Alternative splicing plays vital role in adult muscle mass maintenance

first_imgJul 11 2018Despite the importance that changes in muscle mass have in aging, overall body metabolism and in chronic disease, we still don’t fully understand the mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance of adult muscle mass.”A number of cell signaling and metabolic pathways have been studied regarding their involvement in sustaining adult muscle mass, but not alternative splicing,” said Dr. Thomas Cooper, professor of pathology & immunology, of molecular and cellular biology and of molecular physiology and biophysics at Baylor College of Medicine.Alternative splicing is a cellular mechanism that allows cells to produce many different proteins from a single gene. A gene can be visualized as a short string of ‘beads’ or exons. Each bead codes for a different piece of the final protein. Alternative splicing allows the cell to make different proteins by combining the ‘beads’ in different ways.Related StoriesMuscle loss in space travelers could be reduced finds studyPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentThe researchers and other groups previously determined that alternative splicing regulators Rbfox1 and Rbfox2 were required for muscle development and function, but Cooper’s group hypothesized that the two proteins worked together, and their combined role in adult muscle had not been studied before.”To determine whether alternative splicing played a role in adult muscle maintenance, we disrupted the process in adult mice by knocking out the genes Rbfox1 and Rbfox2 only in skeletal muscles. Then, we looked at the effect this disruption had in muscles in the animals’ limbs,” said Dr. Ravi Singh, instructor of pathology & immunology at Baylor College of Medicine.The critical role of alternative splicing”We observed that the knockout mice rapidly lost about half of their skeletal muscle mass within four weeks,” Singh said. “Two weeks after knocking out the genes Rbfox1 and Rbfox2, hundreds of other genes altered their expression and other genes their alternative splicing, including the capn3 gene, which switched splicing to produce an active form of a protease, an enzyme that degrades proteins.””Taking all our observations together, we attributed the loss of muscle mass to an increase in degradation of muscle protein rather than a reduction of protein synthesis,” said Cooper, who also is the S. Donald Greenberg and R. Clarence and Irene H. Fulbright Professor and a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor. “The results indicate that the Rbfox splicing regulators, which are highly conserved from the worm C. elegans to humans, are essential for maintaining skeletal muscle mass in adult mice.””Our contribution has implications for studies on the role of muscle mass in metabolism and on muscle mass loss in aging and chronic disease,” Singh said. Source: read more

Nanostructured sensor system offers active monitoring of brain aneurysm treatment

first_imgAug 2 2018Implantation of a stent-like flow diverter can offer one option for less invasive treatment of brain aneurysms – bulges in blood vessels – but the procedure requires frequent monitoring while the vessels heal. Now, a multi-university research team has demonstrated proof-of-concept for a highly flexible and stretchable sensor that could be integrated with the flow diverter to monitor hemodynamics in a blood vessel without costly diagnostic procedures.The sensor, which uses capacitance changes to measure blood flow, could reduce the need for testing to monitor the flow through the diverter. Researchers, led by Georgia Tech, have shown that the sensor accurately measures fluid flow in animal blood vessels in vitro, and are working on the next challenge: wireless operation that could allow in vivo testing.The research was reported July 18 in the journal ACS Nano and was supported by multiple grants from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, the University of Pittsburgh and the Korea Institute of Materials Science.”The nanostructured sensor system could provide advantages for patients, including a less invasive aneurysm treatment and an active monitoring capability,” said Woon-Hong Yeo, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. “The integrated system could provide active monitoring of hemodynamics after surgery, allowing the doctor to follow up with quantitative measurement of how well the flow diverter is working in the treatment.”Cerebral aneurysms occur in up to five percent of the population, with each aneurysm carrying a one percent risk per year of rupturing, noted Youngjae Chun, an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Aneurysm rupture will cause death in up to half of affected patients.Endovascular therapy using platinum coils to fill the aneurysm sac has become the standard of care for most aneurysms, but recently a new endovascular approach – a flow diverter – has been developed to treat cerebral aneurysms. Flow diversion involves placing a porous stent across the neck of an aneurysm to redirect flow away from the sac, generating local blood clots within the sac.”We have developed a highly stretchable, hyper-elastic flow diverter using a highly-porous thin film nitinol,” Chun explained. “None of the existing flow diverters, however, provide quantitative, real-time monitoring of hemodynamics within the sac of cerebral aneurysm. Through the collaboration with Dr. Yeo’s group at Georgia Tech, we have developed a smart flow-diverter system that can actively monitor the flow alterations during and after surgery.”Repairing the damaged artery takes months or even years, during which the flow diverter must be monitored using MRI and angiogram technology, which is costly and involves injection of a magnetic dye into the blood stream. Yeo and his colleagues hope their sensor could provide simpler monitoring in a doctor’s office using a wireless inductive coil to send electromagnetic energy through the sensor. By measuring how the energy’s resonant frequency changes as it passes through the sensor, the system could measure blood flow changes into the sac.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injury”We are trying to develop a batteryless, wireless device that is extremely stretchable and flexible that can be miniaturized enough to be routed through the tiny and complex blood vessels of the brain and then deployed without damage,” said Yeo. “It’s a very challenging to insert such electronic system into the brain’s narrow and contoured blood vessels.”The sensor uses a micro-membrane made of two metal layers surrounding a dielectric material, and wraps around the flow diverter. The device is just a few hundred nanometers thick, and is produced using nanofabrication and material transfer printing techniques, encapsulated in a soft elastomeric material.”The membrane is deflected by the flow through the diverter, and depending on the strength of the flow, the velocity difference, the amount of deflection changes,” Yeo explained. “We measure the amount of deflection based on the capacitance change, because the capacitance is inversely proportional to the distance between two metal layers.”Because the brain’s blood vessels are so small, the flow diverters can be no more than five to ten millimeters long and a few millimeters in diameter. That rules out the use of conventional sensors with rigid and bulky electronic circuits.”Putting functional materials and circuits into something that size is pretty much impossible right now,” Yeo said. “What we are doing is very challenging based on conventional materials and design strategies.”The researchers tested three materials for their sensors: gold, magnesium and the nickel-titanium alloy known as nitinol. All can be safely used in the body, but magnesium offers the potential to be dissolved into the bloodstream after it is no longer needed.The proof-of-principle sensor was connected to a guide wire in the in vitro testing, but Yeo and his colleagues are now working on a wireless version that could be implanted in a living animal model. While implantable sensors are being used clinically to monitor abdominal blood vessels, application in the brain creates significant challenges.”The sensor has to be completely compressed for placement, so it must be capable of stretching 300 or 400 percent,” said Yeo. “The sensor structure has to be able to endure that kind of handling while being conformable and bending to fit inside the blood vessel.”Source: read more

