Learning more by sampling less: subsampling effects are model specific
- Poster presentation: Twenty Second Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2013. Paris, France. 13-18 July 2013.
When studying real world complex networks, one rarely has full access to all their components. As an example, the central nervous system of the human consists of 1011 neurons which are each connected to thousands of other neurons . Of these 100 billion neurons, at most a few hundred can be recorded in parallel. Thus observations are hampered by immense subsampling. While subsampling does not affect the observables of single neuron activity, it can heavily distort observables which characterize interactions between pairs or groups of neurons . Without a precise understanding how subsampling affects these observables, inference on neural network dynamics from subsampled neural data remains limited.
We systematically studied subsampling effects in three self-organized critical (SOC) models, since this class of models can reproduce the spatio-temporal activity of spontaneous activity observed in vivo [2,3]. The models differed in their topology and in their precise interaction rules. The first model consisted of locally connected integrate- and fire units, thereby resembling cortical activity propagation mechanisms . The second model had the same interaction rules but random connectivity . The third model had local connectivity but different activity propagation rules . As a measure of network dynamics, we characterized the spatio-temporal waves of activity, called avalanches. Avalanches are characteristic for SOC models and neural tissue . Avalanche measures A (e.g. size, duration, shape) were calculated for the fully sampled and the subsampled models. To mimic subsampling in the models, we considered the activity of a subset of units only, discarding the activity of all the other units.
Under subsampling the avalanche measures A depended on three main factors: First, A depended on the interaction rules of the model and its topology, thus each model showed its own characteristic subsampling effects on A. Second, A depended on the number of sampled sites n. With small and intermediate n, the true A¬ could not be recovered in any of the models. Third, A depended on the distance d between sampled sites. With small d, A was overestimated, while with large d, A was underestimated.
Since under subsampling, the observables depended on the model's topology and interaction mechanisms, we propose that systematic subsampling can be exploited to compare models with neural data: When changing the number and the distance between electrodes in neural tissue and sampled units in a model analogously, the observables in a correct model should behave the same as in the neural tissue. Thereby, incorrect models can easily be discarded. Thus, systematic subsampling offers a promising and unique approach to model selection, even if brain activity was far from being fully sampled.
Unmasking a temperature-dependent effect of the P. anserina i-AAA protease on aging and development
Heinz D. Osiewacz
- Different molecular pathways involved in maintaining mitochondrial function are of fundamental importance to control cellular homeostasis. Mitochondrial i-AAA protease is part of such a surveillance system, and PaIAP is the putative ortholog in the fungal aging model Podospora anserina. Here, we investigate the role of PaIAP in aging and development. Deletion of the gene encoding PaIAP resulted in a specific phenotype. When incubated at 27°C, spore germination and fruiting body formation are not different from that of the corresponding wild-type strain. Unexpectedly, the lifespan of the deletion strain is strongly increased. In contrast, cultivation at an elevated temperature of 37°C leads to impairments in spore germination and fruiting body formation and to a reduced lifespan. The higher PaIAP abundance in wild-type strains of the fungus grown at elevated temperature and the phenotype of the deletion strain unmasks a temperature-related role of the protein. The protease appears to be part of a molecular system that has evolved to allow survival under changing temperatures, as they characteristically occur in nature.
Aesthetic and emotional effects of meter and rhyme in poetry
Martin von Koppenfels
Sonja A. Kotz
- Metrical patterning and rhyme are frequently employed in poetry but also in infant-directed speech, play, rites, and festive events. Drawing on four line-stanzas from nineteenth and twentieth German poetry that feature end rhyme and regular meter, the present study tested the hypothesis that meter and rhyme have an impact on aesthetic liking, emotional involvement, and affective valence attributions. Hypotheses that postulate such effects have been advocated ever since ancient rhetoric and poetics, yet they have barely been empirically tested. More recently, in the field of cognitive poetics, these traditional assumptions have been readopted into a general cognitive framework. In the present experiment, we tested the influence of meter and rhyme as well as their interaction with lexicality in the aesthetic and emotional perception of poetry. Participants listened to stanzas that were systematically modified with regard to meter and rhyme and rated them. Both rhyme and regular meter led to enhanced aesthetic appreciation, higher intensity in processing, and more positively perceived and felt emotions, with the latter finding being mediated by lexicality. Together these findings clearly show that both features significantly contribute to the aesthetic and emotional perception of poetry and thus confirm assumptions about their impact put forward by cognitive poetics. The present results are explained within the theoretical framework of cognitive fluency, which links structural features of poetry with aesthetic and emotional appraisal.
