Synaptic boutons sizes are tuned to best fit their physiological performances
Markus M. Knodel
- Poster presentation: Twenty Second Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2013. Paris, France. 13-18 July 2013.
To truly appreciate the myriad of events which relate synaptic function and vesicle dynamics, simulations should be done in a spatially realistic environment. This holds true in particular in order to explain as well the rather astonishing motor patterns which we observed within in vivo recordings which underlie peristaltic contractionsas well as the shape of the EPSPs at different forms of long-term stimulation, presented both here, at a well characterized synapse, the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of the Drosophila larva (c.f. Figure 1). To this end, we have employed a reductionist approach and generated three dimensional models of single presynaptic boutons at the Drosophila larval NMJ. Vesicle dynamics are described by diffusion-like partial differential equations which are solved numerically on unstructured grids using the uG platform. In our model we varied parameters such as bouton-size, vesicle output probability (Po), stimulation frequency and number of synapses, to observe how altering these parameters effected bouton function. Hence we demonstrate that the morphologic and physiologic specialization maybe a convergent evolutionary adaptation to regulate the trade off between sustained, low output, and short term, high output, synaptic signals. There seems to be a biologically meaningful explanation for the co-existence of the two different bouton types as previously observed at the NMJ (characterized especially by the relation between size and Po), the assigning of two different tasks with respect to short- and long-time behaviour could allow for an optimized interplay of different synapse types. We can present astonishing similar results of experimental and simulation data which could be gained in particular without any data fitting, however based only on biophysical values which could be taken from different experimental results. As a side product, we demonstrate how advanced methods from numerical mathematics could help in future to resolve also other difficult experimental neurobiological issues.
Entropy increase in switching systems
José M. Amigó
Peter E. Kloeden
- The relation between the complexity of a time-switched dynamics and the complexity of its control sequence depends critically on the concept of a non-autonomous pullback attractor. For instance, the switched dynamics associated with scalar dissipative affine maps has a pullback attractor consisting of singleton component sets. This entails that the complexity of the control sequence and switched dynamics, as quantified by the topological entropy, coincide. In this paper we extend the previous framework to pullback attractors with nontrivial components sets in order to gain further insights in that relation. This calls, in particular, for distinguishing two distinct contributions to the complexity of the switched dynamics. One proceeds from trajectory segments connecting different component sets of the attractor; the other contribution proceeds from trajectory segments within the component sets. We call them “macroscopic” and “microscopic” complexity, respectively, because only the first one can be measured by our analytical tools. As a result of this picture, we obtain sufficient conditions for a switching system to be more complex than its unswitched subsystems, i.e., a complexity analogue of Parrondo’s paradox.
Preserving neural function under extreme scaling
Shamprasad Varija Raghu
- Important brain functions need to be conserved throughout organisms of extremely varying sizes. Here we study the scaling properties of an essential component of computation in the brain: the single neuron. We compare morphology and signal propagation of a uniquely identifiable interneuron, the HS cell, in the blowfly (Calliphora) with its exact counterpart in the fruit fly (Drosophila) which is about four times smaller in each dimension. Anatomical features of the HS cell scale isometrically and minimise wiring costs but, by themselves, do not scale to preserve the electrotonic behaviour. However, the membrane properties are set to conserve dendritic as well as axonal delays and attenuation as well as dendritic integration of visual information. In conclusion, the electrotonic structure of a neuron, the HS cell in this case, is surprisingly stable over a wide range of morphological scales.
"A manager in the minds of doctors:" a comparison of new modes of control in European hospitals
- Background: Hospital governance increasingly combines management and professional self-governance. This article maps the new emergent modes of control in a comparative perspective and aims to better understand the relationship between medicine and management as hybrid and context-dependent. Theoretically, we critically review approaches into the managerialism-professionalism relationship; methodologically, we expand cross-country comparison towards the meso-level of organisations; and empirically, the focus is on processes and actors in a range of European hospitals.
Methods: The research is explorative and was carried out as part of the FP7 COST action IS0903 Medicine and Management, Working Group 2. Comprising seven European countries, the focus is on doctors and public hospitals. We use a comparative case study design that primarily draws on expert information and document analysis as well as other secondary sources.
