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

Concept: Degree


BACKGROUND: This study investigated the incidence, imaging characteristics and mechanical factors in scoliotic patients with pectus excavatum. METHODS: A total of 142 scoliostic patients with pectus excavatum were evaluated prior to operation. The evaluation included a complete physical exam, phenotype and severity of the pectus excavatum, incidence and severity of scoliosis, and analysis of radiological images, including calculation of the Haller index. RESULTS: Twenty five out of 142 patients (17.61%) with pectus excavatum had scoliosis with a Cobb angle >10 degrees, and in 80.00% of the cases the spinal column was bent to the right. Seventeen patients had bent-to-the-right spines that involved the 6th to 10 th thoracic vertebrae. We found that 23 out of 25 patients with a Cobb angle more than 10 [degree sign] were teenagers and adults. The incidence of scoliosis was only 6.06% in the children under 11 years whereas it was 21.79% in the teenage group. CONCLUSIONS: Mechanical forces appear to play a role in the coexistence of pectus excavatum and scoliosis. There is a relationship between age, severity (Haller index), asymmetry and scoliosis. The heart and mediastinum play a role in providing an outward force to the left of the sternum which may be an important reason for the coexistence of pectus excavatum and scoliosis, but the correlation needs further proof.

Concepts: Scoliosis, Sternum, Degree, Chest, Haller index, Pectus excavatum, Vertebral column


Selective configuration control of plasmonic nanostructures using either top-down or bottom-up approaches has remained challenging in the field of active plasmonics. We demonstrate the realization of DNA-assembled reconfigurable plasmonic metamolecules, which can respond to a wide range of pH changes in a programmable manner. This programmability allows for selective reconfiguration of different plasmonic metamolecule species coexisting in solution through simple pH tuning. This approach enables discrimination of chiral plasmonic quasi-enantiomers and arbitrary tuning of chiroptical effects with unprecedented degrees of freedom. Our work outlines a new blueprint for implementation of advanced active plasmonic systems, in which individual structural species can be programmed to perform multiple tasks and functions in response to independent external stimuli.

Concepts: Computer program, Degree, PH, Configuration management, Program, Plasmon


Commuting is an important aspect of daily life for many employees, but there is little knowledge of how this affects individual commuters' health and well-being. The authors investigated the relationship between commuting and subjective health complaints, using data from a web-based questionnaire. In a sample of 2126 railway employees, 644 (30.3%) had long commute times. A 29-item inventory was used to measure the number and degree of the subjective health complaints. Those who commuted 60 min or more each way were characterized by significantly higher numbers and degrees of subjective health complaints compared with their peers with short commutes. The mean number of complaints was 7.5 among the former group and 6.4 for the latter group (p = 0.009). In a regression model, in which the authors controlled for age, gender, education, self-rated health, and coping, the employees with long commutes reported more complaints than those with short commutes. Significant associations were found between those with long commutes and the number and degree of incidences of self-reported musculoskeletal pain, pseudo-neurologic complaints, and gastrointestinal problems. Commuters who had had long commutes for more than 10 years reported more gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal complaints than those with long commutes for less than 2 years. Also, commuters with long commutes spent less time with their families and leisure activities compared with those with short commutes. The authors conclude that the association between long commute times and higher levels of subjective health complaints should attract the attention of transport planners, employers, and public health policymaker.

Concepts: Degree, Regression analysis, Leisure, Personal life, Statistics, Health, Arithmetic mean, Commuting


The oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico was documented by shoreline assessment teams as stranding on 1,773 km of shoreline. Beaches comprised 50.8%, marshes 44.9%, and other shoreline types 4.3% of the oiled shoreline. Shoreline cleanup activities were authorized on 660 km, or 73.3% of oiled beaches and up to 71 km, or 8.9% of oiled marshes and associated habitats. One year after the spill began, oil remained on 847 km; two years later, oil remained on 687 km, though at much lesser degrees of oiling. For example, shorelines characterized as heavily oiled went from a maximum of 360 km, to 22.4 km one year later, and to 6.4 km two years later. Shoreline cleanup has been conducted to meet habitat-specific cleanup endpoints and will continue until all oiled shoreline segments meet endpoints. The entire shoreline cleanup program has been managed under the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) Program, which is a systematic, objective, and inclusive process to collect data on shoreline oiling conditions and support decision making on appropriate cleanup methods and endpoints. It was a particularly valuable and effective process during such a complex spill.

Concepts: Degree, Decision making, Persian Gulf, Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, Oil, Petroleum


College students who do not have parents with 4-year degrees (first-generation students) earn lower grades and encounter more obstacles to success than do students who have at least one parent with a 4-year degree (continuing-generation students). In the study reported here, we tested a novel intervention designed to reduce this social-class achievement gap with a randomized controlled trial (N = 168). Using senior college students' real-life stories, we conducted a difference-education intervention with incoming students about how their diverse backgrounds can shape what they experience in college. Compared with a standard intervention that provided similar stories of college adjustment without highlighting students' different backgrounds, the difference-education intervention eliminated the social-class achievement gap by increasing first-generation students' tendency to seek out college resources (e.g., meeting with professors) and, in turn, improving their end-of-year grade point averages. The difference-education intervention also improved the college transition for all students on numerous psychosocial outcomes (e.g., mental health and engagement).