Smac mimetic and demethylating agents synergistically trigger cell death in acute myeloid leukemia cells and overcome apoptosis resistance by inducing necroptosis
- Evasion of apoptosis, for example, by inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins, contributes to treatment resistance and poor outcome in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we identify a novel synergistic interaction between the small-molecule second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (Smac) mimetic BV6, which antagonizes X-linked IAP, cellular IAP (cIAP)1 and cIAP2, and the demethylating agents 5-azacytidine or 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (DAC) to induce cell death in AML cells, including apoptosis-resistant cells. Calculation of combination index (CI) confirms that this drug combination is highly synergistic (CI 0.02–0.4). In contrast, BV6 and DAC at equimolar concentrations do not cause synergistic toxicity against normal peripheral blood lymphocytes, pointing to some tumor cell selectivity. Molecular studies reveal that BV6 and DAC cooperate to trigger the activation of caspases, mitochondrial perturbations and DNA fragmentation, consistent with apoptotic cell death. However, the broad-range caspase inhibitor N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone (zVAD.fmk) fails to protect against BV6/DAC-induced cell death and even significantly increases the percentage of Annexin-V/propidium iodide double-positive cells. Importantly, BV6/DAC-induced cell death in the presence of zVAD.fmk is significantly reduced by pharmacological inhibition of key components of necroptosis signaling, that is, receptor-interacting protein (RIP) 1 using necrostatin-1 or mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein (MLKL) using necrosulfonamide. This indicates a switch from BV6/DAC-induced cell death from apoptosis to necroptosis upon caspase inhibition. Thus, BV6 cooperates with demethylating agents to induce cell death in AML cells and circumvents apoptosis resistance via a switch to necroptosis as an alternative mode of cell death. The identification of a novel synergism of BV6 and demethylating agents has important implications for the development of new treatment strategies for AML.
Cytoprotective functions of amyloid precursor protein family members in stress signaling and aging
- Poster presentation: Molecular Neurodegeneration: Basic biology and disease pathways Cannes, France. 10-12 September 2013.
Background: The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is processed via two different metabolic pathways: the amyloidogenic and the non-amyloidogenic pathway, the latter of which leading to generation of the secreted N-terminal APP fragment sAPPα . Previous studies from our group suggest that sAPPα exerts potent neuroprotective effects and inhibits stress-triggered cell death via modulation of gene expression, as well as by antagonizing different types of neurotoxic stress . It was also observed that the biochemical processing of APP is downregulated during aging which in turn reduced the secretion of sAPPα . Based on these observations, we have studied the potential physiological function of sAPPα/APP and APLPs (APP like proteins) on the regulation of age-associated, stress induced signaling pathways, apoptosis and senescence.
Materials and methods: SH-SY5Y, PC12, IMR90 cells were used as cellular models. Depletion of APP, APLP1 (APP like protein 1) and APLP2 (APP like protein 2) in SH-SY5Y cells was achieved by stable lentiviral knockdown. To analyze the protective function of sAPPα, we have used conditioned supernatants of wild type APP overexpressing HEK cells and recombinant His-tagged sAPPα purified from yeast. The cells were treated with sAPPα prior to the addition of different stress stimuli (MG132, epoxomicin, UV, H2O2) after which cell death, gene expression and senescence were analyzed by MTT assays, caspase activity assays, Western blots and X-Gal staining respectively.
Results: Our data show that sAPPα can antagonize premature senescence induced by repetitive short term induction of proteasomal stress in IMR-90 cells and apoptosis triggered by prolonged proteasomal stress and other death stimuli in PC12, SH-SY5Y and IMR90 cells which was accompanied by a sAPPα-dependent inhibition of the JNK stress signaling pathway. In contrast, no significant changes in cell viability and apoptosis were observed when APP knockdown cells were pretreated with sAPPα.
