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1.  Consumption of palatable food decreases the anorectic effects of serotonergic, but not dopaminergic drugs in baboons 
Physiology & behavior  2011;103(5):493-500.
We examined the effects of periodic access to a palatable, high sugar content food (candy) in 8 male baboons on the anorectic response to d-amphetamine, which increases dopamine, and dexfenfluramine, which increases serotonin. During candy access, up to 200 candies containing 75% of energy as sugar were available during the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; food pellets (19% of energy as sugar) were available in the afternoon and throughout the remaining days of the week. During candy access, baboons consumed a mean of 177 pieces of candy containing 696 kcal (2.91 MJ) in the morning compared to 44 food pellets and 150 kcal (0.63 MJ) in the morning on non-candy days. Food pellet intake was lower during candy access. Complete dose-response functions for the effects of the drugs on food pellet intake on days that candy was not available were determined before, during, and after the period of access to candy. Dexfenfluramine and amphetamine produced dose-dependent decreases in food pellet intake and increases in latency to eat food pellets before, during, and after candy access. During access to candy, the dose-response function for dexfenfluramine was shifted to the right indicating the development of tolerance, while that for amphetamine was shifted to the left indicating sensitization. Only the dose-response function for dexfenfluramine returned to baseline after candy access suggesting that the difference was specific to concurrent palatable food consumption. We hypothesize that tolerance to the effects of dexfenfluramine reflects a decrease in the satiating effect of serotonin release due to repeatedly eating large amounts of palatable food.
PMCID: PMC3107899  PMID: 21510964
Food Intake; Baboon; Sugar; Satiation; Dexfenfluramine; Amphetamine; Tolerance; Sensitization
2.  The Effects of Context, Meaning Frequency, and Associative Strength on Semantic Selection: Distinct Contributions from each Cerebral Hemisphere 
Brain research  2007;1183:91-108.
The visual half-field procedure was used to examine hemispheric asymmetries in meaning selection. Event-related potentials were recorded as participants decided if a lateralized ambiguous or unambiguous prime was related in meaning to a centrally-presented target. Prime-target pairs were preceded by a related or unrelated centrally-presented context word. To separate the effects of meaning frequency and associative strength, unambiguous words were paired with concordant weakly-related context words and strongly-related targets (e.g., taste-sweet-candy) that were similar in associative strength to discordant subordinate-related context words and dominant-related targets (e.g., river-bank-deposit) in the ambiguous condition. Context words and targets were reversed in a second experiment. In an unrelated (neutral) context, N400 responses were more positive than baseline (facilitated) in all ambiguous conditions except when subordinate targets were presented on left visual field-right hemisphere (LVF-RH) trials. Thus, in the absence of biasing context information, the hemispheres seem to be differentially affected by meaning frequency, with the left maintaining multiple meanings and the right selecting the dominant meaning. In the presence of discordant context information, N400 facilitation was absent in both visual fields, indicating that the contextually-consistent meaning of the ambiguous word had been selected. In contrast, N400 facilitation occurred in all of the unambiguous conditions; however, the left hemisphere (LH) showed less facilitation for the weakly-related target when a strongly-related context was presented. These findings indicate that both hemispheres use context to guide meaning selection, but that the LH is more likely to focus activation on a single, contextually-relevant sense.
PMCID: PMC2211361  PMID: 17936727
Lexical Ambiguity; Cerebral Hemispheres; Context Effects; ERP; N400; LPC
3.  Analysis of user characteristics related to drop-off detection with long cane 
This study examined how user characteristics affect drop-off detection with the long cane. A mixed-measures design with block randomization was used for the study, in which 32 visually impaired adults attempted to detect the drop-offs using different cane techniques. Younger cane users detected drop-offs significantly more reliably (mean +/− standard deviation = 74.2% +/− 11.2% of the time) than older cane users (60.9% +/− 10.8%), p = 0.009. The drop-off detection threshold of the younger participants (5.2 +/− 2.1 cm) was also statistically significantly smaller than that of the older participants (7.9 +/− 2.2 cm), p = 0.007. Those with early-onset visual impairment (78.0% +/− 9.0%) also detected drop-offs significantly more reliably than those with later-onset visual impairment (67.3% +/− 12.4%), p = 0.01. No interaction occurred between examined user characteristics (age and age at onset of visual impairment) and the type of cane technique used in drop-off detection. The findings of the study may help orientation and mobility specialists select appropriate cane techniques in accordance with the cane user’s age and onset of visual impairment.
