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1.  Potential Hazard to Human Health from Exposure to Fragments of Lead Bullets and Shot in the Tissues of Game Animals 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10315.
Lead is highly toxic to animals. Humans eating game killed using lead ammunition generally avoid swallowing shot or bullets and dietary lead exposure from this source has been considered low. Recent evidence illustrates that lead bullets fragment on impact, leaving small lead particles widely distributed in game tissues. Our paper asks whether lead gunshot pellets also fragment upon impact, and whether lead derived from spent gunshot and bullets in the tissues of game animals could pose a threat to human health.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Wild-shot gamebirds (6 species) obtained in the UK were X-rayed to determine the number of shot and shot fragments present, and cooked using typical methods. Shot were then removed to simulate realistic practice before consumption, and lead concentrations determined. Data from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate Statutory Surveillance Programme documenting lead levels in raw tissues of wild gamebirds and deer, without shot being removed, are also presented. Gamebirds containing ≥5 shot had high tissue lead concentrations, but some with fewer or no shot also had high lead concentrations, confirming X-ray results indicating that small lead fragments remain in the flesh of birds even when the shot exits the body. A high proportion of samples from both surveys had lead concentrations exceeding the European Union Maximum Level of 100 ppb w.w. (0.1 mg kg−1 w.w.) for meat from bovine animals, sheep, pigs and poultry (no level is set for game meat), some by several orders of magnitude. High, but feasible, levels of consumption of some species could result in the current FAO/WHO Provisional Weekly Tolerable Intake of lead being exceeded.
The potential health hazard from lead ingested in the meat of game animals may be larger than previous risk assessments indicated, especially for vulnerable groups, such as children, and those consuming large amounts of game.
PMCID: PMC2859935  PMID: 20436670
2.  Does despotic behavior or food search explain the occurrence of problem brown bears in Europe? 
Bears foraging near human developments are often presumed to be responding to food shortage, but this explanation ignores social factors, in particular despotism in bears. We analyzed the age distribution and body condition index (BCI) of shot brown bears in relation to densities of bears and people, and whether the shot bears were killed by managers (i.e., problem bears; n = 149), in self-defense (n = 51), or were hunter-killed nonproblem bears (n = 1,896) during 1990–2010. We compared patterns between areas with (Slovenia) and without supplemental feeding (Sweden) of bears relative to 2 hypotheses. The food-search/food-competition hypothesis predicts that problem bears should have a higher BCI (e.g., exploiting easily accessible and/or nutritious human-derived foods) or lower BCI (e.g., because of food shortage) than nonproblem bears, that BCI and human density should have a positive correlation, and problem bear occurrence and seasonal mean BCI of nonproblem bears should have a negative correlation (i.e., more problem bears during years of low food availability). Food competition among bears additionally predicts an inverse relationship between BCI and bear density. The safety-search/naivety hypothesis (i.e., avoiding other bears or lack of human experience) predicts no relationship between BCI and human density, provided no dietary differences due to spatiotemporal habitat use among bears, no relationship between problem bear occurrence and seasonal mean BCI of nonproblem bears, and does not necessarily predict a difference between BCI for problem/nonproblem bears. If food competition or predation avoidance explained bear occurrence near settlements, we predicted younger problem than nonproblem bears and a negative correlation between age and human density. However, if only food search explained bear occurrence near settlements, we predicted no relation between age and problem or nonproblem bear status, or between age and human density. We found no difference in BCI or its variability between problem and nonproblem bears, no relation between BCI and human density, and no correlation between numbers of problem bears shot and seasonal mean BCI for either country. The peak of shot problem bears occurred from April to June in Slovenia and in June in Sweden (i.e., during the mating period when most intraspecific predation occurs and before fall hyperphagia). Problem bears were younger than nonproblem bears, and both problem and nonproblem bears were younger in areas of higher human density. These age differences, in combination with similarities in BCI between problem and nonproblem bears and lack of correlation between BCI and human density, suggested safety-search and naïve dispersal to be the primary mechanisms responsible for bear occurrence near settlements. Younger bears are less competitive, more vulnerable to intraspecific predation, and lack human experience, compared to adults. Body condition was inversely related to the bear density index in Sweden, whereas we found no correlation in Slovenia, suggesting that supplemental feeding may have reduced food competition, in combination with high bear harvest rates. Bears shot in self-defense were older and their BCI did not differ from that of nonproblem bears. Reasons other than food shortage apparently explained why most bears were involved in encounters with people or viewed as problematic near settlements in our study.
PMCID: PMC4140552  PMID: 25253909
interference competition; naivety; predation; safety; supplemental feeding
3.  Factors Associated with Shooting Accuracy and Wounding Rate of Four Managed Wild Deer Species in the UK, Based on Anonymous Field Records from Deer Stalkers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109698.
