ResearchPad - morphometry https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Diffusion MRI reveals in vivo and non-invasively changes in astrocyte function induced by an aquaporin-4 inhibitor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14694 The Glymphatic System (GS) has been proposed as a mechanism to clear brain tissue from waste. Its dysfunction might lead to several brain pathologies, including the Alzheimer’s disease. A key component of the GS and brain tissue water circulation is the astrocyte which is regulated by acquaporin-4 (AQP4), a membrane-bound water channel on the astrocytic end-feet. Here we investigated the potential of diffusion MRI to monitor astrocyte activity in a mouse brain model through the inhibition of AQP4 channels with TGN-020. Upon TGN-020 injection, we observed a significant decrease in the Sindex, a diffusion marker of tissue microstructure, and a significant increase of the water diffusion coefficient (sADC) in cerebral cortex and hippocampus compared to saline injection. These results indicate the suitability of diffusion MRI to monitor astrocytic activity in vivo and non-invasively.

]]>
<![CDATA[Production location of the gelling agent Phytagel has a significant impact on <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i> seedling phenotypic analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14611 Recently, it was found that 1% Phytagel plates used to conduct Arabidopsis thaliana seedling phenotypic analysis no longer reproduced previously published results. This Phytagel, which is produced in China (Phytagel C), has replace American-made Phytagel (Phytagel), which is no longer commercially available. In this study, we present the impact of Phytagel produced in the United States vs. China on seedling phenotypic analysis. As a part of this study, an alternative gelling agent has been identified that is capable of reproducing previously published seedling morphometrics.ResultsPhytagel and Phytagel C were investigated based on their ability to reproduce the subtle phenotype of the sob3-4 esc-8 double mutant. Fluence-rate-response analysis of seedlings grown on 1% Phytagel C plates failed to replicate the sob3-4 esc-8 subtle phenotype seen on 1% Phytagel. Furthermore, root penetrance analysis showed a significant difference between sob3-4 esc-8 seedlings grown on 1% Phytagel and 1% Phytagel C. It was also found that 1% Phytagel C was significantly harder than 1% Phytagel. As a replacement for Phytagel C, Gellan was tested. 1% Gellan was able to reproduce the subtle phenotype of sob3-4 esc-8. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in root penetration of the wild type or sob3-4 esc-8 seedlings between 1% Phytagel and 1% Gellan. This may be due to the significant reduction in hardness in 1% Gellan plates compared to 1% Phytagel plates. Finally, we tested additional concentrations of Gellan and found that seedlings on 0.6% Gellan looked more uniform while also being able to reproduce previously published results.ConclusionsPhytagel has been the standard gelling agent for several studies involving the characterization of subtle seedling phenotypes. After production was moved to China, Phytagel C was no longer capable of reproducing these previously published results. An alternative gelling agent, Gellan, was able to reproduce previously published seedling phenotypes at both 1% and 0.6% concentrations. The information provided in this manuscript is beneficial to the scientific community as whole, specifically phenomics labs, as it details key problematic differences between gelling agents that should be performing identically (Phytagel and Phytagel C). ]]> <![CDATA[Tracking the brain in myotonic dystrophies: A 5-year longitudinal follow-up study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accf4d5eed0c4849903d9

Objectives

The aim of this study was to examine the natural history of brain involvement in adult-onset myotonic dystrophies type 1 and 2 (DM1, DM2).

Methods

We conducted a longitudinal observational study to examine functional and structural cerebral changes in myotonic dystrophies. We enrolled 16 adult-onset DM1 patients, 16 DM2 patients, and 17 controls. At baseline and after 5.5 ± 0.4 years participants underwent neurological, neuropsychological, and 3T-brain MRI examinations using identical study protocols that included voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging. Data were analyzed by (i) group comparisons between patients and controls at baseline and follow-up, and (ii) group comparisons using difference maps (baseline–follow-up in each participant) to focus on disease-related effects over time.