Dog pooping Jesus toast honored at this years Ig Nobels

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS—For just one moment last night, you might have guessed this was a typical scientific awards ceremony. An international team of biologists led by Vlastimil Hart of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague was describing an experiment on dogs. The researchers were trying to measure the animal’s ability to detect Earth’s magnetic field.But the moment of normalcy soon passed as the team explained its experimental method. After observing 70 dogs defecate 1893 times and urinate 5582 times over a 2-year period, the researchers noticed that the dogs sometimes aligned the axis of their bodies with the geomagnetic field. As the team reported last year in Frontiers in Zoology, on days with random geomagnetic fluctuations, the dog’s orientation while pooping and peeing also tended toward random. “And here’s the proof!” said Hart, as he and colleagues tossed baggies of what was claimed to be the experiment’s leftovers out to the audience in the packed Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. (This reporter did not check the contents.)Of course, this was no ordinary scientific award ceremony. Hart’s team was accepting one of the coveted 2014 Ig Nobel Prizes that celebrate research that “makes you laugh, and then makes you think.” The prize, organized by the Annals of Improbable Research, includes $10 trillion—actually a $10 trillion bill in Zimbabwean dollars, which is worthless—handed out on stage by one of several past winners of the real Nobel Prize, including Frank Wilczek and Richard Roberts. Many animals are known to be able to perceive magnetic fields, from pigeons to mice, but the assumed purpose is for navigation. Even if canines really can sense Earth’s magnetic field, why would they align their bodies while crouching momentarily in one place? In his paper, Hart argues that dogs may be “calibrating” their inner compass. Perhaps like humans, dogs do some useful cogitation while doing their business.Dog poop wasn’t the only research to scoop a prize this year. Also recognized was a study with an enticing title that read, in part, “Seeing Jesus in toast,” which was first published online this past January in the journal Cortex. If you do see Jesus, Elvis, or any other face in the random light and dark spots on a piece of toast, you are “completely normal,” explained Kang Lee, a neuroscientist at the University of Toronto in Canada. The human brain seems to be so finely tuned to detect faces that most people experience pareidolia, the perception of nonexistent objects such as faces in a random signal.To find out exactly where in the brain pareidolia arises, Kang and colleagues scanned the activity of people’s brains while showing them images of light and dark pixels arranged randomly. For half of those images, the researchers told their subjects that there was a hidden face or letters. Sure enough, the subjects claimed to see the nonexistent faces and letters 34% and 38% of the time, respectively. The part of the brain that lit up with activity during those moments of pareidolia was the right fusiform face area, known to be responsible for facial recognition.To confirm that the people’s brains really were processing images of faces, the team used a technique called classification, which creates a composite image by mapping people’s brain activity to different images. Eerily, a facelike classification image emerged from the collective brain activity of people experiencing pareidolia.The other winners of this year’s Ig Nobel Prizes were equally zany and creative, from a measurement of the friction between a shoe and a banana peel to the modulation of the pain caused by a burning laser while people viewed good or bad art. See the full list here.last_img read more

How do you weigh an animal that is no more

first_imgFiguring out how much a living animal weighs is relatively straightforward. But for many extinct mammals, all that’s left are bones. Now, researchers have come up with a new technique to use them to estimate the weight of creatures long gone. First, they make a detailed digital model of the bones in a lifelike arrangement. Then, they use a computer to digitally “shrink-wrap” the skeleton to come up with a rough idea of the creature’s volume. Finally, they estimate the creature’s weight using a volume-to-mass conversion based on 14 modern-day mammals ranging in size from the 90-kilogram red deer (Cervus elaphus) of Eurasia to the 2.7-metric-ton African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Interestingly, the tightest shrink-wrap doesn’t always produce the best weight estimate, the researchers report online today in Royal Society Open Science. For this study, the team used 3D scans of the skeletons of a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) and a giant ground sloth (Megatherium americanum) that had been mounted in museums. The woolly mammoth (artist’s representation shown) probably weighed more than 3.6 metric tons, and the giant ground sloth likely tipped the scales at about 3.7 metric tons. The reliability of the new technique relies heavily on an accurate arrangement of bones, the researchers note, and the weight estimate is good only for that individual specimen. Further research will be needed to determine whether the new weight-estimating technique can be used for other large creatures such as dinosaurs, team members caution.last_img read more

Sweet fatty foods could remodel the brain to drive overeating

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country That set expressed the gene for an excitatory signaling molecule, glutamate. The researchers used a two-photon microscope to observe these so-called glutamatergic cells in the brains of living mice. They endowed the cells with a gene that made them fluoresce when they took up calcium—an indicator of neural firing. Then they watched the cells while mice lapped calorie-rich sugar water from a spout. If a lean mouse had just eaten, the neurons were more active in response to the sugar than if it had just been fasting. The cells seemed to act as a brake, signaling, “That’s enough!”But as lean mice became obese from a diet high in fat and sugar, these cells became less lively. By 12 weeks after the diet switch, the glutamatergic cells were roughly 80% less active in response to the sugar drink, the team reports today in Science.The study is one of the first to use calcium imaging to observe brain activity in animals long-term, says Lora Heisler, a neuroscientist at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom. It’s “a clever approach” to investigating how obesity develops, she says. One interpretation of the study: Regularly eating sweet, fatty foods “change[s] the way that our brain’s appetite centers function,” she says. “And by making the brain less responsive to the sweet stuff, it means that we will eat more than we need to.”But the study doesn’t distinguish which changed the neural activity: a feature of the diet or the weight gain itself. It also doesn’t prove the change in brain activity itself caused the animals to overeat and gain weight, Seeley notes. The taste of the new diet might have prompted mice to up their calories—worn-out brake or no. “You probably haven’t tasted rodent chow,” he says. “I have. It’s terrible. It is dry, salty, bland grossness.” High-fat mouse diets, on the other hand, usually “taste like sugar cookie dough.” Still, he says, the reduced activity of the glutamatergic neurons might have perpetuated obesity in the mice by failing to tamp down their appetites even as their weight climbed.“There are a lot of interesting areas for appetite in the brain. This paper makes the case that these neurons deserve additional attention,” says Scott Sternson, a neuroscientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia. If future studies reveal a receptor present on this subset of neurons—but absent from most other cells—researchers could try to target it with drugs to selectively bump up activity. But that won’t be easy. Strongly stimulating these neurons is apparently unpleasant; mice in the study avoided electrical zaps to the area. So the approach would require a delicate tap on the appetite brake, Sternson says, “not slamming on it full-force.” When lean mice become obese, neurons linked to feeding change their gene expression and activity levels. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe We know fatty, sugary foods can transform our waistlines. Much less is known about how they might transform the brain. Now, researchers have found that switching a mouse from standard chow to more fattening fare changes the activity of certain neurons that regulate eating, wearing out the cellular “brakes” that limit intake. If the same is true for people, the finding could help explain our tendency to overeat.Changing an animal’s diet “is a subtle manipulation,” says Randy Seeley, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Michigan Nutrition Obesity Research Center in Ann Arbor who was not involved in the work. “The fact that you can go in and see different properties of these cells is an amazing finding.”Neurobiologist Garret Stuber and a team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wanted to understand the brain changes that accompany obesity. They were particularly interested in an area at the bottom of the brain known to regulate feeding, called the lateral hypothalamus. With collaborators in the United Kingdom, Stuber—now at the University of Washington in Seattle—sequenced RNA from cells in this area of the mouse brain and grouped them according to what genes they expressed. By comparing gene expression between obese mice on a high-fat diet and control animals on a standard one, the researchers identified a subset of neurons that changed most dramatically with the obesity-inducing diet. Janson George/ center_img By Kelly ServickJun. 27, 2019 , 2:00 PM Sweet, fatty foods could remodel the brain to drive overeating Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Researchers Discover Wreck that Could Finally be Amelia Earhart Plane

