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

Concept: Part


The CDC recommends that healthcare settings provide influenza patients with facemasks as a means of reducing transmission to staff and other patients, and a recent report suggested that surgical masks can capture influenza virus in large droplet spray. However, there is minimal data on influenza virus aerosol shedding, the infectiousness of exhaled aerosols, and none on the impact of facemasks on viral aerosol shedding from patients with seasonal influenza. We collected samples of exhaled particles (one with and one without a facemask) in two size fractions (“coarse”>5 µm, “fine"≤5 µm) from 37 volunteers within 5 days of seasonal influenza onset, measured viral copy number using quantitative RT-PCR, and tested the fine-particle fraction for culturable virus. Fine particles contained 8.8 (95% CI 4.1 to 19) fold more viral copies than did coarse particles. Surgical masks reduced viral copy numbers in the fine fraction by 2.8 fold (95% CI 1.5 to 5.2) and in the coarse fraction by 25 fold (95% CI 3.5 to 180). Overall, masks produced a 3.4 fold (95% CI 1.8 to 6.3) reduction in viral aerosol shedding. Correlations between nasopharyngeal swab and the aerosol fraction copy numbers were weak (r = 0.17, coarse; r = 0.29, fine fraction). Copy numbers in exhaled breath declined rapidly with day after onset of illness. Two subjects with the highest copy numbers gave culture positive fine particle samples. Surgical masks worn by patients reduce aerosols shedding of virus. The abundance of viral copies in fine particle aerosols and evidence for their infectiousness suggests an important role in seasonal influenza transmission. Monitoring exhaled virus aerosols will be important for validation of experimental transmission studies in humans.

Concepts: Influenza, Number, Part, Particulate, Aerosol, Particulates, Reassortment, Global dimming


The dichloromethane-methanol (1:1) soluble part of Calopogonium mucunoides (Fabaceae) resulted in the isolation of 10 isoflavones (4'-O-methylalpinumisoflavone, 4'-O-methylderrone, alpinumisoflavone, daidzeine, Calopogonium isoflavone A, atalantoflavone, 2',4',5',7-tetramethoxyisoflavone, 7-O-methylcuneantin, cabreuvin and 7-O-methylpseudobaptigenin) and a rotenoid (6a,12a-dehydroxydegueline). Among these, daidzeine, 7-O-methylcuneantin, atalantoflavone and 6a, 12a-dehydroxydegueline have been isolated for the first time from C. mucunoides while remaining are already reported from this source. Structures of all the isolated constituents were elucidated with the aid of NMR spectroscopic and mass spectrometric techniques. Among all the isolated constituents, nine were evaluated for their urease inhibitory potential. However, six were found potent. These include 4'-O-methylderrone, daidzeine, atalantoflavone, 2',4',5',7-tetramethoxyisoflavone, 7-O-methylcuneantin and 6a, 12a-dehydroxydegueline.

Concepts: Isoflavones, Part, Flavonoid, Faboideae


Particles interacting with short-ranged potentials have attracted increasing interest, partly for their ability to model mesoscale systems such as colloids interacting via DNA or depletion. We consider the free-energy landscape of such systems as the range of the potential goes to zero. In this limit, the landscape is entirely defined by geometrical manifolds, plus a single control parameter. These manifolds are fundamental objects that do not depend on the details of the interaction potential and provide the starting point from which any quantity characterizing the system-equilibrium or nonequilibrium-can be computed for arbitrary potentials. To consider dynamical quantities we compute the asymptotic limit of the Fokker-Planck equation and show that it becomes restricted to the low-dimensional manifolds connected by “sticky” boundary conditions. To illustrate our theory, we compute the low-dimensional manifolds for $$n\le 8$$ identical particles, providing a complete description of the lowest-energy parts of the landscape including floppy modes with up to 2 internal degrees of freedom. The results can be directly tested on colloidal clusters. This limit is a unique approach for understanding energy landscapes, and our hope is that it can also provide insight into finite-range potentials.