The amount of wounding during routine culling is an important factor in the welfare of wild deer. Little information exists on factors determining shooting accuracy and wounding rates under field conditions in the UK. In this study, 102 anonymous stalkers collected data on the outcomes and circumstances of 2281 shots. Using hot-deck imputation and generalised linear mixed modelling, we related the probability that a shot hit its target, and the probability that the shot killed the deer if it was hit, to 28 variables describing the circumstances of the shot. Overall, 96% of deer were hit, of which 93% were killed outright. A reduced probability of hitting the target was associated with an uncomfortable firing position, too little time available, shooting off elbows or freehand, taking the head or upper neck as point of aim, a heavily obscured target, a distant target, shooting at females, lack of shooting practice and a basic (or no) stalker qualification. An increase in the likelihood of wounding was associated with an uncomfortable firing position, shooting with insufficient time, a distant target (only when time was not sufficient), a bullet weight below 75 grains, a target concealed in thicket or on the move and an area rarely stalked. To maximise stalking success and deer welfare, we recommend that stalkers ensure a comfortable firing position, use a gun rest, aim at the chest, use bullets heavier than 75 grains, avoid taking a rushed shot, shoot a distant animal only if there is plenty of time, fire only when the target is stationary, avoid shooting at an obscured animal, take care when the ground is unfamiliar, and do shooting practice at least once a month. The high miss rate of basic-level stalkers suggests that training should include additional firing practice under realistic shooting conditions.
PMCID: PMC4198128  PMID: 25334012
4.  The Effect of Court Location and Available Time on the Tactical Shot Selection of Elite Squash Players 
No previous research in squash has considered the time between shots or the proximity of the ball to a wall, which are two important variables that influence shot outcomes. The aim of this paper was to analyse shot types to determine the extent to which they are played in different court areas and a more detailed analysis to determine whether the time available had an influence on the shot selected. Ten elite matches, contested by fifteen of the world’s top right handed squash players (age 27 ± 3.2, height 1.81 ± 0.06 m, weight 76.3 ± 3.7 kg), at the men’s World Team Championships were processed using the SAGIT/Squash tracking system with shot information manually added to the system. Results suggested that shot responses were dependent upon court location and the time between shots. When these factors were considered repeatable performance existed to the extent that one of two shots was typically played when there was limited time to play the shot (< 1.20s). For example, it was clear that when players did not have a lot of time to hit the ball (low time i.e. < 1.06s, and mid time i.e. 1.06 - 1.20s) in the front left corner close to the side wall, the crosscourt lob was used frequently (44.30% and 36.31% respectively) whereas when there was more time this shot was seldom used (13.64%). Consequently variant and invariant behaviour were shown to exist in elite squash although for the first time it was suggested that the availability of time to play a shot contributed to which of these behaviours was evident. This analysis could be extended by adopting a case study approach to see how individual differences in strategy and tactics affect shot selections.
Key pointsPrevious research has suggested that a playing strategy, elements decided in advance of the match, may be evident for elite players by examining court location and preceding shot type, however these parameters alone are unlikely to be sufficient predictors.At present there is no known analysis in squash, or indeed in any of the racket sports, that has quantified the time available to respond to different shot types. An understanding of the time interval between shots and the movement characteristics of the player responding to different shots according to the court positions might facilitate a better understanding of the dynamics that determine shot selection.Some elements of a general playing strategy were evident e.g. predominately hitting to the back left of the court, but tactical differences in shot selection were also evident on the basis of court location and time available to play a shot.
PMCID: PMC3761750  PMID: 24149727
Strategy; tactics; SAGIT; invariant behaviour.
5.  A systematic examination of the bone destruction pattern of the two-shot technique 
The two-shot technique is an effective stopping power method. The precise mechanisms of action on the bone and soft-tissue structures of the skull; however, remain largely unclear. The aim of this study is to compare the terminal ballistics of the two-shot and single-shot techniques.
Materials and Methods:
40 fresh pigs’ heads were randomly divided into 4 groups (n = 10). Either a single shot or two shots were fired at each head with a full metal jacket or a semi-jacketed bullet. Using thin-layer computed tomography and photography, the diameter of the destruction pattern and the fractures along the bullet path were then imaged and assessed.
A single shot fired with a full metal jacket bullet causes minor lateral destruction along the bullet path. With two shots fired with a full metal jacket bullet, however, the maximum diameter of the bullet path is significantly greater (P < 0.05) than it is with a single shot fired with a full metal jacket bullet. In contrast, the maximum diameter with a semi-jacketed bullet is similar with the single-shot and two-shot techniques.
With the two-shot technique, a full metal jacket bullet causes a destruction pattern that is comparable to that of a single shot fired with a semi-jacketed bullet.
PMCID: PMC4013744  PMID: 24812454
Ballistics; full metal jacket; two-shot technique
6.  Evaluation of an Aerosolized Selective COX-2 Inhibitor as a Potentiator of Doxorubicin in a Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cell Line 
Pharmaceutical research  2003;20(9):1485-1495.
