Single Brain Region Links Depression And Anxiety, Heart Disease, And Treatment Sensitivity (Neuroscience)

• Over-activity in a single brain region underlies multiple symptoms of stress-related disorders.
• Targeting this region with ketamine only treats some of the symptoms.
• The region disrupts different brain networks: one involved in threat responses and one involved in responses to rewards.
• Distinct brain networks may explain the differential sensitivity of symptoms to treatments.

The researchers used brain imaging to explore other brain regions affected by sgACC over-activity during threat. Over-activation of sgACC increased activity within the amygdala and hypothalamus, two key parts of the brain’s stress network. By contrast, it reduced activity in parts of the lateral prefrontal cortex – a region important in regulating emotional responses and shown to be underactive in depression. “The brain regions we identified as being affected during threat processing differed from those affected during reward processing,” said Professor Angela Roberts in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, who led the study. “This is key, because the distinct brain networks might explain the differential sensitivity of threat-related and reward-related symptoms to treatment.” ©Laith Alexander.

Over-activity in a single brain region called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) underlies several key symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, but an antidepressant only successfully treats some of the symptoms. A new study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that sgACC is a crucial region in depression and anxiety, and targeted treatment based on a patient’s symptoms could lead to better outcomes.

Depression is a debilitating disorder affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but people experience it differently. Some mainly have symptoms of elevated negative emotion like guilt and anxiety; some have a loss of ability to experience pleasure (called anhedonia); and others a mix of the two.

Research at the University of Cambridge has found that increased activity in sgACC – a key part of the emotional brain- could underlie increased negative emotion, reduced pleasure and a higher risk of heart disease in depressed and anxious people. More revealing still is the discovery that these symptoms differ in their sensitivity to treatment with an antidepressant, despite being caused by the same change in brain activity.

Using marmosets, a type of non-human primate, the team of researchers infused tiny concentrations of an excitatory drug into sgACC to over-activate it. Marmosets are used because their brains share important similarities with those of humans and it is possible to manipulate brain regions to understand causal effects.

The researchers found that sgACC over-activity increases heart rate, elevates cortisol levels and exaggerates animals’ responsiveness to threat, mirroring the stress-related symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“We found that over-activity in sgACC promotes the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ rather than ‘rest-and-digest’ response, by activating the cardiovascular system and elevating threat responses,” said Dr Laith Alexander, one of the study’s first authors from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience.

“This builds on our earlier work showing that over-activity also reduces anticipation and motivation for rewards, mirroring the loss of ability to experience pleasure seen in depression.”

To explore threat and anxiety processing, the researchers trained marmosets to associate a tone with the presence of a rubber snake, an imminent threat which marmosets find innately stressful. Once marmosets learnt this, the researchers ‘extinguished’ the association by presenting the tone without the snake. They wanted to measure how quickly the marmosets could dampen down and ‘regulate’ their fear response.

“By over-activating sgACC, marmosets stayed fearful for longer as measured by both their behaviour and blood pressure, showing that in stressful situations their emotion regulation was disrupted,” said Alexander.

Similarly, when the marmosets were confronted with a more uncertain threat in the form of an unfamiliar human, they appeared more anxious following over-activation of sgACC.

“The marmosets were much more wary of an unfamiliar person following over-activation of this key brain region – keeping their distance and displaying vigilance behaviours,” said Dr Christian Wood, one of the lead authors of the study and senior postdoctoral scientist in Cambridge’s Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience.

The researchers used brain imaging to explore other brain regions affected by sgACC over-activity during threat. Over-activation of sgACC increased activity within the amygdala and hypothalamus, two key parts of the brain’s stress network. By contrast, it reduced activity in parts of the lateral prefrontal cortex – a region important in regulating emotional responses and shown to be underactive in depression.

“The brain regions we identified as being affected during threat processing differed from those we’ve previously shown are affected during reward processing,” said Professor Angela Roberts in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, who led the study.

“This is key, because the distinct brain networks might explain the differential sensitivity of threat-related and reward-related symptoms to treatment.”

