ResearchPad - skeleton https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Wing morphology predicts individual niche specialization in <i>Pteronotus mesoamericanus</i> (Mammalia: Chiroptera)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7639 Morphological variation between individuals can increase niche segregation and decrease intraspecific competition when heterogeneous individuals explore their environment in different ways. Among bat species, wing shape correlates with flight maneuverability and habitat use, with species that possess broader wings typically foraging in more cluttered habitats. However, few studies have investigated the role of morphological variation in bats for niche partitioning at the individual level. To determine the relationship between wing shape and diet, we studied a population of the insectivorous bat species Pteronotus mesoamericanus in the dry forest of Costa Rica. Individual diet was resolved using DNA metabarcoding, and bat wing shape was assessed using geometric morphometric analysis. Inter-individual variation in wing shape showed a significant relationship with both dietary dissimilarity based on Bray-Curtis estimates, and nestedness derived from an ecological network. Individual bats with broader and more rounded wings were found to feed on a greater diversity of arthropods (less nested) in comparison to individuals with triangular and pointed wings (more nested). We conclude that individual variation in bat wing morphology can impact foraging efficiency leading to the observed overall patterns of diet specialization and differentiation within the population.

]]>
<![CDATA[Neuroimaging modality fusion in Alzheimer’s classification using convolutional neural networks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4bce0426-e39d-45a0-9dc9-42db4f6cba04

Automated methods for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) classification have the potential for great clinical benefits and may provide insight for combating the disease. Machine learning, and more specifically deep neural networks, have been shown to have great efficacy in this domain. These algorithms often use neurological imaging data such as MRI and FDG PET, but a comprehensive and balanced comparison of the MRI and amyloid PET modalities has not been performed. In order to accurately determine the relative strength of each imaging variant, this work performs a comparison study in the context of Alzheimer’s dementia classification using the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) dataset with identical neural network architectures. Furthermore, this work analyzes the benefits of using both modalities in a fusion setting and discusses how these data types may be leveraged in future AD studies using deep learning.

]]>
<![CDATA[AutonoMouse: High throughput operant conditioning reveals progressive impairment with graded olfactory bulb lesions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897775d5eed0c4847d2d5d

Operant conditioning is a crucial tool in neuroscience research for probing brain function. While molecular, anatomical and even physiological techniques have seen radical increases in throughput, efficiency, and reproducibility in recent years, behavioural tools have somewhat lagged behind. Here we present a fully automated, high-throughput system for self-initiated conditioning of up to 25 group-housed, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagged mice over periods of several months and >106 trials. We validate this “AutonoMouse” system in a series of olfactory behavioural tasks and show that acquired data is comparable to previous semi-manual approaches. Furthermore, we use AutonoMouse to systematically probe the impact of graded olfactory bulb lesions on olfactory behaviour, demonstrating that while odour discrimination in general is robust to even most extensive disruptions, small olfactory bulb lesions already impair odour detection. Discrimination learning of similar mixtures as well as learning speed are in turn reliably impacted by medium lesion sizes. The modular nature and open-source design of AutonoMouse should allow for similar robust and systematic assessments across neuroscience research areas.

]]>
<![CDATA[Effects of realistic sheep elbow kinematics in inverse dynamic simulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823cbd5eed0c48463901b