To evaluate the in vitro effects of an aerosolized cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor, nimesulide, on the cytotoxicity and apoptotic response of doxorubicin against the human lung adenocarcinoma cell line A549.
Nimesulide was formulated into a metered dose inhaler (MDI) formulation and characterized for aerodynamic particle size and medication delivery. The in vitro cytotoxicity of nimesulide-MDI in the presence or absence of doxorubicin was assessed by using the six-stage viable impactor by an already standardized method. Induction of apoptosis in A549 cells by nimesulide (nonaerosolized or aerosolized) in combination with doxorubicin was evaluated by established techniques such as caspase-3 estimation and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. Finally, to understand the mechanism of action, the influence of different treatments on the expression of COX-2 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) in A549 cells was studied by immunoblotting.
The nimesulide-MDI formulation had a mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) of 1.1 μm, (GSD = 2.8) and a medication delivery of 51 μg/shot. Nimesulide-MDI (40 shots) in combination with doxorubicin (0.01 μg/ml) had a cell kill of more than 60% as determined by in vitro cytotoxicity assay. The specific caspase-3 activity in A549 cells treated with nimesulide (40 μg/ml) and doxorubicin (0.25 μg/ml) in combination was 3 and 5 times higher than doxorubicin and nimesulide, respectively. Further, TUNEL staining showed apoptosis in over 30% of A549 cells treated with aerosolized nimesulide and doxorubicin combination vs. negligible as seen in cells treated individually. The expression of COX-2 was not altered in control or treatments, whereas PPAR-γ was expressed only in the combination treatment.
Our results indicate that aerosolized nimesulide significantly enhances doxorubicin activity against A549 cells, and the enhanced cytotoxicity was probably mediated via a COX-2–independent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC2892336  PMID: 14567645
nimesulide; inhalation; doxorubicin; cytotoxicity; apoptosis
7.  The Problem of Shot Selection in Basketball 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30776.
In basketball, every time the offense produces a shot opportunity the player with the ball must decide whether the shot is worth taking. In this article, I explore the question of when a team should shoot and when they should pass up the shot by considering a simple theoretical model of the shot selection process, in which the quality of shot opportunities generated by the offense is assumed to fall randomly within a uniform distribution. Within this model I derive an answer to the question “how likely must the shot be to go in before the player should take it?” and I show that this lower cutoff for shot quality depends crucially on the number of shot opportunities remaining (say, before the shot clock expires), with larger demanding that only higher-quality shots should be taken. The function is also derived in the presence of a finite turnover rate and used to predict the shooting rate of an optimal-shooting team as a function of time. The theoretical prediction for the optimal shooting rate is compared to data from the National Basketball Association (NBA). The comparison highlights some limitations of the theoretical model, while also suggesting that NBA teams may be overly reluctant to shoot the ball early in the shot clock.
PMCID: PMC3266291  PMID: 22295109
8.  Spectraplakins promote microtubule-mediated axonal growth by functioning as structural MAPs and EB1-dependent +TIPs 
The correct outgrowth of axons is essential for the development and regeneration of nervous systems. Axon growth is primarily driven by microtubules. Key regulators of microtubules in this context are the spectraplakins, a family of evolutionarily conserved actin-microtubule linkers. Loss of function of the mouse spectraplakin ACF7 or of its close Drosophila homologue Short stop/Shot similarly cause severe axon shortening and microtubule disorganisation. How spectraplakins perform these functions is not known. Here we show that axonal growth promoting roles of Shot require interaction with EB1 (End binding protein) at polymerising plus ends of microtubules. We show that binding of Shot to EB1 requires SxIP motifs in Shot’s carboxyterminal tail (Ctail), mutations of these motifs abolish Shot functions in axonal growth, loss of EB1 function phenocopies Shot loss, and genetic interaction studies reveal strong functional links between Shot and EB1 in axonal growth and microtubule organisation. In addition, we report that Shot localises along microtubule shafts and stabilises them against pharmacologically induced depolymerisation. This function is EB1-independent but requires net positive charges within Ctail which essentially contribute to the microtubule shaft association of Shot. Therefore, spectraplakins are true members of two important classes of neuronal microtubule regulating proteins: +TIPs (plus end regulators) and structural MAPs (microtubule associated proteins). From our data we deduce a model that relates the different features of the spectraplakin carboxy-terminus to the two functions of Shot during axonal growth.
PMCID: PMC3666083  PMID: 22764224
9.  Lead Bullet Fragments in Venison from Rifle-Killed Deer: Potential for Human Dietary Exposure 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(4):e5330.
