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Monthly Archive: July 2019

Researchers create platform for crowdsourced exercise plans from nonexperts

first_img Source:http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/05/02/researchers-develop-an-app-for-crowdsourced-exercise-plans-which-rival-personal-trainers-in-effectiveness/ In addition, the CrowdFit plans crafted by nonexperts tended to be as effective as the plans crafted by professional trainers, especially for features such as incorporating basic exercise principles, creating plans that were compatible with user preferences and schedules, and incorporating sufficient aerobic activity. CrowdFit plans also were easier to understand than expert plans and met recommended exercise guidelines.”Our study has demonstrated that nonexperts can be guided through designing an exercise plan that is consistent with national recommendations,” said co-author Molly Welsh, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Seattle University. “There may not yet be a substitute for a trainer prompting a person through a routine on the gym floor, but the role of the expert is expanding to become more collaborative with the tech industry in guiding future design choices of apps.”The researchers also found areas where CrowdFit performance could be improved, such as including more exercises to improve flexibility and encouraging warm-ups and cool-downs during workouts. Future versions of CrowdFit could incorporate more detailed guidelines for plan creators.”We hope that tools like this will contribute to a common goal: to increase the adoption of lifelong exercise by all,” said Welsh. How well they were tailored to individual needs The appropriateness of the intensity and duration of aerobic activity The balance between aerobic and muscle-strengthening activitiescenter_img May 3 2018Exercise can prevent chronic disease, boost mental health and elevate quality of life. But exercise can also be an expensive undertaking -; especially for newcomers.A personal trainer costs an average of $50 per hour, according to WebMD. Alternatives, such as low-cost or free exercise apps, may yield low-quality workouts that are not adapted to individual preferences or lifestyles -; which ultimately dampen their effectiveness.To address these shortcomings, researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle University created CrowdFit, a platform for exercise planning that relies on crowdsourcing from nonexperts to create workout regimens guided by national exercise recommendations and tailored around user schedules and interests.As the team reported in a paper presented April 25 at the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Montreal, in a field evaluation, nonexperts could create exercise plans as effective as experts under certain conditions. In addition, CrowdFit improved the quality of exercise plans created by nonexperts. Compared to nonexpert exercise programs prepared via Google Docs, nonexpert plans created using CrowdFit featured more appropriate levels of exercise for each user, a better progression of activities from week to week, more appropriate strengthening routines and better compositions.”Most apps available to the public offer limited ability to customize an exercise plan -; criteria like goals, age and weight,” said lead author Elena Agapie, a UW doctoral student in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering. “With CrowdFit, we designed greater flexibility to customize exercise plans to a user’s schedule, constraints and nuanced preferences.”Through CrowdFit, a person who wants an exercise plan creates a personal profile on the app, listing information such as daily work schedule, interests and exercise preferences. A nonexpert then uses the profile -; as well as exercise and health guidelines provided by CrowdFit -; to craft a week-long exercise plan for the user. In the app, the plan is displayed as a detailed schedule, including suggestions for when to exercise, justification for the exercise choices and other information to both encourage the user and help him or her execute the plan correctly. At the end of the week, the user provides feedback, and the planner crafts an updated schedule for the next week.”We previously saw that people can craft plans for others that are challenging and interesting, but also had shortcomings with respect to exercise science,” said senior author Sean Munson, a UW assistant professor of human centered design and engineering. “In this study, we set out to test whether supporting planners with information on exercise science and feedback from users could help them produce plans that are also high-quality in this respect.”Related StoriesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesResearchers identify molecular pathway underpinning exercise and improved motor learningIt’s never too late to take up exercise, advise researchers”By involving nonexperts in the process, there’s also an opportunity to increase these nonexperts’ exercise knowledge, ultimately benefiting not just the users, but also the planners,” said co-author Gary Hsieh, a UW associate professor of human centered design and engineering.The researchers tested CrowdFit in a study of 46 subjects divided into three groups, each of which received a customized exercise plan based on a CrowdFit profile. Subjects in the first group received exercise plans crafted by nonexperts -; volunteers who lacked the formal education and expertise of a personal trainer -; using CrowdFit, which also contains information on exercise guidelines. The second group received exercise plans created by personal trainers, who used Google Docs to view the users’ profile information and deliver their plans. The final group received exercise plans crafted by nonexperts, again using profile information and plan delivery via Google Docs. Subjects followed their plans for one to two weeks.Researchers interviewed the users after they had completed the study, and had exercise scientists evaluate each plan.Overall, the exercise plans created by nonexperts were as effective as expert-prepared plans based on:last_img read more

FDA approves new treatment to mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms in adults

first_img Source:https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm607884.htm May 17 2018The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) for the mitigation of withdrawal symptoms to facilitate abrupt discontinuation of opioids in adults. While Lucemyra may lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms, it may not completely prevent them and is only approved for treatment for up to 14 days. Lucemyra is not a treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), but can be used as part of a broader, long-term treatment plan for managing OUD.”As part of our commitment to support patients struggling with addiction, we’re dedicated to encouraging innovative approaches to help mitigate the physiological challenges presented when patients discontinue opioids,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “We’re developing new guidance to help accelerate the development of better treatments, including those that help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms. We know that the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be one of the biggest barriers for patients seeking help and ultimately overcoming addiction. The fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms often prevents those suffering from opioid addiction from seeking help. And those who seek assistance may relapse due to continued withdrawal symptoms. The FDA will continue to encourage the innovation and development of therapies to help those suffering from opioid addiction transition to lives of sobriety, as well as address the unfortunate stigma that’s sometimes associated with the use of medication-assisted treatments.”Opioid withdrawal includes symptoms -; such as anxiety, agitation, sleep problems, muscle aches, runny nose, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and drug craving -; that occur after stopping or reducing the use of opioids in anyone with physical dependence on opioids. Physical dependence to opioids is an expected physiological response to opioid use. These symptoms of opioid withdrawal occur both in patients who have been using opioids appropriately as prescribed and in patients with OUD.In patients using opioid analgesics appropriately as prescribed, opioid withdrawal is typically managed by slow taper of the medication, which is intended to avoid or lessen the effects of withdrawal while allowing the body to adapt to not having the opioid. In patients with OUD, withdrawal is typically managed by substitution of another opioid medicine, followed by gradual reduction or transition to maintenance therapy with FDA-approved medication-assisted treatment drugs such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone; or by various medications aimed at specific symptoms, such as over-the-counter remedies for upset stomach or aches and pains. Other treatments may also be prescribed by a patient’s health care provider.”Today’s approval represents the first FDA-approved non-opioid treatment for the management of opioid withdrawal symptoms and provides a new option that allows providers to work with patients to select the treatment best suited to an individual’s needs,” said Sharon Hertz, M.D., director of the Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Addiction Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.Lucemyra is an oral, selective alpha 2-adrenergic receptor agonist that reduces the release of norepinephrine. The actions of norepinephrine in the autonomic nervous system are believed to play a role in many of the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The safety and efficacy of Lucemyra was supported by two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of 866 adults meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV criteria for opioid dependence who were physically dependent on opioids and undergoing abrupt opioid discontinuation. The studies evaluated benefit using the Short Opiate Withdrawal Scale of Gossop (SOWS-Gossop), which is a patient-reported outcome instrument that assesses opioid withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include feeling sick, stomach cramps, muscle spasms/twitching, feeling of coldness, heart pounding, muscular tension, aches and pains, yawning, runny eyes and insomnia/problems sleeping.Related StoriesPatients taking opioids for chronic pain could face health care access problemsNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresFor each opioid withdrawal symptom, patients are asked to rate their symptom severity using four response options (none, mild, moderate and severe), with the SOWS-Gossop total score ranging from 0 to 30, where a higher score indicates a greater withdrawal symptom severity. SOWS-Gossop scores were lower for patients treated with Lucemyra compared to placebo, and more patients completed the treatment period of the studies in the Lucemyra group compared to placebo.The most common side effects from treatment with Lucemyra include hypotension (low blood pressure), bradycardia (slow heart rate), somnolence (sleepiness), sedation and dizziness. Lucemyra was also associated with a few cases of syncope (fainting). Lucemyra effect the heart’s electrical activity, which can increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. When Lucemyra is stopped, patients can experience a marked increase in blood pressure. The safety and efficacy of Lucemyra have not been established in children or adolescents less than 17 years of age. After a period of not using opioid drugs, patients may be more sensitive to the effects of lower amounts of opioids if relapse does occur, and taking opioids in amounts that were used before withdrawing from opioids can lead to overdose and death.The FDA is requiring 15 postmarketing studies, including both animal and human studies. Additional animal safety studies will be required to support longer-term use (such as during a gradual opioid taper in pain patients discontinuing opioid analgesics) and use in children. Clinical studies will be required to evaluate the safety of Lucemyra in clinical situations where use could be expected to exceed the maximum 14-day treatment period for which the product is currently approved, such as gradual opioid taper; to gather additional safety data on the effects of lofexidine on the liver; and to further characterize the effects on blood pressure after lofexidine is stopped. Studies in pediatric patients will include studies of newborns with neonatal opioid withdrawal and studies of different age groups of children who have opioid withdrawal related to stopping medically-prescribed opioid drugs.The FDA granted this application Priority Review and Fast Track designations, and an independent FDA advisory committee supported the approval of Lucemyra at a meeting held March.As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis, the FDA remains committed to addressing the national crisis of opioid addiction on all fronts, with a significant focus on decreasing exposure to opioids and preventing new addiction; supporting the treatment of those with opioid use disorder; fostering the development of novel pain treatment therapies and opioids more resistant to abuse and misuse; and taking action against those who contribute to the illegal importation and sale of opioid products. The agency will also continue to evaluate how drugs currently on the market are used, in both medical and illicit settings, and take regulatory action where needed.The FDA granted the approval of Lucemyra to US WorldMeds LLC.last_img read more