The researchers have previously shown that ketamine – which has rapidly acting antidepressant properties – can ameliorate anhedonia-like symptoms. But they found that it could not improve the elevated anxiety-like responses the marmosets displayed towards the human intruder following sgACC over-activation.

“We have definitive evidence for the differential sensitivity of different symptom clusters to treatment – on the one hand, anhedonia-like behaviour was reversed by ketamine; on the other, anxiety-like behaviours were not,” Professor Roberts explained.

“Our research shows that the sgACC may sit at the head and the heart of the matter when it comes to symptoms and treatment of depression and anxiety.”


Provided by University Of Cambridge

Research Provides A New Understanding Of How A Model Insect Species Sees Color (Biology)

Through an effort to characterize the color receptors in the eyes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, University of Minnesota researchers discovered the spectrum of light it can see deviates significantly from what was previously recorded.

Drosophila melanogaster under green and red fluorescence used as a marker to indicate the presence of inserted genes. ©Camilla Sharkey

“The fruit fly has been, and continues to be, critical in helping scientists understand genetics, neuroscience, cancer and other areas of study across the sciences,” said Camilla Sharkey, a post-doctoral researcher in the College of Biological Sciences’ Wardill Lab. “Furthering our understanding of how the eye of the fruit fly detects different wavelengths of light will aid scientists in their research around color reception and neural processing.”

The research, led by U of M Assistant Professor Trevor Wardill, is published in Scientific Reports and is among the first research of its kind in two decades to examine Drosophila photoreceptor sensitivity in 20 years. Through their genetic work, and with the aid of technological advancements, researchers were able to target specific photoreceptors and examine their sensitivity to different wavelengths of light (or hue).

Wild-type eye colouration in Drosophila (red eyes) and those with reduced screening pigment (orange eyes). ©Camilla Sharkey

The study found:

• all receptors — those processing UV, blue and green — had significant shifts in light sensitivities compared to what was previously known;
• the most significant shift occurred in the green photoreceptor, with its light sensitivity shifting by 92 nanometers (nm) from 508 nm to 600 nm; equivalent to seeing orange rather than green best;
• a yellow carotenoid filter in the eye (derived from Vitamin A) contributes to this shift; and
• the red pigmented eyes of fruit flies have long-wavelength light leakage between photoreceptors, which could negatively impact a fly’s vision.

Researchers discovered this by reducing carotenoids in the diets of the flies with red eyes and by testing flies with reduced eye pigmentation. While fly species with black eyes, such as house flies, are able to better isolate the long-wavelength light for each pixel of their vision, flies with red eyes, such as fruit flies, likely suffer from a degraded visual image.

“The carotenoid filter, which absorbs light on the blue and violet light spectrum, also has a secondary effect,” said Sharkey. “It sharpens ultraviolet light photoreceptors, providing the flies better light wavelength discrimination, and — as a result — better color vision.”


Provided by University Of Minnesota

Astronomers Discovered A Highly Eccentric Warm Jupiter Orbiting TIC 237913194 (Planetary Science)

The orbital parameters of warm Jupiters serve as a record of their formation history, providing constraints on formation scenarios for giant planets on close and intermediate orbits.

Artist impression of hot jupiter orbiting its star ©gettyimages/ESA.

In the recent study, Martin Schlecker and colleagues have presented the discovery of TIC 237913194b (TOI 2179b), a transiting warm Jupiter orbiting its G-type host in a very eccentric (e ≈ 0.58) 15-day orbit. Its transit signal was detected using TESS full frame images from Sectors 1 and 2. Astronomers confirmed the planetary nature of the signal using ground-based photometry (CHAT, LCOGT) and high-precision spectroscopy (FEROS).

They also reported that the mass of the planet is around 1.9 times and radius is 1.117 times that of jupiter, yielding a bulk density similar to Neptune’s.

Orbit aspect ratio and orientation. The orbit of
TIC 237913194b is plotted with stellar radii as length units. The dashed blue line shows our line of sight with respect to the orbit. ©Martin Schlecker et al.

