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1.  Musings on our meetings: MLA conventions, 'ninety-eight to date. 
Annual meetings of the Medical Library Association have been a part of the culture of medical librarians in North America since 1898. With only four exceptions (one during WWI and three during WWII) medical librarians have met annually for nearly 100 years to conduct their business, share ideas, present papers, attend continuing education courses, view exhibits, and have fun. Based on the writer's research and personal experience, his reflections contain a summary of the history and development of these meetings since the first one in Philadelphia in 1898, an assessment of their content and value, and recommendations.
PMCID: PMC226319  PMID: 9583936
2.  Musings on the Wanderer: What’s New in our Understanding of Vago-Vagal Reflexes? 
Vago-vagal reflex circuits modulate digestive functions from the oral cavity to the transverse colon. Previous articles in this series have described events at the level of the sensory receptors encoding the peripheral stimuli, the transmission of information in the afferent vagus, and the conversion of this data within the dorsal vagal complex (DVC) to impulses in the preganglionic efferents. The control by vagal efferents of the postganglionic neurons impinging on the glands and smooth muscles of the target organs has also been illustrated. Here we focus on some of the mechanisms by which these apparently static reflex circuits can be made quite plastic as a consequence of the action of modulatory inputs from other central nervous system sources. A large body of evidence has shown that the neuronal elements that constitute these brain stem circuits have nonuniform properties and function differently according to status of their target organs and the level of activity in critical modulatory inputs. We propose that DVC circuits undergo a certain amount of short-term plasticity that allows the brain stem neuronal elements to act in harmony with neural systems that control behavioral and physiological homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3055655  PMID: 12529266
dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus; nucleus of the solitary tract; brain stem; gastrointestinal motility
3.  Saving Darwin's muse: evolutionary genetics for the recovery of the Floreana mockingbird 
Biology Letters  2009;6(2):212-215.
The distribution of mockingbird species among the Galápagos Islands prompted Charles Darwin to question, for the first time in writing, the ‘stability of species’. Some 50 years after Darwin's visit, however, the endemic Floreana mockingbird (Mimus trifasciatus) had become extinct on Floreana Island and, today, only two small populations survive on two satellite islets. As Darwin noted, rarity often precedes extinction. To avert extinction, plans are being developed to reintroduce M. trifasciatus to Floreana. Here, we integrate evolutionary thinking and conservation practice using coalescent analyses and genetic data from contemporary and museum samples, including two collected by Darwin and Robert Fitzroy on Floreana in 1835. Our microsatellite results show substantial differentiation between the two extant populations, but our coalescence-based modelling does not indicate long, independent evolutionary histories. One of the populations is highly inbred, but both harbour unique alleles present on Floreana in 1835, suggesting that birds from both islets should be used to establish a single, mixed population on Floreana. Thus, Darwin's mockingbird specimens not only revealed to him a level of variation that suggested speciation following geographical isolation but also, more than 170 years later, return important information to their place of origin for the conservation of their conspecifics.
PMCID: PMC2865062  PMID: 19923141
museum specimens; genetic diversity; conservation; Galápagos; Nesomimus
4.  Muse+TriposScore: a ligand-based de novo design approach 
Journal of Cheminformatics  2011;3(Suppl 1):P26.
PMCID: PMC3083581
5.  Molecular musings in microbial ecology and evolution 
Biology Direct  2011;6:58.
A few major discoveries have influenced how ecologists and evolutionists study microbes. Here, in the format of an interview, we answer questions that directly relate to how these discoveries are perceived in these two branches of microbiology, and how they have impacted on both scientific thinking and methodology.
The first question is "What has been the influence of the 'Universal Tree of Life' based on molecular markers?" For evolutionists, the tree was a tool to understand the past of known (cultured) organisms, mapping the invention of various physiologies on the evolutionary history of microbes. For ecologists the tree was a guide to discover the current diversity of unknown (uncultured) organisms, without much knowledge of their physiology.
The second question we ask is "What was the impact of discovering frequent lateral gene transfer among microbes?" In evolutionary microbiology, frequent lateral gene transfer (LGT) made a simple description of relationships between organisms impossible, and for microbial ecologists, functions could not be easily linked to specific genotypes. Both fields initially resisted LGT, but methods or topics of inquiry were eventually changed in one to incorporate LGT in its theoretical models (evolution) and in the other to achieve its goals despite that phenomenon (ecology).
