Publications by authors named "Tim Smith"

159 Publications

Adaptation of sperm whales to open-boat whalers: rapid social learning on a large scale?

Biol Lett 2021 03 17;17(3):20210030. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Sea Mammal Research Unit and Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 8LB, UK.

Animals can mitigate human threats, but how do they do this, and how fast can they adapt? Hunting sperm whales was a major nineteenth century industry. Analysis of data from digitized logbooks of American whalers in the North Pacific found that the rate at which whalers succeeded in harpooning ('striking') sighted whales fell by about 58% over the first few years of exploitation in a region. This decline cannot be explained by the earliest whalers being more competent, as their strike rates outside the North Pacific, where whaling had a longer history, were not elevated. The initial killing of particularly vulnerable individuals would not have produced the observed rapid decline in strike rate. It appears that whales swiftly learned effective defensive behaviour. Sperm whales live in kin-based social units. Our models show that social learning, in which naive social units, when confronted by whalers, learned defensive measures from grouped social units with experience, could lead to the documented rapid decline in strike rate. This rapid, large-scale adoption of new behaviour enlarges our concept of the spatio-temporal dynamics of non-human culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2021.0030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8104254PMC
March 2021

Giant sinus of Valsalva aneurysm-a peculiar presentation with atrial fibrillation.

Eur Heart J Case Rep 2021 Feb 16;5(2):ytab026. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjcr/ytab026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885990PMC
February 2021

Longitudinal touchscreen use across early development is associated with faster exogenous and reduced endogenous attention control.

Sci Rep 2021 01 26;11(1):2205. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Psychological Sciences, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK.

Childhood screen time is associated with both attentional difficulties (for television viewing) and benefits (in action video gamers), but few studies have investigated today's pervasive touchscreen devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets), which combine salient features, interactive content, and accessibility from toddlerhood (a peak period of cognitive development). We tested exogenous and endogenous attention, following forty children who were stable high (HU) or low (LU) touchscreen users from toddlerhood to pre-school. HUs were slower to disengage attention, relative to their faster baseline orienting ability. In an infant anti-saccade task, HUs displayed more of a corrective strategy of orienting faster to distractors before anticipating the target. Results suggest that long-term high exposure to touchscreen devices is associated with faster exogenous attention and concomitant decreases in endogenous attention control. Future work is required to demonstrate causality, dissociate variants of use, and investigate how attention behaviours found in screen-based contexts translate to real-world settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81775-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838402PMC
January 2021

The status of naloxone in community pharmacies across Canada.

Can Pharm J (Ott) 2020 Nov-Dec;153(6):352-356. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

University of Alberta (So, Al Harmarneh, Tsuyuki), Edmonton, Alberta.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1715163520958435DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689620PMC
September 2020

Emotion Recognition Performance in Children with Callous Unemotional Traits is Modulated by Co-occurring Autistic Traits.

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 2020 Nov 30:1-17. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading.

Objective: Atypical emotion recognition (ER) is characteristic of children with high callous unemotional (CU) traits. The current study aims to 1) replicate studies showing ER difficulties for static faces in relation to high CU-traits; 2) test whether ER difficulties remain when more naturalistic dynamic stimuli are used; 3) test whether ER performance for dynamic stimuli is moderated by eye-gaze direction and 4) assess the impact of co-occurring autistic traits on the association between CU and ER.

Methods: Participants were 292 (152 male) 7-year-olds from the Wirral Child Health and Development Study (WCHADS). Children completed a static and dynamic ER eye-tracking task, and accuracy, reaction time and attention to the eyes were recorded.

Results: Higher parent-reported CU-traits were significantly associated with reduced ER for static expressions, with lower accuracy for angry and happy faces. No association was found for dynamic expressions. However, parent-reported autistic traits were associated with ER difficulties for both static and dynamic expressions, and after controlling for autistic traits, the association between CU-traits and ER for static expressions became non-significant. CU-traits and looking to the eyes were not associated in either paradigm.

Conclusion: The finding that CU-traits and ER are associated for static but not naturalistic dynamic expressions may be because motion cues in the dynamic stimuli draw attention to emotion-relevant features such as eyes and mouth. Further, results suggest that ER difficulties in CU-traits may be due, in part, to co-occurring autistic traits. Future developmental studies are required to tease apart pathways toward the apparently overlapping cognitive phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2020.1833338DOI Listing
November 2020

Cultural influences on face scanning are consistent across infancy and adulthood.

Infant Behav Dev 2020 11 12;61:101503. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom.

