University of Minnesota Duluth

• Duluth, United States
Recent publications
The Republic of South Africa has the highest documented fetal alcohol syndrome prevalence globally. In the Limpopo province, little is known about students’ or community members’ knowledge of fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder rates and risk behaviors. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare knowledge about fetal alcohol syndrome and other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and the related behaviors such as drinking among University of Venda students and local community residents in villages to inform educational efforts to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome. Participants ([Formula: see text]) were from the University of Venda and two villages, Maungani and Ha-Mangilasi, and completed an epidemiological survey about their characteristics, behaviors, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder risks. We analyzed differences between the university students and community residents in fetal alcohol syndrome knowledge and the related risk behaviors. University students have heard of fetal alcohol syndrome (Fisher’s exact test p < .001), have seen warning labels about drinking during pregnancy (Fisher’s exact test p = .003), and were aware that a baby is born with birth defects if diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (Fisher’s exact test p = .03) with more knowledge of fetal alcohol syndrome compared to community residents. Most respondents thought it was unacceptable to drink during pregnancy. Despite this, a substantial number of participants thought it was acceptable to have one drink after pregnancy recognition. There was little knowledge of best practices about alcohol consumption to prepare for pregnancy, or once recognized. We recommend an education campaign to raise awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders across Limpopo, especially in smaller villages, and further research to determine demographic and experiential risk factors to aid in prevention efforts.
The catalytic pyrolysis of low-density polyethylene over hierarchical HZSM-5 zeolite was studied to improve liquid oil quality in a facile reactor for the first time. The HZZ was successfully synthesized by using green and inexpensive nanocrystalline cellulose as a mesoporous template. Nanocrystalline cellulose played a disturbing role in the crystallization process of hierarchical HZSM-5 zeolite, which facilitated the formation of ordered surface morphology and excellent porous structure. Compared with conventional HZSM-5, hierarchical HZSM-5 zeolite can significantly improve the bio-oil yield. The relative content of cycloalkanes increased while the relative content of aromatics decreased. The 94.4 area.% of jet fuel range hydrocarbons with 51.8 area.% cycloalkanes and 25.0 area.% of aromatics can be obtained. Hierarchical HZSM-5 zeolite with a low Si/Al ratio had high acidity favors high liquid yield and aromatic hydrocarbon selectivity. The current work contributes to the green synthesis of Hierarchical HZSM-5 zeolite while providing a novel catalyst for value-added fuels production from waste plastics pyrolysis.
Proteins have generally become a choice ingredient in the marketplace to provide nutrition and functionality to a food product. While other major food ingredients have fallen into some disfavor by the consumer, proteins have remained a favorite. Their diverse functional properties, for example, emulsification, film formation, gelation, and oxygen barrier properties, etc., have resulted in their broad use as microencapsulation materials for the food industry. This chapter discusses the unique functional properties of proteins relative to primary microencapsulation techniques, for example, spray-drying, coacervation, and gelation.
We launched a multinational study to examine changes in substance use during the early phase of the pandemic and to identify factors related to these changes, with a specific focus on the effect of polysubstance use in increasing nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis use. This study was conducted using an online survey in English and seven other languages. The survey included measures focusing on substance use, psychological symptoms, stress, and other health and psychosocial measures. A total sample of 2907 participants was included. The results showed that higher levels of perceived social isolation, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic were associated with increases in nicotine use. Increased alcohol use was associated with feelings of uncertainty and increased depression and anxiety symptoms. Polysubstance use was associated with increases in use of cannabis and alcohol during the pandemic; co-use of cannabis and alcohol increased chances for escalating alcohol use; and increases in cannabis use were influenced by the number rather than the types of substances being used. These results demonstrate a link between COVID-19 related psychological distress and increased substance use during the first wave of the pandemic. They also point-out the contribution of pre-COVID polysubstance use in increases in substance use during COVID-19. © 2022 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.
