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Assessment of frontal lobe impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a matter of great importance, since it often causes ALS patients to decrease medication and nursing compliance, thus shortening their survival time.
The frontal assessment battery (FAB) is a short and rapid method for assessing frontal executive functions. We investigated the applicability of the FAB as a screening method for assessing cognitive impairments in 61 ALS patients. Depending on the results of the FAB, we classified patients into two subgroups: FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal. We then performed additional evaluations of cognitive function using the Korean version of the mini-mental state examination (K-MMSE), a verbal fluency test (COWAT), and a neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI). Results of these tests were compared between the two groups using Mann-Whitney U-tests, and Spearman correlation analyses were used to investigate the relationships between FAB score and disease duration and severity.
Of the 61 sporadic ALS patients included in this study, 14 were classified as FAB-abnormal and 47 were classified as FAB-normal. The FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal patients performed significantly differently in all domains of the COWAT. There was no difference in behavioral disturbance, as assessed by the NPI, between the two groups. The FAB scores were found to significantly correlate with both disease duration and severity.
The FAB shows promise as a method of screening for frontal lobe dysfunction in ALS, as it is not only quick and easy, but also reliable. Additional studies should examine how FAB performance changes as ALS progresses.
Blackberry is a fruiting berry species with very high nutrient contents. With the recent increasing consumer demand for blackberries, new sources of germplasm and breeding techniques are required to improve blackberry production. This study was carried out to evaluate the genetic diversity (GD) and relationship among 55 blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) mutants derived from γ-ray treatment (52 lines) and N-methyl-N′-nitrosourea (MNU) treatment (three lines) using an inter-simple sequence repeat marker. A total of 18 bands were amplified with an average of 3.6 bands per primer. Among them, eight bands were identified to be polymorphic with a rate of 44.4%. In addition, the GD information content values were highest in the 60 Gy treatment population and the GD values were higher in the γ-ray treatment populations than in the MNU treatment population. According to a cluster analysis, all the mutant lines can be classified into five categories, and the genetic distance was greatest between the 80 Gy-irradiated population and other populations. These results indicate that mutant lines have high GD and can be effectively utilized for improving blackberry breeding.
Mutation breeding techniques have been used to induce new genetic variations and improve agronomic traits in soybean. In Korea, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) has unique radiation facilities to induce plant mutations and has been conducting soybean mutation breeding programmes since the mid-1960s. Until now, the KAERI has developed five soybean mutant cultivars exhibiting early maturity, high yield and seed-coat colour change. In this paper, we review these five mutant cultivars in terms of how to successfully induce unique agronomic characteristics through mutation breeding programmes. A number of induced mutants exhibiting null lipoxygenase enzymes, altered protein patterns or Kunitz trypsin inhibitor activity could serve as genetic resources for the genetic analysis of target genes, and one mutant population has been developed for a reverse genetic study.
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