The emergence of cultural differences in face scanning is thought to be shaped by social experience. However, previous studies mainly investigated eye movements of adults and little is known about early development. The current study recorded eye movements of British and Japanese infants (aged 10 and 16 months) and adults, who were presented with static and dynamic faces on screen. Cultural differences were observed across all age groups, with British participants exhibiting more mouth scanning, and Japanese individuals showing increased central face (nose) scanning for dynamic stimuli. Age-related influences independent of culture were also revealed, with a shift from eye to mouth scanning between 10 and 16 months, while adults distributed their gaze more flexibly. Against our prediction, no age-related increases in cultural differences were observed, suggesting the possibility that cultural differences are largely manifest by 10 months of age. Overall, the findings suggest that individuals adopt visual strategies in line with their cultural background from early in infancy, pointing to the development of a highly adaptive face processing system that is shaped by early sociocultural experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2020.101503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7768814PMC
November 2020

Affective priming enhances gaze cueing effect.

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 2021 Feb 9;47(2):189-199. Epub 2020 Nov 9.

Centre for Baby Science.

Other's gaze direction triggers a reflexive shift of attention known as the gaze cueing effect. Fearful facial expressions are further reported to enhance the gaze cueing effect, but it remains unclear whether this facilitative effect is specific to gaze cues or the result of more general increase in attentional resources resulting from affective arousal. We examined the effects of affective priming on the cueing effects of gaze and arrow stimuli in the Posner cueing task. Participants were primed with two types of briefly presented affective stimuli (neutral, threatening), and the target location was cued either by an arrow or a gaze cue in a neutral face. Gaze cues were preceded by the same face with its eyes closed or directed to the viewer. Study 1 ( = 26) assessed the cueing effect using manual key press, and Study 2 ( = 30) employed gaze-contingent eye tracking techniques to assess the cueing effect using time to first fixate the cued target location. Both studies found that threatening priming significantly enhanced the cueing effects of eye gaze but not arrow stimuli. The results therefore suggest that affective priming does not facilitate general attentional orienting, but the facilitation is more specific to social cues such as eye gaze. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000880DOI Listing
February 2021

Selection of endogenous control genes for normalising gene expression data derived from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour tissue.

Sci Rep 2020 10 14;10(1):17258. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Translational Radiobiology Group, Division of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Centre, Christie Hospital NHS Found Trust, Manchester, M20 4BX, UK.

Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) data are normalised using endogenous control genes. We aimed to: (1) demonstrate a pathway to identify endogenous control genes for qPCR analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue using bladder cancer as an exemplar; and (2) examine the influence of probe length and sample age on PCR amplification and co-expression of candidate genes on apparent expression stability. RNA was extracted from prospective and retrospective samples and subject to qPCR using TaqMan human endogenous control arrays or single tube assays. Gene stability ranking was assessed using coefficient of variation (CoV), GeNorm and NormFinder. Co-expressed genes were identified from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) using the on-line gene regression analysis tool GRACE. Cycle threshold (Ct) values were lower for prospective (19.49 ± 2.53) vs retrospective (23.8 ± 3.32) tissues (p < 0.001) and shorter vs longer probes. Co-expressed genes ranked as the most stable genes in the TCGA cohort by GeNorm when analysed together but ranked lower when analysed individually omitting co-expressed genes indicating bias. Stability values were < 1.5 for the 20 candidate genes in the prospective cohort. As they consistently ranked in the top ten by CoV, GeNorm and Normfinder, UBC, RPLP0, HMBS, GUSB, and TBP are the most suitable endogenous control genes for bladder cancer qPCR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74380-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7560892PMC
October 2020

Infants' gaze exhibits a fractal structure that varies by age and stimulus salience.

Sci Rep 2020 10 14;10(1):17216. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.

The development of selective visual attention is critical for effectively engaging with an ever-changing world. Its optimal deployment depends upon interactions between neural, motor, and sensory systems across multiple timescales and neurocognitive loci. Previous work illustrates the spatio-temporal dynamics of these processes in adults, but less is known about this emergent phenomenon early in life. Using data (n = 190; 421 visits) collected between 3 and 35 months of age, we examined the spatio-temporal complexity of young children's gaze patterns as they viewed stimuli varying in semantic salience. Specifically, we used detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) to quantify the extent to which infants' gaze patterns exhibited scale invariant patterns of nested variability, an organizational feature thought to reflect self-organized and optimally flexible system dynamics that are not overly rigid or random. Results indicated that gaze patterns of even the youngest infants exhibited fractal organization that increased with age. Further, fractal organization was greater when children (a) viewed social stimuli compared to stimuli with degraded social information and (b) when they spontaneously gazed at faces. These findings suggest that selective attention is well-organized in infancy, particularly toward social information, and indicate noteworthy growth in these processes across the first years of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73187-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7560596PMC
October 2020

Optimizing the Availability of Enhanced Prehospital Care Team Resources.

