adolescents and young adults but there are many knowledge gaps related to dosing in this age group. Off-label, clinical practice frequently outpaces solid evidence as rigorous clinical trials require substantial time and resources. Murine models present an opportunity for high throughput dose finding studies to focus subsequent clinical trials in humans. This project investigated the brain and behavioural effects of an accelerated low-intensity rTMS (LI-rTMS) protocol in a young adult rodent model of chronic restraint stress (CRS). Depression and anxiety-related behaviours were induced in young adult male Sprague Dawley rats using the CRS model, followed by the 3-times-daily delivery of 10 Hz LI-rTMS, for two weeks. Behaviour was assessed using the Elevated Plus Maze and Forced Swim Test, and functional, chemical, and structural brain changes measured using magnetic resonance imaging techniques. CRS induced an agitated depression-like phenotype but therapeutic effects from the accelerated protocol were not detected. Our findings suggest that the age of rodents may impact response to CRS and LI-rTMS. Future studies should also examine higher intensities of rTMS and accelerated theta burst protocols.
Purpose Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) is a safe and non-invasive treatment approach that uses brief, repetitive periods of breathing reduced oxygen air alternated with normoxia. While AIH is known to affect spinal circuit excitability, the effects of AIH on cortical excitability remain largely unknown. We investigated the effects of AIH on cortical excitability within the primary motor cortex. Methods Eleven healthy, right-handed participants completed two testing sessions: (1) AIH (comprising 3 min in hypoxia [fraction of inspired oxygen ~ 10%] and 2 min in normoxia repeated over five cycles) and (2) normoxia (NOR) (equivalent duration to AIH). Single- and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulations were delivered to the primary motor cortex, before and 0, 25, and 50 min after AIH and normoxia. Results The mean nadir in arterial oxygen saturation was lower ( p < 0.001) during the cycles of AIH (82.5 ± 4.9%) than NOR (97.8 ± 0.6%). There was no significant difference in corticospinal excitability, intracortical facilitation, or intracortical inhibition between AIH and normoxia conditions at any time point (all p > 0.05). There was no association between arterial oxygen saturation and changes in corticospinal excitability after AIH ( r = 0.05, p = 0.87). Conclusion Overall, AIH did not modify either corticospinal excitability or excitability of intracortical facilitatory and inhibitory circuits within the primary motor cortex. Future research should explore whether a more severe or individualised AIH dose would induce consistent, measurable changes in corticospinal excitability.
- Jari Lahti
- Samuli Tuominen
- Qiong Yang
- Katri Räikkönen
Understanding the genomic basis of memory processes may help in combating neurodegenerative disorders. Hence, we examined the associations of common genetic variants with verbal short-term memory and verbal learning in adults without dementia or stroke (N = 53,637). We identified novel loci in the intronic region of CDH18, and at 13q21 and 3p21.1, as well as an expected signal in the APOE/APOC1/TOMM40 region. These results replicated in an independent sample. Functional and bioinformatic analyses supported many of these loci and further implicated POC1. We showed that polygenic score for verbal learning associated with brain activation in right parieto-occipital region during working memory task. Finally, we showed genetic correlations of these memory traits with several neurocognitive and health outcomes. Our findings suggest a role of several genomic loci in verbal memory processes.
- Jennifer Barr
- Victoria Boyd
- Shawn Todd
- Glenn A. Marsh
Bats have been implicated as the reservoir hosts of filoviruses in Africa, with serological evidence of filoviruses in various bat species identified in other countries. Here, serum samples from 190 bats, comprising 12 different species, collected in Australia were evaluated for filovirus antibodies. An in-house indirect microsphere assay to detect antibodies that cross-react with Ebola virus ( Zaire ebolavirus ; EBOV) nucleoprotein (NP) followed by an immunofluorescence assay (IFA) were used to confirm immunoreactivity to EBOV and Reston virus ( Reston ebolavirus ; RESTV). We found 27 of 102 Yinpterochiroptera and 19 of 88 Yangochiroptera samples were positive to EBOV NP in the microsphere assay. Further testing of these NP positive samples by IFA revealed nine bat sera that showed binding to ebolavirus-infected cells. This is the first report of filovirus-reactive antibodies detected in Australian bat species and suggests that novel filoviruses may be circulating in Australian bats.
- Krista Nicholson
- Martin van Aswegen
- Neil Loneragan
- Lars Bejder
Wildlife management requires reliable demographic information to assess the status of a population and its vulnerability to threats. This study calculated age class‐ and sex‐specific demographic parameters and assessed the viability of a community of Indo‐Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) resident to the Peel‐Harvey Estuary in Western Australia. Boat‐based photo‐identification surveys (n = 483) were conducted between 2016 and 2019. A population viability analysis (PVA) was used to assess the community status and evaluate the effects of adult female and calf mortality, and reproduction on population growth rate. The community comprised 88 (SD = 4.43) individuals with a sex ratio close to parity in all but the adult age class where it was skewed towards females. Demographic changes in this community are driven by births, deaths, and the likely permanent emigration of juvenile males. No immigration was observed. The population is stable (r = −0.004, SD = 0.062) given the current demographic rates. To maintain a community of ~90 individuals, management should consider action to lower adult female and calf mortality. This should involve aiming for zero human caused mortality and ensuring adverse impacts to the population are considered in future development planning.
Climate change gives rise to numerous environmental stresses, including soil salinity. Salinity/salt stress is the second biggest abiotic factor affecting agricultural productivity worldwide by damaging numerous physiological, biochemical, and molecular processes. In particular, salinity affects plant growth, development, and productivity. Salinity responses include modulation of ion homeostasis, antioxidant defense system induction, and biosynthesis of numerous phytohor-mones and osmoprotectants to protect plants from osmotic stress by decreasing ion toxicity and augmented reactive oxygen species scavenging. As most crop plants are sensitive to salinity, improving salt tolerance is crucial in sustaining global agricultural productivity. In response to salinity, plants trigger stress-related genes, proteins, and the accumulation of metabolites to cope with the adverse consequence of salinity. Therefore, this review presents an overview of salinity stress in crop plants. We highlight advances in modern biotechnological tools, such as omics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) approaches and different genome editing tools (ZFN, TALEN, and CRISPR/Cas system) for improving salinity tolerance in plants and accomplish the goal of "zero hunger," a worldwide sustainable development goal proposed by the FAO.
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