Further, they showed that its dynamical state is not consistent with a high-eccentricity migration scenario that would eventually result in the planet becoming a hot Jupiter. Instead, a past interaction with an undetected massive
body has likely caused the planet’s extreme orbit. This valuable addition to the small sample of known warm Jupiter-hosting systems can help constrain the enigma of their origin. Through its eccentric orbit and the subsequent varying radiative forcing, the planet further holds the promise of observing potential disequilibrium processes in its atmosphere.

A tidal evolution analysis showed a large tidal dissipation timescale, suggesting that the planet is not a progenitor for a hot Jupiter caught during its high-eccentricity migration. TIC 237913194b further represents an attractive opportunity to study the energy deposition and redistribution in the atmosphere of a warm Jupiter with high eccentricity.

References: Martin Schlecker, Diana Kossakowski, Rafael Brahm, Néstor Espinoza, Thomas Henning, Ludmila Carone, Karan Molaverdikhani, Trifon Trifonov, Paul Mollière, Melissa J. Hobson, Andrés Jordán, Felipe I. Rojas, Hubert Klahr, Paula Sarkis, Gáspár Á. Bakos, Waqas Bhatti, David Osip, Vincent Suc, George Ricker, Roland Vanderspek, David W. Latham, Sara Seager, Joshua N. Winn, Jon M. Jenkins, Michael Vezie, Jesus Noel Villaseñor, Mark E. Rose, David R. Rodriguez, Joseph E. Rodriguez, Samuel N. Quinn, Avi Shporer, “A Highly Eccentric Warm Jupiter Orbiting TIC 237913194”, ArXiv, pp. 1-20, 2020. arXiv:2010.03570 link:

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How To Prevent The Spread Of Tumor Cells Via The Lymph Vessels? (Medicine)

What role do the lymphatic vessels play in the metastasis of cancer cells? Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and the Mannheim Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg developed a method to investigate this question in mice. The aim of the work was to identify new ways to block the dangerous colonization and spread of tumor cells. The researchers discovered that an antibody against a signaling molecule of the vascular system causes the lymphatic vessels in the tumor to die, suppresses metastasis and thus prolongs the survival of the mice. Based on these findings, approaches may be developed to prevent the dangerous spread of tumor cells. The results have now been published in the journal Cancer Discovery.

Histological image of blood vessels (green) and lymph vessels (orange) in a cross-section of a tumor. Right: Treatment with an angiopoietin-2-blocking antibody leads to the death of the tumor lymph vessels and prevents the spread of tumor cells via the lymph vessel system. ©DKFZ

Just like healthy tissue, tumors are supplied by two different vascular systems. In addition to blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients, the lymph vessels are responsible for transporting cells of the immune system and tissue fluid. The ability of cancer cells to spread through both pathways in the body and form daughter tumors, so-called metastases, has been known for a long time. In this work, the importance of the route via lymphatic vessels and the biological mechanisms involved were investigated for the first time in mice.

Until now, it has been difficult to study the complicated architecture of a tumor and its spread in a living organism. The Heidelberg and Mannheim research team led by Hellmut Augustin has now succeeded in developing a suitable model system, as Nicolas Gengenbacher, first author of the current publication, reports: “The key to this was a direct transplantation of tumor tissue from one mouse to another without prior cell culture. In this model, the natural tissue structure was preserved and the cancerous tumors were able to form functional lymph vessels that were connected to the lymphatic system – a prerequisite for lymphogenic metastasis”.

Using these animals, the researchers were able to confirm that cancer cells often migrate via the lymph vessels first into nearby lymph nodes and from there continue to metastasize into vital organs. The surgical removal of the primary tumor enabled the researchers to simulate a disease situation that corresponded to that of a cancer patient after surgery: Daughter tumors and not the primary tumor became crucial for survival.