Air Med J 2020 Sep - Oct;39(5):351-359. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

North West Air Ambulance, City Airport & Heliport, Manchester, UK.

Objective: After recent developments within the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA), we undertook a service evaluation to determine if resource use could be improved. We sought to answer the following questions: (1) At what time of day do major trauma incidents occur in the North West of England? 2) Do current NWAA operating hours meet the needs of these major trauma patients? 3) Where do major trauma incidents occur in the North West of England? and 4) Are current NWAA resources optimally located to meet the needs of these major trauma patients?

Methods: We reviewed records from the Trauma Audit and Research Network database for the North West of England (the counties of Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, and Lancashire) between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017. These data were supplemented by incident records from the North West Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust. Analysis was undertaken using Excel (Microsoft, Redmond, WA) and MapInfo Pro (Pitney Bowes, Stamford, CT). A survey will be conducted to give insight into the level of cover provided by other UK helicopter emergency medical services.

Results: Data from 2,318 incidents were analyzed. Major trauma occurs in higher numbers at certain times of day, varies from weekday to weekend, and takes place in higher concentrations in certain locations, appearing related to population density.

Conclusion: There is a significant difference between the current trauma care provision and the demand of major trauma incidents. The findings of this study suggest an expansion in cover provided by the NWAA may be appropriate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amj.2020.06.003DOI Listing
August 2021

Communication and Interaction With Semiautonomous Ground Vehicles by Force Control Steering.

IEEE Trans Cybern 2021 Aug 4;51(8):3913-3924. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

While full automation of road vehicles remains a future goal, shared-control and semiautonomous driving-involving transitions of control between the human and the machine-are more feasible objectives in the near term. These alternative driving modes will benefit from new research toward novel steering control devices, more suitably where machine intelligence only partially controls the vehicle. In this article, it is proposed that when the human shares the control of a vehicle with an autonomous or semiautonomous system, a force control, or nondisplacement steering wheel (i.e., a steering wheel which does not rotate but detects the applied torque by the human driver) can be advantageous under certain schemes: tight rein or loose rein modes according to the H -metaphor. We support this proposition with the first experiments to the best of our knowledge, in which human participants drove in a simulated road scene with a force control steering wheel (FCSW). The experiments exhibited that humans can adapt promptly to force control steering and are able to control the vehicle smoothly. Different transfer functions are tested, which translate the applied torque at the FCSW to the steering angle at the wheels of the vehicle; it is shown that fractional order transfer functions increment steering stability and control accuracy when using a force control device. The transition of control experiments is also performed with both: a conventional and an FCSW. This prototypical steering system can be realized via steer-by-wire controls, which are already incorporated in commercially available vehicles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TCYB.2020.3020217DOI Listing
August 2021

Effect of Hydrocortisone on Mortality and Organ Support in Patients With Severe COVID-19: The REMAP-CAP COVID-19 Corticosteroid Domain Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2020 10;324(13):1317-1329

School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.

Importance: Evidence regarding corticosteroid use for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is limited.

Objective: To determine whether hydrocortisone improves outcome for patients with severe COVID-19.

Design, Setting, And Participants: An ongoing adaptive platform trial testing multiple interventions within multiple therapeutic domains, for example, antiviral agents, corticosteroids, or immunoglobulin. Between March 9 and June 17, 2020, 614 adult patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 were enrolled and randomized within at least 1 domain following admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) for respiratory or cardiovascular organ support at 121 sites in 8 countries. Of these, 403 were randomized to open-label interventions within the corticosteroid domain. The domain was halted after results from another trial were released. Follow-up ended August 12, 2020.

Interventions: The corticosteroid domain randomized participants to a fixed 7-day course of intravenous hydrocortisone (50 mg or 100 mg every 6 hours) (n = 143), a shock-dependent course (50 mg every 6 hours when shock was clinically evident) (n = 152), or no hydrocortisone (n = 108).

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was organ support-free days (days alive and free of ICU-based respiratory or cardiovascular support) within 21 days, where patients who died were assigned -1 day. The primary analysis was a bayesian cumulative logistic model that included all patients enrolled with severe COVID-19, adjusting for age, sex, site, region, time, assignment to interventions within other domains, and domain and intervention eligibility. Superiority was defined as the posterior probability of an odds ratio greater than 1 (threshold for trial conclusion of superiority >99%).

