Chioma Origanje Abstracts

Chioma Oringanje

Ph.D. Candidate

Entomology & Insect Sciences GIDP


2018 ESA, ESC and ESBC Join Annual Meeting

Vancouver, BC Canada

November 11-14, 2018


Mitochondrial integrity and homeostasis in the midgut is a key factor in improving mosquito fitness and anti-pathogen resistance. Targeting genes that enhance mitochondrial dynamics could be a valuable strategy for controlling mosquito-borne diseases. Studies have shown that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an energy sensor, regulates aging and energy level by maintaining optimal mitochondrial quality in the cell. When activated, AMPK inhibits anabolic pathways that consume ATP and activates catabolic processes that produce ATP. In this study, we manipulated AMPK activity in the midgut of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes by creating a transgenic (TG) line expressing active AMPK specifically in the midgut or by the use of selective activators and inhibitors. Although we observed no evidence of lifespan extension in the transgenic mosquito, egg production was significantly reduced. In addition, we saw a decrease in both glycogen and lipids 24 h after the TG mosquito consumed a blood meal. In summary, this work identifies midgut AMPK activity as an important regulator of metabolism, reproduction and innate immunity.


Abstract for Lay Audience

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that negatively impacts an individual’s ability to communicate with others. It is caused by damage (e.g., stroke, gunshot wound) to the left hemisphere of the brain. Aphasia can affect both comprehension and production of spoken and written language. Additionally, a universal characteristic of aphasia is difficulty with naming (anomia). Individuals with aphasia commonly describe anomia as the feeling of knowing what they want to say, but not being able to say it. While aphasia can range in severity based on extent and location of damage, all individuals experience difficulty with spoken and written communication, making it difficult to participate in everyday activities or maintain a healthy quality of life.

Individuals with aphasia experience spontaneous recovery in the first few months following injury, with more modest improvement in language ability during the chronic stage (defined as greater than 3-months post injury). Hundreds of treatment studies have examined recovery for individuals with chronic aphasia, with a large subset focusing on treatment for naming difficulties. The majority of these studies focus on change relative to specific treatment approaches over short time periods. Few studies document long-term recovery of language or naming ability in aphasia, so there is limited information regarding the magnitude and rate of recovery as well as predictors of improvement. With this in mind, it is relatively unclear how much change can be expected for individuals with chronic aphasia over long periods of time.

The purpose of this study was to examine language and naming performance in chronic aphasia over long periods of time using scores from two standardized assessments of language and naming abilities: the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) and the Boston Naming Test (BNT).

We aimed to provide benchmarks for recovery and identify possible predictive factors of longterm. Improvement. To accomplish this, we conducted a retrospective analysis of data collected in clinical and research contexts at the University of Arizona over the past 30 years. We identified a total of 112 individuals with aphasia who met inclusion criteria and had at least two WAB scores for analysis. Of this cohort, 52 individuals had multiple BNT scores available to examine naming improvement over time. All individuals participated in individual and/or group treatment that targeted a variety of language skills (e.g., naming, spoken production, comprehension). The average overall improvement for the entire cohort was +6.52 WAB points and +5.83 BNT points. These were found to be statistically significant and clinically meaningful indices of change on these assessments. We identified several predictors of overall change in language and naming ability, including initial severity of aphasia, age at the first test, and time post onset of aphasia. With the data from our statistical analyses, we created prediction equations that will allow clinicians to use demographic information and performance on the WAB or BNT to predict an individual’s expected trajectory of change in language and naming abilities. Our findings demonstrate the potential for significant improvement over time for people with chronic aphasia. Since all of our participants received some sort of behavioral intervention, our findings also provide support for continued treatment in the chronic stage of aphasia, which is often difficult to justify for this population given strict healthcare and insurance policies.

Overall, we were able to clarify expectations for recovery in the months and years following onset of aphasia and provide clinicians with meaningful information that will allow them to better support individuals with aphasia.

Last updated 4 Jun 2019