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The Tipping Point

first_imgby, David Goff, ChangingAging ContributorTweet8Share58Share1Email67 SharesA report from the Slow LaneI’ve been hearing about The Tipping Point for a long time. In all that time I have been interested.I want to know how, and when, everything is going to change. I have heard a lot of theories about the dynamics that will catalyze lasting alteration. These things run the gamut. In my estimation The Tipping Point has become, to we New Age types, equivalent to the Second Coming. I am of the opinion that the Tipping Point, if it is out there, or if it depends upon others, or something else, isn’t going to ever happen. Here is what I mean.I have heard so many theories about reaching critical mass. In groups, if only a certain number of people would wake up, waking would be easier, and more likely, for others. This is an appealing idea. It is like the idea of the one-hundredth monkey. If we could just wake-up enough of us, we could wake-up the rest of us. I certainly sympathize with this idea. I’m very invested in the idea of some kind of mass awakening, especially the awakening part.I want there to be some kind of Tipping Point, some way to believe that things will change, that systems will re-align for the better. I think I am an optimist, a glass half-full kind of guy. But, I am troubled. I like thinking that a Tipping Point is coming, but I’m having a hard time in the meantime. I can’t get over the thought that the Tipping Point might just be like the Tooth Fairy, a wish-fulfilling fantasy for hard times. I don’t like this thought much, I want to relegate it to the back of my mind, with the other anxious ideas that threaten my equilibrium. But, the possibility that The Tipping Point is not out there, haunts me.I have this notion, vague and only partially formed, that the Tipping Point really does exist, but it is like the Spirit of Christmas, not out there, in gifts, trees, lights, or a jolly fat man, but in here, in the way I am. I think that the Tipping Point is a reality, because I am it. I like this idea. I feel more empowered, more responsible certainly, like a carrier of good news. I am the Tipping Point. I am the change I want to see. I don’t have to wait for anyone, or anything else, the planets don’t have to align, I just have to show up.I have the power to change the world, not in any magic wand-waving way, but in some day-to-day showing up sort of way. Oh, that can’t be true, could it? Wait a minute, lets not get too carried away with our selves. There is a difference between Tipsy, as in drunk with your self, and the Tipping Point, when things become different.But, wait a minute again, if I really show up, if I really am myself, if I really embody wakefulness, doesn’t that change any scene I’m in? I think so. I have to really show up though, as myself, as the curious, uncertain, bi-pedal crackpot I am. Yes, that is unusual, the scene is tipped, maybe not dramatically or decisively, but more humanly. I have this strange feeling that the Tipping Point, isn’t just one point, but is the cumulative effect of a lot of little tipping points. I can’t help but feel that a lot of little moments call out to us… “be humanly true.” Then it seems that The Tipping Point is a reality, a moment when I can act. I believe in The Tipping Point, especially when I act like it is here, where I am.It all adds up. The more little local Tipping Points I participate in, the more the world changes. This requires me to pay attention, to show up, to tell the truth and to let go of my preferred outcome. If I can shift, in the moment, then it all shifts. The moment becomes the opposite of a terrorist suicide bombing. Instead of death and collateral damage to the fabric of social trust, we have life and collateral binding, a strengthening of the bonds that connect us.I don’t think the Tipping Point is out there, waiting for some appropriate sacred moment, I think it is in here, as available as I am. I would rather it wasn’t so dependent upon me, I am inconsistent, and so many moments escape me. But, the truth is, if I am truly responsible for the shift that is required to tip a situation, then I am more likely to pay attention, and look for the moments when I can make a difference.I was happy when I learned that elders were more likely to really be in possession of themselves. The thought that one can become oneself, that one can achieve freedom, turned me on. I was even happier when I realized that the most subversive thing a elders can do was be true to themselves wherever they are. All we have to do, to make a difference, to tip things, is be true to ourselves. Wow! The Tipping Point is dependent on me being myself!Can I just be myself? The jury is still out on that one, but I have to admit that it helps me be present when I know that the difference I want to make is the same as my struggle to be me. The Tipping Point is me becoming true to me in the moment. Paradoxically, such an achievement appears to be, the greatest gift I can give to you, and the rest of the world.The Tipping Point is my entrance into the world, it is the audacity of me being my broken, unknown, awkward, inarticulate self. This seems unbelievable to me, and I know that this disbelief is part of what I have to overcome if the tipping is going to occur. I have been waiting for the Tipping Point like it was something outside my influence, but for the New Year, I think I will fulfill the Mayan Prophecy. 2015 will be the year the world changes, because I will occupy myself.Related PostsThe Grandmother GeneBecause I was thinking a week or so ago about looking grandmotherish, it’s a good time to mention my theory of the grandmother gene. When I was in high school in the mid-1950s, it was more common for girl graduates to get married and have babies than go to college.…It Starts HereLately I’ve been writing about the impending collision between the Post War generation (often referred to as the “Boomers”) and the Iron Law of Aging. Let’s review that Iron Law… Every day we all wake up one day older. The problem is that the generation that lionized youth, the generation…Virtual Book Tour: Dr. Jeffrey Rubin and “The Art of Flourishing”We are delighted to welcome Dr. Jeffrey Rubin to our Virtual Book Tour today. What follows is a crosspost of his interview with HeadButler.com’s Jesse Kornbuth – Take it away, Jesse:Talk about conflicted! Jeffrey Rubin has been a friend for a decade. L…Tweet8Share58Share1Email67 Shareslast_img read more

