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Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant Caenorhabditis elegans Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Mishra et al. | Sep 14, 2019

Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is characterized by neurodegeneration. Mishra et al. wanted to understand the role of two transport proteins, LRP1 and AQP4, in the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease. They used a model organism for Alzheimer's disease, the nematode C. elegans, and genetic engineering to look at whether they would see a decrease in neurodegeneration if they increased the amount of these two transport proteins. They found that the best improvements were caused by increased expression of both transport proteins, with smaller improvements when just one of the proteins is overly expressed. Their work has important implications for how we understand neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and what we can do to slow or prevent the progression of the disease.

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Repulsion of Ants Using Non-Toxic Household Products

Ambati et al. | Sep 10, 2019

Repulsion of Ants Using Non-Toxic Household Products

Ant invasion causes damage exceeding $5 billion annually in North America. In this study, Ambati and Duvvuri aim to identify natural products with ant-repelling properties using a custom ring apparatus designed to quantify ant-repellence. They report that cinnamon and lemon were the most effective ant repellents of the tested products. These data suggest that compounds found in non-toxic household products, such as cinnamon oil and lemon juice, could be used in low-dose combinations as potent, effective, eco-friendly, and safe ant repellents.

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Testing the Effects of Salep Derived From the Tubers of Orchis mascula, Aloe vera, and Alpha-chymotrypsin on Wound Healing in Drosophila melanogaster Larvae

Halder et al. | Sep 09, 2019

Testing the Effects of Salep Derived From the Tubers of <em>Orchis mascula</em>, <em>Aloe vera</em>, and Alpha-chymotrypsin on Wound Healing in <em>Drosophila melanogaster</em> Larvae

Aloe vera and alpha-chymotrypsin have been used in are known for their various wound healing properties. Halder et al hypothesized that these treatments would enhance wound healing in Drosophila melanogaster larvae over 2 weeks by decreasing wound size more effectively compared to controls. The results of two of the treatment groups, Salep and Aloe vera, yielded wound sizes small enough to present a significant percent decrease when compared with the wound sizes of the control group. Their results show support that both Salep and Aloe vera were effective for enhancing wound healing in epithelial cells in D. melanogaster larvae.

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Giving Teens a Voice: Sources of Stress for High School Students

Corson et al. | Sep 09, 2019

Giving Teens a Voice: Sources of Stress for High School Students

The authors investigate the negative effects stress has on teen mental and physical health. Through a survey, they give Virginia teens a voice in revising the Health and Physical Education curriculum to include a standards of learning (SOL). Notably they identify factors contributing to stress levels including homework level, amount of free and sleep time, parental pressure and family encouragement.

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Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett et al. | Sep 03, 2019

Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett and Joykutty test whether growth hormone directly or indirectly affected the rate at which cartilage renewed itself. Growth hormone could exert a direct effect on cartilage or chondrocytes by modifying the expression of different genes, whereas an indirect effect would come from growth hormone stimulating insulin-like growth factor. The results from this research support the hypothesis that growth hormone increases proliferation rate using the direct pathway. This research can be used in the medical sciences for people who suffer from joint damage and other cartilage-related diseases, since the results demonstrated conditions that lead to increased proliferation of chondrocytes. These combined results could be applied in a clinical setting with the goal of allowing patient cartilage to renew itself at a faster pace, therefore keeping those patients out of pain from these chondrocyte-related diseases.

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Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Park et al. | Aug 16, 2019

Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Stem cells are at the forefront of research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Two essential properties of stem cells are self-renewal and potency, having the ability to specialize into different types of cells. Here, Park and Jeong took advantage of previously identified stem cell transcription factors associated with potency to differentiate umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (US-MSCs) from morphologically similar fibroblasts. Western blot analysis of the transcription factors Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2 revealed their expression was unique to US-MSCs providing insight for future methods of differentiating between these cell lines.

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The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Gohari et al. | Aug 12, 2019

The Effects of Altered Microbiome on <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Egg Laying Behavior

Since the discovery that thousands of different bacteria colonize our gut, many of which are important for human wellbeing, understanding the significance of balancing the different species on the human body has been intensely researched. Untangling the complexity of the gut microbiome and establishing the effect of the various strains on human health is a challenge in many circumstances, and the need for simpler systems to improve our basic understanding of microbe-host interactions seems necessary. C. elegans are a well-established laboratory animal that feed on bacteria and can thus serve as a less complex system for studying microbe-host interactions. Here the authors investigate how the choice of bacterial diet affects worm fertility. The same approach could be applied to many different outcomes, and facilitate our understanding of how the microbes colonizing our guts affect various bodily functions.

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