Scientists use novel approach to uncover how brain networks interact to make

first_imgJun 21 2018Effective verbal communication depends on one’s ability to retrieve and select the appropriate words to convey an intended meaning. For many, this process is instinctive, but for someone who has suffered a stroke or another type of brain damage, communicating even the most basic message can be arduous.Scientists know that a brain region called the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) is critical for language production and word processing. However, it remains unclear how exactly the LIFG interacts with the brain’s complex networks to facilitate controlled language performance — or how these interactions might go awry in a damaged brain.Using a magnetic brain stimulation technique — the same method sometimes used to treat depressive symptoms — and network control theory, researchers at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania have taken a novel approach to understanding how networks in the brain interact to make word-choice decisions. Their results, published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience, pave the way for the treatment of aphasia and other language disorders.”Our ability to understand neural systems is fundamentally related to our ability to control them,” said John Medaglia, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Drexel University and the study’s primary author. “This research provides direct evidence that how we choose the words we want to say in natural language is related to the capability of the brain to integrate and segregate activity across major networks.”Medaglia, along with his colleague and study co-author Danielle Bassett, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania, seek to map out the entire landscape of the brain and to uncover how stimulating one network might connect to or affect another depending on experiences — a new, emerging field of research called network neuroscience.”Network neuroscience provides computational methods to uncover structure in brain imaging data. In turn, knowledge about this structure allows us to better understand how signals travel naturally across the brain’s highways, and also how stimulation can alter that travel in a way that supports better cognitive function,” Bassett said.To see how the LIFG brain region is involved with different neural networks depending on various language tasks, the research team used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, which uses an external magnetic field to induce currents in parts of the brain along with implanted stimulators.Twenty-eight study subjects were asked to complete two different kinds of language tasks while the research team administered the noninvasive brain stimulation. In the first type of task, study participants completed open-ended sentences such as, “They left the dirty dishes in the…” and were instructed to say a single word that would appropriately complete it. In the second type of task, study participants were asked to name specific images or numerals presented to them.Related StoriesResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenFor each task, the researchers measured the participants’ response times and administered brain stimulation. After collecting the data, the researchers used mathematical formulas to study the controllability of the brain’s network systems. They were focused on how the language tasks affected two distinct network control features: modal controllability, which is the ability of a brain region to drive a network into “difficult to reach” states and boundary controllability, the theoretical ability of a brain region to guide distinct brain networks to communicate with each other.The researchers found that boundary controllability represented a process important for responding in the open-ended language tasks, when participants needed to retrieve and select a single word in the face of competing, alternative responses. By contrast, modal controllability was closely related to closed-ended language tasks. This suggests that the LIFG’s ability to integrate and segregate communication between brain networks may not play an important role when people are selecting a single, correct word, rather than choosing among several possibilities.Medaglia says his group was surprised to find this very clear distinction between how the brain responds to two similar language tasks.”I thought our results would be more muddied. There are debates about how unique these processes truly are, and now we have evidence that you can make a clear distinction between them,” Medaglia said. “It was also surprising to me that you could find this effect when studying the whole brain, whereas a lot of traditional views on language would have you focus on a much more specific area.”Next, the research team is using the same type of techniques in stroke patients to see if stimulating certain areas of the brain can help them to improve their speech.Study co-author Roy Hamilton, MD, a behavioral neurologist in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that these findings may someday benefit patients with aphasia (acquired language loss due to stroke). For patients with aphasia, partial language recovery is often associated with the reorganization of the language system in the brain — language functions performed by damaged areas of the brain shift to new areas that had not previously been involved in language processing.”This study gives us new insight into the underlying properties of areas like the LIFG that enable the brain to process language,” Hamilton said. “But there are still questions we’re looking to answer. For example, what determines which new areas of the brain will be recruited for language processing? What properties make them good candidates? With further research, we can begin to uncover which areas of the brain are likely to be utilized if there’s an injury to the language system. This approach may provide exciting new targets for treatment with focal therapies, including neuromodulation.” Source:http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2018/June/Brain-Signals-Drive-Language-Performance/last_img read more

