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Creators/Authors contains: "Alexander, John"

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  1. Abstract

    Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by vocal and motor tics lasting more than a year. It is highly polygenic in nature with both rare and common previously associated variants. Epidemiological studies have shown TS to be correlated with other phenotypes, but large-scale phenome wide analyses in biobank level data have not been performed to date. In this study, we used the summary statistics from the latest meta-analysis of TS to calculate the polygenic risk score (PRS) of individuals in the UK Biobank data and applied a Phenome Wide Association Study (PheWAS) approach to determine the association of disease risk with a wide range of phenotypes. A total of 57 traits were found to be significantly associated with TS polygenic risk, including multiple psychosocial factors and mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder and depression. Additional associations were observed with complex non-psychiatric disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, heart palpitations, and respiratory conditions. Cross-disorder comparisons of phenotypic associations with genetic risk for other childhood-onset disorders (e.g.: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], autism spectrum disorder [ASD], and obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD]) indicated an overlap in associations between TS and these disorders. ADHD and ASD had a similar directionmore »of effect with TS while OCD had an opposite direction of effect for all traits except mental health factors. Sex-specific PheWAS analysis identified differences in the associations with TS genetic risk between males and females. Type 2 diabetes and heart palpitations were significantly associated with TS risk in males but not in females, whereas diseases of the respiratory system were associated with TS risk in females but not in males. This analysis provides further evidence of shared genetic and phenotypic architecture of different complex disorders.

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  2. Abstract

    Hydrogels are under active development for controlled drug delivery, but their clinical translation is limited by low drug loading capacity, deficiencies in mechanical toughness and storage stability, and poor control over the drug release that often results in burst release and short release duration. This work reports a design of composite clay hydrogels, which simultaneously achieve a spectrum of mechanical, storage, and drug loading/releasing properties to address the critical needs from translational perspectives. The clay nanoparticles provide large surface areas to adsorb biological drugs, and assemble into microparticles that are physically trapped within and toughen hydrogel networks. The composite hydrogels demonstrate feasibility of storage, and extended release of large quantities of an insulin‐like growth factor‐1 mimetic protein (8 mg mL−1) over four weeks. The release rate is primarily governed by ionic exchange and can be upregulated by low pH, which is typical for injured tissues. A rodent model of Achilles tendon injury is used to demonstrate that the composite hydrogels allow for highly extended and localized release of biological drugs in vivo, while demonstrating biodegradation and biocompatibility. These attributes make the composite hydrogel a promising system for drug delivery and regenerative medicine.