Results: The findings reveal that managerial control is not simply an external force but increasingly integrated in medical professionalism. These processes of change are relevant in all countries but shaped by organisational settings, and therefore create different patterns of control: (1) ‘integrated’ control with high levels of coordination and coherent patterns for cost and quality controls; (2) ‘partly integrated’ control with diversity of coordination on hospital and department level and between cost and quality controls; and (3) ‘fragmented’ control with limited coordination and gaps between quality control more strongly dominated by medicine, and cost control by management.
Conclusions: Our comparison highlights how organisations matter and brings the crucial relevance of ‘coordination’ of medicine and management across the levels (hospital/department) and the substance (cost/quality-safety) of control into perspective. Consequently, coordination may serve as a taxonomy of emergent modes of control, thus bringing new directions for cost-efficient and quality-effective hospital governance into perspective.
Graphical analyses in delay interaction networks
- Poster presentation: Twenty Second Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2013. Paris, France. 13-18 July 2013.
Network or graph theory has become a popular tool to represent and analyze large-scale interaction patterns in the brain. To derive a functional network representation from experimentally recorded neural time series one has to identify the structure of the interactions between these time series. In neuroscience, this is often done by pairwise bivariate analysis because a fully multivariate treatment is typically not possible due to limited data and excessive computational cost. Furthermore, a true multivariate analysis would consist of the analysis of the combined effects, including information theoretic synergies and redundancies, of all possible subsets of network components. Since the number of these subsets is the power set of the network components, this leads to a combinatorial explosion (i.e. a problem that is computationally intractable). In contrast, a pairwise bivariate analysis of interactions is typically feasible but introduces the possibility of false detection of spurious interactions between network components, especially due to cascade and common drive effects. These spurious connections in a network representation may introduce a bias to subsequently computed graph theoretical measures (e.g. clustering coefficient or centrality) as these measures depend on the reliability of the graph representation from which they are computed. Strictly speaking, graph theoretical measures are meaningful only if the underlying graph structure can be guaranteed to consist of one type of connections only, i.e. connections in the graph are guaranteed to be non-spurious.
We propose an approximate solution to improve this situation in the form of an algorithm that flags potentially spurious edges that are due to cascade effects and "three node" common drive effects in a network representation of bivariately analyzed interactions. As these two effects are responsible for a large part of spurious connections in bivariate analyses, their removal would mean a significant improvement of the network representation over existing bivariate solutions.
Our approach is based on the detection of directed interactions and the weighting of these interactions by their reconstructed interaction delays. We demonstrate how both questions can be addressed using a modified estimator of transfer entropy (TE). TE is an implementation of Wiener's principle of observational causality based on information theory , and detects arbitrary linear and non-linear interactions. Using a modified TE estimator that uses delayed states of the driving system, one can mathematically prove that transfer entropy values peak if the delay of the state of the driving system equals the true interaction delay . From this analysis, we derive a delay weighted network representation of directed interactions. On this network representation, potentially spurious interactions can be detected by analyzing sets of alternative paths between two endpoints in terms of their summed delays. The proposed algorithm may be used to prune spurious edges from the network, improving the reliability of the network representation itself and enhancing the applicability of subsequent graph theoretical measures. For the detection of "multi-node" common drive effects, that are not considered in this study, a theoretical solution exists as well, extending the power of the method, but this solution has not been implemented yet.
We demonstrate the application of this algorithm to networks of interacting neural sources in magneto-encephalographic data, and show that roughly 30% of bivariate interactions in these data are potentially spurious, and thus alter graph properties.
We conclude that the post hoc correction provided by our approach is a computationally less demanding alternative to a fully multivariate analysis of directed interactions, and preferable in cases were a multivariate treatment of the data is difficult due to the limited amount of data available.
Traffic medicine–related research: a scientometric analysis
Simona E. Zitnik
- OBJECTIVE: Traffic crashes and related injuries are important causes of morbidity and mortality and impose insofar an important burden on public health. However, research in this area is often under-funded. The aim of this study was to analyse quantity, evolution and geographic distribution of traffic medicine-related research. This multi-sectorial field covers both transport and health care sectors.