Background RASopathies are genetic syndromes that result from pathogenic variants in the RAS-MAPK cellular signaling pathway. These syndromes, which include neurofibromatosis type 1, Noonan syndrome, cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, and Costello syndrome, are associated with a complex array of medical and behavioral health complications. Despite a heightened risk for social challenges and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), few studies have compared different aspects of social behavior across these conditions. It is also unknown whether the underlying neuropsychological characteristics that contribute to social competence and socially empathetic (“prosocial”) behaviors differ in children with RASopathies as compared to children with nonsyndromic (i.e., idiopathic) ASD. Methods In this cross-sectional, survey-based investigation, caregivers of preschool and school-aged children with RASopathies ( n = 202) or with idiopathic ASD ( n = 109) provided demographic, medical, and developmental information about their child, including psychiatric comorbidities. For children who were able to communicate verbally, caregivers also completed standardized rating scales to assess social competence and empathetic behavior as well as symptoms of hyperactivity/inattention and emotional problems. Results As compared to children with idiopathic ASD, children with RASopathies were rated as demonstrating more resilience in the domain of empathy relative to their overall social competence. Similarities and differences emerged in the psychological factors that predicted social behavior in these two groups. Stronger communication skills and fewer hyperactive-impulsive behaviors were associated with increased empathy and social competence for both groups. Greater emotional challenges were associated with lower social competence for children with RASopathies and stronger empathy for children with idiopathic ASD. Among children with RASopathy and a co-occurring ASD diagnosis, socially empathetic behaviors were observed more often as compared to children with idiopathic ASD. Conclusions Findings suggest that the development of social behavior among children with RASopathies involves a distinct pattern of strengths and weaknesses as compared to a behaviorally defined disorder (idiopathic ASD). Identification of areas of resilience as well as behavioral and social challenges will support more targeted intervention.
We present a strategy for the design of ferromagnetic materials with exceptionally low magnetic hysteresis, quantified by coercivity. In this strategy, we use a micromagnetic algorithm that we have developed in previous research and which has been validated by its success in solving the “Permalloy Problem”—the well-known difficulty of predicting the composition 78.5% Ni of the lowest coercivity in the Fe–Ni system—and by the insight it provides into the “Coercivity Paradox” of W. F. Brown. Unexpectedly, the design strategy predicts that cubic materials with large saturation magnetization m s and large magnetocrystalline anisotropy constant κ 1 will have low coercivity on the order of that of Permalloy, as long as the magnetostriction constants λ 100 , λ 111 are tuned to special values. The explicit prediction for a cubic material with low coercivity is the dimensionless number $$({c}_{11}-{c}_{12}){\lambda }_{100}^{2}/(2{\kappa }_{1})=81$$ ( c 11 − c 12 ) λ 100 2 / ( 2 κ 1 ) = 81 for 〈100〉 easy axes. The results would seem to have broad potential application, especially to magnetic materials of interest in energy research.
Morphological profiling is an omics-based approach for predicting intracellular targets of chemical compounds in which the dose-dependent morphological changes induced by the compound are systematically compared to the morphological changes in gene-deleted cells. In this study, we developed a reliable high-throughput (HT) platform for yeast morphological profiling using drug-hypersensitive strains to minimize compound use, HT microscopy to speed up data generation and analysis, and a generalized linear model to predict targets with high reliability. We first conducted a proof-of-concept study using six compounds with known targets: bortezomib, hydroxyurea, methyl methanesulfonate, benomyl, tunicamycin, and echinocandin B. Then we applied our platform to predict the mechanism of action of a novel diferulate-derived compound, poacidiene. Morphological profiling of poacidiene implied that it affects the DNA damage response, which genetic analysis confirmed. Furthermore, we found that poacidiene inhibits the growth of phytopathogenic fungi, implying applications as an effective antifungal agent. Thus, our platform is a new whole-cell target prediction tool for drug discovery.
Background GrimAge acceleration (GAA), an epigenetic marker that represents physiologic aging, is associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, the associations between early adulthood lipid levels and GAA in midlife are unknown. Also, it is unknown whether GAA mediates the associations between lipid levels in young adults and subclinical atherosclerosis in midlife. Results We estimated measures of epigenetic age acceleration in 1118 White and Black participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study at examination years (Y) 15 and 20. We used multivariable regression models to examine associations of Y15 and Y20 GAA estimates with plasma lipid levels measured at prior examination years (Y0, Y5, and Y10) and concurrently: triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Mediation analysis was used to assess the extent to which GAA may mediate associations between plasma lipids and coronary artery calcification (CAC). In our study each 1-SD higher cumulative TG level was associated with an average 0.73 ± 0.12 years older GAA. Each 1-SD higher cumulative HDL-C level was associated with an average 0.57 ± 0.17 years younger GAA. Stratified analyses showed that the associations between TG and GAA were stronger among female and Black participants and the associations between HDL-C and GAA were stronger among female and White participants. GAA statistically mediated 17.4% of the association of cumulative TG with CAC. Conclusions High TG and low HDL-C in early adulthood are associated with accelerated epigenetic aging by midlife. Increased epigenetic age acceleration may partially mediate the associations between high TG levels and the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Objectives To measure growth-related changes in orbital volume from childhood to the late teenage years using cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans. Methods This retrospective cohort study involved 65 (24 male, 41 female) healthy Caucasian children (ages 6–18 years) with existing serial craniofacial CBCT scans. CBCT scans were available for 292 orbits. Each orbit was transformed into a closed space with well-defined boundaries, and orbital volume was measured using manual segmentation. A novel statistical analysis was applied to extract the maximum amount of longitudinal information from the data. Intra- and inter-operator correlation coefficients were calculated from replications performed on a random subset of 10% of the sample. Results Orbital volume increased at a rate of 1–2% annually until the late teenage years. Intra- and inter-operator agreement between repeated measurements were >90%. Conclusions Orbital volume increases by 1–2% per year throughout childhood continuing until the late teenage years. This annual increase is large enough to be clinically relevant as it may lead to less-than-optimal long term surgical outcomes when reconstructive surgery for the pediatric anophthalmic socket is required.
