Newly discovered nanobody holds promise to advance targeted therapies for several diseases

first_imgJul 10 2018Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found a nanobody that holds promise to advance targeted therapies for a number of neurological diseases and cancer.In a recent study published in Nature Communications, Sahil Gulati, of the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and colleagues identified a nanobody derived from a llama that targets signaling of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of receptors involved with transmitting signals in cells.The llama-derived nanobody specifically targets a component of G protein known as G beta-gamma–the part that binds and efficiently activates several other signaling proteins. These proteins, once activated, have been linked to several types of cancers, neurological disorders and drug addiction.The nanobody binds G beta-gamma tightly and prevents it from activating these signaling proteins. While blocking the G beta-gamma signaling, the nanobody has no effect on essential GPCR signaling events that are required for normal cellular function.A drawback of current therapeutic approaches targeting GPCRs is that small drug molecules are not very selective, and activate additional signals other than the intended target, causing unwanted side effects.”You would like the drug to bind one GPCR, but it binds non-specifically to other GPCRs causing unwanted and sometimes damaging side effects,” said Gulati. “That’s the problem with small molecule drugs on the market today.”In addition, most small molecule and antibody-based treatments are made to target specific GPCRs. However, there are almost 1,000 different GPCRs in humans, and thereby 1,000 separate drug development pipelines will be required to target each one of them.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancer”This is an extremely expensive scenario and it will take decades of research and development to find therapies to target each GPCR,” Gulati added.GPCRs are important targets for the pharmaceutical industry. As of November 2017, roughly 20 percent of FDA-approved medications target GPCRs, including medications for asthma, pain, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.Nanobodies are derived from specialized antibodies found only in sharks and camels (llamas are part of the camelidae family). Gulati explained that nanobodies are antibody fragments that are cheap to produce and efficient to deliver as a therapy. They are on their way to being a viable class of therapeutics against several hard-to-treat diseases.Gulati and his group of scientists targeted GPCR signaling in an unconventional manner. They have targeted G proteins and not GPCRs themselves. G proteins are the immediate downstream players in GPCR signaling pathways. Targeting G proteins can provide control on several GPCRs and might also avoid undesired cellular events, Gulati said.”This approach might potentially be a silver bullet for treating several medical conditions with GPCRs as key targets,” Gulati said. “The study serves as the first example where a nanobody has been shown to alter GPCR signaling at the G protein level by inhibiting G beta-gamma signaling. This will enhance the potential of nanobodies to treat various neurological conditions and cancer progression.”Use of nanobodies will likely grow as research shows they are an important tool for modulating cellular signals. Source:http://casemed.case.edu/cwrumed360/news-releases/release.cfm?news_id=1346&news_category=8last_img read more

Statistics of food consumption in Finland in 2017

first_img Source:https://www.luke.fi/en/news/what-was-eaten-in-finland-in-2017/ Jul 11 2018Last year, people in Finland consumed an average of 160 kilograms of liquid milk products, 81 kilograms of meat, 80 kilograms of grains, 65 kilograms of fruit and 64 kilograms of vegetables. This is indicated by the advance information on the Balance Sheet for Food Commodities published by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).The total consumption of meat remained roughly at the previous year’s level, 81 kilograms per capita, when game and edible offal are also taken into account. The consumption of poultry meat increased by six per cent from 2016. The consumption has now been increasing for more than ten consecutive years. The consumption of beef also increased – by one per cent from the previous year. In contrast, the consumption of pork decreased by almost four per cent from the previous year.”In 2017, an average of 19.4 kilograms of beef, 33.4 kilograms of pork and 24.9 kilograms of poultry meat was consumed per capita,” says senior statistician Tarja Kortesmaa at Luke.The consumption of milk kept decreasingThe consumption of milk decreased by an average of five per cent from the previous year. There was a drastic decrease in the consumption of skimmed milk, more than 14 per cent. The consumption of low-fat milk remained almost unchanged from the previous year, while the consumption of whole milk increased by seven per cent having been on the decline for a couple of years.”All in all, approximately 112 liters of milk was consumed per capita last year, of which one-third was skimmed milk, 56 per cent was low-fat milk and just over ten per cent was whole milk,” Kortesmaa continues.The consumption of sour milk and curdled milk (viili) decreased by approximately six per cent. The consumption of yogurt remained roughly at the previous year’s level. Cream consumption increased by approximately six per cent. In 2017, the total consumption of liquid milk products was 160 kilograms per capita, approximately four per cent less than in the previous year.The consumption of cheese decreased by a couple of per cent from the previous year to just under 26 kilograms. The consumption of butter was of the same order as in the previous year, 3.5 kilograms. Almost 12 kilograms of eggs were consumed per capita.Oats a popular cereal in FinlandRelated StoriesRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsCooking vegetables with extra virgin olive oil favors absorption, release of bioactive compoundsAre fruit fly ‘avatars’ the next step in personalized medicine?The total consumption of cereals increased by just under one per cent from the previous year to 80 kilograms per capita. The consumption of oats increased by one kilogram to 7.3 kilograms and that of rice by 0.2 kilograms to six kilograms per capita. The consumption of wheat and rye remained almost unchanged from the previous year, at 44.5 and 15.5 kilograms, respectively.Consumption of fruit and vegetablesThe consumption of citrus fruits decreased by ten per cent to 13 kilograms per capita. The consumption of other species of fresh fruit remained almost unchanged at 46 kilograms. Just under seven kilograms of fruit preserves and dried fruit were consumed per capita. The consumption of fresh vegetables last year is estimated at approximately 64 kilograms per capita. However, this figure also includes possible waste.Background to the statisticsThe consumption figures of food commodities are based on Luke’s statistics on the Balance Sheet for Food Commodities, containing a summary of the production, domestic use and consumption of the most important categories of food in Finland. The domestic usage of more the 60 products is calculated for the Balance Sheet on the basis of production, changes in stock, export and imports. Domestic usage is further divided into different purposes: animal feed, use for seeds, industrial raw materials and human consumption. The consumption figures of food commodities are calculated by dividing the human consumption by the average population in the year.The total consumption of meat also includes game and edible offal. The meat consumption figures reported in the balance sheet for food commodities also include bones, i.e. they are reported as carcass meat. Typically, carcass meat contains 80% of boneless meat. In addition, the cooking loss ranges from 10 to 30%, depending on the product. The weight of cooked meat is around 50% of the weight of carcass meat.Using this method for compiling statistics, the consumption figures of certain products, such as vegetables, are only indicative. They describe the quantity available for consumption, rather than the actual consumption, because no figures are available for storage losses and other waste, which is why they are included in the consumption figures. last_img read more

Fish oil supplements do not reduce risk of cardiovascular events in patients

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 27 2018Fish oil supplements do not prevent heart attacks or strokes in patients with diabetes, according to late breaking results from the ASCEND trial presented today in a Hot Line Session at ESC Congress 2018 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.In observational studies, higher consumption of fish is associated with lower risks of coronary artery disease and stroke. However, previous randomized trials have not been able to show that taking fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of having cardiovascular events.The ASCEND trial (A Study of Cardiovascular Events iN Diabetes) examined whether fish oil supplements reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event in patients with diabetes. Between 2005 and 2011, 15,480 patients with diabetes but no history of cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to fish oil supplementation (1 g daily) or matching placebo.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useTeam approach to care increases likelihood of surviving refractory cardiogenic shockThe primary efficacy outcome was first serious vascular event, which included non-fatal heart attacks, non-fatal strokes or transient ischaemic attacks (sometimes called “mini-strokes”), or deaths from a cardiovascular cause (but excluding any intracranial hemorrhage; i.e. bleeding in the head or brain3).During an average of 7.4 years of follow-up, a first serious vascular event occurred in 689 (8.9%) participants allocated fish oil supplements and 712 (9.2%) participants allocated placebo. There was no significant difference between the two groups: rate ratio of 0.97 (95% confidence interval 0.87-1.08, p=0.55).Dr Louise Bowman, principal investigator, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK, said: “Our large, long-term randomized trial shows that fish oil supplements do not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes. This is a disappointing finding, but it is in line with previous randomized trials in other types of patient at increased risk of cardiovascular events which also showed no benefit of fish oil supplements. There is no justification for recommending fish oil supplements to protect against cardiovascular events.”Source: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Fish-oils-do-not-prevent-heart-attack-or-strokes-in-people-with-diabeteslast_img read more

