Antioxidants do not improve sperm quality in infertile men finds study

first_img Source:https://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2018-07/esoh-asf062818.php By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jul 2 2018A large clinical trial conducted in the U.S. has shown that daily antioxidant supplementation among men with infertility does not make a difference to the quality of their sperm.Image Credit: Supitcha McAdam / ShutterstockAlthough previous studies have suggested that taking antioxidants improves abnormal sperm parameters, the current study showed daily antioxidant supplementation among infertile males over three months did not improve sperm concentration, motility or morphology, nor the rate of DNA fragmentation.The authors say that much of the research where antioxidants have been associated with improved sperm quality has been limited by small study groups, patient heterogeneity, variation in the antioxidants tested, and non-clinical endpoints.The current trial, which is being presented today at the 34th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology was designed to address these limitations and provide a stronger evidence base.According to Professor Anne Steiner (University of North Carolina) who is presenting the findings, this randomised controlled trial is one of the largest of its kind and has a “well characterised” study population involving 174 couples across eight fertility centers in America.All male partners included in the trial had been diagnosed with male factor infertility and had abnormal sperm parameters including sub-normal sperm levels, motility, or morphology, or increased DNA fragmentation.These parameters were measured at the beginning of the study and at three months, after one group of men had received daily supplementation with vitamins C, D3 and E, zinc, selenium, folic acid and L-carnitine and another group had received a placebo.The researchers observed only a slight overall difference in sperm concentration between the two groups and no significant differences in measurements of sperm morphology, motility or DNA fragmentation.A further clinical endpoint of the trial was natural conception during the three-month study period. However, no significant difference between the two groups was seen for this endpoint either.Based on these findings, Steiner and team conclude that “the results do not support the empiric use of antioxidant therapy for male factor infertility in couples trying to conceive naturally.”last_img read more

Study Consumption of foods with lower nutritional quality related to increased cancer

first_imgSep 19 2018The consumption of foods with higher scores on the British Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system (FSAm-NPS), reflecting a lower nutritional quality, is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine. The study, conducted by Mélanie Deschasaux of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM U1153/Inra/Cnam/Paris 13 University-EREN), France and colleagues, in association with the WHO-IARC, suggests broad potential for the use of FSAm-NPS-based package labeling (e.g. Nutri-Score) to promote healthy food choices in European settings. Credit: Marco Verch, Flickr Source:https://www.plos.org This supports the relevance of the FSAm-NPS as underlying nutrient profiling system for front-of-pack nutrition labels, as well as for other public health nutritional measures.” Related StoriesAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerHelping consumers make healthier food choices is a key challenge for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. European authorities are considering implementing a unique nutrition label as a system to reflect the nutritional quality of food products, among which the five-color Nutri-Score derived from the FSAm-NPS, used in France and recently endorsed by Belgian authorities. How the consumption of foods with high/low FSAm-NPS scores relates to cancer risk has been studied in national and regional cohorts but has not been characterized in diverse European populations.In their study, Deschasaux and colleagues analyzed food intake data from 471,495 adults from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC, 1992–2014, median follow-up: 15.3 y), among whom there were 49,794 incident cancer cases (main locations: breast, n = 12,063; prostate, n = 6,745; colon-rectum, n = 5,806). The researchers assigned each participant’s diet a FSAm-NPS Dietary Index (DI), and computed multi-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models to describe any associations between the FSAm-NPS DI and cancer risks.Absolute cancer rates in those with high and low (quintiles 5 and 1) FSAm-NPS DI were 81.4 and 69.5 cases/10,000 person-years, respectively. The researchers found that a higher FSAm-NPS DI, reflecting a lower nutritional quality of food consumed, was associated with a higher risk of total cancer (HR for Q5 versus Q1: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.03–1.10, P-trend < 0.001). Higher FSAm-NPS DI were specifically associated with higher risks of cancers of the colon-rectum, upper aerodigestive tract and stomach, lung for men, and liver and postmenopausal breast for women (all P < 0.05). The main study limitation was the use of self-reported dietary data, collected once at baseline.The authors state:last_img read more

A rare observation of teaching in the wild

Teaching isn’t often seen in animals other than humans—and it’s even more difficult to demonstrate in animals living in the wild rather than in a laboratory setting. But researchers studying the Australian superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) in the wild think the small songbirds (a male is shown in the photo above) practice the behavior. They regard a female fairy-wren sitting on her nest and incubating her eggs as the teacher, and her embryonic chicks as her pupils. She must teach her unhatched chicks a password—a call they will use after emerging to solicit food from their parents; the better they learn the password, the more they will be fed. Since 1992, there’s been a well-accepted definition of teaching that consists of three criteria. First, the teacher must modify his or her behavior in the presence of a naive individual—which the birds do; the mothers increase their teaching (that is, the rate at which they make the call) when their chicks are in a late stage of incubation. Second, there must be a benefit to the pupil, which there clearly is. Scientists reported online yesterday in Behavioral Ecology that the fairy-wrens also pass the third criteria: There must be a cost to the teacher. And for the small birds, there can be a hefty price to pay. The more often a female repeats the password, the more likely she is to attract a parasitical cuckoo, which will sneak in and lay its eggs in her nest. From careful field observations, the scientists discovered that at nests that were parasitized, the females had recited their password 20 times an hour. But at nests that were not parasitized, the females had called only 10 times per hour. Superb fairy-wrens thus join a short but growing list of animal-teachers, such as rock ants, meerkats, and pied babblers. read more

Cows with human chromosomes enlisted to fight hantavirus

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 Humans have been using antibody therapies to treat infectious disease for more than 100 years. Blood plasma from influenza survivors administered to sick patients in 1912 may have contributed to their dramatic turnaround. In the years since, immune proteins from survivors have been administered to infected individuals in an attempt to combat diseases like Lassa fever, SARS, and even Ebola. It’s hard, however, to find survivors who can donate plasma containing these lifesaving immune proteins. Now, a team led by researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Maryland, has used genetically engineered cows to produce large amounts of human antibodies against hantavirus, an often deadly disease mainly transmitted from rodents to people. In animal models, at least, these antibodies provided robust protection against the virus, opening the door to therapies to treat and prevent hantavirus, for which there is no cure. The bioproduction technique also holds promise for generating antibodies against other infectious agents.  The work is preliminary and needs to be tested in people, but the team calls it a “proof-of-concept” that human antibodies can be grown in animals and retain their activity against disease. “I’m personally very excited about it. I think that this offers potential for treatment of patients with hantavirus infection,” says Greg Mertz, an infectious disease specialist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, who was not involved in the research. “If you extrapolate this to other diseases, there are some where this approach might be promising.”The USAMRIID researchers, led by virologist Jay Hooper, teamed up with SAB Biotherapeutics in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to use genetically engineered cows that, when presented with an antigen, could produce fully human polyclonal antibodies against both the Sin Nombre hantavirus strain, first isolated from the Four Corners region of the southwestern United Sates, and the Andes hantavirus strain, which is prevalent in Chile. There, it infects an average of 55 people annually and kills about a third of them. After a lengthy incubation period and a few days of fever and muscle aches, the virus attacks the lungs and often causes acute respiratory failure leading to death. There is no cure, and the experimental vaccines would be logistically challenging to use even if they passed clinical trials.Creating human antibodies in an animal model is no small feat. Scientists combined parts of human chromosome 14 and human chromosome 2—the bits that are needed to produce antibodies—into an artificial chromosome and implanted it in cows. The genes responsible for producing cow antibodies were silenced. As a result, the bovines produced immune cells that spit out human antibodies.Scientists then administered experimental hantavirus DNA vaccines, against the Andes and Sin Nombre strains, to the “transchromosomal” cows. Within a month, the animals were producing liters of high-concentration human antibodies against both strains. The scientists then extracted the immune proteins and used them to treat hamsters that had been lethally infected with hantavirus. The treatment increased the hamsters’ chances of survival dramatically, saving seven out of eight infected with the Chilean hantavirus strain, while all eight controls died, the team reports online today in Science Translational Medicine. Five of the eight hamsters infected with the Sin Nombre strain were rescued.Animal models don’t always translate to humans, but in this case the research team is optimistic. Nonhuman antibodies from, for instance, birds and primates, have been safely administered to people in the past, so human antibodies are expected to prove safe in phase 1 clinical trials, says reproductive physiologist Eddie Sullivan of SAB Biotherapeutics, who headed the project to develop the transchromosomal cows. Nor does he suspect that the antibodies would cease to function in humans. If anything, they may work better because they’ll be able to communicate with human immune cells more fluently, he says. “We expect that the antibodies will likely be very well tolerated in humans and will respond similarly,” Sullivan says.Of course, nothing is certain. In very rare instances, some previous antibody therapies have actually helped viruses reproduce in cells by serving as a bridge to host cells. “In order to really finish the proof-of-concept, clinical studies in humans showing safety need to be performed,” Hooper says. “If this material turns out to be as easy to produce as it seems, and it’s safe, I think it’s a great, great way to move forward.”The USAMRIID scientists are also investigating cutting out the bovine middleman and simply giving their hantavirus vaccines straight to people. But antibody therapies are actually more practical in some respects. In diseases like hantavirus, where so few people are infected every year, a large-scale vaccination program might not make much sense, especially from an economic standpoint, Hooper says. Having a few doses of antibodies on hand to treat the unlucky few infected people could solve the problem without the need to vaccinate huge swaths of the population. Furthermore, Sullivan notes, a single cow can produce antibodies against multiple strains of the virus in copious amounts, up to 1000 human doses per month.A huge challenge for any potential treatment for hantaviruses is finding a way to diagnose the disease in time. The infection is difficult to recognize before it moves to the lungs, at which point it’s often too late. Having an available supply of hantavirus antibodies on hand could allow health workers to administer treatment to people who’ve come in contact with an index case, Mertz says.Again, the potential benefits still hinge on clinical trials that show safety and efficacy; the team is optimistic they could begin as early as next year for hantavirus, and maybe even sooner for other diseases. “We’re working on Ebola and also MERS-CoV,” Sullivan says.last_img read more