PMCID: PMC2923647  PMID: 20665349
age; blind; cane user; detection threshold; drop-off detection; long cane technique; older adults; onset of visual impairment; orientation and mobility; visually impaired
4.  Cultivar Evaluation and Essential Test Locations Identification for Sugarcane Breeding in China 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:302753.
The discrepancies across test sites and years, along with the interaction between cultivar and environment, make it difficult to accurately evaluate the differences of the sugarcane cultivars. Using a genotype main effect plus genotype-environment interaction (GGE) Biplot software, the yield performance data of seven sugarcane cultivars in the 8th Chinese National Sugarcane Regional Tests were analyzed to identify cultivars recommended for commercial release. Fn38 produced a high and stable sugar yield. Gn02-70 had the lowest cane yield with high stability. Yz06-407 was a high cane yield cultivar with poor stability in sugar yield. Yz05-51 and Lc03-1137 had an unstable cane yield but relatively high sugar yield. Fn39 produced stable high sugar yield with low and unstable cane production. Significantly different sugar and cane yields were observed across seasons due to strong cultivar-environment interactions. Three areas, Guangxi Chongzuo, Guangxi Baise, and Guangxi Hechi, showed better representativeness of cane yield and sugar content than the other four areas. On the other hand, the areas Guangxi Chongzuo, Yunnan Lincang, and Yunnan Baoshan showed strong discrimination ability, while the areas Guangxi Hechi and Guangxi Liuzhou showed poor discrimination ability. This study provides a reference for cultivar evaluation and essential test locations identification for sugarcane breeding in China.
PMCID: PMC4055468  PMID: 24982939
5.  Ergonomic Factors Related to Drop-Off Detection With the Long Cane: Effects of Cane Tips and Techniques 
Human factors  2010;52(3):456-465.
This study examined the effect of cane tips and cane techniques on drop-off detection with the long cane.
Blind pedestrians depend on a long cane to detect drop-offs. Missing a drop-off may result in falls or collision with moving vehicles in the street. Although cane tips appear to affect a cane user’s ability to detect drop-offs, few experimental studies have examined such effect.
A repeated-measures design with block randomization was used for the study. Participants were 17 adults who were legally blind and had no other disabilities. Participants attempted to detect the drop-offs of varied depths using different cane tips and cane techniques.
Drop-off detection rates were similar between the marshmallow tip (77.0%) and the marshmallow roller tip (79.4%) when both tips were used with the constant contact technique, p = .294. However, participants detected drop-offs at a significantly higher percentage when they used the constant contact technique with the marshmallow roller tip (79.4%) than when they used the two-point touch technique with the marshmallow tip (63.2%), p < .001.
The constant contact technique used with a marshmallow roller tip (perceived as a less advantageous tip) was more effective than the two-point touch technique used with a marshmallow tip (perceived as a more advantageous tip) in detecting drop-offs.
The findings of the study may help cane users and orientation and mobility specialists select appropriate cane techniques and cane tips in accordance with the cane user’s characteristics and the nature of the travel environment.
PMCID: PMC3013374  PMID: 21077566
blind mobility; two-point touch; constant contact; marshmallow tip; roller tip; visually impaired
6.  Neurophysiological correlates of mismatch in lexical access 
BMC Neuroscience  2005;6:64.
In the present study neurophysiological correlates related to mismatching information in lexical access were investigated with a fragment priming paradigm. Event-related brain potentials were recorded for written words following spoken word onsets that either matched (e.g., kan – Kante [Engl. edge]), partially mismatched (e.g., kan – Konto [Engl. account]), or were unrelated (e.g., kan – Zunge [Engl. tongue]). Previous psycholinguistic research postulated the activation of multiple words in the listeners' mental lexicon which compete for recognition. Accordingly, matching words were assumed to be strongly activated competitors, which inhibit less strongly activated partially mismatching words.