Unique experimental vaccine against Zika virus proves powerful in mice

first_imgAug 6 2018A uniquely designed experimental vaccine against Zika virus has proven powerful in mice, new research has found.A team led by researchers at The Ohio State University has developed and tested a vaccine that employs an uncommon two-pronged approach to fighting the virus, which is spread by mosquitos and is most serious for pregnant women and their fetuses.The single-dose vaccine, carrying the genes for two or three Zika proteins, proved effective in triggering an immune response that prevented later infection by Zika virus, according to the study, which appears in the journal Nature Communications.”In this study, the vaccine was potent, safe and highly effective, at least in the short term. There’s a long way to go, but we think this is a promising candidate for a human vaccine,” said Jianrong Li, an Ohio State professor of veterinary biosciences who led the study and developed the vaccine platform.Babies born to Zika-infected mothers are sometimes born with a birth defect called microcephaly. Other complications include miscarriage, stillbirth and other birth defects. Research also suggests that a small percentage of people infected with the virus can contract Guillain-Barre syndrome, which affects the nervous system.There’s no vaccine available currently – though some are in clinical trials – and the only protection against Zika are preventative measures such as insect repellant, staying indoors and wearing long sleeves and pants.Shan-Lu Liu, a study co-author and director of Ohio State’s Viruses and Emerging Pathogens Program, said the experimental vaccine holds particular promise because it appears to afford an adequate immune response with one dose. In hard-to-reach and resource-poor areas, that becomes especially valuable, he said.When this study began, the Ohio State team wondered if a novel approach to vaccination might prove effective against the virus – one in which they targeted a protective immune response by expressing two or three Zika proteins.As a vehicle for the Zika proteins, they looked to vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, which is a foot-and-mouth disease in cattle. The weakened form of the virus is harmless in humans and mice. VSV has been used in other vaccines, including a successful Ebola vaccine which has been used in preventing outbreaks in humans in Africa.”It’s a good platform for human vaccines, because people don’t have any antibodies against it and that allows VSV to successfully transport the vaccine without being stopped by the immune system,” said study co-author Mark Peeples, a pediatrics professor at Ohio State and researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.Related StoriesHPV vaccine has led to a dramatic reduction in cervical cancer rates, but Africa is lagging behindNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyIn general, vaccines work by delivering harmless amounts of the target virus proteins to the bloodstream, allowing the body to build up immune responses that will provide protection in the event of subsequent exposure to the virus. Li’s work has been focused on weakening VSV so that it doesn’t cause any problems and then inserting genes from other viruses to make powerful vaccines, said Peeples, who first encouraged Li to consider applying his vaccine platform to Zika.In the experimental vaccine, VSV acts as a vehicle to deliver the genes for two or three key proteins from the Zika virus, carrying them into the mouse and expressing them inside some of the cells in the mouse so that the immune system could respond and build up a defense against Zika.”The addition of NS1 protein is an innovative approach for a vaccine – it’s a protein that is made after the Zika virus infects a cell. It’s what this bug uses to replicate itself once it’s inside the host,” said Prosper Boyaka, a study co-author and Ohio State professor of veterinary biosciences.The study included experiments in mice with severely compromised immune systems – a necessary step to make sure that mice could get sick after infection with Zika virus. When the vaccinated mice were exposed to Zika virus, their weak immune systems fought it off swiftly and efficiently, convincing the research team that their design had worked.Without using the immunocompromised animals, the researchers would not have known how safe and effective the vaccine was, Peeples said.The early success with this vaccine has encouraged this team to use the same approach to fight other related viruses, including Dengue fever, the researchers said.The researchers also looked at the response to a vaccine with just the unique NS1 gene inserted into VSV and for the first time established that it offered partial protection all on its own, confirming its value in the vaccine, Boyaka said.”We are very excited to find that VSV-based Zika vaccine is highly promising in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice”, said Anzhong Li, who is the first author of the paper and a graduate student in Jianrong Li’s laboratory. Anzhong Li recently presented these findings at a scientific conference in Italy.”Really, the next big question is ‘Will this be protective in humans?’ ” Peeples said.Source: https://news.osu.edu/novel-vaccine-approach-proves-powerful-against-zika-virus/last_img read more

Australian insects build houses to keep from drying out

first_imgLife is a major challenge for small animals living in the hot and dry Australian outback. Being small increases their risk of desiccation, and there are few options to deal with the constant hot and dry weather. At a mere 2 to 3 millimeters in length, thrips are among the smallest insects found on Australian soil, and they have evolved various ways to keep cool and avoid drying out. Their main strategy involves the formation of galls on various acacia plants. These galls—hollow knobby growths of plant tissue that swell in response to thrips—protect insects from the outside weather. Now, scientists have found a new antidesiccation strategy in a group of acacia thrips, according to a study published online before print in the journal Behavioral Ecology. Dunatothrips aneurae (pictured) build a tiny house made of the phyllodes (leaflike structures) of acacia trees, glued together by a silklike secretion extruded from the insect’s anus. This silken chamber keeps moisture levels high inside, stopping these minuscule insects from drying out. Although cozy, these homes are also fragile. The domicile wall often gets damaged by wind, and the thrips rush over to fix the damage so their offspring don’t dry or fall out. The discovery represents the first confirmed case of active parental care against desiccation in an insect. The finding may also represent a step in the evolution of social behavior in thrips, as domicile building is often a group affair. Domiciles can host groups of adults, which may be considered a kind of babysitting club, so if someone dies there are others to care for their babies, as happens in bees and termites.last_img read more

This new invisible ink can be switched on and off on demand

first_img This new invisible ink can be switched on and off on demand The next James Bond might have a hard time decoding top secret documents. Researchers have developed a lead-based invisible ink that, unlike its predecessors, is colorless under ultraviolet (UV) light until a salt is added to make it glow. What’s more, the ink can be switched off on demand using another chemical trigger: Add methanol, and it vanishes within 10 minutes. The researchers have used the ink to print on parchment paper both text and more complex patterns, such as QR codes and butterflies (pictured, as they appear under a UV lamp after adding the salt). After being switched on and off 20 times, the ink didn’t lose its bright color under UV light, and could be kept in open air for 3 months without degrading, the team reports today in Nature Communications. Because lead-based materials can be toxic, the researchers hope to design lead-free alternatives that could make the new ink a go-to tool for security and privacy protection. C. Zhang, et al., Nature Communications, 10.1038/s41467-017-01248-2, 2017 center_img By Giorgia GuglielmiOct. 31, 2017 , 12:00 PMlast_img read more

