Study lays foundation for treating drug alcohol addicts with noninvasive brain stimulation

Source:https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/magnetic-stimulation-dampens-brain-response-to-drug-cues-in-addiction May 15 2018In a study investigating the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for drug addiction, researchers at Medical University of South Carolina are the first to demonstrate that the noninvasive brain stimulation technique can dampen brain activity in response to drug cues in chronic alcohol users and chronic cocaine users. The findings are published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.Although the last 50 years of clinical and preclinical research have demonstrated that addiction is a brain disease, there are still no neural circuit-based treatments for substance dependence or the brain functions involved in the disorder. “Here, for the first time, we demonstrate that a new non-invasive brain stimulation technique may be the first tool available to fill this critical void in addiction treatment development,” said senior author Colleen Hanlon, PhD.Elevated brain activity in response to drug cues–referred to as cue reactivity–occurs with many types of drugs, including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. Cue reactivity also predicts relapse in addiction, so treatment approaches targeting the neural circuitry related to cue reactivity may directly impact cue-induced relapse in patients.”Therefore, these results have a tremendous potential to impact both basic discovery neuroscience as well as targeted clinical treatment development for substance dependence,” said Dr. Hanlon.First author of the paper Tonisha Kearney-Ramos, PhD, and colleagues performed two independent studies at the same time, one involving 25 people with cocaine use disorder and the other involving 24 people with alcohol use disorder. The participants received one session of TMS, which targeted magnetic stimulation to circuitry critical for drug-taking behaviors–the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. The real stimulation session was compared against a sham session that mimicked the experience of receiving TMS without actual brain stimulation.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenBrain imaging before and after TMS revealed that when alcohol users viewed images of alcohol-related cues, such as a liquor bottle, the single TMS session significantly reduced their drug cue reactivity. The same was true for cocaine users when viewing images of cocaine-related cues.”Since cue reactivity has previously been associated with abstinence, these studies suggest a common mechanism for treatment effects across disorders, with fMRI serving as a promising neural readout of treatment effects,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.However, it is still unclear if the changes in brain activity observed in the study will translate to reduced drug or alcohol use. The participants did not report any changes in their drug or alcohol craving after TMS. The authors think that repeated sessions of the targeted stimulation may be needed to see changes in self-reported craving. The researchers hope to answer this question in an ongoing clinical trial involving multiple TMS sessions in cocaine users.In addition to substance abuse, elevated cue-reactivity is a core symptom of many diseases, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, traumatic brain injury, smoking, and obesity, said Dr. Hanlon. “Therefore, the treatment described in this manuscript may have implications far beyond the substance abuse field.” read more

Study Infants using popular antireflux medicines are not at increased risk of

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 19 2018New University of Otago research shows infants using popular anti-reflux medicines like omeprazole are not at increased risk of pneumonia or other lower respiratory tract infections, contrary to findings from other international studies.Lead researcher, Mei-Ling Blank from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine says use of the drugs – proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – by otherwise healthy infants is controversial as studies have repeatedly failed to demonstrate the drugs relieve the symptoms of presumed acid reflux in infants.”Several large overseas studies have observed an association between the use of PPIs and pneumonia in adults, while two small studies conducted overseas suggested that infants using PPIs may also be at risk of lung infections,” Ms Blank says.Related StoriesArtificial DNA can help release active ingredients from drugs in sequencePersonalizing Nutritional Medicine With the Power of NMRTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTPPIs are commonly prescribed to infants for symptoms attributed to acid reflux or heartburn, with an earlier study by the Otago researchers finding New Zealand has among the highest rates of PPI use by infants internationally.”Given the high rates of PPI use that one of our earlier studies found, it was important to investigate if infants in New Zealand who were using PPIs were at increased risk of serious lung infections,” Ms Blank says.Co-author of the study, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dr Lianne Parkin, says the Otago study was the largest of its kind internationally and was able to address some of the methodological limitations of previous studies.”Not only did we find a relatively low number of serious lung infections among the children in the cohort, but healthy infants who were currently using PPIs were at no greater risk of a lung infection than healthy infants who had stopped taking PPIs,” Dr Parkin says.The study examined the health records of more than 21,000 New Zealand infants born between January 2005 and December 2012 who were dispensed omeprazole, lansoprazole or pantoprazole at least once before their first birthday. The study was published today in the international Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.Source: https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago695760.htmllast_img read more

Warming Arctic may be causing heat waves elsewhere in world

first_img 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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Global warming is increasing temperatures twice as fast in the Arctic as elsewhere on the planet. Some scientists have suggested that this so-called Arctic amplification can alter circulation patterns that affect weather in the United States, Europe, and Asia, potentially helping cause the powerful winter storms and deep freezes that have blasted the midlatitudes over the past decade. A new study suggests Arctic warming could ultimately pack a summertime punch, too, possibly contributing to extreme events such as the deadly 2010 Russian heat wave.Melting sea ice in the Arctic has left vast expanses of dark open water available to absorb the sun’s energy. In the late autumn and early winter, when sea ice is at a minimum and temperatures begin to cool, the ocean releases that extra heat and moisture back into the atmosphere. Those fluxes help drive a positive feedback effect, further intensifying warming in the region.One result of this Arctic amplification is that there’s less of a temperature difference between the Arctic and the lower latitudes. Some scientists have suggested that the lower temperature gradient is weakening the winds that circle the globe, particularly the polar jet stream. In the wintertime, the idea goes, a weaker, wavier jet stream could promote more and longer bouts of frigid air reaching farther south, leading to extreme snowfalls such as those that struck the eastern United States in the past few years. Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country But winter cold spells are just one part of a possibly larger story. The jet stream is weaker in summertime, too—and it “has been weakening over the last 36 years,” says Dim Coumou, a climatologist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and lead author on the new paper. While many of his colleagues have plugged away at the higher profile winter extremes debate, Coumou has focused on summer extremes. “Of course, heat extremes are on the rise almost everywhere on the globe, purely because we’re warming the air,” Coumou says. “But on top of that, changes in atmospheric circulation can favor particular weather conditions associated with heat waves.”Coumou has examined the waviness of the jet stream in previous work and has suggested that its large twists and turns, slow-moving undulations called Rossby waves, promote atmospheric “blocking”—a kind of stagnation of weather patterns that he says can exacerbate heat waves. But in the new study, he and his colleagues took a different tack: Instead of focusing on blocking and slow-moving Rossby waves, they turned to smaller and quicker undulations called “free, transient Rossby waves.” The winding path of these waves sketches out storm tracks across the midlatitudes.What Coumou and his team wanted to know, he says, was how the energy of these weather systems has changed over time, from 1979 to present. The kinetic energy of large-scale weather systems—including cyclones and anticyclones—is closely tied to the overall strength of the jet stream, Coumou says. “If the jet is strong, the wind shear will be strong.” And shear is important in generating “eddies”—cyclonic or anticyclonic swirls of energy—within the overall wind flow. “So if you see a weakening of the jet, it’s logical that you’ll also see a weakening of the kinetic energy of these systems.”Coumou and colleagues analyzed observational data on daily winds for June, July, and August from 1979 to 2013, focusing on the Northern Hemisphere’s midlatitudes (between 35° north and 70° north). They found a slow decline in the overall “eddy kinetic energy”—a drop of about 8% to 15% in summertime energy during that time period, they report online today in Science. In other words, there were fewer, or less intense, summertime storms.“That is very important for weather conditions on the continents,” Coumou says. “In summertime, these systems bring cool and moist air from oceans to continents and have a moderating effect on the continental weather.” In the absence of such storms, he adds, there’s a greater likelihood of drought and lingering heat. The researchers also noted a statistically significant relationship between times of low eddy kinetic energy and extremely high temperature anomalies—for example, the sweltering Russian heat wave of 2010.The paper is “an important contribution” and “a new perspective on mechanisms linking Arctic amplification with midlatitude weather patterns,” says Jennifer Francis, a climatologist at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in New Jersey. “When these small [free Rossby] waves get weaker in summer, they tend to be associated with more stagnant weather conditions, particularly heat waves.”The finding of an overall decrease in summer storminess is “reasonably convincing,” says James Screen, a climatologist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. But, he says, the difficulty is linking this effect to Arctic amplification. There are many factors that can affect the number and intensity of storms—not just the temperature gradient between pole and equator, but also east to west gradients and vertical gradients at both larger and local scales. “It’s unclear to what extent changes in storminess are … part of the large-scale Arctic amplification or [are] due to more local factors.”Coumou has taken the story forward, analyzing existing climate models to track the future of eddy kinetic energy over the 21st century. “In those you see a clear weakening; it’s a robust signal in those models”—and that, the authors suggest, means that recent bouts of extreme heat might be just the beginning.last_img read more

