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Alejandro Agostini, Enric Celaya
Function approximation in online, incremental, reinforcement learning needs to deal with two fundamental problems: biased sampling and nonstationarity. In kinds of tasks, biased sampling occurs because samples are obtained from specific trajectories dictated by the dynamics of the environment and are usually concentrated in particular convergence regions, which in the long term tend to dominate the approximation in the less sampled regions. The nonstationarity comes from the recursive nature of the estimations typical of temporal difference methods...
October 20, 2016: Neural Computation
Nicolas Rouleau, Lukasz M Karbowski, Michael A Persinger
Synthetic experimental substrates are indispensable tools which can allow researchers to model biological processes non-invasively in three-dimensional space. In this study, we investigated the capacities of an electroconductive material whose properties converge upon those of the brain. An electrically conductive material composed of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, ions, water, and trace amounts of other organic compounds and minerals was classically conditioned as inferred by electrophysiological measurements...
2016: PloS One
Woo Jin Lee, Won Kyung Lee, So Young Sohn
Because of the remarkable developments in robotics in recent years, technological convergence has been active in this area. We focused on finding patterns of convergence within robot technology using network analysis of patents in both the USPTO and KIPO. To identify the variables that affect convergence, we used quadratic assignment procedures (QAP). From our analysis, we observed the patent network ecology related to convergence and found technologies that have great potential to converge with other robotics technologies...
2016: PloS One
Daryl C Yang, Jennifer R Deuis, Daniel Dashevsky, James Dobson, Timothy N W Jackson, Andreas Brust, Bing Xie, Ivan Koludarov, Jordan Debono, Iwan Hendrikx, Wayne C Hodgson, Peter Josh, Amanda Nouwens, Gregory J Baillie, Timothy J C Bruxner, Paul F Alewood, Kelvin Kok Peng Lim, Nathaniel Frank, Irina Vetter, Bryan G Fry
Millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned the ability of venom peptides to rapidly incapacitate both prey and potential predators. Toxicofera reptiles are characterized by serous-secreting mandibular or maxillary glands with heightened levels of protein expression. These glands are the core anatomical components of the toxicoferan venom system, which exists in myriad points along an evolutionary continuum. Neofunctionalisation of toxins is facilitated by positive selection at functional hotspots on the ancestral protein and venom proteins have undergone dynamic diversification in helodermatid and varanid lizards as well as advanced snakes...
October 18, 2016: Toxins
Madhukar Pai, Mark P Nicol, Catharina C Boehme
Rapid and accurate diagnosis is critical for timely initiation of anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment, but many people with TB (or TB symptoms) do not have access to adequate initial diagnosis. In many countries, TB diagnosis is still reliant on sputum microscopy, a test with known limitations. However, new diagnostics are starting to change the landscape. Stimulated, in part, by the success and rollout of Xpert MTB/RIF, an automated, molecular test, there is now considerable interest in new technologies. The landscape looks promising with a pipeline of new tools, particularly molecular diagnostics, and well over 50 companies actively engaged in product development, and many tests have been reviewed by WHO for policy endorsement...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Hillary Anger Elfenbein, Daisung Jang, Sudeep Sharma, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks
Emotional intelligence (EI) has captivated researchers and the public alike, but it has been challenging to establish its components as objective abilities. Self-report scales lack divergent validity from personality traits, and few ability tests have objectively correct answers. We adapt the Stroop task to introduce a new facet of EI called emotional attention regulation (EAR), which involves focusing emotion-related attention for the sake of information processing rather than for the sake of regulating one's own internal state...
October 20, 2016: Emotion
Arun K Ghosh, Luke A Kassekert, Joseph D Bungard
We have elucidated the complete absolute configuration of callyspongiolide and unambiguously assigned its stereochemistry at the C-21 center through synthesis. Four stereoisomers of callyspongiolide were synthesized in a convergent and enantioselective manner. A late-stage Sonogashira coupling forges the diene-ynic side chain. Other notable reactions are Yonemitsu's variation of Yamaguchi macrolactonization to cyclize an alkynic seco acid, highly trans-selective Julia-Kocienski olefination, CBS reduction to set the C-21 stereocenter, and methyl cuprate addition to an unsaturated pyranone to install the C-5 methyl center...
