Clinical trial Promising drug slows brain shrinkage in progressive MS patients

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 30 2018A promising drug slowed brain shrinkage in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) by nearly half, according to new research led by Cleveland Clinic. Very limited therapies are currently available for this disabling form of the disease.The definitive results of the phase 2 trial – published in the New England Journal of Medicine – showed that the drug ibudilast decreased progression of brain atrophy in progressive MS patients by 48 percent versus placebo. The two-year SPRINT-MS study was conducted at 28 sites with 255 patients.”These findings are significant for patients with progressive MS,” said Robert Fox, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and vice-chair for research in Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute. “Our hope is that the benefit of ibudilast in slowing brain shrinkage will also translate to decreased progression of associated physical disabilities in a future phase 3 trial.”Progressive MS is associated with gradual worsening of symptoms and increasing disability. It commonly follows relapsing-remitting MS, for which there are more than a dozen approved treatments. However, none of these therapies has consistently demonstrated efficacy in slowing disability progression in patients with progressive MS, particularly those without evidence for active inflammation.Ibudilast, an oral drug with activity on several biologic pathways with potential relevance to progressive MS, was approved in Japan in 1989 for use in asthma and stroke. It is also being studied in the U.S. for potential treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and drug addiction.Additionally, the SPRINT-MS study demonstrated the utility of advanced imaging in clinical trials to measure the impact of therapies on brain health. The potential application of imaging-based outcome measures may extend beyond progressive MS to other neurodegenerative disorders as well.Related StoriesScientists discover mechanism responsible for chronic inflammation in MSObesity linked with greater symptomatic severity of multiple sclerosisMice study suggests potential treatment approach for MS in humans”There is a significant need for new treatment options to effectively delay disability progression for patients with progressive MS,” said Dr. Fox. “We are hopeful these findings will help us develop more therapies for progressive MS, and do so more rapidly and efficiently.”The research, which paves the way for phase 3 testing, also determined that ibudilast is relatively safe and well tolerated. The drug has received fast-track designation from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.”Although a larger study is needed to confirm these findings, this promising study brings people with progressive MS, who currently do not have many treatment options, one step closer to a potential therapy,” said Robin Conwit, M.D., program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.The study was conducted by the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT), which is sponsored by NINDS. The research was supported by NINDS, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and MediciNova.”These results are a promising step toward a potential new therapy for people living with progressive forms of MS, for whom there are few treatment options,” said Bruce Bebo, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Research, National MS Society. “It is gratifying to see our investments in progressive MS starting to pay off.”Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/last_img read more

Volcanoinduced Little Ice Age may have contributed to famines wars in 6th

first_imgA 120-year cold spell that spanned the Northern Hemisphere during the 6th and 7th centuries was so profound that it deserves its own name, according to a new study. Analyses of tree rings from more than 150 living trees in the Russian Altai-Sayan Mountains, as well as more than 500 older trees that have fallen to the ground there, provide a complete chronicle of climate stretching from 359 B.C.E. to the year 2011. Of the 20 coldest summers in that region in the last 2000 years, 13 occurred in the 6th century after the year 536, which a recent study of ice cores has pinned down as the date of a massive volcanic eruption somewhere at high latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. Two more large eruptions (in the years 540 and 547) helped render the 540s the coldest decade in more than 2300 years, with an average temperature of about 11.8°C (53.2°F), researchers report today in Nature Geoscience. (For comparison, 2015’s global average temperature was 14.8°C, or 58.6°F.) Particles spewed high into the atmosphere by those eruptions scattered sunlight back into space, thus cooling Earth substantially, the researchers explain. The extraordinary cold spell was probably strengthened and lengthened by the resulting increase in sea ice at high latitudes, as well as an unusually low number of sunspots in the middle of the 7th century. The poor climate may been one of many factors contributing to societal changes of the era, including widespread crop failures and famines in Central Asia that may have triggered migrations from the area to China and Eastern Europe, thus helping spread an episode of plague (depicted in this 15th century painting) that originated there. The researchers’ proposed name for the event is the Late Antique Little Ice Age, a nod to the interval’s falling within the last phases of a period many cultural researchers call the Age of Antiquity.last_img read more

Test your smarts on forensics in this special topics quiz

first_img 32 An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. Eye color $5.6 billion. When the Internet currency Bitcoin first emerged in 2009, law enforcement officers were panicking: They thought the cryptocurrency, which allows users to anonymously exchange goods and services, would make it harder for them to do their jobs. But new ways of monitoring data on the Bitcoin network can match private key “signatures” to some IP addresses. What’s more, once a person’s private key has been uncovered, it can be linked back to every other transaction that person made using Bitcoin. As a result, investigators are starting to see the currency as a tool for prosecuting crimes. 90% $10.6 billion 1000 Tire tracks You can’t always accurately predict how someone looks from his or her DNA. If forensic scientists have the DNA of an unknown person, they can predict certain physical characteristics. Which of the following can NOT be predicted at the moment? Start Quiz Fingerprints. Like our voices, our DNA, and our teeth, they’re part of what identifies us as unique individuals. But just last month, scientists announced they had developed a cheap way of fooling fingerprint readers like the one on your cell phone. What tool did they use? You Average Very small amounts of DNA can lead to false positives. New technologies such as polymerase chain reaction—which can multiply tiny amounts of DNA—make it possible to pick up DNA at levels hundreds or thousands of times lower than when DNA fingerprinting was developed in the 1980s. Investigators can even collect “touch DNA” from fingerprints on a glass or a doorknob. A mere 25 or 30 cells will sometimes suffice. But such low amounts, don’t always prove that someone touched an object or was even present at the scene of the crime. Analysts have picked up DNA transferred from one person to another by way of an object that both of them have touched, or from one piece of evidence to another when two items jostled against each other in an evidence bag. In a landmark decision last month, the Texas Forensic Science Commission voted in favor of banning which type of evidence from the courtroom? A paperclip, a rubber band, and a bottle of Gorilla Glue $560 million 10 A 3-D printer Where they were born and raised. Isotope ratios for elements such as oxygen vary from one region to the next; as a result, the ratio in human teeth, bones, and hair provides clues to where a person has lived. Because hair and bones are constantly renewed, they contain a record of a person’s more recent history; teeth, however, aren’t remodeled, so their isotope ratios remain constant after the tooth has formed, which happens during childhood. Blowflies, carrion beetles, millipedes Whether they had a particular diet Matches in police line-ups Aluminum foil What might the isotope ratios in a tooth tell you about the person that the tooth belonged to? 0 / 10 An inkjet printer Millipedes, blowflies, carrion beetles 28% 13. These loci are places in the genome where humans are extraordinarily diverse. Each locus contains a bit of DNA that is repeated multiple times, but the exact number of repeats varies significantly from person to person. Because we get one copy of each chromosome from our mother and one from our father, there are two numbers for each locus. The chance that two people have the same pairs at all 13 loci is astronomically low. To reduce the risk of false matches even further, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will soon release new guidelines calling for 20 or more locations. Studies have shown that forensic labs often mix up crime scene samples. LOADING Blowflies, carrion beetles, millipedes. The progression of insect feeding on a dead body is one way to estimate the time of death, along with things like body temperature and rigor mortis. Now, scientists are starting to look at a new type of progression—the order in which different microbes colonize the body after death. But until those techniques mature, it’s up to the bugs: Blowflies are usually first to the scene after a person dies. Carrion beetles arrive later, during the so-called bloat stage. And millipedes show up much later, along with many other species, during the “dry decay” stage, when the body has dried out and the smell of decomposition has waned. The detection of very small amounts of DNA can lead to false positives. Because people have many genes in common, DNA analysis can’t always uniquely identify a person. 10,000 Height. Forensic phenotyping, as it’s called, is the process of making predictions about someone’s appearance based on their genes. Scientists are coming up with new methods to more or less reliably pinpoint someone’s geographical roots, their eye color, and even their age (albeit with a margin of error of about 9 years). Although most of these data are unlikely to be introduced as evidence in a courtroom, it is likely to be useful during an investigation, scientists say. Height, on the other hand, is controlled by many different genes and difficult to predict. 20 Time’s Up! Carrion beetles, millipedes, blowflies 100 0 An inkjet printer. Using electricity-conducting ink and specialized, commercially-available paper, a team of researchers created replicas of scanned fingerprints that were accurate enough to fool the readers on several Android phones. Given that your fingerprints barely change over your lifetime, the new method could cripple what is now a standard way of identifying individuals and unlocking devices. And the whole thing comes cheap: According to the researchers, producing fake fingerprints costs only $450. Height 5% $1.6 billion March 14, 2016 The Science Quiz The faster you answer, the higher your score! Where they were born and raised 90%. Last year, the FBI acknowledged that testimony in at least 90% of trial transcripts analyzed by the bureau contained erroneous statements contained erroneous statements. Twenty-six of 28 FBI hair analysts who were investigated provided testimony or submitted laboratory reports with “grossly exaggerated” data that often helped prosecutors. The review looked at cases prior to 2000, the year in which the FBI adopted more stringent procedures for its hair analysis. Hair. It’s all around you, especially if you have a cat. What proportion of testimony from microscopic hair examiners with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was shown to be erroneous in a recent investigation? How old they were Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Age Where they lived before they died Question Cheryl Power / Science Source 13 The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is emerging as a new way of identifying criminals and prosecuting crimes. How much, in U.S. dollars, are all the Bitcoins in the world currently worth? Score Bite marks. After a 6-month investigation, the commission recommended banning bite mark evidence because it lacks a scientific basis. Studies have shown that examiners often disagree in their analysis, and even on the fundamental question of whether an injury was the result of a bite in the first place. 100,000 Blowflies, millipedes, carrion beetles One way forensic analysts can estimate the time of death for an abandoned human body is by looking at the insects feeding on it. In which order would the following three insect species usually appear? A tool that could one day wind up in the forensics toolbox is an analysis of the unique mix of bacteria that people leave behind wherever they go. Approximately how many species are in a typical person’s microbiome? March 14, 2016 Bite marks Top Ranker The Science Quiz Microscopic hair analysis Geographic ancestry Why does DNA analysis sometimes land the wrong people in jail? DNA, take two. Currently, how many loci—or places in the genome—do analysts in the United States review to identify individuals? 65% 1000. These bacteria cover your skin and coat your insides, and you’re shedding them at an almost constant rate. “As soon as you sit down, your bottom or your vaginal microbiota is expelled onto that surface and it is actually reasonably persistent until the next person sits down,” says University of Chicago microbial ecologist Jack Gilbert. But how do we get these signatures? They are determined by our genomes, our immune systems, our lifestyle, and by whatever environmental microbes we happen to pick up in the first 3 to 4 years of our lives. But scientists still question whether these signatures will be able to identify a person beyond a reasonable doubt. $5.6 billion Share your scorelast_img read more