ERPs for matching and unrelated control words differed between 300 and 400 ms. Difference waves (unrelated control words – matching words) replicate a left-hemispheric P350 effect in this time window. Although smaller than for matching words, a P350 effect and behavioural facilitation was also found for partially mismatching words. Minimum norm solutions point to a left hemispheric centro-temporal source of the P350 effect in both conditions. The P350 is interpreted as a neurophysiological index for the activation of matching words in the listeners' mental lexicon. In contrast to the P350 and the behavioural responses, a brain potential ranging between 350 and 500 ms (N400) was found to be equally reduced for matching and partially mismatching words as compared to unrelated control words. This latter effect might be related to strategic mechanisms in the priming situation.
A left-hemispheric neuronal network engaged in lexical access appears to be gradually activated by matching and partially mismatching words. Results suggest that neural processing of matching words does not inhibit processing of partially mismatching words during early stages of lexical identification. Furthermore, the present results indicate that neurophysiological correlates observed in fragment priming reflect different aspects of target processing that are cumulated in behavioural responses. Particularly the left-hemispheric P350 difference potential appears to be closely related to fine-grained activation differences of modality-independent representations in the listeners' mental lexicon. This neurophysiological index might guide future studies aimed at investigating neural aspects of lexical access.
PMCID: PMC1308819  PMID: 16283934
7.  Preliminary crystallographic analysis of sugar cane phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthase 
X-ray diffraction data have been collected from crystals of recombinant sugar cane phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthase (PRS) and analysis has revealed its quaternary structure, localizing this PRS into the class of enzymes forming an hexameric oligomer of 223 kDa.
Phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthases (PRS; EC are enzymes that are of central importance in several metabolic pathways in all cells. The sugar cane PRS enzyme contains 328 amino acids with a molecular weight of 36.6 kDa and represents the first plant PRS to be crystallized, as well as the first phosphate-independent PRS to be studied in molecular detail. Sugar cane PRS was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Using X-ray diffraction experiments it was determined that the crystals belong to the orthorhombic system, with space group P21212 and unit-cell parameters a = 213.2, b = 152.6, c = 149.3 Å. The crystals diffract to a maximum resolution of 3.3 Å and a complete data set to 3.5 Å resolution was collected and analysed.
PMCID: PMC1952407  PMID: 16508088
phosphoribosylpyrophosphate; PRPP synthase; sugar cane
8.  Using variability to guide dimensional weighting: Associative mechanisms in early word learning 
Cognitive science  2011;35(6):1105-1138.
At 14 months, children appear to struggle to apply their fairly well developed speech perception abilities to learning similar sounding words (e.g. bih/dih; Stager & Werker, 1997). However, variability in non-phonetic aspects of the training stimuli seems to aid word learning at this age. Extant theories of early word learning cannot account for this benefit of variability. We offer a simple explanation for this range of effects based on associative learning. Simulations suggest that if infants encode both non-contrastive information (e.g. cues to speaker voice) and meaningful linguistic cues (e.g. place of articulation or voicing), then associative learning mechanisms predict these variability effects in early word learning. Crucially, this means that despite the importance of task variables in predicting performance, this body of work shows that phonological categories are still developing in this age, and that the structure of non-informative cues has critical influences on word learning abilities.
PMCID: PMC3601333  PMID: 21609356
associative learning; word learning; language development; switch task; phonological development; variability
9.  Study Modality and False Recall: The Influence of Resource Availability 
Experimental psychology  2011;58(2):117-124.
False memories occur when individuals mistakenly report an event as having taken place when that event did not in fact occur. The DRM (Deese, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995) paradigm provides an effective technique for creating and investigating false memories. In this paradigm participants study a list of words (e.g., SOUR, CANDY,…) that are highly associated to a non-presented critical item (e.g., SWEET). The study phase is followed by a test of memory for the study list words. Researchers typically find very high levels of false recall of the critical non-presented item. However, the likelihood of falsely remembering the non-presented critical items can be reduced by presenting studied associates visually rather than auditorally (e.g. Smith & Hunt, 1998). This is referred to as the modality effect in false memory. The current study investigated the role of resource availability in the expression of this modality effect in false recall. In Experiment 1 false recall was reduced in the visual study presentation condition relative to the auditory condition for participants with higher working memory capacity, but not for participants with lower working memory capacity. In Experiment 2 the effect of study modality on false recall was eliminated by the addition of a divided attention task at encoding. Both studies support the proposal that resource availability plays a role in the expression of the modality effect in the DRM paradigm (Smith, Lozito, & Bayen, 2005).