In their search for ways to prevent the development of metastases, the research team focused on the cells that line the lymph vessels from the inside, the so-called lymph endothelial cells. Endothelial cells control many important properties of the blood and lymph vessels and produce numerous signaling molecules and growth factors. The researchers found that the messenger substance angiopoietin 2 ensures the survival of lymph endothelial cells in tumors. An antibody that blocks angiopoietin-2 caused the lymph vessels in the tumor to selectively die. This interrupted the transport pathways for cancer cells to detach and prevented them from spreading to nearby lymph nodes. As a result, fewer daughter tumors formed in distant organs and the mice survived significantly longer.

Malignant cells often remain in the body after cancer surgery and can be the starting point for a relapse oft he disease. “Surprisingly, we were able to effectively prevent the spread of tumors in the mice even when we blocked angiopoietin-2 only shortly before tumor surgery,” says Hellmut Augustin, head of the study. “However, we have only been able to show that angiopoietin-2 blockade has a therapeutic effect within this treatment window in experimental animals. Whether this approach also helps in humans against the spread of tumors must be clarified in further investigations.”

References: Nicolas Gengenbacher, Mahak Singhal, Carolin Mogler, Ling Hai, Laura Milde, Ashik Ahmed Abdul Pari, Eva Besemfelder, Claudine Fricke, Daniel Baumann, Stephanie Gehrs, Jochen Utikal, Moritz Felcht, Junhao Hu, Matthias Schlesner, Rienk Offringa, Sudhakar R. Chintharlapalli, Hellmut G. Augustin: Timed Ang2-targeted therapy 1 identifies the Angiopoietin-Tie pathway as key regulator of fatal lymphogenous metastasis.
Cancer Discovery 2020, DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0122

Provided by German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ)

Introducing The First δ-Scuti Star With A Dynamo Magnetic Field (Planetary Science)

Stellar evolution is influenced by the interaction of several physical processes such as pulsations, rotation, magnetic fields, convection, and diffusion. The lifetimes of stars changes depending on how strong is the impact of these effects. The exact description and theoretical representation of all interacting physical processes remains one of the great challenges in stellar astrophysics. Through the analysis of suitable benchmark objects, K. Zwintz and colleagues, aim to study the interaction of several of these effects.

Delta Scuti star pulsations called HD 31901, based on brightness measurements by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Credit: Dr Chris Boshuizen, Dr Simon Murphy and Prof Tim Bedding.

They investigated the pulsational and magnetic field properties of βCas. They also determine the star’s apparent fundamental parameters and chemical abundances.

F-type stars can show four types of pulsations: (i) δ Scuti type p-modes driven by the κ-mechanism acting in the He ii ionisation zone, (ii) γ Doradus type g-modes that are caused by the convective flux blocking mechanism, (iii) gravito-inertial modes or Rossby (r) modes where the Coriolis force is the restoring force, and (iv) stochastic solar-like oscillations for which pressure is the restoring force. In addition, hybrid stars showing both δ Scuti and γ Doradus pulsations have been detected and studied in detail in particular since the advent of space missions for high-precision photometry.

βCas (HD 432, HR 21, Caph) has an apparent magnitude of 2.27 in V and a spectral type of F2 III. It is located at a heliocentric distance of 16.8 ± 0.1 pc, and its mass is estimated to be 2.09 M. It is considered to be a rather evolved star located near the Terminal Age Main Sequence (TAMS) that was an A-type star during its main sequence lifetime.

Based on photometric time series obtained from three different space missions (BRITE-Constellation, SMEI, and TESS), Zwintz and colleagues conducted a frequency analysis and investigated the stability of the pulsation amplitudes over four years of observations. They investigated the presence of a magnetic field and its properties using spectropolarimetric observations taken with the Narval instrument by applying the Least Square Deconvolution and Zeeman Doppler Imaging techniques.

Magnetic field maps of βCas and corresponding Stokes V pro-file fits obtained with ZDI for Prot = 0.868 d. The plots on the left side show the radial, meridional, and azimuthal magnetic field components in the flattened polar projection. The thick circle corresponds to the stellar equator. The numbers next to surface plots correspond to rotational phases while the short bars illustrate rotational phase coverage. The colour bars indicate the field strength in Gauss. The right panel shows the observed (histogram) and model (solid red curves) profiles, shifted vertically with an equidistant step. The rotational phases (calculated relative to HJD0 = 2457358.31370) are indicated to the right of each line profile.

