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Intergenerational effects of racism on amygdala and hippocampus resting state functional connectivity

Racism is an insidious problem with far-reaching effects on the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The pervasive negative impact of racism on mental health is well documented. However, less is known about the potential downstream impacts of maternal experiences of racism on offspring neurodevelopment. This study sought to examine evidence for a biological pathway of intergenerational transmission of racism-related trauma. This study examined the effects of self-reported maternal experiences of racism on resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) in n = 25 neonates (13 female, 12 male) birthed by BIPOC mothers. Amygdala and hippocampus are brain regions involved in fear, memory, and anxiety, and are central nodes in brain networks associated with trauma-related change. We used average scores on the Experiences of Racism Scale as a continuous, voxel-wise regressor in seed-based, whole-brain connectivity analysis of anatomically defined amygdala and hippocampus seed regions of interest. All analyses controlled for infant sex and gestational age at the 2-week scanning session. More maternal racism-related experiences were associated with (1) stronger right amygdala rsFC with visual cortex and thalamus; and (2) stronger hippocampus rsFC with visual cortex and a temporo-parietal network, in neonates. The results of this research have implications for understanding how maternal experiences of racism may alter neurodevelopment, and for related social policy.

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Exceptional performance with minimal data using a generative adversarial network for alzheimer's disease classification

The classification of Alzheimer's disease (AD) using deep learning models is hindered by the limited availability of data. Medical image datasets are scarce due to stringent regulations on patient privacy, preventing their widespread use in research. Moreover, although open-access databases such as the Open Access Series of Imaging Studies (OASIS) are available publicly for providing medical image data for research, they often suffer from imbalanced classes. Thus, to address the issue of insufficient data, this study proposes the integration of a generative adversarial network (GAN) that can achieve comparable accuracy with a reduced data requirement. GANs are unsupervised deep learning networks commonly used for data augmentation that generate high-quality synthetic data to overcome data scarcity. Experimental data from the OASIS database are used in this research to train the GAN model in generating synthetic MRI data before being included in a pretrained convolutional neural network (CNN) model for multistage AD classification. As a result, this study has demonstrated that a multistage AD classification accuracy above 80% can be achieved even with a reduced dataset. The exceptional performance of GANs positions them as a solution for overcoming the challenge of insufficient data in AD classification.

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Prevalence and associated factors of hypertension among people living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy in Benin’s National Teaching Hospital

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has extended the lifespan of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), exposing them to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Hypertension (HTN), the primary contributor to CVD burden, is increasingly concerning for PLHIV. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of hypertension in PLHIV on ART at the National Teaching Hospital Hubert Koutoukou Maga (HKM) of Benin using a prospective cross-sectional study conducted between October and December 2021. Patients who had a systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg or/and diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg or/and current use of antihypertensive medication from medical records were considered to have HTN. A total of 352 patients, including 260 women with a sex ratio of 0.3 were included. The mean age was 42.9 ± 11.9 years. Most patients were educated and did not use tobacco. 42.0% were current alcohol drinkers. The duration of ART treatment ranged from 0 to 22 years, with a median duration of 5.0 years. 14.2% were hypertensives with 3.1% newly diagnosed and 11.1% known with hypertension. Age above 40 years, living with a partner, alcohol consumption and body mass index greater than 25 were significantly associated with HTN. HTN in PLHIV is associated with numerous factors. Reducing the burden of the disease in target people in Benin requires a wide range of actions that need to be implemented.

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Microstructure and coupling mechanisms in MnBi–FeSiB nanocomposites obtained by spark plasma sintering

Fabrication and extensive characterization of hard-soft nanocomposites composed of hard magnetic low-temperature phase LTP-MnBi and amorphous Fe70Si10B20 soft magnetic phase for bulk magnets are reported. Samples with compositions Mn55Bi45 + x⋅(Fe70Si10B20) (x = 0, 3, 5, 10, 20 wt.%) were prepared by spark plasma sintering of powder mixtures. Characterization has been performed by X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, magnetometry and 57Fe Mӧssbauer spectroscopy. It was shown that samples contain crystallized and nanometric LTP-MnBi phases with various elemental compositions depending on the degree of Bi clustering. Complex correlations between starting compositions, processes during fabrication, and functional magnetic characteristics were observed. Unexpected special situations of the relation between microstructure and magnetic coupling mechanisms are discovered. Exchange spring effects of different strengths occur, being very sensitive to morpho-structural and compositional features, which in turn are controlled by processing conditions. An in-depth analysis of related microscopic characteristics is provided. Results of this work suggest that fabrication by powder metallurgy routes, such as spark plasma sintering of hard and soft magnetic powder mixtures, of MnBi-based composites with exchange spring phenomena have a high potential in designing and optimization of suitable materials with tunable magnetic properties towards rare-earth–free permanent magnet applications.

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Haemosporidian intensity and nestlings' life-history along an urban-to-rural gradient

Urban areas, i.e. dense housing and reduced green spaces, can significantly impact avian health, through altering land use and increasing biotic and abiotic stress. This study assessed the association of urbanization on haemosporidian infections, vectors, immune response, and body condition in Parus major nestlings, across four classes of urbanization along an urban-to-rural gradient in Vienna, Austria. Contrary to our expectations, vector abundance remained consistent across the gradient, while an increase in leukocyte count is positively associated with total parasite intensity. We found that nestlings in more urbanized areas exhibited higher parasite intensity and altered immune response, as evidenced by variations in the heterophil to lymphocyte ratio and leukocyte counts. Culicidae female vectors were associated with nestlings’ total parasites, scaled mass index, and industrial units. Nestlings in highly developed areas had higher infection rates than those in forests, suggesting increased exposure to infections. However, there was no clear relationship between total female vectors and total parasites. The level of urbanization negatively affected nestling body condition, with a decrease in fat deposits from forested to highly urbanized areas. Our findings highlight the complex interplay between urbanization, vector-borne parasite transmission, and host immune response, emphasizing the need for comprehensive urban planning to improve wildlife health and guarantee ecosystem functioning. Understanding how urbanization affects bird immunity and parasite infections is critical for adapting urban landscapes for wildlife health and ecosystem integrity.