The third and last question we ask is "What are the implications of the unexpected extent of diversity?" The variation in the extent of diversity between organisms invalidated the universality of species definitions based on molecular criteria, a major obstacle to the adaptation of models developed for the study of macroscopic eukaryotes to evolutionary microbiology. This issue has not overtly affected microbial ecology, as it had already abandoned species in favor of the more flexible operational taxonomic units. This field is nonetheless moving away from traditional methods to measure diversity, as they do not provide enough resolution to uncover what lies below the species level.
The answers of the evolutionary microbiologist and microbial ecologist to these three questions illustrate differences in their theoretical frameworks. These differences mean that both fields can react quite distinctly to the same discovery, incorporating it with more or less difficulty in their scientific practice.
This article was reviewed by W. Ford Doolittle, Eugene V. Koonin and Maureen A. O'Malley.
PMCID: PMC3254073  PMID: 22074255
Ribosomal RNA genes; diversity, lateral gene transfer; microbial ecology; microbial evolution; evolutionary microbiology; ecological microbiology; Tree of Life
6.  Muse cells and induced pluripotent stem cell: implication of the elite model 
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences  2012;69(22):3739-3750.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have attracted a great deal attention as a new pluripotent stem cell type that can be generated from somatic cells, such as fibroblasts, by introducing the transcription factors Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc. The mechanism of generation, however, is not fully understood. Two mechanistic theories have been proposed; the stochastic model purports that every cell type has the potential to be reprogrammed to become an iPS cell and the elite model proposes that iPS cell generation occurs only from a subset of cells. Some reports have provided theoretical support for the stochastic model, but a recent publication demonstrated findings that support the elite model, and thus the mechanism of iPS cell generation remains under debate. To enhance our understanding of iPS cells, it is necessary to clarify the properties of the original cell source, i.e., the components of the original populations and the potential of each population to become iPS cells. In this review, we discuss the two theories and their implications in iPS cell research.
PMCID: PMC3478511  PMID: 22527723
Stochastic model; Elite model; Tumorigenicity; Adult stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells
7.  Washington Musings 
PMCID: PMC3564297  PMID: 23393433
8.  To amuse the muse of the brain by heart 
Netherlands Heart Journal  2013;21(4):181-182.
PMCID: PMC3673609  PMID: 23468404
9.  The silver lining of a mind in the clouds: interesting musings are associated with positive mood while mind-wandering 
The negative effects of mind-wandering on performance and mood have been widely documented. In a recent well-cited study, Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) conducted a large experience sampling study revealing that all off-task episodes, regardless of content, have equal to or lower happiness ratings, than on-task episodes. We present data from a similarly implemented experience sampling study with additional mind-wandering content categories. Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood. However, subsequent analyses reveal situations in which a more positive mood is reported after being off-task. Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes. These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.
PMCID: PMC3755259  PMID: 24009599
mind-wandering; mood; daydreaming; experience sampling; emotion
11.  Musing in Oncology: When Oncology Meets Music Something Special Happens 
The Oncologist  2013;18(1):112-113.
PMCID: PMC3556247  PMID: 23287881
12.  Regenerative Effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Contribution of Muse Cells, a Novel Pluripotent Stem Cell Type that Resides in Mesenchymal Cells 
Cells  2012;1(4):1045-1060.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are easily accessible and safe for regenerative medicine. MSCs exert trophic, immunomodulatory, anti-apoptotic, and tissue regeneration effects in a variety of tissues and organs, but their entity remains an enigma. Because MSCs are generally harvested from mesenchymal tissues, such as bone marrow, adipose tissue, or umbilical cord as adherent cells, MSCs comprise crude cell populations and are heterogeneous. The specific cells responsible for each effect have not been clarified. The most interesting property of MSCs is that, despite being adult stem cells that belong to the mesenchymal tissue lineage, they are able to differentiate into a broad spectrum of cells beyond the boundary of mesodermal lineage cells into ectodermal or endodermal lineages, and repair tissues. The broad spectrum of differentiation ability and tissue-repairing effects of MSCs might be mediated in part by the presence of a novel pluripotent stem cell type recently found in adult human mesenchymal tissues, termed multilineage-differentiating stress enduring (Muse) cells. Here we review recently updated studies of the regenerative effects of MSCs and discuss their potential in regenerative medicine.