Human consumers of wildlife killed with lead ammunition may be exposed to health risks associated with lead ingestion. This hypothesis is based on published studies showing elevated blood lead concentrations in subsistence hunter populations, retention of ammunition residues in the tissues of hunter-killed animals, and systemic, cognitive, and behavioral disorders associated with human lead body burdens once considered safe. Our objective was to determine the incidence and bioavailability of lead bullet fragments in hunter-killed venison, a widely-eaten food among hunters and their families. We radiographed 30 eviscerated carcasses of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) shot by hunters with standard lead-core, copper-jacketed bullets under normal hunting conditions. All carcasses showed metal fragments (geometric mean = 136 fragments, range = 15–409) and widespread fragment dispersion. We took each carcass to a separate meat processor and fluoroscopically scanned the resulting meat packages; fluoroscopy revealed metal fragments in the ground meat packages of 24 (80%) of the 30 deer; 32% of 234 ground meat packages contained at least one fragment. Fragments were identified as lead by ICP in 93% of 27 samples. Isotope ratios of lead in meat matched the ratios of bullets, and differed from background lead in bone. We fed fragment-containing venison to four pigs to test bioavailability; four controls received venison without fragments from the same deer. Mean blood lead concentrations in pigs peaked at 2.29 µg/dL (maximum 3.8 µg/dL) 2 days following ingestion of fragment-containing venison, significantly higher than the 0.63 µg/dL averaged by controls. We conclude that people risk exposure to bioavailable lead from bullet fragments when they eat venison from deer killed with standard lead-based rifle bullets and processed under normal procedures. At risk in the U.S. are some ten million hunters, their families, and low-income beneficiaries of venison donations.
PMCID: PMC2669501  PMID: 19390698
10.  The Use of Match Statistics that Discriminate Between Successful and Unsuccessful Soccer Teams 
Journal of Human Kinetics  2012;31:139-147.
Three soccer World Cups were analysed with the aim of identifying the match statistics which best discriminated between winning, drawing and losing teams. The analysis was based on 177 matches played during the three most recent World Cup tournaments: Korea/Japan 2002 (59), Germany 2006 (59) and South Africa 2010 (59). Two categories of variables were studied: 1) those related to attacking play: goals scored, total shots, shots on target, shots off target, ball possession, number of off-sides committed, fouls received and corners; and 2) those related to defence: total shots received, shots on target received, shots off target received, off-sides received, fouls committed, corners against, yellow cards and red cards. Discriminant analysis of these matches revealed the following: (a) the variables related to attacking play that best differentiated between winning, drawing and losing teams were total shots, shots on target and ball possession; and (b) the most discriminating variables related to defence were total shots received and shots on target received. These results suggest that winning, drawing and losing national teams may be discriminated from one another on the basis of variables such as ball possession and the effectiveness of their attacking play. This information may be of benefit to both coaches and players, adding to their knowledge about soccer performance indicators and helping to guide the training process.
PMCID: PMC3588662  PMID: 23487020
soccer; match analysis; performance indicators; discriminant analysis
11.  An application of the matching law to evaluate the allocation of two- and three-point shots by college basketball players. 
We applied the matching equation to evaluate the allocation of two- and three-point shots by male and female college basketball players from a large Division 1 university. The matching law predicts that the proportion of shots taken from three-point range should match the proportional reinforcement rate produced by such shots. Thus, we compared the proportion of three-point shots taken relative to all shots to the proportion of three-point shots scored relative to all shots scored. However, the matching equation was adjusted to account for the greater reinforcer magnitude of the three-point basket (i.e., 1.5 times greater than the two-point basket reinforcer magnitude). For players with substantial playing time, results showed that the overall distribution of two- and three-point shots was predicted by the matching equation. Game-by-game shot distribution was variable, but the cumulative proportion of shots taken from three-point range as the season progressed was predicted almost perfectly on a player-by-player basis for both male and female basketball players.
PMCID: PMC1284234  PMID: 10885523
12.  Caenorhabditis elegans: a model to monitor bacterial air quality 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:503.
Low environmental air quality is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity and this question is now emerging as a main concern of governmental authorities. Airborne pollution results from the combination of chemicals, fine particles, and micro-organisms quantitatively or qualitatively dangerous for health or for the environment. Increasing regulations and limitations for outdoor air quality have been decreed in regards to chemicals and particles contrary to micro-organisms. Indeed, pertinent and reliable tests to evaluate this biohazard are scarce. In this work, our purpose was to evaluate the Caenorhaditis elegans killing test, a model considered as an equivalent to the mouse acute toxicity test in pharmaceutical industry, in order to monitor air bacterial quality.
The present study investigates the bacterial population in dust clouds generated during crop ship loading in harbor installations (Rouen harbor, Normandy, France). With a biocollector, airborne bacteria were impacted onto the surface of agar medium. After incubation, a replicate of the colonies on a fresh agar medium was done using a velvet. All the replicated colonies were pooled creating the "Total Air Sample". Meanwhile, all the colonies on the original plate were isolated. Among which, five representative bacterial strains were chosen. The virulence of these representatives was compared to that of the "Total Air Sample" using the Caenorhaditis elegans killing test. The survival kinetic of nematodes fed with the "Total Air Sample" is consistent with the kinetics obtained using the five different representatives strains.