Podcast Martian canyons growing bigger ants and a live look at the

first_imgDid wind shape martian canyons? How did researchers nearly double the size of worker ants? And what does the AIDS virus look like in real time? Science’s Emily Conover and Susanne Bard chat about these stories and more. Plus, Sean Wojcik discusses the relationship between happiness and political ideology.last_img

Japanese probe succeeds in second try at Venus orbit

first_img 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 Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img A spacecraft designed to study Venus’s atmosphere that missed its target 5 years ago has apparently succeeded in entering an orbit around the planet, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Mission controllers will confirm the trajectory in the coming days.The probe, named Akatsuki, was designed by JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) to peel away some of the mystery of Venus’s dense, cloudy atmosphere. But an engine malfunction during the craft’s first rendezvous with Venus on 7 December 2010 sent it on a 5-year, 10-orbit trip around the sun. Engineers used the time to develop a scheme to insert the craft into orbit using four small attitude-control thrusters. JAXA reported that the thruster firing went as planned starting at 8:51 a.m. Japan time and that Akatsuki “is now in good health” and apparently circling Venus. Further tracking will be required to confirm its exact orbit. Space watchers note that the apparently successful operation is a testament to the resourcefulness of ISAS scientists. “There is no previous example of the recovery of a mission after an orbital insertion failure,” says Colin Wilson, a Venus specialist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.last_img read more

Cheap catalysts turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuel

first_imgThanks to a new catalyst, sunlight has been converted into chemical energy with a record 13.4% efficiency. Scientists have long dreamed of mimicking photosynthesis, by using the energy in sunlight to knit together hydrocarbon fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. Now, a cheap new chemical catalyst has carried out part of that process with record efficiency, using electricity from a solar cell to split CO2 into energy-rich carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen. The conversion isn’t yet efficient enough to compete with fossil fuels like gasoline. But it could one day lead to methods for making essentially unlimited amounts of liquid fuels from sunlight, water, and CO2, the chief culprit in global warming.The new work is “a very nice result,” says John Turner, a renewable fuels expert at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.The transformation begins when CO2 is broken down into oxygen and CO, the latter of which can be combined with hydrogen to make a variety of hydrocarbon fuels. Adding four hydrogen atoms, for example, creates methanol, a liquid fuel that can power cars. Over the last 2 decades, researchers have discovered a number of catalysts that enable that first step and split CO2 when the gas is bubbled up through water in the presence of an electric current. One of the best studied is a cheap, plentiful mix of copper and oxygen called copper oxide. The trouble is that the catalyst splits more water than it does CO2, making molecular hydrogen (H2), a less energy-rich compound, says Michael Graetzel, a chemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, whose group has long studied these CO2-splitting catalysts.  Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) e – Cheap catalysts turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuel Last year, Marcel Schreier, one of Graetzel’s graduate students, was looking into the details of how copper oxide catalysts work. He put a layer of them on a tin oxide–based electrode, which fed electrons to a beaker containing water and dissolved CO2. Instead of splitting mostly water—like the copper oxide catalyst—the new catalyst generated almost pure CO. “It was a discovery made by serendipity,” Graetzel says. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email A bright ideaA new catalyst made from copper and tin oxides uses electric current from a solar cell to split water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2), creating energy-rich carbon monoxide (CO) that can be further refined into liquid fuels. H 2 O CO CO OH – O 2 CO 2 CO 2 H + Catalyst-covered electrodes Membrane Solar cell V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE Sunlight e – i-Stockr/iStockphoto By Robert F. ServiceJun. 6, 2017 , 4:00 PM 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 The tin, Graetzel adds, seems to deactivate the catalytic hot spots that help split the water. As a result, almost all the electric current went into making the more desirable CO. Armed with the new insight, Graetzel’s team sought to speed up the catalyst’s work. To do so, they remade their electrode from copper oxide nanowires, which have a high surface area for carrying out the CO2-breaking reaction, and topped them with a single atom-thick layer of tin. As Graetzel’s team reports this week in Nature Energy, the strategy worked, converting 90% of the CO2 molecules into CO, with hydrogen and other byproducts making up the rest. They also hooked their setup to a solar cell and showed that a record 13.4% of the energy in the captured sunlight was converted into the CO’s chemical bonds. That’s far better than plants, which store energy with about 1% efficiency, and even tops recent hybrid approaches that combine catalysts with microbes to generate fuel.Nate Lewis, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, says the new result comes on the heels of other recent improvements that use different catalysts to turn CO2 into fuels. “Together, they show we’re making progress,” Lewis says. But he also cautions that current efforts to turn CO2 into fuel remain squarely in the realm of basic research, because they can’t generate fuel at a price anywhere near to that of refining oil.  Still, exploding supplies of renewable electricity now occasionally generate more power than the grid can handle. So scientists are looking for a viable way to store the excess electricity. That’s likely to drive further progress in storing energy in chemical fuels, Graetzel says.last_img read more

