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Overcoming Challenges and Defining Successful Strategies: Setting up a Vital Biorepository in Sub-Saharan Africa

Overcoming Challenges and Defining Successful Strategies: Setting up a Vital Biorepository in Sub-Saharan Africa

The UK-based Pregnancy Care Integrating Translational Science, Everywhere (PRECISE) Network has set up biorepositories across sub-Saharan Africa to investigate the causes of placental pregnancy complications and enhance research capacity. The project encountered several challenges relating to facilities, staffing, training, cultural barriers, procurement, shipping and sample storage which impacted project timings and budget. However, with appropriate training and infrastructure development, the researchers have shown that is possible to facilitate high-quality sample collection in this region. This important achievement provides vital encouragement in support of establishing further biorepositories in less affluent regions.

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Dr Clara Pelfrey – Dr Linda Scholl | Charting How Research Leads from Discoveries to Improved Health

Dr Clara Pelfrey – Dr Linda Scholl | Charting How Research Leads from Discoveries to Improved Health

Interventions designed to improve health, including targeted drugs and medical devices, typically undergo a complex and lengthy process of development. In a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, the National Institutes of Health and Case Western Reserve University in the USA, experts Dr Clara Pelfrey, Dr Linda Scholl and colleagues have designed a case study protocol to improve understanding of this process.

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Dr Jozelin María Soto-Alarcón – Dr Diana Xóchitl González-Gómez | The Use of Communal Land by Rural Women in Mexico

Dr Jozelin María Soto-Alarcón – Dr Diana Xóchitl González-Gómez | The Use of Communal Land by Rural Women in Mexico

The inability to access land is a major cause of poverty in agricultural societies. Women, who are less likely to own, rent, buy or inherit land, are particularly affected and access to communal land may provide a vital lifeline. Dr Jozelin María Soto-Alarcón and Dr Diana Xóchitl González-Gómez set out to investigate the use of communal land in a rural community in Mexico, investigating the strategies used by a collective of women to achieve access to this critical resource.

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Caitlin Calio – Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro | Understanding the Experiences of Typically Developing Siblings of People with Autism

Caitlin Calio – Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro | Understanding the Experiences of Typically Developing Siblings of People with Autism

While research into the experiences of people with autism and their families is flourishing, there remains relatively little research on the experiences of typically developing siblings, particularly those on the brink of adulthood. Ms Caitlin Calio, Masters of Teaching, and Professor Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro at Fordham University in the USA, are dedicated to overcoming this important knowledge gap to help inform both theory and the development of appropriate practical support.

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Professor Zygmunt Pizlo | How Fundamentals in Physics Can Explain Perception and Cognition

Professor Zygmunt Pizlo | How Fundamentals in Physics Can Explain Perception and Cognition

Professor Zygmunt Pizlo at the University of California-Irvine has advanced degrees in both engineering and psychology. He is drawing on his extensive experience in these often disparate fields to explore how fundamentals in physics can explain how we see the world around us. His novel work extrapolating from the importance of symmetry in physics and the natural world opens up exciting possibilities for psychology and cognitive science.

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Sarah Leighton | Can Assistance Dogs Help Military Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

Sarah Leighton | Can Assistance Dogs Help Military Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

Military veterans are diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder at a much higher rate than civilians. There is a growing interest in psychiatric assistance dog placements to help veterans cope with their symptoms, however research into their effectiveness is limited. Sarah Leighton and her colleagues from Purdue University and the University of Arizona have undertaken a review of the existing evidence surrounding these partnerships to determine their efficacy. Whilst more detailed and robust research is still needed, they found positive support for this intervention.

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Professor Richard Klemke | Targeted Drug Delivery: From Science Fiction to Reality

Professor Richard Klemke | Targeted Drug Delivery: From Science Fiction to Reality

Most human diseases are localised in terms of their location but currently, injected or orally administered drugs are evenly distributed all over the body and thus, act indiscriminately. The targeted delivery of medication to the exact site where it is needed is a common theme in science fiction but thanks to Professor Richard Klemke and his team at the University of California San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center, this fantasy may soon become a reality.

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Professor Michael Bukrinsky | Human Immunodeficiency Virus Co-morbidities: How Lipid Homeostasis Alterations Lead to Cardiovascular and Neurological Disorders

Professor Michael Bukrinsky | Human Immunodeficiency Virus Co-morbidities: How Lipid Homeostasis Alterations Lead to Cardiovascular and Neurological Disorders

Although human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is still prevalent worldwide, life-saving antiretroviral drugs can now prevent an infection from progressing into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nevertheless, people who are HIV-positive are still at increased risk of developing neurological disorders and cardiovascular diseases, known as co-morbidities. Professor Michael Bukrinsky from the George Washington University in Washington DC works to understand the underlying biological mechanisms that lead to these disorders. His research has produced interesting results that demonstrate the role of altered lipid (cholesterol) homeostasis in HIV-infected cells and how this comes to pass.

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Dr Doug Brugge | The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health Studies: Minimising Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution

Dr Doug Brugge | The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health Studies: Minimising Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution

Epilepsy is a chronic, long-term disease in which abnormal activity in the brain leads to repeated seizures, and it affects nearly 70 million people worldwide. The exact mechanisms behind epileptic seizures are still poorly understood. However, we do know that epilepsy can be caused by changes in the network structure of our brains and that seizures may be a result of spontaneous excessive brain synchronisation. Professor Eckehard Schöll and his Master student Moritz Gerster together with colleagues are using computer simulations to better understand the interplay of network structure and network synchronisation in epilepsy.

