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A greater frequency of left-handedness among males than females has been observed in general populations. Past studies have explained this difference with reference to males’ greater susceptibility to adverse birth events, while more recent studies have identified other contributing factors. On January 16, 2020, U.S. senators signed an oath to act impartially during the president’s impeachment trial. This televised event allowed direct comparison of the proportion of right-handedness and left-handedness in a professionally accomplished sample of males and females. As expected, no sex difference in the proportion of left-handed senators was found, although the small sample size offered low statistical power. Replicating this finding with a larger sample would support the view that left-handedness among select groups of males is linked to genetic factors.
In the 50 years since the first mating of semiconductor-based energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) with the scanning electron microscope (SEM), this hybrid instrument has become an indispensable microanalytical tool. In the last two decades a new detector, the silicon drift detector (SDD), has overtaken earlier Si(Li) technology and has made EDS in the SEM and TEM faster and better. This article tells the story of the SDD development and describes improvements in count rate capability, energy resolution, and detector geometry that bring to SEM microanalysis exceptional precision and stability. Quality maps of element distributions can now be obtained in minutes instead of hours.
Virtual twins (VTs) are defined as same-age unrelated siblings raised together from early infancy. This special class of adoptive siblings replays the rearing situation of twins, absent genetic relatedness. The first such pair was identified and studied in 1990 at the University of Minnesota, leading to the creation of the Fullerton Virtual Twin Study (FVTS) at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) the following year. The registry currently includes 169 VT pairs, mostly children, with new pairs identified on a regular basis. These sibling sets provide a direct estimate of environmental influences on developmental traits and, as such, offer informative comparisons with ordinary monozygotic and dizygotic twins, full siblings and adoptive brothers and sisters. The sample characteristics, assessment battery and findings to date are summarized in this 2019 update.
Two polyoxometalates (POMs), synthesized through a self-assembling method, were used in the treatment of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. One of these nanocompounds [tris(vanadyl)-substituted tungsto-antimonate(III)-anions—POM1] was previously described in the literature, whereas the second [tris-butyltin-21-tungsto-9-antimonate(III)-anions—POM2], was prepared by us based on our original formula. In rats with STZ-induced diabetes treated with POMs (up to a cumulative dose of 4 mg/kg bodyweight at the end of the treatments), statistically significant reduced levels of blood glucose were measured after 3 weeks, as compared with the diabetic control groups (DCGs). Ultrastructural analysis of pancreatic β-cells (including the mean diameter of secretory vesicles and of their insulin granules) in the treated diabetic rats proved the POMs contribute to limitation of cellular degeneration triggered by STZ, as well as to the presence of increased amounts of insulin-containing vesicles as compared with the DCG. The two POMs also showed hepatoprotective properties when ultrastructural aspects of hepatocytes in the experimental groups of rats were studied. Based on our in vivo studies, we concluded that the two POMs tested achieved hypoglycemiant effects by preventing STZ-triggered apoptosis of pancreatic β-cells and stimulation of insulin synthesis.