Conclusions: Our observations suggest that sAPPα can antagonize both apoptosis and cellular senescence and requires expression of holo-APP to mediate its cytoprotective effects. They also support the notion that the physiological function of APP is linked to modulation of neuronal and brain aging.
Less invasive surgery of the proximal aorta
- Oral presentation: 23rd World Congress of the World Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons. Split, Croatia. 12-15 September 2013.
Background: Partial upper sternotomy (PUS) is established less invasive approach for single and double valve surgery. Reports of aortic surgery performed through PUS are rare.
Methods: The records of 52 patients undergoing primary elective surgery on the proximal aorta through PUS between 2005 and 2011 were reviewed. Patients mean age was 57 years, 35% were in NYHA Class III or IV, 59% had recent cardiac decompensation, and 17% had pulmonary hypertension. The PUS was taken down to the 4th left intercostal space in 44 patients (85%).
Results: No conversion to full sternotomy was necessary. The aortic cross-clamp, cardiopulmonary bypass and operative times averaged 136 ± 20 min., 186 ± 36 min. and 327 ± 83 min., respectively. In eight patients, the right axillary artery was cannulated for establishing cardiopulmonary bypass; the others were cannulated centrally. All patients except one received a procedure on the ascending aorta, either replacement in 30 (58%) or reduction aortoplasty in 21 (40%). Aortic root replacement was additionally performed in 31 patients (60%), including David in 20 (38%) and Ross procedure in 6 (11.5%). The aortic arch was replaced either partially in 5 (10%) or totally in 3 (6%) patients, in moderate hypothermia employing antegrade cerebral perfusion. Additional procedures, included mitral valve repair in 15 (29%) patients and coronary grafting. Ventilation time, intensive care unit and hospital stay averaged 17 ± 12 hours, 2 ± 1, and 11 ± 9 days. Chest drainage was 470 ± 380 ml/24 hours. Permanent neurologic deficit did not occur. Wound dehiscence was observed in a single patient (2%). Thirty-day and hospital mortality were not observed.
Conclusions: Less invasive surgery on the aortic root, ascending aorta and aortic arch can be performed safely and reproducibly. Potential benefits include a minimized risk of wound dehiscence and reduced postoperative bleeding. The PUS does not compromise the quality of the operation.
Durability of mitral valve reconstruction using the cosgrove edwards annuloplasty band at 5 years
E. von Spreti
- Oral presentation: 23rd World Congress of the World Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons. Split, Croatia. 12-15 September 2013.
Background: In the past, questions have been raised, whether an open flexible annuloplasty band can reliably prevent recurrent mitral valve regurgitation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the durability of mitral valve repair at midterm, using the Cosgrove-Edwards annuloplasty band in a homogenic patient cohort.
Methods: From January 2004 to December 2007, 157 consecutive patients with degenerative mitral valve disease were included in the study. All had quadrangular resection of a P2 prolapse and annuloplasty with a Cosgrove-Edwards annuloplasty band. Clinical and echocardiography follow-up was complete.
Results: There was no intraoperative or 30 day mortality. After a mean follow-up of 5.0 ± 1.9 years, survival was 94.3%. At midterm, freedom from reoperations was 98.9%, freedom from thromboembolism was 97.5% and freedom from endocarditis was 99.4%. Echocardiography follow-up showed recurrent mitral valve regurgitation higher than grade 2 in two patients. Mean ejection fraction was 60.3 ± 10.2%, left atrial diameter was 42 ± 7 mm, mean gradient was 3.2 ± 1.4 mmHg, effective orifice area was 3.3 ± 1.3cm², mitral leaflet coaptation length was 7.5 ± 1.9 mm and mitral leaflet tethering height was 6.2 ± 2.3 mm.
Conclusion: Mitral valve repair using the Cosgrove annuloplasty band for degenerative mitral valve disease provides an effective and durable form of reconstruction.