Looking for new opportunities in mechanical design, we are interested in studying the kinematic behaviour of biological joints. The real kinematic behaviour of the elbow of quadruped animals (which is submitted to high mechanical stresses in comparison with bipeds) remains unexplored. The sheep elbow joint was chosen because of its similarity with a revolute joint. The main objective of this study is to estimate the effects of elbow simplifications on the prediction of joint reaction forces in inverse dynamic simulations. Rigid motions between humerus and radius-ulna were registered during full flexion-extension gestures on five cadaveric specimens. The experiments were initially conducted with fresh specimens with ligaments and repeated after removal of all soft tissue, including cartilage. A digital image correlation system was used for tracking optical markers fixed on the bones. The geometry of the specimens was digitized using a 3D optical scanner. Then, the instantaneous helical axis of the joint was computed for each acquisition time. Finally, an OpenSim musculoskeletal model of the sheep forelimb was used to quantify effects of elbow joint approximations on the prediction of joint reaction forces. The motion analysis showed that only the medial-lateral translation is sufficiently large regarding the measuring uncertainty of the experiments. This translation assimilates the sheep elbow to a screw joint instead of a revolute joint. In comparison with fresh specimens, the experiments conducted with dry bone specimens (bones without soft tissue) provided different kinematic behaviour. From the results of our inverse dynamic simulations, it was noticed that the inclusion of the medial-lateral translation to the model made up with the mean flexion axis does not affect the predicted joint reaction forces. A geometrical difference between the axis of the best fitting cylinder and the mean flexion axis (derived from the motion analysis) of fresh specimens was highlighted. This geometrical difference impacts slightly the prediction of joint reactions.

]]>
<![CDATA[Anatomy of the dinosaur Pampadromaeus barberenai (Saurischia—Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic Santa Maria Formation of southern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe1bd5eed0c484e5b4e9

Sauropodomorphs are the most abundant and diverse clade of Triassic dinosaurs, but the taxonomy of their earliest (Carnian) representatives is still poorly understood. One such taxon is Pampadromaeus barberenai, represented by a nearly complete disarticulated skeleton recovered from the upper part of the Santa Maria Formation of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Here, the osteology of Pam. barberenai is fully described for the first time. Detailed comparisons with other Carnian sauropodomorphs reveal a unique anatomy, corroborating its status as a valid species. Potential autapomorphies of Pam. barberenai can be seen in the articulation of the sacral zygapophyses, the length of the pectoral epipodium, the shape of the distal articulation of the femur and the proximal articulation of metatarsal 1. A novel phylogenetic study shows that relationships among the Carnian sauropodomorphs are poorly constrained, possibly because they belong to a “zone of variability”, where homoplasy abounds. Yet, there is some evidence that Pam. barberenai may nest within Saturnaliidae, along with Saturnalia tupiniquim and Chromogisaurus novasi, which represents the sister group to the larger sauropodomorphs, i.e. Bagualosauria.

]]>
<![CDATA[The braincase of Malawisaurus dixeyi (Sauropoda: Titanosauria): A 3D reconstruction of the brain endocast and inner ear]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca27d5eed0c48452a84d

A braincase of the Cretaceous titanosaurian sauropod Malawisaurus dixeyi, complete except for the olfactory region, was CT scanned and a 3D rendering of the endocast and inner ear was generated. Cranial nerves appear in the same configuration as in other sauropods, including derived features that appear to characterize titanosaurians, specifically, an abducens nerve canal that passes lateral to the pituitary fossa rather than entering it. Furthermore, the hypoglossal nerve exits the skull via a single foramen, consistent with most titanosaurians, while other saurischians, including the basal titanosauriform, Giraffatitan, contain multiple rootlets. The size of the vestibular labyrinth is smaller than in Giraffatitan, but larger than in most derived titanosaurians. Similar to the condition found in Giraffatitan, the anterior semicircular canal is larger than the posterior semicircular canal. This contrasts with more derived titanosaurians that contain similarly sized anterior and posterior semicircular canals, congruent with the interpretation of Malawisaurus as a basal titanosaurian. Measurements of the humerus of Malawisaurus provide a body mass estimate of 4.7 metric tons. Comparison of body mass to radius of the semicircular canals of the vestibular labyrinth reveals that Malawisaurus fits the allometric relationship found in previous studies of extant mammals and Giraffatitan brancai. As in Giraffatitan, the anterior semicircular canal is significantly larger than is predicted by the allometric relationship suggesting greater sensitivity and slower movement of the head in the sagittal plane.