Results

We found minor neuropsychological deficits with mild progression in DM1 more than DM2. Daytime sleepiness was restricted to DM1, whereas fatigue was present in both disease entities and stable over time. Comparing results of cross-sectional neuroimaging analyses at baseline and follow-up revealed an unchanged pattern of pronounced white matter alterations in DM1. There was mild additional gray matter reduction in DM1 at follow-up. In DM2, white matter reduction was of lesser extent, but there were some additional alterations at follow-up. Gray matter seemed unaffected in DM2. Intriguingly, longitudinal analyses using difference maps and comparing them between patients and controls did not reveal any significant differences of cerebral changes over time between patients and controls.

Conclusion

The lack of significant disease-related progression of gray and white matter involvement over a period of five years in our cohort of DM1 and DM2 patients suggests either a rather slowly progressive process or even a stable course of cerebral changes in middle-aged adult-onset patients. Being the first longitudinal neuroimaging trial in DM1 and DM2, this study provides useful additional information regarding the natural history of brain involvement.

]]>
<![CDATA[Virtual supersampling as post-processing step preserves the trabecular bone morphometry in human peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9e5d5eed0c48452a446

In the clinical field of diagnosis and monitoring of bone diseases, high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) is an important imaging modality. It provides a resolution where quantitative bone morphometry can be extracted in vivo on patients. It is known that HR-pQCT provides slight differences in morphometric indices compared to the current standard approach micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The most obvious reason for this is the restriction of the radiation dose and with this a lower image resolution. With advances in micro-CT evaluation techniques such as patient-specific remodeling simulations or dynamic bone morphometry, a higher image resolution would potentially also allow the application of such novel evaluation techniques to clinical HR-pQCT measurements. Virtual supersampling as post-processing step was considered to increase the image resolution of HR-pQCT scans. The hypothesis was that this technique preserves the structural bone morphometry. Supersampling from 82 μm to virtual 41 μm by trilinear interpolation of the grayscale values of 42 human cadaveric forearms resulted in strong correlations of structural parameters (R2: 0.96–1.00). BV/TV was slightly overestimated (4.3%, R2: 1.00) compared to the HR-pQCT resolution. Tb.N was overestimated (7.47%; R2: 0.99) and Tb.Th was slightly underestimated (-4.20%; R2: 0.98). The technique was reproducible with PE%CV between 1.96% (SMI) and 7.88% (Conn.D). In a clinical setting with 205 human forearms with or without fracture measured at 82 μm resolution HR-pQCT, the technique was sensitive to changes between groups in all parameters (p < 0.05) except trabecular thickness. In conclusion, we demonstrated that supersampling preserves the bone morphometry from HR-pQCT scans and is reproducible and sensitive to changes between groups. Supersampling can be used to investigate on the resolution dependency of HR-pQCT images and gain more insight into this imaging modality.

]]>
<![CDATA[Motor skill learning induces brain network plasticity: A diffusion-tensor imaging study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cf2d5eed0c484c81b6f

Motor skills and the acquisition of brain plasticity are important topics in current research. The development of non-invasive white matter imaging technology, such as diffusion-tensor imaging and the introduction of graph theory make it possible to study the effects of learning skills on the connection patterns of brain networks. However, few studies have characterized the brain network topological features of motor skill learning, especially open skill. Given the need to interact with environmental changes in real time, we hypothesized that the brain network of high-level open-skilled athletes had higher transmission efficiency and stronger interaction in attention, visual and sensorimotor networks. We selected 21 high-level basketball players and 25 ordinary individuals as control subjects, collected their DTI data, built a network of brain structures, and used graph theory to analyze and compare the network properties of the two groups at global and regional levels. In addition, we conducted a correlation analysis on the training years of high-level athletes and brain network nodal parameters on the regional level to assess the relationship between brain network topological characteristics and skills learning. We found that on the global-level, the brain network of high-level basketball players had a shorter path length, small-worldness, and higher global efficiency. On the regional level, the brain nodes of the high-level athletes had nodal parameters that were significantly higher than those of control groups, and were mainly distributed in the visual network, the default mode network, and the attention network. The changes in brain node parameters were significantly related to the number of training years.