Top stories The worlds most polluted cities a science fraud battle and

first_img(Left to right): EEI_Tony/iStockphoto; Neinzahn/iStockphoto; © Thomas Gedminas Mars rover spots clouds shaped by gravity wavesWell into its fifth year, NASA’s Curiosity rover has now shot more than 500 movies of the clouds above it, including the first ground-based view of martian clouds shaped by gravity waves, researchers reported this week at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. (Gravity waves, common atmospheric ripples on Earth that result from air trying to regain its vertical balance, should not be confused with gravitational waves, cosmological ripples in spacetime.) The shots are the best record made so far of a mysterious recurring belt of equatorial clouds known to influence the martian climate.A groundbreaking study on the dangers of ‘microplastics’ may be unravelingTwo Swedish fish researchers, with the aid of five colleagues, have alleged fraud in a study published in June 2016 in Science on how microplastics affect larval fish. The study, conducted by two scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden, supposedly took place at the Ar Research Station on Gotland, but the whistleblowers say it never happened. A preliminary investigation by Uppsala dismissed the claims in August 2016; a second investigation, by an expert panel at Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board, is ongoing. An expert hired by that panel filed a more damning report last February that raised the possibility of fraud. Now, both sides are awaiting the expert panel’s final verdict, which may influence an ongoing debate about how Swedish institutions investigate research misconduct.Bears are bigger killers than thought, gruesome video footage revealsThe scenes start out innocently enough, often with a springtime stroll through Alaska’s Nelchina River Basin. But without warning, things turn grim: tableaus of blood and gore, usually with an unlucky caribou calf at the center. Such is the video footage collected by scientists over 3 years from cameras strapped around bears’ necks, offering the first “bear’s eye view” of life in this bucolic but harsh reserve. One of the team’s main findings: These bears kill a lot more than we think they do. A whole lot more.T. rex gets new home in shakeup of dino family treeYour inner 9-year-old may be in for a shock: A new study gives the long-standing dinosaur family tree an overhaul. Based on analyses of hundreds of fossils, the study strikes down a fundamental split of dinosaurs into “bird-hipped” and “reptile-hipped”; it also shifts the charismatic theropods—the group that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and eventually gave rise to birds—to a new spot on the tree, closer to the bird-hipped dinos. But don’t throw out your dog-eared dinosaur books just yet, other researchers caution: This new family tree is likely to be debated for some time to come. 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 (*) Top stories: The world’s most polluted cities, a science fraud battle, and a new dino family tree Here are some of the world’s worst cities for air qualityTrying to get away from airborne ammonia? Don’t linger in Lagos, Nigeria, or Delhi. If you’re bent on avoiding ozone, you might want to add Beijing, Karachi, Pakistan, and Los Angeles, California, to your list. These are some of the cities with the world’s worst air quality, according to a new analysis of four major gases associated with air pollution: ammonia, formic acid, methanol, and ozone. The findings could help scientists better understand how geography and other local conditions play a role in determining air quality. By Lindzi WesselMar. 24, 2017 , 5:15 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emaillast_img read more

The AI revolution in science

first_img STRONG AI AI that is as smart andwell-rounded as a human. Some say it’simpossible. Current AI is weak, or narrow.It can play chess or drive but not both,and lacks common sense. SUPERVISED LEARNING A type ofmachine learning in which the algorithmcompares its outputs with the correctoutputs during training. In unsupervisedlearning, the algorithm merely looks forpatterns in a set of data. Artificial intelligence, in so many words Just what do people mean by artificial intelligence (AI)? The term has never had clearboundaries. When it was introduced at a seminal 1956 workshop at Dartmouth College,it was taken broadly to mean making a machine behave in ways that would be calledintelligent if seen in a human. An important recent advance in AI has been machinelearning, which shows up in technologies from spellcheck to self-driving cars and is oftencarried out by computer systems called neural networks. Any discussion of AI is likelyto include other terms as well. The AI detectives AI, people, and society PERCEPTRON An early type of neuralnetwork, developed in the 1950s. Itreceived great hype but was then shownto have limitations, suppressing interestin neural nets for years. REINFORCEMENT LEARNING A type ofmachine learning in which the algorithmlearns by acting toward an abstract goal,such as “earn a high video game score” or“manage a factory efficiently.” Duringtraining, each effort is evaluated based onits contribution toward the goal. In a revolution that extends across much of science, researchers are unleashing artificial intelligence (AI), often in the form of artificial neural networks, on the data torrents. Unlike earlier attempts at AI, such “deep learning” systems don’t need to be programmed with a human expert’s knowledge. Instead, they learn on their own, often from large training data sets, until they can see patterns and spot anomalies in data sets that are far larger and messier than human beings can cope with. AI isn’t just transforming science; it is speaking to you in your smartphone, taking to the road in driverless cars, and unsettling futurists who worry it will lead to mass unemployment. For scientists, prospects are mostly bright: AI promises to supercharge the process of discovery. Big data has met its match. In field after field, the ability to collect data has exploded—in biology, with its burgeoning databases of genomes and proteins; in astronomy, with the petabytes flowing from sky surveys; in social science, tapping millions of posts and tweets that ricochet around the internet. The flood of data can overwhelm human insight and analysis, but the computing advances that helped deliver it have also conjured powerful new tools for making sense of it all.  Reprogramming my career TENSORFLOW A collection of softwaretools developed by Google for use in deeplearning. It is open source, meaninganyone can use or improve it. Similarprojects include Torch and Theano. TRANSFER LEARNING A technique inmachine learning in which an algorithmlearns to perform one task, such asrecognizing cars, and builds on thatknowledge when learning a different butrelated task, such as recognizing cats. AI in action A new breed of scientist, with brains of silicon DEEP LEARNING How a neural networkwith multiple layers becomes sensitive toprogressively more abstract patterns. Inparsing a photo, layers might respond firstto edges, then paws, then dogs. NEUROMORPHIC CHIP A computer chipdesigned to act as a neural network. It canbe analog, digital, or a combination. BACKPROPAGATION The way manyneural nets learn. They find the differencebetween their output and the desiredoutput, then adjust the calculations inreverse order of execution. NEURAL NETWORK A highly abstractedand simplified model of the human brainused in machine learning. A set of unitsreceives pieces of an input (pixels in aphoto, say), performs simple computationson them, and passes them on to the next layer of units. The final layerrepresents the answer. BLACK BOX A description of some deeplearning systems. They take an input andprovide an output, but the calculationsthat occur in between are not easy forhumans to interpret. AI is changing how we do science. Get a glimpse The AI revolution in science TURING TEST A test of AI’s ability to passas human. In Alan Turing’s originalconception, an AI would be judged by itsability to converse through written text. By Tim AppenzellerJul. 7, 2017 , 9:00 AM GENERATIVE ADVERSARIALNETWORKS A pair of jointly trained neuralnetworks that generates realistic new dataand improves through competition. One netcreates new examples (fake Picassos, say)as the other tries to detect the fakes. MACHINE LEARNING The use ofalgorithms that find patterns in datawithout explicit instruction. A system mightlearn how to associate features of inputssuch as images with outputs such as labels. More from our special package The cyberscientist —Matthew Hutson More from our special package: AI transforms science NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING A computer’s attempt to “understand”spoken or written language. It must parsevocabulary, grammar, and intent, andallow for variation in language use. Theprocess often involves machine learning. Artificial intelligence in research Understanding the mind inside the machine is likely to become more urgent as AI’s role in science expands. Already some pioneers are turning to AI to design and carry out experiments as well as interpret the results, opening up the prospect of fully automated science. The tireless apprentice may soon become a full-fledged colleague. ALGORITHM A set of step-by-step instructions. Computer algorithms can be simple (if it’s 3 p.m., send a reminder) or complex (identify pedestrians). EXPERT SYSTEM A form of AI thatattempts to replicate a human’s expertisein an area, such as medical diagnosis. Itcombines a knowledge base with a set ofhand-coded rules for applying thatknowledge. Machine-learning techniquesare increasingly replacing hand coding. How AI detectives are cracking open the black box of deep learning Unlike a graduate student or a postdoc, however, neural networks can’t explain their thinking: The computations that lead to an outcome are hidden. So their rise has spawned a field some call “AI neuroscience”: an effort to open up the black box of neural networks, building confidence in the insights that they yield. last_img read more