first_imgThe disappearance of famous pilot Amelia Earhart as she tried to circumnavigate the world in 1937 has obsessed many for years, with theories ranging from Earhart and her navigator dying on an island after they crashed in the ocean to being imprisoned by the Japanese military, suspected of spying. Now a group of researchers say they’ve found a wreck off Buka Island, Papua New Guinea, that could provide the longed-for answers.Divers from Project Blue Angel say they first located the wreckage in August 2018, and identified several characteristics of Earhart’s plane, most significantly a glass disc that could be a light lens from the plane.Amelia Earhart, Los Angeles, 1928 X5665 – 1926 “CIT-9 Safety Plane”Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan were last heard from on July 2, 1937, during the final stretch of the circumnavigation, stretching from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island in the Pacific.Earhart had left Oakland, California, on May 20, 1937, for Miami (with stops along the way), where she announced her intention was to circumnavigate the globe.Then they flew across South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, arriving at Lae in New Guinea on June 29, 1937. With 20,000 miles behind them, they had only 7,000 left to go over the Pacific Ocean.Amelia Earhart in Hawaii. Photo by Pacific Aviation Museum CC BY 2.0On July 2nd, Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae, planning to land on Howland Island.  A ship, the USCGC Itasca, was stationed at Howland Island to help Earhart navigate landing her plane.At 7:42 a.m., she radioed: “We must be on you, but cannot see you – but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet”At 8:43 a.m., Earhart reported, “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.” And a few moments later: “We are running on line north and south.”She was never heard from again.Diver examining the wreck. Photo Credit: Stephani Gordon, Open Boat FilmsThe searchers of Project Blue Angel took a different approach to solve the mystery. “The Buka Island wreck site was directly on Amelia and Fred’s flight path, and it is an area never searched following their disappearance,” said William Snavely, Project Blue Angel director, in a statement. “What we’ve found so far is consistent with the plane she flew.”Most of the searches have concentrated on the area of the ocean near Howland Island. But what if, worried about fuel running low and facing headwinds, she turned around?Buka Island from SpaceDivers from Papua New Guinea surveyed the site several times for Snavely. Last year Project Blue Angel divers personally investigated the site, about 100 feet below the ocean’s surface.“While the complete data is still under review by experts, initial reports indicate that a piece of glass raised from the wreckage shares some consistencies with a landing light on the Lockheed Electra 10,” explains the Project, in its statement.Buka Island. Photo courtesy Blue Angel Project (Stephani Gordon, Open Boat Films)“Amelia’s Electra had specific modifications done to it for this specific journey, and some of those unique modifications appear to be verified in the wreckage that’s been found,” added pilot and aerospace engineer Jill Meyers, who is Blue Angel’s publicity manager.According to Live Science, Snavely was following up on a story heard in the 1930s. “A little boy on a Papua New Guinean island saw a plane — its left wing engulfed in flames — crash onto the beach. The little boy told his elders, but they didn’t believe him.”The tide dragged the plane offshore and underwater, and it became covered with coral.Getty Images“We’re still exploring to try to find out whose plane it is. We don’t want to jump ahead and assume that it’s Amelia’s,” said  Snavely. “But everything that we’re seeing so far would tend to make us think it could be.”Read another story from us: Examining Claims that Bring Into Question Amelia Earhart’s Piloting SkillsThe glass discovered will be further analyzed.“It’s obviously glass that appears to be old and covered significantly with barnacles,” Snavely told Live Science. “It has a rough shape and diameter that appears to be relatively consistent with lights that were on the plane back in the 1930s for Lockheed. But we don’t know for sure if it’s a Lockheed light. That’s what we’re getting checked right now.”last_img read more

IN PICTURES Papa Creole Extravaganza

first_imgShareTweetSharePin“It was a great show,” one patron said to DNO with respect to the Papa Creole Extravaganza held last night at the forecourt of Windsor park Sports Stadium.The show featured the creators of cadence-lypso music and their leader, Gordon Henderson who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the music business and Midnight Groovers dubbed the Kings of cadence-lypso, whose musical career has reached a 40-year milestone. Cletus “Halibut” Abraham, former leader singer of Belles Combo and Original Bouyon Pioneers, who, as the original WCK, created bouyon music also performed.Below are some photos taken at the event.last_img read more

Arizonas nuclear plant is on the cutting edge of clean energy

first_imgArizona’s nuclear plant is on the cutting edge of clean energy November 20, 2018 Photo courtesy of Arizona Public ServiceThis bird’s-eye view of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Plant nuclear core shows some of its highly trained nuclear engineers at work.center_img By Toni Gibbons       Rising from the desert scrublands of chaparral and sage, 55 miles west of downtown Phoenix near the town of Tonopah, are the three gray reactor domes of the Palo VerdeSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img read more

Benjamin Netanyahu makes history as Israels longestserving leader

first_imgHe has persevered through scandals, crises and conflicts, winning election after election even as the country grows more bitterly polarized. His supporters credit him with keeping Israel safe and prosperous, maintaining its Jewish character and boosting its standing internationally.His opponents, with equally visceral emotion, claim he has dashed hopes for peace with the Palestinians, torn society apart with vicious attacks on minority Arabs and left-wing opponents, and infused politics with a culture of corruption.But as the longevity of his 13-year rule is set to surpass that of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion on July 20, all agree Netanyahu has left a permanent imprint on Israel. By AP |Jerusalem | Published: July 17, 2019 3:41:36 pm Israel PM Netanyahu plans to visit India ahead of repeat polls to boost his campaign Israeli PM Netanyahu calls Iran’s enrichment move a “very, very dangerous step” More Explained Despite his tough talk, Netanyahu has shown relative moderation when it comes to using military force. Over the past year, he has resisted calls by hard-line constituents to strike harder against Gaza militants.Even after so long in power, Netanyahu has maintained an outsider image, railing at perceived enemies in the media, judiciary and opposition. His tactics have mirrored those of his good friend, President Donald Trump, as well as other right-wing populist leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro _ both of whom he has welcomed to Israel.The anti-establishment rhetoric, along with occasional incitement against the country’s Arab minority and the political left, has played well among his base of traditional, working-class voters.The son of a historian _ and a keen student of history himself _ Netanyahu already holds the record for being Israel’s youngest elected prime minister and for serving the longest consecutive term.Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist at the Haaretz daily and author of a Netanyahu biography, called the prime minister an “incredibly good political strategist” who has presided over a period of prosperity and relative quiet. Netanyahu often boasts of expanding ties with countries that once shunned Israel _ including Arab states that share Israel’s enmity toward Iran _ while rejecting demands for a Palestinian state.“If you want one ideological legacy it’s that he has broken the paradigm that we need to end the occupation or else we will be isolated,” said Pfeffer. “He has proven that is not true.”Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Netanyahu will be remembered as the one who “buried” the peace process and paved the way to a future apartheid state by deepening Israel’s control over the West Bank, which it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. “I think his legacy will be his success in making sure that any ray of hope to achieve peace based on two states along the 1967 border is blocked,” he said.In confronting President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in a brazen 2015 speech to Congress, Netanyahu also debunked the conventional wisdom that an Israeli leader could not survive an open clash with an American president. Since Trump’s election in 2016, Netanyahu has enjoyed unprecedented backing, drawing frequent accusations of partisanship. Advertising Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file “The combination of a very difficult relationship with the Obama administration and the exaggerated embrace of Trump potentially create a rift in the quality of U.S.-Israel relations,” noted Dan Shapiro, Obama’s former ambassador to Israel. “When the pendulum swings in the other direction that will also be part of his legacy.” Advertising Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Related News Israel will be destroyed in half an hour if America attacks Iran: senior Iranian MP Netanyahu has often said he would like to be remembered as the “protector of Israel.” But admirers and critics alike say that what sets him apart is his unparalleled political acumen, a ruthless drive to win at all costs and an uncanny ability to sell his shifting policies to the public.“He so deeply believes in himself and what he is doing, and his marketing skills are so amazing that he can argue for one thing and then the opposite with the same conviction. It’s an art form,” said Bushinsky.A gifted orator in both English and Hebrew, he was elected for a single term in the late 1990s on a platform of opposing the Oslo accords with the Palestinians. But once in office, he continued implementing them and even met with arch-enemy Yasser Arafat.As finance minister in the early 2000s, he cut taxes and rolled back entitlements to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community _ only to reverse course once he returned to power to secure their political backing. He wrote counterterrorism books in which he preached never to negotiate under threat, but as prime minister he released more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for a single captive Israeli soldier in 2011. Advertising “He thinks that he is the right guy in the right place. That he is the one who will save Israel and lead Israel to a safe haven,” said Aviv Bushinsky, a former Netanyahu aide. Israelis think that “things are good, so why should we change a winning horse,” he added.Just as he is about to cross a milestone, Netanyahu faces perhaps his greatest political challenge yet. After failing to form a parliamentary majority following April elections, the country is holding a repeat vote on Sept. 17. The following month, he faces a hearing with Israel’s attorney general, who has recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges. If formal charges are filed, Netanyahu could be forced to step aside.In contrast to his predecessors, the 69-year-old hasn’t left his mark by winning a war or signing a peace accord. He has proudly resisted various peace initiatives and allowed West Bank settlements to flourish. The signature achievements most associated with him, such as combatting Iran’s nuclear program, covertly striking weapons shipments to Israel’s enemies and building a border fence to stop the flow of African migrants, had begun taking shape before he assumed office.“His rule has been characterized by conservatism and hesitancy,” said opposition lawmaker Tamar Zandberg. “If he is going to be remembered for anything it’s going to be his idleness.” Best Of Express Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu longes serving prime minister, Israel Prime Minister, World News, Israel news, Indian Express news Just as he is about to cross a milestone, Netanyahu faces perhaps his greatest political challenge yet. After failing to form a parliamentary majority following April elections, the country is holding a repeat vote on Sept. 17. (Source: File)As Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, he is solidifying his place as the country’s greatest political survivor and the most dominant force in Israeli politics in his generation. Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Japan government to pay damages to kin over leprosy isolation