]]>
<![CDATA[Redescription of Corydoras undulatus Regan, 1912 (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae), with comments on the identity of Corydoras latus Pearson, 1924]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d620d5eed0c4840316aa

A redescription of Corydoras undulatus Regan, 1912 is presented. The original description of C. undulatus is very succinct, as is its diagnosis, which is based only on external morphology. Additional information in the scientific literature on this species is scarce. Specimens from the distribution area of this species were analyzed; Paraná and Paraguay river basins in Argentina, Uruguay river basin in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and the Laguna dos Patos system in Brazil. Morphological analysis, principal component analysis (PCA), meristic comparison and osteological description were performed. Corydoras undulatus can be distinguished from its congeners mainly by having the following combination of characters: mesethmoid short, with anterior tip short, smaller than 50% of the entire bone length; posterior margin of the pectoral-fin spine with nearly all serrations directed towards origin of spine; pectoral-fin spine with conical serrations; and its peculiar color pattern. The analysis of the material from the different basins did not indicate relevant morphological differences, suggesting that the species presents a wide distribution in La Plata and Laguna dos Patos drainages. The shared geographic distribution between these two systems is also present in other fish species. The current work presents data about the type locality, taxonomy, osteology, distribution and ontogenetic variation of color pattern in C. undulatus. Comments on the identity of a very similar congener, Corydoras latus, will also be provided.

]]>
<![CDATA[OpenCASA: A new open-source and scalable tool for sperm quality analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c4b7f54d5eed0c484841137

In the field of assisted reproductive techniques (ART), computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) systems have proved their utility and potential for assessing sperm quality, improving the prediction of the fertility potential of a seminal dose. Although most laboratories and scientific centers use commercial systems, in the recent years certain free and open-source alternatives have emerged that can reduce the costs that research groups have to face. However, these open-source alternatives cannot analyze sperm kinetic responses to different stimuli, such as chemotaxis, thermotaxis or rheotaxis. In addition, the programs released to date have not usually been designed to encourage the scalability and the continuity of software development. We have developed an open-source CASA software, called OpenCASA, which allows users to study three classical sperm quality parameters: motility, morphometry and membrane integrity (viability) and offers the possibility of analyzing the guided movement response of spermatozoa to different stimuli (useful for chemotaxis, thermotaxis or rheotaxis studies) or different motile cells such as bacteria, using a single software. This software has been released in a Version Control System at Github. This platform will allow researchers not only to download the software but also to be involved in and contribute to further developments. Additionally, a Google group has been created to allow the research community to interact and discuss OpenCASA. For validation of the OpenCASA software, we analysed different simulated sperm populations (for chemotaxis module) and evaluated 36 ejaculates obtained from 12 fertile rams using other sperm analysis systems (for motility, membrane integrity and morphology modules). The results were compared with those obtained by Open-CASA using the Pearson’s correlation and Bland-Altman tests, obtaining a high level of correlation in all parameters and a good agreement between the different used methods and the OpenCASA. With this work, we propose an open-source project oriented to the development of a new software application for sperm quality analysis. This proposed software will use a minimally centralized infrastructure to allow the continued development of its modules by the research community.

]]>
<![CDATA[Could posture reflect welfare state? A study using geometric morphometrics in riding school horses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633961d5eed0c484ae65a7

Despite the fact that animal posture is known to reflect emotional state, the presence of chronic postures associated with poor welfare has not been investigated with an objective tool for measuring, quantifying and comparing postures. The use of morphometric geometrics (GM) to describe horse posture (profile of the dorsum) has shown to be an effective method of distinguishing populations that are known to differ in terms of welfare states. Here we investigated photographs of 85 riding school horses differing in terms of welfare state, in order to determine if a specific posture (modelled by GM) is associated with altered welfare. The welfare state was estimated with the prevalence of stereotypic or abnormal repetitive behaviours, depressed-like posture and the ear positions. ANOVA results show that horses with stereotypic or abnormal behaviour, and to a lesser degree horses with depressed-like postures, tend to have a flatter, or even hollow, dorsal profile, especially at the neck and croup levels. These altered profiles could represent an additional indicator of poor welfare, easy to use in the field or by owners.