Results: After excluding 19 participants who withdrew consent, there were 384 patients (mean age, 60 years; 29% female) randomized to the fixed-dose (n = 137), shock-dependent (n = 146), and no (n = 101) hydrocortisone groups; 379 (99%) completed the study and were included in the analysis. The mean age for the 3 groups ranged between 59.5 and 60.4 years; most patients were male (range, 70.6%-71.5%); mean body mass index ranged between 29.7 and 30.9; and patients receiving mechanical ventilation ranged between 50.0% and 63.5%. For the fixed-dose, shock-dependent, and no hydrocortisone groups, respectively, the median organ support-free days were 0 (IQR, -1 to 15), 0 (IQR, -1 to 13), and 0 (-1 to 11) days (composed of 30%, 26%, and 33% mortality rates and 11.5, 9.5, and 6 median organ support-free days among survivors). The median adjusted odds ratio and bayesian probability of superiority were 1.43 (95% credible interval, 0.91-2.27) and 93% for fixed-dose hydrocortisone, respectively, and were 1.22 (95% credible interval, 0.76-1.94) and 80% for shock-dependent hydrocortisone compared with no hydrocortisone. Serious adverse events were reported in 4 (3%), 5 (3%), and 1 (1%) patients in the fixed-dose, shock-dependent, and no hydrocortisone groups, respectively.

Conclusions And Relevance: Among patients with severe COVID-19, treatment with a 7-day fixed-dose course of hydrocortisone or shock-dependent dosing of hydrocortisone, compared with no hydrocortisone, resulted in 93% and 80% probabilities of superiority with regard to the odds of improvement in organ support-free days within 21 days. However, the trial was stopped early and no treatment strategy met prespecified criteria for statistical superiority, precluding definitive conclusions.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02735707.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.17022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7489418PMC
October 2020

Saliency-Driven Visual Search Performance in Toddlers With Low- vs High-Touch Screen Use.

JAMA Pediatr 2021 Jan;175(1):96-97

Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, England.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2344DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7418039PMC
January 2021

Characterization of CAR T cell expansion and cytotoxic potential during Ex Vivo manufacturing using image-based cytometry.

J Immunol Methods 2020 Sep - Oct;484-485:112830. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Department of Microbiology, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:

Since the FDA approval of two Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapies against CD19 malignancies, there has been significant interest in adapting CAR technology to other diseases. As such, the ability to simultaneously monitor manufacturing criteria and functional characteristics of multiple CAR T cell products by a single instrument would likely accelerate the development of candidate therapies. Here, we demonstrate that image-based cytometry yields high-throughput measurements of CAR T cell proliferation and size, and captures the kinetics of in vitro antigen-specific CAR T cell-mediated killing. The data acquired and analyzed by the image cytometer are congruent with results derived from conventional technologies when tested contemporaneously. Moreover, the use of bright-field and fluorescence microscopy by the image cytometer provides kinetic measurements and rapid data acquisition, which are direct advantages over industry standard instruments. Together, image cytometry enables fast, reproducible measurements of CAR T cell manufacturing criteria and effector function, which can greatly facilitate the evaluation of novel CARs with therapeutic potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2020.112830DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487036PMC
March 2021

Saccade dysmetria indicates attenuated visual exploration in autism spectrum disorder.

J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2021 02 25;62(2):149-159. Epub 2020 May 25.

Center for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, UK.

Background: Visual exploration in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by attenuated social attention. The underlying oculomotor function during visual exploration is understudied, whereas oculomotor function during restricted viewing suggested saccade dysmetria in ASD by altered pontocerebellar motor modulation.

Methods: Oculomotor function was recorded using remote eye tracking in 142 ASD participants and 142 matched neurotypical controls during free viewing of naturalistic videos with and without human content. The sample was heterogenous concerning age (6-30 years), cognitive ability (60-140 IQ), and male/female ratio (3:1). Oculomotor function was defined as saccade, fixation, and pupil-dilation features that were compared between groups in linear mixed models. Oculomotor function was investigated as ASD classifier and features were correlated with clinical measures.

Results: We observed decreased saccade duration (∆M = -0.50, CI [-0.21, -0.78]) and amplitude (∆M = -0.42, CI [-0.12, -0.72]), which was independent of human video content. We observed null findings concerning fixation and pupil-dilation features (POWER = .81). Oculomotor function is a valid ASD classifier comparable to social attention concerning discriminative power. Within ASD, saccade features correlated with measures of restricted and repetitive behavior.