Staying slim during pregnancy carries a price

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email N. MORISAKI, ET AL., JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH 10.1136/JECH-2017-209266 (2017), ADAPTED BY J. YOU/SCIENCE Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Kim Kyung-Hoon/REUTERS In Japan, experts say the evidence for a link with lower birth weights is strong. As the country recovered from World War II, the percentage of low–birth weight babies—those weighing 2.5 kilograms or less at delivery—declined from 7.3% in 1951 to 5.5% in 1978–79. As babies grew heavier, however, doctors worried about preeclampsia, a complication that can put the lives of both mother and baby at risk. In the late 1970s, some Japanese obstetricians suggested a low-calorie diet could lower that risk, a view incorporated into 1981 guidelines from the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Previously, mothers-to-be were told to ‘eat for two’; now, the ideal is to ‘give birth small but raise a big baby,’” says Hideoki Fukuoka, an obstetrician at Waseda University in Tokyo. By Dennis NormileAug. 1, 2018 , 1:10 PM Health ministry recommendations issued in 1995 also reflected the concerns. The ministry adapted guidelines for U.S. women, produced by what was then called the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM), to the smaller and lighter Japanese population, but in doing so made them considerably stricter. For underweight women—those with a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5—IOM guidelines suggest a weight gain of 12.7 to 18.1 kilograms; Japan set the range at nine to 12 kilograms.Japanese women took the advice to heart, and the percentage of low-weight babies rose to 9.6% in 2010. That this caused the drop in adult height “is entirely credible and fits with what we know from [research into] third world nutrition,” Gluckman says. Morisaki has now confirmed that the desire to stay slim is exacerbating the trend. Today, more than 20% of Japanese women in their 20s have BMIs of less than 18.5, compared with 1.9% of U.S. men and women aged 20 to 39. In a survey of 1681 pregnant women, 54% said their ideal gestational weight gain was below the recommendations, Morisaki’s team reports in a paper scheduled to appear online this week in Scientific Reports. Honey, I shrunk the population The frequency of low birth weight in Japan started to rise after 1980; average adult height for people born in the years since then has declined. 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MORISAKI, ET AL., JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH 10.1136/JECH-2017-209266 (2017), ADAPTED BY J. YOU/SCIENCE Japan’s obsession with slender women may harm unborn children and create long-term health problems for the Japanese population. Already, a high proportion of Japanese women is starting pregnancy underweight, and many scientists have criticized the country’s official guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy as too strict. Now, a survey shows many pregnant women strive to keep their weight gain below even those targets. This combination of factors has led to an unusually high percentage of low-weight births, which is likely the reason that the height of the average Japanese adult has declined every year for those born after 1980.The impact could go far beyond height, says perinatal epidemiologist Naho Morisaki of Japan’s National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo, who led the new study. “Japan may experience an increased disease burden among adults, and there could be an impact on longevity,” she says. People born small are more prone to diabetes and hypertension, says Peter Gluckman, an expert on the developmental origins of health and disease at The University of Auckland in New Zealand, who calls the situation “really alarming.” “We’ve tried very hard to convince Japan’s authorities” to revise the weight gain recommendations, Gluckman adds. But a spokesperson for Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare says there are no plans to do so.The shortening of the Japanese is subtle, but unmistakable. An international study published in 2016 found that since the late 19th century, the average Japanese adult male height rose 14.5 centimeters, peaking at 171.5 centimeters for those born in 1978 and 1979. But by the 1996 birth cohort, it had dropped to 170.8 centimeters. Over the same period, average female height jumped 16 centimeters, topped out at 158.5 centimeters, then dropped by 0.2 centimeters. Some other countries have also experienced height declines, which the study variously linked to economic privation, an influx of shorter immigrants, or—in the United States—poor diet quality, which can impair growth both in the fetus and in newborn babies. “The image Japanese mothers-to-be are striving for is the look of having a basketball in front of them while the rest of the body is slim,” says Naho Morisaki of Japan’s National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo. “The image Japanese mothers-to-be are striving for is the look of having a basketball in front of them while the rest of the body is slim,” she says. The survey found that in addition to a quicker recovery of their prepregnancy figures, women hope for easier pregnancies and fewer birth complications. But follow-up surveys found that lower weight gain did not reduce the risk of cesarian delivery or lead to faster postpartum weight reduction. And the decline in birth weights means men born in 2014 will on average grow to be just 170 centimeters tall and women only 157.9 centimeters, Morisaki’s team projected in a previous study.Some think the culture is changing. The media are paying more attention to the problem of low birth weights, Fukuoka says, and dieticians and public health groups “are sounding alarms over undernourished young women.” “There seems to be a trend in the fashion magazines, going from thinness to sportiness,” Morisaki adds. The latest government survey shows the percentage of underweight women in their 20s has dropped slightly since 2013.On the other hand, many slender pregnant women still post selfies on Instagram and share tips on managing weight gain. And most Japanese obstetricians are opposed to relaxing the weight gain recommendations, says Shunji Suzuki, an obstetrician at the Japanese Red Cross Katsushika Maternity Hospital in Tokyo. Japan’s fascination with being thin hasn’t quite run its course.*Correction, 2 August, 12:15 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct the proportion of women entering pregnancy underweight and to correct a reference to a previous paper.last_img read more

Genomic data from 2000 human brains could reveal roots of schizophrenia autism

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Genomic data from 2000 human brains could reveal roots of schizophrenia, autism, and other neurological disorders Email MCLEAN HOSPITAL Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Tissue from brain banks fed a genomic data set that may hold clues to the origins of schizophrenia, autism, and other conditions.center_img More than 2000 human brains stored in tissue banks are giving up their genetic secrets. Genome scans have already revealed hundreds of locations where DNA tends to differ between people with and without a particular psychiatric disease. But those studies don’t pin down specific culprit genes or what they do in the brain. “There was kind of a missing link,” says Daniel Geschwind, a neurogeneticist at the University of California (UC), Los Angeles. He and others in the 3-year-old PsychENCODE Consortium, fueled by roughly $50 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, have tried to bridge that gap by tracking which genes are expressed, and where.The consortium focuses on regulatory regions, which control the expression of protein-coding genes, and which previous studies implicated as drivers of psychiatric disease risk. PsychENCODE collaborators have cataloged differences in the activity of these regulatory regions in different parts of the brain, at different stages of brain development, and in brains affected by different disorders—chiefly schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar.The result, outlined this week in a series of papers in Science and its sister journals Science Advances and Science Translational Medicine, is the most complete picture yet of how regulatory regions influence the brain. In one of the new papers, for example, researchers describe DNA sites where a variation in a sequence changes the expression of a protein-coding gene elsewhere. Before PsychENCODE, that list consisted of fewer than 5000 locations, Geschwind says, but the consortium’s work has brought the total to roughly 16,000. By Kelly ServickDec. 13, 2018 , 2:00 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe “These data allow us to do things we’ve been wanting to do for a while,” says Gerome Breen, a psychiatric geneticist at King’s College London who was not in the consortium but plans to use its publicly available data set. Not all researchers are optimistic that the new data set will directly lead to new drugs for illnesses. But many expect it to reveal clues to how complex diseases develop.The collaborators analyzed their brain samples with RNA sequencing to find out which genes were transcribed. They also did various epigenetic analyses, such as measuring how DNA’s folded structure brings regulatory regions into contact with distant protein-coding regions.The immense data set allows researchers to identify genome “modules”—groups of genes that tend to be expressed together and have common functions. Unique patterns of gene expression in a module might reveal a nuanced genetic feature of a disease. For example, previous studies have shown the expression of genes involved in neural signaling tends to be unusually low in autism, and to a lesser extent, in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But PsychENCODE data enabled a finer-grained analysis. They revealed modules including one containing genes that control how cells package and release their chemical messengers into synapses. That set of genes, it turns out, is especially active in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but not in autism. Such details might point to brain processes that could be targets for therapies.The new data set can also reveal windows of brain development when disease-associated genes seem to have the most influence, says Geetha Senthil, the NIH program director who has coordinated and overseen PsychENCODE. Those windows, in turn, might be the times when intervention would be most valuable. Doctors can already observe, based on a patient’s symptoms, when a disease seems to take hold, but, she says, “having a biological clue would be thrilling.”The project’s namesake, ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements), was a broader quest to map noncoding regions of the human genome. Its initial results, unveiled in 2012, stirred controversy. Scientists disputed the team’s claim that most of the genome was functional and questioned whether the project’s insights would be worth NIH’s $185 million investment.Dan Graur, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Houston in Texas and one of the most outspoken critics of ENCODE, also finds fault with some of the initial PsychENCODE results. The project targets psychiatric disorders that are themselves poorly defined, he says. “If you take something vague and correlate it with millions of genetic and epigenetic variations, you are bound to get statistical significance that will have little biological significance.”Neurogeneticist Kevin Mitchell of Trinity College Dublin echoes some of Graur’s concerns. “I’m not fully convinced that we know more today than we did yesterday,” he says. He doubts that a profile of gene expression can define disorders as heterogeneous as schizophrenia or autism—or give new insights into how to treat them. “It’s a huge amount of work, very well intended and very well done,” he says, “but there are some limits to what you can do with genomics.”But many researchers defend the project’s value. “I’m sure there are researchers out there who will look at these first papers and say, … ‘Where is our paradigm-shifting finding?’” says Alexander Nord, a neurogeneticist at UC Davis who was not in the consortium. “That’s a bit of a straw man, expecting us to find that in one set of analyses.” The data set will grow richer as researchers work to interpret it, he says. “It’s not going to go out of style.”last_img read more

Podcast exploding the Cambrian and building a DNA database for forensics

first_img First, we hear from science writer Joshua Sokol about his trip to the Cambrian—well not quite. He talks with host Megan Cantwell about his travels to a remote site in the mountains of British Columbia where some of Earth’s first animals—including a mysterious, alien-looking creature—are spilling out of Canadian rocks.  Also on this week’s show, host Sarah Crespi talks with James Hazel a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Genetic Privacy and Identity in Community Settings at Vanderbilt University in Nashville about a proposal for creating a universal forensic DNA database. He and his co-authors argue that current, invasive practices such as law enforcement subpoenaing medical records, commercial genetic profiles, and other sets of extremely detailed genetic information during criminal investigations, would be curtailed if a forensics-use-only universal database were created.    This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.  Read a transcript (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.  About the Science Podcast (PHOTO) JOHN LEHMANN; (FOSSIL) ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM last_img read more