Scientists synthesize longsought triangleshaped molecule

first_imgN. Pavliček et. al., Nature Nanotechnology 12, 3 (13 February 2017) © MacMillan Publisher Ltd. By Robert F. ServiceFeb. 13, 2017 , 11:30 AM Researchers have synthesized a triangle-shaped molecule they’ve had in their sights for nearly 7 decades. When atoms come together to form molecules, electrons on different atoms pair up to form bonds that lock the molecule together. Molecules called free radicals have a leftover unpaired electron, an arrangement that makes them highly reactive, eager to pair that remaining electron. But in rare cases molecules with an even number of electrons can behave like radicals, because the arrangement of their atoms prevents all the electrons from finding partners with which to pair up. In 1950, Czech chemist Erich Clar predicted that a triangle-shaped hydrocarbon made from six fused circular benzene molecules would have an even number of atoms and electrons but be unable to pair two of its electrons due to the molecule’s geometry. Clar tried to synthesize this molecule—called triangulene—in solution, but failed because it was so reactive it immediately bound up with other triangulene fragments. Now, researchers have succeeded by first synthesizing a larger precursor that has a couple of extra hydrogen atoms on it that stabilize the molecule. They then blasted their molecule with an electron beam to tear off the extra hydrogens, leaving them with triangulene, and an impressive molecular portrait (pictured). Triangulene’s unique electronic arrangement is expected to make it magnetic and could make it valuable for quantum computing.center_img Scientists synthesize long-sought triangle-shaped moleculelast_img read more

Lamar Smith unbound lays out political strategy at climate doubters conference

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX) Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX) rarely expresses his true feelings in public. But speaking yesterday to a like-minded crowd of climate change doubters and skeptics, the chairman of the science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives acknowledged that the committee is now a tool to advance his political agenda rather than a forum to examine important issues facing the U.S. research community.“Next week we’re going to have a hearing on our favorite subject of climate change and also on the scientific method, which has been repeatedly ignored by the so-called self-professed climate scientists,” Smith told the Heartland Institute’s 12th annual conference on climate change in Washington, D.C. The audience cheered loudly as Smith read the names of three witnesses—climate scientist Judith Curry, who recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta; policy specialist Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado in Boulder; and John Christy, a professor of earth system science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville—he expects to support his view that climate change is a politically driven fabrication and that taking steps to mitigate its impact will harm the U.S. economy.Then boos filled the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., after Smith mentioned the fourth witness—Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Pennsylvania State University in State College and a frequent target of climate change doubters. “That’s why this hearing is going to be so much fun,” Smith said with a huge grin on his normally impassive face.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email By Jeffrey MervisMar. 24, 2017 , 1:00 PM Emboldened by the election of President Donald Trump, Smith appears increasingly comfortable dismissing those who disagree with his stance on any number of issues under the purview of his science committee, from climate research to the use of peer review in assessing research results and grant proposals. And one key element in his strategy appears to be relabeling common terms in hopes of shaping public dialogue.“I applaud you for saying you’ll be using the term climate studies, not climate science,” said one audience member. His reference was to Smith’s embrace of a distinction made by a previous speaker, climatologist Patrick Michaels of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., who argues that most climate scientists don’t deserve to be called “scientists” because they have manipulated their data and ignored contrary results. “But I also urge you to use the term politically correct science.”“Good point,” Smith replied. “And I’ll start using those words if you’ll start using two words for me. The first is never, ever use the word progressive. Instead, use the word liberal. The second is never use the word ‘mainstream’ media, because they aren’t. Use ‘liberal’ media. Is that a deal?”Greeted with a rousing ovation, Smith kept going. “I’ll give you a bonus. When we talk about changing the Senate rules on ending filibusters, don’t use the word ‘nuclear’ option. That has a negative connotation. Use ‘democratic’ option.”Smith also signaled that he plans to turn up the volume on his criticism of federally funded research that doesn’t fit his definition of “sound science.” In particular, he expressed support for writing legislation that would punish scientific journals that publish research that doesn’t fit standards of peer review crafted by Smith and the committee (although he didn’t say how that would be accomplished).“I think that is a good idea worth our consideration,” he told the questioner, who was building off Smith’s long-running criticism of a study that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used in regulating air quality. “In fact, it’s one of several good ideas I’ve heard today. Let us see how we can accomplish that.”In fact, as Smith told one audience member who worried that Trump might renege on some to his campaign promises, the sky’s the limit when it comes to dismantling the past 8 years of environmental regulations.“I think the president has ushered in a permanent change in the political climate,” Smith asserted. “And by that I mean I think he’ll keep his promises and that he’ll do exactly what he said. You’re seeing that in his appointments, like Scott Pruitt at EPA, for example. So … I don’t think you’ll have any disappointment on any of those issues.”last_img read more