Evolution turned this ant into a living drill

first_img By Jake BuehlerAug. 24, 2018 , 9:55 AM A. Khalife et al., Frontiers in Zoology 10.1186 (2018) Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) So Peeters and his team took a closer look. The researchers removed ant-inhabited branches from trees in Mozambique and South Africa, sending them back to the lab in Paris. There they combined x-ray microtomography (a type of 3D x-ray imaging for tiny objects) and high-powered microscopes to visualize the ants’ skeletomuscular system, focusing on the anatomy of the head, jaws, and legs.It turns out that their big domes house more than just silk glands—huge muscles fill the head, anchored to short, sharp mandibles, the team reports in Frontiers in Zoology. These muscles provide the jaws with enormous chiseling power that can tunnel through hardwood. In contrast, ants with weaker jaws typically have to make do with settling in rotten wood or tunnels already excavated by boring beetles. That’s because chewing dry wood—whose fibers are brittle and easily broken—is easier than chewing through healthy, moist wood, Peeters explains. Even the jaw opening muscles are stronger than those of any species of ant known, a characteristic Peeters thinks may be useful in pushing wood debris out of the way while tunneling.The researchers also found that the mandibles themselves were remarkably well-suited to a life of chewing. Their wide base made them efficient levers, and analysis of their tips revealed high concentrations of zinc embedded within the exoskeleton.Zinc-reinforced “heavy element biomaterials” like these are common in invertebrates, says Robert Schofield, a biophysicist at the University of Oregon in Eugene who was not involved in the study. They’re found in body parts that sustain heavy use, such as spider fangs and marine worm jaws. The nanoscale clusters of zinc are bound into the chitin matrix, imparting hardness without increasing the risk of breakage. For ants that depend on these tools to build and eat with, that’s pretty important. “If a sharp tip gets damaged, then they’re dead,” Schofield says.The legs of Melissotarsus workers are also superbly adapted. The researchers found that the legs—perpetually bent close to the body—have strong muscles for bracing against tunnel walls. The “basitarsus” of the ants’ feet (analogous to a heel) is also enlarged, and—with the addition of peglike bristles—provides extra grip when bearing down. This keeps workers rigidly anchored in place, counteracting the intense chewing forces. But the adaptations come with a cost: The ants’ legs are so dramatically modified that the insects can no longer walk on a flat surface (see video, below). 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 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A. Khalife et al., Frontiers in Zoology 10.1186 (2018) center_img A scanning electron microscopy image of the wood-cutting mandibles of a young Melissotarsus worker. Evolution turned this ant into a living drill Artist’s conception of a Melissotarsus worker boring a tunnel. While tunneling, these ants brace themselves against the tunnel walls using strong, specialized legs and basitarsi “heels” to anchor themselves in place. Email Anyone who’s attempted to cut down a tree by hand knows just how difficult it is to chop through living wood. It turns out wood-boring ants do, too—so they’ve transformed themselves into bizarre, living drills. A new study reveals that extreme adaptations unlike anything seen in other ants let them carve complicated tunnel networks in their host trees.Not much is known about Melissotarsus ants—native to continental Africa and Madagascar—because they’re only a few millimeters long and never leave the carved galleries of their trees. Inside, the ants are thought to herd sedentary scale insects for food, eating their tasty wax secretions or even their meat. Worker ants have two pairs of back legs that perpetually angle upward and a bulbous head loaded with silk glands (a unique feature among ants). Entomologists have long thought these features must assist with the ants’ unconventional lifestyle, but they weren’t sure exactly how.“It was not obvious how they could derive the strength to chew live wood,” says Christian Peeters, a research biologist at Sorbonne University in Paris and senior author on the study. “This is a great paper on an amazing ant,” says Andy Suarez, an entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, who was not involved in the study. “This is the only example I know of where an ant has evolved a lifestyle … living in [the] wood of living trees that requires workers to be able to tunnel through the wood itself.”Melissotarsus has evolved an “irreversible commitment” to life inside the trees, Peeters says, forsaking the outside world to tend to their scale insect herds. The findings illustrate the extraordinary results that evolutionary specialization can produce, turning once highly mobile ants into tireless power tools.last_img read more

New DOE policies would block many foreign research collaborations

first_img Mark Lopez/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) By Jeffrey Mervis, Adrian ChoFeb. 8, 2019 , 4:05 PM Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Scientists who work for or receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, D.C., are facing a ban on collaborating with researchers from dozens of countries deemed to pose security risks.The new policy, spelled out in two recent memos from DOE’s Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, are meant to thwart attempts by foreign governments to steal U.S.-funded research. But some scientists worry DOE may be overreacting to the espionage threat, and fear its approach could stifle progress in areas important to U.S. economic and national security.The first memo, dated 14 December 2018, restricts DOE-funded researchers working in unspecified “emerging research areas and technologies” from collaborating with colleagues from “sensitive” countries. Given DOE’s recent research priorities, the affected fields could include artificial intelligence, supercomputing, quantum information, nanoscience, and advanced manufacturing. The sensitive nations are not named, but DOE now gives that label to about 30 countries for travel and security purposes. The memo also establishes a new, centralized DOE oversight body that will maintain a list of sensitive nations and research areas and has the authority to approve exemptions from the collaboration ban. New DOE policies would block many foreign research collaborationscenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Many foreign scientists could be banned from working at such Department of Energy facilities as the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory (above) in Lemont, Illinois. 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 The second memo, issued on 31 January and first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would prohibit DOE-funded scientists from participating in foreign talent-recruitment programs such as China’s Thousand Talents program.Finding the right balanceLab directors and university administrators are scrambling to understand the new directives, which DOE officials have yet to flesh out. But Paul Dabbar, who oversees the national labs and the department’s extramural research program as undersecretary for science, told ScienceInsider yesterday that the driving principle isn’t hard to understand.“We’re not saying that universities can’t take money from these countries; that is their decision,” Dabbar says. “But if you’re working for [DOE], and taking taxpayer dollars, we don’t want you to work for them at the same time.” Employees at DOE’s 17 national laboratories would be given the choice of either severing their foreign ties or leaving their job, he says; academic researchers who maintain their foreign collaborations would no longer be able to compete for DOE grants.No one disputes the need for the United States to be vigilant, research advocates say. There is ample evidence that other nations have sought to exploit the United States’s relatively open research establishment to obtain knowledge that could benefit their own industrial and military sectors. The question, they say, is how far DOE should go to safeguard national security and new technologies.“There are legitimate concerns about the misappropriation of U.S.-funded intellectual property,” says William Madia, a vice president at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who oversees DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator in neighboring Menlo Park. “On the other hand, we can’t just shut down all international collaboration. How do we strike the right balance? … We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater—although we do want to throw out some of the bathwater.”DOE officials are still working out procedures for implementing the new policies. The December 2018 memo promised that DOE’s new centralized body—known as the Federal Oversight Advisory Body (FOAB)—would release by 31 January a “risk matrix” that spells out which countries and what technologies would trigger a red flag. That deadline has passed, but Dabbar is developing the matrix with his counterparts at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons, and DOE’s intelligence branch.“We don’t have a particular timetable,” he says. “For the labs, we are moving toward implementation right now. For the grants programs, we still have to develop a mechanism for looking at particular grants, as they come forward.”Dabbar declined to give an estimate of how many researchers would be affected by the new policies, and DOE couldn’t provide the number of grants it awards annually to university researchers.The new rules apply to both foreign scientists coming to national labs and U.S.-based scientists with ties to foreign governments. In addition to tighter scrutiny of prospective visitors, for example, DOE-funded scientists in certain fields “will be generally prohibited” from traveling to countries on the matrix.DOE will allow exemptions for “government to government” collaborations, the December 2018 memo notes. That suggests the policy shouldn’t affect major international projects such as the ITER fusion experiment under construction near Cadarache in France, or the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility being developed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. It appears DOE will also allow smaller collaborations if researchers can provide officials with “a clear description of why this agreement benefits the United States.”“The world is a flexible place. So, the policy will allow us to evaluate it as things change over time,” Dabbar explains.A fraught search for talentThe crackdown on participation in foreign talent programs, outlined in the January memo, appears to have few, if any, loopholes. The memo describes these programs as “any foreign state-sponsored attempt to acquire U.S.-funded scientific research through recruitment programs that target scientists, engineers, academics, and entrepreneurs of all nationalities working or educated in the United States.”Many countries—including such U.S. allies as Canada, Germany, and Australia—have funded such programs for years as a way to attract world-class foreign scientific talent. But the approach has become a political hot potato in the wake of several instances in which U.S.-based scientists supported by China’s Thousand Talents program have been accused—and in some cases found guilty—of espionage and the theft of intellectual property. The ban is necessary, the January memo says, because such talent programs “threaten the United States’ economic base by facilitating the unauthorized transfer of technology and intellectual property to foreign governments.”Foreign talent programs are “a very narrow topic” for DOE within the universe of international collaborations, Dabbar emphasizes. “Universities are dealing with this foreign engagement topic at a much bigger level,” he says. “And we’re reaching out to universities and other research organizations to get their input.”A fight over principlesToward that end, Dabbar met earlier this week with research administrators at several major universities. He laid out the new policies and answered questions about their scope. “We don’t want to implement this without engaging the universities,” Dabbar told ScienceInsider.One university lobbyist who requested anonymity admitted that some institutions are not aware of every international collaboration involving faculty members and emphasized that full disclosure is essential. At the same time, noted another university lobbyist, the new DOE policies appear to clash with two core academic principles: allowing students unfettered access to research opportunities and treating people equally regardless of national origin.In the past, university efforts to protect those core principles have run into a thicket of federal rules designed to prevent improper foreign influence and the theft of intellectual property. The military and NASA, for example, often bar academic researchers from allowing graduate or postdoctoral researchers from certain foreign nations from working on research projects deemed sensitive. The National Institutes of Health requires researchers to disclose foreign collaborations on grant proposals. The Department of Commerce has extensive rules regarding what kinds of technologies can be shared with foreign collaborators.In general, the scientific community has argued that the costs of such rules outweigh their benefits and that the U.S. government should simply classify any research results or patents it wants to protect. The new DOE policies could reignite such debates.In the meantime, university leaders and lab directors are waiting anxiously to learn more from DOE. And the memos have certainly gotten their attention. Says one lobbyist: “This is a pretty big deal.”last_img read more

