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1.  Simulating human space physiology with bed rest 
Hippokratia  2008;12(Suppl 1):37-40.
In a recent review on bed rest studies of the past 20 years, it was concluded that head-down bed rest has proved its usefulness as a reliable simulation model for most physiological effects of spaceflight. Much of this research has been conducted to find countermeasures against the negative effects, which are associated with gravitational unloading. There have been partial successes in the prevention of, for example muscle wasting, cardio-vascular deconditioning, adverse metabolic changes, and bone demineralization. Reviews refer to bone-related measurements of the U.S. and Russian space programmes, as well as data from bed rest analogues, and conclude that in spite of the wealth of knowledge obtained thus far, many questions remain regarding bone loss, bone recovery, and the factors affecting these skeletal processes.
Bed rest research has also direct relevance for medical science on Earth. Valuable data on physiology and early reversible pathological changes that are associated with a sedentary lifestyle on Earth can be obtained. A good example is the conclusion from a metabolic protocol implemented during the 2001/2002 90-day ESA/CNES/NASDA male bed rest study. The results of that experiment on fatty acid oxidation suggest that Mediterranean diets should be recommended in recumbent patients. Some other unexpected results obtained during the ESA/NASA/CNES/CSA 60-day female bed rest study WISE-2005 may well prompt the development of a treatment for certain cardiac diseases. A nutritional supplement that was designed to alleviate skeletal muscle atrophy turned out to preserve cardiac muscle mass.
In order to optimise bed rest research, a systematic and standardised approach will be beneficial. During the last years, serious efforts have been made towards such standardisation on an international level. It is expected that results from future studies, combined with in-flight validation, will provide the answers to many biomedical problems that currently limit safe long-duration human space exploration beyond lower earth orbit.
PMCID: PMC2577398  PMID: 19048091
Bed rest study; standardisation
2.  Earthing the Human Body Influences Physiologic Processes 
This study was designed to answer the question: Does the contact of the human organism with the Earth via a copper conductor affect physiologic processes?
Subjects and experiments
Five (5) experiments are presented: experiment 1—effect of earthing on calcium–phosphate homeostasis and serum concentrations of iron (N = 84 participants); experiment 2—effect of earthing on serum concentrations of electrolytes (N = 28); experiment 3—effect of earthing on thyroid function (N = 12); experiment 4—effect of earthing on glucose concentration (N = 12); experiment 5—effect of earthing on immune response to vaccine (N = 32). Subjects were divided into two groups. One (1) group of people was earthed, while the second group remained without contact with the Earth. Blood and urine samples were examined.
Earthing of an electrically insulated human organism during night rest causes lowering of serum concentrations of iron, ionized calcium, inorganic phosphorus, and reduction of renal excretion of calcium and phosphorus. Earthing during night rest decreases free tri-iodothyronine and increases free thyroxine and thyroid-stimulating hormone. The continuous earthing of the human body decreases blood glucose in patients with diabetes. Earthing decreases sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, total protein, and albumin concentrations while the levels of transferrin, ferritin, and globulins α1, α2, β, and γ increase. These results are statistically significant.
Earthing the human body influences human physiologic processes. This influence is observed during night relaxation and during physical activity. Effect of the earthing on calcium–phosphate homeostasis is the opposite of that which occurs in states of weightlessness. It also increases the activity of catabolic processes. It may be the primary factor regulating endocrine and nervous systems.
PMCID: PMC3154031  PMID: 21469913
3.  Differences in Blood Urea and Creatinine Concentrations in Earthed and Unearthed Subjects during Cycling Exercise and Recovery 
Contact of humans with the earth, either directly (e.g., with bare feet) or using a metal conductor, changes their biochemical parameters. The effects of earthing during physical exercise are unknown. This study was carried out to evaluate selected biochemical parameters in subjects who were earthed during cycling. In a double-blind, crossover study, 42 participants were divided into two groups and earthed during exercise and recovery. One group was earthed in the first week during 30 minutes of cycling exercise and during recovery, and a second group was earthed in the second week. A double-blind technique was applied. Blood samples were obtained before each training session, after 15 and 30 minutes of exercise, and after 40 minutes of recovery. Significantly lower blood urea levels were observed in subjects earthed during exercise and relaxation. These significant differences were noted in both groups earthed at the beginning of exercise (P < 0.0001), after 15 (P < 0.0001) and 30 minutes (P < 0.0001) of exercise, and after 40 minutes of relaxation (P < 0.0001). Creatinine concentrations in earthed subjects during exercise were unchanged. Conclusions. Earthing during exercise lowers blood urea concentrations and may inhibit hepatic protein catabolism or increase renal urea excretion. Exertion under earthing may result in a positive protein balance.
PMCID: PMC3771483  PMID: 24066011
4.  Sublethal Exposure to Diatomaceous Earth Increases Net Fecundity of Flour Beetles (Tribolium confusum) by Inhibiting Egg Cannibalism 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88500.