first_img Advertising By AP |Tokyo | Published: July 9, 2019 5:18:58 pm Related News More acrimony in Japan-South Korea row as Tokyo lodges protest Japan Prime minister Shinzo Abe, Japan Court, Japan Court ruling, Kumamoto District Court Japan , Japanese government compensation, Leprocy, World News, Indian Express news The court ruling blamed legislative negligence by Japan’s parliament for destroying the families and causing tremendous damage to their lives. (Representational Image)Japan’s prime minister said Tuesday that the government will abide by a court ruling ordering it to compensate former leprosy patients’ families over a lengthy segregation policy that severed family ties and caused long-lasting prejudice. The 561 plaintiffs demanded 5.5 million yen ($52,000) each for their suffering. The court ordered the government to pay 370 million yen ($3.4 million) in damages to 541 of the families. The court said the government failed to end segregation until 1996, decades after leprosy, or Hansen’s disease became curable.More than 12,000 leprosy patients were kept in 14 isolated sanatoriums across the country, and many were also forcibly sterilized. Many remained at the sanatoriums even after the termination of the segregation policy in 1996, fearing discrimination and with ties to their families severed. About 1,500 of the former patients remain at the facilities today.The court ruling blamed legislative negligence by Japan’s parliament for destroying the families and causing tremendous damage to their lives.A 2001 court decision declared the segregation policy unconstitutional and prompted the government reparations, but only to former patients, leaving out their families. Advertising S.Korea minister warns of possible countermeasures to Japan’s export curbs South Korea seeks US help in bitter trade spat with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will not appeal the Kumamoto District Court’s decision in June awarding compensation to more than 500 plaintiffs for financial and psychological suffering due to discrimination in education, jobs and marriage.“The families have already gone through indescribable hardships, and we can’t prolong that any further,” Abe told reporters, adding that part of the ruling is unacceptable to the government. “It is an exceptional case, but we decided not to appeal.”The plaintiffs welcomed the move, but opposition lawmakers raised scepticism about Abe’s announcement, which came just ahead of July 21 upper house elections. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

The iPhone Models Impending Obsolescence

first_imgWhat I’m anticipating is a multilevel solution with a head-mounted fully functional smartphone-like device with a screen below one eye. It would deploy when needed, kind of like a more attractive version of what Boba Fett used in Star Wars but without the helmet.It would be a fully functional computer, likely based on the smartphone hardware and OS to get developers, size and connectivity right. It would be connected to a set of services that would provide the chatbot AI, deep learning and data connectivity it would need, and it would have a significant fashion element so folks wouldn’t have a Google Glass moment when wearing it.I expect it would have a camera, though, so it could gain context and provide capabilities like facial and object recognition, as well as warn you if you’re too focused on the screen and about to walk into danger. I expect an option here would be a low light or infrared camera, so it also could help you see in the dark. Smartphone Problems A number of issues with how we use smartphones need to be addressed. First, the things literally can kill you. I’m not talking about their catching fire, though clearly that has been a big issue. I’m talking about the fact that people want to use these things while walking and driving. This practice often ends very badly.One of the scariest things on the road right now is looking in your rear-view mirror when you’ve stopped at a light, and seeing the driver of the car coming up behind you looking at a phone. You just pray the driver looks up before a motor lands in your back.We’ve made using the phones illegal. We’ve charged people whose phone use has caused deadly traffic accidents with manslaughter, and given them drunk driving-like jail terms and financial penalties. It is pretty clear that for folks who are attention span-challenged — or those driving, walking or bike riding on the same roads with them — that smartphones are still killers.If we want to save lives, we need to rethink how device can be used more safely. Putting It All Together Early smartphones didn’t look like the iPhone, and I’m not suggesting the RealWear HMT-1 is the iPhone’s replacement. Still, even though its focus is more on industrial use than the consumer market, this product does have the core elements to make it a viable proof of concept.It is a full Android tablet you wear on your head. It has noise cancellation microphones, and it can operate by voice command (and it could connect to systems that use a full natural voice interface). It has a small, high-resolution display that sits just out of your line of sight, and it has a camera (with light source) that it could use to identify and share with a service or person what you’re viewing. RealWear HMT-1I’ve worn it, and it is acceptably light, though its industrial focus does cause it to miss on being attractive and unobtrusive. (It is designed to attach to a helmet, making it far closer to what Boba Fett actually would use than what you’d likely buy.)It’s estimated to cost around US$1,000, and even at low volume that is in line with high-end smartphone pricing. It should be far safer and cheaper than other head-mounted solutions potentially targeting smartphone replacement.While the HMT-1 actually is targeted at industrial use, it could form the design basis for a product that eventually could replace the iPhone wave of smartphone offerings. It could be far safer — and with the anticipated services, far more useful — than what we have today. As a result, the RealWear HMT-1 is my product of the week. It is easy to look back on technology changes and see that we had plenty of warnings that we clearly missed at the time. VCRs gave way to DVD players, which in turn have given way to streaming services. Brick cellphones evolved into flip phones, which were swapped out for two-way pager phones and then wiped out by the iPhone model. Tape players gave way to the Walkman CD player, which gave way to the iPod, which also ended up in the iPhone model.Sometimes, trends that seem obvious fail to materialize. Laser disks never got to critical mass before DVDs arrived on the scene, and 3D TV, which seemed so obviously next, wasn’t.I think we soon will see another big industry shift, but some key elements are missing, so I don’t want anyone to think that your smartphone will be obsolete this year. The change I’m calling may be closer to 2020 than 2017.I’ll explain why smartphones are becoming obsolescent and end with my product of the week: the thing that I think is a big part of what is to come. center_img Wrapping Up: All the Elements Exist Virtually all of the core elements to create this thing exist, but they don’t exist in any one vendor. Those that have the client device capability generally don’t have the back-end services or hardware yet. However, nothing says they couldn’t partner to get there. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Lenovo and Alibaba have showcased resources in line with this kind of an offering, and people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have the vision and personal resources.For me, the question isn’t if, it is when — and who will take the first risky step. Like every technology that proceeded it, the smartphone eventually will be replaced. I think it will be by a follow-on to my product of the week, tied to a service that slowly is being birthed in the cloud. Although smartphones have gotten bigger, display resolution and costs have dropped, so we actually could make displays smaller while still showcasing the same or more information. This is important, because it means that in theory, we could place them closer to the line of sight, allowing users to see both the display and what is coming.Military pilots have expensive rigs like this so they can see targeting and instrument data while remaining focused on what their planes and helicopters physically have in front of them. These rigs give them additional viewing options in low light, short of putting on night vision goggles that typically have far more limited fields of view. In other words, head-mounted technology has massively advanced over the last decade.Voice command certainly has come a long way. Many of us now have Amazon or Google home tech products that we can order around, and some of us have them connected to other smart home functions so we can order around other things in our house.Following on this tech are natural language interfaces that can better understand us without learning commands, tied to deep learning cloud systems that let us interact with systems more conversationally when we have the bandwidth. We are getting very close to the point where we’ll simply be able to talk to our devices and have them not only follow our orders but converse with us, providing ever richer services and information without our having to type a single word.This idea is tied to AI-based chatbots. We’ve already seen products like IBM’s Watson begin to cut a relatively impressive swath through the initial opportunity for ever richer voice-enabled cloud offerings.Tied to deep learning systems, we could have the equivalent of autocomplete for complex decisions and tasks. For instance, you could simply ask for a letter to be written to a sibling and then provide an outline of the content, which could include pictures, videos and even interactive elements, mostly pulled from your cloud digital history and apps.A four-page letter could take you 30 seconds to summarize, with the cloud system doing the rest. Now apply this to business proposals, correspondence, or even thank you notes. The output, based on an analysis of your other correspondence, would look like it came from you — but likely would have better sentence structure and punctuation, and no typos. Technology Changes Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