October 20, 2016: Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
Hillary C Schiff, Joshua P Johansen, Mian Hou, David Ea Bush, Emily K Smith, JoAnna E Klein, Joseph E LeDoux, Robert M Sears
Memory formation requires the temporal coordination of molecular events and cellular processes following a learned event. During Pavlovian threat (fear) conditioning (PTC), sensory and neuromodulatory inputs converge on post-synaptic neurons within the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA). By activating an intracellular cascade of signaling molecules, these G-protein-coupled neuromodulatory receptors are capable of recruiting a diverse profile of plasticity-related proteins. Here we report that norepinephrine, through its actions on β-adrenergic receptors (βARs), modulates aversive memory formation following PTC through two molecularly and temporally distinct signaling mechanisms...
October 20, 2016: Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
G P Adams, M H Ratto, M E Silva, R A Carrasco
The ovulation-inducing effect of seminal plasma was first reported in Bactrian camels over 30 years ago, and the entity responsible was dubbed 'ovulation-inducing factor' (OIF). More recent studies, primarily in llamas and alpacas, characterized the biological and chemical properties of OIF and ultimately identified it as βNGF. This recent discovery has allowed a convergence of knowledge previously separated by discipline and by mechanism; that is, neurobiology and reproductive biology, and autocrine/paracrine vs endocrine...
October 2016: Reproduction in Domestic Animals, Zuchthygiene
Nashmiah Aid Alrashedy, Jeanmaire Molina
Psychoactive plants contain chemicals that presumably evolved as allelochemicals but target certain neuronal receptors when consumed by humans, altering perception, emotion and cognition. These plants have been used since ancient times as medicines and in the context of religious rituals for their various psychoactive effects (e.g., as hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives). The ubiquity of psychoactive plants in various cultures motivates investigation of the commonalities among these plants, in which a phylogenetic framework may be insightful...
2016: PeerJ
Wei Yu, Bo Ye, Liyun Xu, Zhaoyu Wang, Hanbo Le, Shanjun Wang, Hanbo Cao, Zhenda Chai, Zhijun Chen, Qingquan Luo, Yongkui Zhang
BACKGROUND: The solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) is a common and challenging clinical problem, especially solid SPN. The object of this study was to explore the predictive factors of SPN appearing as pure solid with malignance and to establish a clinical prediction model of solid SPNs. METHODS: We had a retrospective review of 317 solid SPNs (group A) having a final diagnosis in the department of thoracic surgery, Shanghai Chest Hospital from January 2015 to December 2015, and analyzed their clinical data and computed tomography (CT) images, including age, gender, smoking history, family history of cancer, previous cancer history, diameter of nodule, nodule location (upper lobe or non-upper lobe, left or right), clear border, smooth margin, lobulation, spiculation, vascular convergence, pleural retraction sign, air bronchogram sign, vocule sign, cavity and calcification...
October 20, 2016: Zhongguo Fei Ai za Zhi, Chinese Journal of Lung Cancer
Stephanie M Morris, Maria T Acosta, Shruti Garg, Jonathan Green, Susan Huson, Eric Legius, Kathryn N North, Jonathan M Payne, Ellen Plasschaert, Thomas W Frazier, Lauren A Weiss, Yi Zhang, David H Gutmann, John N Constantino
Importance: Recent reports have demonstrated a higher incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and substantially elevated autistic trait burden in individuals with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). However, important discrepancies regarding the distribution of autistic traits, sex predominance, and association between ASD symptoms and attentional problems have emerged, and critical features of the ASD phenotype within NF1 have never been adequately explored. Establishing NF1 as a monogenic cause for ASD has important implications for affected patients and for future research focused on establishing convergent pathogenic mechanisms relevant to the potential treatment targets for ASD...
October 19, 2016: JAMA Psychiatry
Jianshuang Wu, Susanne Wurst, Xianzhou Zhang
The biodiversity-productivity relationship is still under debate for alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau. We know little about direct and indirect effects of biotic and abiotic drivers on this relationship, especially in regard to plant functional trait diversity. Here, we examine how aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and precipitation use efficiency (PUE) respond to climate, soil and community structure across alpine grasslands on the Northern Tibetan Plateau. We found that both ANPP and PUE showed nonlinear patterns along water availability and site altitude variation, which together accounted for 80...