]]>
<![CDATA[A new African Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from the middle Cretaceous Galula Formation (Mtuka Member), Rukwa Rift Basin, Southwestern Tanzania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca2ad5eed0c48452a874

The African terrestrial fossil record has been limited in its contribution to our understanding of both regional and global Cretaceous paleobiogeography, an interval of significant geologic and macroevolutionary change. A common component in Cretaceous African faunas, titanosaurian sauropods diversified into one of the most specious groups of dinosaurs worldwide. Here we describe the new titanosaurian Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia gen. et sp. nov. from the Mtuka Member of the Galula Formation in southwest Tanzania. The new specimen preserves teeth, elements from all regions of the postcranial axial skeleton, parts of both appendicular girdles, and portions of both limbs including a complete metatarsus. Unique traits of M. moyowamkia include the lack of an interpostzygapophyseal lamina in posterior dorsal vertebrae, pronounced posterolateral expansion of middle caudal centra, and an unusually small sternal plate. Phylogenetic analyses consistently place M. moyowamkia as either a close relative to lithostrotian titanosaurians (e.g., parsimony, uncalibrated Bayesian analyses) or as a lithostrotian and sister taxon to Malawisaurus dixeyi from the nearby Aptian? Dinosaur Beds of Malawi (e.g., tip-dating Bayesian analyses). M. moyowamkia shares a few features with M. dixeyi, including semi-spatulate teeth and a median lamina between the neural canal and interpostzygapophyseal lamina in anterior dorsal vertebrae. Both comparative morphology and phylogenetic analyses support Mnyamawamtuka as a distinct and distant relative to Rukwatitan bisepultus and Shingopana songwensis from the younger Namba Member of the Galula Formation with these results largely congruent with newly constrained ages for the Mtuka Member (Aptian–Cenomanian) and Namba Member (Campanian). Coupled with recent discoveries from the Dahkla Oasis, Egypt (e.g., Mansourasaurus shahinae) and other parts of continental Afro-Arabia, the Tanzania titanosaurians refine perspectives on the development of African terrestrial faunas throughout the Cretaceous—a critical step in understanding non-marine paleobiogeographic patterns of Africa that have remained elusive until the past few years.

]]>
<![CDATA[Comparisons of Schansitherium tafeli with Samotherium boissieri (Giraffidae, Mammalia) from the Late Miocene of Gansu Province, China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7573d5eed0c4843cfdbf

We are describing and figuring for the first time skulls of Schansitherium tafeli, which are abundant in the Gansu area of China from the Late Miocene. They were animals about the size of Samotherium with shorter necks that had two pairs of ossicones that merge at the base, which is unlike Samotherium. The anterior ossicones consist of anterior lineations, which may represent growth lines. They were likely mixed feeders similar to Samotherium. Schansitherium is tentatively placed in a very close position to Samotherium. Samotherium and Schansitherium represent a pair of morphologically very similar species that likely coexisted similarly to pairs of modern species, where the main difference is in the ossicones. Pairs of ruminants in Africa, for example, exist today that differ mostly in their horn shape but otherwise are similar in size, shape, and diet. The absence of Schansitherium from Europe is interesting, however, as Samotherium is found in both locations. While is it challenging to interpret neck length and ossicone shape in terms of function in combat, we offer our hypothesis as to how the two species differed in their fighting techniques.

]]>
<![CDATA[Characteristics of mitral valve leaflet length in patients with pectus excavatum: A single center cross-sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b266dd5eed0c484289a7e