Democratic GOP attorneys general square off in Texas showdown over health law

first_imgJulie Rovner: jrovner@kff.org, @jrovner Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 4 2018Wednesday is looking like yet another pivotal day in the life-or-death saga that has marked the history of the Affordable Care Act.In a Texas courtroom, a group of Republican attorneys general, led by Texas’ Ken Paxton, are set to face off against a group of Democratic attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, in a lawsuit aimed at striking down the federal health law. The Republicans say that when Congress eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance as part of last year’s tax bill, lawmakers rendered the entire health law unconstitutional. The Democrats argue that’s not the case.But first, the sides will argue before U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, whether the health law should be put on hold while the case is litigated. The GOP plaintiffs are seeking a “preliminary injunction” on the law.Ending the health law, even temporarily, “would wreak havoc in our health care system,” said Becerra in a call with reporters last week. “And we don’t believe Americans are ready to see that their children are no longer able to see a doctor or that they cannot get treated for a preexisting health condition.”Here are five questions and answers to help understand the case, Texas v. U.S.1. What is this suit about?In February, 18 GOP attorneys general and two GOP governors filed the suit in federal district court in the Northern District of Texas. They argue that because the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 by saying its requirement to carry insurance was a legitimate use of Congress’ taxing power, eliminating the tax penalty for failure to have health insurance makes the entire law unconstitutional.”Texans have known all along that Obamacare is unlawful and a divided Supreme Court’s approval rested solely on the flimsy support of Congress’ authority to tax,” Paxton said in a statement when the suit was filed. “Congress has now kicked that flimsy support from beneath the law.”The lawsuit asks the judge to prohibit the federal government “from implementing, regulating, enforcing, or otherwise acting under the authority of the ACA.”2. Why are Democratic attorneys general defending the law?The defendant in the case is technically the Trump administration. But in June, the administration announced it would not fully defend the law in court.The Justice Department, in its filing in the case, did not agree with the plaintiffs that eliminating the tax penalty should require that the entire law be struck down. But it did say that without the tax, the provisions of the law requiring insurance companies to sell to people with preexisting conditions and not charge them more should fall, beginning Jan. 1, 2019. That is when the tax penalty goes away.The Republican attorneys general say they still believe the entire law should be invalidated, but if that does not happen, they would accept the elimination of the preexisting condition protections.The Democratic attorneys general applied to “intervene” in the case to defend the law in its entirety. They say they needed to step forward to protect the health and well-being of their residents. The judge granted them that status on May 16.3. What would happen if the judge grants a preliminary injunction?The GOP plaintiffs say the law needs to be stopped immediately, “both because individuals will make insurance decisions during fall open-enrollment periods and because the States cannot turn their employee insurance plans and Medicaid operations on a dime,” according to their brief.Related StoriesNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaBut setting aside the ACA while the case proceeds “would throw the entire [health] system into chaos,” Becerra said. That’s because the ACA made major changes not just to the insurance market for individuals, but also to Medicare, Medicaid and the employer insurance market.Even in 2012, when the Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of the law before much of it had taken effect, some analysts from both parties predicted that finding the law unconstitutional could have serious repercussions for the Medicare program and the rest of the health care system.In practice, however, even if Judge O’Connor were to rule in favor of the Republicans’ request to stop the law’s enforcement immediately, the decision could be quickly appealed up the line, including, if necessary, before the Supreme Court.4. Is this case purely Republicans versus Democrats?The case is largely partisan — with Republicans who oppose the health law arguing for its cancellation and Democrats who support it fighting to keep it in place.But a friend-of-the-court brief filed by five law professors who disagree on the merits of the ACA said that, regardless, both the GOP states and the Justice Department are wrong to conclude that eliminating the tax penalty should result in the entire law being thrown out.In this case, “Congress itself has essentially eliminated the provision in question and left the rest of a statute standing,” so courts do not need to guess whether lawmakers intended for the rest of the law to remain, they wrote.5. What is Congress doing about this?Technically, Congress is watching the case just as everyone else is. But Republicans in particular, while they mostly oppose the health law, are aware that the provisions protecting people with preexisting conditions are by far the most popular part of the ACA. And Democrats are already using the issue to hammer opponents in the upcoming midterm elections.Last month, 10 GOP senators introduced legislation they said would maintain the ACA’s preexisting condition protections in the event the lawsuit succeeds.”This legislation is a common-sense solution that guarantees Americans with preexisting conditions will have health care coverage, regardless of how our judicial system rules on the future of Obamacare,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), the bill’s lead sponsor, in a statement.Critics, however, were quick to point out that the bill doesn’t actually offer the same protections that are embodied in the ACA. While the health law requires coverage for all conditions without extra premiums, the GOP bill would require that insurers sell to people with preexisting conditions, but not that those policies actually cover those conditions. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Campaign saves famed Lick Observatory but challenges remain

first_img 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 (*) Email 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 Zimbabwecenter_img The historic Lick Observatory in California has gained a new lease on life. University of California (UC) administrators have scrapped a plan to cut funding for the facility. But the observatory’s financial future remains as tricky as the road that twists to its perch on a mountaintop above San Jose.The reprieve came as a relief to astronomers who rallied to save the observatory from the budget ax. “This really changes everything,” said Claire Max, interim director of the University of California Observatories (UCO), which manages the observatory program for the university system. “It’s very frugal, but we’ve got a base budget to keep the doors open and keep the telescopes operating.”The first permanent mountaintop observatory in the world when it opened in 1888, Lick has been involved in a string of important discoveries, from proof of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity to confirmation of the accelerating expansion of the universe. Today, the observatory is used primarily to search for supernovae and planets in other solar systems. It also serves as a testing ground for astronomy students and new technology. In 2013, UC leaders, faced with shrinking funding, opted to jettison it. The observatory would have had to find money elsewhere or close by 2018. The UC system planned to focus instead on the larger W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), also in Hawaii. When completed, the TMT will be among the world’s largest land-based telescopes.UC Provost Aimée Dorr and Executive Vice President Nathan Brostrom announced the about-face in a 29 October letter. They said the change came after UCO convinced administrators it could pay for a slimmed-down Lick program without sacrificing other priorities. “We have also seen that there is substantial interest among UC astronomers and other communities for continued operation of Lick by UC,” they wrote.The prospect of the observatory going dark had prompted a “Save Lick” campaign, headed by UC astronomers and amateur stargazers from the corporate halls of nearby Silicon Valley. They argued that Lick was still equipped to contribute important research and that it offered students freedom to pursue projects that couldn’t compete for scarce time at bigger telescopes. Even members of Congress weighed in, with 35 members of California’s delegation sending a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano urging her to reconsider.That pressure, combined with a change in several of the main players, helped reverse the program’s fate, said several observers. Steven Beckwith, a UC Berkeley astronomer who convened a board that recommended cutting Lick’s funding, stepped down in July from his post as UC’s vice president of research and graduate studies. And in early October, Max, a UC Santa Cruz astronomer who helped design and build instruments used at Lick, took the helm at UCO.“Right from the start the provost and I established a very good working relationship and there was lots of mutual respect,” Max said. “I think everyone is looking forward instead of back.”Dorr was not available for comment, according to a spokeswoman with the UC Office of the President (UCOP).The observatory still faces a difficult future. The $1.5-million-a-year budget is considered spartan. There’s pressure to find other sources of money. Its staff has fallen from 24 in 2011 to 14 today. And a number of scientists have left amid the uncertainty. Several astronomy professors retired earlier than they might have otherwise, Max said. A highly regarded instrument designer, Rebecca Bernstein, took a job with the rival Giant Magellan Telescope.UC Santa Cruz astronomer Garth Illingworth welcomed the restoration of Lick’s funding, but said its woes are symptomatic of a broader funding crisis for the UC observatory program. An advisory committee recently concluded that the system needed approximately $7.7 million in 2016 from UCOP; this year, it is receiving just $5 million.”The thing that is really a problem now is having the budget to do justice to the excellence of TMT, Keck, and Lick. You don’t do that with $5 million. It just doesn’t compute,” Illingworth said.It’s also not clear what other projects might have benefited from the $1.5 million now being used to keep Lick operating. Max said other areas ripe for more funding include new equipment for Keck, as well as more engineers and upgrades at technical shops that help design and build instruments.Meanwhile, the campaign to rescue Lick could now morph into a push to boost its fortunes in a region synonymous with high-tech wizardry. Donors are more likely to reach into their pockets now that the university system is backing the observatory, said Jim Katzman, a co-founder of Tandem Computers, who helped pay for a supernova-hunting telescope at the observatory. A marketing firm founded by Andy Cunningham, a vaunted Silicon Valley marketing expert, has been hired to help devise a road map for Lick’s future and to build its prominence in the community, Katzman said.”Lick is not in the forefront of people’s brains around the valley, and I think it could be, and it should be,” he said.last_img read more