And they found βCas is an unusual star, for several reasons, that combines several physical properties:
• The first is, it is a δ Scuti pulsator that shows only 3 independent p-mode pulsation frequencies even in multiple seasons of space photometry down to the few ppm-level. They suggested that its highest amplitude mode, F1, can be identified as an n = 3, l = 2, m = 0 mode based on the pulsation constant and the ZDI analysis. No g-mode frequencies were detected.
• Second is, one of the handful of δ Scuti stars known to date to show a measurable magnetic field.
• And third is, βCas magnetic field structure is quite complex, which is unusual in a star with an effective temperature as high as 6920 K. According to its complexity, the field of βCas is almost certainly of dynamo origin, which makes it the first δ Scuti object with a dynamo magnetic field. βCas rapid rotation may lead to a thicker surface convective layer and explain how a dynamo can exist.

These characteristics make βCas an interesting target for future studies of dynamo processes in the thin convective envelopes of F-type stars, of the transition region between fossil and dynamo fields, and the interaction between pulsations and magnetic field.

References: K. Zwintz, C. Neiner, O. Kochukhov, T. Ryabchikova, A. Pigulski, M. Muellner, T. Steindl, R. Kuschnig, G. Handler, A. F. J. Moffat, H. Pablo, A. Popowicz, G. A. Wade, “beta Cas: The first delta Scuti star with a dynamo magnetic field”, A&A, 2020. Doi:

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Targeted Inhibitor Of Mutated KRAS Gene Shows Promise In Lung, Bowel, & Other Solid Tumors (Medicine)

Adagrasib (MRTX849) achieves objective responses in nearly half of patients with non-small cell lung cancer; Encouraging early results in patients with colorectal, pancreatic, and endometrial cancer.

A novel agent that targets a mutated form of the KRAS gene – the most commonly altered oncogene in human cancers and one long considered “undruggable” – shrank tumors in most patients in a clinical trial with manageable side effects, researchers reported today at the 32nd EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Therapeutic, which is taking place online.

Patient CT scans before and after treatment with adagrasib. Yellow arrow marks location of main tumor. ©Pasi A. Jänne.

The KRYSTAL-1 (NCT03785249) phase I/II trial tested the agent, adagrasib (MRTX849), in patients with non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), colorectal cancer, and other solid tumors such as pancreatic, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. At today’s symposium, Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, Director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, reported that of 51 patients with NSCLC participating in the trial, 45% had an objective response, meaning their tumors shrank by 30% or more and did not grow or spread to other parts of the body. The disease control rate was 96%, meaning that 49 of the patients had a partial or complete response or stable disease.

Among the 14 patients in the phase I/Ib cohort who had been followed for a longer period of time (median time of 9.6 months), an objective response was seen in six (43%). Five of these six patients were still in ongoing treatment as of the cut-off date, with four of these six patients on the duration of treatment has lasted for more than 11 months.

Adagrasib targets a KRAS mutation called G12C, which is associated with a poor prognosis and lack of response to standard treatments. The mutation occurs in approximately 14% of lung adenocarcinomas, the most common subtype of NSCLC, 3-4% of colorectal cancers, and 2% of pancreatic cancers. This translates into well over 100,000 people each year worldwide.

Adagrasib works by irreversibly and selectively binding to KRAS G12C in its inactive state, blocking its ability to send cell-growth signals and leading to cancer cell death.

Until recently no KRAS inhibitor had moved beyond preclinical testing, but in 2018 adagrasib was among several KRAS inhibitors approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for study in clinical trials beginning in January 2019. All patients in the KRYSTAL-1 phase I/II trial had advanced cancer and had previously received standard treatment for their disease, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

As part of the trial, researchers analyzed the treatment-related adverse side effects in all 110 patients who participated in the phase I/Ib and II parts of the trial, including those with colorectal cancer and other solid tumors, as well as those with NSCLC. Side effects included nausea (54%), diarrhea (51%), vomiting (35%), fatigue (32%), and increased levels of an enzyme that indicates minor liver irritation (20%). The only serious adverse side effect to occur in more than one patient was low sodium in the blood, which occurred in two patients.