Background Low back pain (LBP) is influenced by interrelated biological, psychological, and social factors, however current back pain management is largely dominated by one-size fits all unimodal treatments. Team based models with multiple provider types from complementary professional disciplines is one way of integrating therapies to address patients’ needs more comprehensively. Methods This parallel group randomized clinical trial conducted from May 2007 to August 2010 aimed to evaluate the relative clinical effectiveness of 12 weeks of monodisciplinary chiropractic care (CC), versus multidisciplinary integrative care (IC), for adults with sub-acute and chronic LBP. The primary outcome was pain intensity and secondary outcomes were disability, improvement, medication use, quality of life, satisfaction, frequency of symptoms, missed work or reduced activities days, fear avoidance beliefs, self-efficacy, pain coping strategies and kinesiophobia measured at baseline and 4, 12, 26 and 52 weeks. Linear mixed models were used to analyze outcomes. Results 201 participants were enrolled. The largest reductions in pain intensity occurred at the end of treatment and were 43% for CC and 47% for IC. The primary analysis found IC to be significantly superior to CC over the 1-year period ( P = 0.02). The long-term profile for pain intensity which included data from weeks 4 through 52, showed a significant advantage of 0.5 for IC over CC (95% CI 0.1 to 0.9; P = 0.02; 0 to 10 scale). The short-term profile (weeks 4 to 12) favored IC by 0.4, but was not statistically significant (95% CI − 0.02 to 0.9; P = 0.06). There was also a significant advantage over the long term for IC in some secondary measures (disability, improvement, satisfaction and low back symptom frequency), but not for others (medication use, quality of life, leg symptom frequency, fear avoidance beliefs, self-efficacy, active pain coping, and kinesiophobia). Importantly, no serious adverse events resulted from either of the interventions. Conclusions Participants in the IC group tended to have better outcomes than the CC group, however the magnitude of the group differences was relatively small. Given the resources required to successfully implement multidisciplinary integrative care teams, they may not be worthwhile, compared to monodisciplinary approaches like chiropractic care, for treating LBP. Trial registration NCT00567333.
New advances in nanotechnology are driving a wave of technology revolution impacting a broad range of areas in agricultural production. The current work reviews nanopesticides, nano-fabricated fertilizers, and nano activity-based growth promoters reported in the last several years, focusing on mechanisms revealed for preparation and functioning. It appears to us that with many fundamental concepts have been demonstrated over last two decades, new advances in this area continue to expand mainly in three directions, i.e., efficiency improvement, material sustainability and environment-specific stimulation functionalities. It is also evident that environmental and health concerns associated with nano agrochemicals are the primary motivation and focus for most recent work. Challenges and perspectives for future development of nano agrochemicals are also discussed.
Isolated patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA) is a common cause of anterior knee pain in patients over the age of 40 years. Patellofemoral arthroplasty (PFA) is an option to address PFAO when the non-operative or joint preserving management has failed. The goals of PFA are to reduce pain and increase function of the knee in a bone and ligament preserving fashion while maintaining or optimizing its kinematics. Over the last decades advances have been made in optimizing implants designs, addressing complications and improving functional and patient reported outcomes. Appropriate patient selection has proven to be imperative. Proper surgical technique and knowledge of pearls and pitfalls is essential. The indications and surgical technique for patellofemoral arthroplasty will be reviewed here. Level of evidence: Therapeutic Level V.
Wood decomposer fungi are grouped by how they extract sugars from lignocellulose. Brown rot fungi selectively degrade cellulose and hemicellulose, leaving lignin intact, and white rot fungi degrade all components. Many trees are susceptible to both rot types, giving carbon in Earth’s woody biomass, specifically lignin, a flexible fate that is affected not only by the fungal decomposition mechanism but also the associated microbial community. However, little is understood about how rot type may influence the microbial community in decaying wood. In this study, we quantified bacterial communities associated with Fomes fomentarius (white rot) and Fomitopsis betulina (brown rot) found on a shared tree host species, birch ( Betula papyrifera ). We collected 25 wood samples beneath sporocarps of F. fomentarius ( n = 13) and F. betulina ( n = 12) on standing dead trees, and coupled microbial DNA sequencing with chemical signatures of rot type (pH and lignin removal). We found that bacterial communities for both fungi were dominated by Proteobacteria , a commonly reported association. However, rot type exerted significant influence on less abundant taxa in ways that align logically with fungal traits. Amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) were enriched in Firmicutes in white-rotted wood, and were enriched in Alphaproteobacteria , Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria in lower pH brown rot. Our results suggest that wood decomposer strategies may exert significant selection effects on bacteria, or vice versa, among less-abundant taxa that have been overlooked when using abundance as the only measure of influence.