Bacterial air quality can now be monitored in a one shot test using the Caenorhaditis elegans killing test.
PMCID: PMC3279514  PMID: 22099854
13.  Erythrocyte and blood antibacterial defense 
It is an axiom that blood cellular immunity is provided by leukocytes. As to erythrocytes, it is generally accepted that their main function is respiration. Our research provides objective video and photo evidence regarding erythrocyte bactericidal function.
Phase-contrast immersion vital microscopy of the blood of patients with bacteremia was performed, and the process of bacteria entrapping and killing by erythrocytes was shot by means of video camera.
Video evidence demonstrates that human erythrocytes take active part in blood bactericidal action and can repeatedly engulf and kill bacteria of different species and size.
Erythrocytes are extremely important integral part of human blood cellular immunity.
Compared with phagocytic leukocytes, the erythrocytes: a) are more numerous; b) are able to entrap and kill microorganisms repeatedly without being injured; c) are more resistant to infection and better withstand the attacks of pathogens; d) have longer life span and are produced faster; e) are inauspicious media for proliferation of microbes and do not support replication of chlamidiae, mycoplasmas, rickettsiae, viruses, etc.; and f) are more effective and uncompromised bacterial killers.
Blood cellular immunity theory and traditional view regarding the function of erythrocytes in human blood should be revised.
PMCID: PMC4029293  PMID: 24883200
erythrocyte; immunity; phagocytosis; sepsis
14.  Effects of Strength vs. Ballistic-Power Training on Throwing Performance 
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of 6 weeks strength vs. ballistic-power (Power) training on shot put throwing performance in novice throwers. Seventeen novice male shot-put throwers were divided into Strength (N = 9) and Power (n = 8) groups. The following measurements were performed before and after the training period: shot put throws, jumping performance (CMJ), Wingate anaerobic performance, 1RM strength, ballistic throws and evaluation of architectural and morphological characteristics of vastus lateralis. Throwing performance increased significantly but similarly after Strength and Power training (7.0-13.5% vs. 6.0-11.5%, respectively). Muscular strength in leg press increased more after Strength than after Power training (43% vs. 21%, respectively), while Power training induced an 8.5% increase in CMJ performance and 9.0 - 25.8% in ballistic throws. Peak power during the Wingate test increased similarly after Strength and Power training. Muscle thickness increased only after Strength training (10%, p < 0.05). Muscle fibre Cross Sectional Area (fCSA) increased in all fibre types after Strength training by 19-26% (p < 0.05), while only type IIx fibres hypertrophied significantly after Power training. Type IIx fibres (%) decreased after Strength but not after Power training. These results suggest that shot put throwing performance can be increased similarly after six weeks of either strength or ballistic power training in novice throwers, but with dissimilar muscular adaptations.
Key pointsBallistic-power training with 30% of 1RM is equally effective in increasing shot put performance as strength training, in novice throwers, during a short training cycle of six weeks.In novice shot putters with relatively low initial muscle strength/mass, short-term strength training might be more important since it can increase both muscle strength and shot put performance.The ballistic type of power training resulted in a significant increase of the mass of type IIx muscle fibres and no change in their proportion. Thus, this type of training might be used effectively during the last weeks before competition, when the strength training load is usually reduced, in order to increase muscle power and shot put performance in novice shot putters.
PMCID: PMC3761775  PMID: 24149736
Shot put; muscle fibres; ultrasound; ballistic training; muscle mass.
15.  Urban Young Women’s Experiences of Discrimination and Community Violence and Intimate Partner Violence 
Journal of Urban Health   2008;85(3):386-401.
This paper examines the interrelationships between urban young adult women’s experiences of discrimination and community violence and their reports of involvement in intimate partner violence (IPV). We explore whether such experiences are independent risk factors for IPV victimization and perpetration, even when accounting for aggressive behaviors and related risk taking, including drinking and sexual initiation, during early adolescence. We use data from the Reach for Health study, in which a sample of 550 urban African American and Latina women was followed from recruitment in economically distressed middle schools into young adulthood, over approximately 7 years. At the last wave, respondents were 19–20 years old; 28% were raising children. More than 40% reported experiencing at least one form of racial/ethnic discrimination sometimes or often over the past year. About 75% heard guns being shot, saw someone being arrested, or witnessed drug deals within this time period; 66% had seen someone beaten up, 26% had seen someone get killed, and 40% knew someone who was killed. Concurrent reports of lifetime IPV were also high: about a third reported being a victim of physical violence; a similar proportion reported perpetration. Results of multivariate regression analyses indicate that discrimination is significantly associated with physical and emotional IPV victimization and perpetration, controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, including ethnic identity formation, and early adolescent risk behaviors. Community violence is correlated with victimization, but the relationship remains significant only for emotional IPV victimization once early behaviors are controlled. Implications for violence prevention are discussed, including the importance of addressing community health, as well as individual patterns of behavior, associated with multiple forms of violence victimization and perpetration.