European Commission gives controversial weed killer a lastminute reprieve

first_imgTo the relief of farmers, the controversial herbicide glyphosate will remain on the market in Europe for another 18 months. The widely used weed killer faced a 30 June deadline for reapproval of its safety—without which it could not be sold—but the decision has been stuck in political gridlock. So the European Commission stepped in to extend the safety approval until December 2017. The decision was mentioned by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis during a press conference today and may be officially announced tomorrow, according to a commission source.The safety of glyphosate has been hotly debated ever since the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared it a “probable human carcinogen” in March 2015. Regulatory agencies had previously declared glyphosate safe when properly used, and the European Food Safety Authority was on track to renew its approval. (The differing opinions caused some confusion, which is clarified here.) Opponents of the herbicide campaigned for the commission not to renew the market license. Glyphosate manufacturers and the farm lobby objected fiercely, and member states could not reach a majority decision about how to proceed. In his comment, Andriukaitis said that the commission granted the 18-month extension in order to have the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) complete its review of glyphosate. ECHA is responsible for classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals, and during commission deliberations in May, some member states wanted to know ECHA’s opinion on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate before voting on its reapproval.last_img read more

China moves to protect coastal wetlands used by migratory birds

first_img China moves to protect coastal wetlands used by migratory birds Tengyi Chen SOA’s 17 January statement said the agency will only approve coastal wetland development that is important for public welfare or national defense. Unauthorized projects will be stopped, and illegal structures torn down. The administration will nationalize already reclaimed wetlands that have not yet been built on. (Despite the loss of tides, these areas can still benefit wildlife.) “This represents a … true ‘sea change’ in the official political attitudes to the very large, and internationally shared, biodiversity values of the shorelines of China,” says ecologist Theunis Piersma of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “Man, is this hopeful!”China’s coastal wetlands—and in particular those in the Yellow Sea, which is at the midpoint of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway—are crucial for birds that migrate between Siberia and Australia. But development has robbed the birds of habitat and food, and some 10% of the species that use the flyway are in peril of extinction. Case in point is the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper, which specializes in plucking tiny crustaceans from the mud with its eponymous beak. Only about 220 breeding pairs survive.Lax regulationMadcap economic development in coastal China led to intense demand for new land. Although there are some regulations to protect wetlands, local governments and businesses often ignored or dodged them. The central government began to give more because of environmental protections in about 2012. For example, China’s equivalent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cracked down on some local government officials charged with destruction of wetlands, says Zhijun Ma, a conservation biologist at Fudan University in Shanghai.In 2015, the central government created a “red line” to protect 53 million hectares of wetlands, but a report from the State Forestry Administration, which has jurisdiction over much of the wetlands, warned that ongoing reclamation has put those wetlands in danger. SOA has stepped up action to prevent more destruction, issuing several regulations in recent years. And in 2016, SOA created 16 marine parks, bringing the total area with various levels of protection to about 124,000 square kilometers.But the newest regulations are “a turning point” in SOA’s attention to marine ecosystem protection, says Zhengwang Zhang, an ornithologist at Beijing Normal University. By deflecting development pressure, the new regulations will make it easier to create new reserves and should add momentum to efforts to expand a World Heritage Site around key wetlands, Crockford says.More work awaitsPiersma and other researchers in the Global Flyway Network hope to continue research with satellite tracking of migratory birds to show which habitats are most important and to track progress in reserves. “We need to keep a close eye on the developments of the population, and see whether the recoveries actually will take place following political change.” Ma says a more comprehensive evaluation on the status, trends, and threats to coastal wetlands at national level is still required.There’s political work to do, too. China still lacks national wetland protection laws, Zhang says, as well as a national action plan for coastal wetland protection. Penalties for damaging wetlands need to be strengthened.Li notes that the current regulation is focusing on stopping reclamation but not directly on conserving biodiversity. It will take “huge resources” to restore reclaimed wetlands that have been invaded by spartina grass, which degrades the habitat for migratory birds, she says.Enforcement will be important. Li suspects there is still opposition to the regulations from local governments that depend on development for revenue. Ultimately, Crockford says it will be important to win over locals by demonstrating the benefits of tidal wetlands, including nature tourism and flood protection. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email By Erik StokstadJan. 30, 2018 , 5:20 PMcenter_img China has armored its coastline over the past several decades, building sea walls and turning more than half of its marine wetlands into solid ground for development. The impact on the almost 500 species of migratory birds that rely on this habitat has been severe. But the tide is turning in favor of wildlife, conservationists believe, as the government is now moving to tighten regulations and designate new reserves to protect coastal wildlife.“The message has reached the central government,” says Jing Li of Saving the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, a nonprofit based in Shanghai, China.In particular, China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) earlier this month announced it will dramatically curb commercial development of coastal wetlands. “I’ve never heard of anything quite so monumental,” says Nicola Crockford of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, based in Sandy, U.K., which has worked to protect habitat of migratory birds in China and elsewhere. The spoonbill sandpiper is among the endangered shorebirds that could benefit from China’s move to protect coastal wetlands. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 Zimbabwelast_img read more