Pneumococcal genes predict course of disease

first_imgJul 6 2018Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) is an important cause of pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. This bacterium commonly resides in the nasal cavity. Normally, this is not a problem but it can make weak patients very ill, quite often with a fatal outcome. Patient characteristics such as age, compromised immune system and comorbidity partly explain why some patients develop pneumonia and others meningitis. It was not known whether properties of the pneumococcus itself also determine how invasive pneumococcal disease manifests itself.VariationPneumococci show huge genetic variability. This variation is often denoted using antibodies (sera) which recognize specific sugar capsules on the pneumococcal surface. More than ninety of such sugar capsules (serotypes) are known. Although there is a relationship between these serotypes and the course of the disease, the variation in pneumococci is not restricted to these differences in sugar capsules. Therefore, researchers at the Radboudumc in collaboration with the RIVM, CWZ, Maasziekenhuis Pantein, Imperial College London and the Sanger Institute in Cambridge have determined the entire DNA sequence of pneumococci isolated from the blood of 350 patients. They could subsequently relate the genetic variation they found to more than twenty disease manifestations.Related StoriesResearchers develop DNA nanorobots that target breast cancer cellsSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsBlood-brain barrierThe researchers found several bacterial genes which appeared to be linked to the course of the infection. The presence of the slaA gene, for example, appeared to predict meningitis. This gene codes for the phospholipase A2 protein. Earlier research suggests that this protein is involved in inflammation and may also affect the blood-brain barrier. Bacteria carrying this gene could therefore be able to penetrate the brain. Another set of four genes predicted whether a patient would die within 30 days, particularly among those who were not expected to die at first sight. Marien de Jonge, head of the section Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Radboudumc: “Earlier we found that one of these genes codes for a protein that activates blood platelets, which could lead to excessive blood clotting and an increased risk of death.” The genes identified were also found in a second group of 500 patients.Risk assessmentThe pneumococcal genes found can also be measured in the blood of patients. This provides diagnostic opportunities, says Amelieke Cremers, clinical microbiologist in training and first author of the article: “This study shows that modern DNA sequencing techniques can be used to improve the diagnostics of infectious diseases. Knowledge of the genetic variation within bacterial species can improve our risk assessment for individual patients with acute infections.” Source:https://www.radboudumc.nl/en/last_img read more