Population regulation results from an interplay of numerous intrinsic and external factors, and for many insects cannibalism is such a factor. This study confirms a previously-reported observation that sublethal exposure to the fossilized remains of diatoms (i.e. diatomaceous earth) increases net fecundity (eggs produced minus eggs destroyed/day) of flour beetles, Tribolium confusum. The aim was to experimentally test two non-mutually-exclusive ecological mechanisms potentially responsible for the increased net fecundity: higher egg production and lower egg cannibalism. Adult T. confusum were maintained at low or high density in medium containing sublethal (0–4%) diatomaceous earth. Net fecundity increased up to 2.1× control values during diatomaceous earth exposure, and returned to control levels following removal from diatomaceous earth. Cannibalism assays on adults showed that diatomaceous earth reduced the number of eggs produced to 0.7× control values at low density and to 0.8× controls at high density, and also reduced egg cannibalism rates of adults to as little as 0.4× control values, but at high density only. Diatomaceous earth also reduced cannibalism by larvae on eggs to 0.3× control values. So, while the presence of diatomaceous earth reduced egg production, net fecundity increased as a result of strong suppression of the normal egg cannibalism by adults and larvae that occurs at high beetle density. Undisturbed cultures containing sublethal diatomaceous earth concentrations reached higher population densities than diatomaceous earth-free controls. Cohort studies on survival from egg to adult indicated that this population increase was due largely to decreased egg cannibalism by adult females. This is the first report of inhibition of egg cannibalism by diatomaceous earth on larval or adult insects. The ability of diatomaceous earth to alter cannibalism behavior without causing mortality makes it an ideal investigative tool for cannibalism studies.
PMCID: PMC3917913  PMID: 24516665
5.  Further support for the alignment of cattle along magnetic field lines: reply to Hert et al. 
Hert et al. (J Comp Physiol A, 2011) challenged one part of the study by Begall et al. (PNAS 105:13451–13455, 2008) claiming that they could not replicate the finding of preferential magnetic alignment of cattle recorded in aerial images of Google Earth. However, Hert and co-authors used a different statistical approach and applied the statistics on a sample partly unsuitable to examine magnetic alignment. About 50% of their data represent noise (resolution of the images is too poor to enable unambiguous measurement of the direction of body axes, pastures are on slopes, near settlements or high voltage power-lines, etc.). Moreover, the authors have selected for their analysis only ~ 40% of cattle that were present on the pastures analyzed. Here, we reanalyze all usable data and show that cattle significantly align their body axes in North–South direction on pastures analyzed by Hert and co-authors. This finding thus supports our previous study. In addition, we show by using aerial Google Earth images with good resolution, that the magnetic alignment is more pronounced in resting than in standing cattle.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00359-011-0674-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3221857  PMID: 22028177
Cattle; Magnetic alignment; Magnetoreception; Resting behavior
6.  Ordovician ash geochemistry and the establishment of land plants 
The colonization of the terrestrial environment by land plants transformed the planetary surface and its biota, and shifted the balance of Earth’s biomass from the subsurface towards the surface. However there was a long delay between the formation of palaeosols (soils) on the land surface and the key stage of plant colonization. The record of palaeosols, and their colonization by fungi and lichens extends well back into the Precambrian. While these early soils provided a potential substrate, they were generally leached of nutrients as part of the weathering process. In contrast, volcanic ash falls provide a geochemically favourable substrate that is both nutrient-rich and has high water retention, making them good hosts to land plants. An anomalously extensive system of volcanic arcs generated unprecedented volumes of lava and volcanic ash (tuff) during the Ordovician. The earliest, mid-Ordovician, records of plant spores coincide with these widespread volcanic deposits, suggesting the possibility of a genetic relationship. The ash constituted a global environment of nutrient-laden, water-saturated soil that could be exploited to maximum advantage by the evolving anchoring systems of land plants. The rapid and pervasive inoculation of modern volcanic ash by plant spores, and symbiotic nitrogen-fixing fungi, suggests that the Ordovician ash must have received a substantial load of the earliest spores and their chemistry favoured plant development. In particular, high phosphorus levels in ash were favourable to plant growth. This may have allowed photosynthesizers to diversify and enlarge, and transform the surface of the planet.
PMCID: PMC3485180  PMID: 22925460
Ash geochemistry; Tuff; Land plants; Chemical index of alteration; Phosphorus; Biomass; Ordovician
7.  Modeling an Evolutionary Conserved Circadian Cis-Element 
PLoS Computational Biology  2008;4(2):e38.