PMCID: PMC3077100  PMID: 20494859
10.  Association of candy consumption with body weight measures, other health risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and diet quality in US children and adolescents: NHANES 1999–2004 
Food & Nutrition Research  2011;55:10.3402/fnr.v55i0.5794.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of total, chocolate, or sugar candy consumption on intakes of total energy, fat, and added sugars; diet quality; weight/adiposity parameters; and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in children 2–13 years of age (n=7,049) and adolescents 14–18 years (n=4,132) participating in the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Twenty-four hour dietary recalls were used to determine intake. Diet quality was determined using the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005). Covariate-adjusted means, standard errors, and prevalence rates were determined for each candy consumption group. Odds ratios were used to determine the likelihood of associations with weight status and diet quality.
In younger children, total, chocolate, and sugar candy consumption was 11.4 g±1.61, 4.8 g±0.35, and 6.6 g±0.46, respectively. In adolescents, total, chocolate, and sugar candy consumption was 13.0 g±0.87, 7.0 g±0.56, and 5.9 g±0.56, respectively. Total candy consumers had higher intakes of total energy (2248.9 kcals±26.8 vs 1993.1 kcals±15.1, p<0.0001) and added sugars (27.7 g±0.44 vs 23.4 g±0.38, p<0.0001) than non-consumers. Mean HEI-2005 score was not different in total candy and sugar candy consumers as compared to non-consumers, but was significantly lower in chocolate candy consumers (46.7±0.8 vs 48.3±0.4, p=0.0337). Weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, percentiles/z-score for weight-for-age and BMI-for-age were lower for candy consumers as compared to non-consumers. Candy consumers were 22 and 26%, respectively, less likely to be overweight and obese than non-candy consumers. Blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and cardiovascular risk factors were not different between total, chocolate, and sugar candy consumers and non-consumers (except that sugar candy consumers had lower C-reactive protein levels than non-consumers).
This study suggests that candy consumption did not adversely affect health risk markers in children and adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3118036  PMID: 21691462
children; adolescents; candy; chocolate; sugar candy; added sugars; discretionary calories; nutrient intake; dietary adequacy; health risk factors; healthy eating index; NHANES
11.  Sweets, sweetened beverages, and risk of pancreatic cancer in a large population-based case–control study 
Cancer Causes & Control   2009;20(6):835-846.
We examined the associations between sweets, sweetened and unsweetened beverages, and sugars and pancreatic cancer risk.
We conducted a population-based case–control study (532 cases, 1,701 controls) and used multivariate logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Because associations were often different by sex, we present results for men and women combined and separately.
Among men, greater intakes of total and specific sweets were associated with pancreatic cancer risk (total sweets: OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.0, 3.6; sweet condiments: OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2, 3.1; chocolate candy: OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 5.0; other mixed candy bars: OR = 3.3, 95% CI: 1.5, 7.3 for 1 + servings/day versus none/rarely). Sweets were not consistently associated with risk among women. Sweetened beverages were not associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk. In contrast, low-calorie soft drinks were associated with increased risk among men only; while other low-/non-caloric beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, and water) were unassociated with risk. Of the three sugars assessed (lactose, fructose, and sucrose), only the milk sugar lactose was associated with pancreatic cancer risk (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.5, 2.7 comparing extreme quartiles).
These results provide limited support for the hypothesis that sweets or sugars increase pancreatic cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2694313  PMID: 19277880
Pancreatic cancer; Epidemiology; Sweets; Beverages
12.  Lactobacillus paracasei DSMZ16671 Reduces Mutans Streptococci: A Short-Term Pilot Study 
Reducing the burden of pathogenic mutans streptococci is a goal of oral health. Lactobacillus paracasei DSMZ16671, even after heat-killing, specifically co-aggregates mutans streptococci in vitro and retains this activity in human saliva. In rats, it reduces mutans streptococcal colonization of teeth and caries scores. This pilot study sought to assess the potential of heat-killed L. paracasei DSMZ16671 (pro-t-action®) to reduce levels of salivary mutans streptococci in humans, using sugar-free candies as a delivery vehicle. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind in vivo study of three groups examined the short-term effect of sugar-free candies containing 0 (placebo), 1, or 2 mg/candy piece of heat-killed L. paracasei DSMZ16671 on the levels of salivary mutans streptococci determined before and after consumption of the candies. The candies were consumed 4 times during 1.5 consecutive days. Compared to the placebo group, the test groups’ saliva had significantly reduced mutans streptococci as an immediate effect. These results suggest the use of heat-killed L. paracasei DSMZ16671 in suckable candies as a method to reduce mutans streptococci in the mouth and, thereby, caries risk. We think this a new concept and strategy for caries prevention and management.