The mitral valve morphology in patients with pectus excavatum (PE) has not been fully investigated. Thirty-five patients with PE, 46 normal controls, and patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) who underwent 2 leaflet length measurements of Carpentier classification P2 and A2 using a transthoracic echocardiography were retrospectively investigated. The coaptation lengths and depths, papillary muscle tethering length, and mitral annular diameters were also measured. The P2 and A2 lengths were separately compared between 2 groups: older than 16 years and 16 years or younger. Furthermore, the correlations between actual P2 or A2 lengths and Haller computed tomography index, an index of chest deformity, were investigated in patients with PE exclusively. Among subjects older than 16 years, patients with PE had significantly shorter P2, longer A2, shorter copatation depth, and longer papillary muscle tethering length compared with normal controls. Similarly, patients with PE had significantly shorter P2 and shorter coaptation depth even compared with patients with HCM, while no significant difference was found in A2 length and papillary muscle tethering length. The same tendency was noted between 4 normal controls and 7 age- and sex-matched patients with PE ≤ 16 years old. No significant difference regarding A2/P2 ratio was found between patients with PE older and younger than 16 years. No significant correlation between the Haller computed tomography index and actual mitral leaflet lengths in patients with PE older than 16 years was noted; the same was observed for A2/P2 in all patients with PE. In conclusion, the characteristic features of the shorter posterior mitral leaflet, the longer anterior mitral leaflet, the shorter coaptation depth, and the longer papillary muscle tethering length in patients with PE was demonstrated. This finding might provide a clue regarding the etiology of mitral valve prolapse in PE at its possible earliest form.

]]>
<![CDATA[A new baby oviraptorid dinosaur (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation of Mongolia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cf4d5eed0c484c81b9d

Recent discoveries of new oviraptorosaurs revealed their high diversity from the Cretaceous Period in Asia and North America. Particularly, at the family level, oviraptorids are among the most diverse theropod dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia and China. A new oviraptorid dinosaur Gobiraptor minutus gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation is described here based on a single holotype specimen that includes incomplete cranial and postcranial elements. The most prominent characters of Gobiraptor are its thickened rostrodorsal end of the mandibular symphysis and a rudimentary lingual shelf on each side of the dentary. Each lingual shelf is lined with small occlusal foramina and demarcated by a weakly developed lingual ridge. This mandibular morphology of Gobiraptor is unique among oviraptorids and likely to be linked to a specialized diet that probably included hard materials, such as seeds or bivalves. The osteohistology of the femur of the holotype specimen indicates that the individual was fairly young at the time of its death. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Gobiraptor as a derived oviraptorid close to three taxa from the Ganzhou region in southern China, but rather distantly related to other Nemegt oviraptorids which, as the results of recent studies, are also not closely related to each other. Gobiraptor increases diversity of oviraptorids in the Nemegt Formation and its presence confirms the successful adaptation of oviraptorids to a mesic environment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Minimal medical imaging can accurately reconstruct geometric bone models for musculoskeletal models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b26b8d5eed0c484289f10

Accurate representation of subject-specific bone anatomy in lower-limb musculoskeletal models is important for human movement analyses and simulations. Mathematical methods can reconstruct geometric bone models using incomplete imaging of bone by morphing bone model templates, but the validity of these methods has not been fully explored. The purpose of this study was to determine the minimal imaging requirements for accurate reconstruction of geometric bone models. Complete geometric pelvis and femur models of 14 healthy adults were reconstructed from magnetic resonance imaging through segmentation. From each complete bone segmentation, three sets of incomplete segmentations (set 1 being the most incomplete) were created to test the effect of imaging incompleteness on reconstruction accuracy. Geometric bone models were reconstructed from complete sets, three incomplete sets, and two motion capture-based methods. Reconstructions from (in)complete sets were generated using statistical shape modelling, followed by host-mesh and local-mesh fitting through the Musculoskeletal Atlas Project Client. Reconstructions from motion capture-based methods used positional data from skin surface markers placed atop anatomic landmarks and estimated joint centre locations as target points for statistical shape modelling and linear scaling. Accuracy was evaluated with distance error (mm) and overlapping volume similarity (%) between complete bone segmentation and reconstructed bone models, and statistically compared using a repeated measure analysis of variance (p<0.05). Motion capture-based methods produced significantly higher distance error than reconstructions from (in)complete sets. Pelvis volume similarity reduced significantly with the level of incompleteness: complete set (92.70±1.92%), set 3 (85.41±1.99%), set 2 (81.22±3.03%), set 1 (62.30±6.17%), motion capture-based statistical shape modelling (41.18±9.54%), and motion capture-based linear scaling (26.80±7.19%). A similar trend was observed for femur volume similarity. Results indicate that imaging two relevant bone regions produces overlapping volume similarity >80% compared to complete segmented bone models, and improve analyses and simulation over current standard practice of linear scaling musculoskeletal models.