Circadian oscillator networks rely on a transcriptional activator called CLOCK/CYCLE (CLK/CYC) in insects and CLOCK/BMAL1 or NPAS2/BMAL1 in mammals. Identifying the targets of this heterodimeric basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor poses challenges and it has been difficult to decipher its specific sequence affinity beyond a canonical E-box motif, except perhaps for some flanking bases contributing weakly to the binding energy. Thus, no good computational model presently exists for predicting CLK/CYC, CLOCK/BMAL1, or NPAS2/BMAL1 targets. Here, we use a comparative genomics approach and first study the conservation properties of the best-known circadian enhancer: a 69-bp element upstream of the Drosophila melanogaster period gene. This fragment shows a signal involving the presence of two closely spaced E-box–like motifs, a configuration that we can also detect in the other four prominent CLK/CYC target genes in flies: timeless, vrille, Pdp1, and cwo. This allows for the training of a probabilistic sequence model that we test using functional genomics datasets. We find that the predicted sequences are overrepresented in promoters of genes induced in a recent study by a glucocorticoid receptor-CLK fusion protein. We then scanned the mouse genome with the fly model and found that many known CLOCK/BMAL1 targets harbor sequences matching our consensus. Moreover, the phase of predicted cyclers in liver agreed with known CLOCK/BMAL1 regulation. Taken together, we built a predictive model for CLK/CYC or CLOCK/BMAL1-bound cis-enhancers through the integration of comparative and functional genomics data. Finally, a deeper phylogenetic analysis reveals that the link between the CLOCK/BMAL1 complex and the circadian cis-element dates back to before insects and vertebrates diverged.
Author Summary
Life on earth is subject to daily light/dark and temperature cycles that reflect the earth rotation about its own axis. Under such conditions, organisms ranging from bacteria to human have evolved molecularly geared circadian clocks that resonate with the environmental cycles. These clocks serve as internal timing devices to coordinate physiological and behavioral processes as diverse as detoxification, activity and rest cycles, or blood pressure. In insects and vertebrates, the clock circuitry uses interlocked negative feedback loops which are implemented by transcription factors, among which the heterodimeric activators CLOCK and CYCLE play a key role. The specific DNA elements recognized by this factor are known to involve E-box motifs, but the low information content of this sequence makes it a poor predictor of the targets of CLOCK/CYCLE on a genome-wide scale. Here, we use comparative genomics to build a more specific model for a CLOCK-controlled cis-element that extends the canonical E-boxes to a more complex dimeric element. We use functional data from Drosophila and mouse circadian experiments to test the validity and assess the performance of the model. Finally, we provide a phylogenetic analysis of the cis-elements across insect and vertebrates that emphasizes the ancient link between CLOCK/CYCLE and the modeled enhancer. These results indicate that comparative genomics provides powerful means to decipher the complexity of the circadian cis-regulatory code.
PMCID: PMC2242825  PMID: 18282089
8.  Samarium (III) Selective Membrane Sensor Based on Tin (IV) Boratophosphate 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2004;4(8):125-135.
A number of Sm (III) selective membranes of varying compositions using tin (IV) boratophosphate as electroactive material were prepared. Polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene and epoxy resin were used as binding materials. Membrane having composition of 40% exchanger and 60% epoxy resin exhibited best performance. This membrane worked well over a wide concentration range of 1×10-5M to 1×10-1 M of samarium ions with a Super-Nernstian slope of 40 mV/decade. It has a fast response time of less than 10 seconds and can be used for at least six months without any considerable divergence in potentials. The proposed sensor revealed good selectivities with respect to alkali, alkaline earth, some transition and rare earth metal ions and can be used in the pH range of 4.0-10.0. It was used as an indicator electrode in the potentiometric titration of Sm (III) ions against EDTA. Effect of internal solution was studied and the electrode was successfully used in non-aqueous media, too.
PMCID: PMC3954063
Inorganic ion exchanger; ISE; Sm (III); FIM; potentiometric titration
9.  Displacement-Based Back-Analysis of the Model Parameters of the Nuozhadu High Earth-Rockfill Dam 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:292450.
The parameters of the constitutive model, the creep model, and the wetting model of materials of the Nuozhadu high earth-rockfill dam were back-analyzed together based on field monitoring displacement data by employing an intelligent back-analysis method. In this method, an artificial neural network is used as a substitute for time-consuming finite element analysis, and an evolutionary algorithm is applied for both network training and parameter optimization. To avoid simultaneous back-analysis of many parameters, the model parameters of the three main dam materials are decoupled and back-analyzed separately in a particular order. Displacement back-analyses were performed at different stages of the construction period, with and without considering the creep and wetting deformations. Good agreement between the numerical results and the monitoring data was obtained for most observation points, which implies that the back-analysis method and decoupling method are effective for solving complex problems with multiple models and parameters. The comparison of calculation results based on different sets of back-analyzed model parameters indicates the necessity of taking the effects of creep and wetting into consideration in the numerical analyses of high earth-rockfill dams. With the resulting model parameters, the stress and deformation distributions at completion are predicted and analyzed.
PMCID: PMC4121011  PMID: 25121115
10.  Earth Surface Deformation in the North China Plain Detected by Joint Analysis of GRACE and GPS Data 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(10):19861-19876.