PMCID: PMC3825618  PMID: 24273614
Dental caries; Humans; Sugar-free candy; Lactobacillus pro-t-action; Co-aggregation; Saliva
13.  Ethanol from Sugar Cane: Flask Experiments Using the EX-FERM Technique 
Alcohol production at the laboratory scale from sugar cane pieces by the EX-FERM technique was studied with 37 strains of Saccharomyces spp. The EX-FERM process is novel in that it employs the simultaneous extraction and fermentation of the sucrose in a cane-water suspension. Two types of cane treatments were used: chips and shredded pith, either fresh or dried. A mother culture of the yeast was prepared in enriched cane juice and then added to the cane-water mixture. After static fermentation for 40 h at 30°C, the cane was removed, and fresh cane was added to the yeast-alcohol broth. After an additional 24 h, the cane was again removed and the liquor was analyzed. After the first 40-h cycle, sugar consumption was above 99% with 10 of the 37 yeast strains tested, and ethanol reached levels of 1.29 to 4.00 g per 100 ml, depending on the yeast strain. The final ethanol concentration reached 4.27 to 5.37 g per 100 ml, and sugar consumption was above 98% in three cases during a second EX-FERM cycle employing previously air-dried chips and pith. Product yields were within accepted values. Cane treatment did not appear to affect the results at this level.
PMCID: PMC291606  PMID: 16345626
14.  Not Enough Fruit and Vegetables or Too Many Cookies, Candies, Salty Snacks, and Soft Drinks? 
Public Health Reports  2010;125(1):88-95.
There are many contributors to obesity, including excess consumption of “discretionary calories” (foods high in sugar and fat and low in essential nutrients), lack of fruit/vegetable consumption, and insufficient physical activity. This study contrasted physical activity, fruit/vegetable consumption, and discretionary calorie consumption from selected foods relative to the 2005 dietary guidelines.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey in 228 urban census tracts in Los Angeles County (LAC) and Southern Louisiana (SL) and estimated calories in the past 24 hours from fruit, vegetables, cookies, candy, salty snacks, sweetened soda, and alcohol among 2,767 participants.
The population-weighted mean daily intake of calories from candy, cookies, salty snacks, soda, and alcohol was 438 in LAC and 617 in SL. Alcohol comprised a small portion of the calories consumed. Reported discretionary calorie consumption from a small set of items exceeded guidelines by more than 60% in LAC and 120% in SL. In contrast, the mean consumption of fruit and vegetables fell 10% short in LAC and 20% in SL. There was significant heterogeneity in consumption of cookies, candy, salty snacks, and soda across income, gender, and race.
The overconsumption of discretionary calories was much greater than the underconsumption of fruit and vegetables. This finding suggests that unless the excessive consumption of salty snacks, cookies, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages is curtailed, other interventions focusing on increasing physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption will have a limited impact on obesity control. It may be politically more expedient to promote an increase in consumption of healthy items rather than a decrease in consumption of unhealthy items, but it may be far less effective.
PMCID: PMC2789820  PMID: 20402200
15.  Effects of candy and social reinforcement, instructions, and reinforcement schedule leaning on the modification and maintenance of smiling1 
Two retarded boys exhibited abnormally low rates of smiling. In Exp. I, the frequency of a boy's smiling was first increased with candy reinforcement, but the frequency of the response did not decrease when candy reinforcement was terminated. When the subject wore a sign designed to make social interactions contingent on not-smiling, the frequency of smiling decreased. The sign was then changed to make social interactions contingent on smiling and the rate of smiling increased. In Exp. II, a second boy initially never smiled. Establishment of a contingency for candy reinforcement did not increase this zero response rate. Instructing the child to smile initially increased smiling, but the instructions then became progressively more ineffective. Candy reinforcement increased the rate of smiling to a normal range, but the rate of the response promptly decreased when this reinforcement was discontinued. Continuous candy reinforcement was again employed to increase the response rate and then progressively leaner schedules of variable-ratio candy reinforcement were employed. Consequently, the rate of smiling did not decrease when candy reinforcement was again eliminated. Subsequently, signs were employed to regulate social interactions and the rate of smiling was shown to be controlled by these interactions serving as reinforcers.