]]>
<![CDATA[Texture analysis of magnetic resonance images of the human placenta throughout gestation: A feasibility study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c45fd5eed0c4845e865c

As fetal gestational age increases, other modalities such as ultrasound have demonstrated increased levels of heterogeneity in the normal placenta. In this study, we introduce and apply ROI-based texture analysis to a retrospective fetal MRI database to characterize the second-order statistics of placenta and to evaluate the relationship between heterogeneity and gestational age. Positive correlations were observed for several Haralick texture metrics derived from fetal-brain specific T2-weighted and gravid uterus T1-weighted and T2-weighted images, confirming a quantitative increase in placental heterogeneity with gestational age. Our study shows the importance of identifying baseline MR textural changes at certain gestational ages from which placental diseased states may be compared. Specifically, when evaluating for placental invasion or insufficiency, findings should be evaluated in the context of the normal placental aging process, which occurs throughout gestation.

]]>
<![CDATA[Atlantic West Ophiothrix spp. in the scope of integrative taxonomy: Confirming the existence of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c52183fd5eed0c4847978e8

We re-describe and confirm the validity of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). This is a native species from Brazil, however it lacked a type series deposited in scientific collections. The recognition of O. trindadensis was made possible using integrative taxonomy applied to many specimens from the type locality (Trindade Island) as well as from different locations along the Brazilian coast (Araçá Bay and Estuarine Complex of Paranaguá). Initially, 835 specimens were studied and divided into four candidate species (CS) inferred from external morphological characters. Afterwards, the CSs were compared using integrative taxonomy based on external morphology, arm microstructures morphology (arm ossicle), morphometry, and molecular studies (fragments of the mitochondrial genes 16S and COI). Analyses indicated CS1 and CS2 as O. trindadensis, and CS3 as O. angulata, both valid species. CS4 remains O. cf. angulata as more data, including their ecology and physiology, are needed to be definitively clarified. Our integrative investigation using specimens from the type locality overcame the lack of type specimens and increased the reliable identification of O. trindadensis and O. angulata.

]]>
<![CDATA[KDM2B regulates choline kinase expression and neuronal differentiation of neuroblastoma cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7add5eed0c4843865c6

The process of neuronal differentiation is associated with neurite elongation and membrane biogenesis, and phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) is the major membrane phospholipid in mammalian cells. During neuroblast differentiation, the transcription of two genes involved in PtdCho biosynthesis are stimulated: Chka gene for choline kinase (CK) alpha isoform and Pcyt1a gene for CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (CCT) alpha isoform. Here we show that CKα is essential for neuronal differentiation. In addition, we demonstrated that KDM2B regulates CKα expression and, as a consequence, neuronal differentiation. This factor is up-regulated in the course of the neuroblasts proliferative and undifferentiated state and down-regulated during differentiation induced by retinoic acid (RA). During proliferation, KDM2B binds to the Box2 located in the Chka promoter repressing its transcription. Interestingly, KDM2B knockdown enhances the levels of CKα expression in neuroblast cells and induces neuronal differentiation even in the absence of RA. These results suggest that KDM2B is required for the appropriate regulation of CKα during neuronal differentiation and to the maintaining of the undifferentiated stage of neuroblast cells.

]]>
<![CDATA[Effects of early adversity on the brain: Larger-volume anterior cingulate cortex in AIDS orphans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46658cd5eed0c484519b78

Multiple studies have revealed that adolescent AIDS orphans have more psychosocial problems than healthy adolescents. However, little is known about whether and how the brain structures of adolescent AIDS orphans differ from those of healthy adolescents. Here, we used magnetic resonance imaging to compare adolescent AIDS orphans reared in institutions (N = 20) with a sex- and age-matched group of healthy adolescents reared in families (N = 20) in China using a voxel-based morphometry analysis. First, we found that both total gray- and white-matter volumes did not differ between groups. Second, after correcting for age, sex, and total gray-matter volume, the AIDS orphan group demonstrated smaller hippocampal volumes, larger anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) volumes, and no differences in the amygdala. Third, a whole-brain analysis identified higher gray-matter volume of the ACC in the AIDS orphan group than in the control group. The preliminary findings of this study highlight the need for future research to confirm the sensitivity of the hippocampus and ACC to early adversity.

