SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

242

Wormholes are fascinating cosmological objects that can connect two distant regions of the universe. Because of their intriguing nature, constructing a wormhole in a lab seems a formidable task. A theoretical proposal by Greenleaf et al. presented a strategy to build a wormhole for electromagnetic waves. Based on metamaterials, it could allow electromagnetic wave propagation between two points in space through an invisible tunnel. However, an actual realization has not been possible until now. Here we construct and experimentally demonstrate a magnetostatic wormhole. Using magnetic metamaterials and metasurfaces, our wormhole transfers the magnetic field from one point in space to another through a path that is magnetically undetectable. We experimentally show that the magnetic field from a source at one end of the wormhole appears at the other end as an isolated magnetic monopolar field, creating the illusion of a magnetic field propagating through a tunnel outside the 3D space. Practical applications of the results can be envisaged, including medical techniques based on magnetism.

188

Depression is a major public health concern worldwide. There is evidence that social support and befriending influence mental health, and an improved understanding of the social processes that drive depression has the potential to bring significant public health benefits. We investigate transmission of mood on a social network of adolescents, allowing flexibility in our model by making no prior assumption as to whether it is low mood or healthy mood that spreads. Here, we show that while depression does not spread, healthy mood among friends is associated with significantly reduced risk of developing and increased chance of recovering from depression. We found that this spreading of healthy mood can be captured using a non-linear complex contagion model. Having sufficient friends with healthy mood can halve the probability of developing, or double the probability of recovering from, depression over a 6-12-month period on an adolescent social network. Our results suggest that promotion of friendship between adolescents can reduce both incidence and prevalence of depression.

150

Many real world systems are at risk of undergoing critical transitions, leading to sudden qualitative and sometimes irreversible regime shifts. The development of early warning signals is recognized as a major challenge. Recent progress builds on a mathematical framework in which a real-world system is described by a low-dimensional equation system with a small number of key variables, where the critical transition often corresponds to a bifurcation. Here we show that in high-dimensional systems, containing many variables, we frequently encounter an additional non-bifurcative saddle-type mechanism leading to critical transitions. This generic class of transitions has been missed in the search for early-warnings up to now. In fact, the saddle-type mechanism also applies to low-dimensional systems with saddle-dynamics. Near a saddle a system moves slowly and the state may be perceived as stable over substantial time periods. We develop an early warning sign for the saddle-type transition. We illustrate our results in two network models and epidemiological data. This work thus establishes a connection from critical transitions to networks and an early warning sign for a new type of critical transition. In complex models and big data we anticipate that saddle-transitions will be encountered frequently in the future.

28

Paradigms of sustainable exploitation focus on population dynamics of prey and yields to humanity but ignore the behavior of humans as predators. We compared patterns of predation by contemporary hunters and fishers with those of other predators that compete over shared prey (terrestrial mammals and marine fishes). Our global survey (2125 estimates of annual finite exploitation rate) revealed that humans kill adult prey, the reproductive capital of populations, at much higher median rates than other predators (up to 14 times higher), with particularly intense exploitation of terrestrial carnivores and fishes. Given this competitive dominance, impacts on predators, and other unique predatory behavior, we suggest that humans function as an unsustainable “super predator,” which—unless additionally constrained by managers—will continue to alter ecological and evolutionary processes globally.

28

The widespread distribution of lentiviruses among African primates, and the lack of severe pathogenesis in many of these natural reservoirs, are taken as evidence for long-term co-evolution between the simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) and their primate hosts. Evidence for positive selection acting on antiviral restriction factors is consistent with virus-host interactions spanning millions of years of primate evolution. However, many restriction mechanisms are not virus-specific, and selection cannot be unambiguously attributed to any one type of virus. We hypothesized that the restriction factor TRIM5, because of its unique specificity for retrovirus capsids, should accumulate adaptive changes in a virus-specific fashion, and therefore, that phylogenetic reconstruction of TRIM5 evolution in African primates should reveal selection by lentiviruses closely related to modern SIVs. We analyzed complete TRIM5 coding sequences of 22 Old World primates and identified a tightly-spaced cluster of branch-specific adaptions appearing in the Cercopithecinae lineage after divergence from the Colobinae around 16 million years ago. Functional assays of both extant TRIM5 orthologs and reconstructed ancestral TRIM5 proteins revealed that this cluster of adaptations in TRIM5 specifically resulted in the ability to restrict Cercopithecine lentiviruses, but had no effect (positive or negative) on restriction of other retroviruses, including lentiviruses of non-Cercopithecine primates. The correlation between lineage-specific adaptations and ability to restrict viruses endemic to the same hosts supports the hypothesis that lentiviruses closely related to modern SIVs were present in Africa and infecting the ancestors of Cercopithecine primates as far back as 16 million years ago, and provides insight into the evolution of TRIM5 specificity.

27

Obesity promotes breast cancer by enhancing the stiffness of breast adipose tissue through changes in the extracellular matrix (Seo et al., this issue).

27

We have developed an asynchronous brain-machine interface (BMI)-based lower limb exoskeleton control system based on steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs).

26

Mouth rinsing with a CHO solution has been suggested to improve short (<1 h) endurance performance through central effect. We examined the effects of mouth rinsing with a CHO solution on running time to exhaustion on a treadmill. Six well-trained subjects ran to exhaustion at 85% VO2max , on three separate occasions. Subjects received either an 8% CHO solution or a placebo (PLA) every 15 min to mouth rinse (MR) or a 6% CHO solution to ingest (ING). Treatments were assigned in a randomized, counterbalanced fashion, with the mouth-rinsing treatments double-blinded. Blood samples were taken to assess glucose (Glu) and lactate (Lac), as well as the perceived exertion (RPE). Gas exchange and heart rate (HR) were collected during all trials. Subjects ran longer (P = 0·038) in both the MR (2583 ± 686 s) and ING (2625 ± 804 s) trials, compared to PLA (1935 ± 809 s), covering a greater distance (MR 9685 ± 3511·62 m; ING 9855 ± 4118·62; PLA 7295 ± 3727 m). RER was significantly higher in both ING and MR versus PLA. No difference among trials was observed for other metabolic or cardiovascular variables (VO2 , Lac, Glu, HR), nor for RPE. Endurance capacity, based on time to exhaustion on a treadmill, was improved when either mouth rinsing or ingesting a CHO solution, compared to PLA.

26

Hot flashes are a common and debilitating symptom among survivors of breast cancer. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) versus gabapentin (GP) for hot flashes among survivors of breast cancer, with a specific focus on the placebo and nocebo effects.

25

Participant adoption and maintenance is a major challenge in strength training (ST) programs in the community-setting. In adults who were overweight or with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), the aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a standard ST program (SST) to an enhanced program (EST) on the adoption and maintenance of ST and cardio-metabolic risk factors and muscle strength.