PMCID: PMC2329753  PMID: 18347993
Domestic violence; Community health; Community violence; Discrimination; Intimate partner violence; Urban; Female
16.  The actin-microtubule cross-linking activity of Drosophila Short stop is regulated by intramolecular inhibition 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(18):2885-2893.
The authors investigated the regulation of the Drosophila actin-microtubule cross-linker Short stop (Shot) and found that Shot undergoes an intramolecular conformational change that regulates its cross-linking activity. This intramolecular interaction depends on Shot's NH2-terminal actin-binding domain and EF-hand-GAS2 domain.
Actin and microtubule dynamics must be precisely coordinated during cell migration, mitosis, and morphogenesis—much of this coordination is mediated by proteins that physically bridge the two cytoskeletal networks. We have investigated the regulation of the Drosophila actin-microtubule cross-linker Short stop (Shot), a member of the spectraplakin family. Our data suggest that Shot's cytoskeletal cross-linking activity is regulated by an intramolecular inhibitory mechanism. In its inactive conformation, Shot adopts a “closed” conformation through interactions between its NH2-terminal actin-binding domain and COOH-terminal EF-hand-GAS2 domain. This inactive conformation is targeted to the growing microtubule plus end by EB1. On activation, Shot binds along the microtubule through its COOH-terminal GAS2 domain and binds to actin with its NH2-terminal tandem CH domains. We propose that this mechanism allows Shot to rapidly cross-link dynamic microtubules in response to localized activating signals at the cell cortex.
PMCID: PMC3771950  PMID: 23885120
17.  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
18.  Fluctuation analysis of nonideal shot noise. Application to the neuromuscular junction 
Procedures are described for analyzing shot noise and determining the waveform, w(t), mean amplitude, (h), and mean rate of occurrence, (r), of the shots under a variety of nonideal conditions that include: (a) slow, spurious changes in the mean, (b) nonstationary shot rates, (c) nonuniform distribution of shot amplitudes, and (d) nonlinear summation of the shots. The procedures are based upon Rice's (1944. Bell Telephone System Journal. 23: 282-332) extension of Campbell's theorem to the second (variance), lambda 2, third (skew), lambda 3, and fourth, lambda 4, semi-invariants (cumulants) of the noise. It is shown that the spectra of lambda 2 and lambda 3 of nonstationary shot noise contain a set of components that are proportional to (r) and arise from w(t), and a set of components that are independent of (r) and arise from the temporal variations in r(t). Since the latter components are additive and are limited by the bandwidth of r(t), they can be removed by appropriate filters; then (r) and (h) can be determined from the lambda 2 and lambda 3 of the filtered noise. We also show that a factor related to the ratio (lambda 3)2/(lambda 2)(lambda 4) monitors the spread in the distribution of shot amplitudes and can be used to correct the estimates of (r) and (h) for the effects of that spread, if the shape of the distribution is known and if r(t) is stationary. The accuracy of the measurements of lambda 4 is assessed and corrections for the effects of nonlinear summation of lambda 2, lambda 3, and lambda 4 are derived. The procedures give valid results when they are used to analyze shot noise produced by the (linear) summation of simulated miniature endplate potentials, which are generated either at nonstationary rates or with a distribution of amplitudes.
PMCID: PMC2228789  PMID: 2426389
19.  The Spectraplakin Short Stop Is an Actin–Microtubule Cross-Linker That Contributes to Organization of the Microtubule Network 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(10):1714-1724.
The dynamics of actin and microtubules are coordinated in many cellular processes, but little is known about molecules mediating cross-talk. We describe intracellular dynamics of Shot in a structure-function analysis of its role as a cross-linker. Shot interacts with microtubules two ways through EB1 and along microtubule lattices by the GAS2 domain.
The dynamics of actin and microtubules are coordinated in a variety of cellular and morphogenetic processes; however, little is known about the molecules mediating this cytoskeletal cross-talk. We are studying Short stop (Shot), the sole Drosophila spectraplakin, as a model actin–microtubule cross-linking protein. Spectraplakins are an ancient family of giant cytoskeletal proteins that are essential for a diverse set of cellular functions; yet, we know little about the dynamics of spectraplakins and how they bridge actin filaments and microtubules. In this study we describe the intracellular dynamics of Shot and a structure–function analysis of its role as a cytoskeletal cross-linker. We find that Shot interacts with microtubules using two different mechanisms. In the cell interior, Shot binds growing plus ends through an interaction with EB1. In the cell periphery, Shot associates with the microtubule lattice via its GAS2 domain, and this pool of Shot is actively engaged as a cross-linker via its NH2-terminal actin-binding calponin homology domains. This cross-linking maintains microtubule organization by resisting forces that produce lateral microtubule movements in the cytoplasm. Our results provide the first description of the dynamics of these important proteins and provide key insight about how they function during cytoskeletal cross-talk.
