SciCombinator

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

346

Girls and women need effective, safe, and affordable menstrual products. Single-use products are regularly selected by agencies for resource-poor settings; the menstrual cup is a less known alternative. We reviewed international studies on menstrual cup leakage, acceptability, and safety and explored menstrual cup availability to inform programmes.

328

Background Systemic iron status has been implicated in atherosclerosis and thrombosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of genetically determined iron status on carotid intima-media thickness, carotid plaque, and venous thromboembolism using Mendelian randomization. Methods and Results Genetic instrumental variables for iron status were selected from a genome-wide meta-analysis of 48 972 subjects. Genetic association estimates for carotid intima-media thickness and carotid plaque were obtained using data from 71 128 and 48 434 participants, respectively, and estimates for venous thromboembolism were obtained using data from a study incorporating 7507 cases and 52 632 controls. Conventional 2-sample summary data Mendelian randomization was performed for the main analysis. Higher genetically determined iron status was associated with increased risk of venous thromboembolism. Odds ratios per SD increase in biomarker levels were 1.37 (95% CI 1.14-1.66) for serum iron, 1.25 (1.09-1.43) for transferrin saturation, 1.92 (1.28-2.88) for ferritin, and 0.76 (0.63-0.92) for serum transferrin (with higher transferrin levels representing lower iron status). In contrast, higher iron status was associated with lower risk of carotid plaque. Corresponding odds ratios were 0.85 (0.73-0.99) for serum iron and 0.89 (0.80-1.00) for transferrin saturation, with concordant trends for serum transferrin and ferritin that did not reach statistical significance. There was no Mendelian randomization evidence of an effect of iron status on carotid intima-media thickness. Conclusions These findings support previous work to suggest that higher genetically determined iron status is protective against some forms of atherosclerotic disease but increases the risk of thrombosis related to stasis of blood.

301

Bluehead wrasses undergo dramatic, socially cued female-to-male sex change. We apply transcriptomic and methylome approaches in this wild coral reef fish to identify the primary trigger and subsequent molecular cascade of gonadal metamorphosis. Our data suggest that the environmental stimulus is exerted via the stress axis and that repression of the aromatase gene (encoding the enzyme converting androgens to estrogens) triggers a cascaded collapse of feminizing gene expression and identifies notable sex-specific gene neofunctionalization. Furthermore, sex change involves distinct epigenetic reprogramming and an intermediate state with altered epigenetic machinery expression akin to the early developmental cells of mammals. These findings reveal at a molecular level how a normally committed developmental process remains plastic and is reversed to completely alter organ structures.

264

Evidence from humans suggests that the expression of emotions can regulate social interactions and promote coordination within a group. Despite its evolutionary importance, social communication of emotions in non-human animals is still not well understood. Here, we combine behavioural and physiological measures, to determine if animals can distinguish between vocalisations linked to different emotional valences (positive and negative). Using a playback paradigm, goats were habituated to listen to a conspecific call associated with positive or negative valence (habituation phase) and were subsequently exposed to a variant of the same call type (contact call) associated with the opposite valence (dishabituation phase), followed by a final call randomly selected from the habituation phase as control (rehabituation phase). The effects of the calls on the occurrence of looking and cardiac responses in these phases were recorded and compared.

260

Blood pressure (BP) and cholesterol are major modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), but effects of exposures during young adulthood on later life CVD risk have not been well quantified.

214

In 2011, England introduced the Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD), a public-private partnership (PPP) which gave greater freedom to the food industry to set and monitor targets for salt intakes. We estimated the impact of the RD on trends in salt intake and associated changes in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and gastric cancer (GCa) incidence, mortality and economic costs in England from 2011-2025.

194

As humans age, normal tissues, such as the esophageal epithelium, become a patchwork of mutant clones. Some mutations are under positive selection, conferring a competitive advantage over wild-type cells. We speculated that altering the selective pressure on mutant cell populations may cause them to expand or contract. We tested this hypothesis by examining the effect of oxidative stress from low-dose ionizing radiation (LDIR) on wild-type and p53 mutant cells in the transgenic mouse esophagus. We found that LDIR drives wild-type cells to stop proliferating and differentiate. p53 mutant cells are insensitive to LDIR and outcompete wild-type cells following exposure. Remarkably, combining antioxidant treatment and LDIR reverses this effect, promoting wild-type cell proliferation and p53 mutant differentiation, reducing the p53 mutant population. Thus, p53-mutant cells can be depleted from the normal esophagus by redox manipulation, showing that external interventions may be used to alter the mutational landscape of an aging tissue.

169

To systematically quantify the prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across a range of medical settings globally.

140

Can personality traits be measured and interpreted reliably across the world? While the use of Big Five personality measures is increasingly common across social sciences, their validity outside of western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) populations is unclear. Adopting a comprehensive psychometric approach to analyze 29 face-to-face surveys from 94,751 respondents in 23 low- and middle-income countries, we show that commonly used personality questions generally fail to measure the intended personality traits and show low validity. These findings contrast with the much higher validity of these measures attained in internet surveys of 198,356 self-selected respondents from the same countries. We discuss how systematic response patterns, enumerator interactions, and low education levels can collectively distort personality measures when assessed in large-scale surveys. Our results highlight the risk of misinterpreting Big Five survey data and provide a warning against naïve interpretations of personality traits without evidence of their validity.

139

Xist RNA, the master regulator of X chromosome inactivation, acts in cis to induce chromosome-wide silencing. Whilst recent studies have defined candidate silencing factors, their relative contribution to repressing different genes, and their relationship with one another is poorly understood. Here we describe a systematic analysis of Xist-mediated allelic silencing in mouse embryonic stem cell-based models. Using a machine learning approach we identify distance to the Xist locus and prior gene expression levels as key determinants of silencing efficiency. We go on to show that Spen, recruited through the Xist A-repeat, plays a central role, being critical for silencing of all except a subset of weakly expressed genes. Polycomb, recruited through the Xist B/C-repeat, also plays a key role, favouring silencing of genes with pre-existing H3K27me3 chromatin. LBR and the Rbm15/m6A-methyltransferase complex make only minor contributions to gene silencing. Together our results provide a comprehensive model for Xist-mediated chromosome silencing.