PMCID: PMC1310987  PMID: 16795167
16.  Use of the Herb Gymnema sylvestre to Illustrate the Principles of Gustatory Sensation: An Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Exercise 
The Indian herb Gymnema sylvestre has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for 2000 years, most recently for the treatment of diabetes. Loose leaf Gymnema sylvestre can be prepared as a tea and will impair the ability to taste sugar by blocking sweet receptors on the tongue. This report describes a laboratory exercise easily applied to an undergraduate neuroscience course that can be used to illustrate the principles of gustatory sensation. Combined with a preceding lecture on the primary taste sensations, students experience and appreciate how the primary tastes are combined to produce overall taste. In addition, the exercises outlined here expand upon previously published demonstrations employing Gymnema sylvestre to include illustrations of the different sensory transduction mechanisms associated with each of the four or five primary taste modalities. Students compare their qualitative primary taste experiences to salt, sugar, aspartame, chocolate, and sweet-sour candy prior to and following exposure to Gymnema sylvestre. The herb’s impairment of sweet sensation is profound and dramatically alters the perception of sweetness in sugar, chocolate, and candy without altering the perception of the other primary tastes. The exercise has an indelible effect on students because the herb’s intense effect compels students to rely on their unique personal experiences to highlight the principles of gustatory sensation.
PMCID: PMC3592606  PMID: 23493970
gustation; sensory transduction; taste; tongue
17.  The Role of the Left Inferior Frontal Gyrus in Implicit Semantic Competition and Selection: An Event-Related fMRI Study 
Brain research  2008;1229:167-178.
Recent research suggests that the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) plays a role in selecting semantic information from among competing alternatives. A key question remains as to whether the LIFG is engaged by the selection of semantic information only or by increased semantic competition in and of itself, especially when such competition is implicit in nature. Ambiguous words presented in a lexical context provide a means of examining whether the LIFG is recruited under conditions when contextual cues constrain selection to only the meaning appropriate to the context (e.g., coin-mint-money) or under conditions of increased competition when contextual cues do not allow for the resolution to a particular meaning (e.g., candy-mint-money). In this event-related fMRI study, an implicit task was used in which subjects made lexical (i.e., word/nonword) decisions on the third stimulus of auditorily-presented triplets in conditions where the lexical context either promoted resolution toward a particular ambiguous word meaning or enhanced the competition among ambiguous word meanings. LIFG activation was observed when the context allowed for the resolution of competition and hence the selection of one meaning (e.g., coin-mint-money) but failed to emerge when competition between the meanings of an ambiguous word was unresolved by the context (e.g., candy-mint-money). In the latter case, there was a pattern of reduced activation in frontal, temporal and parietal areas. These findings demonstrate that selection or resolution of competition as opposed to increased semantic competition alone engages the LIFG. Moreover, they extend previous work in showing that the LIFG is recruited even in cases where the selection of meaning takes place implicitly.
PMCID: PMC2566953  PMID: 18656462
fMRI; left inferior frontal gyrus; left superior temporal gyrus; semantic ambiguity; semantic competition; semantic selection
18.  Developmental changes in the inferior frontal cortex for selecting semantic representations 
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to examine the neural correlates of semantic judgments to Chinese words in a group of 10–15 year old Chinese children. Two semantic tasks were used: visual–visual versus visual–auditory presentation. The first word was visually presented (i.e. character) and the second word was either visually or auditorily presented, and the participant had to determine if these two words were related in meaning. Different from English, Chinese has many homophones in which each spoken word corresponds to many characters. The visual–auditory task, therefore, required greater engagement of cognitive control for the participants to select a semantically appropriate answer for the second homophonic word. Weaker association pairs produced greater activation in the mid-ventral region of left inferior frontal gyrus (BA 45) for both tasks. However, this effect was stronger for the visual–auditory task than for the visual–visual task and this difference was stronger for older compared to younger children. The findings suggest greater involvement of semantic selection mechanisms in the cross-modal task requiring the access of the appropriate meaning of homophonic spoken words, especially for older children.