This research group seeks to expose weaknesses in science—and theyll step on

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The metaresearch group, co-led by Jelte Wicherts (left), created a major stir with statcheck, an algorithm that Michèle Nuijten (right) helped develop. This research group seeks to expose weaknesses in science—and they’ll step on some toes if they have to Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford More content from this package That Wicherts’s and Van Assen’s center was built on the ruins of Stapel’s deceit may seem like poetic justice, but straight-up scientific fraud is only a minor topic for the group. Its main focus is questionable research practices, such as massaging data and selective reporting of statistical tests. These misdemeanors don’t get a scientist fired, but they do help explain why so many findings are hard to reproduce—the “reproducibility crisis” that has gripped not just psychology, but many areas of basic biology and clinical medicine.For scientists who find themselves in the crosshairs, the experience can feel bruising. Several years ago, the Tilburg group—now more than a dozen faculty members and students—unveiled an algorithm, dubbed statcheck, to spot potential statistical problems in psychology studies. They ran it on tens of thousands of papers and posted the troubling results on PubPeer, a website for discussion of published papers. Some researchers felt unfairly attacked; one eminent psychologist insinuated that the group was part of a “self-appointed data police” harassing members of the research community. The pressure on younger people not to do research in a reproducible way can be quite intense. Wicherts now co-leads the group with Van Assen, who had focused on cognitive and mathematical psychology before he was drawn into the Stapel investigation. Its highest profile—some would say most notorious—project is statcheck. The algorithm, developed by Michèle Nuijten, then a Ph.D. student at Tilburg, together with Sacha Epskamp of the University of Amsterdam, scours papers for statistical results reported in standardized formats, then examines them for errors, like a mathematical spell checker. When statcheck scanned 30,717 papers published between 1985 and 2013, it found a “gross inconsistency” in one out of eight. Most of these results purported to be statistically significant, but in fact were not, Nuijten and colleagues reported in 2015. Statcheck can’t distinguish between honest errors and deceit, but “it’s not unimaginable that people do this on purpose,” says Nuijten, now an assistant professor.When Tilburg Ph.D. student Chris Hartgerink posted statcheck’s evaluations of 50,000 psychology studies on PubPeer, some scientists were furious. The most vocal critics complained that statcheck had claimed an error when in fact it wasn’t able to properly scan their statistics, which had been correct. “Statistical graffiti,” one called it. In a column, Susan Fiske of Princeton University, a past president of the Association for Psychological Science, decried a trend of “methodological terrorism.” (Fiske removed that term, which caused a tempest on social media after her draft leaked.) The German Psychological Society called for a moratorium on statcheck.In retrospect, Nuijten says she would have written fuller explanations for the PubPeer posts, in less brusque a style. But Vazire says she handled the controversy with aplomb, showing the kind of communication skills that can “win hearts and minds” in the campaign to improve psychology. Ultimately, says Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, a statistician at the University of Amsterdam, “I think it had a really positive effect. And wouldn’t have if they had done it more subtly.”Still, the episode showed how sensitive people can be to criticism. “If you make it personal,” Wicherts says, “then they can’t admit the errors.” Rather than calling out individuals, he now believes that metaresearchers should highlight the problems, encourage best practices, and create a system where errors can be caught before publication. One sign of progress is that two psychology journals now run submissions through statcheck.Reducing biasesOther attempts to take a hard look at psychology’s practices created a backlash as well. Van Assen and two students participated in the Reproducibility Project: Psychology, a large, 4-year collaboration organized by Nosek and COS that managed to replicate only 39% of the findings in 100 studies. Some senior psychologists quickly pushed back; Harvard University’s Daniel Gilbert and three co-authors, for instance, criticized the collaboration’s methods and their “pessimistic conclusions.” (A new project, published last month in Nature Human Behaviour, replicated 62% of experiments reported in recent papers in Science and Nature.)Wicherts says some researchers fear such critiques could jeopardize funding or breed mistrust in science. But it’s not the group’s job to protect psychology’s reputation, he says. And the Tilburg studies have shaken the illusion that scientists are more objective than most people, underscoring that most researchers have a poor ability to look objectively at data and overestimate the statistical power of their studies.With his ERC grant, Wicherts plans to develop software that will help psychologists avoid the temptation to test many hypotheses and only report those that have a significant p-value. The behavior, called data dredging, or HARKing, for “hypothesizing after results are known,” generates apparently well-founded results that often can’t be reproduced. Following an approach used in particle physics and other fields, the software will reveal a random sample of the data that researchers have gathered, letting them explore and generate hypotheses. Then it will deliver another random selection for rigorously testing those hypotheses. “I think there could be a role for this,” says psychologist Dorothy Bishop of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, though she suspects it will require large data sets.Wicherts’s main effort right now is leading a project in which scientists at five universities take a fresh look at the data behind 200 studies, repeating the analyses in many ways to find out whether the authors chose to report specific results that matched their hypotheses. “I think we’ll find quite a lot of biases in place,” Wicherts says.A corrupting influenceSince Wicherts’s discovery as a student that most psychology researchers don’t share their data when asked, he and others have pushed for change. Even today, only 10% of newly published psychology papers have data available, but the “open data” ethos is gaining traction in psychology and beyond. As an incentive, 41 journals now allow authors to slap a virtual open data “badge” on a paper; after Psychological Science adopted the practice, the share of open-data papers rose from 3% to 39% in just over a year. (Similar badges exist for “open materials” and study preregistration.)Like other metaresearchers, the Tilburg group has itself adopted a far-reaching open-data policy: It shares data, code, and materials, except when issues of copyright, privacy, or ownership are involved. “It’s a much harder way of working—it slows you down—but it makes you more thoughtful and confident,” Bishop says. Hartgerink even posted versions of chapters of his Ph.D. online as he wrote them. “I share almost everything as I do it,” he says. One risk of posting entire data sets is that competitors might analyze them and come up with new findings first. Although that’s arguably good for the field as a whole, some labs worry that younger scientists who have yet to make their name might lose a chance to publish a significant finding. Jelte Wicherts,Tilburg University 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 reproducibility push has other potential downsides for younger researchers. Studies with respectable statistical power take major work and might fizzle. For her Ph.D., Paulette Flore, now an assistant professor at Tilburg, studied whether reminding girls of their gender hurts their performance on math tests, an effect found in many smaller studies. Flore set up the largest study of the effect ever—involving more than 2000 students at 21 Dutch high schools—only to find no evidence for it. “In earlier days, her career would have ended,” Wicherts says. “Now, you do the best you can, and let the chips fall where they may. I think this is the future.”At the moment, however, negative findings “won’t land you a fancy job,” says Daniël Lakens, an applied statistician at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. For that to change, science will need to put more value on good ideas, solid methods, and broadly collaborative work, and less on high-profile publications and citations. “There’s a corrupting influence of our current incentive structure,” Bishop says. “The pressure on younger people not to do research in a reproducible way can be quite intense.”Some of the young scientists at Tilburg are pessimistic that the situation will improve anytime soon. “At the current pace, it’s going to be 2100 before things are really different,” Hartgerink says. Wicherts believes avoiding bad practices in research will pay off for individual scientists in the long run. “Keep in mind that these better methods empower the truth, and that this ultimately promotes scientific progress and highlights your contributions.”*Correction, 21 September, 2 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct Susan Fiske’s affiliation. Manon Bruininga center_img By Erik StokstadSep. 20, 2018 , 12:30 PM Around the same time, a psychologist with a strong interest in the same issues joined his department. Jelte Wicherts, previously an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam, wanted to find out why “smart researchers do stupid things with statistics,” as he puts it. The two hit it off, and have since created what psychologist Brian Nosek, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Open Science (COS) in Charlottesville, calls “one of the leading groups” in metascience, the study of science itself.Metaresearchers investigate how scientists operate, and how they can slip off the rails. “We’ve seen things that we felt were not OK,” Wicherts says. “The first way to deal with it, that’s our conviction, is to study these things.” They’re motivated by the desire to make science better, although Van Assen is drawn to the detective work. “What I like most is to solve puzzles,” he says. By scrutinizing the problems, metaresearchers aim to help scientists do more robust research. Thanks to a €2 million grant from the European Research Council (ERC), for example, the Tilburg group is starting to build software that could help researchers explore data with less risk of bias. Meta-analyses were supposed to end scientific debates. Often, they only cause more controversy Related stories on metaresearch Van Assen and Wicherts say it was worth stepping on some toes to get the message across, and to flag mistakes in the literature. Members of the group have become outspoken advocates for statistical honesty, publishing editorials and papers with tips for how to avoid biases, and they have won fans. “I’m amazed that they were able to build that group. It feels very progressive to me,” says psychologist Simine Vazire of the University of California, Davis, a past chair of the executive committee of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS).The work by the Tilburg center and others, including SIPS and COS, is beginning to have an impact. The practice of preregistering studies—declaring a plan for the research in advance, which can lessen the chance of dodgy analyses—is growing rapidly, as is making the data behind research papers immediately available so others can check the findings. Wicherts and others are optimistic that the perverse incentives of careerist academia, to hoard data and sacrifice rigor for headline-generating findings, will ultimately be fixed. “We created the culture,” Nosek says. “We can change the culture.”Data not availableTilburg might seem an unlikely place for academic innovation. The city, 90 kilometers south of Amsterdam, was once a center of the Dutch textile industry; after the woolen mills shut down, insurance and transportation businesses sprung up. Tilburg University was founded in 1927 as the Roman Catholic University of Commerce, but it is now best known for its social sciences departments, which fill a 10-story concrete building. Housed on a floor near the top, the metaresearchers have an expansive view of a forested 18th century park.One morning this May, Wicherts, an energetic and talkative 42-year-old, was making a cup of strong coffee as he related how he became involved in metascience. When he was a Ph.D. student in psychology in the mid-2000s, it was an open secret that many findings were irreproducible, he says, but scientists feared that discussing this would cast the whole field into doubt. Then in 2005, John Ioannidis, now co-director of Stanford University’s Meta-research Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California, published a provocative essay, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” It argued that science suffers from an epidemic of small studies that try to detect modest effects, poorly designed by researchers “in chase of statistical significance.” Wicherts, inspired by the paper’s clarity and bravery, calls it a watershed event for psychology.Wicherts had his own encounter with poor scientific practices during his Ph.D. work on the rise of intelligence scores over generations. Curious about the impact of unusual data points on statistical analyses, he and his colleagues asked the authors of 141 recent papers for their data, so that they could reanalyze them. To their surprise, 73% of the authors didn’t reply or said they were not willing or able to share the data, even though the journals that published the studies stipulated they should. Wicherts dropped the study but described the experience in American Psychologist. The 2006 paper was an early alert about the importance of “open data,” Vazire says. “We need something better than ‘data available upon request.’” We’ve seen things that we felt were not OK. The first way to deal with it, that’s our conviction, is to study these things. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country More and more scientists are preregistering their studies. Should you? TILBURG, THE NETHERLANDS—In August 2011, Diederik Stapel, a prominent psychologist and a dean at Tilburg University here, confessed to faking data for dozens of papers over 15 years. As part of an internal investigation, Marcel van Assen, a psychologist in the university’s Department of Methodology and Statistics, spent months looking into Stapel’s data, methods, and results. The scope of the fraud was staggering, but just as alarming as the fabricated data, Van Assen says, were the flawed analyses, rife with statistical problems, that Stapel had performed. The fact that all his papers had been approved by co-authors and published in respectable journals meant psychology had a larger problem, Van Assen says. “I thought, holy shit, this is not a characteristic just of Stapel or Tilburg.” Emaillast_img read more