“KRAS G12C patients are a population for which there are no proven targeted therapies. Once chemotherapy or immune therapy fails in a patient, treatment options are limited,” said Jänne. “The fact that we are seeing responses in 45% of patients with adagrasib is incredibly meaningful as it opens up the possibility of a new treatment option for this subset of lung cancer patients.”

Results for 31 trial participants with colorectal cancer or other solid tumors were presented by Melissa L. Johnson, MD, associate director of the Lung Cancer Research Program and Drug Development at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Tennessee Oncology.

Of 18 patients with colorectal cancer who could be evaluated, three (17%) had a confirmed objective response and two of them continue to receive treatment. Disease control was seen in 17 of the patients (94%) and 12 of these patients continue to be treated, including ten of 18 patients on treatment for greater than four months.

Among the six patients with other solid tumors who could be evaluated, a partial response was confirmed in one patient each with endometrial cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, and cancer of the bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma). Two appendiceal cancer patients who were treated achieved stable disease. All six patients remain on the treatment.

Researchers are also looking at combining adagrasib with other targeted therapies, such as pembrolizumab for NSCLC, cetuximab for colon cancer, investigational SHP-2 inhibitor, TNO-155, in either NCSLC or colon cancer and afatinib for NSCLC.

This study was sponsored by Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. Jänne is a compensated scientific advisor for Mirati Therapeutics.

Abstract no: 3 LBA, “KRYSTAL-1: Activity and Safety of Adagrasib (MRTX849) in Advanced/Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Harboring KRAS G12C Mutation”, by Pasi Jänne, presented in the Late Breaking and Best Proffered Papers Plenary session 2, channel 1, 15.45 hrs CET on Sunday 25 October:!abstractdetails/0000902150

Abstract no: 4 LBA, “KRYSTAL-1: Activity and Safety of Adagrasib (MRTX849) in Patients with Colorectal Cancer (CRC) and Other Solid Tumors Harboring a KRAS G12C Mutation”, by Melissa Johnson, presented in the Targeting Oncogenic RAS signalling: New Approaches To An Old Problem scientific session, Channel 2, 19.30 hrs CET on Sunday 25 October:!abstractdetails/0000902140

Provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Oncotarget: Survival After Resection Of Brain Metastases: A Matched Cohort Analysis (Medicine / Oncology)

The cover for issue 32 of Oncotarget features Figure 2, “This figure depicts overall survival and local in-brain recurrence-free survival in the study’s subgroups,” by Hussein, et al. which reported that the aim of the present study is to assess whether the use of 5-ALA has an impact on local recurrence or survival compared to conventional white light microscopic tumor resection.

This figure depicts overall survival and local in-brain recurrence-free survival in the study’s subgroups. ©Correspondence to – Bawarjan Schatlo –

Two groups were compared: In the “white light” group, resection was performed with conventional microscopy. In the 5-ALA group, fluorescence guided peritumoral resection was additionally performed after standard microscopic resection.

Local in-brain recurrence occurred in 21/175 patients with a rate of 15/119 in the white light and 6/56 in the 5-ALA group.

The use of 5-ALA did not result in lower in-brain recurrence or mortality compared to the use of white light microscopy.

Dr. Bawarjan Schatlo from the Department of Neurosurgery at The University of Medicine Goettingen said, “Metastatic brain disease is more common than primary brain tumors.”

“Metastatic brain disease is more common than primary brain tumors.”
Another group made the case for extending tumor resection 5 millimeters into peritumoral tissue to perform a so-called supramarginal resection.

Its aim is to prolong progression-free survival through radical resection and improved local tumor control.

In a series of 52 patients, Kamp and colleagues detected positive fluorescence in 62% of resected cerebral metastases.