PMCID: PMC3278275  PMID: 22337757
fMRI; Semantic; Visual; Auditory; Association strength; Age
19.  High Level Ethanol from Sugar Cane Molasses by a New Thermotolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain in Industrial Scale 
A new local strain of S. cerevisiae F-514, for ethanol production during hot summer season, using Egyptian sugar cane molasses was applied in Egyptian distillery factory. The inouluum was propagated through 300 L, 3 m3, and 12 m3 fermenters charged with diluted sugar cane molasses containing 4%-5% sugars. The yeast was applied in fermentation vessels 65 m3 working volume to study the varying concentrations of urea, DAP, orthophosphoric acid (OPA), and its combinations as well as magnesium sulfate and inoculum size. The fermenter was allowed to stay for a period of 20 hours to give time for maximum conversion of sugars into ethanol. S. cerevisiae F-514 at molasses sugar level of 18% (w/v), inoculum size of 20% (v/v) cell concentration of 3.0 × 108/mL, and combinations of urea, diammonium phosphate (DAP), orthophosphoric acid (OPA), and magnesium sulfate at amounts of 20, 10, 5, and 10 kg/65 m3 working volume fermenters, respectively, supported maximum ethanol production (9.8%, v/v), fermentation efficiency (FE) 88.1%, and remaining sugars (RS) 1.22%. The fermentation resulted 13.4 g dry yeast/L contained 34.6% crude protein and 8.2% ash. By selecting higher ethanol yielding yeast strain and optimizing, the fermentation parameters both yield and economics of the fermentation process can be improved.
PMCID: PMC3864069  PMID: 24363937
20.  Chinese translation of strengths and difficulties questionnaire requires urgent review before field trials for validity and reliability 
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire for children and teenagers aged 3 to 16 years. It is available in 66 languages, and gaining more popularity world wide. Chinese translation of SDQ is available and has been used in clinical practice and research. We undertook the exercise to back-translate the current Chinese translation and it showed a number of differences compared to the original English SDQ. The differences and concerns include: (1) the flow and grammar of Chinese translation as well as wrongly written Chinese characters; (2) translated words that have deviated from the original meaning; (3) significant numbers of wording that are somewhat different from the original English version; (4) addition of auxiliary verbs that do not exist in original English version; and (5) the current Chinese SDQ is a general questionnaire for all age groups that does not observe the differences of wording that exist in the English versions.
An accurate translated Chinese version is important for researchers, clinicians and educators who work in the Chinese communities. There is an urgent need to review the translation of the Chinese SDQ version before more studies use it in the field.
PMCID: PMC2533285  PMID: 18706095
21.  Antagonism of glutamatergic NMDA and mGluR5 receptors decreases consumption of food in baboon model of binge-eating disorder 
Excessive consumption of highly-palatable foods may contribute to the development of weight gain. Therefore medications that selectively suppress eating of such foods would be useful in clinical practice. We compared the effects of the glutamatergic antagonists memantine and MTEP to dexfenfluramine in baboons given periodic access to highly-palatable food and ad libutum access to a standard chow diet. Three days a week baboons received a sugar-coated candy during the first meal and standard diet chow pellets were available in subsequent meals. All baboons derived a greater amount of energy from the single candy meal than from the standard diet across an entire day. Pre-treatment with dexfenfluramine, memantine, and MTEP produced decreases in candy consumption without altering candy-seeking behaviour. At the same time, dexfenfluramine and memantine, but not MTEP, produced a decrease in seeking and consumption of standard chow pellets. Both memantine and MTEP are promising agents for the treatment of obesity.
PMCID: PMC2591926  PMID: 18573641
22.  Stuttering on function and content words across age groups of German speakers who stutter 
Recent research into stuttering in English has shown that function word disfluency decreases with age whereas content words disfluency increases. Also function words that precede a content word are significantly more likely to be stuttered than those that follow content words (Au-Yeung, Howell and Pilgrim, 1998; Howell, Au-Yeung and Sackin, 1999). These studies have used the concept of the phonological word as a means of investigating these phenomena. Phonological words help to determine the position of function words relative to content words and to establish the origin of the patterns of disfluency with respect to these two word classes. The current investigation analysed German speech for similar patterns. German contains many long compound nouns; on this basis, German content words are more complex than English ones. Thus, the patterns of disfluency within phonological words may differ between German and English. Results indicated three main findings. Function words that occupy an early position in a PW have higher rates of disfluency than those that occur later in a PW, this being most apparent for the youngest speakers. Second, function words that precede the content word in a PW have higher rates of disfluency than those that follow the content word. Third, young speakers exhibit high rates of disfluency on function words, but this drops off with age and, correspondingly, disfluency rate on content words increases. The patterns within phonological words may be general to German and English and can be accounted for by the EXPLAN model, assuming lexical class operates equivalently across these languages or that lexical categories contain some common characteristic that is associated with fluency across the languages.