]]>
<![CDATA[Prevention of tooth extraction-triggered bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaws with basic fibroblast growth factor: An experimental study in rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c67306cd5eed0c484f37ad3

Osteonecrosis of the jaw induced by administration of bisphosphonates (BPs), BP-related osteonecrosis (BRONJ), typically develops after tooth extraction and is medically challenging. As BPs inhibit oral mucosal cell growth, we hypothesized that suppression of the wound healing-inhibiting effects could prevent BRONJ onset after tooth extraction. Since basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) promotes wound healing, but has a short half-life, we examined whether the initiation of BRONJ could be prevented by applying a bFGF-containing gelatin hydrogel over the extraction sockets of BRONJ model rats. Forty-three rats, received two intravenous injections of zoledronic acid 60 μg/kg, once per week for a period of 2 weeks, underwent extraction of a unilateral lower first molar. The rats here were randomly assigned to the bFGF group (n = 15 rats, gelatin hydrogel sheets with incorporated bFGF applied over the sockets); the phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) group (n = 14 rats, gelatin hydrogel sheets without bFGF applied over the sockets); or the control group (n = 14 rats, nothing applied over the sockets). One rat in the bFGF group was sacrificed immediately after tooth extraction. Twenty-one rats were sacrificed at 3 weeks, and the remaining 21 rats were sacrificed at 8 weeks after tooth extractions. The harvested mandibles were analyzed using micro-computed tomography and sections were evaluated qualitatively for mucosal disruption and osteonecrosis. The incidence of osteonecrosis at 8 weeks after tooth extraction was 0% in the bFGF group, 100% in the PBS group, and 85.7% in the control group. The frequency of complete coverage of the extraction socket by mucosal tissue was significantly greater in the bFGF group than in the other groups. These results suggest that application of bFGF in the extraction socket promoted socket healing, which prevented BRONJ development. The growth-stimulating effects of bFGF may have offset the inhibition of wound healing by BP.

]]>
<![CDATA[Low field magnetic resonance imaging of the equine distal interphalangeal joint: Comparison between weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing conditions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d635d5eed0c4840318c8

This descriptive study aimed to compare the magnetic resonance appearance of the distal interphalangeal joint articular cartilage between standing weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing conditions. Ten forefeet of live horses were scanned in a standing low-field magnetic resonance system (0.27 T). After euthanasia for reasons unrelated to the study, the non-weight-bearing isolated feet were scanned in a vertical positioning reproducing limb orientation in live horses. The same acquisition settings as during the weight-bearing examination were used. Thickness and cross-sectional area of the distal interphalangeal articular cartilage and joint space were measured on tridimensional T1-weighted gradient echo high resolution frontal and sagittal images at predetermined landmarks in both conditions and were compared using a linear mixed-effects model. Frontal images were randomized and submitted to 9 blinded readers with 3 different experience levels for identification of weight-bearing versus non-weight-bearing acquisitions based on cartilage appearance. Weight-bearing limbs had significantly thinner distal interphalangeal cartilage (p = 0.0001) than non-weight-bearing limbs. This change was greater in the distal phalanx cartilage than that of the middle phalanx. Blinded readers correctly identified 83% (range 65 to 95%) of the images as weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing acquisitions, with significantly different results observed among the different readers (p < 0.001) and groups (p < 0.001). These results indicate that distal interphalangeal articular cartilage and particularly cartilage of the distal phalanx thins when weight-bearing compared to the non-weight-bearing standing postmortem conditions and suggest that cartilage abnormalities may be more difficult to identify on weight-bearing standing magnetic resonance imaging.