Update After Congress complains USDA restores animal welfare reports

first_img Update: After Congress complains, USDA restores animal welfare reports Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) *Update, 9 April, 5:20 p.m.: Following Congress’s request for greater transparency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has apparently restored detail in its most recent animal welfare inspection reports. Reports published on the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website since last August have omitted inventories that list the number and species of animals housed at facilities within companies and research institutions. But newly posted reports seem to reflect lawmakers’ concerns that such redactions make it hard to track the agency’s findings and activities. Newly posted inspection reports, dated March, are apparently the first since last August to show animal inventories. USDA did not immediately respond to request for comment on whether it plans to include such information in all future reports. Below is our original story from 22 March.There was an outcry from both animal welfare groups and animal research defenders 13 months ago when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blacked out a public database containing thousands of animal welfare inspection reports, as well as records of enforcement actions that USDA took against violators of the Animal Welfare Act, including research facilities.Months later, the agency began posting the inspection reports again, but in a redacted form that critics said made the records much harder to analyze. And USDA did not continue to post enforcement actions, forcing outsiders who wanted those records to file a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA process typically takes many months to yield a response and often produces heavily redacted documents. The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects research facilities that use animals, such as this rabbit. Now, Congress is telling USDA that it isn’t happy about the situation, and is ordering the agency to clean up its act and make the database more user-friendly.Yesterday, lawmakers released a report accompanying USDA’s 2018 spending bill. The report notes the agency “is now posting heavily redacted inspection reports that make it difficult in certain cases for the public to understand the subject of the inspection, assess USDA’s subsequent actions, and to evaluate the effectiveness of its enforcement.”That move violates previous congressional direction, the report says, which requires “that the online searchable database should allow analysis and comparison of data and include all inspection reports, annual reports, and other documents related to enforcement of animal welfare laws. USDA is directed to comply with these requirements …”R. Andre Bell, a public affairs specialist at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in Riverdale, Maryland, the part of USDA that is responsible for conducting animal welfare inspections, wrote in an email: “APHIS is reviewing the language and has no comments at this time.”Matthew Bailey, president of the National Association for Biomedical Research in Washington, D.C., says that the language is a solution in search of a problem. “I am currently not aware of any heavily redacted research compliance reports. In fact, we have continued to successfully retrieve the information we need for our compliance analyses.” He added: “If the website were to become inoperable, we would still be at liberty to file a Freedom of Information Act Request for the same information.”But animal welfare groups welcomed the language. “The Animal Welfare Institute applauds Congress for forcing USDA to lift its veil of secrecy,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Washington, D.C.–based group.Kathleen Conlee, vice president for animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), also in Washington, D.C., said she is “very pleased” with the language. “The HSUS has been working closely with Members of Congress over the past year to address USDA’s outrageous purge and redaction of these vital documents.”In a related development, HSUS yesterday sued APHIS after the group requested, under the FOIA, inspection reports for three puppy breeding facilities where the group says it had conducted undercover investigations and found serious animal abuses. The agency released the reports with their entire substances redacted, including inspection dates, the number and species of animals at the facilities, and whether violations were found.Congress is expected to vote on final approval of the spending bills this week.With reporting by Kelly Servick. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Meredith WadmanApr. 9, 2018 , 5:25 PM Email iStock.com/NiDerLander last_img read more

Trumps new oceans policy washes away Obamas emphasis on conservation and climate

first_imgNeville Nell/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 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 Marine conservation and addressing climate change are out. Jobs and national security are in.That’s just one message sent by a new executive order detailing a revised U.S. oceans policy released today by President Donald Trump. The order formally revokes the 2010 oceans policy issued by then-President Barack Obama, and replaces it with a markedly different template for what the government should focus on in managing the nation’s oceans, coastal waters, and Great Lakes.Some changes in emphasis are sweeping. The Trump order deletes a preamble to the Obama policy that emphasized “how vulnerable our marine environments are,” called for improving the nation’s “capacity to respond to climate change and ocean acidification,” and stressed the need for “a national policy to ensure the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.” It also drops the Obama order’s references to “social justice,” “biological diversity,” and “conservation.”  By David MalakoffJun. 19, 2018 , 9:15 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Instead, the Trump order stresses economic and security concerns. U.S. waters “are foundational to the economy, security, global competitiveness, and well-being of the United States,” the order begins. “Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy. Domestic energy production from Federal waters strengthens the Nation’s security and reduces reliance on imported energy.”Specific priorities are also very different. In the Obama order, top items on a list of 10 policies included the need to “protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity” and boost “conservation and sustainable uses” of resources, and using “the best available science and knowledge to inform” management decisions and “understand, respond, and adapt to a changing global environment.” Those ideas are essentially absent from Trump’s list of seven ocean policy priorities. It first calls for federal agencies to coordinate on providing “economic, security, and environmental benefits for present and future generations of Americans,” and then highlights the need to “promote the lawful use of the ocean by agencies, including [the] United States Armed Forces.” It also says the government should work to “facilitate the economic growth of coastal communities and promote ocean industries,” “advance ocean science and technology,” “enhance America’s energy security,” and ensure that “Federal regulations and management decisions do not prevent productive and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters.”The new order also largely downplays an Obama administration emphasis on creating robust data collections that could help managers make decisions, and on encouraging state and federal agencies to collaborate on plans that would guide marine development, conservation, and other activities. Under Obama, such planning efforts drew fierce opposition from some federal lawmakers and state officials. But two regions—northeastern and mid-Atlantic states—have adopted plans. And the new order should allow those efforts to continue if the partners agree, says Whit Saumweber, an independent consultant in Washington, D.C., who helped shape ocean policy in the Obama White House. But he worries that without robust support from the Trump administration, new marine planning collaborations won’t occur and existing plans could falter. “I expect agencies will be reticent to put a priority on those things” under this order, he says.In a statement, the White House said: “President Trump is rolling back excessive bureaucracy created by the previous Administration.” The new order reorganizes the National Ocean Council, eliminates some regional planning bodies, and creates a new “streamlined Ocean Policy Committee [that] will have a Subcommittee for Science and Technology and a Subcommittee for Resource Management.”Representative Rob Bishop (R–UT), chairman of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, welcomed the shift. The order “repealing and replacing the bureaucratic, overreaching policy created under the previous administration puts our country’s ocean policy back on the right track,” he said in a statement. The policy “will help the health of our oceans and ensure local communities impacted by ocean policy have a seat at the table.”Overall, the new executive order comes as only a mild surprise to ocean policy watchers. “Trump has made dismantling anything Obama did a priority, and this order is consistent with that and his ‘America first’ rhetoric,” says a congressional aide who is not authorized to speak on the record. It is not clear how much immediate impact the policy change will have, he says, but he believes that in the long term it will influence how agencies approach decisions.One author of the Obama oceans policy is disappointed. The Trump policy “represents a significant step backward, a throwback to the 1960s when the primary focus was on aggressively expanding the use of the ocean with the assumption that it is so immense, so bountiful that it must be inexhaustible,” marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco, who led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Obama, tells ScienceInsider. “We learned through painful experience that the ocean is indeed exhaustible, but we also learned that if we are smart about how we use the ocean, it can provide a wealth of benefits for decades and decades.”Obama’s policy had emphasized “stewardship,” she notes—a word not used in the new order. Trump “blatantly rejects this all-important focus on stewardship,” Lubchenco says. “Put another way, the policy reflects a shift from ‘use it without using it up’ to a very short-sighted and cavalier ‘use it aggressively and irresponsibly.’”*Update, 20 June, 10:50 a.m.: This story has been updated with statements from the White House and others. Trump’s new oceans policy washes away Obama’s emphasis on conservation and climate Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