PMCID: PMC3901150  PMID: 24710542
pluripotent stem cells; mesenchymal stem cells; transdifferentiation; tissue repair; cell therapy
13.  A robust multi-shot scan strategy for high-resolution diffusion weighted MRI enabled by multiplexed sensitivity-encoding (MUSE) 
NeuroImage  2013;72:41-47.
Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) data have been mostly acquired with single-shot echo-planar imaging (EPI) to minimize motion induced artifacts. The spatial resolution, however, is inherently limited in single-shot EPI, even when the parallel imaging (usually at an acceleration factor of 2) is incorporated. Multi-shot acquisition strategies could potentially achieve higher spatial resolution and fidelity, but they are generally susceptible to motion-induced phase errors among excitations that are exacerbated by diffusion sensitizing gradients, rendering the reconstructed images unusable. It has been shown that shot-to-shot phase variations may be corrected using navigator echoes, but at the cost of imaging throughput. To address these challenges, a novel and robust multi-shot DWI technique, termed multiplexed sensitivity-encoding (MUSE), is developed here to reliably and inherently correct nonlinear shot-to-shot phase variations without the use of navigator echoes. The performance of the MUSE technique is confirmed experimentally in healthy adult volunteers on 3 Tesla MRI systems. This newly developed technique should prove highly valuable for mapping brain structures and connectivities at high spatial resolution for neuroscience studies.
PMCID: PMC3602151  PMID: 23370063
diffusion weighted imaging; inherent phase correction; multiplexed sensitivity-encoding; interleaved echo-planar imaging; multi-shot echo-planar imaging
14.  Pluripotent muse cells derived from human adipose tissue: a new perspective on regenerative medicine and cell therapy 
In 2010, Multilineage Differentiating Stress Enduring (Muse) cells were introduced to the scientific community, offering potential resolution to the issue of teratoma formation that plagues both embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells. Isolated from human bone marrow, dermal fibroblasts, adipose tissue and commercially available adipose stem cells (ASCs) under severe cellular stress conditions, Muse cells self-renew in a controlled manner and do not form teratomas when injected into immune-deficient mice. Furthermore, Muse cells express classic pluripotency markers and differentiate into cells from the three embryonic germ layers both spontaneously and under media-specific induction. When transplanted in vivo, Muse cells contribute to tissue generation and repair. This review delves into the aspects of Muse cells that set them apart from ES, iPS, and various reported adult pluripotent stem cell lines, with specific emphasis on Muse cells derived from adipose tissue (Muse-AT), and their potential to revolutionize the field of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy.
PMCID: PMC4041046  PMID: 24940477
Adult pluripotent stem cells; Muse cells; Non-tumorigenic; Quiescence; Regenerative medicine
15.  Musings on Sketches, Artists, and Mosquito Nets 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(8):1429-1430.
PMCID: PMC4111204
art science connection; emerging infectious diseases; art and medicine; James Abbott McNeill Whistler; Man at Table beneath Mosquito Net; Musings on sketches; artists; and mosquito nets; mosquitoes; mosquito nets; West Point; Aesthetic Movement; vector-borne disease; malaria; about the cover
16.  Assessment of HIV testing among young methamphetamine users in Muse, Northern Shan State, Myanmar 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:735.
Methamphetamine (MA) use has a strong correlation with risky sexual behaviors, and thus may be triggering the growing HIV epidemic in Myanmar. Although methamphetamine use is a serious public health concern, only a few studies have examined HIV testing among young drug users. This study aimed to examine how predisposing, enabling and need factors affect HIV testing among young MA users.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from January to March 2013 in Muse city in the Northern Shan State of Myanmar. Using a respondent-driven sampling method, 776 MA users aged 18-24 years were recruited. The main outcome of interest was whether participants had ever been tested for HIV. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression were applied in this study.
Approximately 14.7% of young MA users had ever been tested for HIV. Significant positive predictors of HIV testing included predisposing factors such as being a female MA user, having had higher education, and currently living with one’s spouse/sexual partner. Significant enabling factors included being employed and having ever visited NGO clinics or met NGO workers. Significant need factors were having ever been diagnosed with an STI and having ever wanted to receive help to stop drug use.