]]>
<![CDATA[Intraoperative loading of calcium phosphate-coated implants with gentamicin prevents experimental Staphylococcus aureus infection in vivo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df36bd5eed0c48458127d

Orthopedic device-related infection (ODRI) is a potentially devastating complication arising from the colonization of the device with bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. The aim of this study was to determine if intraoperative loading of a clinically approved calcium phosphate (CaP) coating with gentamicin can protect from ODRI in vivo. First, CaP-coated titanium aluminium niobium (TAN) discs were used to investigate the adsorption and release kinetics of gentamicin in vitro. Gentamicin loading and subsequent release from the coating were both rapid, with maximum loading occurring following one second of immersion, and >95% gentamicin released within 15 min in aqueous solution, respectively. Second, efficacy of the gentamicin-loaded CaP coating for preventing ODRI in vivo was investigated using a CaP-coated unicortical TAN screw implanted into the proximal tibia of skeletally mature female Wistar rats, following inoculation of the implant site with S. aureus. Gentamicin-loading prevented ODRI in 7/8 animals, whereas 9/9 of the non-gentamicin treated animals were infected after 7 days. In conclusion, gentamicin can be rapidly and simply loaded onto, and released from, CaP-based implant coatings, and this is an effective strategy for preventing peri-operative S. aureus-induced ODRI in vivo.

]]>
<![CDATA[Therapeutic effect of localized vibration on alveolar bone of osteoporotic rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59feb1d5eed0c4841352ff

Objectives

Vibration, in the form of high frequency acceleration (HFA), stimulates alveolar bone formation under physiologic conditions and during healing after dental extractions. It is not known if HFA has an anabolic effect on osteoporotic alveolar bone. Our objective is to determine if HFA has a regenerative effect on osteoporotic alveolar bone.

Methods and materials

Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into five groups: 1) Ovariectomized Group (OVX), 2) Sham-OVX Group that received surgery without ovariectomy, 3) OVX-HFA Group that was ovariectomized and treated daily with HFA, 4) OVX+Static Force Group that was ovariectomized and received the same force as HFA, but without vibration, and 5) Control Group that did not receive any treatment. All animals were fed a low mineral diet for 3 months. Osteoporosis was confirmed by micro-CT of the fifth lumbar vertebra and femoral head. HFA was applied to the maxillary first molar for 5 minutes/day for 28 and 56 days. Maxillae were collected for micro-CT, histology, fluorescent microscopy, protein and RNA analysis, and three-point bending mechanical testing.

Results

Micro-CT analysis revealed significant alveolar bone osteoporosis in the OVX group. Vibration restored the quality and quantity of alveolar bone to levels similar to the Sham-OVX group. Animals exposed to HFA demonstrated higher osteoblast activity and lower osteoclast activity. Osteogenic transcription factors (RUNX2, Foxo1, Osterix and Wnt signaling factors) were upregulated following vibration, while RANKL/RANK and Sclerostin were downregulated. HFA did not affect serum TRAcP-5b or CTx-1 levels. The osteogenic effect was highest at the point of HFA application and extended along the hemimaxillae this effect did not cross to the contra-lateral side.

Conclusions

Local application of vibration generated gradients of increased anabolic metabolism and decreased catabolic metabolism in alveolar bone of osteoporotic rats. Our findings suggest that HFA could be a predictable treatment for diminished alveolar bone levels in osteoporosis patients.