Conclusions: We conclude saccade dysmetria as ASD oculomotor phenotype relevant to visual exploration. Decreased saccade amplitude and duration indicate spatially clustered fixations that attenuate visual exploration and emphasize endogenous over exogenous attention. We propose altered pontocerebellar motor modulation as underlying mechanism that contributes to atypical (oculo-)motor coordination and attention function in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13267DOI Listing
February 2021

Culture modulates face scanning during dyadic social interactions.

Sci Rep 2020 02 6;10(1):1958. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Birkbeck, University of London, Department of Psychological Sciences, London, WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom.

Recent studies have revealed significant cultural modulations on face scanning strategies, thereby challenging the notion of universality in face perception. Current findings are based on screen-based paradigms, which offer high degrees of experimental control, but lack critical characteristics common to social interactions (e.g., social presence, dynamic visual saliency), and complementary approaches are required. The current study used head-mounted eye tracking techniques to investigate the visual strategies for face scanning in British/Irish (in the UK) and Japanese adults (in Japan) who were engaged in dyadic social interactions with a local research assistant. We developed novel computational data pre-processing tools and data-driven analysis techniques based on Monte Carlo permutation testing. The results revealed significant cultural differences in face scanning during social interactions for the first time, with British/Irish participants showing increased mouth scanning and the Japanese group engaging in greater eye and central face looking. Both cultural groups further showed more face orienting during periods of listening relative to speaking, and during the introduction task compared to a storytelling game, thereby replicating previous studies testing Western populations. Altogether, these findings point to the significant role of postnatal social experience in specialised face perception and highlight the adaptive nature of the face processing system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58802-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7005015PMC
February 2020

Bioreactor-manufactured cartilage grafts repair acute and chronic osteochondral defects in large animal studies.

Cell Prolif 2019 Nov 6;52(6):e12653. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Objectives: Bioreactor-based production systems have the potential to overcome limitations associated with conventional tissue engineering manufacturing methods, facilitating regulatory compliant and cost-effective production of engineered grafts for widespread clinical use. In this work, we established a bioreactor-based manufacturing system for the production of cartilage grafts.

Materials & Methods: All bioprocesses, from cartilage biopsy digestion through the generation of engineered grafts, were performed in our bioreactor-based manufacturing system. All bioreactor technologies and cartilage tissue engineering bioprocesses were transferred to an independent GMP facility, where engineered grafts were manufactured for two large animal studies.

Results: The results of these studies demonstrate the safety and feasibility of the bioreactor-based manufacturing approach. Moreover, grafts produced in the manufacturing system were first shown to accelerate the repair of acute osteochondral defects, compared to cell-free scaffold implants. We then demonstrated that grafts produced in the system also facilitated faster repair in a more clinically relevant chronic defect model. Our data also suggested that bioreactor-manufactured grafts may result in a more robust repair in the longer term.

Conclusion: By demonstrating the safety and efficacy of bioreactor-generated grafts in two large animal models, this work represents a pivotal step towards implementing the bioreactor-based manufacturing system for the production of human cartilage grafts for clinical applications. Read the Editorial for this article on doi:10.1111/cpr.12625.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cpr.12653DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6869519PMC
November 2019

The Scene Perception & Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT) Applied to Visual Narratives.

Top Cogn Sci 2020 01 4;12(1):311-351. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

College of Education & Human Development, Georgia State University.

Understanding how people comprehend visual narratives (including picture stories, comics, and film) requires the combination of traditionally separate theories that span the initial sensory and perceptual processing of complex visual scenes, the perception of events over time, and comprehension of narratives. Existing piecemeal approaches fail to capture the interplay between these levels of processing. Here, we propose the Scene Perception & Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT), as applied to visual narratives, which distinguishes between front-end and back-end cognitive processes. Front-end processes occur during single eye fixations and are comprised of attentional selection and information extraction. Back-end processes occur across multiple fixations and support the construction of event models, which reflect understanding of what is happening now in a narrative (stored in working memory) and over the course of the entire narrative (stored in long-term episodic memory). We describe relationships between front- and back-end processes, and medium-specific differences that likely produce variation in front-end and back-end processes across media (e.g., picture stories vs. film). We describe several novel research questions derived from SPECT that we have explored. By addressing these questions, we provide greater insight into how attention, information extraction, and event model processes are dynamically coordinated to perceive and understand complex naturalistic visual events in narratives and the real world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tops.12455DOI Listing
January 2020

Surgical debranching for endovascular arch penetrating ulcer management.