This psychologist explains why people confess to crimes they didnt commit

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Douglas StarrJun. 13, 2019 , 8:00 AM At 16, Huwe Burton confessed to killing his mother. He was still in shock from discovering her body when New York City police began to interrogate him. After hours of being threatened and cajoled, he told the police what they wanted to hear. He soon recanted, knowing he was innocent and hoping the justice system would clear him.Burton was convicted of second-degree murder in 1991 and received a sentence of 15 years to life.After 20 years in prison, he was released on parole, but he never could shake the stigma of the conviction. Attorneys from several organizations worked for more than a decade to clear him. They produced facts that contradicted the confession and showed evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. But for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, Burton’s confession outweighed all other evidence; after all, who would admit to a crime they did not commit? Finally, last summer Burton’s attorneys brought in Saul Kassin, a psychologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City who is one of the world’s leading experts on interrogation. DREW GURIAN Then there was Barry Laughman, a man with the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, who in 1987 confessed to raping and murdering an elderly neighbor after police falsely told him they found his fingerprints at the scene. After his confession, the police disregarded all other evidence. Neighbors who offered alibis for Laughman were told they must be mistaken. His blood was type B, but the only blood at the crime scene was type A. So the forensic expert proposed a novel theory: that bacterial degradation could have changed the blood type from B to A. Laughman spent 16 years in prison until DNA evidence finally cleared him. (Kassin later testified when Laughman sued the state.)To Kassin, Laughman’s case showed that confession doesn’t just trump other evidence, but can corrupt it as well. After a confession, alibis are recanted, witnesses change stories, police ignore exculpatory evidence, and forensic scientists reinterpret material. In Huwe Burton’s case, for example, police had caught a neighbor with a history of violence driving the dead mother’s stolen car, but they did not consider him a suspect because Burton had confessed.The magnitude of the effect emerged in 2012, when Kassin and colleagues published an analysis of 59 false confession cases from the Innocence Project. Forty-nine of those also involved other mistakes, such as eyewitness errors and mistaken forensics—a far higher proportion than in nonconfession cases. In 30 of those cases, the confession was the first piece of evidence collected. In other words, once the police had a confession, all the other evidence lined up to support it. That has an ironic effect: Even when confessions have turned out to be false, appeals courts have ruled that the other evidence is strong enough to support the conviction, Kassin says. “The courts completely missed out that the other evidence was corrupted.”Other groups have shown experimentally how a narrative can shape forensic evidence. One dramatic example came in 2011, when U.K. psychologist Itiel Dror and U.S. DNA expert Greg Hampikian tested the people you would least expect to be affected by bias—DNA specialists. Dror and Hampikian obtained the printed DNA results from a rape case in which a man was found guilty. The original genetic analysts had been told that police had a suspect in custody; the forensic experts then determined that the suspect’s DNA was part of the crime scene sample. To see whether knowledge of the arrest caused bias, Dror and Hampikian gave the printouts to 17 experts unconnected with the case and told them nothing about the suspect. Only one of them matched the suspect’s DNA to the crime sample. Such findings support the increasingly popular idea that all forensic science should be “blinded”—conducted without any knowledge about the suspects.Sometimes a confession will override even untainted DNA evidence. In the infamous “Central Park Five” case dramatized in a new Netflix series, five teenagers in 1989 confessed after hours of interrogation to brutally beating and raping a female jogger in New York City. They quickly recanted, and none of the DNA recovered from the victim was theirs. Yet two juries convicted them after the prosecutor explained away the contradiction. She came up with a theory that a sixth unidentified accomplice had also raped the victim and was the only person to ejaculate. (The “unindicted co-ejaculator” theory has been used in other wrongful convictions as well.) Thirteen years later, the man whose DNA matched the sample—a convicted serial rapist and murderer serving a life sentence—confessed that he alone had committed the crime.How could such an injustice occur? Kassin and a colleague published a study in 2016 in which they simulated the situation with mock jury experiments. When presented with a simple choice between a confession and DNA, people would choose DNA. But if the prosecutor offered a theory as to why the DNA contradicted the confession, the juries overwhelmingly sided with the confession—an insight, he says, into the power of story to influence judgment.New approachesChange is coming. By 2010, the evidence about how interrogations can go wrong had become so compelling that Kassin and several colleagues from the United States and United Kingdom wrote an American Psychological Association white paper warning about the risk of coercion. They suggested several reforms, such as prohibiting lying by police, limiting interrogation time, recording all interrogations from start to finish, and eliminating the use of minimization. They also said the practice of seeking confessions was so inherently damaging that it might be necessary to “completely reconceptualize” the tactic and come up with something new.One model comes from England, where police did away with their Reid-style interrogation system in the early 1990s after several false conviction scandals. Police there now use a system designed to identify deception based not on visible signs of emotional stress, but on “cognitive load,” which can lead liars to stumble as they try to keep their stories straight. English police conduct the kind of open-ended interviews that journalists might use and are encouraged not to go after confessions. Several other countries including New Zealand and Australia, along with parts of Canada, have adopted the new method. They also record the entire interrogation to make the process transparent, something that 25 U.S. states have also adopted.Two years ago, one of the largest U.S. interrogation trainers, Chicago-based Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates Inc., stopped teaching accusatory interviews and embraced the nonconfrontational methods Kassin and his colleagues advocate. The company was influenced by the proliferation of research and a desire to minimize false confessions, says Dave Thompson, vice president of operations. “We realized there’s a better way to talk to people today than the way we talked to people 20 or 30 years ago.”Kassin sees progress, too. In March, he spoke to a group that until recently might have been hostile to his message: 40 district attorneys from around the country who want to learn to avoid wrongful convictions. “My point with them was that they are going to be fooled—that confessions that look real can actually be false, even if they’re corroborated by informants and forensic science,” he says. “I wanted to let them know that alarm bells should go off when they see a confession case.”*Correction, 13 June, 5:25 p.m.: The story has been corrected to indicate that Saul Kassin’s testimony did not secure John Kogut’s exoneration, but helped prevent him from being re-convicted. Email Kassin could never simulate that kind of trauma in the lab, but he could set up a variation of the computer crash experiment in which a confederate claimed to have seen the student hit the wrong key. Those students confessed at more than double the rate of students paired with witnesses who said they hadn’t seen anything. Under some circumstances, nearly every student facing a false witness confessed.Some students ended up believing they really had caused the crash, coming up with explanations such as, “I hit the wrong key with the side of my hand.” So deeply had they internalized their guilt that some refused to believe Kassin when he told them the truth.Another detective told Kassin that during an interrogation, he didn’t actually lie about the evidence in hand, but said he expected new, potentially incriminating evidence to come in. For example, an interrogator might tell a suspect that they were waiting for lab results on DNA from the crime scene. You might think that doing so would get the innocent to deny the crime more vehemently because they expected the results to absolve them. Kassin, however, had interviewed exonerated men who said the prospect of new evidence had a surprising effect. Some confessed just to get out of the stressful situation, figuring that the evidence would later clear them. “They think their innocence is their ticket out of there,” he says.Kassin and a colleague tested such police “bluffs” in a variation of the computer crash experiment. This time, in addition to accusing the students, the experimenter said that all the keystrokes had been recorded on the server and would soon be examined. The false confession rate soared. Postexperiment questionnaires revealed that many of the bluffed students, like the men Kassin had interviewed, signed a confession to get out of the room and assumed they’d later be cleared. In that sense, Kassin says, belief in one’s innocence and faith in the justice system can themselves be risk factors.Deception detectionSocial scientists worldwide have repeated variations of the computer crash experiments, with similar results. But critics have questioned Kassin’s findings because the “crimes” his subjects were charged with could have been simple acts of carelessness, committed unwittingly, and because confessing bore no serious consequences. Joseph Buckley, president of John E. Reid & Associates Inc. in Chicago, the company that copyrighted the Reid technique in the early 1960s, adds that Kassin’s studies lack validity because they were not conducted using professional interrogators. Buckley says false confessions occur only when interrogators don’t closely follow procedures. In a January report, Buckley said the Reid technique isn’t meant to force a confession. Instead, he wrote, its goal “is to create an environment that makes it easier for a subject to tell the truth.”Work by other researchers has answered some of those criticisms. Social psychologist Melissa Russano at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, designed an experiment in which volunteers were asked to solve a set of logic problems—some working in groups and some alone. The researchers stipulated that under no circumstances should anyone assist the students working alone. Beforehand, however, a few students were coached to become visibly upset. That prompted some of their classmates to help, in violation of the rules.In those experiments, the helpers could not have committed the “crime” without knowing, and confessing carried some consequence because cheating violated the college’s honor code. But, just as Kassin found, accusatory questioning often provoked false confessions. Russano also tested another component of standard interrogations—the “minimization” technique that lowers the emotional barrier to confessing. She and colleagues would say things such as, “You probably didn’t realize what a big deal this was.” That technique increased false confession rates by 35%.Other researchers, including Gísli Guðjónsson, a former Icelandic detective who became an eminent psychologist at King’s College London, have shown how some individuals are especially susceptible to such pressure. Factors such as mental impairment, youth, and substance addiction make people quicker to doubt their own memory and, under pressure, to confess, Guðjónsson found. Law professor Richard Leo of the University of San Francisco in California reported that fewer than 20% of U.S. suspects invoke their Miranda rights against self-incrimination, perhaps hoping to appear cooperative. He and social psychologist Richard Ofshe, then at the University of California, Berkeley, also described “persuaded” confessions in which a suspect, worn down by hours of interrogation, goes into a fugue and begins to believe their own guilt. The problem is especially pronounced among adolescents like Burton, who are both impressionable and cowed by authority.Much of the Reid technique involves watching for verbal and nonverbal signs of deception, something many police investigators think they are skilled at doing. Kassin put that confidence to the test more than a decade ago. He recruited the best liars he could find—a group of prisoners at a Massachusetts penitentiary. For a small fee he asked half to tell the truth of their crimes on video and the other half to lie, saying they had committed someone else’s crime. He showed the videos to college students and police. Neither group did particularly well at truth detection (the average person is right about half the time), but the students performed better than the police. Yet the police felt more certain about their conclusions. “That’s a bad combination,” Kassin says. “Their training makes them less accurate and more confident at the same time.”The power of a confessionA poster in Kassin’s office at John Jay College shows 28 faces: men, women, adults, adolescents, white, black, Hispanic. “Look at how many different types of people there are—all of humanity,” Kassin says. “And what they have in common is that they all gave false confessions. There’s no one kind of person who can give a false confession. It can happen to anybody.”Kassin has helped many of them. Defense lawyers and human rights organizations around the world often call on him to analyze confessions or testify about the nature of interrogation—sometimes as a paid consultant or witness, sometimes pro bono. One face on the poster belongs to Amanda Knox, the U.S. college student studying in Italy who was coerced into confessing to the murder of her roommate. Kassin’s reports to Italian courts were involved in getting her freed. He testified for John Kogut, a Long Island man who after an 18-hour interrogation falsely confessed to raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl. DNA evidence had won Kogut’s release after he spent 18 years in prison, but prosecutors retried him on the basis of the confession. Kassin’s 2005 testimony helped acquit him.  Huwe Burton falsely confessed to killing his mother. Nearly 30 years passed before he was exonerated. Saul Kassin is one of the godfathers of the innocence movement. “There’s no one kind of person who can give a false confession. It can happen to anybody,” says Saul Kassin, who keeps a photo gallery of innocent people convicted after false confessions in his office. Kassin’s presentation helped open the prosecutors’ eyes to the emerging science of interrogation and false confession. Six months later, on 24 January, Judge Steven Barrett of the Bronx Supreme Court vacated Burton’s 3-decade-old conviction, citing such work as the basis of his decision. “Having Dr. Kassin come in and give a master class on the science of false confessions was a turning point,” says Steven Drizin, co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, who led the team that pursued Burton’s exoneration.Although scores of people have been cleared of false confessions since DNA evidence entered U.S. courtrooms, the Burton case was the first time someone had been exonerated on the basis of the scientific analysis of interrogation. As such, it marks the coming of age of research that is profoundly affecting the justice system. Confessions are being questioned as never before—not just by defense lawyers, but by lawmakers and some police departments, which are reexamining their approach to interrogation.Kassin is part of a cadre of scientists who have flipped conventional wisdom about confessions—and about the perception of truth. His cleverly designed experiments have probed the psychology that leads to false confessions. In more recent work, he has shown how a confession, true or not, can exert a powerful pull on witnesses and even forensic examiners, shaping the entire trial.”Saul Kassin is one of the godfathers of the innocence movement,” says Rebecca Brown, policy director of the Innocence Project in New York City. Drizin has his own metaphor: “If there was a Mount Rushmore to the study of false confessions, Dr. Kassin’s face would be on it.”“Overpowering influences”Confessions have always been the “gold standard” indicator of guilt, even though some proved spectacularly misleading. For example, a man who had admitted to a murder in 1819 narrowly escaped hanging when his supposed victim was found living in New Jersey. The first scientific red flag came from Hugo Münsterberg, a renowned Harvard University psychologist, who in 1908 warned about “untrue confessions … under the spell of overpowering influences.” But it took several shocking false confession cases in the late 1980s and the introduction of DNA evidence to the justice system for the extent of wrongful convictions to emerge—and with it how often false confessions played a role.Kassin was not surprised, having spent years studying police interrogation techniques. In person he projects a kind of affable intensity, with piercing brown eyes and a conversational style that lends urgency to even a casual chat. Raised in a working-class neighborhood of New York City, he got his bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College in New York (tuition: $53 per semester) and his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, both in psychology. As a postdoc at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, he studied how juries make decisions and was struck by the power of a confession to practically guarantee a guilty verdict.center_img Rebecca Brown, Innocence Project “I went in prepared to make a 15-minute presentation, but the attorneys started asking some really good questions,” Kassin says. “Before you knew it, we had a discussion that lasted almost 2 1/2 hours.”Kassin explained that false confessions are not rare: More than a quarter of the 365 people exonerated in recent decades by the nonprofit Innocence Project had confessed to their alleged crime. Drawing on more than 30 years of research, Kassin told the legal team how standard interrogation techniques combine psychological pressures and escape hatches that can easily cause an innocent person to confess. He explained how young people are particularly vulnerable to confessing, especially when stressed, tired, or traumatized, as Burton was. Saul Kassin, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) He also began to wonder how often those confessions were genuine, after he learned about the Reid interrogation technique, the near-universal method taught to police. Its training manual—now in its fifth edition—was first published in 1962 by John Reid, a former Chicago detective and lie detector expert, and Northwestern University law professor Fred Inbau. “I was horrified,” Kassin says. “It was just like Milgram’s obedience studies, but worse.”Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University and one of Kassin’s heroes, had conducted studies in the 1960s in which subjects were encouraged to give electric shocks to other subjects who were not learning their lessons quickly enough. The volunteers, who didn’t know the shocks they gave were fake, were disturbingly willing to inflict pain when someone in authority told them to.A Reid interrogation looks different at first. It starts with a behavioral assessment, in which the officer asks questions—some irrelevant and some provocative—while watching for signs of deception, such as looking away, slouching, or crossing the arms. If the suspect is thought to be lying, the investigator moves on to phase two, the formal interrogation. Now, they amp up the questioning—repeatedly accusing the suspect, insisting on hearing details, and ignoring all denials. Meanwhile, the investigator offers sympathy and understanding, minimizing the moral (but not legal) dimension of the crime and easing the path to confession. (Example: “This never would have happened if she didn’t dress so provocatively.”)That phase, with an authority figure applying psychological pressure, reminded Kassin of Milgram’s infamous experiments. But whereas Milgram got someone to “harm” another person, the Reid technique gets people to harm themselves by admitting guilt. Kassin suspected that the pressure might sometimes lead to false confessions.To find out, he decided in the early 1990s to model the Reid technique in the lab, with student volunteers. In what Kassin called the computer crash paradigm, he had students take rapid-fire dictation on computers. He warned them that the system had a glitch and that hitting the Alt key would trigger a crash. That part was a fib: The computers were programmed to crash regardless of which keys were hit. The experimenter then accused the students of hitting the Alt key.At first, none confessed. Then, Kassin added variables based on what he and other researchers had learned about actual police interrogation tactics. Sometimes, for example, police falsely tell a suspect they have witnesses to the crime—causing a suspect to doubt their own version of events. (Under U.S. law, police are permitted to lie.) In one of the most striking examples, Marty Tankleff, a Long Island teenager, came to breakfast one morning in 1988 to find his parents stabbed on the kitchen floor, his mother dying and his father in a coma. Detectives thought Tankleff was not sufficiently grief-stricken, so he became their prime suspect. After hours of getting nowhere, a detective said he had called Tankleff ‘s father at the hospital and that the injured man said Tankleff had committed the crime. (In truth, his father died without regaining consciousness.) Shocked beyond reason, Tankleff confessed. He spent 19 years in prison before a growing body of evidence set him free.  … confessions that look real can actually be false, even if they’re corroborated by informants and forensic science. (TOP TO BOTTOM): CLARENCE DAVIS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/GETTY IMAGES; GREGG VIGLIOTTI/THE NEW YORK TIMES This psychologist explains why people confess to crimes they didn’t commit 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