]]>
<![CDATA[Towards a new osteometric method for sexing ancient cremated human remains. Analysis of Late Bronze Age and Iron Age samples from Italy with gendered grave goods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5248d5eed0c4842bc5ec

Sex estimation of human remains is one of the most important research steps for physical anthropologists and archaeologists dealing with funerary contexts and trying to reconstruct the demographic structure of ancient societies. However, it is well known that in the case of cremations sex assessment might be complicated by the destructive/transformative effect of the fire on bones. Osteometric standards built on unburned human remains and contemporary cremated series are often inadequate for the analysis of ancient cremations, and frequently result in a significant number of misclassifications. This work is an attempt to overcome the scarcity of methods that could be applied to pre-proto-historic Italy and serve as methodological comparison for other European contexts. A set of 24 anatomical traits were measured on 124 Bronze Age and Iron Age cremated individuals with clearly engendered grave goods. Assuming gender largely correlated to sex, male and female distributions of each individual trait measured were compared to evaluate sexual dimorphism through inferential statistics and Chaktaborty and Majumder’s index. The discriminatory power of each variable was evaluated by cross-validation tests. Eight variables yielded an accuracy equal to or greater than 80%. Four of these variables also show a similar degree of precision for both sexes. The most diagnostic measurements are from radius, patella, mandible, talus, femur, first metatarsal, lunate and humerus. Overall, the degree of sexual dimorphism and the reliability of estimates obtained from our series are similar to those of a modern cremated sample recorded by Gonçalves and collaborators. Nevertheless, mean values of the male and female distributions in our case study are lower, and the application of the cut-off point calculated from the modern sample to our ancient individuals produces a considerable number of misclassifications. This result confirms the need to build population-specific methods for sexing the cremated remains of ancient individuals.

]]>
<![CDATA[Medieval mummies of Zeleny Yar burial ground in the Arctic Zone of Western Siberia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79afdad5eed0c4841e3874

Notwithstanding the pioneering achievements of studies on arctic mummies in Siberia, there are insufficient data for any comprehensive understanding of the bio-cultural details of medieval people living in the region. In the Western Siberian arctic, permafrost mummies have been found in 12th to 13th century graves located in the Zeleny Yar (Z-Y) burial ground (66°19'4.54"С; 67°21'13.54"В). In 2013–2016, we were fortunate to be able to excavate that cemetery, locating a total of 47 burials, including cases of mummification. Some of these mummies had been wrapped in a multi-layered birch-bark cocoon. After removal of the cocoon, we conducted interdisciplinary studies using various scientific techniques. Gross anatomical examination and CT radiography showed that the internal organs were still well preserved inside the body cavities. Under light and electron microscopy, the histological findings were very similar to those for naturally mummified specimens discovered in other countries. Ancient DNA analysis showed that the Z-Y mummies’ mtDNA haplotypes belong to five different haplogroups, namely U5a (#34), H3ao (#53), D (#67–1), U4b1b1 (#67–2), and D4j8 (#68), which distinguish them for their unique combination of Western- and Eastern Siberia-specific mtDNA haplogroups. Our interdisciplinary study obtained fundamental information that will form the foundation of successful future investigations on medieval mummies found in the Western Siberian arctic.

]]>
<![CDATA[A method for automatic forensic facial reconstruction based on dense statistics of soft tissue thickness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521825d5eed0c484797560

In this paper, we present a method for automated estimation of a human face given a skull remain. Our proposed method is based on three statistical models. A volumetric (tetrahedral) skull model encoding the variations of different skulls, a surface head model encoding the head variations, and a dense statistic of facial soft tissue thickness (FSTT). All data are automatically derived from computed tomography (CT) head scans and optical face scans. In order to obtain a proper dense FSTT statistic, we register a skull model to each skull extracted from a CT scan and determine the FSTT value for each vertex of the skull model towards the associated extracted skin surface. The FSTT values at predefined landmarks from our statistic are well in agreement with data from the literature. To recover a face from a skull remain, we first fit our skull model to the given skull. Next, we generate spheres with radius of the respective FSTT value obtained from our statistic at each vertex of the registered skull. Finally, we fit a head model to the union of all spheres. The proposed automated method enables a probabilistic face-estimation that facilitates forensic recovery even from incomplete skull remains. The FSTT statistic allows the generation of plausible head variants, which can be adjusted intuitively using principal component analysis. We validate our face recovery process using an anonymized head CT scan. The estimation generated from the given skull visually compares well with the skin surface extracted from the CT scan itself.