Ann Cardiothorac Surg 2019 Jul;8(4):512-515

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/acs.2019.06.01DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6687966PMC
July 2019

Tropical Rainforest Restoration Plantations Are Slow to Restore the Soil Biological and Organic Carbon Characteristics of Old Growth Rainforest.

Microb Ecol 2020 Feb 1;79(2):432-442. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia.

Widespread and continuing losses of tropical old-growth forests imperil global biodiversity and alter global carbon (C) cycling. Soil organic carbon (SOC) typically declines with land use change from old-growth forest, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Ecological restoration plantations offer an established means of restoring aboveground biomass, structure and diversity of forests, but their capacity to recover the soil microbial community and SOC is unknown due to limited empirical data and consensus on the mechanisms of SOC formation. Here, we examine soil microbial community response and SOC in tropical rainforest restoration plantings, comparing them with the original old-growth forest and the previous land use (pasture). Two decades post-reforestation, we found a statistically significant but small increase in SOC in the fast-turnover particulate C fraction. Although the δC signature of the more stable humic organic C (HOC) fraction indicated a significant compositional turnover in reforested soils, from C pasture-derived C to C forest-derived C, this did not translate to HOC gains compared with the pasture baseline. Matched old-growth rainforest soils had significantly higher concentrations of HOC than pasture and reforested soils, and soil microbial enzyme efficiency and the ratio of gram-positive to gram-negative bacteria followed the same pattern. Restoration plantings had unique soil microbial composition and function, distinct from baseline pasture but not converging on target old growth rainforest within the examined timeframe. Our results suggest that tropical reforestation efforts could benefit from management interventions beyond re-establishing tree cover to realize the ambition of early recovery of soil microbial communities and stable SOC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-019-01414-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7033081PMC
February 2020

Use of an imaging station for rapid colony counting in radiobiology studies.

Appl Radiat Isot 2019 Oct 20;152:106-108. Epub 2019 Jun 20.

School of Medicine Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, UK.

Colony counting by eye is time consuming and subjective. Here comparison between the measurements of proliferative growth inhibition in plates of radiation-treated cells by an imaging station correlated highly significantly with counts determined by eye. This would suggest that an imaging station could be a viable alternative for colony counting for doses over 200KBq.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apradiso.2019.06.028DOI Listing
October 2019

Bacterial taxonomic composition of the postpartum cow uterus and vagina prior to artificial insemination1.

J Anim Sci 2019 Oct;97(10):4305-4313

Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

The current study characterized the taxonomic composition of the uterine and vaginal bacterial communities during estrous synchronization up to timed artificial insemination (TAI). Postpartum beef cows (n = 68) were subjected to pre-synchronization step 21 d prior to TAI (day -21), followed by an industry standard 7 Day Co-Synch on day -9 and TAI on day 0. Uterine and vaginal flushes were collected on days -21, -9, and -2 of the protocol and pH was immediately recorded. Pregnancy was determined by transrectal ultrasound on day 30. Bacterial DNA was extracted and sequenced targeting the V1 to V3 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA bacterial gene. Results indicated 34 different phyla including 792 different genera present between the uterus and vagina. Many differences in the relative abundance of bacterial phyla and genera occurred between resulting pregnancy statuses and among protocol days (P < 0.05). At day -2, multiple genera were present in >1% abundance of nonpregnant cows but <1% abundance in pregnant cows (P < 0.05). Uterine pH increased in nonpregnant cows but decreased in pregnant cows (P > 0.05). Overall, our study indicates bacterial phyla and genera abundances shift over time and may potentially affect fertility by altering the reproductive tract environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz212DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6776284PMC
October 2019

Uterine and vaginal bacterial community diversity prior to artificial insemination between pregnant and nonpregnant postpartum cows1.

J Anim Sci 2019 Oct;97(10):4298-4304

Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

The present study evaluated the bovine vaginal and uterine bacterial community diversity and its relationship to fertility. Postpartum beef cows (n = 68) were synchronized beginning on day -21 and ending with timed artificial insemination (TAI) on day 0. Pregnancy was diagnosed 30 d after TAI. Uterine and vaginal flushes were collected on day -21, -9, and -2 for bacterial DNA extraction to sequence the V1 to V3 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene. Results indicated a decrease in the number of bacterial species over time in the uterus of resulting pregnant and nonpregnant beef cows (P < 0.0001). Principal coordinate analyses (PCoA) depicted clustering of samples, indicating closely related bacterial communities, by day in the uterus and vagina (P < 0.0001). At day -2, uterine samples from nonpregnant and pregnant animals clustered separately (P < 0.0001), with nonpregnant animal samples clustering tightly together. Overall, the current study suggests the shift in the reproductive bacterial communities' diversity and phylogenetic relationship leading up to the time of breeding may contribute to successful pregnancy establishment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz210DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6776308PMC
October 2019

Matrix crosslinking enhances macrophage adhesion, migration, and inflammatory activation.