Viruses genetically engineered to kill bacteria rescue girl with antibioticresistant infection

first_img Viruses genetically engineered to kill bacteria rescue girl with antibiotic-resistant infection Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) THE HATFULL LABORATORY By Alex FoxMay. 8, 2019 , 1:00 PM A tailor-made treatment combined three phages. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country HELEN SPENCER Isabelle Carnell (second from right) with her doctor, Helen Spencer (left); phage researcher Graham Hatfull (second from left); and her mother (right). Email Phage therapy dates back a century, but until recently the idea was relegated to fringe medicine in most countries, mainly because of the advent of antibiotics. Unlike broad-spectrum antibiotics, individual phages typically kill a single bacterial strain, which means a treatment that works against one person’s infection might fail in another person infected with a variant of the same bacterium. Phages can also be toxic. But a string of recent successes against antibiotic-resistant bacteria have revived interest in the idea, leading major U.S. universities to launch phage research centers. Drug-resistant TB strains are an especially tempting target for phage 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 Zimbabwe M. abscessus and other bacteria often colonize the thick mucus that builds up in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that afflicts some 80,000 people worldwide. The infections can lead to severe lung damage, for which a transplant is a last resort. Isabelle, for example, had lost two-thirds of her lung function. But her infection persisted after the transplant, threatening her life.To help Isabelle, Spencer’s team contacted phage researcher Graham Hatfull of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Hatfull and his team curate a collection of more than 15,000 phages, one of the world’s largest, many found by undergraduates at more than 150 schools who take part in an educational phage hunting effort. Hatfull and his team spent 3 months searching for phages that could kill M. abscessus isolated from Isabelle’s wounds and sputum. They found three.Hatfull’s group wanted to combine the phages into a cocktail to reduce the chances of M. abscessus developing resistance, but there was a catch. Two of the three are so-called temperate phages, which have repressor genes that limit their lethality. To turn those two into reliable bacteria killers, Hatfull removed the repressor genes with a gene-editing technique his lab developed to study phage genetics.Isabelle first received an infusion of the phage cocktail in June 2018. Within 72 hours, her sores began to dry. After 6 weeks of intravenous treatment every 12 hours, the infection was all but gone. Traces remain, however, so she still receives infusions twice a day and applies the treatment directly to her remaining lesions. But she lives a more normal teen life, attending school, shopping with friends, and taking driving lessons. “We are optimistic that in time it can completely clear the infection,” Spencer says.Spencer, Hatfull, and co-authors stress that Isabelle might have improved without phage therapy. They also note that her tailor-made cocktail doesn’t work against other M. abscessus isolates they have tested. Still, the apparent success has encouraged phage researchers. Other phages in Hatfull’s library infect and kill M. tuberculosis in test tubes, and he thinks they might prove useful weapons against drug-resistant strains.But William Jacobs, a TB specialist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, has tested those phages in a mouse TB model and seen no effect. “TB lives inside cells and I don’t think the phages are able to get inside,” Jacobs says. (M. abscessus primarily lives outside cells.) Others say there could be ways to ferry phages into the infected cells.Phage therapy companies have at least three trials underway to rigorously assess the worth of their potential products for several different bacterial infections. Even if the treatments succeed, they face tall practical hurdles, says Madhukar Pai, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “For this to become a real world therapy we need to find out if we can do this with less effort and cost.” One week after Helen Spencer’s 15-year-old cystic fibrosis patient had a double lung transplant in September 2017, the incision wound turned bright red. For half her life, Isabelle Carnell had been battling a drug-resistant infection of Mycobacterium abscessus, and now it was rapidly spreading, erupting in weeping sores and swollen nodules across her frail body. “My heart sinks when I see that a [lung transplant] patient has got a wound infection, because I know what the trajectory is going to be,” says Spencer, Isabelle’s respiratory pediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. “It’s a torturous course that has ended in death for all those children.”With the standard treatments failing, Isabelle’s mother asked Spencer about alternatives—adding that she had read something about using viruses to kill bacteria. Spencer decided to take a gamble on what seemed like a far-fetched idea: phages, viruses that can destroy bacteria and have a long—if checkered—history as medical treatments. She collaborated with leading phage researchers, who concocted a cocktail of the first genetically engineered phages ever used as a treatment—and the first directed at a Mycobacterium, a genus that includes tuberculosis (TB). After 6 months of the tailor-made phage infusions, Isabelle’s wounds healed and her condition improved with no serious side effects, the authors report today in Nature Medicine.”This is a convincing proof of concept, even though it’s just a single case study,” says infectious disease researcher Eric Rubin of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. But, he adds, “This needs to be tested rigorously with a real clinical trial.”last_img read more

The oceans tallest waves are getting taller

first_imgTo minimize those discrepancies, physical oceanographer Ian Young at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and mathematician Agustinus Ribal at Hasanuddin University in Makassar, Indonesia, compared information from different satellites and calibrated their data against an independent data set collected by a global network of buoys floating in the ocean. When they were done, two trends stood out: Since 1985, average ocean wind speeds in most of the world have increased between 1 centimeter and 2 centimeters per second per year, leading to increases in wave height in many places.In the Southern Ocean, the trends are particularly strong. For instance, although average wind speeds there have increased by 2 centimeters per second each year, the speed of the top 10% fastest winds has increased by 5 centimeters per second per year. And although average wave heights there have increased by just 0.3 centimeters per year, the top 10% highest has grown by an average of 1 centimeter per year—a growth of 30 centimeters since 1985, they report today in Science.The trends could be bad news for coastal communities, which face serious risks from sea level rise and extreme storm events, Young says. If oceanic winds are stronger and waves are taller, storms could be far more damaging.Young and Ribal have done a good job of cross-checking and double-checking data from the three different types of satellite instrument, says Ole Johan Aarnes at the University of Bergen in Norway. But, he adds, it might be “optimistic” to think that the data now contain no errors. Confirming the trends will likely require more work, he believes.The new paper doesn’t say definitively why wave height and wind speed is changing, although Young suspects a link with climate change. Ruggiero thinks that makes sense: He points out that a recent study in Nature Communications suggests higher global temperatures related to climate change are driving an expansion of the tropics—and an increase in wind speed there. “These are the secondary effects of climate change, not the obvious ones like sea level rise,” Young says. “This is where a lot of the research emphasis is now being placed.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Waves in the stormy Southern Ocean have grown an average of 30 centimeters since 1985. iStock.com/Bobbushphoto Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img The ocean’s tallest waves are getting taller The frigid Southern Ocean is well known for its brutal storms, which can sink ships and trigger coastal flooding on distant tropical islands. Now, a new study suggests the biggest waves there—already the world’s largest—are getting bigger, thanks to faster winds attributed to climate change.Peter Ruggiero, a geophysicist at Oregon State University in Corvallis who was not involved in the study, calls the increase “substantial,” and says he is particularly concerned by evidence that the tallest waves are gaining height at the fastest rate. “If [those waves hit] at high tide, it could be potentially catastrophic.”For the past 33 years, global satellites have been collecting data on ocean waves—and the winds that drive them. By bouncing energy pulses off wave crests and measuring the time those pulses take to come back, instruments called altimeters aboard satellites can measure wave height—the taller the waves, the faster the signal returns. Other satellite instruments monitor changes in the reflectivity of the ocean surface, which is reduced by wind-generated ripples, to estimate the speed of ocean winds. But interpreting the data is difficult: Different satellites can give different estimates of wind speed, for instance. By Colin BarrasApr. 25, 2019 , 2:05 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Donald Trump presses Japan over trade gap expects good things from North