LAPD Investigates Itself In Nipsey Hussle Murder Case

first_imgIn the hours after Nipsey Hussle’s accused murderer was arrested, many people wanted to know why the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) also didn’t take the alleged getaway driver into custody too. Now, the LAPD is working to answer that question as the police department has “opened an internal affairs investigation into why the woman who drove the getaway car … was sent home when she tried to turn herself in during the manhunt for the shooter,” USA Today reported. According to testimony from witness Herman Douglas, Hussle allegedly said, “Man, you know, they got some paperwork on you.”Douglas also testified that “Nipsey was more or less trying to, trying to look out for the dude, was trying to help him. Like basically warning the dude, like, you know, ‘They got some paperwork on you. I haven’t read the paperwork, but you know, you got to watch your back.’”Holder reportedly got frustrated and asked Nipsey if he ever snitched. Hussle “calmly waved Holder off” according to a woman who was with the alleged killer. Holder left but came back soon after and killed the rapper.It was reported last week that Nipsey Hussle’s final words to Holder were simply, “You got me.”Holder was ultimately arrested April 2 and charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He is facing life in prison.SEE ALSO:Blue Bell Is ‘Working With Police’ To Find The Woman Who Licked Inside Ice Cream Container In Grocery StoreHandcuffed Black Teens Attacked By Mall Security Dog In Alabama Were Racially Profiled, Lawyer Says AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMoreShare to EmailEmailEmail internal affairs investigation , LAPD , nipsey hussle The news of the internal affairs investigation came as other key information about the murder case has been trickling out to the media.  The unidentified getaway driver, a woman, was reportedly compelled to turn herself in after seeing her car on news reports in the days after the March 31 shooting that left the Los Angeles rapper dead outside his Marathon Clothing store. “Oh my God,” she testified that she told her mother when seeing the reports. “My car is on here and everything, and I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know this boy was gonna do this.”She has reportedly maintained her innocence and was apparently cooperating with authorities.But from the outside looking in, the role she played in the killing appeared to be a classic case of aiding and abetting, which is a felony. However, the woman has avoided any criminal charges.Grand jury transcripts show that the woman, accompanied by her mother, tried to turn herself in at a police station but was told by an officer “don’t worry about it” and “don’t listen to the news.”LAPD confirmed that account.Court documents have shown that Eric Holder, the alleged gunman, was upset over snitching accusations from Nipsey Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom. “Mr. Holder got out of the car, immediately walked up to the group where Mr. Hussle, or Mr. Asghedom was, and they had a conversation,” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said last week. “That conversation is important because that conversation had something to do with Mr. Asghedom accusing Mr. Holder of snitching, which in the gang world is a very serious offense.” US-crime-shooting-music-NipseyHussle Los Angeles Says Goodbye To Nipsey Husslelast_img read more

Californias stem cell research fund dries up

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country One legacy of California’s $3 billion stem cell research agency is the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  By Jocelyn KaiserJul. 9, 2019 , 3:35 PM California’s stem cell research fund dries up 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 Zimbabwecenter_img Email Stem cell scientists in California who have benefited from a $3 billion state research agency created in 2004, at the height of federal limits on working with cells from human embryos, have long known that it would eventually run out of money. That reality set in last month, when the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in Oakland announced it is no longer taking grant applications.Ongoing payments for approved projects continue, but scientists are already tightening their belts for a funding gap. They are also contemplating the end of a boom in stem cell research in the state. California’s voters may be asked to renew CIRM with another bond initiative next year, “but there’s no guarantee,” says Arnold Kriegstein, who heads a stem cell center at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, and has received CIRM funding in the past.Longtime CIRM grantee Jeanne Loring, who retired in June from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, and runs a biotech startup to advance one of her projects, says the agency has made the state the “center of the stem cell universe. It would be tragic to unravel [that infrastructure] now. But the funding in 2004 was so dependent on the politics and interest at the time, and I don’t know if those circumstances can be replicated.” ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo That year 59% of California voters approved CIRM, which had been placed on the ballot as a response to restrictions imposed by then-President George W. Bush’s administration on the use of federal funding for studies of stem cells derived from human embryos. At the time, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could only fund work on a small number of preexisting human embryonic cell lines. (Former President Barack Obama’s administration later lifted those restrictions.)CIRM initially expected to focus on human embryonic stem cells, but later expanded its remit to more specialized adult stem cells such as those that form blood or the increasingly popular induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, created by reprogramming adult cells to an embryolike state. CIRM’s money led to the creation of major stem cell centers in California and lured several biotech companies to set up shop in the state. Although CIRM supported infrastructure, basic research, and training early on, in the past 3 years it has poured most of its remaining $759 million into clinical trials—a total of 55 of which are ongoing or completed to date—as the agency faced pressure to produce the medical treatments its supporters were initially promised.In a memo to its board released on 20 June, CIRM said it had received applications totaling $88 million in its latest funding call but had only $33 million left to distribute. The agency announced the next day that it was taking no new grant applications as of 28 June, aside from a sickle cell disease program jointly funded with NIH. “There is no money available for new projects,” CIRM communications director Kevin McCormack wrote in a 1 July blog post.Some researchers who explore the basic science of stem cells had already been looking for other funding sources as CIRM began to emphasize clinical work and their support wound down. But others, especially those planning clinical trials, will be hit hard. “It’s going to be a huge impact on my lab and many others if they end,” says April Pyle of UC Los Angeles (UCLA), whose 11-person group works on using muscle stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy. Her last CIRM grant ends in March 2020 and although she also has some NIH funding, it does not support the animal testing and other studies needed to move her work toward a clinical trial.Future clinical work will face “at best significant delays, and many projects to identify new therapies will stop” if the agency doesn’t continue, says gene therapy researcher Donald Kohn, who heads several such trials at UCLA.CIRM’s efforts to raise $200 million in bridge funding from private sources have been unsuccessful to date. Now, CIRM boosters are looking to a $5.5 billion bond initiative that real estate developer Robert Klein, who led the original push to create the agency, hopes to add to the November 2020 ballot.If approved, “We would hope there would be very little gap” in funding, McCormack says. But if the voters reject the initiative, he expects CIRM’s staff to dwindle and the agency to fold by about 2023.last_img read more

Winslow Historical Society to hold annual meeting Sunday

first_imgWinslow Historical Society to hold annual meeting Sunday November 1, 2017 Photo courtesy of the Old Trails MuseumThe cake at the 2016 Winslow Historical Society Annual Meeting.center_img The Winslow Historical Society will host its 2017 annual meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Winslow Visitors Center/Hubbell Trading Post, 523 W. Second St. The free event will beginSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Gujarat Cops assault Dalit youth for demanding accident report