APL Bioeng 2019 Mar 27;3(1):016103. Epub 2019 Mar 27.

Department of Biomedical Engineering and The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California 92697, USA.

Macrophages are versatile cells of the innate immune system that can adopt a variety of functional phenotypes depending on signals in their environment. In previous work, we found that culture of macrophages on fibrin, the provisional extracellular matrix protein, inhibits their inflammatory activation when compared to cells cultured on polystyrene surfaces. Here, we sought to investigate the role of matrix stiffness in the regulation of macrophage activity by manipulating the mechanical properties of fibrin. We utilize a photo-initiated crosslinking method to introduce dityrosine crosslinks to a fibrin gel and confirm an increase in gel stiffness through active microrheology. We observe that matrix crosslinking elicits distinct changes in macrophage morphology, integrin expression, migration, and inflammatory activation. Macrophages cultured on a stiffer substrate exhibit greater cell spreading and expression of αM integrin. Furthermore, macrophages cultured on crosslinked fibrin exhibit increased motility. Finally, culture of macrophages on photo-crosslinked fibrin enhances their inflammatory activation compared to unmodified fibrin, suggesting that matrix crosslinking regulates the functional activation of macrophages. These findings provide insight into how the physical properties of the extracellular matrix might control macrophage behavior during inflammation and wound healing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.5067301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6481736PMC
March 2019

Multilevel analysis of individual, household, and community factors influencing child growth in Nepal.

BMC Pediatr 2019 04 5;19(1):91. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA.

Background: Childhood malnutrition and growth faltering is a serious concern in Nepal. Studies of child growth typically focus on child and mother characteristics as key factors, largely because Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) collect data at these levels. To control for and measure the importance of higher-level factors this study supplements 2006 and 2011 DHS data for Nepal with data from coincident rounds of the Nepal Living Standards Surveys (NLSS). NLSS information is summarized at the district level and matched to children using district identifiers available in the DHS.

Methods: The sample consists of 7533 children aged 0 to 59 months with complete anthropometric measurements from the 2006 and 2011 NDHS. These growth metrics, specifically height-for-age and weight-for-height, are used in multilevel regression models, with different group designations as upper-level denominations and different observed characteristics as upper-level predictors.

Results: Characteristics of children and households explain most of the variance in height-for-age and weight-for-height, with statistically significant but relatively smaller overall contributions from community-level factors. Approximately 6% of total variance and 22% of explained variance in height-for-age z-scores occurs between districts. For weight-for-height, approximately 5% of total variance, and 35% of explained variance occurs between districts.

Conclusions: The most important district-level factors for explaining variance in linear growth and weight gain are the percentage of the population belonging to marginalized groups and the distance to the nearest hospital. Traditional determinants of child growth maintain their statistical power in the hierarchical models, underscoring their overall importance for policy attention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1469-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6449894PMC
April 2019

The GORE TAG conformable thoracic stent graft with the new ACTIVE CONTROL deployment system.

J Vasc Surg 2019 Aug 25;70(2):432-437. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands; Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe single-center intraoperative details and early outcome of the new GORE TAG conformable stent graft with ACTIVE CONTROL (C-TAG ACTIVE CONTROL; W. L. Gore & Associates, Flagstaff, Ariz).

Methods: Between September 2017 and June 2018, a consecutive 30 patients underwent thoracic endovascular aortic repair with C-TAG ACTIVE CONTROL. This new system provides an intermediate deployment step at 50% and optional angulation control of the proximal part of the stent graft. Indications for thoracic endovascular aortic repair varied widely, including chronic postdissection and degenerative aneurysms, complicated acute dissections, and intramural hematomas, among others, in an elective (63.3%), urgent (13.3%), or emergent (23.3%) setting. The proximal landing zone (LZ) was LZ 2 in 23.3%, LZ 3 in 43.3%, and LZ 4 in 33.3%. Data were collected retrospectively and analyzed for technical and clinical success.