Thus, the utility and importance of using methods to improve local control of brain metastases remains an unresolved issue.

The aim of the current study was to compare survival and local recurrence in a cohort of patients who underwent surgery for brain metastases with 5-ALA fluorescence microscopy to one that was operated using microscopic white light only.

The Schatlo Research Team concluded in their Oncotarget Research Paper, “the present study confirmed that regardless of surgical adjunct, radiotherapy is strongly associated with improved survival.”

References: Hussein A., Rohde V., Wolfert C., Hernandez-Duran S., Fiss I., Bleckmann A., Freer A. Barrantes, Mielke D., Schatlo B. Survival after resection of brain metastases with white light microscopy versus fluorescence-guidance: A matched cohort analysis of the Metastasys study data. Oncotarget. 2020; 11: 3026-3034. Retrieved from

Provided by Impact Journals LLC

Concrete Structure’s Lifespan Extended By A Carbon Textile (Engineering)

Construction costs reduced by 40%, while improving fire resistance.

The Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) has announced the development of an effective structural strengthening method using a noncombustible carbon textile grid and cement mortar, which can double the load-bearing capacities of structurally deficient concrete structures and increase their usable lifespan by threefold.

Failure test of a concrete slab strengthened with TRM panel. ©Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT).

More than 90% of infrastructures in South Korea, such as bridges and tunnels, as well as residential buildings were initially constructed out of concrete. For deteriorated or structurally deficient concrete structures in need of structural strengthening, carbon fiber sheets are typically applied to the surface of the concrete structure using organic adhesives. However, organic adhesives are susceptible to fire and cannot be applied to structures with wet surfaces. These carbon fiber sheets may detach and fall from the structure if they are exposed to moisture.

A research team in KICT, led by Dr. Hyeong-Yeol Kim, has developed an effective as well as efficient strengthening method for deteriorated concrete structures. With the developed method, thin precast textile reinforced mortar (TRM) panels, which are made of a carbon textile grid and a thin layer of cement mortar, are used. Furthermore, the TRM strengthening method can be applied in the form of cast-in-place construction. Employing KICT’s method, 20 mm-thick TRM panels are attached to the surface of the existing structure, and then the space between the existing structure and the panels is filled with cement grout, with the cement grout serving as the adhesive.

Both the carbon textile and cement mortar are noncombustible materials that have a high resistance to fire, meaning that they can be effectively used to strengthen concrete buildings that may be exposed to fire hazards. The construction method can also be applied to wet surfaces as well as in the winter, and the panels do not fall off even in the event of water ingress. Additionally, unlike steel reinforcing bars, the carbon textile does not corrode, and thus it can be effectively used to strengthen highway facilities and parking buildings, where deicing agents are often used, as well as to strengthen offshore concrete structures that are exposed to a chloride-rich environment.

Applied load versus vertical displacement. ©Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT).

A failure test conducted in KICT indicates that the failure load of concrete structures strengthened with the TRC panel increased by at least 1.5 times compared to that of an unstrengthened structure. Furthermore, the chloride resistance of the TRM panel has been evaluated in order to assess its service life in a chloride-rich environment. The durability test and analysis of the TRM panel indicates that the lifespan of the panel is more than 100 years. This increase can be attributed to the cement mortar, developed by KICT, which contains 50% ground granulated blast furnace slag, an industrial byproduct generated at ironworks. The cement mortar, which has a higher fire resistance than conventional cement mortar, is also advantageous because its cost is half that of conventional mortar. In terms of economical efficiency, the newly developed method can reduce construction costs by about 40% compared to existing carbon sheet attachment methods.

The newly developed strengthening method uses thin TRM panels that are very versatile and can be used as building facades, repair and strengthening materials, and in other applications. In the future, if the panels can be fabricated with thermal insulators, it is expected that they will replace building insulation materials that are susceptible to fires.

Dr. Kim said, “For easier production and shipping, the TRM panels are manufactured in a relatively small size of 1 m by 2 m and must be connected at the construction site. A method for effectively connecting the panels is currently being developed, and performance tests of the method will be conducted by the end of 2020.”