DESIGN: A scientometric approach in combination with visualizing density equalizing mapping was used to analyse published data related to the field of traffic medicine between 1900 and 2008 within the "Web of Science" (WoS) database.
RESULTS: In total, 5,193 traffic medicine-associated items were produced between 1900 and 2008. The United States was found to have the highest research activity with a production of n = 2,330 published items, followed by Germany (n = 298) and Canada (n = 219). Cooperation analyses resulted in a peak of published multilateral cooperations in the year of 2003. The country with the highest multilateral activity was the USA. The average number of cited references per publication varied heavily over the last 20 years with a maximum of 27.67 in 1995 and a minimum of 15.08 in 1998. Also, a further in-depth analysis was performed with a focus solely on public health aspects which revealed similar trends.
CONCLUSIONS: Summarizing the present data it can be stated traffic medicine-related research productivity grows annually. Also, an active networking between countries is present. The data of the present study may be used by scientific organisations in order to gain detailed information about research activities in this field which is extremely important for public health.
An open-label randomized clinical trial of prophylactic paracetamol coadministered with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and hexavalent diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, 3-component acellular pertussis, hepatitis B, inactivated poliovirus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
Markus A. Rose
William C. Gruber
- BACKGROUND: In two clinical trials, low-grade fever was observed more frequently after coadministration than after separate administration of two recommended routine pediatric vaccines. Since fever is an important issue with vaccine tolerability, we performed this open-label study on the efficacy and safety of prophylactic use of paracetamol (acetaminophen, Benuron(R)) in children administered routine 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) coadministered with hexavalent vaccine (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine [DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib]) in Germany.
METHODS: Healthy infants (N = 301) who received a 3-dose infant series of PCV-7 and DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib plus a toddler dose were randomly assigned 1:1 to prophylactic paracetamol (125 mg or 250 mg suppositories, based on body weight) at vaccination, and at 6--8 hour intervals thereafter, or a control group that received no paracetamol. Rectal temperature and local and other systemic reactions were measured for 4 days post vaccination; adverse events were collected throughout the study.
RESULTS: In the intent-to-treat population, paracetamol reduced the incidence of fever >=38[degree sign]C, but this reduction was only significant for the infant series, with computed efficacy of 43.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 17.4, 61.2), and not significant after the toddler dose (efficacy 15.9%; 95% CI: -19.9, 41.3); results were similar in the per protocol (PP) population. Fever >39[degree sign]C was rare during the infant series, such that there were too few cases for assessment. After the toddler dose, paracetamol effectively reduced fever >39[degree sign]C, reaching statistical significance in the PP population only (efficacy 79%; 95% CI: 3.9, 97.7). Paracetamol also reduced reactogenicity, but there were few significant differences between groups after any dose. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported.
CONCLUSIONS: Paracetamol effectively prevented fever and other reactions, mainly during the infant series. However, as events were generally mild and of no concern in either group our data support current recommendations to administer paracetamol to treat symptoms only and not for routine prophylaxis.Trial registration: NCT00294294.
A characterization of four B16 murine melanoma cell sublines molecular fingerprint and proliferation behavior
Simona Cîntă Pînzaru
Melania F. Munteanu
- Background: One of the most popular and versatile model of murine melanoma is by inoculating B16 cells in the syngeneic C57BL6J mouse strain. A characterization of different B16 modified cell sub-lines will be of real practical interest. For this aim, modern analytical tools like surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy/scattering (SERS) and MTT were employed to characterize both chemical composition and proliferation behavior of the selected cells.
Methods: High quality SERS signal was recorded from each of the four types of B16 cell sub-lines: B164A5, B16GMCSF, B16FLT3, B16F10, in order to observe the differences between a parent cell line (B164A5) and other derived B16 cell sub-lines. Cells were incubated with silver nanoparticles of 50–100 nm diameter and the nanoparticles uptake inside the cells cytoplasm was proved by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) investigations. In order to characterize proliferation, growth curves of the four B16 cell lines, using different cell numbers and FCS concentration were obtained employing the MTT proliferation assay. For correlations doubling time were calculated.
