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Ebola Modeling, Microbial Community Cross-Feeding, and Detecting Concussion: the PLOS Comp Biol December 2016 Issue

Check out our highlights from the last PLOS Computational Biology issue of 2016:


Cumulative incidence map of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Image Credit: Backer, Wallinga.
Cumulative incidence map of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Image Credit: Backer, Wallinga.

Spatiotemporal Analysis of the 2014 West African Ebola Epidemic


Infectious disease modelling has become an established tool to inform decisions in infection control. However, for outbreaks that are spread over various adjacent districts or countries, such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, few modelling approaches are available that can analyse the spatiotemporal data. To study the epidemic spread within and between districts and countries, Jantien A. Backer and Jacco Wallinga have developed an analysis method that uses these data at their full resolution.



Stability of Cross-Feeding Polymorphisms in Microbial Communities

Cross-feeding, a relationship wherein one organism consumes metabolites excreted by another, is a ubiquitous feature of natural and clinically-relevant microbial communities (and even tumor cell populations). However, it remains unclear how readily such relationships form, and our ability to predict their emergence is therefore limited. Ivana Gudelj and colleagues have developed a mathematical model of cross-feeding and found that this system can display complex dynamics including multi-stable behaviour separated by a critical point.



Detecting Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Using Resting State MEG Connectivity


Spatial distribution of 33 best features (connectivity at alpha frequencies), which were used for prediction. Image Credit: Vakorin et al.
Spatial distribution of 33 best features (connections) for detection of mTBI. Image Credit: Vakorin et al.

Detecting concussion is typically not possible using current clinically-used brain imaging, such as MRI and CT scans. Magnetoencephalographic (MEG) imaging is able to directly measure brain activity at fast time scales, and this can be used to map how various areas of the brain interact. Vasily A. Vakorin and colleagues have recorded MEG from individuals who have suffered a concussion, as well as control subjects who have not, and found characteristic alterations of inter-regional interactions associated with concussion.


Header Image Credit: Renaud Bastien & Yasmine Meroz

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