Predisposing, enabling and need factors were significant contributors affecting uptake of HIV testing among young MA users. Integrating HIV testing into STI treatment programs, alongside general expansion of HIV testing services may be effective in increasing HIV testing uptake among young MA users.
PMCID: PMC4223556  PMID: 25042697
HIV testing; Methamphetamine; Youth; Myanmar
18.  Interleaved EPI Based fMRI Improved by Multiplexed Sensitivity Encoding (MUSE) and Simultaneous Multi-Band Imaging 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116378.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a non-invasive and powerful imaging tool for detecting brain activities. The majority of fMRI studies are performed with single-shot echo-planar imaging (EPI) due to its high temporal resolution. Recent studies have demonstrated that, by increasing the spatial-resolution of fMRI, previously unidentified neuronal networks can be measured. However, it is challenging to improve the spatial resolution of conventional single-shot EPI based fMRI. Although multi-shot interleaved EPI is superior to single-shot EPI in terms of the improved spatial-resolution, reduced geometric distortions, and sharper point spread function (PSF), interleaved EPI based fMRI has two main limitations: 1) the imaging throughput is lower in interleaved EPI; 2) the magnitude and phase signal variations among EPI segments (due to physiological noise, subject motion, and B0 drift) are translated to significant in-plane aliasing artifact across the field of view (FOV). Here we report a method that integrates multiple approaches to address the technical limitations of interleaved EPI-based fMRI. Firstly, the multiplexed sensitivity-encoding (MUSE) post-processing algorithm is used to suppress in-plane aliasing artifacts resulting from time-domain signal instabilities during dynamic scans. Secondly, a simultaneous multi-band interleaved EPI pulse sequence, with a controlled aliasing scheme incorporated, is implemented to increase the imaging throughput. Thirdly, the MUSE algorithm is then generalized to accommodate fMRI data obtained with our multi-band interleaved EPI pulse sequence, suppressing both in-plane and through-plane aliasing artifacts. The blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signal detectability and the scan throughput can be significantly improved for interleaved EPI-based fMRI. Our human fMRI data obtained from 3 Tesla systems demonstrate the effectiveness of the developed methods. It is expected that future fMRI studies requiring high spatial-resolvability and fidelity will largely benefit from the reported techniques.
PMCID: PMC4280209  PMID: 25549271
19.  Hygeia as Muse 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(3):534-535.
PMCID: PMC2570819
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; lithography; art and science; emerging infectious diseases; At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance; lithographic posters; pycnodysostosis; the Belle Époch; about the cover
20.  Musings on genome medicine: abuse of genetic tests 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(2):18.
The wide general publication of a putative genetic test for athletic supremacy is clearly an abuse of genetics and reveals an undercurrent of hucksterism in biomedical science.
PMCID: PMC2664951  PMID: 19341489
21.  Musings on genome medicine: the Obama effect 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(3):30.
The inauguration of the Obama administration is likely to enhance the role of genome medicine in clinical care and national economics.
PMCID: PMC2664941  PMID: 19341501
22.  Musings on genome medicine: genome wide association studies 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(1):3.
PMCID: PMC2651583  PMID: 19348690
23.  Musings on genome medicine: gene therapy 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(4):38.
Though the field has moved with glacial speed, gene therapies have been carried out successfully in patients with bone marrow disorders including immune deficiencies. The field may be poised to move forward more rapidly, but many barriers have yet to be surmounted.
PMCID: PMC2684659  PMID: 19435468
24.  Musings on genome medicine: cancer genetics and the promise of effective treatment 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(5):49.
Cancer is the most common acquired genetic disease. Great progress has been made in documenting the genetic abnormalities that cause the disease, and in the future each tumor will be subjected to genetic analysis and the appropriate combination of drugs selected. Although there are serious technological and cost hurdles to surmount and resistance and continued mutation will be a constant problem, the way is clear to rational therapy.
PMCID: PMC2689441  PMID: 19439059
25.  Musings on genome medicine: cholesterol and coronary artery disease 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(6):60.
Cholesterol levels and not inflammatory markers are the major variables that pose a risk of coronary artery disease. Diabetes greatly increases the risk at any cholesterol level. Coronary artery disease and cancer are linked by a common protein - an apoptotic protein that also functions as a regulator of insulin secretion.
PMCID: PMC2703869  PMID: 19519958

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