Domestic violence activist

first_imgPhoto by L. ParsonsRadmilla Cody, a Navajo model, singer and domestic violence activist from Leupp spoke in both Navajo and English to the audience at the Second Annual Phenomenal Women’s art show last week. The show, held at the Gemini Art Gallery, located at 200 N. Kinsley Ave. in Winslow, featured art by and depicting women in empowered positions. Gemini Gallery owner, Linda Card said, “This show is so important. Empowered women, empower women.” March 22, 2019 RelatedSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adcenter_img Domestic violence activistlast_img

Kumaraswamy back from US goes into huddle with Cong to save govt

first_img“We have held discussions and there has been nothing on a change of leadership,’’ Revanna said. Congress leader D K Shivakumar said he is not willing to consider a change of leader. “I am not willing to backstab Kumaraswamy by saying make someone else the CM — it is left to the party. I am willing to sacrifice my post to save the government,’’ he said.karnataka, karnataka congress mlas resign, karnataka congress mlas, karnataka political crisis, jds-Congress alliance, HD Kumaraswamy, siddaramiah, india news, Congress and JD(S) MLAs who submitted their resignation, outside Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Saturday. PTI“We are hopeful of resolving the situation, just wait and watch after the CM returns,’’ state Congress working president Eshwar Khandre said after meetings of Congress leaders with central observer K C Venugopal.“Only 5-6 of the 13 rebel MLAs are keen to defect to the BJP. The others have other demands and are not keen to give up their seats if their demands can be met. The problem is that all the different interest groups have united now,” JD(S) sources said.The coalition slipped into crisis after 12 MLAs went to Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s office Saturday to submit their resignations. The Speaker, who was not present, has asked the MLAs to come back on Tuesday. “A total of 14 MLAs have resigned. They are from the Congress and JD(S). There is unhappiness about the coalition,’’ JD(S) leader H Vishwanath said after meeting the Governor later. Karnataka: Day after promising to stay with Congress, rebel MLA Nagaraj reaches Mumbai Vishwanath seemed to have accounted for the 12 MLAs, Soumya Reddy, who is the MLA-daughter of Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy, and MLA Anand Singh who quit on July 1. Soumya was not among those who went to the Speaker’s office although her father was part of the 12-member group.Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, meanwhile, called for a meeting of the state legislature party Tuesday. A session of the Assembly is scheduled to begin on July 12, when the BJP is likely to seek a floor test.Also read | Karnataka crisis: In touch with 5-6 MLAs, everybody loyal to Congress, says SiddaramiahIn Delhi, the BJP leadership maintained that the party, which is the single-largest in the 224-member Assembly with 105 MLAs, is not responsible for the crisis. “It’s the Congress leaders’ foolishness that they blame the BJP for the current crisis. Ramalinga Reddy, one of the MLAs who resigned, is a senior party leader and a former Home Minister. Even Ramesh Jarkiholi is a multi-term legislator. If they have resigned from the party, it cannot be because of the BJP,” Muralidhar Rao said.“It’s the failure of the Congress leadership, its move to go for an opportunistic alliance, and the internal crisis that have led to this situation,” he said.According to the senior BJP leader, the current government “is going to fall, for sure”. “But we don’t want to rush to take other steps,” Rao said. LiveKarnataka Floor Test LIVE UPDATES: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Related News Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Taking stock of monsoon rain After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan More Explained LiveBangalore news LIVE updates: Crucial day for JD(S)-Congress coalition government; trust vote at 11 am in Vidhana Soudha today The coalition was pushed to the brink Saturday after 13 Congress and JD(S) MLAs submitted their resignations to bring its number to 105, on par with the BJP, in the 224-member Assembly even as several other rebels are reported to be waiting to exit. The resignations of the 13 MLAs, at least 10 of whom have moved to a Mumbai hotel, are yet to be accepted by the Speaker.Follow Karnataka MLAs resign Live Updates here.In Delhi, BJP sources told The Indian Express that the party is prepared to form an alternative government but will wait for the decision of the Speaker on the resignations, after which it would make a formal move.“We, in the BJP, are prepared for any eventuality. But we don’t want to rush, we want to watch things closely. We are waiting for decisions of the Speaker and the Governor,” BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao told The Indian Express. “Let things become clear, let there be no ambiguity,” he said. karnataka, karnataka congress mlas resign, karnataka congress mlas, karnataka political crisis, jds-Congress alliance, HD Kumaraswamy, siddaramiah, india news, Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy arrives in Bengaluru, Sunday, from the USKarnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy returned to Bengaluru Sunday night after a 10-day US trip and began holding a series of meetings from the airport itself with leaders of his party JD(S) and its ally Congress in a bid to rescue the coalition government. LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Advertising Advertising Best Of Express In Bengaluru, among those who received Kumaraswamy at the airport was the chief of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Bengaluru Police, which is probing a ponzi scheme allegedly run by the IMA (I Monetary Advisory) Group of companies in which two government officials are among those arrested.Read | Five Bengaluru MLAs hint at lack of development in city as reason for quittingAccording to sources, one of the triggers for six Bengaluru MLAs of the JD(S) and Congress to feature among the rebels is a move by the SIT to arrest Assistant Commissioner for Revenue (Bangalore North), L C Nagaraj on July 5 for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 4.5 crore from the IMA Group.The SIT’s preliminary investigations have revealed that at least 40,000 investors lost funds to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore through investments in the IMA Group, whose founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan is absconding.Meanwhile, amid speculation that the Congress is likely to seek the appointment of veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge or Siddaramaiah as chief minister, Kumaraswamy’s brother H D Revanna and Congress leaders expressed hope of saving the coalition. Written by Johnson T A, Liz Mathew | Bengaluru/new Delhi | Updated: July 8, 2019 9:45:46 am Advertising According to BJP leaders, the party has several options. “The atmosphere is conducive for the BJP. As senior leaders are out against the Congress, which is already in an existential crisis, no one can blame the BJP for the current crisis. The party can either form an alternative government or go for elections. An election this time will be advantageous to the BJP,” said a party leader from Karnataka. 17 Comment(s)last_img read more