Podcast Vacuuming up valuable metals in the deep sea and an expedition

first_imgJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency Pirate’s gold may not be that far off, as there are valuable metals embedded in potato-size nodules thousands of meters down in the depths of the ocean. Host Meagan Cantwell talks with Staff Writer Paul Voosen about the first deep-sea test of a bus-size machine designed to scoop up these nodules, and its potential impact on the surrounding ecosystem.In an expedition well above sea level, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft touched down on the asteroid Ryugu last month. And although the craft won’t return to Earth until 2020, researchers have learned a lot about Ryugu in the meantime. Meagan speaks with Seiji Sugita, a professor at the University of Tokyo and principal investigator of the Optical Navigation Camera of Hayabusa 2, about Ryugu’s parent body, and how this study can better inform future asteroid missions.This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.Download transcript (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.About the Science Podcast[Image: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; Music: Jeffrey Cook]last_img read more

Neanderthals may not have been the headbangers scientists once assumed

first_img Neanderthals are often depicted as graduates of the Stone Age school of hard knocks: Without sophisticated weapons, they had to face down violent prey such as woolly rhinos at close range (illustrated above)—and they should have the broken skulls to prove it. But a new study reveals our closest human relatives were no more likely than Stone Age members of our species to sustain head injuries.Researchers collated data from previous studies on 295 Neanderthal skull bones and 541 modern human skull bones from individuals who lived in Eurasia between 80,000 and 20,000 years ago. Just 39 of the skull bones—14 Neanderthal and 25 modern human—showed signs of injury such as lesions to the bone. That’s a 5% injury rate across the skull bones of both species, suggesting no real difference between the two, the team reports today in Nature.So how did Neanderthals stay safe? They may have killed prey by driving it into natural pit traps in the landscape, the authors say, or cooperated on hunts to reduce the chances of individuals sustaining injuries. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Gleiver Prieto & Katerina Harvati By Colin BarrasNov. 14, 2018 , 1:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 Neanderthals may not have been the headbangers scientists once assumed However, young Neanderthals did seem to have proportionally more smacks on the head: Of the 14 Neanderthal bones with injuries, nine came from individuals under 30 years old, whereas only seven of the 25 modern human bones with injuries came from such young individuals. So, it’s possible that young Neanderthals took more risks than young members of our own species.last_img read more

This twofaced membrane can create electricity—from nothing but salty water

first_img Imagine being stuffed into a crowded train car and noticing a less crowded one just down the platform. You’d probably want to move over as soon as possible. Particles that follow this balancing act—known as osmosis—spontaneously move from an area of high concentration to one of low concentration. Now, scientists have used this tendency to create a power-producing membrane that can harvest electric current from nothing but salty water.When ionic salts, made of bundles positively and negatively charged particles, dissolve in water, the bundles break apart, leaving positively and negatively charged particles free to participate in osmosis. By placing charged, thin membranes in between salty water and freshwater, scientists can create an expressway for the flowing particles, generating electric current. But these membranes are often expensive to manufacture and they tend to get leaky over time. That lets particles pass back through in the wrong direction, cutting into how much electricity they can produce.Now, researchers have developed a new kind of gatekeeper—a “two-faced” membrane that has different properties on either side, from the size of the pores to the charge of the membrane itself. This encourages a steady flow of charged particles from one side to the other while preventing them from drifting back in the wrong direction. These so-called Janus membranes, named after the ancient Roman god of gates and passages, can also be manufactured to have different-size pores and hold different charges, allowing them to accept different kinds of particles. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email 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 This ‘two-faced’ membrane can create electricity—from nothing but salty watercenter_img By Frankie SchembriOct. 26, 2018 , 2:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The researchers tested their Janus membranes with salty sea water on one side and fresh river water on the other. They found the devices were able to convert 35.7% of the chemical energy stored in the salty water into useable electricity. That’s as efficient as most wind turbines and higher than most solar cells, they report today in Science Advances.Next, the researchers plan to build larger membranes and see whether they can withstand the conditions of real sea and river water. If the membrane performs as well in “the wild,” the new membranes could be used to power remote communities with no other sources of renewable energy in just a few years, the researchers say. That suggests that when it comes to harvesting power from moving particles, being a little two-faced is a good thing.last_img read more

New Clue in Amelia Earhart Mystery from Images a Day Before she

first_imgNewly obtained footage of pilot Amelia Earhart on a test flight could shed light on what happened when she disappeared in 1937, says the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), a group devoted to searching for the truth about the famous aviatrix. TIGHAR spent 10 years in negotiations to get hold of the 16 mm film, which shows Earhart’s Lockheed Electra taking off from Papua New Guinea on a short test flight on July 1, 1937, and the refueling operation afterward.The pit stop shortly preceded the then 39-year-old and her navigator, Fred Noonan, taking off for the island of Howland in their final stretch of circumnavigating the globe. They never arrived on Howland, and their disappearance has obsessed the world ever since.Photo by Getty ImagesThe key to the new theory is an aluminum patch that was added to the fuselage of her plane, the Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. The theory is that a piece of metal that washed up on Nikumaroro island in the western Pacific in 1991 is the same metal patch used on Earhart’s plane, placing her in that area.The island, previously called Gardner Island, was where human bones were found in 1940. This strengthens the belief that these could possibly be the remains of Earhart.The patch measures 19 by 23 inches and has five parallel lines of rivet holes on it. One image in the footage shows the patch “from a closer distance than any photo we have yet seen” TIGHAR said, adding “the patch was clearly visible.”Amelia Earhart standing under nose of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra.The announcement comes weeks after another research group’s statement that divers found the wreckage of a submerged plane off Buka Island, Papua New Guinea, that had several characteristics of Earhart’s plane, most significantly a glass disc that could be a light lens from the aircraft. This theory meant that Earhart turned around when she ran dangerously low on fuel and then crashed.But the leading theory supported by TIGHAR has been that Earhart and Noonan landed successfully off Gardner Island but then died there, waiting for rescue. They hope that by enhancing the new film footage, they will be able to determine once and for all if this panel was that same patch.Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) map. Photo by EVS-Islands – Flickr CC By 2.0TIGHAR discovered the aluminum fragment on the remote island of Gardner, which is a coral atoll 1,200 miles from the Marshall Islands. It is 350 nautical miles away from Howland, where Earhart was supposed to land but never arrived.The footage of Earhart’s test run was taken by someone connected to a mining engineer on New Guinea and has been in the ownership of a woman who acquired it as part of a divorce settlement. TIGHAR was contacted in 2008 by that woman who said she had photos and film footage of Earhart, Noonan and the plane in Lae.“The photos and movies were said to have been taken by a relative of the owner’s ex-husband who was in the mining business during the great New Guinea gold rush of the 1930s and happened to be in Lae on July 1st,” the group said.Pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, with a map of the Pacific that shows the planned route of their last flight. Photo by Getty Images“The key to a conclusive yea or nay is a comparison between the unique rivet pattern and deformation on the artifact and the unique rivet pattern and deformation visible in photos of the patch on the Electra,” explained TIGHAR. “The problem has always been the poor resolution in the handful of historic photos that show the patch.”TIGHAR is now working to get the brittle, decades-old acetate film scanned at high resolution, a delicate process. As of now the footage they have has not been made publicly available and they have launched a fundraiser to have the film scanned at high resolution and rendered into digital format.The image taken from the discovered footage. Courtesy of Tighar CollectionThe Gardner Island theory has tantalizing evidence to support it.“By 1938 the island was colonized as part of the Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme, one of the British Empire’s last expansions,” according to National Geographic. “Colonists reported finding airplane parts, some of which could have plausibly come from the Electra.”The aluminum fragment discovered in 1991. Courtesy of TIGHAR CollectionIn 1940 Gerald Gallagher, the colonial administrator, found 13 bones buried near remains of a campfire. “He also found the remnants of two shoes — a man’s and a woman’s — as well as a box that once held a sextant, a navigation device. The bones were shipped to Fiji, measured, and subsequently lost.”Some believe that Earhart’s plane crashed in the ocean, most likely because she ran out of fuel before she found her destination, and sank. Yet another theory is that Earhart and Noonan managed to land their plane safely but were taken into custody by the Japanese and imprisoned.Read another story from us: Researchers Discover Wreck that Could Finally be Amelia Earhart PlaneIn the last few years, the speculation seems to have intensified, and one thing is clear. People long for resolution on the fate of Amelia Earhart.last_img read more