International audit of colorectal surgeries provides highly realistic reflection of current practices

first_imgOct 10 2018European Society for Coloproctology will undertake further cohort studies on robotic colorectal surgery, the management of acute severe Ulcerative Colitis and parastomal hernia repair in 2019The European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) has undertaken a major international audit of colorectal operations to understand which are most widely used techniques across the world, which appear to be associated with the best outcomes and where further research needs to be undertaken. Participation in 2017 audit Laproscopic (‘keyhole’) surgeries were used in 56.6% of cases Robotic surgeries were used in just 4% of cases Open surgery was used in 39.5% of cases Operations using a transanal approach for part of the resection (a new technique) were seen in 14.3% of cases We were very excited with the overwhelming response to the study which has allowed us to collect data from so many different sites and countries. This level of participation and volume of data is unprecedented and gives us a full picture of where colorectal surgery is, and where it is heading.” Using a cohort study model rather than a randomised a controlled trial (RCT) removes many hurdles and gives us data that is both up-to-date and ‘real-world’ to work with at a fraction of the cost and time investment for the benefit of our patients.” This study was the third in ESCP’s series of studies on bowel anastomoses.  Its first cohort study on right hemicolectomy was completed in 2015 across 284 centres, including 3200 patients. The second study, in 2016, focussed on stoma closures across 305 centres, including 2441 patients. The results from these three cohorts are already paving the way for progress on treatments and training to improve patient care internationally.Source: The results were announced at the recent ESCP Annual & General Scientific Meeting in Nice from 26 to 29 September, gaining significant interest online and on social media.On the back of the success of this 2017 study and the expanding and active international research network created, ESCP will undertake three new prospective  international  studies  in 2019. These focus on outcomes after robotic surgery, the medical and surgical management of acute severe Ulcerative Colitis, and patient-reported outcomes after repair of a parastomal hernia.Tom Pinkney, chair of cohort studies for ESCP said: Alaa Al-Hussana the 2017 cohort study lead said: The cohort data is the result of a multinational collaboration of 1,448 clinicians at 335 sites in 49 countries covering 5,640 colorectal surgeries, making it one of the largest studies of its kind ever undertaken. The data were collected prospectively over just 8 weeks using a ‘snapshot’ methodology, giving an up to date and highly realistic reflection of current colorectal practice on a global scale.The findings reveal variation in practice of left colon, sigmoid colon and rectal resections (removal of all or part of an organ) with a variety of operation approaches used: Across all techniques, the average post-operative anastomotic leak rate (breaking down of the join between two pieces of bowel) was 8.6%.  Patients stayed in hospital for an average of seven days and 6.6% needed to be re-admitted due to complications within 30 days of leaving hospital. If a patient suffered an anastomotic leak, the average length of stay more than doubled to 15 days, and the death rate rose 7-fold, from 0.5% to 3.5%, showing the major impact of this surgical complication.Five pre-planned analyses of the study data were published simultaneously on 27th September 2018 in the journal Colorectal Disease, which is the official journal of ESCP and other coloproctology societies around the world. These papers explored the following five research questions:Related StoriesCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedEngineered stem cells offer new treatment for metastatic bone cancerTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancer Are oral antibiotics combined with mechanical bowel preparation associated with a reduced risk of anastomotic leak? How is the surgical approach chosen for patients undergoing surgery for rectal cancer? Is there a difference in postoperative complication rates between patients undergoing end stoma or anastomosis following emergency colorectal surgery? What is the ‘complete response’ rate following neoadjuvant (pre-operative) chemoradiotherapy for rectal cancer? What is the safety profile of laparoscopic conversion in colonic surgery?last_img read more

Study examines effects of using massage roller on facial skin and blood

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 9 2018Facial massaging using a roller can increase skin blood flow for more than ten minutes after the massage. It can also improve vasodilation — the widening of blood vessels, — in the long-term, according to a study by researchers in Japan.Beauty experts rave about them, and millions of us buy them, but what do scientists make of face massage rollers? Few studies have so far investigated the effects of using facial massage rollers over time.To address this gap, Naoyuki Hayashi of the Institute for Liberal Arts, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and colleagues at Tokyo Healthcare University and the Research and Development Center, MTG Co. Ltd., conducted short- and long-term experiments involving participation of healthy male and female volunteers to examine the effects of using a massage roller on facial skin and blood flow.Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsScientists turn type A blood into universal type O, potentially doubling blood transfusion stocksIn the short-term experiment, even a five-minute massage can significantly increase facial skin blood flow in the massaged cheek, with a relative change of up to around 25%. Visualization of the change in blood flow was achieved using a non-invasive technique called laser speckle flowgraphy.One surprising outcome was the duration of the effect immediately after the five-minute massage. “The increase in skin blood flow after applying the massage roller persisted much longer than we had expected,” the researchers say in their study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. “Short-term mechanical stimulation by a facial massage roller increased skin blood flow for more than ten minutes solely in the massaged cheek.”In the long-term experiment, the researchers examined the effects of daily massage on the right cheek over a five-week period. They also examined the reactivity of facial blood vessels to a heat stimulus, involving application of a heating probe set at 40°C, in order to test whether there were any changes in vascular dilation response.Findings from the long-term study suggested that using a roller improved blood flow response, or the so-called vasodilatory response, to heat stimulation. One explanation for this could be that endothelial cells in the massaged area produce more nitric oxide, which is known to be a potent vasodilator. Source: read more