European funders detail their openaccess plan

first_img The new guidance should quell fears about Plan S’s restrictiveness, he said. Earlier this month, an open letter, now signed by about 1400 researchers, slammed Plan S’s crackdown on “high quality” hybrid journals published by scientific societies, such as the American Chemical Society, saying it would block access to their “valuable and rigorous peer-review system.” The guidance now leaves room for hybrid journals, as long as they sign “transformative agreements” by the end of 2021, pledging to shift to full OA within 3 years.The architects also addressed the plan’s commitment that funders would pick up the bill for reasonable article-processing charges (APCs), the fees that some journals charge authors to have their papers published OA. The letter’s authors saw it as undue focus on, and a financial gift to, for-profit OA publications. But John-Arne Røttingen, chief executive of The Research Council of Norway in Oslo, who co-led the task force that developed the implementation guidance, denies this: “Plan S is not about one particular business model,” he said. “We are neutral and want a plurality of actors,” including fee-free OA journals.Linguist Gareth O’Neill, president of the Brussels-based European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, sees the implementation guidance as a positive step: “They have listened to the research community and taken concerns on board. What you see now is moving towards a compromise.”But structural biologist Lynn Kamerlin, who wrote the open letter, says the guidance still limits researchers’ freedom to publish their work. “It’s a step in right direction,” she says, but “I’m afraid [it gives researchers] a false illusion of choice. … This is something that funders and publishers should negotiate rather than putting researchers in the crosshairs,” adds Kamerlin, who works at Uppsala University in Sweden.Røttingen said the funders will commission an analysis to find out which disciplines need more OA outlets, and then offer financial incentives to create new journals or flip existing ones to OA. Another study will focus on APCs, which Plan S pledges to standardize and cap.The guidance document, approved unanimously last week by the 16 funding bodies that have signed on to Plan S, does not say exactly how compliance will be monitored. Røttingen said sanctions will likely mean funding agencies don’t complete payment of research grants for scientists who don’t comply.The note gives funders some leeway with the implementation timeline. Starting 1 January 2020, the rules could apply to existing grants, to newly awarded grants, or “at the very least,” to new calls for research proposals.Anyone who wants to provide feedback on the implementation guidelines can do so online until 1 February 2019. By Tania RabesandratanaNov. 26, 2018 , 7:01 PM European funders detail their open-access plan 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 iStock.com/florin1961 Emailcenter_img Libraries often pay the article-processing charges of some open-access journals. 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 Plan S, the contentious plan that a group of European science funders hopes will end scholarly journals’ paywalls, has fleshed out its rules—and softened its tone a bit. In seven pages of implementation guidance released today, the funders explain how their grantees can abide by Plan S rules come 2020, when it goes into effect. But some critics say the document—which is up for public discussion for the next 2 months—remains too restrictive.The guidance outlines three ways researchers can comply with Plan S, which is backed by national funding agencies of countries including the United Kingdom, France, and Austria, as well as private funders including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They can publish in an open-access (OA) journal or platform. They can also publish in a subscription journal provided they also make a final, peer-reviewed version or accepted manuscript immediately available in an OA repository. Finally, contrary to earlier indications, grantees will be permitted to publish in hybrid journals, which charge subscriptions but also offer an OA option, but only if the journal has committed to flip to a fully OA model.The guidance aims to explain practicalities and “sets things straight,” said Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s OA envoy and one of the creators of Plan S, at a news briefing in London today. Referring to the often-acrimonious debate that has emerged since Plan S was released on 4 September, he admitted to a “lack of clear communication” from his side.last_img read more

Hindu nationalists claim that ancient Indians had airplanes stem cell technology and

first_img New Delhi—The most widely discussed talk at the Indian Science Congress, a government-funded annual jamboree held in Jalandhar in January, wasn’t about space exploration or information technology, areas in which India has made rapid progress. Instead, the talk celebrated a story in the Hindu epic Mahabharata about a woman who gave birth to 100 children, citing it as evidence that India’s ancient Hindu civilization had developed advanced reproductive technologies. Just as surprising as the claim was the distinguished pedigree of the scientist who made it: chemist G. Nageshwar Rao, vice-chancellor of Andhra University in Visakhapatnam. “Stem cell research was done in this country thousands of years ago,” Rao said.His talk was widely met with ridicule. But Rao is hardly the only Indian scientist to make such claims. In recent years, “experts” have said ancient Indians had spacecraft, the internet, and nuclear weapons—long before Western science came on the scene.Such claims and other forms of pseudoscience rooted in Hindu nationalism have been on the rise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. They’re not just an embarrassment, some researchers say, but a threat to science and education that stifles critical thinking and could hamper India’s development. “Modi has initiated what may be called ‘Project Assault on Scientific Rationality,’” says Gauhar Raza, former chief scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) here, a conglomerate of almost 40 national labs. “A religio-mythical culture is being propagated in the country’s scientific institutions aggressively.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Hindu nationalists claim that ancient Indians had airplanes, stem cell technology, and the internet Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The Indian government in 2017 decided to fund research to validate claims that panchagavya, a mixture that includes cow urine and dung, has therapeutic value.center_img ANINDITO MUKHERJEE/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES Email By Sanjay KumarFeb. 13, 2019 , 10:55 AM Some blame the rapid rise at least in part on Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), the science wing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), a massive conservative movement that aims to turn India into a Hindu nation and is the ideological parent of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. VIBHA aims to educate the masses about science and technology and harness research to stimulate India’s development, but it also promotes “Swadeshi” (indigenous) science and tries to connect modern science to traditional knowledge and Hindu spirituality.VIBHA receives generous government funding and is active in 23 of India’s 29 states, organizing huge science fairs and other events; it has 20,000 so-called “team members” to spread its ideas and 100,000 volunteers—including many in the highest echelons of Indian science.VIBHA’s advisory board includes Vijay Kumar Saraswat, former head of Indian defense research and now chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University here. The former chairs of India’s Space Commission and its Atomic Energy Commission are VIBHA “patrons.” Structural biologist Shekhar Mande, director-general of CSIR, is VIBHA’s vice president.Saraswat—who says he firmly believes in the power of gemstones to influence wellbeing and destiny—is proud of the achievements of ancient Hindu science: “We should rediscover Indian systems which existed thousands of years back,” he says. Mande shares that pride. “We are a race which is not inferior to any other race in the world,” he says. “Great things have happened in this part of the world.” Mande insists that VIBHA is not antiscientific, however: “We want to tell people you have to be rational in your life and not believe in irrational myths.” He does not see a rise of pseudoscience in the past 4 years—”We have always had that”—and says part of the problem is that the press is now paying more attention to the occasional bizarre claim. “If journalists don’t report it, actually that would be perfect,” he says.But others say there is little doubt that pseudoscience is on the rise—even at the highest levels of government. Modi, who was an RSS pracharak, or propagandist, for 12 years, claimed in 2014 that the transplantation of the elephant head of the god Ganesha to a human—a tale told in ancient epics—was a great achievement of Indian surgery millennia ago, and has made claims about stem cells similar to Rao’s. At last year’s Indian Science Congress, science minister Harsh Vardhan, a medical doctor and RSS member, said, incorrectly, that physicist Stephen Hawking had stated that the Vedas include theories superior to Albert Einstein’s equation E=mc2. “It’s one thing for a crackpot to say something like that, but it’s a very bad example for people in authority to do so. It is deplorable,” Venki Ramakrishnan, the Indian-born president of the Royal Society in London and a 2009 Nobel laureate in chemistry, tells Science. (Vardhan has declined to explain his statement so far and did not respond to an interview request from Science.)Critics say pseudoscience is creeping into science funding and education. In 2017, Vardhan decided to fund research at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology here to validate claims that panchagavya, a concoction that includes cow urine and dung, is a remedy for a wide array of ailments—a notion many scientists dismiss. And in January 2018, higher education minister Satya Pal Singh dismissed Charles Darwin’s evolution theory and threatened to remove it from school and college curricula. “Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral [texts], has said that they ever saw an ape turning into a human being,” Singh said.Those remarks triggered a storm of protest; in a rare display of unity, India’s three premier science academies said removing evolution from school curricula, or diluting it with “non-scientific explanations or myths,” would be “a retrograde step.” In other instances, too, scientists are pushing back against the growing tide of pseudoscience. But doing so can be dangerous. In the past 5 years, four prominent fighters against superstition and pseudoscientific ideas and practices have been murdered, including Narendra Dabholkar, a physician, and M. M. Kalburgi, former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi. Ongoing police investigations have linked their killers to Hindu fundamentalist organizations.Some Indian scientists may be susceptible to nonscientific beliefs because they view science as a 9-to-5 job, says Ashok Sahni, a renowned paleontologist and emeritus professor at Panjab University in Chandigarh. “Their religious beliefs don’t dovetail with science,” he says, and outside working hours those beliefs may hold sway. A tradition of deference to teachers and older persons may also play a role, he adds. “Freedom to question authority, to question writings, that’s [an] intrinsic part of science,” Ramakrishnan adds. Rather than focusing on the past, India should focus on its scientific future, he says—and drastically hike its research funding.The grip of Hindu nationalism on Indian society is about to be tested. Two dozen opposition parties have joined forces against Modi for elections that will be held before the end of May. A loss by Modi would bring “some change,” says Prabir Purkayastha, vice president of the All India People’s Science Network in Madurai, a liberal science advocacy movement with some 400,000 members across the country that opposes VIBHA’s ideology. But the tide of pseudoscience may not retreat quickly, he says. “I don’t think this battle is going to die down soon, because institutions have been weakened and infected.”last_img read more