Sri Lanka PM to appear before Parliamentary Committee probing Easter attacks

first_img Sri Lanka still faces threat of ISIS terror attacks: PM Wickremesinghe Advertising He said that the government hopes to adopt new laws to curb global terrorism while looking forward to working with international intelligence agencies as well.Rejecting claims that the country’s activities had been stalled since the terror attacks, he said that several projects concerning housing, economy and employment are going on, the report said.Wickremesinghe said that steps have been taken to revive the tourist industry which had faced adverse impacts owing to the bombings.Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts on April 21 that tore through three churches and three high-end hotels frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka’s deadliest terror attack since the devastating civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in 2009.The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ) for the bombings which killed 258 people, including 11 Indians, and injured hundreds. sri lanka, sri lanka economy, sri lanka loan, sri lanka bank loans, sri lanka asian infrastructure investment bank, asian infrastructure investment bank, sri lanka terrorist attack, sri lanka political turmoil, sri lanka 1 billion dollars loan, world news, indian express Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the government hopes to adopt new laws to curb global terrorism (AP)Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he would appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee probing the Easter Sunday attacks that claimed 258 lives and would provide all available information, according to a media report. Sri Lanka’s PM says potential bombers at large, suspects ‘may go for suicide attack’ Related News Advertising Post Comment(s) Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe says he is opposed to capital punishment By PTI |Colombo | Published: July 13, 2019 3:46:37 pm The prime minister made the remarks after his government on Thursday defeated the no-confidence motion that accused it of failing to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings despite receiving intelligence inputs from India.The motion, moved by the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, was defeated by a vote of 119-92 after two days of debate.Emphasising that his government will uncover the truth behind the attacks, Wickremesinghe, in a statement, said the committee has been set-up to probe the lapses in communicating intelligence warnings which were received prior to the tragedy, the Times Online reported.last_img read more

Central Railway records highestever sale of mobile tickets Pune division second

first_img Advertising Mobile tickets give passengers the convenience of skipping the queue, either by booking tickets on the move while coming to the station to catch the train or from the comfort of their home. Passengers just have to ensure that their journey commences within the stipulated time.Chief spokesperson of CR, Sunil Udasi, said, “Passengers do not need to stand in long queues at ticket windows. The new mobile app helps in saving time. In all four division of the CR, the Mumbai Division is on the top and sold 61,196 tickets in one day, followed by the Pune division (1,263), Bhusaval (492), Nagpur (215) and Solapur (147).The tickets can be booked by registration, R-wallet and book tickets. For registration, passengers have to give details of their mobile phone number. Related News Post Comment(s) Thane-Diva rail line set to miss deadline, may be ready by 2020 Central Railway spreads awareness about `No bill-No payment’ drive Mumbai: At Central Railway, passenger unions meet, focus on local train punctuality By Express News Service |Pune | Published: July 14, 2019 7:44:56 am central railway, central rail line, pune division central railway, central railway pune division, pune railway station, e-ticketing, mobile tickets, india news, Indian Express The tickets can be booked by registration, R-wallet and book tickets. (Representational)The Central Railway (CR) achieved its highest ever sale of mobile tickets in a single day on July 12 by selling 63,313 tickets to users who booked their journey with cellphone application UTS. Of the total mobile tickets thus sold, 61,196 were sold for journey in trains run by the Mumbai Division while 1,263 tickets were for trains run by the Pune division.last_img

Cancerslaying virus may fight childhood eye tumor

first_img Curing the childhood eye cancer retinoblastoma often comes at a cost. The tumor, which sprouts in the retina and primarily occurs in children under the age of 5, is fatal if not treated. Yet chemotherapy can cause permanent vision loss, and patients sometimes need surgery to remove one or both eyes. Now, scientists have found that a cancer-slaying virus seems to combat this cancer in mice without serious side effects. A clinical trial has also shown early signs of promise.“It’s potentially a game-changer,” says ophthalmic oncologist David Abramson of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who wasn’t connected to the study.Researchers have tested cancer-targeting viruses in other types of tumors, but no one had pitted them against retinoblastoma. The tumors grow when there are defects in a molecular pathway that keeps cells from dividing out of control. Oncology researcher Ángel Montero Carcaboso of the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues used a type of virus known as adenovirus that typically causes only mild respiratory infections in people. It had been genetically modified so it was missing a key gene and could only reproduce inside cells in which the retinoblastoma pathway had malfunctioned. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country iStock.com/ferrantraite A child gets an eye exam that could detect retinoblastoma. By Mitch LeslieJan. 23, 2019 , 2:00 PM Cancer-slaying virus may fight childhood eye tumorcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email To determine whether such a virus would be safe, the scientists injected it into the eyes of rabbits without the tumor. The virus triggered side effects such as inflammation and fluid buildup in the eyes, but they disappeared within 6 weeks. Moreover, little of the virus escaped from the eyes, and it didn’t appear to reproduce elsewhere in the animals’ bodies, suggesting it wouldn’t cause harm in other organs.Next, the researchers injected the virus into the eyes of mice with the eye cancer. They gauged its effectiveness by measuring the amount of time required for the cancer to damage an animal’s eye so badly it had to be removed. The rodents’ eyes remained intact roughly twice as long if they received the virus than if they received no treatment. Eye “survival” was also more than twice as long in animals injected with the highest dose of the virus than in mice treated with two types of chemotherapy, the team reports online today in Science Translational Medicine.On the strength of those results, Carcaboso and colleagues have begun a clinical trial to test whether the virus is safe in children with retinoblastomas that haven’t responded to chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Two patients have received the virus so far.The researchers have noted preliminary signs that the virus is targeting the tumors. That discovery was an upside of an unfortunate outcome for one child, whose eye had to be removed because its interior became too cloudy to monitor the tumor. An analysis of the eye showed the virus was reproducing in some tumor cells. The scientists uncovered no evidence that the virus was growing in normal eye cells or damaging the retina.In the second patient, the virus appeared to be shrinking and destroying tumor fragments floating within the eye. These shards, known as vitreous seeds, are dangerous because they can settle on the retina and grow into new tumors, but they are hard to eliminate with chemotherapy. Carcaboso says the researchers plan to enroll more children in the study and further test the virus’s safety and capabilities.“It is exciting that this virus targets molecular signatures of tumor cells, while apparently leaving normal ocular structures undamaged,” says ocular oncologist Anthony Daniels of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who was not involved with the work. “Whether this approach can achieve a durable cure remains to be seen.”Neurosurgeon E. Antonio Chiocca of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who has tested cancer-targeting viruses as a treatment for brain cancer, agrees that the results are promising. However, he cautions, “We don’t know enough to say whether this will be a therapy.” For example, the authors need to nail down the response of the immune system, he says, which could help destroy the tumor or turn against the viruses and “kill your therapy.” 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 Zimbabwelast_img read more