October 19, 2016: Scientific Reports
Denys deCatanzaro, Tyler J Pollock
Estradiol-17β (E2) plays critical roles in female maturation, sexual receptivity, ovulation, and fertility. In many mammals, contact with males can similarly affect these female parameters, while male excretions contain significant quantities of E2 We administered radiolabeled estradiol ([(3)H]E2) to male mice in doses representing a small fraction of their endogenous E2 These males were paired with sexually-receptive females, and radioactivity was traced into the females' systems. In Experiment 1, males were given [(3)H]E2 at 24 and 1 h prior to mating...
October 6, 2016: Journal of Endocrinology
Jean-Christophe Giger, Gabriela Gonçalves, Ana Susana Almeida
The Domestic Violence Myth Acceptance Scale was adapted to Portuguese (PDVMAS). The PDVMAS displayed reasonable fit indices (Study 1); was positively correlated with right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, belief in a just world (Study 2), and ambivalent sexism (Study 3); and negatively correlated with empathetic tendencies (Study 4). PDVMAS significantly predicted victim blame and aggressor exoneration in scenarios of coercion (Study 5) and physical assault (Study 6). Victims and non-victims of domestic violence equally endorsed domestic violence myths...
October 6, 2016: Violence Against Women
Susana Alberich, Sara Barbeito, Itxaso González-Ortega, Amaia Ugarte, Patricia Vega, Sonia Ruiz de Azúa, Purificación López, Iñaki Zorrilla, Ana González-Pinto
BACKGROUND: Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that impairs functioning and affects the quality of life of patients. The onset of this illness usually occurs at an early age, and the risk of relapse remains high for decades. Thus, due to the great clinical relevance of identifying long-term predictors of functioning in bipolar disorder, Strauss and Carpenter developed a scale composed of items known to have prognostic value. METHODS: To determine the clinical usefulness of the four-item Strauss-Carpenter scale in bipolar disorder, a 1-year prospective follow-up study was carried out...
December 2016: International Journal of Bipolar Disorders
Hiroshi Isono, Shinnosuke Hirata, Tadashi Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Hachiya
PURPOSE: Chronic liver disease requires careful follow-up during long-term treatment, and development of a quantitative diagnosis method for liver fibrosis based on an ultrasonic imaging system is highly desired. METHODS: Texture analysis using a co-occurrence matrix was applied to both clinical and simulated ultrasonic images of fibrotic livers. A sequence of matrices was generated for pixel-pair distance, r, and texture feature contrast was chosen to examine the response to r in combination with statistical analysis of echo amplitude distribution using a multi-Rayleigh model...
October 18, 2016: Journal of Medical Ultrasonics
Nancy Makri
The quantum-classical path integral (QCPI) offers a rigorous methodology for simulating quantum mechanical processes in condensed-phase environments treated in full atomistic detail. This paper describes the implementation of QCPI on system-bath models, which are frequently employed in studying the dynamics of reactive processes. The QCPI methodology incorporates all effects associated with stimulated phonon absorption and emission as its crudest limit, thus can (in some regimes) converge faster than influence functional-based path integral methods specifically designed for system-bath Hamiltonians...
October 19, 2016: Faraday Discussions
Steven D Karlen, Chengcheng Zhang, Matthew L Peck, Rebecca A Smith, Dharshana Padmakshan, Kate E Helmich, Heather C A Free, Seonghee Lee, Bronwen G Smith, Fachuang Lu, John C Sedbrook, Richard Sibout, John H Grabber, Troy M Runge, Kirankumar S Mysore, Philip J Harris, Laura E Bartley, John Ralph
Angiosperms represent most of the terrestrial plants and are the primary research focus for the conversion of biomass to liquid fuels and coproducts. Lignin limits our access to fibers and represents a large fraction of the chemical energy stored in plant cell walls. Recently, the incorporation of monolignol ferulates into lignin polymers was accomplished via the engineering of an exotic transferase into commercially relevant poplar. We report that various angiosperm species might have convergently evolved to natively produce lignins that incorporate monolignol ferulate conjugates...
October 2016: Science Advances
Ronald H Silverman
The use of focused ultrasound to obtain diagnostically significant information about the eye goes back to the 1950s. This review describes the historical and technological development of ophthalmic ultrasound and its clinical application and impact. Ultrasound, like light, can be focused, which is crucial for formation of high-resolution, diagnostically useful images. Focused, single-element, mechanically scanned transducers are most common in ophthalmology. Specially designed transducers have been used to generate focused, high-intensity ultrasound that through thermal effects has been used to treat glaucoma (via ciliodestruction), tumors, and other pathologies...
2016: Clinical Ophthalmology
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