Mass redistribution of the Earth causes variable loading that deforms the solid Earth. While most recent studies using geodetic techniques focus on regions (such as the Amazon basin and the Nepal Himalayas) with large seasonal deformation amplitudes on the order of 1–4 cm due to hydrologic loading, few such studies have been conducted on the regions where the seasonal deformation amplitude is half as large. Here, we use joint GPS and GRACE data to investigate the vertical deformation due to hydrologic loading in the North China Plain, where significant groundwater depletion has been reported. We found that the GPS- and GRACE-derived secular trends and seasonal signals are in good agreement, with an uplift magnitude of 1–2 mm/year and a correlation of 85.0%–98.5%, respectively. This uplift rate is consistent with groundwater depletion rate estimated from GRACE data and in-situ groundwater measurements from earlier report studies; whereas the seasonal hydrologic variation reflects human behavior of groundwater pumping for agriculture irrigation in spring, leading to less water storage in summer than that in the winter season. However, less than 20% of weighted root-mean-squared (WRMS) reductions were detected for all the selected GPS stations when GRACE-derived seasonal deformations were removed from detrended GPS height time series. This discrepancy is probably because the GRACE-derived seasonal signals are large-scale, while the GPS-derived signals are local point measurements.
PMCID: PMC4239955  PMID: 25340454
GRACE; GPS; time-variable gravity field; loading; surface deformation
11.  Ribonucleotides 
It has normally been assumed that ribonucleotides arose on the early Earth through a process in which ribose, the nucleobases, and phosphate became conjoined. However, under plausible prebiotic conditions, condensation of nucleobases with ribose to give β-ribonucleosides is fraught with difficulties. The reaction with purine nucleobases is low-yielding and the reaction with the canonical pyrimidine nucleobases does not work at all. The reasons for these difficulties are considered and an alternative high-yielding synthesis of pyrimidine nucleotides is discussed. Fitting the new synthesis to a plausible geochemical scenario is a remaining challenge but the prospects appear good. Discovery of an improved method of purine synthesis, and an efficient means of stringing activated nucleotides together, will provide underpinning support to those theories that posit a central role for RNA in the origins of life.
Ribonucleotides required for RNA must have formed de novo on the early Earth. Condensation of nucleobases with ribose is problematic, however, and an alternative pyrimidine ribonucleotide synthesis reaction may have occurred.
PMCID: PMC2845210  PMID: 20452951
12.  Earth’s Earliest Atmospheres 
Earth is the one known example of an inhabited planet and to current knowledge the likeliest site of the one known origin of life. Here we discuss the origin of Earth’s atmosphere and ocean and some of the environmental conditions of the early Earth as they may relate to the origin of life. A key punctuating event in the narrative is the Moon-forming impact, partly because it made Earth for a short time absolutely uninhabitable, and partly because it sets the boundary conditions for Earth’s subsequent evolution. If life began on Earth, as opposed to having migrated here, it would have done so after the Moon-forming impact. What took place before the Moon formed determined the bulk properties of the Earth and probably determined the overall compositions and sizes of its atmospheres and oceans. What took place afterward animated these materials. One interesting consequence of the Moon-forming impact is that the mantle is devolatized, so that the volatiles subsequently fell out in a kind of condensation sequence. This ensures that the volatiles were concentrated toward the surface so that, for example, the oceans were likely salty from the start. We also point out that an atmosphere generated by impact degassing would tend to have a composition reflective of the impacting bodies (rather than the mantle), and these are almost without exception strongly reducing and volatile-rich. A consequence is that, although CO- or methane-rich atmospheres are not necessarily stable as steady states, they are quite likely to have existed as long-lived transients, many times. With CO comes abundant chemical energy in a metastable package, and with methane comes hydrogen cyanide and ammonia as important albeit less abundant gases.
Life probably arose on Earth after the moon-forming impact. It and subsequent impacts probably created transient reducing methane- or CO-rich atmospheres that provided abundant chemical energy.
PMCID: PMC2944365  PMID: 20573713
13.  Bioavailability of iron in geophagic earths and clay minerals, and their effect on dietary iron absorption using an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model 
Food & function  2013;4(8):1263-1270.
Geophagy, the deliberate consumption of earth, is strongly associated with iron (Fe) deficiency. It has been proposed that geophagy may be practiced as a means to improve Fe status by increasing Fe intakes and, conversely, that geophagy may cause Fe deficiency by inhibiting Fe absorption. We tested these hypotheses by measuring Fe concentration and relative bioavailable Fe content of 12 samples of geophagic earth and 4 samples of pure clay minerals. Further, we assessed the impact of these samples on the bioavailability of Fe from an Fe-rich test meal (cooked white beans, WB). Fe concentrations were measured with inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. Fe bioavailability was determined using an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model in which ferritin formation was used as an index of Fe bioavailability. Geophagic earth and clay mineral samples were evaluated with this model, both alone and in combination with WB (1:16 ratio, sample:WB). Median Fe concentration of the geophagic earth was 3485 (IQR 2462, 14571) μg/g and mean Fe concentration in the clay minerals was 2791 (± 1782) μg/g. All specimens had Fe concentrations significantly higher (p ≤ 0.005) than the Fe concentration of WB (77 μg/g). Ferritin formation (i.e. Fe uptake) in cells exposed to geophagic earths and clay minerals was significantly lower than in cells exposed to WB (p ≤ 0.05) and Fe uptake responses of 11 of the 16 samples were not significantly different from the blank, indicating no bioavailable Fe. When samples were combined with WB, 5 of 16 had mean ferritin levels that were significantly lower (p ≤ 0.05, one tail) than the WB alone, indicating that the samples inhibited Fe uptake from the WB. None of the ferritin responses of cells exposed to both WB and earth/clay were significantly higher than WB alone. Thus, although geophagic earths and mineral clays are high in total Fe, very little of this Fe is bioavailable. Further, some geophagic earth and clay mineral samples inhibit Fe absorption from foods. In vivo research is warranted to confirm these observations and to determine if geophagic earth samples can be a source of Fe and/or inhibit Fe absorption.