Concepts: Mathematics, Energy, Mathematical analysis, Topology, Manifold, Computer, Part, Asymptote


In the present study we investigated the chemical composition of extracts prepared from aerial parts of Oenothera paradoxa Hudziok and Oenothera biennis L. and their anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities. UHPLC-DAD-MS/MS studies showed that both extracts contain a wide variety of polyphenol (39 identified constituents) among which macrocyclic ellagitannin turned out to be the main constituent. During the in vitro studies, using non-cellular models, both extracts scavenged ROS in a concentration dependent manner, and the lowest SC50 values were obtained for O2- and H2O2. Both extracts inhibited ROS production by stimulated human neutrophils. The stronger activity in the case of formyl-met-leu-phenylalanine stimulation suggests that both extracts may act through the receptor-dependent pathway. Oenothera paradoxa extract and Oenothera biennis extract exhibited anti-inflammatory activity by the inhibition of hyaluronidase and lipoxygenase in a concentration dependent manner. The stronger OBE towards LOX may be explained by its higher oenothein B content.

Concepts: Present, In vitro, Part, Extract, The Stronger, Oenothera biennis, Constituent, Oenothera


Sample extraction is the first challenge in analysis of herbal medicines (HMs). Numerous methods have been developed to improve extraction efficiency, use less solvent and short time. In this work, a tissue-smashing based ultra-rapid extraction (TSURE) method has been proposed through the designed particle crushing, drastic stir, and dynamic molecular permeation at normal temperature. Factors in TSURE like extraction time, volts, and solvents were optimized for extraction efficiency of salvianolic acid B, cryptotanshinone, and tanshinone IIA from Salvia miltiorrhiza. The TSURE method was validated in terms of repeatability (RSD<2.2%) and extraction recoveries (93-106% with RSD<5.0%). TSURE showed a comparable extraction efficiency to conventional heat reflux extraction (HRE) and better than ultrasonic assisted extraction (UAE). The extraction time was about 2.0-3.0 min for TSURE, 60 times faster than the performance of HRE and 20 times faster than UAE. Microscopic analysis showed that the Krummbein diameter of plant particles after extraction were about 600-1200 μm for HRE and UAE, and decreased to 50-80 μm for TSURE. Subsequently, the developed TSURE was applied to high-throughput extraction of 19 S. miltiorrhiza samples collected in different regions of China. Besides, application of TSURE to other herbal medicines was also investigated, including Panax quinquefolius and Lonicera japonica. TSURE method provided an ultra-rapid and promising alternation for extraction of ingredients in herbal medicines, and can be extended to pharmaceutics, foods and cosmetics.

Concepts: Time, English-language films, Solvent, Part, Particle, Pharmacy, Panax, Honeysuckle


Intraoperative electrocardiographic monitoring is considered a standard of care. However, there are no evidence-based algorithms for using intraoperative ST segment data to identify patients at high risk for adverse perioperative cardiac events. Therefore, we performed an exploratory study of statistical measures summarizing intraoperative ST segment values determine whether the variability of these measurements was associated with adverse postoperative events. We hypothesized that elevation, depression, and variability of ST segments captured in an anesthesia information management system are associated with postoperative serum troponin elevation.