]]>
<![CDATA[Relationship between normalized distributional pattern and functional outcome in patients with acute cardiogenic cerebral embolism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c54d5eed0c484bd19e0

This study aimed to elucidate spatial characteristics for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of cardiogenic cerebral embolism, to determine imaging biomarkers predicting patient outcome and cerebral herniation in cardioembolic stroke. This retrospective study assessed 90 patients with cardiogenic cerebral embolism. All images from MRI were normalized using a voxel-based symptom lesion mapping technique. Patients were categorized into two subgroups based on the outcome and presence of cerebral herniation. Each subgroup was assessed individually. The distribution map of all analyzed patients revealed accumulated ischemic lesions in bilateral middle cerebral artery areas. Ischemic lesions for the poor outcome group accumulated at the corona radiata on the right side and throughout the entire left hemisphere. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis suggested that a normalized ischemic volume of 62.8 mL allowed optimal differentiation between good and poor outcomes (sensitivity, 0.923; specificity, 0.923; area under the curve (AUC), 0.91) for left-side-dominant infarction. The distribution map for the cerebral herniation group revealed large ischemic areas in the left hemisphere. The analysis of differential involvement map with random permutation analysis showed that left anterior circulation infarcts were associated with midline shift. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that a normalized infarction volume of 192.9 mL was highly predictive of cerebral herniation (sensitivity, 0.929; specificity, 0.750; AUC, 0.895). The medial frontal and occipital lobes, caudate head and basal ganglia were significantly involved in those patients who developed cerebral herniation. Ischemic volume contributed to outcomes and cerebral herniation. Ischemic lesions of the anterior and posterior cerebral arteries and basal ganglia in addition to middle cerebral artery area were identified as differences on MRI images between with and without cerebral herniation patients.

]]>
<![CDATA[Measures of possible allostatic load in comorbid cocaine and alcohol use disorder: Brain white matter integrity, telomere length, and anti-saccade performance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5b9d5eed0c484ca7cd8

Chronic cocaine and alcohol use impart significant stress on biological and cognitive systems, resulting in changes consistent with an allostatic load model of neurocognitive impairment.

The present study measured potential markers of allostatic load in individuals with comorbid cocaine/alcohol use disorders (CUD/AUD) and control subjects. Measures of brain white matter (WM), telomere length, and impulsivity/attentional bias were obtained. WM (CUD/AUD only) was indexed by diffusion tensor imaging metrics, including radial diffusivity (RD) and fractional anisotropy (FA). Telomere length was indexed by the telomere to single copy gene (T/S) ratio. Impulsivity and attentional bias to drug cues were measured via eye-tracking, and were also modeled using the Hierarchical Diffusion Drift Model (HDDM). Average whole-brain RD and FA were associated with years of cocaine use (R2 = 0.56 and 0.51, both p < .005) but not years of alcohol use. CUD/AUD subjects showed more anti-saccade errors (p < .01), greater attentional bias scores (p < .001), and higher HDDM drift rates on cocaine-cue trials (Bayesian probability CUD/AUD > control = p > 0.99). Telomere length was shorter in CUD/AUD, but the difference was not statistically significant. Within the CUD/AUD group, exploratory regression using an elastic-net model determined that more years of cocaine use, older age, larger HDDM drift rate differences and shorter telomere length were all predictive of WM as measured by RD (model R2 = 0.79). Collectively, the results provide modest support linking CUD/AUD to putative markers of allostatic load.

]]>
<![CDATA[Host-specific phenotypic variation of a parasite co-introduced with invasive Burmese pythons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667add5eed0c4841a601c

Invasive Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus Kuhl, 1820) have introduced a lung parasite, Raillietiella orientalis, (Hett, 1915) from the python’s native range in Southeast Asia to its introduced range in Florida, where parasite spillover from pythons to two families and eight genera of native snakes has occurred. Because these novel host species present a diversity of ecological and morphological traits, and because these parasites attach to their hosts with hooks located on their cephalothorax, we predicted that R. orientalis would exhibit substantial, host-associated phenotypic plasticity in cephalothorax shape. Indeed, geometric morphometric analyses of 39 parasites from five host species revealed significant variation among host taxa in R. orientalis cephalothorax shape. We observed differences associated with host ecology, where parasites from semi-aquatic and aquatic snakes exhibited the greatest morphological similarity. Morphological analyses of R. orientalis recovered from invasive pythons, native pit vipers, and terrestrial snakes each revealed distinct shapes. Our results suggest R. orientalis can exhibit significant differences in morphology based upon host species infected, and this plasticity may facilitate infection with this non-native parasite in a wide array of novel squamate host species.