UN nuclear inspectors to report back on Irans enrichment move

first_imgBy Reuters |Vienna | Updated: July 7, 2019 3:30:39 pm Advertising Post Comment(s) Related News UK says seized Iranian oil tanker could be released “We are aware of Iran’s announcement related to its uranium enrichment level,” a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said.“IAEA inspectors in Iran will report to our headquarters as soon as they verify the announced development.” Arak heavy water nuclear facilities A part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Photo: AP)Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog who are in Iran will report back once they have checked that Tehran has enriched uranium to a higher level of purity than that allowed under its nuclear deal, the agency said on Sunday. Hassan Rouhani says Iran ready to talk to US if sanctions lifted With Iran deal teetering on brink, Europeans assess next steps last_img read more

Odisha Police to receive award for promoting use of IT

first_imgWritten by Sampad Patnaik | Bhubaneswar | Published: July 16, 2019 8:55:57 am Post Comment(s) The state police are being hailed for use of a mobile application Arakhi, which serves as a database for all FIRs registered in police stations. “Arakhi is an extension of CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems), which the state adopted in 2005. Data spanning back to 14 years has been transferred onto the application,” said Director State Crime Records Bureau, Dr Sudhanshu Sarangi.According to SCRB, which is overseeing the development and use of the app, police officers benefit on two counts. The app can be used by an investigating officer outside the police station and without access to the police desktop. In addition, details of the activities of investigating officer on the field, for example, search and seizure, can be uploaded through the app so that it cannot be denied later by the affected party.The app also has an offline feature that allows officers in poor connectivity areas to enter data, which later uploads when the phone accesses network coverage. Forensic lab finds no semen stains on Kunduli girl’s clothes Odisha Police to receive award for promoting use of IT Odisha police are being hailed for use of a mobile application Arakhi, which serves as a database for all FIRs registered in police stations. (file)Odisha Police has been selected for the DGP National Crime Records Bureau Running Trophy for effective use of Information Technology to empower its personnel. Related News Advertising Advertising Odisha police to destroy drug-fund link of Maoists Odisha police station attacked, records burnt after death in custody “This app fundamentally changes the way police has worked”, Sarangi added. However, some senior police officers said that while most personnel were embracing the use of Arakhi, there were certain pockets that encountered some resistance.“There may be some vested interests or corruption (agenda) preventing certain pockets from full use of the app. But that is in select areas”, said the Superintendent of Police of a rural district.The app is undergoing further development and aims to use Artificial Intelligence for better user interface.Odisha Police will be given a running trophy at the All India Police Duty Meet scheduled to be held in Lucknow for five days from July 16.last_img read more

Record number of women to contest Japan elections

first_img“More women are already being elected and I think they are going to get more attention for their policies and activities going forward,” she said. “For this election, we will have to wait and see how they fare.” Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed Post Comment(s) A male-dominated worldA study last year by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese government showed that the country ranked 15th out of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) 19 member states regarding the ratio of women in its upper house of parliament.“The lack of female Japanese politicians has been a huge problem for many years and I would say it has been an international embarrassment,” Mieko Nakabayashi, former politician and now professor of Social Sciences at Tokyo’s Waseda University, told DW.China no match for Japan in Southeast Asia infrastructure race Pm Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democrats have mostly fielded male candidates. (Source: REUTERS)The latest increase in the number of female candidates is the result of a new law designed to give women more of a say in Japan’s traditionally male-dominated political sphere. The legislation went into effect in May 2018 and was partly spurred by the low level of female political participation in Japan compared to other nations. ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict More Explained Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed Opposition banking on women“Now, I think women will feel they have more of a choice when they go to vote. They will sympathize with female candidates who are standing for elections because they have had similar experiences in society here and women politicians may support policies that help women in society at large,” Nakabayashi argued.But the law is not binding and its clauses are only recommendations. Nevertheless, the initiative is still promising, according to Nakabayashi: “The law that was passed last year says that each party should make efforts to equalize the ratio of candidates and while there are no sanctions for the parties that do not reach that level, I still feel it is a positive development.”Read more: Japanese women struggle to have a voice in politicsFollowing the new law, the Japanese Communist Party is fielding 22 female candidates in the upcoming polls, making up for an impressive 55% of its total candidates. A little over 45% of the candidates of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan are women and around 14.6% of Liberal Democratic Party representatives are female. Nearly 36% of the candidates from the Democratic Party for the People are women. Record number of women to contest Japan elections The ratio of female candidates has also set a new record, accounting for 28.1% of the total number of participants for the upper house.On July 21, Japanese citizens will vote for 124 representatives to the House of Councillors, the upper house of the “Diet,” or Japan’s parliament. Out of the 273 candidates, 104 are women, eight more than in the previous election for the upper house in 2016. The ratio of female candidates has also set a new record, accounting for 28.1% of the total number of participants for the upper house. Will women vote for women?Japanese women’s concerns include education for their children, balancing their careers with family and achieving equality with men in terms of pay and responsibility in the workplace. They are also demanding support for people who are looking after elderly relatives.But regardless of the fact that women may identify with their counterparts in politics, analyst Reed plays down suggestions that women will vote for female candidates. Evidence indicates instead that voters in Japanese elections tend to support younger leaders when they are up against elderly incumbents.Nevertheless, former politician and academic Nakabayashi is optimistic that women are going to get a fairer crack of the whip in Japan’s political world in the years to come, although she accepts that a complete overhaul of the system here will not happen overnight. Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Advertising Best Of Express Advertising Advertising Top News The ruling parties are significantly less female-friendly, however, with the Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe putting forward just 12 women out of its 82 candidates. Komeito, the LDP’s ally in parliament, has just two women among its 13 candidates.A new image“For a long time, politics in Japan has been all about a bunch of old men making the decisions, but now the parties – the opposition parties in particular – want to show that they are doing something different from what has been done before,” Steven Reed, a professor at Chuo University who specializes in Japanese elections and political parties, told DW.There has also been a change on the “supply side,” he said, with more women stepping forward to contest elections. Changes at the national level are being reflected at the local level, with a record six women elected as city mayors in April and a further 1,239 women earning seats in municipal elections, also a record high.“It’s all about creating a new image and if your party is putting up women and young people, then they are going to stand out,” he argued. By Deutsche Welle | Published: July 17, 2019 10:41:25 amlast_img read more