Concepts: Statistics, Sociology, Part, Segment, Exploratory research


Exposure to vehicle exhaust can drive up to 70 % of excess lifetime cancer incidences due to air pollution in urban environments. Little is known about how exhaust-derived particles and organic pollutants, implicated in adverse health effects, are affected by freezing ambient temperatures and the presence of snow. Airborne particles and (semi)volatile organic constituents in dilute exhaust were studied in a novel low-temperature environmental chamber system containing natural urban snow under controlled cold environmental conditions. The presence of snow altered the aerosol size distributions of dilute exhaust in the 10 nm to 10 μm range and decreased the number density of the nanoparticulate (<100 nm) fraction of exhaust aerosols, yet increased the 100-150 nm fraction. Upon 1 hour exhaust exposure, the total organic carbon increased in the natural snow from 0.218 ± 0.014 to 0.539 ± 0.009 mg L(-1), and over 40 additional (semi)volatile organic compounds and a large number of exhaust-derived carbonaceous and likely organic particles were identified. The concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) increased from near the detection limit to 52.48, 379.5, 242.7, and 238.1 μg kg(-1) (± 10 %), respectively, indicating the absorption of exhaust-derived toxic organic compounds by snow. The alteration of exhaust aerosol size distributions at freezing temperatures and in the presence of snow, accompanied by changes of the organic pollutant content in snow, has potential to alter health effects of human exposure to vehicle exhaust.

Concepts: Density, Gasoline, Benzene, Pollution, Part, Toluene, Air pollution, Exhaust gas


Supplements are increasingly important to the scientific record, particularly in genomics. However, they are often underutilized. Optimally, supplements should make results findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (i.e., “FAIR”). Moreover, properly off-loading to them the data and detail in a paper could make the main text more readable. We propose a hierarchical organization for supplements, with some parts paralleling and “shadowing” the main text and other elements branching off from it, and we suggest a specific formatting to make this structure explicit. Furthermore, sections of the supplement could be presented in multiple scientific “dialects”, including machine-readable and lay-friendly formats.

Concepts: Scientific method, Structure, Dietary supplement, Hierarchy, Part, Falsifiability, Government, Format


On 1 April 2014, Northern Chile was struck by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake following a protracted series of foreshocks. The Integrated Plate Boundary Observatory Chile monitored the entire sequence of events, providing unprecedented resolution of the build-up to the main event and its rupture evolution. Here we show that the Iquique earthquake broke a central fraction of the so-called northern Chile seismic gap, the last major segment of the South American plate boundary that had not ruptured in the past century. Since July 2013 three seismic clusters, each lasting a few weeks, hit this part of the plate boundary with earthquakes of increasing peak magnitudes. Starting with the second cluster, geodetic observations show surface displacements that can be associated with slip on the plate interface. These seismic clusters and their slip transients occupied a part of the plate interface that was transitional between a fully locked and a creeping portion. Leading up to this earthquake, the b value of the foreshocks gradually decreased during the years before the earthquake, reversing its trend a few days before the Iquique earthquake. The mainshock finally nucleated at the northern end of the foreshock area, which skirted a locked patch, and ruptured mainly downdip towards higher locking. Peak slip was attained immediately downdip of the foreshock region and at the margin of the locked patch. We conclude that gradual weakening of the central part of the seismic gap accentuated by the foreshock activity in a zone of intermediate seismic coupling was instrumental in causing final failure, distinguishing the Iquique earthquake from most great earthquakes. Finally, only one-third of the gap was broken and the remaining locked segments now pose a significant, increased seismic hazard with the potential to host an earthquake with a magnitude of >8.5.

Concepts: Plate tectonics, Part, South America, Earthquake, Earthquake engineering, Seismology, Subduction, Pacific Ring of Fire


Measurement of radioactive dose rates in fine sediment that has recently deposited on channel bed-sand provides a solution to address the lack of continuous river monitoring in Fukushima Prefecture after Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) accident. We show that coastal rivers of Eastern Fukushima Prefecture were rapidly supplied with sediment contaminated by radionuclides originating from inland mountain ranges, and that this contaminated material was partly exported by typhoons to the coastal plains as soon as by November 2011. This export was amplified during snowmelt and typhoons in 2012. In 2013, contamination levels measured in sediment found in the upper parts of the catchments were almost systematically lower than the ones measured in nearby soils, whereas their contamination was higher in the coastal plains. We thereby suggest that storage of contaminated sediment in reservoirs and in coastal sections of the river channels now represents the most crucial issue.

Concepts: Sediment, Nuclear fission, River, Part, River delta, Nuclear power, Radioactive contamination, Tōhoku region