Prospective evaluation of artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of non-falciparum and mixed-species malaria in Gabon
Daisy A. Diop
Ayola A. Adegnika
Peter G. Kremsner
- Background: The recommendation of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) as first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria is supported by a plethora of high quality clinical trials. However, their recommendation for the treatment of mixed-species malaria and the large-scale use for the treatment of non-falciparum malaria in endemic regions is based on anecdotal rather than systematic clinical evidence.
Methods: This study prospectively observed the efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated non-falciparum or mixed-species malaria in two routine district hospitals in the Central African country of Gabon.
Results: Forty patients suffering from uncomplicated Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale or mixed-species malaria (including Plasmodium falciparum) presenting at the hospital received artemether-lumefantrine treatment and were followed up. All evaluable patients (n = 38) showed an adequate clinical and parasitological response on Day 28 after oral treatment with artemether-lumefantrine (95% confidence interval: 0.91,1). All adverse events were of mild to moderate intensity and completely resolved by the end of study.
Conclusions: This first systematic assessment of artemether-lumefantrine treatment for P. malariae, P. ovale and mixed-species malaria demonstrated a high cure rate of 100% and a favourable tolerability profile, and thus lends support to the practice of treating non-falciparum or mixed-species malaria, or all cases of malaria without definite species differentiation, with artemether-lumefantrine in Gabon.
Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00725777
Identity development in adolescents with mental problems
- Background: In the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), “Identity” is an essential diagnostic criterion for personality disorders (self-related personality functioning) in the alternative approach to the diagnosis of personality disorders in Section III of DSM-5. Integrating a broad range of established identity concepts, AIDA (Assessment of Identity Development in Adolescence) is a new questionnaire to assess pathology-related identity development in healthy and disturbed adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. Aim of the present study is to investigate differences in identity development between adolescents with different psychiatric diagnoses.
Methods: Participants were 86 adolescent psychiatric in- and outpatients aged 12 to 18 years. The test set includes the questionnaire AIDA and two semi-structured psychiatric interviews (SCID-II, K-DIPS). The patients were assigned to three diagnostic groups (personality disorders, internalizing disorders, externalizing disorders). Differences were analyzed by multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA.
Results: In line with our hypotheses, patients with personality disorders showed the highest scores in all AIDA scales with T>70. Patients with externalizing disorders showed scores in an average range compared to population norms, while patients with internalizing disorders lay in between with scores around T=60. The AIDA total score was highly significant between the groups with a remarkable effect size of f= 0.44.
Conclusion: Impairment of identity development differs between adolescent patients with different forms of mental disorders. The AIDA questionnaire is able to discriminate between these groups. This may help to improve assessment and treatment of adolescents with severe psychiatric problems.
Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Cancer Patients: A Four-Arm Randomized Trial on the Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture
Hans Helge Bartsch
- Purpose. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common and dose-limiting side effect of cytostatic drugs. Since there are no proven therapeutic procedures against CIPN, we were interested to define the role of electroacupuncture (EA) from which preliminary data showed promising results. Methods. In a randomized trial with a group sequential adaptive design in patients with CIPN, we compared EA (LV3, SP9, GB41, GB34, LI4, LI11, SI3, and HT3; n=14) with hydroelectric baths (HB, n=14), vitamin B1/B6 capsules (300/300 mg daily; VitB, n=15), and placebo capsules (n=17). The statistical power in this trial was primarily calculated for proving EA only, so results of HB and VitB are pilot data. Results. CIPN complaints improved by 0.8 +- 1.2 (EA), 1.7 +- 1.7 (HB), 1.6 +- 2.0 (VitB), and 1.3 +- 1.3 points (placebo) on a 10-point numeric rating scale without significant difference between treatment groups or placebo. In addition no significant differences in sensory nerve conduction studies or quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30) were found. Conclusions. The used EA concept, HB, and VitB were not superior to placebo. Since, contrary to our results, studies with different acupuncture concepts showed a positive effect on CIPN, the effect of acupuncture on CIPN remains unclear. Further randomized, placebo controlled studies seem necessary. This trial is registered with DRKS00004448.