Study of marathon runners reveals a hard limit on human endurance

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Michael PriceJun. 5, 2019 , 2:00 PM Athletes who can run the equivalent of 117 marathons in just months might seem unstoppable. The biggest obstacle, it turns out, is their own bodies. A new study quantifies for the first time an unsurpassable “ceiling” for endurance activities such as long-distance running and biking—and it also finds that pregnancy’s metabolic toll resembles that of an ultramarathon.“It’s very cool data,” says Harvard University evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman, who wasn’t involved with work. “It makes a very convincing case that at the extremes of human endurance, there’s a hard limit.”Physiologists and athletes alike have long been interested in just how far the human body can push itself. When exercising over a few hours, a wealth of evidence suggests most people—and mammals—max out at about five times their basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the amount of energy they expend while they’re at rest. How humans use energy during longer endurance activities is another question entirely, says Herman Pontzer, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. iStock.com/Pavel1964 center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Humans’ peak metabolic activity during extraordinary feats of endurance is limited by their biology. Study of marathon runners reveals a ‘hard limit’ on human endurance Pontzer saw an opportunity to answer that question when Bryce Carlson, an endurance athlete and former anthropologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, organized the Race Across the USA in 2015. Runners covered 4957 kilometers over the course of 20 weeks in a series of marathons stretching from Los Angeles, California, to Washington, D.C.To find out how many calories the athletes in the study burned, Pontzer, Carlson, and colleagues replaced the normal hydrogen and oxygen in their drinking water with harmless, uncommon isotopes of those elements—deuterium and oxygen-18. By chemically tracing how these isotopes flush out in urine, sweat, and exhaled breath, scientists can calculate how much carbon dioxide an athlete produces—a measure that directly relates to how many calories they burn.Pontzer’s team measured the initial BMRs of six runners, five men and one woman. Then they collected energy expenditure data over the course of the race to see how many calories they burned per day. The researchers plotted those data over time and analyzed them along with previously collected metabolic data from other endurance events, including triathlons, 160-kilometer ultramarathons, long-distance cycling races like the Tour de France, and Arctic expeditions.They found that no matter the event, energy expenditure sharply leveled off after about 20 days, eventually plateauing at about 2.5 times an athlete’s BMR. At that point, the body is burning calories more quickly than it can absorb food and convert it into energy, representing a biologically determined ceiling on human performance, the researchers report today in Science Advances. After an athlete hits this ceiling, their body must dip into fat reserves for energy. “It was just one of those beautiful moments of discovery that as a scientist you just live for,” Pontzer says. “We ended up plotting out the very limits of human endurance, the envelope for what humans can do.”Brent Ruby, an exercise physiologist at the University of Montana in Missoula who wasn’t involved in the study, says the new findings demonstrate how ultraendurance athletes can expend energy over long periods without losing body weight.In a second finding, the authors report that human pregnancy—the energy expenditure of which has been measured in earlier studies—demands about the same level of energy as long athletic endurance events. It is also governed by the same metabolic constraints. “To think about pregnancy in the same terms that we think about Tour de France cyclists and triathletes makes you realize how incredibly demanding pregnancy is on the body,” Pontzer says.Some researchers, including Lieberman, have hypothesized that humans evolved bodies that can run long distances in order to hunt down large, calorie-rich animals, and that those same metabolic adaptations could have allowed human mothers to birth larger babies with bigger brains. Given that pregnancy and endurance activities operate under the same metabolic rules, it could have been the other way around, Pontzer argues: Perhaps humans evolved to have bigger-brained babies, which then afforded our species more endurance.On that point, Lieberman isn’t convinced. “That’s a pretty big leap to make and would need a lot more evidence to support it,” he says. “Let’s take it one step at a time—just like a marathon.”*Correction, 7 June, 12:20 p.m.: The original version of this article incorrectly noted that Brent Ruby implied that athletes should load up on fat before endurance events. He actually said that the findings show that athletes’ bodies adapt to endurance events so they don’t need to dip into their fat stores.last_img read more

The winner of this years Dance Your PhD contest turned physics into

first_img Scientific research can be a lonely pursuit. And for Pramodh Senarath Yapa, a physicist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, even the subject of his research is lonely: singleton electrons wandering through superconducting material. “Superconductivity relies on lone electrons pairing up when cooled below a certain temperature,” Yapa says. “Once I began to think of electrons as unsociable people who suddenly become joyful once paired up, imagining them as dancers was a no-brainer!”Six weeks of choreographing and songwriting later, Yapa scooped the 2018 “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest. The judges—a panel of world-renowned artists and scientists—chose Yapa’s swinging electron dance from 50 submissions based on both artistic and scientific merits. He takes home $1000 and immortal geek fame.“I remember hearing about Dance Your Ph.D. many years ago and being amazed at all the entries,” Yapa says. “This is definitely a longtime dream come true.” His research, meanwhile, has evolved from superconductivity—which he pursued at the University of Victoria in Canada, where he completed a master’s degree—to the physics of superfluids, the focus of his Ph.D. research at the University of Alberta. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Renee Jaworski, Pilobolus Emily Kent, Pilobolus Matt Kent, Pilobolus Carl Flink, Black Label Movement Alexa Meade, Alexa Meade Art Suzanne Walsh, STEAM education Weidong Yang, Kinetech Arts Allan Adams, WHOI Future Ocean Lab Rebecca Saxe, MIT SaxeLab The Semantic Scholar team at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence Winner, Chemistry categoryShari Finner, “Percolation Theory – Conducting Plastics” By John BohannonFeb. 15, 2019 , 12:00 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 Winner, Social Science categoryRoni Zohar, “Movements as a Door for Learning Physics Concepts – Integrating Embodied Pedagogy in Teaching” Email This is the 11th year of Dance Your Ph.D. hosted by Science and AAAS. The contest challenges scientists around the world to explain their research through the most jargon-free medium available: interpretive dance.”Most people would not normally think of interpretive dance as a tool for scientific communication,” says artist Alexa Meade, one of the judges of the contest. “However, the body can express conceptual thoughts through movement in ways that words and data tables cannot. The results are both artfully poetic and scientifically profound.”The 12 finalists were announced on 4 February in each of the four broad categories: biology, chemistry, physics, and social science. Yapa won both the physics category and the overall prize. “Using sweet partner dancing for the Cooper Pairs of shy electrons and aggressive metalheads as the spin impurities, Pramodh was able to create an intuitive visual representation for the nonlocal electrodynamics of superconductivity,” Meade says.Below are the four winners selected by the judging panel; one of them was also the audience favorite, determined through an online vote.Overall winner and Physics categoryPramodh Senarath Yapa, “Non-Local Electrodynamics of Superconducting Wires: Implications for Flux Noise and Inductance” Winner, Biology category and Audience FavoriteOlivia Gosseries, “Measuring consciousness after severe brain injury using brain stimulation” John Bohannon, the inventor of the “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest, is a former contributing correspondent for Science and still runs the contest on its behalf. He is now director of science at Primer, an artificial intelligence company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Pramodh Senarath Yapa The 2018 Dance Your Ph.D. judges: The winner of this year’s ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ contest turned physics into artlast_img read more