Central Railway spreads awareness about No billNo payment drive

first_img Central Railway records highest-ever sale of mobile tickets; Pune division second Advertising Mumbai: At Central Railway, passenger unions meet, focus on local train punctuality Udasi said before launching the initiative, CR ensured digital payment gateways are made available at all stalls across the Mumbai division.“The CR has made elaborate arrangements. Passengers can now use net banking, debit cards, credit cards and online payment wallets like Paytm, Google Pay, Phone Pay and BHIM, among others, to pay for the purchase of food items,” Udasi said.He said inspections are being regularly conducted by officials at railway stalls. Regular interactions with passengers are held to check whether bills are issued for catering services, and strict action is being taken against the offenders, Udasi said.According to a senior commercial officer of the CR, most of the overcharging complaints occur because food servers refuse to give a bill to passengers on one pretext, or the other even when asked to do so. The official said the railway ministry now has a very strict policy against erring vendors and stall owners, including cancelling their licences, if they found indulging in overcharging. Thane-Diva rail line set to miss deadline, may be ready by 2020 Related News Advertising “A special drive related to `No Bill, No Payment’ was conducted from July 2 to July 11 to promote the use of digital payment for catering services, and it was ensured that e-bills were issued to passengers on every purchase from catering units,” said Sunil Udasi, chief spokesperson, CR.He said stickers and posters displaying “Food Free Without Bill” and “Don’t Pay If Bill Is Not Issued messages in English, Hindi and Marathi have been exhibited at various places in station premises.“Besides regular announcements were made at stations to create public awareness,” he said. By PTI |Mumbai | Published: July 12, 2019 4:45:58 pm Central Railways, Central Railways News, Indian Railways, Indian Railways News, Railways, No Bill-No Payment, Indian Express Central Railways had also ensured digital payment gateways be made available at all stalls across the Mumbai division. (File)The Central Railway (CR) is giving a renewed push to its efforts to spread awareness about the “No bill – No payment” policy, and provide digital payment gateways at all stalls in the Mumbai division. The Indian Railways last year introduced the policy to ensure passengers are not overcharged, and they are provided with a bill for whatever they buy. Post Comment(s)last_img

Amazon Meshes With Eero

first_imgTo optimize wireless coverage of a home network, Eero uses multiple access points. The system can be customized to eliminate “dead spots” often found in traditional WiFi networks in order to deliver high performance and reliable networking throughout a home.A system can be set up in less than 10 minutes with the easy-to-use Eero app, according to Amazon.What’s more, Eero automatically communicates with its servers in the cloud, so it’s continually updating, fixing and improving itself without human intervention.”From the beginning, Eero’s mission has been to make the technology in homes just work,” said Nick Weaver, the company’s CEO.”We started with WiFi because it’s the foundation of the modern home,” he continued. “Every customer deserves reliable and secure WiFi in every room.””By joining the Amazon family, we’re excited to learn from and work closely with a team that is defining the future of the home, accelerate our mission, and bring Eero systems to more customers around the globe,” Weaver said. Privacy Issue Can’t Be Ignored 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. Amazon has scooped up mesh WiFi network maker Eero, the home network company known for making an easy-to-set-up product that can blanket a home with high-quality WiFi.Amazon announced the deal Monday night but did not disclose any financial details.”We are incredibly impressed with the Eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work,” said Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president for devices and services. “We have a shared vision that the smart home experience can get even easier, and we’re committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers.” News of the acquisition received a cold reception from some Eero owners. Despite Eero support’s tweeted assurances that Amazon takes customer privacy seriously, and that “Eero does not track customers’ Internet activity and this policy will not change with the acquisition,” some users were skeptical.”I refuse to believe that @amazon is barred from snooping on our traffic in perpetuity,” tweeted Aaron Scott. “The data will eventually be too valuable to pass up. I would never have bought a router built by Amazon and yet now my house is full of them….””This is terrible news for my privacy concerns,” wrote Steve Riggins. “I don’t let Alexa in my house for those reasons and now you back doored me. Do we get refunds?”He added later: “You should also understand that something like our data, we entrusted to you. Not Amazon. This is no small matter for some of us, but we are likely the few. You brought someone into my home I did not invite.”The acquisition was “horrible news,” according to Keith Chirayus.”Good thing my one year Eero plus subscription is coming to an end,” he wrote. “Time to look for a new router solution.”Tom Stack suggested that Eero was being naive about Amazon’s commitment to data privacy.”We should get eerosupport a new birth certificate as they must have been born yesterday,” he wrote. Both companies should benefit from their pooling of resources.”The deal gives Amazon access to well regarded and established WiFi products and a knowledgeable developer team,” Pund-IT’s King said.”It should enhance a range of network-connected Amazon products, too, including its Alexa-enabled devices,” he added.Most routers don’t do a good job of covering a home, Gold explained, “so Amazon had the choice of developing their own mesh router system or going and buying one. They decided it’s just easier to go buy one.”As Amazon continues to increase its streaming services, home networks will get overloaded, he noted.”You can have high-speed Internet coming into your house, but if you don’t have a high-speed network within your home, then that becomes a problem,” Gold observed. Concerns about Amazon undermining Eero’s privacy policies are not warranted, suggested Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates, an IT advisory company in Northborough, Massachusetts.”Amazon already knows everything it needs to know about you,” he told TechNewsWorld.After all, it runs the biggest online store, so chances are it has lots of data on what an individual buys, what they search for, and if they leave the site because they can’t find a product.”What this does is make Amazon’s service to the consumer better,” Gold said. “That’s where the play is.”Nevertheless, the privacy issue, whether real or perceived, should not be ignored, maintained Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.”Given the outcry on social media prompted by the deal, it’s a subject that Amazon needs to take very seriously,” he told TechNewsWorld. “If not, privacy concerns could negatively impact Eero sales, negating much of the acquisition’s monetary and strategic value.” center_img Distrust of Amazon Acquiring Eero gives Amazon a hedge on the future smart home and office market.”Effective, easy to use WiFi technologies could become table stakes for any company hoping to compete in the smart home and office markets,” Gold suggested.”You could say that Amazon is fairly late to the game since both Google and Apple already have WiFi products of their own, so it makes good sense for Amazon to get into the game,” he added.Meanwhile, Eero should be happy with the deal, too.”The company founders and shareholding employees likely made a nice piece of change,” King observed. “Plus, I expect Amazon will work hard to preserve the product development and engineering team.”Eero probably can expect its shipment numbers to increase, too.”If Amazon is doing the distribution, they can expect to sell a lot more devices than they could have sold on their own,” Gold pointed out.Since mesh networks are expensive — a three-unit Eero net retails for nearly US$500 — consumers aren’t rushing to install them. Amazon may decide to address that problem, too.”I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon copies the cable companies and rents these systems to consumers for a low monthly fee,” Gold predicted, “or find a way to fold the payments into Amazon Prime.” High-Performance WiFi Table Stakes for Smart Home Amazon Needs Mesh Offeringlast_img read more