first_imgBy Reuters |Tokyo | Published: May 27, 2019 10:09:26 am Advertising Japan may take South Korea wartime labour dispute to ICJ Advertising More acrimony in Japan-South Korea row as Tokyo lodges protest More than 10 feared dead in suspected Japan animation studio arson “Trade-wise, I think we’ll be announcing some things, probably in August, that will be very good for both countries,” Trump said on Monday. “We’ll get the balance of trade, I think, straightened out rapidly.” ? Abe, who has developed close personal ties with Trump since the U.S. leader came to office, stressed the closeness of ties.“I am determined to demonstrate at home and abroad the very strong bond” he said of the alliance in Japan’s new Reiwa era, which began on May 1 when Emperor Naruhito inherited the throne.Earlier, Trump was greeted by Naruhito and his Harvard-educated wife at the imperial palace in Tokyo in a formal welcome ceremony broadcast live on national television.He became the first foreign dignitary to be received by the monarch since the latter inherited the throne after his father, Akihito, stepped down in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in two centuries. P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Best Of Express US Japan trade tension, trump Japan news, Trump visit Japan Trade, North Korea Trump, Trade relations Japan US, world news US Japan Trump, Trump world news, Donald Trump Japan US news  US President Donald Trump with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace, Japanese state guest house in Tokyo May 27, 2019. (Reuters Photo)US President Donald Trump pressed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday to even out a trade imbalance with the United States and expressed confidence, despite Japanese wariness, that “good things” would come from North Korea. Trump is on a four-day state visit to Japan meant to showcase the alliance between the two nations, but which has also been shadowed by trade tensions. More Explained Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off Taking stock of monsoon rain Related News Also on Monday, Trump will meet families of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades ago. Trump gave a slight bow and he and First Lady Melania Trump shook hands with the imperial pair before entering the palace, to be met by Abe and his wife, Akie, among others.The president and emperor and their wives returned outside to walk a red carpet and stand under a hot sun while a military band played the national anthems of both countries.Red carpet, policy differencesTrump then walked the red carpet again, waving at assembled school children and inspecting Japanese troops before a military band played a formal salute as he stood solemnly on a raised platform.Trump has made clear he was pleased to have the honour of the first reception with the emperor, who is hosting a lavish state dinner for the U.S. leader and his wife on Monday. The two leaders have put on a show of friendship but have policy disagreements over trade and North Korea.Trump has threatened to target Japanese automakers with high tariffs in his effort to cut the U.S. trade surplus and get a two-way trade pact with Tokyo.Trump has also spearheaded an expensive trade dispute with China. That trade war between the world’s two largest economies has hurt markets worldwide and confounded U.S. allies, including Japan and the European Union.Such allies share U.S. concerns about Chinese practices but object to Trump’s hardball tactics.Abe and Trump are also set to discuss North Korea and Iran.“I personally think that lots of good things will come with North Korea. I feel that. I may be right, I may be wrong, but I feel that,” Trump said on Monday.On Sunday, Trump had said he was not worried about a recent missile launch by North Korea. That put him at odds with his own national security adviser, John Bolton, who said on Saturday Pyongyang’s recent short-range missile tests violated United Nations Security Council resolutions.Japan shares Bolton’s viewAbe is considering a trip to Iran next month, domestic media said, to try to soothe rising tension between Tehran and Washington. Trump said Abe had spoken to him on the subject.“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “But I know for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of Iran, and we’ll see what happens.” Advertising Post Comment(s) Trump explicitly linked trade and security, a connection that disturbs Tokyo, whose alliance with Washington stands at the core of its defence policies.“It’s all a balance sheet thing,” he said. “When I talk about a security threat, I talk about a balance sheet.“In order to have $716 billion dollars a year in military expenditures, you have to have a lot of money coming in,” he said, adding that Japan had bought “tremendous amounts” of U.S. military gear.On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he expected big moves on trade would wait until after Japan’s upper house election in July.last_img read more

Nanoparticles give mice night vision

first_img To find out, Han and his colleagues first improved the animals’ chances: They tweaked the UCNPs to emit green light. (Green photopigments in animals are more sensitive than blue.) Then they coated their UCNPs with a protein that binds to specific sugar molecules on the membranes of photoreceptors. After injecting these behind the retinas of mice, they found that the UCNPs bound tightly to the photoreceptors and stayed there for up to 10 weeks with no obvious lasting side effects.And the nanoparticle injections seemed to have the desired effect. Mice that received them showed physical signs of detecting IR light and converting it to visible light: their pupils constricted, for example, while mice injected with only a buffer solution showed no response. Electrophysiology recordings also showed the IR light triggered nerve responses in the retina and visual cortex only in the animals with nanoparticles.Lastly, Xue, Han, and their colleagues ran the mice through behavioral tests to determine whether the animals with nanoparticles were seeing a diffuse haze or able to recognize distinctive shapes and patterns. In one test, animals swam in a water maze without an exit. On the wall above one route researchers projected a triangle and on another, a circle; below the triangle, the researchers placed a submerged platform onto which the animals could climb to get out of the water.When the shapes were illuminated by visible light, all the animals quickly learned to associate the comfort of the platform with the triangle and swam immediately toward it, even when the researchers swapped the position of the triangle and circle. When the patterns were under IR light, only the animals injected with the UCNPs swam consistently toward the triangle, the researchers report today in Cell. “The students couldn’t see which [pathway] showed the triangle, but the mice would go to the correct side,” Xue says with a chuckle.Given the similarities between mice and humans in vision physiology, Xue says, “I definitely think it will work in humans.” If it does, future versions of nanoparticles could give first responders and military personnel temporarily enhanced night vision. Nanoparticles could also be tailored to absorb and re-emit visible light. These particles might intensify color sensation to treat patients with macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related vision loss, in which the photoreceptor cells gradually die over time.Creating other X-Men powers, such as telekinesis or manipulating the weather, will take more time. Yuqian Ma, Wenyang Yi, Jiawei Shen Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Yuqian Ma, Wenyang Yi, Jiawei Shen Scientists have figured out how to confer a superpower, like those wielded by the mythical X-Men, at least to mice. Using nanoparticles that convert infrared (IR) light to visible light, researchers have given mice the ability to see in the dark. If the same technique works in humans, it could offer soldiers night vision without the need for goggles and possibly counter ailments that cause patients to gradually lose their sight.“This paper is astonishing,” says Michael Do, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who was not involved with the work. “To think that you can inject these nanoparticles and have them work is incredible.”When injected into the eye, the nanoparticles deliver visible light to the light-sensitive pigments that vertebrates use to see. The pigments are in specialized cells called photoreceptors, located in the retina at the back of the eye. A combination of pigments in these photoreceptors absorb different colors of light, triggering nerve impulses to flow through the optic nerve to the visual centers of the brain. Humans have three pigments that give us color vision and another pigment that helps us see black and white, especially in dim light. Mice and some primates have just two color pigments and one for dim light. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Mice injected with specialized nanoparticles can see infrared light showing various patterns and shapes to help them navigate a water maze. 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 Nanoparticles give mice night vision By Robert F. ServiceFeb. 28, 2019 , 11:45 AM Researchers have previously added genes for a third pigment to mice and primates to give them a humanlike range of sensitivity to visible light. But until now, no mammals have been able to see IR light under normal conditions.To change that, Xue Tian, a vision physiology expert at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, teamed up with Gang Han, a nanoparticle expert at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Han had previously developed nanoparticles that can convert IR to blue light. Because blue light carries more energy than IR, these so-called up-converting nanoparticles (UCNPs) must absorb multiple IR photons before they release a single blue photon. That led Han and Xue to wonder whether such nanoparticles on photoreceptors would convert enough IR to visible light to enable mice to see in the dark. Mice injected with specialized nanoparticles can see infrared light showing various patterns and shapes to help them navigate a water maze.last_img read more

Top stories tarantula poaching a geological Google and fixing health care in

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The British Geological Survey (BGS) in Nottingham has one of the world’s premier geological collections with roughly 3 million fossils. But this data trove “was not really very useful to anybody,” says Michael Stephenson, a BGS paleontologist. Now, that could change, thanks to a nascent international effort to meld earth science databases into what Stephenson and other backers are describing as a “geological Google.”A prescription for Madagascar’s broken health system: data and a focus on detailsMadagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, has shockingly high rates of maternal and childhood mortality and malnutrition. Public health experts are convinced the interventions that bring in the most international dollars, such as bed nets for malaria, are simply not enough. Now, a recently founded nongovernmental organization called PIVOT seeks to use rigorous data gathering and analysis to help create an affordable and effective health care system that could ultimately be scaled up to cover all of Madagascar and, perhaps, be adapted for other countries.New way to turn carbon dioxide into coal could ‘rewind the emissions clock’If humans hope to limit climate change to just 2°C of warming, we’ve got a lot of work to do, scientists say: reducing emissions, planting trees, and scrubbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the skies with the latest technologies. Now, a new process can convert gaseous CO2—the product of burning fossil fuels—into solid carbon at room temperature, using only a trickle of electricity. But getting it to work on a planetwide scale will be a formidable challenge.This celebrity cat has broken the internet. Now, we have its genomeCats may rule the internet, but few felines have achieved the online fame of Lil Bub. Discovered as a feral kitten outside Bloomington, Indiana, in 2011, she had a series of congenital abnormalities: extra toes, shorter-than-usual limbs, and a tongue that perpetually hangs out of her mouth. This week, geneticists reported they sequenced Lil Bub’s whole genome, discovering the genetic basis of her much-loved idiosyncrasies. By Alex FoxMar. 1, 2019 , 1:30 PM (left to right): CHIEN LEE; BRITISH GEOLOGICAL SURVEY; RIJASOLO 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 Top stories: tarantula poaching, a ‘geological Google,’ and fixing health care in Madagascar This amazing blue tarantula is a new spider species—but did researchers break the law when they studied it?A female of the world’s newest tarantula species has electric-blue legs and a creamy toffee body. She’s native to the state of Sarawak in Malaysia and would fit nicely in your palm. Spider enthusiasts were thrilled when the new species came to light. But its emergence also highlights a growing illegal trade in tarantulas and researchers’ laissez-faire attitudes about sourcing specimens for study. Earth scientists plan to meld massive databases into a ‘geological Google’last_img read more