Targeting multiple proteins may be key to treat neurodegenerative disorders

first_imgJul 6 2018Nearly all major neurodegenerative diseases – from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s – are defined and diagnosed by the presence of one of four proteins that have gone rogue: tau, amyloid-beta (Aβ), alpha-synuclein (α-syn), or TDP-43. As such, investigational drugs and studies aimed at preventing or slowing the disease often hone in on just one of these respective proteins. However, targeting multiple proteins–known as “proteinopathies”–at once may be the real key, according to a recent study published in Brain by Penn Medicine researchers.These so-called “proteinopathies”–misfolded proteins that accumulate and destroy neurons–co-exist in varying degrees across all of the different neurodegenerative disorders and may instigate each other to drive disease severity in many aging patients. The prevalence of these co-pathologies suggests that each disease may ultimately require combination therapy targeting multiple disease proteins, and not just a single therapy, in patients with both early and later-stage disease.”Historically, the focus of most clinical trials has been on targeting the primary pathological proteins of a given neurodegenerative disease such as deposits of tau and Aβ for Alzheimer’s disease, but we see now that many of these disease-related aggregated proteins affect most older patients across a full spectrum of clinical and neuropathological presentations,” said senior author John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Penn’s Institute on Aging. “This gives us additional leverage to find ways to detect patients’ specific proteinopathies with increasingly sophisticated biomarker and imaging technologies. This will allow us, and other researchers, to better match participants with specific targeted therapies in clinical trials.”The study–which analyzed 766 autopsied brains at Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR)–revealed that patients with more severe forms of their diseases had more co-pathologies. Researchers also found that increased age and the presence of the APOE ε4 allele–a typical gene variant associated with an increased risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease–are risk factors for co-pathologies.The researchers studied patients with the following diseases: Alzheimer’s disease, Pick’s disease, corticobasal degeneration (CBD), progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease with and without dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, as well as frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and primary age-related tauopathy (PART).While co-pathologies have been observed in Alzheimer’s and Lewy body disease, tau, Aβ, α-syn, and TDP-43 co-pathologies are rarely reported in the other neurodegenerative diseases.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsThe CNDR researchers found that co-pathologies were common but varied among the disease groups, ranging from 27 to 81 percent of patients having co-pathologies. For example, 52 percent of patients with CBD, in which tau as the primary protein, had multiple other neurodegenerative disease protein deposits present.Tau was nearly universal, with 92 to 100 percent of all patients having at least one form. Aβ was next, with 20 to 57 percent of patients having at least one type of protein deposit, while α-syn pathology, typically seen in Parkinson’s disease, was less common, with 4 to 16 percent. TDP-43 deposits, which are characteristic pathological signatures of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, were the rarest, with 0 to 16 percent of patients having these deposits.In several neurodegenerative diseases, co-pathologies increased more considerably. For example, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (tau and Aβ deposits are the primary signatures), α-syn pathology–similar to that of a Lewy body–increased by up to 55 percent and TDP-43 by up to 40 percent.The findings not only show a high prevalence of co-pathologies, but also suggest a patient’s primary pathological protein may influence co-pathology prevalence and severity, as shown in patients with Alzheimer’s and Lewy body disease patients.The presence of multiple co-pathologies increased from 9 percent to 25 percent between intermediate Alzheimer’s and higher-level Alzheimer’s patients, and from 0 percent to 21 percent between brainstem- or amygdala-only Lewy body disease and the more aggressive neocortical Lewy body disease.These findings support the “proteopathic seeding” hypothesis that has been previously established in model systems of neurodegenerative diseases. Misfolded proteins may directly “cross-seed” other normal, vulnerable proteins to accumulate and clump via a cell-to-cell transfer of toxic proteins.”Our study is an important first step in understanding the extent to which co-pathologies present in and impact all neurodegenerative diseases,” said co-author Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, the CNDR director and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. “Now we need to probe these protein-to-protein interactions more closely to better understand how they progress in patients’ brains, with an eye toward clinical studies that combine targeted therapies to halt or slow accumulation of these disease proteins.” Source:https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2018/july/rethinking-neurodegenerative-disease-treatment-target-multiple-pathological-proteinslast_img read more

New intervention to reduce risk of HIV in young transgender women

first_imgAug 13 2018Bottom Line: Young transgender women who took part in an intervention to reduce HIV transmission and acquisition had a greater reduction in condomless sex acts than young transgender women who received standard preventive care with testing for HIV/sexually transmitted infections and counseling in a randomized clinical trial.Why The Research Is Interesting: HIV is high among transgender women in the United States, including among young transgender women between the ages of 16 and 29. Condomless sex acts are a risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV. This clinical trial evaluated the Project LifeSkills intervention for reducing condomless sex acts among young transgender women through sharing information about HIV, motivating people to protect themselves and promoting skills such as condom use and sexual partner communication and negotiation.Related StoriesPrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedStudy: HIV patients continue treatments if health care providers are compassionateNovel method can help clinicians identify individuals most in need of PrEPWho and When: 190 young transgender women in a clinical trial conducted between March 2012 and August 2016 in Boston and Chicago; participants were between the ages of 16 and 29 and were assigned male sex at birth but now self-identify as female, transgender women or on the transfeminine spectrum; 21 percent had HIV at the baseline assessmentWhat (Study Measures and Outcomes): Primary outcome was change in the number of self-reported condomless anal or vaginal sex acts in the four months before a baseline assessment and reported later at interval visits through 12 monthsHow (Study Design): This was a randomized clinical trial (RCT). RCTs allow the strongest inferences to be made about the true effect of an intervention. However, not all RCT results can be replicated in real-world settings because patient characteristics or other variables may differ from those studied in the RCT.Authors: Robert Garofalo, M.D., M.P.H., of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, and coauthorsResults: A greater reduction in condomless sex acts among young transgender women in the intervention suggests the intervention is both feasible and effective.Study Limitations: Conducted only in two cities; the intervention included content on the process of medical gender transition, which may not resonate with some women who have either completed the transition or who don’t plan to start it.​ Source: https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/intervention-for-young-transgender-women-to-reduce-risk-of-hiv/last_img read more