PMCID: PMC2869377  PMID: 20335501
20.  Increased Distance of Shooting on Basketball Jump Shot 
The present study analyzed the effect of increased distance on basketball jump shot outcome and performance. Ten male expert basketball players were filmed and a number of kinematic variables analyzed during jump shot that were performed from three conditions to represent close, intermediate and far distances (2.8, 4.6, and 6.4m, respectively). Shot accuracy decreased from 59% (close) to 37% (far), in function of the task constraints (p < 0.05). Ball release height decreased (p < 0.05) from 2.46 m (close) to 2.38m (intermediate) and to 2.33m (long). Release angle also decreased (p < 0.05) when shot was performed from close (78.92°) in comparison to intermediate distances (65.60°). While, ball release velocity increased (p < 0.05) from 4.39 m/s (close) to 5.75 m·s-1 (intermediate) to 6.89 m·s-1 (far). These changes in ball release height, angle and velocity, related to movement performance adaptations were suggested as the main factors that influence jump shot accuracy when distance is augmented.
Key pointsThe increased distance leads to greater spatial con-straint over shot movement that demands an adapta-tion of the movement for the regulation of the accu-racy and the impulse generation to release the ball.The reduction in balls release height and release angle, in addition to the increase in balls release ve-locity, were suggested as the main factors that de-creased shot accuracy with the distance increased.Players should look for release angles of shooting that provide an optimal balls release velocity to im-prove accuracy.
PMCID: PMC3737873  PMID: 24149195
Jump shot; distance of shooting; basketball; motor control; biomechanics
21.  Water Polo Game-Related Statistics in Women’s International Championships: Differences and Discriminatory Power 
The aims of this study were (i) to compare women’s water polo game-related statistics by match outcome (winning and losing teams) and phase (preliminary, classificatory, and semi-final/bronze medal/gold medal), and (ii) identify characteristics that discriminate performances for each phase. The game-related statistics of the 124 women’s matches played in five International Championships (World and European Championships) were analyzed. Differences between winning and losing teams in each phase were determined using the chi-squared. A discriminant analysis was then performed according to context in each of the three phases. It was found that the game-related statistics differentiate the winning from the losing teams in each phase of an international championship. The differentiating variables were both offensive (centre goals, power-play goals, counterattack goal, assists, offensive fouls, steals, blocked shots, and won sprints) and defensive (goalkeeper-blocked shots, goalkeeper-blocked inferiority shots, and goalkeeper-blocked 5-m shots). The discriminant analysis showed the game-related statistics to discriminate performance in all phases: preliminary, classificatory, and final phases (92%, 90%, and 83%, respectively). Two variables were discriminatory by match outcome (winning or losing teams) in all three phases: goals and goalkeeper-blocked shots.
Key pointsThe preliminary phase that more than one variable was involved in this differentiation, including both offensive and defensive aspects of the game.The game-related statistics were found to have a high discriminatory power in predicting the result of matches with shots and goalkeeper-blocked shots being discriminatory variables in all three phases.Knowledge of the characteristics of women’s water polo game-related statistics of the winning teams and their power to predict match outcomes will allow coaches to take these characteristics into account when planning training and match preparation.
PMCID: PMC3737929  PMID: 24149356
Performance analysis; discriminant analysis; goal; goalkeeper
22.  High resolution human diffusion tensor imaging using 2-D navigated multi-shot SENSE EPI at 7 Tesla 
The combination of parallel imaging with partial Fourier acquisition has greatly improved the performance of diffusion-weighted single-shot EPI and is the preferred method for acquisitions at low to medium magnetic field strength such as 1.5 or 3 Tesla. Increased off-resonance effects and reduced transverse relaxation times at 7 Tesla, however, generate more significant artifacts than at lower magnetic field strength and limit data acquisition. Additional acceleration of k-space traversal using a multi-shot approach, which acquires a subset of k-space data after each excitation, reduces these artifacts relative to conventional single-shot acquisitions. However, corrections for motion-induced phase errors are not straightforward in accelerated, diffusion-weighted multi-shot EPI because of phase aliasing. In this study, we introduce a simple acquisition and corresponding reconstruction method for diffusion-weighted multi-shot EPI with parallel imaging suitable for use at high field. The reconstruction uses a simple modification of the standard SENSE algorithm to account for shot-to-shot phase errors; the method is called Image Reconstruction using Image-space Sampling functions (IRIS). Using this approach, reconstruction from highly aliased in vivo image data using 2-D navigator phase information is demonstrated for human diffusion-weighted imaging studies at 7 Tesla. The final reconstructed images show submillimeter in-plane resolution with no ghosts and much reduced blurring and off-resonance artifacts.
