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Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Yehoshua Perl, James Geller, Michael Halper, Christopher Ochs, Ling Zheng, Joan Kapusnik-Uner
The purpose of the Big Data to Knowledge initiative is to develop methods for discovering new knowledge from large amounts of data. However, if the resulting knowledge is so large that it resists comprehension, referred to here as Big Knowledge (BK), how can it be used properly and creatively? We call this secondary challenge, Big Knowledge to Use. Without a high-level mental representation of the kinds of knowledge in a BK knowledgebase, effective or innovative use of the knowledge may be limited. We describe summarization and visualization techniques that capture the big picture of a BK knowledgebase, possibly created from Big Data...
October 17, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Philip Kitcher
Wisdom is a special kind of virtue. It is not to be identified with any outstanding cognitive ability-like having a prodigious memory or knowing a lot. Rather it consists in seeing what is most important and most valuable, either within a particular domain or in life as a whole. In the life of a wise person, that insight should be accompanied by traits of character, enabling the person to pursue what is seen as valuable. Viewing wisdom as a capacity for synthetic understanding, I argue for the need for philosophy, even at a time when all of us have much to learn from the sciences...
October 17, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Arash Shaban-Nejad, Maxime Lavigne, Anya Okhmatovskaia, David L Buckeridge
Population health decision makers must consider complex relationships between multiple concepts measured with differential accuracy from heterogeneous data sources. Population health information systems are currently limited in their ability to integrate data and present a coherent portrait of population health. Consequentially, these systems can provide only basic support for decision makers. The Population Health Record (PopHR) is a semantic web application that automates the integration and extraction of massive amounts of heterogeneous data from multiple distributed sources (e...
October 17, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Joshua J Joseph, Sherita H Golden
Controversy exists over the role of stress and depression in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Depression has been shown to increase the risk for progressive insulin resistance and incident type 2 diabetes mellitus in multiple studies, whereas the association of stress with diabetes is less clear, owing to differences in study designs and in forms and ascertainment of stress. The biological systems involved in adaptation that mediate the link between stress and physiological functions include the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous and immune systems...
October 17, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Sahishnu Patel, Anthony P Gualtieri, Helen H Lu, William N Levine
Rotator cuff tear is a very common shoulder injury that often necessitates surgical intervention for repair. Despite advances in surgical techniques for rotator cuff repair, there is a high incidence of failure after surgery because of poor healing capacity attributed to many factors. The complexity of tendon-to-bone integration inherently presents a challenge for repair because of a large biomechanical mismatch between the tendon and bone and insufficient regeneration of native tissue, leading to the formation of fibrovascular scar tissue...
October 17, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Esther K Choo, Sherry L Emery
As states increasingly liberalize marijuana laws, high-quality research is needed that will inform the public and policymakers about the health and societal impact of these laws. However, there are many challenges to studying marijuana policy, including the heterogeneity of the drug and its use, the variability in the laws and their implementation from state to state, the need to capture a wide variety of relevant outcomes, and the poorly understood influence of marijuana commercialization. Furthermore, current instruments generally fail to distinguish between types of users and lack accurate and detailed measures of use...
October 10, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Hans De Steur, Joshua Wesana, Dieter Blancquaert, Dominique Van Der Straeten, Xavier Gellynck
Building upon the growing interest and research on genetically modified (GM) biofortification, its socioeconomic potential has been increasingly examined. We conducted two systematic reviews and meta-analyses to provide comprehensive evidence of consumers' willingness to pay (11 economic valuation studies, 64 estimates) and cost-effectiveness/benefits (five economic evaluation studies, 30 estimates). Worldwide, consumers were willing to pay 23.9% more for GM biofortified food crops. Aside from crop and design-related differences, information provision was deemed crucial...