Embattled NOAA Lab in North Carolina Would Get New Life in US

A key U.S. House of Representatives committee is moving to block the Obama administration’s controversial proposal to close a federal marine research laboratory in North Carolina.The Committee on Appropriations today released a draft spending bill for the 2015 fiscal year that begins 1 October.  It includes funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and, in an accompanying report, the panel bars NOAA from moving ahead with plans to consolidate several laboratories and close a century-old lab on an island near the town of Beaufort.The panel also asks NOAA to send lawmakers a report within 1 year “on all National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) facilities and labs, to include current maintenance costs as well as a detailed analysis of how the research conducted by NCCOS laboratories would be affected by any proposed NCCOS lab consolidation.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The move comes after North Carolina lawmakers had protested the proposed closure and called on the spending panel to keep the lab open. The House panel is expected to approve the bill in a vote Thursday and send it to the full House. The Senate has not yet released its version of the spending bill, and no final decision on the legislation is expected until later this year, after the November elections.Still, the House move comes as a relief to the Beaufort lab’s supporters in Congress. “I’m very pleased we were able to work together to secure this funding because the lab has a significant economic impact, and it is critical to maintaining the competitiveness of our state’s research enterprise,” said Representative David Price (D-NC) in a statement.A NOAA spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. read more

Podcast Blue whale deaths a cancer paradox and the latest on the

What’s killing so many blue whales? Why are small animals more prone to cancer than larger ones are? And what’s the latest on the previously uncontacted tribe that has emerged in the Amazon?Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi.