Reduction in government taxes and fees on intraregional Caribbean travel

first_imgShareTweetSharePinCaribbean Citizens Against High Intra-Regional Travel Taxes started this petition to CARICOM Governments.The issue of Taxes, Fees and Charges (TFCs) in air transport has been a source of controversy globally, not least in the Caribbean Region. The region is heavily dependent on air transport to support the tourism industry, but high and increasing TFCs have contributed to the decline in intra-regional travel in recent years. A 2007 InterVISTAS’ study which conducted an extensive literature review spanning twenty-five years concluded that higher airfares result in reduced passenger traffic demand.In the Caribbean, this issue of cost is exacerbated by the TFCs which when added to the basic fares of carriers serve to make overall ticket prices markedly more expensive since the majority are passed onto passengers. Analysis revealed that on average TFCs added 54% (40% from taxes and 14% from charges) to the cost of a LIAT one-way ticket in 2016. TFCs constitute similar proportions of fares for Caribbean Airlines and other regional airlines. Numerous studies using Price Elasticity of Demand (PED) have predicted that if governments were to reduce TFCs, intra-regional Caribbean travel will increase significantly.Moreover, analysis suggests that there will be short run and (larger) long run boosts to GDP of countries that reduce TFCs. The higher the magnitude of the PED, the greater the increase in GDP, and the more likely there will be a positive net financial impact, where additional tax revenue generated by increasing economic activity outweighs the foregone TFC revenue. In other words, the increase in travel will likely see governments collect other tax revenue similar to the amount lost by reducing TFCs. This would manifest in the form of revenue increases from different taxes in the economy over time (E.g. Sales Tax/VAT). Instead, CARICOM Governments have turned regional airlines into major tax collectors and pushed the cost of travel beyond the reach of many Caribbean citizens.Sign this petition as we seek to put pressure on CARICOM Governments to re-evaluate the current TFC regime on intra-regional travel. Over-taxing regional travel is counter-productive to regional connectivity and the growth and productivity of our economies.https://www.change.org/p/caricom-governments-reduction-in-government-taxes-and-fees-on-intra-regional-caribbean-travellast_img read more

Sevenyearold boy drowns in Dharavi nullah

first_imgBy Express News Service |Mumbai | Published: July 16, 2019 1:02:09 am Top News A seven-year-old boy died after he fell into a nullah in Dharavi on Monday afternoon. According to officials of the Disaster Management Cell, Amit Jaiswal, who lived in Shri Sant Sainath Chawl Welfare Society near Dharavi Depot, had gone to catch crabs and fish at the nullah at Rajiv Gandhi Nagar along with his brother. Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising “Amit slipped into the nullah and started drowning. His brother called people for help, but by then he had drowned. The body was removed and sent to Sion hospital, where he was declared dead, a BMC official said. “The nullah where the incident happened was properly desilted,” said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-north (Dharavi, Shivaji Park).Dr Meghraj Ingle, dean, Sion hospital, said, “The boy was brought dead to the hospital. His postmortem will be carried tomorrow.” Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off Post Comment(s)last_img read more

JeM terrorist absconding after conviction held

first_img J&K: 6 militants among 9 killed in Valley By Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 17, 2019 3:01:53 am Advertising “Ahmad was initially arrested along with Abdul Gafoor, a hardcore JeM cadre from Sialkot in Pakistan, and others in 2007 following a fierce encounter in Delhi,” a senior police officer said. “He went into hiding after a trial court acquitted him in 2013. This decision was later reversed by the Delhi High Court, which convicted him in 2014.”Ahmad was carrying a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head, police said. —With PTI Inputs Anantanag attack: Govt must take suitable action to prevent incidents in future, says Congress JeM terrorist absconding after conviction held Ahmad was carrying a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head, police said.A Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist, absconding for over four years after being sentenced by the Delhi High Court, has been arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. The accused, Basir Ahmad, a resident of J&K’s Sopore, was held in Srinagar and brought to Delhi to face sentencing by the High Court, officials said Tuesday. Related News Delhi’s dossier on Jaish chief Masood Azhar: Pathankot to Pulwama, his fingerprints Post Comment(s)last_img read more

As massive Zika vaccine trial struggles researchers revive plan to intentionally infect

first_img Further complicating the trial, many people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have already been infected with Zika and recovered, which has left them immune to the virus and hence ineligible for vaccine trials. “We have problems finding people to participate,” Kallás says. Indeed, nearly 50% of 2147 Nicaraguans studied in Managua—which is not a site in the NIAID trial—tested positive for antibodies to the Zika virus between January and September 2016, a group reported 27 August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Kallás says evidence of efficacy could still emerge from areas of São Paulo that, inexplicably, have had little Zika. Those pockets, where less than 5% of the people test positive for Zika antibodies, remain susceptible to the outbreaks that could give the vaccine a real test. “There’s this sense the epidemic will hit our region, but we don’t know when,” Kallás says. “We don’t understand why it didn’t happen already.”Given the drop in cases, a surer way to test any vaccine against Zika is to deliberately expose inoculated subjects to the virus. Researchers have used this strategy, known as a human challenge trial, for decades to test vaccines against diseases that either can be effectively treated or, like Zika, typically cause mild symptoms.But in 2017, an ethics committee convened by NIAID and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, called it “premature” for Zika. They worried that people intentionally infected with the virus might transmit it to their sexual partners, primarily through infected semen. And they were confident that traditional field trials could test the efficacy of the leading vaccine candidates.The report froze plans for a human challenge study, which NIAID had agreed to fund. “It was a great setback,” says the study’s leader, Anna Durbin of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “If we had been allowed to go forward, we’d know today which vaccine candidates look good.”Now, the study is being considered again, as Zika disappears from the region and industry loses interest in bringing a vaccine to market. In a major blow, Sanofi Pasteur halted work on its vaccine, licensed from Walter Reed, in September 2017. “There’s a compelling reason to conduct a human challenge trial now,” says bioethicist Seema Shah of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, who chaired the 2017 ethics committee. But, she adds, “The details are complicated and it’s important to have a rigorous review.””If they’re careful, we have no problems supporting it,” Fauci says. Durbin plans to submit her new protocol for review in about a month, and in early 2019 hopes to start injecting Zika virus into people immunized with a vaccine containing live, but weakened Zika virus made by NIAID’s Stephen Whitehead. As a precaution, she plans to enroll only women at first, to avoid semen transmission from infected males. The volunteers will receive a low dose of Zika virus, and they will remain in clinics for the 2 weeks it typically takes to clear the infection. Any vaccine that works in the challenge study theoretically could then be evaluated in a real-world outbreak—just as is occurring now with an unlicensed but promising Ebola vaccine.The much larger NIAID trial could also pay off, even if it doesn’t show whether the Zika vaccine is effective. It will yield data on safety and immune responses; combined with animal data on efficacy, the results might be enough for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to license the vaccine, Fauci says.But regardless of whether the trial leads to an approved vaccine, he has no regrets about launching it. “Zika was a very ominous threat just a couple of years ago, and there is certainly the possibility that it is going to come back,” Fauci says. “It’s a risk that you’ll spend this money and never use the vaccine, but balancing the importance of this infection and the impact it could have, we felt it was a good decision to move ahead. And I would be happy to defend that anywhere.” January2016 January2017May2017 0 5000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 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 Jon CohenSep. 12, 2018 , 12:30 PM In 2016, as the mosquito-borne Zika virus spread through the Americas and cases of infected women having brain-damaged babies mounted, investigators raced to develop a vaccine. Now, a $110 million vaccine trial is underway at 17 sites in nine countries, but it faces an unexpected, and ironic, challenge. Cases of Zika have plummeted to levels so low that most people vaccinated in the trial likely will never be exposed to the virus, which could make it impossible to tell whether the vaccine works.”Right now, there are no infections, and certainly not enough to even think about an efficacy signal at this point,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland, which launched the trial. Human trials of other Zika vaccine candidates at earlier stages are also in limbo, and last year one large vaccinemaker pulled the plug on development of its candidate. But NIAID and others are pressing ahead, saying a vaccine might someday be needed. To make up for the lack of new cases, other investigators are turning to an unusual, and ethically complex, strategy. Starting next year, Science has learned, they plan to test a vaccine by deliberately infecting people with Zika.Launched in March 2017, NIAID’s placebo-controlled vaccine trial includes two sites in Brazil, where Zika hit hardest and where the brain damage known as microcephaly first surfaced. From the beginning of the outbreak in 2015 until the start of this year, Brazil had about half of all 800,000 suspected and confirmed Zika cases in the Americas, according to the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C. But from January through June, Brazil’s Ministry of Health reported fewer than 7000 probable cases, in a nation of 200 million people. “It’s a good dilemma because we don’t have Zika anymore,” says Esper Kallás of the University of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil, principal investigator for the local NIAID site. “But it’s a dilemma. Everybody is concerned about it. It’s a lot of investment.” Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A Brazilian mother holds her daughter, who was born in 2016 with microcephaly, a Zika-caused birth defect. South Americacenter_img (GRAPHIC) J. YOU/SCIENCE; (DATA) N. GRUBAUGH, S. SARAF, K. ANDERSEN, BASED ON WEEKLY REPORTED CASES FROM THE PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND THE FLORIDA AND TEXAS DEPARTMENTS OF HEALTH Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Zika’s vanishing act Weekly counts of new Zika cases, suspected and confirmed, have plummeted in North and South American countries hosting a vaccine trial. To date, 1380 participants have enrolled in the trial, which tests a vaccine containing a small circular piece of DNA that holds two Zika genes. From the outset, the researchers had planned to open new trial sites at infection hot spots, if needed. But new cases have dropped to a trickle throughout the Americas. MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES North America As massive Zika vaccine trial struggles, researchers revive plan to intentionally infect humanslast_img read more