PMCID: PMC4033299  PMID: 23787405
14.  The Effectiveness of RNAi in Caenorhabditis elegans Is Maintained during Spaceflight 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20459.
Overcoming spaceflight-induced (patho)physiologic adaptations is a major challenge preventing long-term deep space exploration. RNA interference (RNAi) has emerged as a promising therapeutic for combating diseases on Earth; however the efficacy of RNAi in space is currently unknown.
Caenorhabditis elegans were prepared in liquid media on Earth using standard techniques and treated acutely with RNAi or a vector control upon arrival in Low Earth Orbit. After culturing during 4 and 8 d spaceflight, experiments were stopped by freezing at −80°C until analysis by mRNA and microRNA array chips, microscopy and Western blot on return to Earth. Ground controls (GC) on Earth were simultaneously grown under identical conditions.
After 8 d spaceflight, mRNA expression levels of components of the RNAi machinery were not different from that in GC (e.g., Dicer, Argonaute, Piwi; P>0.05). The expression of 228 microRNAs, of the 232 analysed, were also unaffected during 4 and 8 d spaceflight (P>0.05). In spaceflight, RNAi against green fluorescent protein (gfp) reduced chromosomal gfp expression in gonad tissue, which was not different from GC. RNAi against rbx-1 also induced abnormal chromosome segregation in the gonad during spaceflight as on Earth. Finally, culture in RNAi against lysosomal cathepsins prevented degradation of the muscle-specific α-actin protein in both spaceflight and GC conditions.
Treatment with RNAi works as effectively in the space environment as on Earth within multiple tissues, suggesting RNAi may provide an effective tool for combating spaceflight-induced pathologies aboard future long-duration space missions. Furthermore, this is the first demonstration that RNAi can be utilised to block muscle protein degradation, both on Earth and in space.
PMCID: PMC3105993  PMID: 21673804
15.  Earth as an Extrasolar Planet: Earth Model Validation Using EPOXI Earth Observations 
Astrobiology  2011;11(5):393-408.
The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model. This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of ∼100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined by using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to Earth's lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square (RMS) error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves and residuals of ∼10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We have extended our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of ∼7% and brightness temperature errors of less than 1 K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated forward model can be used to simulate Earth's time-dependent brightness and spectral properties for wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the far infrared. Key Words: Astrobiology—Extrasolar terrestrial planets—Habitability—Planetary science—Radiative transfer. Astrobiology 11, 393–408.
PMCID: PMC3133830  PMID: 21631250
16.  On the existence of another source of heat production for the earth and planets, and its connection with gravitomagnetism 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:513.
Recent revised estimates of the Earth’s surface heat flux are in the order of 47 TW. Given that its internal radiogenic (mantle and crust) heat production is estimated to be around 20 TW, the Earth has a thermal deficit of around 27 TW. This article will try to show that the action of the gravitational field of the Sun on the rotating masses of the Earth is probably the source of another heat production in order of 54TW, which would satisfy the thermal balance of our celestial body and probably explain the reduced heat flow Qo. We reach this conclusion within the framework of gravitation implied by Einstein’s special and general relativity theory (SR, GR). Our results show that it might possible, in principle, to calculate the heat generated by the action of the gravitational field of celestial bodies on the Earth and planets of the Solar System (a phenomenon that is different to that of the gravitational tidal effect from the Sun and the Moon). This result should help physicists to improve and develop new models of the Earth’s heat balance, and suggests that contrary to cooling, the Earth is in a phase of thermal balance, or even reheating.
PMCID: PMC3825064  PMID: 24255828
Earth’s surface heat; New source of heat; Reduced heat flow; Earth’s thermal balance; Gravitomagnetism; Radioactive heating; Bulk Silicate Earth (BSE)
17.  Principles and working mechanisms of water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) in relation to wound healing 
The experience of the pleasant heat of the sun in moderate climatic zones arises from the filtering of the heat radiation of the sun by water vapor in the atmosphere of the earth. The filter effect of water decreases those parts of infrared radiation (most parts of infrared-B and -C and the absorption bands of water within infrared-A), which would cause – by reacting with water molecules in the skin – only an undesired thermal load to the surface of the skin. Technically water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) is produced in special radiators, whose full spectrum of radiation of a halogen bulb is passed through a cuvette, containing water, which absorbs or decreases the described undesired wavelengths of the infrared radiation. Within infrared the remaining wIRA (within 780-1400 nm) mainly consists of radiation with good penetration properties into tissue and therefore allows – compared to unfiltered heat radiation – a multiple energy transfer into tissue without irritating the skin, similar to the sun’s heat radiation in moderate climatic zones. Typical wIRA radiators emit no ultraviolet (UV) radiation and nearly no infrared-B and -C radiation and the amount of infrared-A radiation in relation to the amount of visible light (380-780 nm) is emphasized.