PMCID: PMC2239212  PMID: 18270544
Stuttering; German; function and content words
23.  Chemistry Based on Renewable Raw Materials: Perspectives for a Sugar Cane-Based Biorefinery 
Enzyme Research  2011;2011:654596.
Carbohydrates are nowadays a very competitive feedstock for the chemical industry because their availability is compatible with world-scale chemical production and their price, based on the carbon content, is comparable to that of petrochemicals. At the same time, demand is rising for biobased products. Brazilian sugar cane is a competitive feedstock source that is opening the door to a wide range of bio-based products. This essay begins with the importance of the feedstock for the chemical industry and discusses developments in sugar cane processing that lead to low cost feedstocks. Thus, sugar cane enables a new chemical industry, as it delivers a competitive raw material and a source of energy. As a result, sugar mills are being transformed into sustainable biorefineries that fully exploit the potential of sugar cane.
PMCID: PMC3102444  PMID: 21637329
24.  The toxicologic effects of the carbamate insecticide aldicarb in mammals: a review. 
Aldicarb, 2-methyl-2-(methylthio)propionaldehyde-O-methylcarbamoyloxime, is an oxime carbamate insecticide manufactured by the Union Carbide Corporation and sold under the trade name Temik. It is a soil-applied systemic pesticide used against certain insects, mites, and nematodes, and is applied below the soil surface for absorption by plant roots. It is generally applied to the soil in the form of 5, 10, or 15% granules, and soil moisture is essential for the release of the toxicant. Uptake by plants is rapid. Aldicarb is currently registered for use on cotton, sugar beets, sugar cane (Louisiana only), potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, oranges, pecans (Southeast only), dry beans, soybeans, and ornamental plants. Home and garden use is not permitted. Discovery of aldicarb and its oxidative sulfoxide and sulfone metabolites in well or ground water in Florida, Wisconsin, and New York, and accidental poisonings from ingesting contaminated watermelons and cucumbers in the South and West have spurred interest and concern about this pesticide. The primary mechanism of toxic action of aldicarb is cholinesterase inhibition. However, unlike the relatively irreversible anticholinesterase activity of the organophosphate pesticides, the carbamylation process which produces the anti-AChE action is quickly reversible. Aldicarb is readily absorbed through both the gut and the skin, but is rapidly metabolized and excreted in the urine almost completely within 24 hr. Although it is acutely toxic to humans and laboratory animals, aldicarb is not known to be carcinogenic, teratogenic, conclusively mutagenic, or to produce other long-term adverse health effects. In cases of accidental poisoning, the cholinergic symptoms have generally subsided within 6 hr, with no side effects or complications.
PMCID: PMC1474664  PMID: 3304999
25.  Interaction of Azospirillum brasilense and Glomus intrarradix in Sugar Cane Roots 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2011;52(1):70-75.
Fifteen-day-old variety NA 56-79 sugar cane seedlings were inoculated with Azospirillum brasilense and Glomus intrarradix. This article aims at examining changes in sugar cane root seedlings inoculated with Glomus intrarradix and Azospirillum brasilense, the increase in microbial biomass and the acetylene reduction process as well. The internal root colonization was studied 20 days after inoculation using scanning and a transmission electron microscope. Both microorganisms entered the sugar cane root through the emergent lateral roots. The microorganisms were capable of coexisting both intra and intercellularly, producing changes in the cell wall, thus allowing colonization and interaction between the organisms. These changes increased the number of microorganisms inside the root as well as acetylene nitrogen reduction. Sugar cane plant biomass increased with joint-inoculation. The number of endophytic microorganisms and nitrogen fixing activity increased when they were colonized by Azospirillum and Glomus together.
PMCID: PMC3298588  PMID: 23449160
Acetylene reduction; Azospirillum brasilense; Glomus intrarradix; Microbial biomass

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