New ointment for treating brown recluse spider bites is tested on humans

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 29 2018The bite from a brown recluse spider (Loxosceles) can cause skin necrosis, renal failure, and even death. A new ointment is being tested in Brazil, however. Its effects have already been proven in tests conducted in cell cultures and animal models. Now the ointment will have its immunomodulatory action tested on humans in Phase III clinical trials, and it may be included in the treatment protocol for patients who develop lesions caused by the spider bite. The trial has started in October.”There was extensive research into the action of the venom before development of the ointment. We were able to isolate and sequence the most important protein of the brown recluse spider venom for the first time 20 years ago. That allowed us to study the venom molecular action mechanisms and develop inhibitors, now patented, that can be used in studies of structure and function, and possibly as therapy,” said Denise Tambourgi researcher at the Butantan Institute, in a talk given at São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP Week New York/.The meeting, held at the City University of New York (CUNY) November 26-28, 2018, involves Brazilian and U.S. researchers with the aim of strengthening research partnerships.Clinical trials to verify the action of the ointment have just begun in Santa Catarina – a Brazilian state with a high incidence of brown recluse spider bites. “Clinical trials will be conducted on 240 people. Of this total, 120 will receive a placebo and the other 120 will be treated with the ointment. That will enable us to compare the results,” said Tambourgi who is also one of the principal investigators at the Center for Research on Toxins, Immune-Response and Cell Signaling – CeTICS, one of the FAPESP-funded Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers – RIDCs.Tetracycline, a substance used as an antibiotic, forms the basis of the ointment. “We utilized a concentration lower than a microbicide, but at a dosage able to modulate the activity of the protease that is involved in the process of tissue inflammation and destruction. Since tetracycline has already been tested in several clinical trials, it did not have to undergo tolerance phases (phases I and II). In fact, we are giving the substance a new use,” she said.Cutaneous effect, systemic effectIn addition to causing cutaneous lesions – which could take months to heal – in some cases, the bite of a brown recluse spider also causes systemic effects such as hemolysis, platelet aggregation, renal inflammation and failure that can result in patient death.There have been reports of accidents involving Loxosceles in South, Central, and North America. In recent years, however, cases of brown recluse spider bites have also occurred in Europe, with reports of cases in countries such as Spain, France, Portugal and Italy, a country that registered one case of fatal loxoscelism.Related StoriesAbcam Acquire Off-The-Shelf Diploid Library of Over 2,800 Knockout Cell LinesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsAccording to the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s National Disease Notification System – SINAN in 2016, there were 173,630 cases of accidents with venomous animals in Brazil, 7,441 of which were due to brown recluse spider bites.Cutaneous loxoscelism occurs in nearly 80% of the cases. Less frequent but much more dangerous are the systemic effects that affect nearly 20% of patients bitten by the brown recluse spider.Because the bite of the brown recluse spider is painless and reaction at the site does not appear immediately, victims only seek help when the skin lesion has already established itself. “Tissue necrosis is a result not just of the venom, but also of the cascade of reactions by the body itself, activated by the toxin’s main protein,” said Tambourgi.For years, the Butantan Institute has produced limited quantities of serum for brown recluse spider bites. “They are small spiders, measuring 3 centimeters at most, from which we can extract little venom. We need hundreds of specimens to produce the serum,” Tambourgi said.Secondary reactionsStudies to determine the key components of the brown recluse toxin have been conducted since 1994. The team of researchers from the Butantan Institute inserted a spider gene into the bacterium Escherichia coli, thus creating a biofabric of sphingomyelinase D (SMase D), the protein that is the core component of the toxin.”During that entire process of research, we discovered that the venom of the brown recluse spider can cause secondary reactions that are triggered mainly by the protein. I often say that the toxin just begins the process and that the protein alters the cells. Later, deregulation of the body occurs, leading to the production of proteases – enzymes whose function is to break the peptide bonds of other proteins. These proteases are what the ointment has to inhibit,” she said.Therefore, the ointment acts on the so-called secondary effect. “In experimental models both in vitro using human skin cells as well as in animal models, it was possible to reduce the size of the lesion by nearly 80%,” she said.The study led by Tambourgi has determined the mechanism of action of the venom released by the brown recluse spider as well as the systemic and cutaneous form of the disease. “We were able to develop the ointment by building the mechanism that leads to the dermonecrotic lesion. However, because the poisoning is caused by what the protein induces in the body, we are attacking the secondary effects of the toxin. We have to await the results of the clinical trials, but I am confident because tests performed in cell cultures and animal models have been very promising,” she said.last_img read more

Drawing leads to better memory than writing

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 6 2018Older adults who take up drawing could enhance their memory, according to a new study.Researchers from the University of Waterloo found that even if people weren’t good at it, drawing, as a method to help retain new information, was better than re-writing notes, visualization exercises or passively looking at images.”We found that drawing enhanced memory in older adults more than other known study techniques,” said Melissa Meade, PhD candidate in cognitive neuroscience at Waterloo. “We’re really encouraged by these results and are looking into ways that it can be used to help people with dementia, who experience rapid declines in memory and language function.”Related StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionAs part of a series of studies, the researchers asked both young people and older adults to do a variety of memory-encoding techniques and then tested their recall. Meade conducted this study with Myra Fernandes a Psychology professor in cognitive neuroscience at Waterloo and recent UW PhD graduate Jeffrey Wammes.The researchers believe that drawing led to better memory when compared with other study techniques because it incorporated multiple ways of representing the information–visual, spatial, verbal, semantic and motoric.”Drawing improves memory across a variety of tasks and populations, and the simplicity of the strategy means that it can be used in many settings,” said Myra Fernandes.As part of the studies, the researchers compared different types of memory techniques in aiding retention of a set of words, in a group of undergraduate students and a group of senior citizens. Participants would either encode each word by writing it out, by drawing it, or by listing physical attributes related to each item. Later on after performing each task, memory was assessed. Both groups showed better retention when they used drawing rather than writing to encode the new information, and this effect was especially large in older adults.Retention of new information typically declines as people age, due to deterioration of critical brain structures involved in memory such as the hippocampus and frontal lobes. In contrast, we know that visuospatial processing regions of the brain, involved in representing images and pictures, are mostly intact in normal aging, and in dementia. “We think that drawing is particularly relevant for people with dementia because it makes better use of brain regions that are still preserved, and could help people experiencing cognitive impairment with memory function,” said Meade. “Our findings have exciting implications for therapeutic interventions to help dementia patients hold on to valuable episodic memories throughout the progression of their disease” Source: read more