A Washington journal Using an Antarctic film to highlight climate change without

first_img National Science Foundation Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A lasting impressionThe finale the next afternoon combined the depth and breadth of the two previous panels. It was held in an ornate Senate hearing room on Capitol Hill, space available by invitation only from a member of that body. Accordingly, the speakers included two Democratic senators from oceanic states, Bill Nelson of Florida and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. (No Republican legislators participated, although organizers say they invited Senator Lisa Murkowski [R–AK], who in March teamed with Senator Angus King [I–ME] to form a Senate Arctic caucus. King and Senator Harry Reid [D–NV], the former majority leader, attended a private reception after the event.)The program was entitled Living at the Extremes: Geoscience Research at the Coolest Places on Earth. And whereas the other speakers stuck to that neutral theme, Whitehouse used the setting to attack what he disparagingly calls “parallel science”—information that purports to refute the reams of peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing the negative effects of climate change on a warming planet. Any attempt to hold a dialogue with its purveyors, he warned the generally supportive audience, is a waste of time.“The last thing they are interested in is more education,” he told ScienceInsider after his speech. “They have zero interest in the truth. But they are very good at communicating their position, better than most scientists, because they are trained to do it.”NSF’s Davies, a former staffer in the agency’s government affairs shop, knows better than to comment publicly on such a political diatribe. But she readily admits getting a warm feeling from an exchange between senators Nelson and Toomey shortly after Toomey told the audience about witnessing a massive “Grand Canyon” on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast during a dive last year in the research vessel Alvin.“Did you see Nelson go over to Jim after his speech?” Davies asked this reporter a few days after the event. (Toomey says Nelson asked him how far off the coast the canyon was located; the answer, Toomey says, is roughly 240 kilometers.) “He really had the senator’s attention. That image is something Nelson will carry around with him because it’s new information.”“Toomey told the story [of his 8-hour dive] in such a way that it captivated the audience,” Davies continued. “It’s the ‘wow’ factor. And that was the whole point.”Raksany agrees that the goal of the climate lollapalooza was to get people hooked on Antarctica and the wonders of exploration. What happens next, she says, is out of her control. “It’s a destination film more than a science film,” she explains. “It’s pretty landscapes and adventure. It’s a place that most people will never get to experience except through giant screen and 3D. The science comes in when you start thinking about what’s happening in Antarctica, and why you should care.”Graphic design by Juan David Romero; (Video credit: The Last Reef 3D, Courtesy of Giant Screen Films and Yes/No Productions)*Correction, 1 July, 2:12 p.m.: Deborah Raksany is vice president for development and partnerships at Giant Screen Films. Her position was described incorrectly in an earlier version of the story. Courtesy of Giant Screen Films and Oceans 8 Productions Touching the publicTerry Davies doesn’t care whether the movie makes money. But as a senior associate in NSF’s geosciences directorate, she cares a great deal about finding better ways to explain the value of the science that NSF funds. That includes the agency’s $500-million-a-year investment in Antarctic research and logistics. So when Raksany told her she wanted to bring Bowermaster’s new film to Washington, Davies saw it as a chance to expose NSF program managers to new ways of interacting with the public.Giant Screen Films is no stranger to NSF. The agency had helped to fund two of its earlier films, Dinosaurs Alive and Tornado Alley, and in 2011 the two women arranged to have the film about tornado chasers screened as part of a program for policymakers entitled Hazards on the Hill.NSF didn’t spend a dime on Antarctica, Davies says. But the film shows the work that NSF-funded scientists are doing in Antarctica and the three research stations the agency operates on the continent. Davies also knew that film can be a powerful medium. So she and Raksany decided to put together a panel, entitled Communicating Science through Art, Film, and Music, as the first event of the climate trilogy.The panel, held on 15 June, included cartoonist Jim Toomey, who draws the comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon, and musician Luke Cresswell, creator of the Broadway hit Stomp and, more recently, director of three documentaries with environmental themes. Both men urged NSF scientists to find more compelling ways to present research findings to the public than the typical lecture and PowerPoint format.“If you can engage the crowd, you can bring in a lot more money,” Cresswell said, referring to his days as a street performer in London. The success of Stomp, he noted, demonstrates the power of “speaking through rhythm, which is a universal language.” He says he works hard to integrate the visual and aural aspects of his films (see clip of The Last Reef), creating what he calls “an immersive experience. You want the film to fill your soul, so that you are inspired to change something. That’s the point.” But that doesn’t mean the sponsors, which included the American Geophysical Union, didn’t have a clear agenda. Although none of the events crossed the line into direct advocacy, each one found a way to link up with the film’s not-too-subtle message: Researchers keep adding to the growing body of scientific evidence that human-induced climate change is happening, and the world needs to act on that knowledge.It’s a message aimed at achieving much more than luring people into science museums and theaters to be wowed by a film. How did Raksany pull it off? And what does her success mean for selling science in a time of political polarization and tight budgets?An homage to AntarcticaThe 60-year-old Bowermaster first went to Antarctica in 1988, for National Geographic, to chronicle a 7-month dash by adventurer Will Steger across the continent using dog sleds. Since then he’s made several more trips as a writer, tour guide, and documentary filmmaker, most recently using sea kayaks and a 23-meter sailboat to document changes along Antarctica’s 1450-kilometer-long western peninsula. Emailcenter_img The breathtakingly beautiful images in a new documentary, Antarctica: On the Edge, are meant to appeal to anyone curious about this fragile, frozen continent. But Deborah Raksany, head of development for the Chicago-based company that is distributing the 40-minute film by Jon Bowermaster, thought that some of it might also resonate with scientists and policymakers.So Raksany reached out to a few professional friends in Washington, D.C., who know the political landscape much better than she does. After months of complicated