Apple Spotlights Privacy Big Iron at WWDC

first_imgAt WWDC Apple also made a big play to bring creatives back into the fold with the introduction of the Mac Pro workstation (pictured above).The unit is built around an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores, large L2 and L3 caches and 64 PCI Express lanes. It has six channels of superfast ECC memory and 12 physical DIMM slots, which allows for up to 1.5 TB of memory.The US$5,999 Mac Pro also can support two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo MPX Modules. The four GPUs add up to 56 teraflops in performance and 128 GB of high-bandwidth memory.The outside of the workstation is an aluminum housing that can be lifted off the unit for easy access to its components.”It’s a monster of a platform,” said San Jose-based Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm.”It’s a big step for Apple to build a real workstation-class platform that’s expandable and modular,” he told TechNewsWorld.The Mac Pro should put Apple back in favor with creatives.”They’re trying to reclaim the professional market,” Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City, told TechNewsWorld.Apple was slow to respond to the needs of the creative market, primarily because it was waiting for a next-generation Xeon chip that could do what it wanted, noted Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in Campbell, California.”Now they have what I consider the most powerful PC workstation on the market,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s something competitors will have to target to keep up with Apple.”To go along with the Mac Pro, Apple announced the Pro Display XDR (also pictured above). The 32-inch 6K LCD display supports up to 1600 nits of brightness and has a million-to-one contrast ratio.Although the WWDC audience remained stoic when Apple announced the display’s $4,999 price tag, there were some sounds of dissatisfaction when the $999 pricing for the monitor’s stand was revealed. Apple also announced a new form of login designed to preserve online privacy.Many applications use “social logins” — a button that allows them to set up an account with information from Facebook or Google.”This can be convenient, but it can also come at the cost of your privacy,” Federighi explained. “Your personal information sometimes get shared behind the scenes, and these logins can be used to track you.”To address that problem, Apple announced “Sign in with Apple.” It uses a simple API that allows a developer to include a Sign in with Apple button in their app. A user can tap it to initiate FaceID authentication on an Apple device and log into a new account without revealing any additional personal information.If an app wants an email address before it will open an account for the user, Apple has that base covered, too. Apple will generate a random email address that can be substituted for the user’s email address, thus keeping it hidden.Apple automatically will forward any mail sent to the random address to the user’s real email address. The user can scrap the random email address at any time.”I think that’s awesome,” said Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Conn.”I’ve been doing that manually for 15 years,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The idea that you can filter and block individual companies or brands that you sign up for is enormous.” Apple also added a degree of separation between the iPhone and iPad with the announcement of iPadOS. With it, the iPad gains more multitasking, productivity and file management features, as well as support for multiple keyboards and flash drives.”iPadOS is a significant break from iOS that makes the iPad a more functional device as a PC replacement,” Tirias’ Krewell said. “They’re getting real close to making the iPad a full blown PC replacement. It’s about 95 percent there.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Smart home accessories is another area where Apple is setting its privacy sights.”No accessory is more personal than security cameras that film in and around your home,” Federighi said. “Unfortunately, most home cameras today send people’s video up to the cloud so it can be analyzed to tell the difference between maybe a leaf blowing in the wind and someone at your door.”That can be a threat to privacy, so Apple’s added a feature to its HomeKit SDK to secure video from home cameras. It analyzes video in the home on an Apple device, then it’s encrypted and securely sent to Apple’s iCloud, where no one, including Apple can see it.Apple will provide storage for 10 days of clips in a user’s existing iCloud account, but it won’t be applied to an account’s storage limits.Apple is bringing HomeKit to home routers, Federighi also noted.”With HomeKit at the router, we’ll automatically firewall off each of your accessories, so even if one were compromised it wouldn’t be able to access your other devices or compromise your personal information,” he explained.Linksys, Eero and ISPs like Charter Spectrum will make the first HomeKit routers.”Apple hit the security and privacy issue really hard, and I don’t think they’re doing it just for humanitarian reasons,” said Mark N. Vena, senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, a technology analyst and advisory firm based in Austin, Texas.”While I believe they care about security and privacy, when Apple appears in court for antitrust violations this presentation will be exhibit A,” he told TechNewsWorld.”They’ll argue that the only way they can provide the kind of security and privacy that consumers are demanding is for them to have control of the ecosystem,” Vena explained.The U.S. Supreme Court recently gave an antitrust lawsuit against Apple’s App Store the green light to go to trial. The complaint accuses the company of using a monopoly on app distribution to charge inflated prices for software. Privacy, a new muscular Mac Pro workstation, and the debut of iPadOS were topline items Monday at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California.During its more than two-hour presentation at the forum, Apple emphasized new features in its products aimed at protecting users’ data and privacy.”At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right and we engineer it into everything we do,” Craig Federighi told the enthusiastic conference crowd.One way Apple is protecting privacy in the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 13, is by giving users greater control of the use of location data by applications.”Sharing your location with a third-party app can enable some useful experiences, but we don’t expect to have that privilege used to track us,” Federighi said.That’s why Apple has added a feature to iOS that let’s a user allow an app to access location information just once and requires it to ask permission from a user if it wants to access it again.Even if an app has permission to freely access location information, Apple will still create reports on the app’s activity so a user can keep tabs on it.Some apps try to avoid permission requirements for location information by gathering Bluetooth or WiFi data.”We’re shutting the door on that abuse, as well,” Federighi declared.center_img Apple Sign In iPadOS Debuts Securing Cameras and Routers ‘Monster of a Platform’last_img read more

Super Mario Odyssey Has Reviewers Jumping for Joy

first_imgNintendo appears to have knocked it out of the park with Thursday’s offical launch of its new Super Mario Odyssey title, which appears to have won over video game critics and promises to drive Nintendo Switch sales well into the holiday shopping season.The reception is another lift for Nintendo, which has been riding high following strong reviews of the title at the E3 conference earlier this year, and the success of its latest Zelda title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.The new sandbox-style Super Mario Odyssey has been the focal point of a whirlwind national tour, with Nintendo executives traveling to nearly every corner of the United States, from Los Angeles to New York’s Rockefeller Center, where a splashy celebration accompanied the launch. Strength of the Mario Franchise While most of critics fell hard for Super Mario Odyssey, one reviewer at Kotaku raised some concerns about the ability to use motion controls to operate key features of the game while in handheld mode.Shaking the motion controllers in handheld mode could make it difficult to maintain visual sight of the game, wrote Editor-in-Chief Stephen Totilo.”You’ll want to do a higher jump and you’ll have to hoist the whole unit,” he pointed out. “You’ll be surrounded by enemies and want to do Cappy’s orbit attack and you’ll need to shake the controller enough that you might lose sight of the on-screen action.”Super Mario Odyssey is available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch at a suggested retail price of $59.99. A bundle of the Nintendo Switch system, Mario- themed Joy-Con controllers, carrying case, and a download code for the title is available at a suggested price of $379.99. Over Your Head Overall, Super Mario Odyssey appears to be one of the best-reviewed gaming titles of the year, and sales are expected to start strong and continue into the holiday season.”It’s been highly anticipated by the existing fans,” said Karol Severin, an analyst at Midia Research.”It’s been having fantastic reviews so far, and there is always the appeal of having a new character for the fans to explore, as well as new and engaging locations designed to surprise and delight viewers,” he told TechNewsWorld.Super Mario Odyssey likely will be one of the top five best-selling games of the holiday quarter in the U.S., said NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella, bringing in more than US$100 million in retail sales, with digital sales adding more than 20 percent to the mix.It is the primary software driver for Nintendo Switch, he told TechNewsWorld.However, there’s no sign of an end to Nintendo’s fulfillment issues, Piscatella noted, and inability to keep up with hardware demand could affect sales of the game.The Switch has been the primary driver of industry hardware sales increases so far this year, he pointed out. The Nintendo hardware has been coming in second in dollars spent, behind Sony’s Playstation 4 — but that’s mainly due to continuing supply constraints.Based on demand, Nintendo Switch unit sales could reach 4.2 million in the U.S. by the end of 2017, Piscatella said — but that number could be far off due to the fulfillment issues. If the Switch should reach that 4.2 million figure, that would exceed unit sales for the Wii during its first 10 months in the market.Super Mario Odyssey is a killer app for the Switch, remarked Ted Pollak, senior gaming analyst at Jon Peddie Research.The title is going to drive sales for consumers who may not have been hardcore gamers, but were fans of the Wii, he told TechNewsWorld.The Switch hardware already has been a huge success, Pollak said. “You’re getting some upgrades from folks who were Wii owners — they were not necessarily hardcore Mario or Zelda fans.”Demand also is strong from customers who may be in households that normally would battle for control over a single television in the living room, he suggested. The portable nature of the Switch allows gamers to disengage. They can enjoy the immersive experience on their own schedule in a variety of settings, whether it’s another room in the house, or riding in the back of the family car. In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario and his new side buddy Cappy travel far and wide on immersive adventures that take advantage of the Switch’s Joy Con motion controllers and portable console experience.The tight controls, creative platforming and gorgeous art found in Super Mario Odyssey represent “one more step in the right direction” for Nintendo and “another evolution of a perfect formula,” wrote Aaron Soupporouris for Engaget.Super Mario Odyssey is a “fantastic, even fundamental addition to Mario’s legacy,” wrote Reviews Editor Philip Kogon and Deputy News Editor Allegra Frank in their review for Polygon. David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