Passengers violently ejected from seats on turbulent flight

first_imgBy AP |Honolulu | Published: July 12, 2019 1:45:22 pm Advertising Advertising Llyn Williams was traveling with his wife Erica Daly back to their home in Sydney, Australia. His wife was injured and taken to the hospital.He said when they hit the violent turbulence, “everybody who was not seated and belted in hit the roof, almost everybody in our cabin.”Williams described the cabin afterward as frightening, with plastic lying around and oxygen masks dangling. “A lot of blood everywhere,” he said. “It was really quite scary.”Andrew Szucs, originally from Ontario but now living in Sydney, was not injured. There had been turbulence before the abrupt drop and he was awake, bracing himself.“Then all of a sudden the plane dropped and went sideways,” Szucs said. “And that’s when the people who were strapped in flew, hit the ceiling.”He said the pilot came on the radio and said they didn’t see the turbulence on radar and had “no warning this kind of air drop was going to happen.”Babies and children were crying as crew members went through the cabin assessing injuries. About 15 minutes later, there was an announcement asking for passengers who are medical professionals to help, Beam said.Sandy Marshall of Sydney was injured, with her two children unhurt.“I didn’t have my seat belt on at the time. My child was sleeping on me, and I went straight up into the ceiling,” she said.Most of the impact was to her head, but she also suffered a laceration under her right eye, bruising and muscular pain in her neck.The turbulence happened at 36,000 feet (10,973 meters) about 600 miles (966 kilometers) southwest of Honolulu, said US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.The Boeing 777-200 was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew members, according to Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.Air Canada was arranging hotel accommodations and meals in Honolulu and options for resuming the flight. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief “If we’re going to be stuck somewhere, I can think of worse places,” said Beam, traveling with her 10- and 11-year-old children. Top News Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Best Of Express Advertising Passengers violently ejected from seats on turbulent flight The flight from Vancouver to Sydney encountered “un-forecasted and sudden turbulence,” about two hours past Hawaii when the plane diverted to Honolulu, Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said in a statement. (Source: AP)Dozens of people were violently slammed off the ceiling of a jetliner that encountered unexpected and intense turbulence over the Pacific Ocean Thursday. Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file A woman behind her hit the ceiling so hard that she broke the casing of an oxygen mask, said Beam, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.Of the 37 passengers and flight crew members injured, nine had serious injuries, emergency responders said. Thirty people were taken to hospitals.Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Chief Dean Nakano said the injured ranged in age from children to the elderly. Customs agents and emergency responders met passengers at the gate at the Honolulu airport to ensure they could get medical attention quickly.Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright said injuries included cuts, bumps, bruises, neck pain and back pain. More than two dozen people were taken to hospitals, she said. Post Comment(s) An Air Canada flight to Australia made an emergency landing in Honolulu after 37 people were injured, nine seriously, during the sudden loss of altitude that sent people flying into the luggage compartments and aisles of the airplane.The flight from Vancouver to Sydney encountered “un-forecasted and sudden turbulence,” about two hours past Hawaii when the plane diverted to Honolulu, Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said in a statement.“The plane just dropped,” passenger Stephanie Beam told The Associated Press. “When we hit turbulence, I woke up and looked over to make sure my kids were buckled. The next thing I knew there’s just literally bodies on the ceiling of the plane.” More Explainedlast_img read more

Microsofts Mixer Could Shake Up the Streaming Game

first_imgMixing It Up With the In-Crowd Taking On the Established Players Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as “Beam.” In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers.The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft. New co-streaming functionality will allow four PC streamers to combine their respective broadcasts into a single split-screen stream. This feature soon will roll out to Xbox gamers as well. A name change from the generic “Beam” to the equally generic “Mixer” may do little to get gamers off Twitch and YouTube, but the fact that the platform will offer live functionality to the PC and console could help set it apart.”From the console perspective, various streaming facilities have been available on PS4 and Xbox One for quite some time now, so the question Mixer has to answer is, why should people use it over, say, Twitch?” pondered Bailey.”Features and superior integration are the first hurdles. … Co-streaming and crowd play are both interesting ideas, but that brings us to the next set of hurdles — content that leverages these features in compelling ways,” Bailey added.”Team-based combat games are perfect for co-streaming, and so could fit well with many e-sports titles, as well as a number of key shooter properties on Xbox One,” he pointed out.Superior functionality could be the winning mix for Microsoft, however.”Its key differentiators — interactivity and low-latency — are strong, and arguably elevate Mixer above rivals like Twitch and YouTube in terms of performance,” suggested SuperData Research’s van Dreunen.”We’ve seen in the past that a higher-quality standard is no match for a platform or format that is more popular,” he added.”Another thing Mixer needs to implement is the ability for players to buy games directly through the service — via Microsoft’s stores — and for the streamers to take a percentage of any purchases that they trigger,” said IHS Markit’s Bailey. “Twitch currently offers this, but for PC games only. Mixer could open up that opportunity for Xbox One games.” Microsoft’s efforts suggest that it may be aiming for a virtual mixer-style gaming party. However, gamers already have numerous options to meet up and engage, and co-op gameplay may not be enough to draw in new users.”Crowd play is interesting, but the application has to be engaging in order to found a long-term role,” cautioned Steve Bailey, senior analyst for games at IHS Markit.”A handful of PS4 games employed a similar idea a few years back, but it didn’t seem to gain much traction, and we’re only just beginning to explore the potential of games with meaningful crowd-voting systems,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Novelty alone won’t be enough to carry this idea, so Mixer and developers will have to continue working closely to realize its potential,” Bailey added. “Mixer will also have to show that it can grow its audience, to make this effort ultimately worthwhile for developers.” Microsoft acquired Beam last August, only some eight months after its launch, to compete against game streaming on Amazon’s Twitch and YouTube.When it launched, Beam attempted to differentiate itself from the competition by providing online competitions that could be streamed in real time. That helped it attract an audience, not to mention interest from Microsoft.Now the newly branded Mixer could allow Microsoft to capture a segment of the gaming audience that likes to watch rather than actually play today’s most popular titles.”Microsoft necessarily has to compete but has been on the back foot in the live-streaming space,” said Joost van Dreunen, principal analyst at SuperData Research.”With the rebranding and hopefully a continued development effort, Microsoft has created an opportunity for itself, albeit it slim,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Historically, network-based strategies such as these are challenging, because neither content creators nor viewers are keen on switching platforms,” added van Dreunen. “So Microsoft will have to come up with something unique that will draw people to its service.” In addition, Microsoft announced that it has launched new Mixer Create mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. They are currently in beta, but both will support self-broadcasting and the ability to stream mobile games soon.There also will be a Mixer page on the Xbox One Dashboard, which will feature some of the most unique and popular streams curated by a dedicated support team. This will further showcase the variety of diverse, creative content from the streaming community. Moreover, Microsoft’s Mixer will feature the always-on, moderated Channel One that allows users to see the breadth of content available across the platform.Further, Mixer will serve as a gamer’s eye to Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference on June 11. Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter. Beam It Uplast_img read more

The Fake News Fueling the Uproar Over SelfDriving Vehicles

first_imgI mentioned what basically would be a 98 percent-plus reduction in deaths, but the models show this 98 percent-plus reduction would apply to accidents in general. Given the cars record pretty much everything happening around them in high detail and could provide that information in an investigation, fault should be easy to determine.I expect there will be rules, kind of like the guy-in-the-back rule — you know, the one that says if you are the last car in a pile-up it is your fault. In this case, if there is a human involved, that person will be at fault. That would do some interesting things, as you might imagine, for projected insurance premiums.For an autonomous car, premiums could drop up to 90 percent. However, given the tolerances with autonomous cars and the expense of the electronics, if a human — I should say when a human — causes an accident, the costs will be astronomical. We could be looking at up to a 10x increase in premiums for human drivers once we get to a critical mass of autonomous cars.That means we would need about 1/100th the number of trial attorneys, but each of the cases likely would be huge and newsworthy. So, on the down side, a lot of attorneys are going to need to find new areas to specialize in (giving what is going on, I’m thinking sexual harassment and hostile workplace litigation). The ones who remain in vehicle accident litigation will move from being low-fee, low profile and low status to high-fee, high profile, high status. So, I’m not sure that is really bad, even for them. Wrapping Up Truck Drivers Are Safe Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR Headset Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. It may seem obvious that a major consequence of self-driving trucks would be a lot of unemployed truck drivers, but the reality — at least for those who drive tractor trailers — could be better jobs.Autonomous vehicles have massive potential benefits. Models suggest that in the U.S. alone, between 30 thousand and 40 thousand lives would be saved annually (for perspective, about 3 thousand died on 9/11). There will be some job losses, and adjustments will need to be made.I’ll share my thoughts on the job reshuffling while the industry works to stop what has become, thanks to smartphones, a growing cause of premature death in the world.I’ll close with my product of the week: the Jedi Challenges, a joint offering from Disney and Lenovo I’ve been playing with. Damn thing is a ton of fun. Car accidents chew up a lot of resources and increase medical costs for all of us substantially, because not everyone is well insured, and hospitals must deal with the injured regardless. A massive reduction in accidents and deaths means we would need a lot fewer EMTs and hospital staff members, because there will be hundreds of thousands fewer people who will need to be treated. (Well, unless these cars go Terminator and then all bets are off.)Given that these cars tend to err on the side of safety, don’t break laws, and literally can circle forever looking for parking, the need for traffic enforcement should drop like a rock. Given that we also are very short on law enforcement officers, this could result in having officers focus more on non-vehicle related crimes, which should reduce things like robberies and violent crimes in general and provide a strong secondary safety benefit.Many patrol cars could be fully automated, though, and we already have deployed robotic security guards and thousands of security cameras. Combined, the result should be a vastly higher degree of safety, coupled with a reasonably high expectation that you’ll be on camera much of the time.As a result, I forecast that tinted windows will be the new must-have option on most autonomous cars — and even homes, going forward. Rather than car chases, the cops likely will be waiting for you at your house if you commit a crime. Police interceptors quickly could become the equivalent of wheeled cruise missiles — or given the capabilities of flying drones, maybe missiles with propellers. The activities of the Teamsters and trial lawyers are largely responsible for preventing the adoption of strong autonomous car legislation, I found out at a recent meeting. The Teamsters — the union protecting drivers — are afraid that self-driving trucks will wipe out their membership. That, at least for distance drivers, is fake news.The trial lawyers want to be able to have work, which is understandable, but weighing that against the possibility of saving 30-40 thousand lives a year, I doubt they’ll be able to hold out indefinitely. Somehow the tag line “Yes, your mother died, but remember you employed 10 attorneys!” is likely to fall flat in the long term.I still wonder whether the car companies will survive this change, though. If cars basically become four-wheeled elevators, I just don’t think any but the relatively wealthy will want to own one.Services like Uber and Lyft (assuming they survive) could give people annual plans like you get for a cellphone, and access to a pool of vehicles for a fraction of the cost of a car. That would allow you to spend more on your spouse, house, hobbies or other things. Certainly, that is what car-sharing services believe will happen, and it looks like Ford and GM are hedging their bets.I’ll leave you with one other interesting observation. We started working seriously on autonomous cars around 2000, and just about four years ago we started talking about people-carrying drones.Those drones are going into trials about the same time the cars are, and initial projected deployments are within the same window. Amazon is getting the airspace issues sorted, and companies like Boeing, Airbus, and Uber chasing this, maybe it is time to take the move seriously. Just saying… Now the blade doesn’t always completely line up with the light saber, and the light saber feels too light (the reason likely is that if you lose your grip and it goes flying you won’t take out a TV, spouse, sibling, or pet accidentally). It seems to work better in large rooms.This is an AR (augmented reality) toy that uses your smartphone — mainly LG, Samsung, Motorola, Apple and Google models. The light saber is your pointing device for some of the games and all of the battles I saw. It is a good-looking light saber, and the game play is decent.Since it is AR and not VR, you don’t trip over furniture or get motion sick, but my wife did think I looked kind of funny hacking away at a robot only I could see.I got it to work reasonably well with my Essential phone, but you are taking a risk if you have a phone that isn’t on the approved list, which includes the following: iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6; Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S7; Google Pixel XL, Pixel; Moto Z2 Force Edition; LG G6.)If I had built this thing, I would have built the headset into a rebel helmet. Right now, it kind of looks like most VR headsets, in that it really doesn’t look like anything you’d wear in the movie. They missed the cosplay vibe.It lists for US$374 on Amazon, but Best Buy has it for $200, and at $200 it is a deal. I think Amazon missed a meeting on this one.Because I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I saw the first movie on opening day, and because I’ve always wanted a light saber that could fire up, the Disney Jedi Challenges toy is my product of the week. Initially, I too thought autonomous vehicles meant truck drivers were toast — but according to the trucking companies, there is so much value in the cargo, they don’t want the trucks going off without drivers. That is smart, given that surveys I’ve seen on this suggest that human drivers are likely to play games with vehicles that aren’t manned.Someone needs to manage and protect the loads. Otherwise, the fear is that criminals will force the trucks off the road and unload them, or that there will be loading and unloading anomalies that could cost these firms far more than they’d save by not having drivers.This does mean the driver’s jobs would change, as they would be more like guards and pursers than drivers. However, those are duties most of them have right now, so they’d only lose the driving part of the job — not the job itself. As passengers, they could better keep up with paperwork, and the trucks could stay on the road longer because the drivers could sleep and take breaks while the trucks powered on.In the end, autonomous-driven trucks could result in higher-quality, lower stress jobs for the drivers, who would be far more able to enjoy entertainment and communicate with friends and family while the trucks did the boring bit.I understand there are around 50K open driver positions at the moment, so it isn’t like people are flocking to this career. I do expect some companies to run the equivalent of self-driving truck caravans. Breaker, breaker, we have a robotic convoy! However, they would become very attractive targets for thieves and likely require significantly more than one person to manage them and ensure their protection.I expect bus drivers are relatively safe, too, just to protect against unruly passengers and problems. Again, that is one part of the bus driver’s job that a robot can not easily take over. I imagine that — particularly in a school bus — having the adult on the transport not have to drive and control behavior at the same time would result in not only fewer accidents, but also better-behaved kids. Trial Attorneys Are Screwed – Sort Of Medical and Law Enforcement The Disney Jedi Challenges Toy by Lenovo is interesting in many ways. One is that it was built by Lenovo to a Disney specification, and I don’t recall any of the other major vendors doing this.Yes, Disney had PCs, but they were largely ODM-built back then and sucked. The difference between using an ODM (basically a firm that builds to your specification) and an OEM (a company that builds products largely for itself) is that the OEM is far more focused on user experience and less likely, because its name is on it, to let one out that sucks. There was every chance for this thing to suck a lot.I’ve played with this for a few hours and it doesn’t suck. In fact, it is kind of cool to see a Jedi master appear in your living room and give you instructions on good light saber use. It is also kind of nice that if you accidentally gore your wife with the thing it doesn’t really do any damage. Firing up the light saber and seeing the blade power out of the thing with sound effects is almost worth it alone.last_img read more