first_img Related News Post Comment(s) Advertising Advertising Gujarat: Cops ‘assault’ Dalit youth for demanding accident report (Representational image)A 28-year-old Dalit man from Una in Gir Somnath was allegedly assaulted by two policemen at the Una police station on July 14, when he approached them to get the copy of an accident report. The victim, Ramesh Makwana, is admitted to Junagadh Civil Hospital and an FIR was filed against constables Ajaysinh and Jairajsinh. By Express News Service |Ahmedabad | Published: July 18, 2019 12:45:27 am Moradabad: FIR against three Muslim barbers for ‘refusing’ to cut hair of Dalits According to Makwana, a daily wage labourer from Paldi village in Una, he went to Una police station on July 14 to get a copy of the accident report in which his elder brother Dilip Makwana (42) was involved.“My elder brother Dilip met with an accident on June 10, 2019, while he was on his way to home near Delwada village of Una. He was admitted in a hospital with serious injuries on his face, legs and hands. My brother had an insurance policy and to claim the amount, we needed the accident report from police. I filed the report in Una police station on July 9 and for the past four days, I have been visiting the police station to get a copy of the report,” said Makwana in his complaint.“On Sunday around 4.30pm, I went to the PS and requested for a copy of the report but was denied. I told them that as a daily wage labourer, it was not possible for me to spend money on petrol and visit the police station every day. On this, constables Ajaysinh and Jairajsinh hurled casteist abuses at me and started assaulting me. They then took me to a room, tied my hands and beat me up with sticks and belts. They kept beating me till 8pm when I nearly fell unconscious. Then they took me to civil hospital in Una. I informed the doctors that I was tortured by policemen but they didn’t do anything. I was brought back to the police station on Sunday night and kept in custody till Monday afternoon,” said Makwana. An upper caste gaze “The victim has no criminal history and he was assaulted without any provocation by the two constables. He has torture marks all over his body,” said Amrita Akhiya, an advocate and civil rights activist.A case has been lodged against the two constables under Indian Penal Code sections 323 and 114 for assault and abettor present when crime is committed, and sections 3 and 5 of the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) Act.Rahul Tripathi, Superintend-ent of Police, Gir Somnath, said, “The allegations made by the man are being probed and if found true, disciplinary action will be taken against the accused policemen.” Village commons: Landless Dalits of Punjab seek unfettered rights of cultivation last_img read more

How do cats stay so clean Video reveals secrets of the feline

first_img Email But cats don’t just lick themselves to stay clean. Saliva helps them cool off, according to thermal imaging—an important tool, as cats only have sweat glands on the leather of their paws.The scientists have used the findings to create a “tongue-inspired grooming [TIGR] brush” that mimics a cat’s tongue with 3D-printed papillae embedded in a flexible silicone pad. Compared with a regular, stiff-bristled hairbrush, the researchers say the TIGR brush tugged less as it passed through human hair, and was easier to clean. The brush could even help deliver medications directly to cats’ skin, the team says. And for those of us who love our pets but not their shedding, the cat comb provides an easy way to get fur off the couch. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img How do cats stay so clean? Video reveals secrets of the feline tongue Besides pouncing, purring, and pestering their owners for treats, cats spend much of their waking time licking themselves. Now, scientists have shed light on how sharp, tiny cones on cats’ tongues give their coats and skin a deep clean, instead of merely spreading their spit around.Researchers created 3D scans of tongues collected postmortem from a domestic cat, a bobcat, a cougar, a snow leopard, a tiger, and a lion. The cones—or papillae—of all species sported hollow, half pipe–shaped cavities on their tips. By exploiting a property in water known as surface tension, wherein cohesive forces between water molecules keep them stuck together in a droplet and adhesive forces help the droplet stick to the papillae, these U-shaped cavities help cats move droplets of saliva through their upper layers of fur into deeper layers and onto the skin.Slow-motion footage of several housecats grooming revealed the felines flared their tongues outward as if taking a big lick of an ice cream cone so the papillae stood perpendicular as they move through the fur. This motion helps maximize how much fur each papilla can reach, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. By Frankie SchembriNov. 19, 2018 , 3:00 PMlast_img read more

In advance of Brexit UK scientists are stockpiling supplies

first_img Email HARRY HORSLEY Research supplies are an immediate worry. Jennifer Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London, has bought up a 6-month supply of cell media and other specialized materials. “I really hope none of this is necessary,” she says. Rohn suspects the stockpiling nationwide is creating shortages: Some cell culture plates are now on backorder for the first time, she says.Brexit also appears to be discouraging EU researchers from coming to the United Kingdom. The government was initially reluctant to grant EU nationals who were already present the right to remain after Brexit, and a proposed new immigration system has also raised concerns among scientists. “I do really worry about the signal Brexit sends, that people won’t necessarily want to come,” says Beth Thompson, head of U.K. and EU policy for the Wellcome Trust, a charity and major science funder based in London. The fraction of EU nationals applying for Wellcome’s early career fellowships fell from 45% to 31% in the 2 years after the Brexit vote.Funding is another concern. After a nodeal Brexit, U.K.-based researchers would not be eligible to apply for grants from the European Research Council (ERC) and fellowships called Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCAs). Over the past 2 years, these have provided €1.46 billion to U.K. researchers. “I don’t think the academic community realized this cutoff would be so severe and sharp,” says Ian Shipsey, who heads the department of physics at the University of Oxford, where 48 positions are wholly dependent on EU funding. His department’s grant applications for EU funding increased nearly 75% over the past 2 years, as researchers accelerated their proposals ahead of Brexit.The main U.K. funding agency, UK Research and Innovation, is discussing programs that could replace ERC grants and MSCAs, but the government has not yet committed to bankrolling them. Any U.K. replacement, says Kieron Flanagan, a science policy researcher at the University of Manchester, would lack some of the key attractions of these grants, such as their portability between EU countries.Some U.K. researchers worry about their existing EU grants as well. After a no-deal Brexit, the European Union will stop payments to U.K. researchers. The U.K. government’s pledge to underwrite these grants hasn’t allayed fears. If the U.K. economy tanks, the government might sacrifice research funding, says Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, a fish ecologist at Swansea University. “It’s not hard to imagine that science will be at the bottom of the priorities.”Researchers elsewhere may be reluctant to collaborate with U.K. teams if researchers there can’t lead EU-funded projects, says Garcia de Leaniz, who heads a multinational EU project to map dams. Burton says major research universities report no slowdown in collaborative proposals, but Garcia de Leaniz says he feels a chill. “Very few people want to team up with leaders in the U.K.” In late January, the Research Council of Norway published a warning about a no-deal Brexit and cautioned Norwegian scientists to “consider the potential risks of cooperation with British partners.”U.K. universities have been trying to preserve ties with European universities by signing agreements that facilitate student exchanges and joint research projects. One, inked in late January, links the University of Birmingham and Trinity College Dublin. El Haj hopes the agreement might allow her lab and those of her Birmingham colleagues to access EU grants, if they spend enough time in Dublin.Despite preparations for a no-deal Brexit, Flanagan says some problems will be impossible to predict. The politics are also uncertain. May hopes to negotiate changes to her exit deal with the European Union in hopes of winning a new vote. Some Parliament members want a delay to Brexit or a second referendum. University of Sheffield astrophysicist Paul Crowther says a delay is the best remaining option, “so that we don’t have this terrible cliff edge.” Jennifer Rohn has stockpiled lab supplies in advance of Brexit. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In September 2018, when bioengineer Alicia El Haj took her lab to the University of Birmingham from a nearby U.K. university, the move was complicated by a larger shift: the looming departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, known as Brexit. El Haj, a leading researcher in regenerative medicine, has had to reassure potential Ph.D. students and postdocs from elsewhere in Europe that her EU funding will remain intact. Given uncertainty about visas after Brexit, she’s tried to get them into her lab before 29 March, when the breakup is set to happen. Meanwhile, her lab manager is hustling not only to outfit the lab—German microscopes are on backorder—but also to get a 6- to 12-month supply of stem cells, in case trade is disrupted. “We have thought about staffing, grants, and supplies,” El Haj says, “so that we can carry on if it all goes pear-shaped.”It wasn’t supposed to be like this. After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union negotiated an exit deal with a 2-year transition period, during which EU regulations and access to funding would remain in place. But in January, the U.K. Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the deal. Without any arrangements in place, a “no-deal” Brexit could paralyze trade and damage the economy—and science.”To crash out of the EU with no deal is one of the biggest threats that U.K. universities have ever faced,” says Joanna Burton, a senior policy analyst with the Russell Group in London, which represents two dozen U.K. research universities.center_img 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 By Erik StokstadFeb. 27, 2019 , 11:30 AM In advance of Brexit, U.K. scientists are stockpiling supplieslast_img read more