]]>
<![CDATA[Light-dark rhythms during incubation of broiler chicken embryos and their effects on embryonic and post hatch leg bone development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e6cfd5eed0c484ef3e83

There are indications that lighting schedules applied during incubation can affect leg health at hatching and during rearing. The current experiment studied effects of lighting schedule: continuous light (24L), 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of darkness (12L:12D), or continuous darkness (24D) throughout incubation of broiler chicken eggs on the development and strength of leg bones, and the role of selected hormones in bone development. In the tibiatarsus and femur, growth and ossification during incubation and size and microstructure at day (D)0, D21, and D35 post hatching were measured. Plasma melatonin, growth hormone, and IGF-I were determined perinatally. Incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia, a leg pathology resulting from poor ossification at the bone’s epiphyseal plates, was determined at slaughter on D35. 24L resulted in lower embryonic ossification at embryonic day (E)13 and E14, and lower femur length, and lower tibiatarsus weight, length, cortical area, second moment of area around the minor axis, and mean cortical thickness at hatching on D0 compared to 12L:12D especially. Results were long term, with lower femur weight and tibiatarsus length, cortical and medullary area of the tibiatarsus, and second moment of area around the minor axis, and a higher incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia for 24L. Growth hormone at D0 was higher for 24D than for 12L:12D, with 24L intermediate, but plasma melatonin and IGF-I did not differ between treatments, and the role of plasma melatonin, IGF-I, and growth hormone in this process was therefore not clear. To conclude, in the current experiment, 24L during incubation of chicken eggs had a detrimental effect on embryonic leg bone development and later life leg bone strength compared to 24D and 12L:12D, while the light-dark rhythm of 12L:12D may have a stimulating effect on leg health.

]]>
<![CDATA[Epidemiology of low-energy lower extremity fracture in Chinese populations aged 50 years and above]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46657fd5eed0c484519799

This study aimed to investigate the epidemiology of low-energy lower-extremity fracture in Chinese men and women aged 50 years and above. This study was a part of Chinese National Fracture Survey (CNFS), which used the stratified multistage cluster random sampling method to recruit subjects between January and May 2015. A total of 512187 individuals participated in the CNFS and of them there were 154099 men and women aged 50 years and above included in this study for data analysis. Low-energy fracture was defined as a fracture caused by slip, trip or fall from standing height. Univariate analyses and gender-based multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to identify the independent risk factors. A total of 215 patients had sustained low-energy lower extremity fractures in 2014, indicating the overall incidence was 139.5 (120.9 to 158.2) per 100000 persons, with 127.8 (102.5 to 153.1) and 151.1 (123.8 to 178.5) per 100000 person-year in men and women. Over 80% of fractures occurred at home and on the common road. In men, alcohol consumption (OR, 2.00; 95%CI, 1.29 to 3.08), sleep duration<7h/d (OR, 2.60; 95%CI, 1.68 to 4.03) and history of past fracture (OR, 2.57; 95%CI, 1.33 to 4.95) were identified as significant risk factors associated with low-energy fractures. In women, advanced age (80+ years) (OR, 3.22; 95%CI, 1.80 to 5.75), alcohol consumption(OR, 1.72; 95%CI, 1.00 to 2.98), sleep duration <7h/d (OR, 2.11; 95%CI, 1.40 to 3.18), and history of past fracture (OR, 3.46; 95%CI, 1.97 to 6.09) were identified as significant risk factors and living in western region (OR, 0.60; 95%CI, 0.38 to 0.94) and current weight of 50 to 59.9 kg (OR, 0.17; 95%CI, 0.04 to 0.73) were identified as protective factors for fractures. Accordingly, awareness on the importance of sleep and alcohol consumption on fragility fracture should be improved, and health policies that focus on decreasing alcohol consumption and encouraging individuals to improve their sleep quality and duration should be considered. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight for women should be specifically emphasized to prevent low-energy fractures.

]]>