References: Strengthening of Concrete Element with Precast Textile Reinforced Concrete Panel and Grouting Material”, Materials 2020, 13(17), 3856;

Provided by Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT)

People With Type 2 Diabetes Need Not Avoid Eating Potatoes Based On Glycemic Index (Medicine)

New study findings show that people with type 2 diabetes can better maintain overnight glycemic control when high Glycemic Index (GI) potatoes are included in an evening meal versus low GI basmati rice.

Schematic of study protocol. Four trial conditions (evening meals consisting of boiled potato, roasted potato, boiled then cooled potato and basmati rice) were completed in a randomized order separated by a 9-day washout. Interstitial glucose was measured continuously throughout each trial condition (from Day −3 through to Day 2) via a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS).

People with type 2 Diabetes (T2D) are frequently told to avoid eating potatoes, and other high Glycemic Index (GI) foods, because of the longstanding perception that these foods make it difficult to control blood sugar levels. This is especially problematic during the night when blood sugar tends to spike — a phenomenon that has been associated with cardiovascular disease and endothelial disfunction. However, for the first time, a rigorously controlled clinical trial, including 24 adults with T2D, demonstrates that GI is not an accurate surrogate for an individual’s glycemic response (GR) to a food consumed as part of an evening meal. Specifically, the findings published in Clinical Nutrition show that participants had a better ‘nocturnal’ GR when they ate a mixed meal with skinless white potatoes compared to an isoenergetic and macronutrient-matched mixed meal that included a low GI carbohydrate food — basmati rice.

“Despite its frequent use among nutrition researchers, GI is not an appropriate tool for understanding how a meal impacts glycemic control; it is a very specific measurement for foods consumed in isolation, typically conducted under controlled laboratory conditions,” says Dr. Brooke Devlin, PhD, the primary investigator, at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. “It’s rare that people eat foods in isolation, and findings from this study demonstrate how other factors, such as the time of day or food pairings, need to be considered when investigating the GR of mixed meals in individuals with T2D.”

Participants were provided the same breakfast and lunch, but they were randomly assigned to one of four dinners, each including either skinless white potatoes (test meal) prepared in three different ways (boiled, roasted, boiled then cooled then reheated) or basmati rice (control meal). Participants repeated the experiment, with a 9-day break in between each trial, to cycle through all test meals and the control. In addition to having blood samples collected regularly (both immediately after the meal and again every 30 minutes, for 2 hours), participants also wore a continuous glucose monitor overnight to track changes in blood sugar levels while sleeping.

There were no differences between meals in glucose response following the dinner that contained any of the potato dishes or basmati rice. Moreover, participants’ overnight GR was more favorable after eating the evening meal that included any of the high GI potato side dishes compared to low GI basmati rice.

“These findings are contrary to that of observational research and traditional dietary guidance that has led some to believe potatoes are not an appropriate food choice for people with T2D,” added Devlin. “Our study shows high GI foods, like potatoes, can be consumed as part of a healthy evening meal without negatively affecting GR — and while delivering key nutrients in relatively few calories, which is essential for people with T2D.”

This study followed a rigorous methodology by using a randomized crossover design and measuring glucose levels both immediately post-meal and overnight to obtain a better picture of the potatoes’ impact on GR. However, the researchers noted a few limitations: study participants’ baseline GR was assessed for only one evening meal, the dinner provided was larger than what is typically recommended for people with T2D (but in line with Australian eating patterns, at 40 percent of an individual’s total energy intake), and the potatoes’ impact on long-term glycemic control was not assessed.

Despite such limitations, the researchers concluded that “potatoes are a vegetable that is sustainable, affordable and nutrient-dense, and thus, they can play an important role in modern diets irrespective of metabolic health status.”

References: Brooke L. Devlin, Evelyn B. Parr, Bridget E. Radford, and John A. Hawley, “”Lower nocturnal blood glucose response to a potato-based mixed evening meal compared to rice in individuals with type 2 diabetes,” Clinical Nutrition, 2020. doi:

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