Experimental vaccine shows promise to protect stroke survivors from blood clots

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 29 2018A vaccine may one day be able to replace oral blood thinners to reduce the risk of secondary strokes caused by blood clots, without increasing the risk of serious bleeding or triggering an autoimmune response, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.People who have had a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischemic strokes) often need to take medications that make their blood less likely to clot, which helps prevent another stroke.Japanese researchers successfully tested an experimental vaccine in mice and found that it provided protection against blood clots for more than two months without increasing the risk of bleeding or causing an autoimmune response. The lack of an autoimmune response is important, because it means the mice’s immune system did not perceive the vaccine as an “intruder” that needed to be attacked, which would have caused a reaction to the vaccine.Related StoriesUM scientists receive $3.3 million NIH contract to develop opioid addiction vaccineScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsThe vaccine, S100A9, inhibits blood clot formation and, during the study, protected the arteries of treated mice from forming new clots for more than two months, and additionally, worked as well as the oral blood thinner clopidogrel in a major artery, according to Hironori Nakagami, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author and professor at Osaka University, in Japan.Developing a vaccine to replace and/or compliment daily, oral medications might save many lives and help prevent both secondary strokes and possibly heart attacks, according to Nakagami.”Many stroke patients don’t take their blood thinning drugs as prescribed, which makes it more likely they will have another stroke. This vaccine might one day help solve this issue since it would only need to be injected periodically,” Nakagami said.”We are continuing our research in hopes of being able to start clinical trials between five and ten years from now, but there are differences between mice and humans in how the vaccine will be recognized by the immune system,” he said. “We should be able to overcome such problems and believe this vaccine provides a very promising strategy in secondary prevention of stroke.” Source:https://newsroom.heart.org/news/experimental-vaccine-may-reduce-post-stroke-blood-clot-risk?preview=3656last_img read more

Study explores how patients want to discuss symptoms with doctors

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 11 2018Sleep, pain, anxiety, depression, and low energy/fatigue (known collectively as SPADE for short) symptoms are extremely common, but often unrecognized and undertreated by primary care physicians. A new Regenstrief Institute study has found that patients want to tell their doctors about their symptoms and would be willing to do so via a formal reporting system, but patients are reluctant to report symptoms if they perceive busy clinicians will not use that information to improve care.”Patients see both personal and clinical benefits in routinely completing questionnaires about symptoms they are experiencing,” said Regenstrief Institute Research Manager Tasneem (Nina) Talib, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “While they understand that their doctors see a lot of patients, they don’t want to feel like a number. They want their doctors to actually review and use the information they are providing.””A Qualitative Study of Patients’ Perceptions of the Utility of Patient-reported Outcome Measures of Symptoms in Primary Care Clinics” is published in the December issue of the peer reviewed journal Quality of Life Research.”Patient reported symptoms are not routinely put into a patient’s electronic medical record, and most EMR systems are not designed to include symptoms,” said Regenstrief Institute Investigator Kurt Kroenke, M.D., senior author of the study. “The healthcare system spends a lot of money on lab and imaging test results, which we put into the patient’s EMR; shouldn’t we be valuing patient-reported symptoms enough to put them into that same record? Pain and other symptoms have scales assigned to them similar to measurements obtained from blood pressure cuffs which alert us to an increase or decrease.”We — health care systems and the doctors who work in these systems — haven’t figured out how to deal efficiently with symptoms. Some doctors want to know about symptoms but others don’t see how they can work discussion and follow-up on symptoms into an already busy primary care visit,” he said.Dr. Kroenke is an internationally respected expert in symptoms. Over the past three decades, his research has focused on the management of pain and other symptoms by primary care physicians, initially examining unexplained medical symptoms. This focus has expanded to include underlying mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, that affect patient experience with symptoms. Faced with the difficulty of diagnosing these problems in primary care, he co-developed easy, valid and reliable measurement tools for depression and anxiety. These instruments, which have been translated into more than 100 languages, are used today in daily practice in most internists’ offices and are the annual screening tool implemented by major healthcare institutions throughout the U.S. and Europe.Related StoriesResearchers survey orthopedic providers to understand factors that drive opioid prescribing practicesMarijuana isn’t a great choice for glaucoma treatment, says expertVitamin D supplementation may not reduce the risk of heart diseaseIn the new study, 23 male and female patients (age 24 to 77 years) with one or more SPADE symptoms were interviewed about the use, implementation and visual display of formal, computerized patient reporting of symptoms.Among the interview responses:”I think they [formal surveys in which patients note their symptoms] are beneficial if they’re being utilized. Every doctor should do this as a force of habit with every single patient on every single visit. But, if it’s just a person checking some boxes and throwing it in my medical folder, and it’s not being looked at or reviewed…sometimes I feel like a number, not an actual patient.””I wouldn’t necessarily recognize that I’m anxious, unless somebody asked me: Are you nervous? If I stop and think about it, well maybe I am. But if I don’t, you know…most people are too busy to recognize what they’re feeling. By looking at that [symptoms questionnaire] it does help me to stop and think. And if I did have that, then maybe I better mention this.””In order to get them [patients] to understand the value of it, of filling out the information, the doctor needs to use it…I mean, why am I gonna fill it out if they’re not gonna look at it?…I fill out the information, the doctor actually asked me a question about it. Wow! I see that as a motivating factor for filling out the information.””Barriers exist and doctors shouldn’t be blamed for not focusing on pain, depression and anxiety. They need efficient clinical strategies to deal with symptoms and reimbursement to pay for these strategies,” said Dr. Kroenke, whose recent work focuses on what these optimal strategies might be and how they would function. “Extra time during the patient visit, getting nurses and other non-physicians involved, telecare, online and other self-management tools have the potential to help physicians help their patients deal with symptoms.” Source:https://www.regenstrief.org/article/how-do-patients-want-to-discuss-symptoms/last_img read more