Weakened metabolism of immune T cells may account for serious complications in

Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 14 2018The elderly suffer more serious complications from infections and benefit less from vaccination than the general population. Scientists have long known that a weakened immune system is to blame but the exact mechanisms behind this lagging immunity have remained largely unknown.Now research led by investigators at Harvard Medical School suggests that weakened metabolism of immune T cells may be partly to blame.The findings, published Dec. 10 in PNAS and based on experiments in mouse immune cells, pinpoint a specific metabolic pathway called one-carbon metabolism that is deficient in the aged T cells of rodents. The work also suggests possible ways to restore weakened immune function with the use of small-molecule compounds that boost T cell performance.”We believe our findings may help explain the basic malfunction that drives loss of immune defenses with age,” said senior study author Marcia Haigis, professor of cell biology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School. “If affirmed in further studies, we hope that our findings can set the stage for the development of therapies to improve immune function.”The role of T cells in the immune system is twofold: attacking illness-causing cells like bacteria, viruses and cancer and “remembering” past invaders–the body’s way of ensuring that it can spot a threat and mount a rapid defense during subsequent encounters with the same pathogens. In a healthy person, T cells circulate in the blood and quietly scan the body for threats using proteins on the cell’s surface. If a T cell encounters another cell it deems dangerous, the T cell undergoes activation, a molecular cascade in which it switches from surveillance mode to attack mode. The activated cells then rapidly replicate to build an army and destroy the enemy.First, the researchers looked for overall differences between old and young T cells. They isolated T cells from the spleens of young and old mice and noticed that, in general, older mice had fewer T cells. Next, to gauge the cells’ immune fitness, the researchers activated the T cells by mimicking signals normally turned on by pathogens during infection. The older T cells showed diminished activation and overall function in response to these alarm signals. Specifically, they grew more slowly, secreted fewer immune-signaling molecules and died at a much faster rate than young T cells. The researchers also observed that aged T cells had lower metabolism, consumed less oxygen and broke down sugars less efficiently. They also had smaller than normal mitochondria, the cells’ power-generators that keep them alive.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeIt was as if these older immune cells had lost their “appetite” and their ability to process fuel into energy, Haigis and her colleagues observed.To pinpoint the metabolic pathways behind this malfunction, the scientists analyzed all the different proteins in the cells, including those that might be important for coaxing a T cell from dormancy into a fighting state. The team found that the levels of some 150 proteins were lower-than-normal upon activation of the aged T cells, compared with young T cells. About 40 proteins showed higher than normal levels in aged versus young T cells. Many of these proteins have unknown functions, but the researchers found that proteins involved a specific type of metabolism, called one-carbon metabolism, were reduced by nearly 35 percent in aged T cells.One-carbon metabolism comprises a set of chemical reactions that take place in the cell’s mitochondria and the cell cytosol to produce amino acids and nucleotides, the building blocks of proteins and DNA. This process is critical for cellular replication because it supplies the biologic material for building new cells.The team’s previous work had shown that one-carbon metabolism plays a central role in supplying essential biological building blocks for the growing army of T cells during infection. So, the scientists wondered, could adding the products of this pathway to weakened T cells restore their fitness and function?To test this hypothesis, the team added two molecules–formate and glycine, the main products of one-carbon metabolism–whose levels were markedly reduced in aged T cells. Indeed, adding the molecules boosted T cell proliferation and reduced cell death to normal levels.The researchers caution that while encouraging, the effects were observed solely in mouse cells in lab dishes rather than in animals and must be confirmed in further experiments. read more

Tips for staying safe in water during summer

first_img Source:University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Taking the time to follow some basic precautions will keep you and your loved ones safe in the water all summer long.”Gabriella Cardone, MD, an emergency medicine pediatrician with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and attending physician at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Before engaging in aquatic activities, make sure everyone knows how to swim or has an approved life jacket. Water noodles, inner tubes, or water wings do not count.Tragically, there are approximately 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S. every year, which is an average of 10 deaths a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”Children should learn how to swim by age 4 and their parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR in case of emergency,” Cardone said.Cardone, a mother of three, said children can be taught how to float as early as at 1 year of age. “If you are planning a summer trip to a lake or beach, schedule swimming lessons for your children ahead of time,” she said.Regardless of whether they can swim, children need to be monitored constantly. “They need your undivided attention. No talking on the smartphone. No checking social media. And, absolutely no drinking,” she said.Mom and dad should not swim alone either. “Even excellent swimmers need companions,” she said. “Call it the buddy system.”There are additional precautions. If you are going to a pool, keep children away from an exposed suction outlet (drain). At the beach, keep everyone out of the water if there is a strong current or undertow.Swimmers should stay in the designated areas with lifeguards, always enter the water feet first, and know when and how to call 911.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationWater shoes are a good idea at the beach and pool. It’s easy to step on a sea urchin or stingray in the ocean, or broken glass at a pool. It is a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy and your tetanus shot up to date.Take into consideration whether someone is healthy enough for an aquatic activity.”If you have an open wound or a weakened immune system, you may want to stay out of the water. That’s because you may have a heightened risk of infection,” Cardone said.Conversely, if you have diarrhea, wait at least a week before using public pools or hot tubs to avoid spreading an infection. Also, make sure children go to the bathroom before swimming. Shower with soap and water before entering a pool.Tiny microbes in water can cause recreational waterborne illnesses, said Cynthia Chappell, PhD, a professor of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences with UTHealth School of Public Health.When the levels of bacteria (E. coli) and viruses (norovirus) rise, your risk of diarrhea and infections of the skin, eyes, ears, and lungs rises, too.As if that is not bad enough, there are also parasites in the water. The most common are cryptosporidium and giardia, and they are spread by swallowing, breathing, or having contact with contaminated water.”The good news is that chlorine kills bacteria in a pool. The not-so-good news is the cryptosporidium is becoming resistant to the levels of chlorine used in pools and water parks,” Chappell said.As for the ocean, officials monitor the quality of seawater and issue alerts if there is cause for concern, such as increased bacterial counts or algal blooms.”Your best bet is to stick to well-maintained pools and well-monitored beaches,” Chappell said.You can have a great time in the water this summer. You just have to take a few precautions.center_img Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 24 2019Beaches, lakes, and pools are great ways to beat the summer heat but there are precautions to take before reaching for that swimsuit, report physicians with The University of Texas Health Science at Houston (UTHealth).last_img read more

Standalone system to produce drinking water via solar energy

Provided by Asociacion RUVID Researchers from the University of Alicante’s research group in applied electrochemistry and electrocatalysis have developed a standalone system for desalinating and treating water through electrodialysis. The system is directly powered by solar energy and can be applied in off-grid areas. Designed only for desalinating water, it is a sustainable, eco-friendly technology powered by solar photovoltaic panels in a CO2-free process, thus not contributing to climate change.Group director Vicente Montiel says, “The new system requires no batteries and has none of the economic and environmental costs involved in managing empty batteries. Furthermore, it can be adapted and applied for treating water of many different origins, including seawater, wells containing brackish water, treatment plants and industrial processes, which makes it particularly well-suited to remote, off-grid areas.” The equipment can be employed to obtain clean water for human consumption, irrigation, street cleaning and other uses, when there is no energy grid available or following natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or fires.Montiel also points out that the technology could be a potential solution to drought, just like osmosis plants.The research group has a pilot and demonstration plant able to generate a cubic metre of drinking water every day. They are looking for companies interested in the commercial exploitation of the technology through licence and/or technical cooperation agreements.”This is not a new technique, as in the Canaries electrodialysis has been employed for many years for desalination purposes,” Montiel says. “What is new about this UA-developed technology is that all electricity supplied to this system comes from a photovoltaic solar field.”More specifically, this technique “can only be employed to treat water with a salt content exceeding that tolerated for human consumption or irrigation. If the water has other problems, for instance the presence of organic matter, this technology cannot be applied.”A byproduct of all desalination processes is a certain amount of water, which, despite the treatment, is unfit for human consumption or irrigation, as its salt concentration is much higher than it was before treatment. Such water is commonly known as “reject water.” However, the director of the group says, “With the UA-designed system, it is possible, for instance, to regulate reject water salinity so that it is similar to seawater salinity.”Among other advantages, this new technology makes it possible to recover approximately 80 or 90 percent of all treated water. Additionally, it makes the most of the maximum energy supplied by panels when exposed to sunlight, and its availability is also high, as it enables treated water accumulation for periods in which renewable sources do not provide enough energy. Credit: Asociación RUVID New desalination method offers low energy alternative to purify salty water Explore further Citation: Standalone system to produce drinking water via solar energy (2018, February 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Russian space experiments lead to a new 3D bioprinting technique