Researchers show possibility to restore insulin cell function in type 2 diabetes

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 8 2018By blocking a protein, VDAC1, in the insulin-producing beta cells, it is possible to restore their normal function in case of type 2 diabetes. In preclinical experiments, the researchers behind a new study have also shown that it is possible to prevent the development of the disease. The findings are published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism.The researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that the active substance, which inhibits the protein VDAC1, could play a part in future drug development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.”The goal is to be able to administer the substance to newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics to allow the insulin-producing beta cells to retain their function. Or, even better, to give it to pre-diabetics to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes”, says Associate Professor and research team leader Albert Salehi, who conducted the study together with Professor Claes Wollheim.”It is a small study based on cell donations from six deceased people with type 2 diabetes, as well as a limited number of experiments in animal models. Further studies are needed to demonstrate how blocking VDAC1 affects kidney, heart, muscle and fat tissue, for example. However, the results thus far have been so promising that we have patented the use of the active substance within the diabetes field. We are very happy about that, and this initial study would not have been possible without the financial support from the Forget Foundation”, says Albert Salehi.On the cell surface instead of inside the cellPre-diabetics may experience elevated blood glucose levels for many years before developing type 2 diabetes. High glucose levels initiate a series of negative processes. Among other things, they increase the production of VDAC1, a so-called channel protein within the cells that, with the help of a substance, ATP, releases energy from the cell’s power plants, the mitochondria, to other parts of the cell, to be used for insulin secretion.At constant high levels of glucose, however, the levels of the VDAC1 protein increase, causing VDAC1 to attach also to the cell surface. The energy (ATP) then leaks out of the cell and causes cell death due to a lack of energy. This, in turn, leads to impaired blood glucose control that eventually causes organ complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness and stroke.Normalised insulin secretionWhen the researchers blocked VDAC1 in beta cells from organ donors with type 2 diabetes, the energy supply was restored and the insulin secretion was normalized.The experiments were subsequently repeated on mice, which are known to develop genetically conditioned diabetes. As a result, the disease did not develop and the insulin production was maintained for five weeks, at which point the treatment was discontinued and the glucose levels increased.”It is a small study performed on cells from six deceased donors with type 2 diabetes as well as a limited number of experiments on animal models. Further studies are needed to demonstrate how blocking of VDAC1 affects tissues such as kidneys, heart muscles and fat. But pursuing the findings and performing the studies on humans requires more funding”, says Albert Salehi.Related StoriesMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusStudy: Megakaryocytes play an important role in cell migrationNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsNew discoveries about metforminIn addition to specific VDAC1 antibodies and VDAC1 inhibitors obtained in collaboration with Israeli researchers, the researchers in Lund also used the diabetes drug, metformin, and achieved the same effect.”We have shown a whole new mechanism for how metformin works on beta cells. The fact that metformin not only works outside the pancreas but also protects the beta cells and improves insulin secretion in people with type 2 diabetes was recently demonstrated by a Canadian research team. The effect is probably achieved through an impact on VDAC1″, says Albert Salehi.Connection to Alzheimer’s diseaseThere are connections between type 2 diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The authors of the study point out that there is also a link between VDAC1 and Alzheimer’s disease, as high levels of VDAC1 can be found in brain cells in the parts of the brain that are affected at an early stage of the disease.”We believe that the substance may have a good effect also on these patients by preventing the brain cells from dying and thereby improving the patients’ cognitive abilities”, says Albert Salehi.Facts / Type 2 diabetesDiabetes is one of the major widespread diseases, affecting more than 400 million people worldwide. Approximately 200 million people have diabetes without knowing it. The disease is caused by genetics and lifestyle. An improved diet and more exercise can be sufficient treatment for some, while others need drugs. Like other forms of diabetes, type 2 diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves.Facts / VDAC1 and VDAC2In most studied tissues and cells, VDAC1 is more prevalent than VDAC2. Both VDAC1 and VDAC2 function as ion channels that allow ATP to penetrate.In beta cells, however, VDAC2 is more prevalent, which indicates that it plays an important role in the beta cells. However, islets (with beta cells) donated from deceased persons with type 2 diabetes have more VDAC1 and less VDAC2, compared to islets from healthy donors.The proteins act as each other’s opposites: when VDAC1 increases, VDAC2 decreases and vice versa. This discovery was also made by our research team.Using confocal microscopes, the researchers were able to locate VDAC1 but not VDAC2 to the surface of the beta cells in type 2 diabetics. In healthy cells and the cells from people who were treated with metformin, the protein was rather located inside the cells on the mitochondria. This was confirmed by immunofluorescence staining of the pancreas of non-diabetics and type 2 diabetics. Source:https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/new-discovery-restores-insulin-cell-function-in-type-2-diabeteslast_img read more

Study Schoolbased HPV vaccination did not increase risky sexual behaviors among adolescent

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 15 2018Despite fears to the contrary, sexual behaviors of adolescent girls stayed the same or became safer after publicly funded school-based HPV vaccinations were introduced in British Columbia (BC), according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.180628.Some groups have been concerned that HPV vaccination could encourage early sexual activity, unprotected sex and other risky sexual behaviours.”The HPV vaccine has proved to be a remarkably effective and safe vaccine. However, parents have expressed concern that the use of the HPV vaccine might promote or condone risky sexual behavior in adolescents,” explains lead author Dr. Gina Ogilvie, of the School of Population and Public Health, the University of British Columbia, and assistant director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC.Related StoriesNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchIn 2008, BC introduced a publicly funded routine HPV vaccination program in schools for girls in grades 6 and 9. After 2011, the program was available only for girls in grade 6.Researchers looked at data from the BC Adolescent Health Survey, a comprehensive population-based survey of students in grades 7 to 12 conducted every five years by the McCreary Centre Society. Girls from the 2003, 2008 and 2013 surveys were included, representing the more than 300 000 girls enrolled in public schools across the province. The percentage of girls who reported ever having sex decreased from 21.3% in 2003 to 20.6 % in 2008 and to 18.3% in 2013. As well, the proportion of girls having intercourse before age 14 declined between 2008 and 2013, and the use of condoms increased over time, from 65.6% in 2003 to 68.9% in 2013.”Our analyses of data from this province-wide survey suggests that implementing a school-based program for HPV vaccination did not lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviors among adolescent girls at the population level,” notes study co-author Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, of the School of Nursing, University of British Columbia. “These findings should help allay any parent or provider fears that participating in HPV vaccination might increase sexual behaviors among teenaged girls.”Source: http://www.cmaj.ca/last_img read more

MUHCs Dr House discovers new genetic disease and the gene responsible for

first_img Source:https://muhc.ca/newsroom/news/another-medical-cold-case-cracked-muhc%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98dr-house%E2%80%99 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 7 2018A team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) led by Dr. Donald Vinh, the RI’s so-called “Dr. House” because of his research into rare diseases, has discovered a new human disease and the gene responsible for it, paving the way for the proper diagnosis of patients globally and the development of new therapies. Their findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.Dr. Vinh has coined this new disease ‘combined immunoficiency’ or ‘CID,’ and the gene responsible for it ‘ICOSLG’. The disease is characterized by a weakened immune system and, because the body’s ability to fight off infections is crippled, patients are susceptible to recurrent life-threatening infections such as pneumonias and debilitating infections, such as progressive warts.New disease that affects the immune system”This discovery will help patients who have escaped diagnosis – to now – be correctly diagnosed. By doing so, patients could benefit from aggressive monitoring of potential complications and earlier implementation of tailored therapies,” explains Dr. Vinh, a researcher from the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program of the RI-MUHC and an associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at McGill University.”Pinpointing this gene, will also help scientists identify who else in the family is at risk, including newborn babies before they become sick.”Gene with a link to Chromosome 21The scientist says the knock-on from this discovery is the glimpse into whether it causes the immune deficiency reported in Down syndrome, which occurs as these individuals get older.”This gene is on Chromosome 21 and it turns out that Down syndrome’s patients, who have three Chromosomes of 21 (instead of the usual two), have a similar problem with their immune system. We’re looking to see if this causes the immune deficiency reported in adults with Down’s syndrome,” says Dr. Vinh, whose study of genetic defects of the immune system has fueled his “medical detective” reputation.A patient with similar symptoms to the “Bubble Boy”Related StoriesNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careResearchers discover gene linked to healthy aging in wormsGenetic contribution to distractibility helps explain procrastinationDr. Vinh’s discovery originated with the medical investigation of a 36-year-old male patient who had endured recurrent sinusitis and pneumonias, yeast infections and viral infections since childhood. Researchers used a state-of-the-art technique called ‘Whole Exome Sequencing’ inside Dr. Vinh’s laboratory to evaluate the patient’s genes and perform sophisticated analysis of his genes compared to that of his family members, to identify the abnormal gene that was responsible for his disease.”At the clinical level, previous evaluations did not look at all his symptoms in their entirety as one disease but as individual and unrelated problems. But once you start putting the abnormalities together, you see our patient’s case was similar to that of the “Bubble Boy,” which was the most severe form. Our patient’s disease is in the same family of conditions but because he was an adult, nobody thought to explore this possibility,” says Dr. Vinh, who explains the “Bubble Boy” name was given to a young child in the Seventies who was forced to live in a sterile bubble from birth due to his severely weakened immune system. “Once we related our patient to the Bubble Boy’s disease, which we know is genetic, we discovered this new gene,” says Dr. Vinh, who collaborated with Dr. André Veillette, the Director of the IRCM Molecular Oncology Research Unit at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) in the study. “We are so relieved to finally receive a diagnosis, after so many years of doctors not knowing what was wrong with me, and with the research providing the potential for eventual treatment for me. And knowing that our children are not affected is a major comfort,” says the French-Canadian patient, who resides in Eastern Québec with his wife and two young children.Dr. Vinh has already received numerous requests from physicians around the world to test patients who may have the same medical condition diagnosed in his own patient, providing hope for both patients and their families.last_img read more