Mites that feed on llama poop may track the rise and fall

first_imgAndean llamas at Machu Picchu in Peru iStock.com/OGphoto 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 When Chepstow-Lusty counted the number of mites in each layer of the core, he found that their population boomed when the Incan Empire dominated the Andes from 1438 C.E. to 1533 C.E. But after the Spanish arrived, the number of mites in the core plummeted. That’s because so many of the Indigenous people and their animals died during and after the conquest of the empire, Chepstow-Lusty says. Although the mite population rose again once European cows and pigs moved in and started to poop around the lake, it dropped off around 1720 C.E., when a smallpox epidemic swept through the area.Intrigued by the mite record, Chepstow-Lusty decided to see what another poop-eating microorganism could tell him. The spores of a fungus called Sporormiella live on herbivore dung and are often used to track past populations of large plant eaters, including ice age giants like mastodons and mammoths. An abrupt drop-off in Sporormiella spores is often interpreted as a sign of when those animals went extinct.Chepstow-Lusty saw the Sporormiella population rise and fall in the Marcacocha core. But those cycles didn’t track with the mite population or the known historical events that led to llama die-offs. Rather, the spores boomed during dry periods, when the lake got smaller and the llamas were able to poop closer to its center (the eventual source of the sediment core) and shrank when the lake was bigger, the team reports today in The Journal of Archaeological Science. For certain kinds of small, shallow lakes like Marcacocha, therefore, the Sporormiella record might offer misleading information about past herbivore populations.Mark Bush, a paleoecologist at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, agrees that the environment of Marcacocha doesn’t lend itself to Sporormiella studies. Although the mites “provide an interesting alternative,” he says, there haven’t been enough studies in other places testing the relationship between the numbers of mites and the size of herbivore populations to be sure the mites are truly an accurate proxy.Chepstow-Lusty hopes other researchers will start to tally up oribatid mites in their sediment cores, in hopes of figuring out when and where they may offer accurate information beyond Marcacocha. “You never know what you’re going to find in your lake muds,” he says. All microorganisms—especially the poop-eating ones—deserve a closer look. The history of the Andes might well be written in llama poop. Researchers have found that in a small, dried-up lake in highland Peru, mites that ate these creatures’ feces closely track major historical events through their population growth, including the rise and fall of the Incan Empire. In certain kinds of environments, this new method of peering back in time might be more accurate than another common one: using dung-dwelling fungal spores to track environmental conditions in the past.The ancient lake in question, called Marcacocha, is now a wetland high in the Andes, near the Incan city of Ollantaytambo. But before it disappeared about 200 years ago, it was a small pool surrounded by grassland and a popular stop for Incan llama caravans. Thousands of llamas carrying trade goods such as salt and coca leaves marched through the basin, drank from the lake, and defecated en masse. That dung washed into the lake, where it was eaten by oribatid mites, a half-millimeter-long spider relative that lived in the lake.The more llamas that passed through Marcacocha, the more poop the mites had to eat, and the larger their populations could grow. When the mites died, they sank into the lake mud, preserved where Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a paleoecologist at the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., found them in a sediment core centuries later. Emailcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Lizzie WadeJan. 8, 2019 , 9:50 AM Mites that feed on llama poop may track the rise and fall of the Incan Empire Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Getting Serious About Teen Smartphone Addiction

first_imgLimited Career Success Empathy, the ability to understand and appreciate the feelings of other people, is a trait that is essential to the well being of society. Empathy is the reason people are kind to each other, donate to helpful causes, and avoid harming other people and their possessions. When empathy is diminished or absent, the opposite often occurs — and criminal behavior can spike.Preteens who were deprived of screened devices for five days dramatically improved at reading people’s emotions (nonverbal skills) compared to children who continued using screens, according to a UCLA study. Reading someone else’s emotions correctly is a function of empathy.Without empathy and human connection, young people can become cold and cruel to others. Then, when they encounter cold and cruel responses from other young people, the cycle perpetuates itself and grows.”Lack of empathy seems to be a forerunner among cellphone users,” suggested Chantale Denis, a clinical social worker and sociologist.”Whether users are addicted or not, cellphone use can perpetuate a lack of accountability, breed irresponsible behavior, feed malevolence, and retard the ability to effectively nurture social skills inherent in our civility to be kind, thoughtful, caring, loving and understanding,” she told TechNewsWorld. Breaking Smartphone Addiction Talk about it. Don’t just lay down rules — discuss smartphone use with kids and explain why they need to seek balance and do other things. “Help your child understand technology isn’t bad,” Owens said, “but ask them, ‘do you control it or does it control you?'” Set boundaries. Be smart and practical about it. “Not all online time is equal,” Owens said. “Sometimes kids simply have to be online for schoolwork, and other times, it’s for fun. It’s the latter that needs some boundaries.” Consider forbidding devices at the dinner table and leaving them outside bedrooms after bedtime.Set a good example. Put your own devices down. Model what you preach — it could be good for you. After all, many parents also are addicted and need to regain their life balance. Twenty-eight percent of teens think their parents are addicted to their mobile devices, and 69 percent of parents admit to checking their devices, at minimum, every hour, according to the aforementioned Common Sense Media poll.Help them find balance. Offer alternatives or suggest other activities. Find some activities that they can do alone, some they can do with friends, and others they can do with parents. Again, the keyword is “balance.” Smartphones offer young people more access to the world, but they also give more of the world access to young people. Without buffers and filters, teens and preteens can be influenced in all the worse ways.Researchers reported a strong association between heavy Internet use and depression in a National Institute of Mental Health study.They also observed a link between heavy Facebook use and depressive symptoms, including low self-esteem.It’s not just the constant barrage of posts, texts, and messaging from peers and bullies on smartphones that can have a negative effect on the mental health of young people.”Social media is now a space for advertisement and influencing the masses, and teenagers are the most susceptible and vulnerable to these marketing campaigns,” said clinical psychologist David Mitroff, founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting,”Teens are in the stage of development where they still do not have a strong sense of identity, so by constantly being on social media, they are effectively exposed to ads and models that promote unrealistic bodies or body weight,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Ultimately, these ads negatively affect younger people’s mental health due to the skewed representation of beauty or lifestyles that align with the products and services of many companies.” Most experts advise parents to encourage their children to limit the time they spend online. “Put down the phone” has become the new “go play outside.” The key is to help kids find balance in their activities.There are specific steps parents can take to achieve that balance, said Lynette Owens, global director of Internet Safety for Kids & Families. Smartphones summon information and entertainment on demand. Thus, instant gratification becomes a constant expectation on and offline.”Smartphones and computers socialize us into a pattern of communication that then carries over to our everyday non-tech communication lives,” observed Psychsoftpc CEOTim Lynch, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology of computers and intelligent machines.”We expect answers right away, become impatient, use shorter sentences, get right to the point instead of engaging in small talk, and can ignore feelings of others in expressing ourselves,” he told TechNewsWorld.This lack of soft skills, which include people skills and critical-thinking skills, can interfere with getting a job and with getting promotions.”Socializing and building authentic relationships in real life with others is a muscle,” said psychologist Wyatt Fisher.”The more we use it, the better we get at it,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The reverse is also true. Therefore, as teens interact primarily with people through a screen, they often lose the skills needed to connect in person.”center_img Parents don’t need a poll to tell them their teenagers are addicted to smartphones. After all, smartphones are a permanent fixture rather than accessories on the visages of kids of all ages these days.Even so, polls move these everyday observances from anecdotal to official problem when the numbers tilt in that direction — and a Common Sense Media poll hit full tilt.The fact that 59 percent of parents said their teens were addicted to mobile devices was not surprising. However, the fact that 50 percent of teens admitted they were addicted was shocking.While parents feel uneasy about their kids constantly being tethered to a device, most are not sure what real harm tech addiction does to teens. It turns out that it has multiple ill effects. Pam Baker has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2007. Her main areas of focus are technology, business and finance. She has written hundreds of articles for leading publications including InformationWeek, Institutional Investor magazine, CIO.com and TechTarget. She has authored several analytical studies on technology, as well as eight books, the latest of which is Data Divination: Big Data Strategies. She also wrote and produced an award-winning documentary on paper-making. She is a member of the National Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists and the Internet Press Guild. Email Pam. Emotional Disabilities Technology is not going away. If anything, it will become more pervasive. The key is to ensure that tech remains a tool — a servant and not a master. By staying aware of your and your kids’ use patterns, you can keep tech tools in their rightful place. Loss of Empathylast_img read more