Water-filtered infrared-A as a special form of heat radiation with a high tissue penetration and with a low thermal load to the skin surface acts both by thermal (related to heat energy transfer) and thermic (temperature depending, with a relevant change of temperature) as well as by non-thermal (without a relevant transfer of heat energy) and non-thermic (not depending on temperature, without a relevant change of temperature) effects. wIRA produces a therapeutically usable field of heat in the tissue and increases tissue temperature, tissue oxygen partial pressure, and tissue perfusion. These three factors are vital for a sufficient tissue supply with energy and oxygen. As wound healing and infection defense (e.g. granulocyte function including their antibacterial oxygen radical formation) depend decisively on a sufficient supply with energy and oxygen, one explanation for the good clinical effect of wIRA on wounds and wound infections can be the improvement of both the energy supply per time (increase of metabolic rate) and the oxygen supply. In addition wIRA has non-thermal and non-thermic effects, which are based on putting direct stimuli on cells and cellular structures.
wIRA can considerably alleviate the pain (with remarkably less need for analgesics) and diminish an elevated wound exudation and inflammation and can show positive immunomodulatory effects. wIRA can advance wound healing or improve an impaired wound healing both in acute and in chronic wounds including infected wounds. Even the normal wound healing process can be improved.
wIRA is contact-free, easily applied, without discomfort to the patient, with absent consumption of material and with a good effect in the depth. The irradiation of the typically uncovered wound is carried out with a wIRA radiator.
PMCID: PMC2831244  PMID: 20204085
water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA); infrared-A radiation; wound healing; thermal and non-thermal effects; thermic and non-thermic effects; energy supply; oxygen supply; tissue oxygen partial pressure; tissue temperature; tissue blood flow; reduction of pain; wound exudation; inflammation; immunomodulatory effects; acute wounds; chronic venous stasis ulcers of the lower legs; problem wounds; wound infections; infection defense; contact-free method; absent expenditure of material; quality of life; prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind studies
18.  The Emergence of Environmental Homeostasis in Complex Ecosystems 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(5):e1003050.
The Earth, with its core-driven magnetic field, convective mantle, mobile lid tectonics, oceans of liquid water, dynamic climate and abundant life is arguably the most complex system in the known universe. This system has exhibited stability in the sense of, bar a number of notable exceptions, surface temperature remaining within the bounds required for liquid water and so a significant biosphere. Explanations for this range from anthropic principles in which the Earth was essentially lucky, to homeostatic Gaia in which the abiotic and biotic components of the Earth system self-organise into homeostatic states that are robust to a wide range of external perturbations. Here we present results from a conceptual model that demonstrates the emergence of homeostasis as a consequence of the feedback loop operating between life and its environment. Formulating the model in terms of Gaussian processes allows the development of novel computational methods in order to provide solutions. We find that the stability of this system will typically increase then remain constant with an increase in biological diversity and that the number of attractors within the phase space exponentially increases with the number of environmental variables while the probability of the system being in an attractor that lies within prescribed boundaries decreases approximately linearly. We argue that the cybernetic concept of rein control provides insights into how this model system, and potentially any system that is comprised of biological to environmental feedback loops, self-organises into homeostatic states.
Author Summary
Life on Earth is perhaps greater than three and a half billion years old and it would appear that once it started it never stopped. During this period a number of dramatic shocks and drivers have affected the Earth. These include the impacts of massive asteroids, runaway climate change and increases in brightness of the Sun. Has life on Earth simply been lucky in withstanding such perturbations? Are there any self-regulating or homeostatic processes operating in the Earth system that would reduce the severity of such perturbations? If such planetary processes exist, to what extent are they the result of the actions of life? In this study, we show how the regulation of environmental conditions can emerge as a consequence of life's effects. If life is both affected by and affects it environment, then this coupled system can self-organise into a robust control system that was first described during the early cybernetics movement around the middle of the twentieth century. Our findings are in principle applicable to a wide range of real world systems - from microbial mats to aquatic ecosystems up to and including the entire biosphere.
PMCID: PMC3656095  PMID: 23696719
19.  Testing Anthropic Selection: A Climate Change Example 
Astrobiology  2011;11(2):105-114.
Planetary anthropic selection, the idea that Earth has unusual properties since, otherwise, we would not be here to observe it, is a controversial idea. This paper proposes a methodology by which to test anthropic proposals by comparison of Earth to synthetic populations of Earth-like planets. The paper illustrates this approach by investigating possible anthropic selection for high (or low) rates of Milankovitch-driven climate change. Three separate tests are investigated: (1) Earth-Moon properties and their effect on obliquity; (2) Individual planet locations and their effect on eccentricity variation; (3) The overall structure of the Solar System and its effect on eccentricity variation. In all three cases, the actual Earth/Solar System has unusually low Milankovitch frequencies compared to similar alternative systems. All three results are statistically significant at the 5% or better level, and the probability of all three occurring by chance is less than 10−5. It therefore appears that there has been anthropic selection for slow Milankovitch cycles. This implies possible selection for a stable climate, which, if true, undermines the Gaia hypothesis and also suggests that planets with Earth-like levels of biodiversity are likely to be very rare. Key Words: Planetary habitability and biosignatures—Intelligence—Paleoenvironment and paleoclimate—Co-evolution of Earth and life—Complex life. Astrobiology 11, 105–114.