October 10, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Catherine M Phillips
In recent years, different subphenotypes of obesity have been described, including metabolically healthy obesity (MHO), in which a proportion of obese individuals, despite excess body fat, remain free of metabolic abnormalities and increased cardiometabolic risk. In the absence of a universally accepted set of criteria to classify MHO, the reported prevalence estimates vary widely. Our understanding of the determinants and stability of MHO over time and the associated cardiometabolic and mortality risks is improving, but many questions remain...
October 10, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Hailin Yang, Jinbo Dong, Wei Xiong, Zhong Fang, Hanfeng Guan, Feng Li
Sclerostin/SOST is a robust negative regulator of bone formation. Loss-of-function mutations of the sclerostin gene (SOST) cause sclerosteosis and Van Buchem disease characterized by bone overgrowth. Mediated by myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors, parathyroid hormone (PTH) suppresses SOST expression through formation of complexes of parathyroid hormone-parathyroid hormone-related peptide receptor 1 (PTH1R) and lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6). N-cadherin has been shown to negatively regulate Wnt/β-catenin and PTH induced, protein kinase-dependent β-catenin signaling...
October 10, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Amparo Latorre, Alejandro Manzano-Marín
Symbiosis has played a major role in eukaryotic evolution beyond the origin of the eukaryotic cell. Thus, organisms across the tree of life are associated with diverse microbial partners, conferring to the host new adaptive traits that enable it to explore new niches. This is the case for insects thriving on unbalanced diets, which harbor mutualistic intracellular microorganisms, mostly bacteria that supply them with the required nutrients. As a consequence of the lifestyle change, from free-living to host-associated mutualist, a bacterium undergoes many structural and metabolic changes, of which genome shrinkage is the most dramatic...
October 10, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Amir Lebaschi, Xiang-Hua Deng, Jianchun Zong, Guang-Ting Cong, Camila B Carballo, Zoe M Album, Christopher Camp, Scott A Rodeo
Rotator cuff (RC) injuries represent a significant source of pain, functional impairment, and morbidity. The large disease burden of RC pathologies necessitates rapid development of research methodologies to treat these conditions. Given their ability to model anatomic, biomechanical, cellular, and molecular aspects of the human RC, animal models have played an indispensable role in reducing injury burden and advancing this field of research for many years. The development of animal models in the musculoskeletal (MSK) research arena is uniquely different from that in other fields in that the similarity of macrostructures and functions is as critical to replicate as cellular and molecular functions...
October 10, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Sarah E Diamond
How will organisms respond to climate change? The rapid changes in global climate are expected to impose strong directional selection on fitness-related traits. A major open question then is the potential for adaptive evolutionary change under these shifting climates. At the most basic level, evolutionary change requires the presence of heritable variation and natural selection. Because organismal tolerances of high temperature place an upper bound on responding to temperature change, there has been a surge of research effort on the evolutionary potential of upper thermal tolerance traits...
October 5, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Charles Agyemang, Erik Beune, Karlijn Meeks, Juliet Addo, Ama de-Graft Aikins, Silver Bahendeka, Ina Danquah, Frank P Mockenhaupt, Matthias B Schulze, Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch, Liam Smeeth, Karien Stronks
Type 2 diabetes and obesity are major global public health problems, with migrant populations in high-income countries being particularly affected. Type 2 diabetes and obesity are also major threats in low- and middle-income countries, from which most migrant populations originate. Transitioning of societies and the resulting changes in lifestyles are thought to be major driving forces, but the key specific factors within this broad category still need to be determined. Migrant studies provide a unique opportunity to understand the potential underlying causes of these conditions, but current research is mainly geared toward analyzing the differences between migrants and the host populations in the countries of settlement...
October 5, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Michael R Gillings
Lateral gene transfer (LGT) has significantly influenced bacterial evolution since the origins of life. It helped bacteria generate flexible, mosaic genomes and enables individual cells to rapidly acquire adaptive phenotypes. In turn, this allowed bacteria to mount strong defenses against human attempts to control their growth. The widespread dissemination of genes conferring resistance to antimicrobial agents has precipitated a crisis for modern medicine. Our actions can promote increased rates of LGT and also provide selective forces to fix such events in bacterial populations...