New analytic method can precisely detect viral infections using immune responses

first_img Source:http://www.dzif.de/en/news_media_centre/news_press_releases/view/detail/artikel/how_herpesviruses_shape_the_immune_system/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 8 2019Cytomegalovirus is widespread and remains in the body for a lifetime after infection. In healthy individuals, this virus is usually kept in check but can become dangerous when the immune system is weakened or during pregnancy. DZIF scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed an analytic method that can very precisely detect viral infections using immune responses. This method could help identify gaps in protection early on, and make transplants safer in future.The human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is globally widespread and the majority of adults are carriers, also in Germany. After an infection, the virus hides in the body for a lifetime, which usually goes unnoticed. However, when the immune system is weakened, as is the case after transplants or when unborn children become infected during pregnancy, it can cause damage to a range of different organs including the nervous system. It is therefore important to find out whether an appropriate immune response against the virus is present in order to prevent such damage from occurring.Killer T cells detect a broad range of viral targetsDr Andreas Moosmann heads a DZIF research group at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and is specialized in studying immune responses to viruses. “In healthy humans, cytomegalovirus replication is curbed by T cells in particular,” explains Moosmann. Billions of different T cells patrol through our body. Each cell has its own sensor on its surface, a so-called T cell receptor, which is able to identify just a small portion of a specific pathogen. As soon as this sensor is activated, the T cell turns into a killer cell. The infected cell is then killed and the viruses contained within it cannot replicate any longer. “Just by looking at specific T cells in the blood, we can now precisely detect whether a virus is present,” says Moosmann. The problem up to now has been that complex techniques challenged such analyses. “Separate tests were required for every individual type of T cell and for each particular specificity,” says Moosmann.One test for many types of viruses Related StoriesResearchers completely eliminate all traces of HIV from infected miceNanotechnology-based compound used to deliver hepatitis B vaccineMathematical model helps identify determinants of persistent MRSA bacteremiaIn order to identify viruses more rapidly and precisely, Moosmann and his Munich team of scientists developed a method that enables analysis of millions of T cells with one single test. “We sequence ribonucleic acid (RNA) from the blood samples, through which we can identify existing types of T cell receptors that are specific for different parts of CMV,” explains PhD candidate Alina Huth. Using this new method, the scientists were able to identify 1052 CMV-specific T cell receptors in eight healthy virus carriers. In a second group of 352 donors, the scientists measured the prevalence of these sequences, enabling them to very precisely predict infected donors.The results will be serve to establish a database of virus-specific T cell receptors. According to the scientists, this method can also be used for other viruses. Biologist Dr Xiaoling Liang is convinced that “This diagnostic method will deliver more information at a lower cost and is therefore attractive for clinicians in future. We can now develop a test that can directly determine the immune status for different viruses in one step.”The applications of such a test are manifold. For example, it could be used to predict viral infections in transplant patients and other people with weakened immune systems and enable timely treatment. “We believe this test has great potential. It could, for example, also be used to check if a vaccination has been successful. And it will promote research on the connections between infections, auto-immune diseases and allergies,” adds Moosmann.last_img read more

BMA Government cuts to stop smoking services have detrimental impact on public

first_img Source:https://www.bma.org.uk/ Mar 15 2019Responding to a new report from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Cancer Research UK, which found that cuts to public health budgets mean that only half of local authorities offer all smokers the support they need to quit, BMA public health medicine committee chair Dr Peter English, said: With smoking remaining one of the leading causes of preventable ill health, it is concerning that we are seeing such a significant reduction in funding for stop smoking services.These services remain one of the most effective ways of quitting and are a vital source of support for those who have taken the difficult step to seek help.Budget reductions have unfortunately led to unacceptable variations in the quality and quantity of services available. This is particularly apparent in more deprived areas where demand is higher, and resources more thinly spread.Government reductions in the public health grant has meant many local authorities are under a lot of pressure to make savings and are very often in the position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul with prevention services often at risk.Cuts to smoking and other healthcare prevention services are not cost-effective in the long run. They have a detrimental impact on population health which risks widening health inequalities and increases future NHS demand requiring further spending.”last_img read more