PMCID: PMC3697027  PMID: 21401338
20.  An Autonomous Navigation Algorithm for High Orbit Satellite Using Star Sensor and Ultraviolet Earth Sensor 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:237189.
An autonomous navigation algorithm using the sensor that integrated the star sensor (FOV1) and ultraviolet earth sensor (FOV2) is presented. The star images are sampled by FOV1, and the ultraviolet earth images are sampled by the FOV2. The star identification algorithm and star tracking algorithm are executed at FOV1. Then, the optical axis direction of FOV1 at J2000.0 coordinate system is calculated. The ultraviolet image of earth is sampled by FOV2. The center vector of earth at FOV2 coordinate system is calculated with the coordinates of ultraviolet earth. The autonomous navigation data of satellite are calculated by integrated sensor with the optical axis direction of FOV1 and the center vector of earth from FOV2. The position accuracy of the autonomous navigation for satellite is improved from 1000 meters to 300 meters. And the velocity accuracy of the autonomous navigation for satellite is improved from 100 m/s to 20 m/s. At the same time, the period sine errors of the autonomous navigation for satellite are eliminated. The autonomous navigation for satellite with a sensor that integrated ultraviolet earth sensor and star sensor is well robust.
PMCID: PMC3819924  PMID: 24250261
21.  Comparison between leached metakaolin and leached diatomaceous earth as raw materials for the synthesis of ZSM-5 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:292.
Inexpensive raw materials have been used to prepare ZSM-5 zeolites with SiO2/Al2O3 molar ratios in the range 20 – 40. Kaolin or Bolivian diatomaceous earth was used as aluminosilicate raw materials and sodium hydroxide and n-butylamine were used as mineralizing agents and template. Dealumination of the raw materials by acid leaching made it possible to reach appropriate SiO2/Al2O3 ratios and to reduce the amount of iron and other impurities. After mixing the components and aging, hydrothermal treatment was carried out and the products were recovered The results clearly show for the first time that well-crystallized ZSM-5 can be directly prepared from leached metakaolin or leached diatomaceous earth using sodium hydroxide and n-butylamine as mineralizing agents and template under appropriate synthesis conditions. A longer induction time prior to crystallization was observed for reaction mixtures prepared from leached diatomaceous earth, probably due to slower digestion of the fossilized diatom skeletons as compared with that for microporous leached metakaolin. The use of leached diatomaceous earth allowed higher yield of ZSM-5 crystals within comparable synthesis times. However, low amounts of Mordenite formed, which was related to the high calcium content of diatomaceous earth. Another considerable advantage of diatomaceous earth over kaolin is that diatomaceous earth does not require heat treatment at high temperature for metakaolinization.
PMCID: PMC4078046  PMID: 25019042
Kaolin; Diatomaceous earth; n-butylamine; ZSM-5 zeolite
22.  Physical conditions on the early Earth 
The formation of the Earth as a planet was a large stochastic process in which the rapid assembly of asteroidal-to-Mars-sized bodies was followed by a more extended period of growth through collisions of these objects, facilitated by the gravitational perturbations associated with Jupiter. The Earth's inventory of water and organic molecules may have come from diverse sources, not more than 10% roughly from comets, the rest from asteroidal precursors to chondritic bodies and possibly objects near Earth's orbit for which no representative class of meteorites exists today in laboratory collections. The final assembly of the Earth included a catastrophic impact with a Mars-sized body, ejecting mantle and crustal material to form the Moon, and also devolatilizing part of the Earth. A magma ocean and steam atmosphere (possibly with silica vapour) existed briefly in this period, but terrestrial surface waters were below the critical point within 100 million years after Earth's formation, and liquid water existed continuously on the surface within a few hundred million years. Organic material delivered by comets and asteroids would have survived, in part, this violent early period, but frequent impacts of remaining debris probably prevented the continuous habitability of the Earth for one to several hundred million years. Planetary analogues to or records of this early time when life began include Io (heat flow), Titan (organic chemistry) and Venus (remnant early granites).
PMCID: PMC1664683  PMID: 17008213
Hadean Earth; Earth, origin; impacts; planetology; Archean Earth
23.  Thiopental and Phenytoin as Novel Ionophores for Potentiometric Determination of Lead (II) Ions 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2009;9(3):1860-1875.