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Professor Eckehard Schöll | Moritz Gerster – Rewiring the Brain: How a Small-world Network Structure Mimics Spontaneous Synchronisation in Epileptic Seizures

Professor Eckehard Schöll | Moritz Gerster – Rewiring the Brain: How a Small-world Network Structure Mimics Spontaneous Synchronisation in Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy is a chronic, long-term disease in which abnormal activity in the brain leads to repeated seizures, and it affects nearly 70 million people worldwide. The exact mechanisms behind epileptic seizures are still poorly understood. However, we do know that epilepsy can be caused by changes in the network structure of our brains and that seizures may be a result of spontaneous excessive brain synchronisation. Professor Eckehard Schöll and his Master student Moritz Gerster together with colleagues are using computer simulations to better understand the interplay of network structure and network synchronisation in epilepsy.

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Dr Francesca Ronchi | How Gut Bacteria Influences Brain Health

Dr Francesca Ronchi | How Gut Bacteria Influences Brain Health

Our intestines contain millions of bacteria, known as our microbiota, which secrete compounds and play a key role in keeping us healthy. These bacteria don’t just affect the health of our digestive system, they can influence organs as far away as the brain. Dr Francesca Ronchi at Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin is determining the role of the microbiota in the prevention and development of neurological disorders.

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Dr Lars Oddsson | The walk2Wellness Trial: Measuring the Impact of a Wearable Sensory Prosthesis on People with Peripheral Neuropathy

Dr Lars Oddsson | The walk2Wellness Trial: Measuring the Impact of a Wearable Sensory Prosthesis on People with Peripheral Neuropathy

Dr Lars Oddsson, CTO of RxFunction and Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota is co-inventor of a wearable device called Walkasins® to help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls in people with sensory peripheral neuropathy. The walk2Wellness trial incorporated five clinical sites where they demonstrated that by replacing sensory stimulation for balance, this prosthetic device can have a positive impact on clinical mobility outcomes and quality of life for those who have suffered nerve damage causing loss of sensation in their feet.

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Raymond Palmer | Improving Indoor Air Quality Lessens the Symptoms Associated with Chemical Intolerance

Raymond Palmer | Improving Indoor Air Quality Lessens the Symptoms Associated with Chemical Intolerance

Chemical intolerance is on the rise, currently afflicting around 20% of the American population. Common triggers include low-level exposure to indoor air contaminants such as combustion products from gas stoves and smoking, and indoor volatile organic compounds from products including disinfectants and air fresheners, as well as chemicals from paint and construction materials.

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Dr Michael Schutz | Musical Alarms: Improving Medical Environments by Studying Sound

Dr Michael Schutz | Musical Alarms: Improving Medical Environments by Studying Sound

Medical devices in hospitals use auditory interfaces to keep doctors and nurses updated while keeping their eyes focused on patients. These auditory alarms are crucial for complex procedures, such as placing a breathing tube. Unfortunately, the specific sounds used in current systems are highly problematic. The lack of sophistication in these tones render them annoying and distracting, harming communication amongst medical staff and posing risks for patient care. An FDA survey has revealed hundreds of deaths annually resulting from poorly designed alarms! Although there are many ways to improve their use, one solution has received little attention thus far – improving the quality of the sounds themselves.

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The 2022 Prince Mahidol Award Conference: Building the World We Want

The 2022 Prince Mahidol Award Conference: Building the World We Want

Humanity is facing many challenges, ranging from COVID-19 to climate change, and from natural resource depletion to social inequity. The Prince Mahidol Award Conference is an annual event held in Bangkok, where leaders and experts meet to discuss global challenges. This year, the theme was ‘The World We Want: Actions Towards a Sustainable, Fairer and Healthier Society’.

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Revolutionising Understanding of the Myometrium to Prevent Preterm Birth

Revolutionising Understanding of the Myometrium to Prevent Preterm Birth

Preterm birth refers to the birth of a baby before 37 weeks of completed gestation. An estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely each year and sadly, this prevalence is rising. Approximately 1 million die as a result of premature birth, and those who survive are at risk of lifelong disabilities. Dr Buxton and his team at the University of Nevada, Reno, are studying the role of the smooth muscle of the uterus to elucidate its role in preterm labour and birth.

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Using Machine Learning to Predict Bacterial Growth According to the Media Components

Using Machine Learning to Predict Bacterial Growth According to the Media Components

Bacterial growth depends on the complex interactions of a multitude of chemical components. Microbiologists have long attempted to predict bacterial growth according to culture media components, and have employed a variety of mathematical and computational models to this end. Dr Bei-Wen Ying and her colleagues at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, successfully applied machine learning to understand the contribution of media culture components to bacterial growth. Their work makes a significant contribution to growth prediction and demonstrates that machine learning can be employed in the exploration of the complex dynamics that regulate living systems.

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Controlling the Worldwide chaotic Spreading of COVID-19 Through Vaccinations | Dr Aldo Bonasera

Controlling the Worldwide chaotic Spreading of COVID-19 Through Vaccinations | Dr Aldo Bonasera

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, we face challenges that require innovative and strategic responding. Dr Aldo Bonasera at Texas A&M University in the USA and Laboratori Nazionali del Sud, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy, and Dr Hua Zheng at the School of Physics and Information Technology, Shaanxi Normal University in China, have taken a mathematical approach to compare the current COVID-19 pandemic with the Spanish Flu. Their findings have led to important recommendations for managing the current pandemic through vaccination programmes.

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