]]>
<![CDATA[A molecular, morphological, and physiological comparison of English and German populations of Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed75ad5eed0c484f13fa1

The bluebottle blow fly Calliphora vicina is a common species distributed throughout Europe that can play an important role as forensic evidence in crime investigations. Developmental rates of C. vicina from distinct populations from Germany and England were compared under different temperature regimes to explore the use of growth data from different geographical regions for local case work. Wing morphometrics and molecular analysis between these populations were also studied as indicators for biological differences. One colony each of German and English C. vicina were cultured at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany. Three different temperature regimes were applied, two constant (16°C & 25°C) and one variable (17–26°C, room temperature = RT). At seven time points (600, 850, 1200, 1450, 1800, 2050, and 2400 accumulated degree hours), larval lengths were measured; additionally, the durations of the post feeding stage and intrapuparial metamorphosis were recorded. For the morphometric and molecular study, 184 females and 133 males from each C. vicina population (Germany n = 3, England n = 4) were sampled. Right wings were measured based on 19 landmarks and analyzed using canonical variates analysis and discriminant function analysis. DNA was isolated from three legs per specimen (n = 61) using 5% chelex. A 784 bp long fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene was sequenced; sequences were aligned and phylogenetically analyzed. Similar larval growth rates of C. vicina were found from different geographic populations at different temperatures during the major part of development. Nevertheless, because minor differences were found a wider range of temperatures and sampling more time points should be analyzed to obtain more information relevant for forensic case work. Wing shape variation showed a difference between the German and English populations (P<0.0001). However, separation between the seven German and English populations at the smaller geographic scale remained ambiguous. Molecular phylogenetic analysis by maximum likelihood method could not unambiguously separate the different geographic populations at a national (Germany vs England) or local level.

]]>
<![CDATA[Quillworts from the Amazon: A multidisciplinary populational study on Isoetes serracarajensis and Isoetes cangae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b87837240307c3c45097671

Isoetes are ancient quillworts members of the only genus of the order Isoetales. The genus is slow evolving but is resilient, and widespread worldwide. Two recently described species occur in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon, Isoetes serracarajensis and Isoetes cangae. They are found in the ironstone grasslands known as Canga. While I. serracarajensis is present mostly in seasonal water bodies, I. cangae is known to occur in a single permanent lake at the South mountain range. In this work, we undertake an extensive morphological, physiological and genetic characterization of both species to establish species boundaries and better understand the morphological and genetic features of these two species. Our results indicate that the morphological differentiation of the species is subtle and requires a quantitative assessment of morphological elements of the megaspore for diagnosis. We did not detect differences in microspore output, but morphological peculiarities may establish a reproductive barrier. Additionally, genetic analysis using DNA barcodes and whole chloroplast genomes indicate that although the plants are genetically very similar both approaches provide diagnostic characters. There was no indication of population structuring I. serracarajensis. These results set the basis for a deeper understanding of the evolution of the Isoetes genus.

]]>
<![CDATA[Focal Length Affects Depicted Shape and Perception of Facial Images]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b86249