October 5, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Daniel J Leong, Hui B Sun
Tendon injuries are common and present a clinical challenge because they often respond poorly to treatment and require prolonged rehabilitation. Current treatments often do not completely repair or regenerate the injured or diseased tendon to its native composition, structure, and mechanical properties. Stem cell-based therapies have brought new hope for tissue repair and regeneration, including that for tendon rupture and tendinopathy. Despite tremendous effort and progress, the success of stem cell-based studies on tendon repair and regeneration has mainly been limited to preclinical studies with few clinical applications...
October 5, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Francesco Volta, Jantje M Gerdes
One in 12 people worldwide suffers from diabetes and more than 90% of affected adult individuals are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Obesity adds to the personal risk to develop T2DM, and both metabolic diseases are rampantly increasing worldwide. Over recent years, primary cilia have moved into the focus of basic and clinical research, after several human diseases have been identified as ciliopathies (i.e., they are linked to ciliary dysfunction). A subset of ciliopathies presents with obesity and diabetes, either as core symptoms or major complications...
October 5, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Shuang Wang, Xiaoqian Jiang, Siddharth Singh, Rebecca Marmor, Luca Bonomi, Dov Fox, Michelle Dow, Lucila Ohno-Machado
Accessing and integrating human genomic data with phenotypes are important for biomedical research. Making genomic data accessible for research purposes, however, must be handled carefully to avoid leakage of sensitive individual information to unauthorized parties and improper use of data. In this article, we focus on data sharing within the scope of data accessibility for research. Current common practices to gain biomedical data access are strictly rule based, without a clear and quantitative measurement of the risk of privacy breaches...
September 28, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Edoardo Savarino, Andrea Ottonello, Salvatore Tolone, Ottavia Bartolo, Myong Ki Baeg, Farhood Farjah, Shiko Kuribayashi, Katerina P Shetler, Christian Lottrup, Ellen Stein
The 21st century offers new advances in diagnostic procedures and protocols in the management of esophageal diseases. This review highlights the most recent advances in esophageal diagnostic technologies, including clinical applications of novel endoscopic devices, such as ultrathin endoscopy and confocal laser endomicroscopy for diagnosis and management of Barrett's esophagus; novel parameters and protocols in high-resolution esophageal manometry for the identification and better classification of motility abnormalities; innovative connections between esophageal motility disorder diagnosis and detection of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); impedance-pH testing for detecting the various GERD phenotypes; performance of distensibility testing for better pathophysiological knowledge of the esophagus and other gastrointestinal abnormalities; and a modern view of positron emission tomography scanning in metastatic disease detection in the era of accountability as a model for examining other new technologies...
September 28, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Mauricio Santos-Vega, Pamela P Martinez, Mercedes Pascual
Urbanization and climate change are the two major environmental challenges of the 21st century. The dramatic expansion of cities around the world creates new conditions for the spread, surveillance, and control of infectious diseases. In particular, urban growth generates pronounced spatial heterogeneity within cities, which can modulate the effect of climate factors at local spatial scales in large urban environments. Importantly, the interaction between environmental forcing and socioeconomic heterogeneity at local scales remains an open area in infectious disease dynamics, especially for urban landscapes of the developing world...
September 28, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Thomas R Coughlin, Oran D Kennedy
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common musculoskeletal disease in the United States, is characterized by cartilage breakdown, pain, and restricted movement. Post-traumatic OA (PTOA) occurs subsequent to traumatic joint injury, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture, and makes up 12% of the overall disease burden, with healthcare costs of approximately $3 billion/year. The current paradigm for PTOA is based on the observation that joint injury affects multiple tissues, all of which may contribute to subsequent joint failure...
September 26, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
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