Twitter to Test Drive DoubleWide Tweets

first_imgDavid Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times. Twitter on Tuesday announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters.Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement for the last couple of years, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders.One reason for the possible change is to correct for the imbalance between applying the maximum character count to Asian characters — like Japanese, Chinese and Korean — and applying it to characters in western languages like English, Spanish, Portugese or French, noted Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen and Senior Software Engineer Ikuhiro Ihara in an online post.Because of the meanings attached to characters, users are able to convey twice as much information in a tweet rendered in Asian languages, they pointed out. Because of that difference, Twitter plans to test doubling the character limit for all languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean.The change is minor from a technical standpoint, but it could dramatically change the way users can express themselves, noted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017 Get Shorty? Lost in Translationcenter_img It’s not clear how users will react to the increased character limit. While some clearly have longed for an increase in the limit, others oppose it, arguing that the requirement to condense information into short bursts is what made Twitter unique in the social media space.”Not to sound like a nostalgist, but from a user standpoint, I think this is another change for the worse,” said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at Poynter.The proposed change may be a response to pressure to continue a growth pattern, but the 140-character limit and the chronological display were what made Twitter distinctive, he told TechNewsWorld.”Twitter excels at helping users get the most ideas in the shortest time,” noted Wayne Kurtzman, research director for social and experiential solutions at IDC.”Brevity is a strength, and people love that strength,” he told TechNewsWorld.Depending on how the increase is implemented, Twitter risks harming the relationship it has with is base users, Kurtzman said.If only the first 140 characters were displayed in large tweets, the change could work, he suggested. The responsibility then would shift to the author to “front load the tweet with relevance.”On the other hand, a growing body of users feel constrained by the 140-character limit, observed Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan..”The latest trend towards consecutive tweets indicates that many topics simply don’t fit 140 characters,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Raising the limit will probably be popular with users.”There are strong arguments on both sides of the issue, said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.The 280-character limit will make it easier for users who tend to favor multiple-entry tweet storms, he told TechNewsWorld, but that could negate part of the appeal of Twitter, which is the compressed nature of the posts. Twitter’s internal data show that only 0.4 percent of tweets sent in Japanese were 140 characters long, while 9 percent of English language tweets were 140 characters, Rosen and Ihara wrote.The character limit has been a major source of frustration for English language users, based on the company’s research, but Japanese users don’t have similar complaints, they added.When they are not limited to140 characters, more people tweet, Rosen and Ihara noted.Twitter wants to test the change with a small number of users before taking it company wide, they said. They did not elaborate on how many people would participate in the testing or what the criteria would be for selecting them.last_img read more

Study pinpoints two proteins that sense blood pressure and help control baroreceptor

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 30 2018The baroreceptor reflex is a fascinating medical phenomenon. The reflex is controlled by specialized neurons that react in just a fraction of a second to keep blood pressure fairly consistent.For example, when you stand up, your blood pressure normally drops–rapidly. Yet you don’t faint thanks to baroreceptors, which tell your heart rate to increase and push more blood to your brain.A new Scripps Research study pinpoints the two proteins that sense blood pressure and help control the baroreceptor reflex, according to research published recently in Science. The research is the first to reveal exactly how “mechnotransduction,” or the sensing of changes in pressure, works in these cells.”Tight regulation of blood pressure is essential for health,” says Wei-Zheng Zeng, PhD, a postdoctoral associate at Scripps Research and first author of the study. “Blood pressure is acutely sensed by baroreceptor neurons, but the mechanism of how baroreceptors sense blood pressure remained a mystery for more than 100 years.”Related StoriesNew ACC/AHA guidelines could improve detection of gestational hypertensionSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustThe two proteins–PIEZO1 and PIEZO2–were originally discovered in the lab of study senior author Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, a Scripps Research professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. In just the past few years, it’s become clear PIEZOs do a lot of work. The Patapoutian lab has shown PIEZOs are responsible for sensing pressure in the lungs, different kinds of pain and soft touch. PIEZO1 even helps red blood cells keep their shape.The scientists focused on PIEZOs as possible players in the baroreceptor reflex because the genes for PIEZO1 and 2 are expressed in sensory neurons responsible for the reflex. Indeed, in the recent experiments with a mouse model, the scientists found that both PIEZOs are necessary for maintaining blood pressure through the reflex.”Our motivation for this study was rooted in basic science, yet these findings could have major translational implications by improving our understanding of human health,” says Patapoutian.While it is still basic research at this point, scientists think PIEZO1 and 2 in baroreceptors may work as possible therapeutic targets to help people with “drug-resistant hypertension,” a common clinical disorder defined as uncontrolled high blood pressure by drugs, says Zeng.”Knowing the identity of the sensors for blood pressure control gives us an idea of how to develop better therapies to treat patients who suffer from drug-resistant hypertension, or any other problems with blood pressure control,” says Kara Marshall, PhD, postdoctoral associate at Scripps Research and co-author of the study.The scientists recommend further studies of how PIEZO1 and PIEZO2 work together and how they may function in different populations of neurons. “We are also interested in understanding how human genetic changes in the function of these proteins might affect blood pressure regulation,” says Marshall. Source:https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2018/20181030-blood-flow-patapoutian.htmllast_img read more

Muscle fatigue caused by overexertion can impair learning

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 6 2019Researchers have found that muscle fatigue caused by overexertion when practicing a skill can affect the task in hand and impair learning afterwards.The findings, published in the open-access journal eLife, suggest that the common practice of training beyond fatigue should be reconsidered as it could do more harm than good.The saying goes that ‘practice makes perfect’. And although intense repetition of motor skills is a routine part of learning in many disciplines – from playing a musical instrument to becoming a better artist, a faster runner or perfecting intricate surgical techniques – it is well known that fatigue eventually starts to degrade our ability to practice a task.”Surprisingly little is known about the effects of muscle fatigue on our ability to keep learning and getting better at a skill,” says first author Meret Branscheidt, former Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, US. “With this study, we set out to disentangle the effects of fatigue on performance of a task from its effects on the ability to learn and get better at it.”The researchers asked 120 people to learn a pinch-force task over two days. They were given a device that transmits force into a signal received by a computer and asked to hold it between the thumb and index fingers of their dominant hand. During each trial, participants were asked to press the device at different force levels to control the motion of a cursor displayed on a computer screen.On the first day, a subgroup was asked to continue pinching until they experienced muscle fatigue, which was measured by the extent of contraction they could achieve. On the second day both groups of participants performed the task without reaching the point of fatigue. The researchers found that the ability to get better at the pinch task on the second day was impaired in the group that reached fatigue on day one. In fact, it took them two additional days of training without fatigue to catch up to the same level as the normal (or ‘control’) group.Related StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsThe most striking results, however, came from the researchers’ next experiment. When they tested performance of the untrained, unfatigued hand in the pinch task, they found that those people who had reached the point of exhaustion performed less well using both their fatigued and unfatigued hands. This suggested that fatigue impairs motor skill learning mechanisms in the brain. To confirm this, the team used magnetic stimulation to disrupt the brain processes thought to be involved in remembering a new skill. This partly alleviated the effect of fatigue on skill learning, which suggests that fatigue may affect the formation of memories that help people to retain new skills they have learned.Finally, they tested whether muscle fatigue only affects tasks that require high levels of motor control. They asked fatigued and non-fatigued participants to press 10 keys on a computer keyboard in the correct sequence and found no difference in performance on day one or two. This suggests that the detrimental effects of muscle fatigue on learning are specific to tasks that require finely tuned motor skills, but not for more mentally demanding tasks.”We have shown that learning in a fatigued state results in detrimental effects on a person’s ability to acquire a new skill,” concludes senior author Pablo Celnik, Director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our observations should be considered carefully when designing training protocols such as in sports and musical performance, as well as for rehabilitation programs.”Source: https://elifesciences.org/for-the-press/6184863b/training-beyond-exhaustion-can-prevent-learninglast_img read more