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Remodeling of intestinal bacterial community and metabolome of Dezhou donkey induced by corn silage

Corn silage can usually improve the growth performance and the meat quality of ruminants, and subsequently increase the economic benefits of farming. However, little is known about the effects of corn silage on donkeys. This experiment investigated the effects of corn silage on the weight gain, gut microbiota and metabolites of Dezhou donkeys. A total of 24 Dezhou donkeys, sourced from the same farm and exhibiting similar age and average body weight, were utilized in this experiment. The donkeys were allocated into two groups: a control group receiving a basic diet and a test group receiving a basic diet supplemented with 30% corn silage. Each group comprised 12 donkeys, evenly distributed by sex (6 males and 6 females). The experiment lasted for 100 days. Results showed that dietary supplementation with corn silage significantly (P < 0.05) improved the weight gain of Dezhou donkeys at the end of the experiment. And the supplementation of corn silage in the diet significantly altered the bacterial community composition and metabolome in the feces of the donkeys. Notably, the relative abundance ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes was 0.76 in the control group compared to 0.96 in the test group. Furthermore, members of the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes phyla were associated with differentiated metabolites enriched in the arachidonic acid metabolism and pentose and glucuronate interconversion pathways, both of which have been reported to be related to animal growth. Specifically, Bacteroidia exhibited statistically (P < 0.05) positive correlations with 15S-HpETE, while Bacilli demonstrated statistically (P < 0.05) negative correlations with D-Xylulose. The findings of this study can advance our mechanistic understanding of the remodeling of intestinal microbiota and metabolome induced by corn silage, as well as their relationships with the growth performance of Dezhou donkeys, which in turn favor the improvement in nutrition of Dezhou donkeys.

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Machine learning and remote sensing-based lithological mapping of the Duwi Shear-Belt area, Central Eastern Desert, Egypt

Machine learning and remote sensing techniques are widely accepted as valuable, cost-effective tools in lithological discrimination and mineralogical investigations. The current study represents an attempt to use machine learning classification along with several remote sensing techniques being applied to Landsat-8/9 satellite data to discriminate the various outcropping lithological rock units at the Duwi Shear Belt (DSB) area in the Central Eastern Desert of Egypt. Multi-class machine learning classification, multiple conventional remote sensing mapping techniques, spectral separability analysis based on the Jeffries-Matusita (J-M) distance measure, fieldwork, and petrographic investigations were integrated to enhance the lithological discrimination of the exposed rock units at DSB area. The well-recognized machine learning classifier (Support Vector Machine—SVM) was adopted in this study, with training data determined carefully based on enhancing the lithological discrimination attained from various remote sensing techniques of False Color Composites (FCC), Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and Minimum Noise Fraction (MNF), along with the fieldwork data and the previously published geologic maps. High overall accuracy of the SVM classification was obtained, however, inspection of the individual rock unit classes’ accuracies revealed lower accuracy for certain types of rock units which were also found associated with lower separability scores as well. Among the least separable rock units were; metagabbro rocks that showed high spectral similarity with the volcaniclastic metasediments rocks, and the metaultramafics of the ophiolitic mélange showed spectral attitude of high correlation to that of the Hammamat volcanosedimentary rocks. Target-oriented Color Ratio Composites (CRC) technique was implemented to better discriminate these hardly separable rock units. A final integrated geological map was obtained comprising the various discriminated Neoproterozoic basement rock units of the DSB area. The successfully mapped litho-units include; Meatiq Group (amphibolites, gneissic granitoids, and mylonitized granitoids), ophiolitic mélange (metaultramafics, metagabbro-amphibolites, and volcaniclastic metasediments), Dokhan volcanics, Hammamat sediments, and granites. An adequate description of these rock units was also given in light of the conducted intense fieldwork and petrographic investigations.

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Win ratio analysis of short-term clinical outcomes of focal therapy and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy for the patients with localized prostate cancer

We compared the comprehensive clinical outcomes of focal therapy (FT) and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) in patients with localized prostate cancer (PC) using a win ratio analysis. After propensity score matching, a win ratio analysis, in which the composite endpoints of failure-free survival (FFS) and the urinary domain of the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC) were analyzed, was used for the comparison of the clinical outcomes of FT and RARP for the patients with localized PC. Seventy-two patients were included in each group after propensity score matching. FFS was not significantly different between the groups (p = 0.5044) after 36 months of follow-up. In contrast, the score of the urinary domain of the EPIC in the FT group was significantly better than that in the RARP group (p < 0.0001). The win ratio of FT per RARP was 3.39 (p < 0.0001; 95% confidence interval 2.21–5.20), suggesting a higher comprehensive outcome in the FT group than in the RARP group during short-term follow-up in single institution. Although further randomized trial with long-term follow-up would be needed for the evaluation, the win ratio would be useful to analyze the efficacy of FT according to patient preferences comprehensively.

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