Results: In all patients, the stent graft was successfully introduced and deployed at the intended position, with complete exclusion of aortic disease and without intraoperative mortality (primary technical success, 100%). One emergent patient died at 2 days of ongoing septic shock (clinical success at 30 days, 96.6%). Median follow-up was 107 days (range, 33-271 days); late mortality was 3.4% (one patient died of stent graft infection at 40 days). Freedom from type I and type III endoleak at the early follow-up was 100%. No patients required other surgical or endovascular procedures for the primary treated aortic disease.

Conclusions: Our reported initial experience in 30 patients with the C-TAG ACTIVE CONTROL showed excellent early results, with high deployment accuracy and conformability. The additional features of staged deployment and angulation control may be of great help in challenging aortic arch diseases, allowing precise positioning and preventing bird-beak effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.11.015DOI Listing
August 2019

Saccades predict and synchronize to visual rhythms irrespective of musical beats.

Vis cogn 2018 4;26(9):695-718. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK.

Music has been shown to entrain movement. One of the body's most frequent movements, saccades, are arguably subject to a timer that may also be susceptible to musical entrainment. We developed a continuous and highly-controlled visual search task and varied the timing of the search target presentation, it was either gaze-contingent, tap-contingent, or visually-timed. We found: (1) explicit control of saccadic timing is limited to gross duration variations and imprecisely synchronized; (2) saccadic timing does not implicitly entrain to musical beats, even when closely aligned in phase; (3) eye movements predict visual onsets produced by motor-movements (finger-taps) and externally-timed sequences, beginning fixation prior to visual onset; (4) eye movement timing can be rhythmic, synchronizing to both motor-produced and externally timed visual sequences; each unaffected by musical beats. These results provide evidence that saccadic timing is sensitive to the temporal demands of visual tasks and impervious to influence from musical beats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13506285.2018.1544181DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382286PMC
December 2018

A functional assessment of the circle of Willis before aortic arch surgery using transcranial Doppler.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019 11 11;158(5):1298-1304. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands; Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Antegrade selective cerebral perfusion (ASCP) with systemic moderate hypothermia is routinely used as brain protection during aortic arch surgery. Whether ASCP should be delivered unilaterally (u-ASCP) or bilaterally (bi-ASCP) remains controversial.

Methods: We routinely studied the functional anatomy of the circle of Willis (CoW in all patients scheduled for arch surgery using transcranial color-coded Doppler over a decade. On the basis of these data, we classified observed functional variants as being "safe," "moderately safe," or "unsafe" for u-ASCP.

Results: From January 2005 to June 2015, 1119 patients underwent aortic arch surgery in our institution. Of these, 636 patients had elective surgery performed with ASCP. Preoperative full functional assessment of the CoW was possible in 61% of patients. A functionally complete CoW was found in only 27%. Of all variants, 72% were classified as being safe for u-ASCP, whereas 18% were moderately safe for u-ASCP, and 10% unsafe. Unsafe variants for bi-ASCP were observed in 0.5% of patients.

Conclusions: The risk of ischemic brain damage due to malperfusion is estimated to be substantially higher during right u-ASCP than during bi-ASCP. Bi-ASCP is therefore highly preferable over u-ASCP if the function of the CoW is unknown. We propose a tailored approach using this full functional assessment preoperatively by applying u-ASCP via the right subclavian artery when considered safely possible, and bi-ASCP when considered a necessity to prevent cerebral malperfusion, and thus thereby try to reduce the embolic stroke risk of ostial instrumentation in bi-ASCP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2019.01.007DOI Listing
November 2019

Does narrative drive dynamic attention to a prolonged stimulus?

Cogn Res Princ Implic 2018 Dec 7;3(1):45. Epub 2018 Dec 7.

School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Attention in the "real world" fluctuates over time, but these fluctuations are hard to examine using a timed trial-based experimental paradigm. Here we use film to study attention. To achieve short-term engagement, filmmakers make use of low-level cinematic techniques such as color, movement and sound design to influence attention. To engage audiences over prolonged periods of time, narrative structure is used. In this experiment, participants performed a secondary auditory choice reaction time (RT) task to measure attention while watching a film. In order to explore the role of narrative on attention, we manipulated the order that film segments were presented. The influence of narrative was then compared to the contribution of low-level features (extracted using a computer-based saliency model) in a multiple regression analysis predicting choice RT. The regression model successfully predicted 28% of the variance in choice RT: 13% was due to low-level saliency, and 8% due to the narrative. This study shows the importance of narrative in determining attention and the value of studying attention with a prolonged stimulus such as film.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41235-018-0140-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6286290PMC
December 2018

Let me out-of the Synthes fixation system.

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2019 Jun;55(6):1239

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezy400DOI Listing
June 2019
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