This article explores the recent increase in the demand for sugar in Ethiopia, and the ways in which the distribution and sale of sugar have been manipulated for political gain after the country’s demand outstripped production and supply. It also examines how agro-industrial expansion programs have resulted in land dispossession and the resettlement of smallholder farmers in the southern Ethiopian lowlands who were promised better living standards through modernization. The results of this study indicate that the expansion of Ethiopian sugar projects took place not only because of the increased demand for sugar in the country, but also because of the global political economy that shapes the nature of development projects in Global South.
Open-channel microfluidics enables precise positioning and confinement of liquid volume to interface with tightly integrated optics, sensors, and circuit elements. Active actuation via electric fields can offer a reduced footprint compared to passive microfluidic ensembles and removes the burden of intricate mechanical assembly of enclosed systems. Typical systems actuate via manipulating surface wettability ( i.e ., electrowetting), which can render low-voltage but forfeits open-microchannel confinement. The dielectric polarization force is an alternative which can generate open liquid microchannels (sub-100 µm) but requires large operating voltages (50–200 V RMS ) and low conductivity solutions. Here we show actuation of microchannels as narrow as 1 µm using voltages as low as 0.5 V RMS for both deionized water and physiological buffer. This was achieved using resonant, nanoscale focusing of radio frequency power and an electrode geometry designed to abate surface tension. We demonstrate practical fluidic applications including open mixing, lateral-flow protein labeling, filtration, and viral transport for infrared biosensing—known to suffer strong absorption losses from enclosed channel material and water. This tube-free system is coupled with resonant wireless power transfer to remove all obstructing hardware — ideal for high-numerical-aperture microscopy. Wireless, smartphone-driven fluidics is presented to fully showcase the practical application of this technology.
Background Many institutions are training clinicians in point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), but few POCUS skills checklists have been developed and validated. We developed a consensus-based multispecialty POCUS skills checklist with anchoring references for basic cardiac, lung, abdominal, and vascular ultrasound, and peripheral intravenous line (PIV) insertion. Methods A POCUS expert panel of 14 physicians specializing in emergency, critical care, and internal/hospital medicine participated in a modified-Delphi approach to develop a basic POCUS skills checklist by group consensus. Three rounds of voting were conducted, and consensus was defined by ≥ 80% agreement. Items achieving < 80% consensus were discussed and considered for up to two additional rounds of voting. Results Thirteen POCUS experts (93%) completed all three rounds of voting. Cardiac, lung, abdominal, and vascular ultrasound checklists included probe location and control, basic machine setup, image quality and optimization, and identification of anatomical structures. PIV insertion included additional items for needle tip tracking. During the first round of voting, 136 (82%) items achieved consensus, and after revision and revoting, an additional 21 items achieved consensus. A total of 153 (92%) items were included in the final checklist. Conclusions We have developed a consensus-based, multispecialty POCUS checklist to evaluate skills in image acquisition and anatomy identification for basic cardiac, lung, abdominal, and vascular ultrasound, and PIV insertion.
The interactions between emotion and attention are complex due to the multifaceted nature of attention. Adding to this complexity, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the emotional landscape, broadly heightening health and financial concerns. Can the heightened concerns about COVID-19 impair one or more of the components of attention? To explore the connection between heightened concerns about COVID-19 and attention, in a preregistered study, we collected survey responses from 234 participants assessing levels of concerns surrounding COVID-19, followed by four psychophysics tasks hypothesized to tap into different aspects of attention: visual search, working memory, sustained attention, and cognitive control. We also measured task-unrelated thoughts. Results showed that task-unrelated thoughts, but not survey reports of concern levels, negatively correlated with sustained attention and cognitive control, while visual search and working memory remained robust to task-unrelated thoughts and survey-indicated concern levels. As a whole, these findings suggest that being concerned about COVID-19 does not interfere with cognitive function unless the concerns are active in the form of task-unrelated thoughts.
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• Department of Biomedical Sciences
• Large Lakes Observatory
• Department of Economics
• Center for Water and the Environment, UMD-NRRI; Department. of Chemistry & Biochemistry
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