New mobile phone game can detect people at risk of Alzheimers

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 24 2019A specially designed mobile phone game can detect people at risk of Alzheimer’s – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.Researchers studied gaming data from an app called Sea Hero Quest, which has been downloaded and played by more than 4.3 million people worldwide.The game, created by Deutsche Telekom in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK, University College London (UCL), the University of East Anglia and game developers, Glitchers has been designed to help researchers better-understand dementia by seeing how the brain works in relation to spatial navigation.As players make their way through mazes of islands and icebergs, the research team are able to translate every 0.5 seconds of gameplay into scientific data.The team studied how people who are genetically pre-disposed to Alzheimer’s disease, play the game – compared to people who are not.The results, published in the journal PNAS, show that people who are genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease can be distinguished from those who are not on specific levels of the Sea Hero Quest game.The findings are particularly important because a standard memory and thinking test could not distinguish between the risk and non-risk groups.Lead researcher Prof Michael Hornberger, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Dementia will affect 135 million people worldwide by 2050. We need to identify people earlier to reduce their risk of developing dementia in the future.”Current diagnosis of dementia is strongly based on memory symptoms, which we know now are occurring when the disease is quite advanced. Instead, emerging evidence shows that subtle spatial navigation and awareness deficits can precede memory symptoms by many years.”Our current findings show that we can reliably detect such subtle navigation changes in at-genetic-risk of Alzheimer’s disease healthy people without any problem symptoms or complaints. Our findings will inform future diagnostic recommendations and disease treatments to address this devastating disease.”The data collected by the Sea Hero Quest app is vital for research – because every two minutes spent playing the game is equal to five hours of lab-based research. And having three million players globally equates to more than 1,700 years’ worth of lab-based research.The team studied gaming data taken from 27,108 UK players aged between 50-75 – the most vulnerable age-group to develop Alzheimer’s in the next decade.They compared this benchmark data with a smaller lab-based group of 60 people who underwent genetic testing.In the smaller lab group, 31 volunteers carried the APOE4 gene, which is known to be linked with Alzheimer’s disease, and 29 people did not. Both lab groups were matched for age, gender, education and nationality with the benchmark cohort.Genetic risk for Alzheimer’s is complicated. People (around one in every four) who have one copy of the APOE4 gene are around three times more likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s and develop the disease at a younger age.Prof Hornberger said: “We found that people with a high genetic risk, the APOE4 carriers, performed worse on spatial navigation tasks. They took less efficient routes to checkpoint goals.Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndrome”This is really important because these are people with no memory problems.”Meanwhile, those without the APOE4 gene traveled roughly the same distance as the 27,000 people forming the baseline score. This difference in performance was particularly pronounced where the space to navigate was large and open.”It means that we can detect people who are at genetic risk of Alzheimer’s based on how they play the game.”The team have previously reported Sea Hero Quest found people in different countries and populations navigate differently.Gillian Coughlan, also from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “This research shows that data collected from people who downloaded and played Sea Hero Quest can be used as a benchmark to help identify those at a genetically higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s in smaller groups of people.”Sea Hero Quest succeeded where a conventional memory and thinking test failed. It demonstrates the power of harnessing large-scale citizen science projects and applying big data technologies, to help improve the early detection of diseases like Alzheimer’s.”This global Sea Hero Quest project provides an unprecedented chance to study how many thousands of people from different countries and cultures navigate space. It is helping to shed light on how we use our brain to navigate and also to aid the development of more personalized measures for future diagnostics and drug treatment programmes in dementia research.”This is the tip of the iceberg and there is still a lot more work to do to extract and capitalize on the wealth of data collected through the Deutsche Telekom’s Sea Hero Quest project.”Prof Hugo Spiers, from UCL, said: “Our discovery highlights the value of bringing together big data with precise data to aid the development of digital tools for medical diagnoses.”Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “We often hear heart-breaking stories about people with dementia who get lost and can’t find their way home and we know spatial navigation difficulties like these are some of the earliest warning signs for the condition.”Research shows us that the brain changes associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s begin decades before symptoms like memory loss start and for future Alzheimer’s treatments to be effective, it’s likely they must be given at the earliest stages of disease, before there’s too much damage to the brain.”Using big data to help improve the early and accurate detection of the diseases that cause dementia can help revolutionize how we research and treat the condition. Sea Hero Quest is an amazing example of how pioneering research can help scientists get one step closer to a life-changing breakthrough.”Hans-Christian Schwingen, Chief Brand Officer at Deutsche Telekom, said: “What Sea Hero Quest has demonstrated is the unique power of innovative cross sector partnerships in advancing research. We are very proud to have been a part of facilitating such a revolutionary project and are excited to see the future insights generated through analysis of the data set collected.”‘Big data in spatial navigation – towards personalized cognitive diagnostics of ‘at-genetic-risk’ Alzheimer’s disease’ is published in the journal PNAS. Source:https://www.uea.ac.uk/last_img read more

Researchers seek to settle some discrepancies related to brain anatomy and ASD

first_img Source:https://www.mcgill.ca/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 8 2019Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often lumped into a single catch-all group, despite significant differences in symptom profile and severity. Further muddying the waters when trying to understand and treat ASD, many previous studies show significant variability in findings.A new study, led by researchers at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, set out to settle some of the discrepancies related to brain anatomy and ASD, employing a large dataset to obtain their findings. Their results were published recently in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.”The most important findings in our study pertain to the differences we observed relative to sources of heterogeneity,” says Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill and the study’s senior author. “For example, there are long-standing theories that girls with ASD need to experience a higher risk load before showing symptoms. Our data suggests that there is a larger and thicker cortex in most of the ASD group, but also that this cortex is even thicker in girls and more associated with symptom severity in girls.”One of the largest studies of its kindTo complete their study, the researchers relied on a number of sources including data publically available through the ABIDE consortium. They were also able to obtain data through a large-scale international collaboration devoted to examining brain anatomy variation in ASD, which included the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (SickKids), the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S., and the University of Cambridge and King’s College in the United Kingdom.Using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, the researchers were able to examine the brain anatomy of 1,327 typically developing individuals and individuals suffering from ASD, making it one of the largest studies of its kind ever performed. “Through our study, we found that the cortical anatomy is not represented by a fixed difference between ASD and typically developing individuals,” explains Dr. Chakravarty, who is also a Computational Neuroscientist in the Cerebral Imaging Centre at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. “Importantly, the vast differences in symptom profile and severity, cognitive ability, and age, as well as sex, are all related to the brain differences observed in ASD alone.”Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsTransgender and non-binary individuals more likely to display autistic traits, study findsResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionAlso of note, the researchers found that the most extreme version of the cortical differences exist when children are youngest and in those with lower cognitive ability, as measured using the intelligence quotient.The next stepsDown the line, the researchers hope to be able to obtain an even more detailed profile of the sources of heterogeneity that include the examination of different types of symptoms, or subgrouping based on symptoms, as well as concurrent medical issues. They would also like to use novel techniques that examine the source of the cortical variability changes at the microstructural level.The researchers believes that this work holds promise down the line. “The demonstration that the patterns of brain development vary based on several known factors, including age, sex, and cognitive ability, suggests that some of these factors should be considered in future studies and potentially in the diagnosis and treatment of ASD,” notes Saashi Bedford, a McGill graduate student working with Dr. Chakravarty and the study’s lead author.last_img read more

Robotassisted surgery for thoracic and abdominal indications provides few advantages despite high

first_imgMay 28 2019Clinical studies on robot-assisted surgery for indications in the thorax and abdomen have so far shown few advantages for this cost-intensive surgical method. This is the result of a recent analysis by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Health Technology Assessment, which examined relevant international clinical studies. In fact, the data situation is currently very unsatisfactory, as there are few larger, high-quality studies available.Robot-assisted surgery allows minimally invasive interventions with high precision. One might therefore expect advantages for patients in the course of surgery and subsequent recovery, compared to other procedures such as laparoscopy or open surgery. A comprehensive study by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Health Technology Assessment (LBI-HTA) has now investigated whether this is actually the case for indications in the thorax and abdomen. A total of 28 relevant controlled clinical studies with at least 10 patients each were included in the HTA study. The results have now been published as part of the European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA).Hardly any advantages – weak data In summary, it can be said that for the indications analyzed there are few indications of clear advantages for the efficacy and safety of this new surgical technique.”Priv. Doz. Dr. Claudia Wild, Director of the LBI-HTA This result is particularly difficult because robot-assisted operation systems are expensive, tend to require longer operation times and require intensive training and frequent practice. Differences in surgeons’ experience, the study authors emphasize, contributes to difficulties in comparing different studies. The studies provide little systematic information on the extent to which experience and frequent practice can have an influence on the patient outcome.Related StoriesCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’For nine of the 13 procedures examined in thoracic and abdominal indications, no sufficient evidence could be found from comparative clinical studies that would have made it possible to determine the benefit of robot-assisted surgery compared to other methods.Complications possibly reducedFor a small number of procedures, certain advantages could be identified, albeit with a high degree of uncertainty, even if only for some and not all outcomes. For example, robot-assisted oesophagectomy (removal of the oesophagus) probably reduces postoperative complications and improve patients’ postoperative quality of life compared to open surgery. When used in gastrectomy, robot-assisted surgery may improve postoperative complications compared to laparoscopic surgery. Robot-assisted surgery may also lead to fewer or milder complications during and after surgery compared to other methods for gall bladder removal. A robot-assisted rectal resection (partial removal of the rectum) may improve sexual function and reduce postoperative complications, but may increase intraoperative complications and worsen sleep function.As this study shows, the evidence for the advantages of such surgical techniques is often not convincing. With regard to robot-assisted surgery in the thorax and abdomen the evidence situation is expected to improve significantly over the next five years. Another result reported is that numerous studies are already underway on this topic, involving up to 5.000 patients.center_img Source:Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Health Technology Assessmentlast_img read more