Concepts: College, Degree, Academia, Academic degree, Better, Randomized controlled trial, Improve, University


Melanin, a kind of well-known multifunctional biomacromolecules that are widely available in large quantities from a variety of natural sources. In this work, Polyurethane (PU) /melanin nanocomposites with enhanced tensile strength and toughness were successfully fabricated via in situ polymerization. It was found that the tensile strength (σ), elongation-at-break (εmax) and work to fracture (W) were increased from 5.6 MPa, 770% and 33 MJ/m3 for PU to 51.5 MPa, 1880% and 413 MJ/m3 for PU/melanin (2 wt %) nanocomposite, respectively. Micromorphology indicated that individualized melanin nanoparticles were specifically associated with the hard domains of PU and fine dispersed in matrix. FTIR, DSC and AFM results suggested melanin induced an improvement in degree of phase separation, which resulted in significant improvements in mechanical properties. However, with further increased content of melanin, a relatively large-scale phase separation was formed and led to a reduction in mechanical properties. On the other hand, interactions between melanin and hard segments of PU were increased, leading to a higher TgHS. Moreover, the rheological behavior and dynamic mechanical properties of PU/melanin nanocomposites were further investigated.

Concepts: In situ, Melanin, Degree, Improve, Nanocomposite, Nanomaterials, Materials science, Tensile strength


Recent work has shown that functional connectivity among cortical neurons is highly varied, with a small percentage of neurons having many more connections than others. Also, recent theoretical developments now make it possible to quantify how neurons modify information from the connections they receive. Therefore, it is now possible to investigate how information modification, or computation, depends on the number of connections a neuron receives (in-degree) or sends out (out-degree). To do this, we recorded the simultaneous spiking activity of hundreds of neurons in cortico-hippocampal slice cultures using a high-density 512-electrode array. This preparation and recording method combination produced large numbers of neurons recorded at temporal and spatial resolutions that are not currently available in any in vivo recording system. We utilized transfer entropy (a well-established method for detecting linear and nonlinear interactions in time series) and the partial information decomposition (a powerful, recently developed tool for dissecting multivariate information processing into distinct parts) to quantify computation between neurons where information flows converged. We found that computations did not occur equally in all neurons throughout the networks. Surprisingly, neurons that computed large amounts of information tended to receive connections from high out-degree neurons. However, the in-degree of a neuron was not related to the amount of information it computed. To gain insight into these findings, we developed a simple feedforward network model. We found that a degree-modified Hebbian wiring rule best reproduced the pattern of computation and degree correlation results seen in the real data. Interestingly, this rule also maximized signal propagation in the presence of network-wide correlations, suggesting a mechanism by which cortex could deal with common random background input. These are the first results to show that the extent to which a neuron modifies incoming information streams depends on its topological location in the surrounding functional network.

Concepts: Computation, Brain, Pyramidal cell, Cerebellum, Neuron, Degree, Computer, Cerebral cortex


The growth and evolution of networks has elicited considerable interest from the scientific community and a number of mechanistic models have been proposed to explain their observed degree distributions. Various microscopic processes have been incorporated in these models, among them, node and edge addition, vertex fitness and the deletion of nodes and edges. The existing models, however, focus on specific combinations of these processes and parameterize them in a way that makes it difficult to elucidate the role of the individual elementary mechanisms. We therefore formulated and solved a model that incorporates the minimal processes governing network evolution. Some contribute to growth such as the formation of connections between existing pair of vertices, while others capture deletion; the removal of a node with its corresponding edges, or the removal of an edge between a pair of vertices. We distinguish between these elementary mechanisms, identifying their specific role on network evolution.

Concepts: Degree, Philosophy of science, Model theory, Fundamental physics concepts, Vertex, Graph theory, Scientific method


An algorithm for intensity-based 3D-2D registration of CT and x-ray projections is evaluated, specifically using single- or dual-projection views to provide 3D localization. The registration framework employs the gradient information similarity metric and covariance matrix adaptation evolution strategy to solve for the patient pose in six degrees of freedom. Registration performance was evaluated in an anthropomorphic phantom and cadaver, using C-arm projection views acquired at angular separation, Δθ, ranging from ∼0°-180° at variable C-arm magnification. Registration accuracy was assessed in terms of 2D projection distance error and 3D target registration error (TRE) and compared to that of an electromagnetic (EM) tracker. The results indicate that angular separation as small as Δθ ∼10°-20° achieved TRE <2 mm with 95% confidence, comparable or superior to that of the EM tracker. The method allows direct registration of preoperative CT and planning data to intraoperative fluoroscopy, providing 3D localization free from conventional limitations associated with external fiducial markers, stereotactic frames, trackers and manual registration.

Concepts: Degree, Covariance, Projection, Sample size, Covariance matrix, Degrees of freedom, X-ray


We introduce the concept of control centrality to quantify the ability of a single node to control a directed weighted network. We calculate the distribution of control centrality for several real networks and find that it is mainly determined by the network’s degree distribution. We show that in a directed network without loops the control centrality of a node is uniquely determined by its layer index or topological position in the underlying hierarchical structure of the network. Inspired by the deep relation between control centrality and hierarchical structure in a general directed network, we design an efficient attack strategy against the controllability of malicious networks.

Concepts: Network topology, Social network, Degree, Hierarchy, Complex network, Structure, Mathematics, Graph theory