Static photographs are currently the most often employed stimuli in research on social perception. The method of photograph acquisition might affect the depicted subject’s facial appearance and thus also the impression of such stimuli. An important factor influencing the resulting photograph is focal length, as different focal lengths produce various levels of image distortion. Here we tested whether different focal lengths (50, 85, 105 mm) affect depicted shape and perception of female and male faces. We collected three portrait photographs of 45 (22 females, 23 males) participants under standardized conditions and camera setting varying only in the focal length. Subsequently, the three photographs from each individual were shown on screen in a randomized order using a 3-alternative forced-choice paradigm. The images were judged for attractiveness, dominance, and femininity/masculinity by 369 raters (193 females, 176 males). Facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) was measured from each photograph and overall facial shape was analysed employing geometric morphometric methods (GMM). Our results showed that photographs taken with 50 mm focal length were rated as significantly less feminine/masculine, attractive, and dominant compared to the images taken with longer focal lengths. Further, shorter focal lengths produced faces with smaller fWHR. Subsequent GMM revealed focal length significantly affected overall facial shape of the photographed subjects. Thus methodology of photograph acquisition, focal length in this case, can significantly affect results of studies using photographic stimuli perhaps due to different levels of perspective distortion that influence shapes and proportions of morphological traits.

]]>
<![CDATA[Predicting Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's Dementia Using Clinical, MRI, and Plasma Biomarkers via Probabilistic Pattern Classification]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d7ab0ee8fa60b666d5

Background

Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have a substantially increased risk of developing dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we developed a multivariate prognostic model for predicting MCI-to-dementia progression at the individual patient level.

Methods

Using baseline data from 259 MCI patients and a probabilistic, kernel-based pattern classification approach, we trained a classifier to distinguish between patients who progressed to AD-type dementia (n = 139) and those who did not (n = 120) during a three-year follow-up period. More than 750 variables across four data sources were considered as potential predictors of progression. These data sources included risk factors, cognitive and functional assessments, structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, and plasma proteomic data. Predictive utility was assessed using a rigorous cross-validation framework.

Results

Cognitive and functional markers were most predictive of progression, while plasma proteomic markers had limited predictive utility. The best performing model incorporated a combination of cognitive/functional markers and morphometric MRI measures and predicted progression with 80% accuracy (83% sensitivity, 76% specificity, AUC = 0.87). Predictors of progression included scores on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, and Functional Activities Questionnaire, as well as volume/cortical thickness of three brain regions (left hippocampus, middle temporal gyrus, and inferior parietal cortex). Calibration analysis revealed that the model is capable of generating probabilistic predictions that reliably reflect the actual risk of progression. Finally, we found that the predictive accuracy of the model varied with patient demographic, genetic, and clinical characteristics and could be further improved by taking into account the confidence of the predictions.

Conclusions

We developed an accurate prognostic model for predicting MCI-to-dementia progression over a three-year period. The model utilizes widely available, cost-effective, non-invasive markers and can be used to improve patient selection in clinical trials and identify high-risk MCI patients for early treatment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Hippocampal and Left Subcallosal Anterior Cingulate Atrophy in Psychotic Depression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da61ab0ee8fa60b90f52

Background

Psychotic depression is arguably the most diagnostically stable subtype of major depressive disorder, and an attractive target of study in a famously heterogeneous mental illness. Previous imaging studies have identified abnormal volumes of the hippocampus, amygdala, and subcallosal region of the anterior cingulate cortex (scACC) in psychotic depression, though studies have not yet examined the role of family history of depression in these relationships.

Methods

20 participants with psychotic depression preparing to undergo electroconvulsive therapy and 20 healthy comparison participants (13 women and 7 men in each group) underwent structural brain imaging in a 1.5 T MRI scanner. 15 of the psychotic depression group had a first-degree relative with diagnosed affective disorders, while the healthy control group had no first-degree relatives with affective disorders. Depression severity was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and duration of illness was assessed in all patients. Automated neural nets were used to isolate the hippocampi and amygdalae in each scan, and an established manual method was used to parcellate the anterior cingulate cortex into dorsal, rostral, subcallosal, and subgenual regions. The volumes of these regions were compared between groups. Effects of laterality and family history of affective disorders were examined as well.

Results

Patients with psychotic depression had significantly smaller left scACC and bilateral hippocampal volumes, while no group differences in other anterior cingulate cortex subregions or amygdala volumes were present. Hippocampal atrophy was found in all patients with psychotic depression, but reduced left scACC volume was found only in the patients with a family history of depression.

Conclusions

Patients with psychotic depression showed significant reduction in hippocampal volume bilaterally, perhaps due to high cortisol states associated with this illness. Reduced left scACC volume may be a vulnerability factor related to family history of depression.

]]>