first_img More information: Vladislav A Parfenov et al, Scaffold-free, label-free and nozzle-free biofabrication technology using magnetic levitational assembly, Biofabrication (2018). DOI: 10.1088/1758-5090/aac900 Schematic image of an experimental setup with a “magnetic well” trap for holding bio-objects. Credit: Vladislav A Parfenov et al // Biofabrication, 2018 The conventional methods of magnetic 3-D bioprinting had a number of limitations associated with the gravity. To reduce the influence of the gravitational forces, one can increase the power of magnets that control the magnetic field. However, this will complicate the bioprinter considerably. The second way is to reduce the gravity. A group of scientists from 3-D Bioprinting Solutions used this approach. The new method is called formative three-dimensional biofactory, and it creates three-dimensional biological structures not in layers but immediately from all the sides. The researchers applied the experimental data and the results of the mathematical modeling obtained by the JIHT RAS scientists to control the shape of such structures.”The results of the Coulomb crystal experiment on the study of the formation of the spatially ordered structures led to the development of a new method for the formative 3-D biofactory of the tissue-like structures based on the programmable self-assembly of the living tissues and organs under the conditions of gravity and microgravity by means of an inhomogeneous magnetic field,” said the author.Bioprinters based on the new technology application will be able to create various biological constucts that can be used, for example, to estimate the adverse effects of space radiation on the health of astronauts on long-term space missions. In addition, this technology will be able to restore the function of the damaged tissues and organs in the future. In their experimental study, the JIHT researchers described how small charged particles behave in the magnetic field of a special shape under the microgravity conditions, including zero gravity. In addition, the scientists developed a mathematical model of this process based on the methods of molecular dynamics. These results explain how to obtain homogeneous and extended three-dimensional structures consisting of the thousands of the particles. Provided by AKSON Russian Science Communication Association The process of 3D self-assembly in the “magnetic well”. Credit: Vladislav A Parfenov et al // Biofabrication, 2018 Explore further Journal information: Biofabrication There are many methods of 3-D bioprinting. Most of them use a certain layer-by-layer framework of the biological tissues. The resulting bulk material is then sent to the incubator where the cultivation continues. There are ways in which biological objects are developed without the use of a multi-layer approach, for example, magnetic bioprinting, in which the cell material is directed to the desired location by means of magnetic fields. In this case, the cells should be labeled in some way with magnetic nanoparticles.The researchers from the 3-D Bioprinting Solutions company in collaboration with the other Russian and foreign scientists developed the new method, which allows researchers to create 3-D biological objects without the use of layer-by-layer approach and magnetic labels. This new method was developed with the contribution from the Joint Institute for High Temperatures of the Russian Academy of Sciences (JIHT RAS).”During the period from 2010 to 2017, a series of experimental studies were carried out aboard the Russian Orbital Segment of the International Space Station with the Coulomb Crystal experimental device. The main element of the device is an electromagnet that creates a special inhomogeneous magnetic field in which the structures of the diamagnetic particles (they are magnetized against the direction of the magnetic field) can be formed in the microgravity conditions,” says co-author Mikhail Vasiliev, head of laboratory of dusty plasma diagnostics in JIHT RAS. Citation: Russian space experiments lead to a new 3-D bioprinting technique (2018, June 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Thanks to magnetic levitation research in conditions of microgravity, scientists have developed a new technology for 3-D printing of biological tissues. In the future, this technology will help to create radiation-sensitive biological constructs and repair damaged tissues and human organs. The results are published in Biofabrication. Cell cultures go for the gold This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

EU set to fine Google billions over Android sources

first_imgGoogle also gave “financial incentives” to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they pre-installed Google Search on their devices, the commission said.Vestager’s other scalps include Amazon and Apple.The EU’s biggest ever punishment targeted Apple in 2016 when it ordered the iconic maker of iPhones and iPads to pay Ireland 13 billion euros ($16 billion) in back taxes that it had avoided by a tax deal with Dublin.The EU has also taken on Facebook over privacy issues after it admitted that millions of users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Trump’s 2016 election campaign.The Google decision comes just one week before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is due to travel to the United States for crucial talks with Trump on the tariffs dispute and other issues.Transatlantic tensions are also high after Trump berated NATO allies over defence spending at a summit last week, over his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and over the US president’s pull-out from the Iran nuclear agreement and Paris climate deal. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to say on Wednesday that Google abused its dominant position in the market by making tie-ups with phone makers like South Korea’s Samsung and China’s Huawei.The long-awaited decision comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount due to President Donald Trump’s shock decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports.Two European sources told AFP the fine would be “several billion euros” without giving further details. EU rules say Google could be fined up to 10 percent of parent company Alphabet’s annual revenue, which hit $110.9 billion in 2017.”The fine is based on the length of the infraction, but also on whether anti-trust authorities believe there was an intention to commit the offence, and whether they excluded competitors or not,” said another source close to the matter.The European Commission, the 28-nation EU’s executive arm, refused to comment.Denmark’s Vestager has targeted a series of Silicon Valley giants in her four years as the 28-nation European Union’s anti-trust chief, winning praise in Europe but angering Washington.The case against Android is the most significant of three complaints by the EU against the search titan, which has already been hit with a record-breaking 2.4-billion-euro fine in a Google shopping case.Brussels has repeatedly targeted Google over the past decade amid concerns about the Silicon Valley giant’s dominance of Internet search across Europe, where it commands about 90 percent of the market. © 2018 AFP ‘Financial incentives’In the Android file, the European Commission has accused Google of requiring mobile manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei to pre-install its search engine and Google Chrome browser on phones, and to set Google Search as the default, as a condition of licensing some Google apps.Google Search and Chrome are as a result pre-installed on the “significant majority” of devices sold in the EU, the commission says.The complaint formally lodged in April also accuses Google of preventing manufacturers from selling smartphones that run on rival operating systems based on the Android open source code. Google is facing a massive fine from the EU this week for abusing its dominant market position Google faces EU anti-trust fines over Android: sources Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: EU set to fine Google billions over Android: sources (2018, July 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from The EU is set to fine US internet giant Google several billion euros this week for freezing out rivals of its Android mobile phone system, sources said, in a ruling that risks fresh tensions with Washington. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to say Google abused its dominant market position and to impose a multi- billion dollar fine on the internet giantlast_img read more