Lithuanian researchers develop smart wristworn device for monitoring atrial fibrillation

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 26 2019Although smart wristbands are popular fashion gadgets for monitoring heart rate and physical activity, they are usually not sophisticated enough to provide specific and accurate information about potential health problems of the wearer. Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania researchers are developing a smart wrist-worn device for monitoring of atrial fibrillation – a condition, which if left untreated can lead to serious health complications and even death.According to the data provided by the US government, atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. Approximately 9% of people aged 65 years or older have atrial fibrillation; it is estimated that due to the rapidly aging society, the prevalence of the disease in the global population will increase 3-fold in the next 30 years.At the beginning of arrhythmia development, the episodes are usually short and self-terminating thus may remain unnoticed. If untreated, atrial fibrillation can contribute to the development of serious complications, such as brain stroke.”Atrial fibrillation can often develop after a heart attack, thus these patients need certain medical care and attention to prevent from serious health complications. However, after leaving the hospital their health check-ups are only episodic. Non-invasive, compact wearable devices, which are providing continuous monitoring is an attractive solution for monitoring the health status of such high-risk groups”, says Vaidotas Marozas, the Director of KTU Biomedical Engineering Institute (BEI).The team of KTU BEI researchers, led by Dr Marozas is developing a multisensory system, i.e. the wrist-worn device for atrial fibrillation monitoring. Two types of modalities are being used in the device – photoplethysmographic (PPG) for continuous monitoring and electrocardiographic (ECG) for the acquisition of a control signal. When the PPG sensor registers the heart activity akin to atrial fibrillation, the device vibrates mildly, asking the patient to touch the device with the other hand in order to register a short ECG signal.The quality of vital signals acquired in real life is worse than those recorded under clinical conditions. Therefore, continuous monitoring – or the remote observation of patients- is only made possible through high-quality data. According to Dr Marozas, one of the main challenges in the development of the wearable monitoring systems is advanced signal processing solutions which would separate useful information from the “noise” i.e. motion artifacts and other types of arrhythmia. The biomedical engineers of KTU are working together with the international team of physicians and health scientists from Kaunas University of Health Sciences, Vilnius University, Lund University, and industrial designers from Vilnius Academy of Arts.Related StoriesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresResearchers discover gene linked to healthy aging in worms”We are focusing on developing technologies, which are needed for the public and contemporary medicine. For example, due to the prevalence of this condition, every person older than 65 should be checked for atrial fibrillation. However, relying on the short-term clinical ECG, the arrhythmia can be detected only if the condition is chronic. What if the episodes are occurring only occasionally? Then our technology is very useful”, explains Dr Marozas.He assures that despite complicated technology and sophisticated algorithms the smart wrist-worn device is very easy to use. It is aimed at seniors – people, who are especially self-conscious when using technologies and smart devices.At the moment, the team is working on adding additional functions to the technology, such as implementing the algorithm of monitoring the heart’s response to physical load. Slow heart’s adaptation to physical load is related to increased mortality rate and risk of cardiovascular disease, therefore monitoring of this parameter could be valuable for people of all ages.The patent application for the smart wrist-worn device has been submitted to the Lithuanian State Patent Bureau at the end of 2018. The KTU BEI team is preparing international applications for two other inventions.KTU Biomedical Engineering Institute is specializing in developing non-standard electronic systems for monitoring human health parameters; usually for research purposes. Together with local and international partners, the KTU researchers have implemented many innovative solutions under the concept of “wearable health”, such as a smart T-shirt, multisensory system for hemodialysis, monitoring system for divers, used in military training.Source: https://en.ktu.edu/news/smart-wrist-worn-device-developed-by-lithuanian-researchers-can-alert-about-dangerous-health-conditions/last_img read more

Researchers discover unique approach to treat some chronic inflammatory diseases

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 12 2019Inflammation is a balanced physiological response — the body needs it to eliminate invasive organisms and foreign irritants, but excessive inflammation can harm healthy cells, contributing to aging and chronic diseases. To help keep tabs on inflammation, immune cells employ a molecular machine called the NLRP3 inflammasome. NLRP3 is inactive in a healthy cell, but is switched “on” when the cell’s mitochondria (energy-generating organelles) are damaged by stress or exposure to bacterial toxins.However, when the NLRP3 inflammasome gets stuck in the “on” position, it can contribute to a number of chronic inflammatory conditions, including gout, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In a new mouse study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine discovered a unique approach that might help treat some chronic inflammatory diseases: force cells to eliminate damaged mitochondria before they activate the NLRP3 inflammasome.The study, published April 11, 2019 by Cell Metabolism, was led by senior author Michael Karin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology and Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Mitochondrial and Metabolic Diseases at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and first author Elsa Sanchez-Lopez, PhD, a senior postdoctoral researcher in Karin’s lab.In a 2018 study published in Nature, Karin’s team had shown that damaged mitochondria activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. The researchers also found that the NLRP3 inflammasome is de-activated when mitochondria are removed by the cell’s internal waste recycling process, called mitophagy.”After that, we wondered if we could reduce harmful excess inflammation by intentionally inducing mitophagy, which would eliminate damaged mitochondria and should in turn pre-emptively inhibit NLRP3 inflammasome activation,” Karin said. “But at the time we didn’t have a good way to induce mitophagy.”Related StoriesUK charity invests £1 million to develop potential therapeutic for Parkinson’sStudy sheds light on complex caspase-1-induced cell death mechanismsUTA professor awarded $2.88 million for novel research on Lou Gehrig’s diseaseMore recently, Sanchez-Lopez was studying how macrophages regulate their uptake of choline, a nutrient critical for metabolism, when she discovered something that can initiate mitophagy: an inhibitor of the enzyme choline kinase (ChoK). With ChoK inhibited, choline is no longer incorporated into mitochondrial membranes. As a result, the cells perceive the mitochondria as damaged, and cleared them away by mitophagy.”Most importantly, by getting rid of damaged mitochondria with ChoK inhibitors, we were finally able to inhibit NLRP3 inflammasome activation,” Karin said.To test their new ability to control NLRP3 inflammasome in a living system, the researchers turned to mice. They discovered that treatment with ChoK inhibitors prevented acute inflammation caused by uric acid (accumulation of which triggers gout flares) and a bacterial toxin.By several measures, ChoK inhibitor treatment also reversed chronic inflammation associated with a genetic disease called Muckle-Well Syndrome, which is caused by mutations in NLRP3 genes. One such measure is spleen size — the larger the spleen, the more inflammation. The spleens of Muckle-Well Syndrome mice are on average twice as large as normal mice, but their spleen sizes normalized after ChoK inhibitor treatment.NLRP3 inflammasome promotes inflammation because it triggers the release of two very potent pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines: interleukin (IL)-1? and IL-18. According to Karin, there are existing drugs that can block IL-1?, but not IL-18. ChoK inhibitors, his team found, can reduce both cytokines.”There are several diseases, including lupus and osteoarthritis, whose treatment will likely require dual inhibition of both IL-1? and IL-18,” Karin said. Source:https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/in_mice_eliminating_damaged_mitochondria_alleviates_chronic_inflammatory_diseaselast_img read more