Exploring novel strategies to heal damage after a heart attack

first_img Source:https://www.northwestern.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 24 2019For people who survive a heart attack, the days immediately following the event are critical for their longevity and long-term healing of the heart’s tissue. Now researchers at Northwestern University and University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) have designed a minimally invasive platform to deliver a nanomaterial that turns the body’s inflammatory response into a signal to heal rather than a means of scarring following a heart attack.Tissue engineering strategies to replace or supplement the extracellular matrix that degrades following a heart attack are not new, but most promising hydrogels cannot be delivered to the heart using minimally invasive catheter delivery because they clog the tube. The Northwestern-UC San Diego team has demonstrated a novel way to deliver a bioactivated, biodegradable, regenerative substance through a noninvasive catheter without clogging.The research, which was conducted in vivo in a rat model, was published recently in the journal Nature Communications. Northwestern’s Nathan C. Gianneschi and UC San Diego’s Karen Christman are the co-principal investigators.”This research centered on building a dynamic platform, and the beauty is that this delivery system now can be modified to use different chemistries or therapeutics,” Gianneschi said.Gianneschi is the Jacob and Rosaline Cohn Professor in the department of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and in the departments of materials science and engineering and of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering.When a person has a heart attack, the extracellular matrix is stripped away and scar tissue forms in its place, decreasing the heart’s functionality. Because of this, most heart attack survivors have some degree of heart disease, the leading cause of death in America.”We sought to create a peptide-based approach because the compounds form nanofibers that look and mechanically act very similar to native extracellular matrix. The compounds also are biodegradable and biocompatible,” said first author Andrea Carlini. She is now a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of John Rogers, in Northwestern’s department of materials science and engineering.”Most preclinical strategies have relied on direct injections into the heart, but because this is not a feasible option for humans, we sought to develop a platform that could be delivered via intracoronary or transendocardial catheter,” said Carlini, who was a graduate student in Gianneschi’s lab when the study was conducted.Peptides are short chains of amino acids instrumental for healing. The team’s approach relies on a catheter to deliver self-assembling peptides — and eventually a therapeutic — to the heart following myocardial infarction, or heart attack.”What we’ve created is a targeting-and-response type of material,” said Gianneschi, associate director of Northwestern’s International Institute of Nanotechnology and a member of the Simpson Querrey Institute.Related StoriesTeam approach to care increases likelihood of surviving refractory cardiogenic shockRNA-binding protein SRSF3 appears to be key factor for proper heart contraction, survivalWeightlifting is better for the heart than cardio”We inject a self-assembling peptide solution that seeks out a target — the heart’s damaged extracellular matrix — and the solution is then activated by the inflammatory environment itself and gels,” he said. “The key is to have the material create a self-assembling framework, which mimics the natural scaffold that holds cells and tissues together.”The team’s preclinical research was conducted in rats and segmented into two proof-of-concept tests. The first test established that the material could be fed through a catheter without clogging and without interacting with human blood. The second determined whether the self-assembling peptides could find their way to the damaged tissue, bypassing healthy heart tissue. Researchers created and attached a fluorescent tag to the self-assembling peptides and then imaged the heart to see where the peptides eventually settled.”In previous work with responsive nanoparticles, we produced speckled fluorescence in the heart attack region, but in this case, we were able to see large continuous hydrogel assemblies throughout the tissue,” Carlini said.Researchers now know that when they remove the florescent tag and replace it with a therapeutic, the self-assembling peptides will locate to the affected area of the heart. One hurdle is that catheter delivery in a rodent model is far more complicated — because of the animal’s much smaller body — than the same procedure in a human. This is one area where Christman’s lab at UC San Diego has deep knowledge.If the research team can prove their approach to be efficacious, then there is “a fairly clear path” in terms of progressing toward a clinical trial, Gianneschi said. The process, however, would take several years.”We started working on this chemistry in 2012, and it took immense effort to produce a modular and synthetically simple platform that would reliably gel in response to the inflammatory environment,” Carlini said. “A major breakthrough occurred when we developed sterically constrained cyclic peptides, which flow freely during delivery and then rapidly assemble into hydrogels when they come in contact with disease-associated enzymes.”By programming in a spring-like switch, Carlini was able to unfurl these naturally circular compounds to create a flat substance with much more surface area and greater stickiness. The process creates conditions for the peptides to better self-assemble, or stack, atop one another and form the scaffold that so closely resembles the native extracellular matrix.Having demonstrated the platform’s ability to activate in the presence of specific disease-associated enzymes, Gianneschi’s lab also has validated analogous approaches in peripheral artery disease and in metastatic cancer, each of which produce similar chemical and biological inflammatory responses.last_img read more

Black women are twice as likely to die from aggressive uterine cancer

first_imgWe need to continue research to further understand these racial differences and disparities, in order to help us better predict risk and work toward prevention.”Dr. Megan Clarke, Lead Author If the increasing incidence rate was primarily related to obesity, we wouldn’t see stable trends for endometrioid subtypes among white women. Obesity is the strongest risk factor associated with endometrioid subtypes. However, our study suggests that there are other factors leading to the increases in the incidence of uterine cancer, and this warrants further research.Dr. Megan Clarke, Lead Author Uterine cancer is the most common and second most deadly gynecologic cancer in the US. It is estimated there were 63,230 new cases of uterine cancer and 11,350 deaths caused by the disease in 2018.These rates have been projected to increase substantially in the future.“These trends and predictions have been largely attributed to increasing obesity rates, population aging, and decreased use of combined menopausal hormone therapy,” the study reveals.The incidence rates of endometrioid subtypes remained stable in non-Hispanic white women during the duration of the study but increased in other racial and ethnic groups.Conversely, the incidence rates of aggressive, non-endometrioid subtypes significantly increased in all racial and ethnic groups with an overall increase of 2.9 percent per year from 2000 to 2015.25.9 per 100,000 black women had significantly higher rates of non-endometrioid subtypes, compared to 11.4 white women per 100,000, 10.1 Hispanic women, and 7.5 Asian/Pacific Islanders.Although uterine cancer with endometrioid histology has a good prognosis overall, uterine cancer with non-endometrioid histology is a more aggressive form of uterine cancer and has a far worse prognosis.Black women are ‘twice as likely to die’It is black women that are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive non-endometrioid subtypes, despite having lower uterine cancer incidence rates in the past.Black women have also been “twice as likely to die as a result of uterine cancer compared with white women, making this one of the largest racial disparities observed for any cancer type.”However, the increase in non-endometrioid subtypes of uterine cancer may not be explained by the increasing incidence in obesity or changes in hormone replacement therapy during the menopause, with these lifestyle factors being associated more strongly with the less aggressive endometrioid subtypes of uterine cancer. Journal reference:Clarke, M., et al. (2019). Hysterectomy-Corrected Uterine Corpus Cancer Incidence Trends and Differences in Relative Survival Reveal Racial Disparities and Rising Rates of Nonendometrioid Cancers. Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi/full/10.1200/JCO.19.00151 By Lois Zoppi, BAMay 23 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have published a new study showing that incidence rates for aggressive subtypes of uterine cancer in the US rose rapidly in women aged between 30 and 79 from the years 2000 to 2015.The study also highlights racial disparities between the incidence and survival rates of aggressive cancers in non-Hispanic black women compared to other racial and ethnic groups.Life science | ShutterstockThe study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on May 22nd 2019. Its purpose was to evaluate “recent trends in hysterectomy-corrected rates by race and ethnicity and histologic subtype,” as well as to estimate discrepancies in survival rates relative to race, ethnicity, subtype, and cancer stage.The research involved population data from the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database and assessed the incidence rates for women as a whole, breaking the demographic groups down further into race and ethnic groups, geographic region, and histologic subtypes. These are subtypes of uterine cancer which are differentiated by how the tissue looks under microscopic study.Trends within these groups were then charted, revealing concerning results.The researchers also corrected for hysterectomy prevalence with data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. This was to account for women who had undergone a hysterectomy and who were no longer at risk from developing uterine cancer, a factor that many other uterine cancer incidence studies had not accounted for in the past.The results were ‘very concerning’Dr. Megan Clarke, the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, spoke on the benefits of correcting for hysterectomy-corrected uterine cancer.”Incidence rates of uterine cancer have been rising, and there have been previous reports of racial differences in incidence and survival rates, with disparities observed for non-Hispanic black women.”But few recent studies have corrected for hysterectomy, which can vary by race and ethnicity and by region. Correcting for hysterectomy prevalence gives us a more accurate picture of trends in overall incidence, as well as rates by race and ethnicity.”The results of the NCI study found that among women as a whole, the incidence rates of uterine cancer corrected by hysterectomy had increased by 1 percent per year from 2003 to 2015.While incidence rates in white women have risen, this increase has been slower than that of women from other ethnic and racial groups. Incidence rates in black women were higher than in white women in 2007, and remained higher from 2011 to 2015.The study describes this difference between ethnic and racial groups as “profound”. All of these trends – the rates of uterine cancer among black women exceeding those of white women, the higher incidence rates of nonendometrioid subtypes among black women, and the lower survival rates of black women for all uterine cancer – are very concerning.”Dr. Megan Clarke, Lead Author The study shows that black women had “substantially lower 5-year relative survival, irrespective of stage at diagnosis or histologic subtype,” with the authors suggesting that a combination of “biologic and care-related factors” may be contributing to this worrying trend.Another interesting finding from the study is that increases in recent years have been caused by increasing rates of aggressive nonendometrioid histologic subtypes of uterine cancer in all racial and ethnic groups.The authors conclude the study by saying that further studies into the underlying causes nonendometrioid uterine cancer are needed to fully understand the increase in incidence rates among women in the US.last_img read more

Drone sighting briefly halts Heathrow Airport flights

first_img A spokeswoman told AFP at 1835 GMT that flights at the airport, which handles 213,668 passengers a day, had resumed following the interruption.The Metropolitan Police said they were called at around 1705 GMT and alerted to “reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow airport”.A statement on the airport’s Twitter account earlier said: “We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety.”As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause,” it said.Arriving planes, however, continued to land at Heathrow.Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said “the military are preparing to deploy the equipment used at Gatwick at Heathrow quickly should it prove necessary”.Some 81 airlines serving 204 destinations operate out of Heathrow, located west of London.Between December 19 and 21 drone sightings at Gatwick, Britain’s second biggest hub, caused travel misery for tens of thousands of people after flights were suspended. London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest hub, suspended all departing flights for around an hour Tuesday following a drone sighting, just three weeks after a similar incident at Gatwick caused havoc. © 2019 AFP Map of London’s five main airports, showing passenger numbers in 2017 Explore further That disruption came at a particularly busy time in the run-up to Christmas. It raised questions about the security of airports as well as the competence of police in charge after a couple were arrested and released without charge.The British army had to be deployed to the airport on December 20 after it grounded all flights.Gatwick has since said it has invested in anti-drone technology, while Heathrow said that it would do so.In response to the chaos at Gatwick, Grayling on Monday told parliament that drone exclusion zones around British airports were being extended and operators would have to register.Police will also be allowed to fine users up to £100 (112 euros, $128) for failing to comply when instructed to land a drone, or not showing registration to operate a drone.Grayling said the disruption at Gatwick between December 19 and 21 was “deliberate, irresponsible and calculated, as well as illegal”.The exclusion zone around airports is currently one kilometre (half a mile) and this will be extended to five kilometres.From November 30 this year, operators of drones weighing between 250g and 20kg will also have to register and take an online pilot competency test.center_img Flights suspended again at London Gatwick after drone report Citation: Drone sighting briefly halts Heathrow Airport flights (2019, January 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-drone-sighting-briefly-halts-heathrow.html London Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Japan court rejects Ghosn release bid

first_img Ghosn’s lawyers had appealed to the court to free the auto tycoon, claiming at a special hearing in a Tokyo court there were no grounds for his detention, which has now lasted more than 50 days.But the court batted off the request, saying in a terse statement: “The request to cancel the detention filed by Mr. Ghosn’s lawyers yesterday… was rejected on January 9.”Ghosn stands accused of under-reporting his income in documents to investors, apparently in response to criticism that he earned too much.He is also under investigation for allegedly seeking to pass off personal investment losses to Nissan’s books and paying a Saudi businessman from company funds to stump up collateral to cover the losses.Ghosn on Tuesday mounted a systematic denial of all the allegations, concluding that he had been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations”.The presiding judge explained that Ghosn continued to be detained because he presented a flight risk and there were concerns he could tamper with evidence.On Friday, Ghosn’s latest maximum period of detention will end and he will either be freed on bail or—more likely—see his detention extended.Even his main lawyer Motonari Otsuru has acknowledged the 64-year-old executive has little chance of being released soon, describing it as “very difficult” to win bail before the case goes to trial.And that, he said, could take at least six months. Citation: Japan court rejects Ghosn release bid (2019, January 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-japan-court-ghosn.html Explore further © 2019 AFP A Japanese court on Wednesday rejected a bid by former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to end his detention over alleged financial misconduct, a day after he denied all accusations in a dramatic court appearance.center_img Even Carlos Ghosn’s lawyer has admitted it will be very difficult to get his client freed on bail Ghosn to appear in court: what happens next? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more