Results: SERS bands allowed the identification inside the cells of the main bio-molecular components such as: proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. An "on and off" SERS effect was constantly present, which may be explained in terms of the employed laser power, as well as the possible different orientations of the adsorbed species in the cells in respect to the Ag nanoparticles. MTT results showed that among the four tested cell sub-lines B16 F10 is the most proliferative and B164A5 has the lower growth capacity. Regarding B16FLT3 cells and B16GMCSF cells, they present proliferation ability in between with slight slower potency for B16GMCSF cells.
Conclusion: Molecular fingerprint and proliferation behavior of four B16 melanoma cell sub-lines were elucidated by associating SERS investigations with MTT proliferation assay.
Radiographic and safety details of vertebral body stenting: results from a multicenter chart review
Lorin Michael Benneker
Paul Friedhelm Heini
- Background: Up to one third of BKP treated cases shows no appreciable height restoration due to loss of both restored height and kyphotic realignment after balloon deflation. This shortcoming has called for an improved method that maintains the height and realignment reached by the fully inflated balloon until stabilization of the vertebral body by PMMA-based cementation. Restoration of the physiological vertebral body height for pain relief and for preventing further fractures of adjacent and distant vertebral bodies must be the main aim for such a method. A new vertebral body stenting system (VBS) stabilizes the vertebral body after balloon deflation until cementation. The radiographic and safety results of the first 100 cases where VBS was applied are presented.
Methods: During the planning phase of an ongoing international multicenter RCT, radiographic, procedural and followup details were retrospectively transcribed from charts and xrays for developing and testing the case report forms. Radiographs were centrally assessed at the institution of the first/senior author.
Results: 100 patients (62 with osteoporosis) with a total of 103 fractured vertebral bodies were treated with the VBS system. 49 were females with a mean age of 73.2 years; males were 66.7 years old. The mean preoperative anterior-middle-posterior heights were 20.3-17.6-28.0 mm, respectively. The mean local kyphotic angle was 13.1°. The mean preoperative Beck Index (anterior edge height/posterior edge height) was 0.73, the mean alternative Beck Index (middle height/posterior edge height) was 0.63. The mean postoperative heights were restored to 24.5-24.6-30.4 mm, respectively. The mean local kyphotic angle was reduced to 8.9°. The mean postoperative Beck Index was 0.81, the mean alternative one was 0.82. The overall extrusion rate was 29.1%, the symptomatic one was 1%. In the osteoporosis subgroup there were 23.8% extrusions. Within the three months followup interval there were 9% of adjacent and 4% of remote new fractures, all in the osteoporotic group.
Conclusions: VBS showed its strengths especially in realignment of crush and biconcave fractures. Given that fracture mobility is present, the realignment potential is sound and increases with the severity of preoperative vertebral body deformation.
The Single Supervisory Mechanism - Panacea or Quack Banking Regulation? : preliminary assessment of the evolving regime for the prudential supervision of banks with ECB involvement
- This paper analyzes the evolving architecture for the prudential supervision of banks in the euro area. It is primarily concerned with the likely effectiveness of the SSM as a regime that intends to bolster financial stability in the steady state. By using insights from the political economy of bureaucracy it finds that the SSM is overly focused on sharp tools to discipline captured national supervisors and thus underincentives their top-level personnel to voluntarily contribute to rigid supervision. The success of the SSM in this regard will hinge on establishing a common supervisory culture that provides positive incentives for national supervisors. In this regard, the internal decision making structure of the ECB in supervisory matters provides some integrative elements. Yet, the complex procedures also impede swift decision making and do not solve the problem adequately. Ultimately, a careful design and animation of the ECB-defined supervisory framework and the development of inter-agency career opportunities will be critical.
The ECB will become a de facto standard setter that competes with the EBA. A likely standoff in the EBA’s Board of Supervisors will lead to a growing gap in regulatory integration between SSM-participants and other EU Member States.
Joining the SSM as a non-euro area Member State is unattractive because the current legal framework grants no voting rights in the ECB’s ultimate decision making body. It also does not supply a credible commitment opportunity for Member States who seek to bond to high quality supervision.