Two novel polymeric membrane sensors for the analysis of Pb(II) have been developed based on two therapeutic drugs, thiopental (TP) and phenytoin (PT) as two new ionophores and potassium tetrakis(p-chlorophenyl) borate (KTpClPB) as a lipophilic additive, in plasticized PVC membranes. The sensors show a Nernstian response for Pb(II) ions over the wide concentration ranges of 1×10−2 – 7×10−6 M and 1×10−2 – 8×10−6 M for the sensors based on thiopental and phenytoin, respectively. The proposed sensors have a fast response time and can be used for more than nine weeks without any considerable divergence in potentials. The sensors exhibit comparatively good selectivity with respect to alkaline, alkaline earth and some transition and heavy metal ions. They were employed for direct determination of lead in solder alloys and in galena rocks with a good agreement with the obtained results by atomic absorption spectroscopy.
PMCID: PMC3345869  PMID: 22573991
Lead (II); Thiopental; Phenytoin; Galena rocks; Solder alloys
24.  Integrative Medicine Selects Best Practice from Public Health and Biomedicine 
Indian Journal of Dermatology  2013;58(2):132-141.
The meaning of terms Integrated and Integrative are described variously by an amalgam of latest scientific advances with ancient healing systems, of complementary medicine and biomedicine, and sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. It means seamless good quality care between hospital and primary care. They provoke approval mostly from patients and disapproval mostly from advocates of science and evidence-based medicine. The Institute of Applied Dermatology in Kasaragod, Kerala, India has championed a mix of Biomedicine, Yoga and herbals from Ayurvedic medicine, partly based on publications from the Department of Dermatology of the University of Oxford. In Oxford dermatology, acceptance of value of integrative medicine (IM) is demonstrated, especially in wound healing and the skin's blood supply. This has long featured in the university's research program. A variety of approaches to the practice of medicine are illustrated with reference to Osler, Garrod, and Doll. IM is believed to underlie contemporarily best practice. Particular emphasis is given to the control of heat, pain, redness, and swelling, all manifestations of inflammation, and the importance of emotion as a stimulus or inhibitor carried by neural pathways. These may explain some unbelievable Asian practices and one of the many roles of Yoga. The concept of Integrative is expanded to include care of the earth and nutrition, the hazards of climate change, Gardens for Health, do (k) no (w) harm as a key to good practice.
PMCID: PMC3657213  PMID: 23716803
Agriculture; alternative medicine; Ayurveda; complementary; Institute of Applied Dermatology; integrative medicine; lymphatic filariasis; medical pluralism; Osler; public health; traditional medicine
25.  Biotic and Human Vulnerability to Projected Changes in Ocean Biogeochemistry over the 21st Century 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(10):e1001682.
Mora and colleagues show that ongoing greenhouse gas emissions are likely to have a considerable effect on several biogeochemical properties of the world's oceans, with potentially serious consequences for biodiversity and human welfare.
Ongoing greenhouse gas emissions can modify climate processes and induce shifts in ocean temperature, pH, oxygen concentration, and productivity, which in turn could alter biological and social systems. Here, we provide a synoptic global assessment of the simultaneous changes in future ocean biogeochemical variables over marine biota and their broader implications for people. We analyzed modern Earth System Models forced by greenhouse gas concentration pathways until 2100 and showed that the entire world's ocean surface will be simultaneously impacted by varying intensities of ocean warming, acidification, oxygen depletion, or shortfalls in productivity. In contrast, only a small fraction of the world's ocean surface, mostly in polar regions, will experience increased oxygenation and productivity, while almost nowhere will there be ocean cooling or pH elevation. We compiled the global distribution of 32 marine habitats and biodiversity hotspots and found that they would all experience simultaneous exposure to changes in multiple biogeochemical variables. This superposition highlights the high risk for synergistic ecosystem responses, the suite of physiological adaptations needed to cope with future climate change, and the potential for reorganization of global biodiversity patterns. If co-occurring biogeochemical changes influence the delivery of ocean goods and services, then they could also have a considerable effect on human welfare. Approximately 470 to 870 million of the poorest people in the world rely heavily on the ocean for food, jobs, and revenues and live in countries that will be most affected by simultaneous changes in ocean biogeochemistry. These results highlight the high risk of degradation of marine ecosystems and associated human hardship expected in a future following current trends in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
Author Summary
Climate change caused by human activity could damage biological and social systems. Here we gathered climate, biological, and socioeconomic data to describe some of the events by which ocean biogeochemical changes triggered by ongoing greenhouse gas emissions could cascade through marine habitats and organisms, eventually influencing humans. Our results suggest that the entire world's ocean surface will be simultaneously impacted by varying intensities of ocean warming, acidification, oxygen depletion, or shortfalls in productivity. Only a very small fraction of the oceans, mostly in polar regions, will face the opposing effects of increases in oxygen or productivity, and almost nowhere will there be cooling or pH increase. The biological responses to such biogeochemical changes could be considerable since marine habitats and hotspots for several marine taxa will be simultaneously exposed to biogeochemical changes known to be deleterious. The social ramifications are also likely to be massive and challenging as some 470 to 870 million people – who can least afford dramatic changes to their livelihoods – live in areas where ocean goods and services could be compromised by substantial changes in ocean biogeochemistry. These results underline the need for urgent mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions if degradation of marine ecosystems and associated human hardship are to be prevented.
PMCID: PMC3797030  PMID: 24143135

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