PMCID: PMC3424313  PMID: 22592941
IRIS; DTI; SENSE; multi-shot; navigator; motion correction; 7 Tesla
23.  Spatial Generalization in Operant Learning: Lessons from Professional Basketball 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(5):e1003623.
In operant learning, behaviors are reinforced or inhibited in response to the consequences of similar actions taken in the past. However, because in natural environments the “same” situation never recurs, it is essential for the learner to decide what “similar” is so that he can generalize from experience in one state of the world to future actions in different states of the world. The computational principles underlying this generalization are poorly understood, in particular because natural environments are typically too complex to study quantitatively. In this paper we study the principles underlying generalization in operant learning of professional basketball players. In particular, we utilize detailed information about the spatial organization of shot locations to study how players adapt their attacking strategy in real time according to recent events in the game. To quantify this learning, we study how a make \ miss from one location in the court affects the probabilities of shooting from different locations. We show that generalization is not a spatially-local process, nor is governed by the difficulty of the shot. Rather, to a first approximation, players use a simplified binary representation of the court into 2 pt and 3 pt zones. This result indicates that rather than using low-level features, generalization is determined by high-level cognitive processes that incorporate the abstract rules of the game.
Author Summary
According to the law of effect, formulated a century ago by Edward Thorndike, actions which are rewarded in a particular situation are more likely to be executed when that same situation recurs. However, in natural settings the same situation never recurs and therefore, generalization from one state of the world to other states is an essential part of the process of learning. In this paper we utilize basketball statistics to study the computational principles underlying generalization in operant learning of professional basketball players. We show that players are more likely to attempt a field goal from the vicinity of a previously made shot than they are from the vicinity of a missed shot, as expected from the law of effect. However, the outcome of a shot can also affect the likelihood of attempting another shot at a different location. Using hierarchical clustering we characterize the spatial pattern of generalization and show that generalization is primarily determined by the type of shot, 3 pt vs. 2 pt. This result indicates that rather than using low-level features, generalization is determined by high-level cognitive processes that incorporate the abstract rules of the game.
PMCID: PMC4031046  PMID: 24853373
24.  Ground Reaction Forces and Throwing Performance in Elite and Novice Players in Two Types of Handball Shot 
Journal of Human Kinetics  2014;40:49-55.
The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in the ground reaction force (GRF) patterns between elite and novice players during two types of handball shots, as well as the relationships between throwing performance and the GRF variables. Ball velocity and throwing accuracy were measured during jump shots and 3-step shots performed by 15 elite and 15 novice players. The GRF pattern was recorded for the vertical and the anterior-posterior GRF components (Kistler forceplate type-9281, 750Hz). One-way ANOVA was used for the group differences and the Pearson coefficient for the correlation between throwing performance and GRF variables (SPSS 21.0, p ≤ 0.05). The elite players performed better in both types of shot. Both groups developed consistent and similar GRF patterns, except for the novices’ inconsistent Fz pattern in the 3-step shot. The GRF variables differed significantly between groups in the 3-step shot (p ≤ 0.05). Significant correlations were found only for ball velocity and predominantly for the novice players during the 3-step shot (p ≤ 0.05). The results possibly highlight a shortage in the novice ability to effectively reduce their forward momentum so as to provide a stable base of support for the momentum transfer up the kinetic chain, a situation that may predispose athletes to injury.
PMCID: PMC4096085  PMID: 25031672
braking force; postural control; jump shot; drive leg; injury prevention; handball
25.  Subjective State, Blood Pressure, and Behavioral Control Changes Produced by an “Energy Shot” 
Journal of Caffeine Research  2014;4(2):57-63.
Background: Energy drinks and energy shots are popular consumer beverages that are advertised to increase feelings of alertness. Typically, these products include high levels of caffeine, a mild psychostimulant drug. The scientific evidence demonstrating the specific benefits of energy products to users in terms of subjective state and objective performance is surprisingly lacking. Moreover, there are rising health concerns associated with the use of these products. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effects of a popular energy shot (5-Hour Energy®) on subjective and objective measures that were assessed hourly for 6 hours following consumption.
Methods: Participants (n=14) completed a three-session study where they received the energy shot, a placebo control, and no drink. Following dose administration, participants completed subjective Profile of Mood States ratings hourly for 6 hours. Participants also repeatedly completed a behavioral control task (the cued go/no-go task) and provided blood pressure and pulse rate readings at each hour.
Results: Consumption of the energy shot did improve subjective state, as measured by increased ratings of vigor and decreased ratings of fatigue. However, the energy shot did not alter objective performance, which worsened over time. Importantly, the energy shot elevated both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Conclusions: Consumption of one energy shot may only result in modest benefits to subjective state. Individuals with preexisting hypertension or other medical conditions should be cautious about using these new consumer products.
PMCID: PMC4103199  PMID: 25054080

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