EKF introduces new handheld lactate analyzer for rapid sports performance monitoring

first_imgAlongside the new Lactate Scout 4, EKF will also be showcasing its many products for point-of-care (POC) testing for diabetes, anemia and maternal care.Product highlights include the recently FDA cleared DiaSpect Tm hemoglobin analyzer and Quo-Lab® HbA1c analyzer which was successfully evaluated in a study by the European Reference Laboratory for Glycohemoglobin and published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.For both sports training and personal fitness measuring lactate helps to define workout intensities for maximum fat catabolism, increases in endurance, and avoiding critical over-exhaustion.Use of Lactate Scout 4 will help coaches and athletes to rapidly determine optimum training programs, define training zones, and avoid inefficient training regimes.The new analyzer is ideal for field training since it is pocket-sized, weighing just 60g, with simple push-button navigation and an e-paper screen that can be read easily in any light conditions.Related StoriesEKF launches new POC Connect mobile app for DiaSpect Tm hemoglobin analyzerEKF signs private label distribution agreement with McKesson for new hemoglobin analyzerEKF POCT HbA1c testing confirmed as comparable to lab-based HPLCLactate Scout 4 is quick and simple to use, requiring no calibration and returns a result in 10 seconds with just a 0.2 µl capillary blood sample.Functionality of the Lactate Scout 4 is further enhanced by Bluetooth® connectivity to all major brands of heart rate monitor. Heart rate data can now be collected and collated using the step test function to provide in-depth analysis of performance.Up to 500 lactate results can also be stored on the device, all of which are compensated for the influence of low and high hematocrit levels. Adding to its practicality and reliability, the Lactate Scout 4 can undertake 1,000 tests using just two CR2450 lithium batteries.Visitors to EKF’s stand will also be able to find out more about its other hand-held devices such as the DiaSpect Tm hemoglobin analyzer for rapid anemia screening.Earlier this year DiaSpect Tm received U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance and CLIA waiver for use in POC settings, such as physicians’ offices, clinics and other non-traditional laboratory locations.DiaSpect Tm is very user-friendly requiring minimal training to deliver accurate hemoglobin measurements (precision: CV ≤1%) within two seconds from a whole-blood sample.In addition, EKF will highlight its point-of-care analyzers and reagents for diabetes care. These include the Quo-Lab® and Quo-Test® glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) analyzers designed to deliver results traceable to the IFCC reference method within just four minutes.Both analyzers have been demonstrated to deliver lab-accurate HbA1c results from a finger prick or venous whole blood in recent evaluation studies undertaken by the European Reference Laboratory for Glycohemoglobin. Source:https://www.ekfdiagnostics.com/EKF-lactate-monitor-launch-MEDICA-2018.html Oct 23 2018Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)EKF Diagnostics, the global in vitro diagnostics company, announces that on Stand C70 in Hall 3 of MEDICA 2018, it will be launching its new Lactate Scout 4 hand-held lactate analyzer for fast and accurate sports performance monitoring.Lactate Scout 4 is designed for use in the field as a training companion for individuals or sports teams and will be demonstrated to delegates attending the co-located MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS conference.center_img EKF’s new Lactate Scout 4 hand-held analyzer for rapid field-based lactate measurementlast_img read more

Bigger brains linked to greater risk of developing tumors

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 29 2018It may simply be that having a big brain is itself the cause.That’s what doctor and PhD candidate Even Hovig Fyllingen at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has determined with his research colleagues.”Aggressive brain cancer is a rare type of cancer, but once you have it, the chance of survival is relatively low,” he says.Lifestyle matters lessFor some types of cancer, lifestyle makes a big difference. People who smoke have a greater risk of lung cancer than non-smokers, for example. A person’s lifestyle matters less for brain tumor development.A large brain means more brain cells. And the more cells you have, the more cell divisions that can go wrong and create mutations that lead to cancer.Big organs, bigger risk”Several studies have shown that the size of different organs is an important factor in cancer development. For example, women with larger breasts have a greater risk of breast cancer. We wanted to check if this was also the case for brain tumors,” says Fyllingen.Related StoriesResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyTo tackle the question, he relied on material from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT). It comprises health data and blood samples that have been collected in multiple waves of data gathering from thousands of Norwegians in the Nord-Trøndelag county region. The purpose of the study is to find out why some individuals become ill while others stay healthy, what affects our health and how our health affects our lives.Fyllingen used the third version of the survey, called HUNT3, and compared it to St. Olavs Hospital’s neurosurgery database. He extracted data on everyone who had been operated on for high-grade gliomas (brain tumors) between 2007 and 2015 and compared their data with healthy controls from the HUNT study.The researchers used MRI scans to measure the size of the brain. Then 3D models were made from them so that the intracranial brain volume could be measured in milliliters.Mostly men who get brain tumorsThe study also shows that more men than women develop brain tumors.”Men have a larger brain than women because men’s bodies are generally larger. It doesn’t mean that men are smarter, but you need to have more brain cells to control a large body. This is also the case with animals. In bigger bodies, organs like the heart, lungs and brain are also bigger,” says Fyllingen.Yet it turns out that women with big brains have a greater risk of developing brain tumors compared to men with big brains.”Seventy per cent more men than women develop brain tumors, but when we correct for head size, it’s no longer beneficial to be female. Women with large brains are particularly susceptible. Why that is I have no idea,” says Fyllingen.Source: https://www.ntnu.edu/last_img read more