logistics, Raksany and her colleagues got their wish: a 36-hour climate tripleheader in the nation’s capital. The three events, hosted by the National Science Foundation (NSF), AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider) and a group of Democratic senators, played to capacity crowds earlier this month.The climate lollapalooza was not your normal science lobbying fly-in, a venerable political strategy in which advocates for a particular cause descend on the nation’s capital for a day to lobby Washington’s movers and shakers. One big difference was that the organizers added artists and entertainers to the usual lineup of scientists, legislators, federal employees, and lobbyists. There also was no “ask”—their support for a particular bill or change in federal policy. Toomey, who is trained as a mechanical engineer, says his many years as a cartoonist have taught him that a formula of “90% entertainment and 10% education” works best for weaving such esoteric topics as ocean acidification and the Census of Marine Life into his comic strip. Unfortunately, he says, most scientists reverse those percentages when they present their research to a general audience.“I think you underestimate the impact of a wonderful story that gets the audience to the point where it can sympathize with the characters and then, boom, you insert this little message,” Toomey told his NSF audience. “It can be 30 seconds in an hour-long movie, or one panel in a cartoon, that says, ‘Look at this disturbed world,’ but that’s enough to make the point if you already have everybody listening to you.” Panel discussion with NSF geosciences head Roger Wakimoto (top) and (from left) Rush Holt, Representative Jerry McNerney (D–CA), Luke Cresswell, artist Amy Lamb, Jim Toomey, and Jon Bowermaster. Looking for common groundBowermaster spoke at all three events, and at NSF he started with an apology. “To quote my friend Luke and many Republican politicians, I am not a scientist, I’m a storyteller. So the only thing I’ll say today about the big C—climate change—is that it’s happening. The climate along the peninsula is changing rapidly. And it’s really easy to see its impacts if you come back year after year.”Although current attempts by the Republican majority in Congress to reduce funding for climate science at NSF and other federal agencies was on the minds of the audience, none of the speakers mentioned it directly. In fact, Representative Jerry McNerney (D–CA), the only Ph.D. mathematician in Congress, actually defended his colleagues across the aisle and scolded President Barack Obama for the way in which he’s lobbied Congress on the issue.“If you say somebody is a member of the Flat Earth Society, that’s an insult,” McNerney said, referring to speeches in which Obama uses the phrase to describe opponents of his climate policies. “I think the president has made that mistake. And if you insult somebody, they close the shutters and the conversation is over.”Maintaining a dialogue is crucial, McNerney said, because he thinks some Republican legislators are inching toward a possible compromise. “A few years ago they were arguing that there’s only a tiny fraction of carbon in the atmosphere and that adding a teensy weensy bit more won’t make a difference,” said McNerney, citing members of the House of Representatives commerce and energy committee on which he serves. “Now they are saying, well, there is something happening and we know the climate is changing. They are not ready to reduce consumption of fossil fuels or invest in carbon sequestration. But I think they’re turning a corner.”His was a solitary view among the panelists, however. AAAS CEO Rush Holt, who retired last year after serving 16 years as a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, made perhaps the most politically provocative statement of the forum when he answered a question about ways to appeal to legislators who have criticized NSF’s support for an off-Broadway play about climate change. “I would like to suggest that some of the opposition to gripping, moving art sponsored by NSF is not so much because it’s inappropriate but because it’s too effective,” Holt said.That evening, an event at AAAS offered the most traditional form of Washington political entertainment—a screening of the entire film, followed by presentations from polar researchers Robin Bell of Columbia University and Brendan Kelly, chief scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in northern California. The public was invited, although the audience was heavily weighted toward scientists and science policy watchers. Toomey also had some advice for scientists who find it difficult to explain their work to a lay audience. “Everybody has a camera in their pocket,” he says, referring to a smartphone. “So take a picture of what you’re doing, and send it to us. We’ll take it from there.”After the talk, Toomey expanded on his suggestion. “I’m doing a video on the deep ocean, and looking for pictures of deep-sea animals,” he explained. “If scientists would just post, license-free on Wikimedia, what they have already taken, it would make my life much easier.”  The new film, which took him 5 years to make and posed numerous logistical challenges, is an homage to the changes that he’s seen over the years. But Bowermaster, who has spoken at all three events, says it isn’t preachy. “I’ve been a journalist all my life, and I think I know where the line is,” he says.He readily admits he crossed that line into advocacy in 2012 when he teamed up with his live-in partner, musician Natalie Merchant, to film a rally/concert by those opposed to hydraulic fracture drilling, or fracking, in New York state, where they both live. (Merchant was a last-minute cancellation to the recent festivities, because of what Bowermaster called “exhaustion” from the strain of making a documentary about her reworking of a 20-year-old hit album, Tigerlily.)“But the Antarctica film is apolitical,” he says. “I put up half of the money,” he says about his joint venture with Raksany’s company, Giant Screen Films, “and we hope that it will be a profitable venture.” Courtesy of Giant Screen Films and Oceans 8 Productions last_img read more

Tiny black holes could trigger collapse of universe—except that they dont

first_imgSo why hasn’t that collapse happened? It turns out that to get to the lower energy “true vacuum” state, the Higgs field would have to get through an enormous energy barrier through a process known as quantum tunneling. That barrier is so big that it would likely take many, many times the age of the universe for the transition to occur. So, theorists generally agreed that the Higgs field is “metastable,” temporarily stuck in a “false vacuum” state, and that although the collapse is a problem in principle, practically it’s nothing to worry about.But now, Moss and theoretical physicists Philipp Burda and Ruth Gregory of Durham University in the United Kingdom contend that argument falls apart when you mix in mini black holes—microscopic regions of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. That’s because a mini black hole acts like a “seed” that can trigger formation of a bubble of true vacuum in a sea of false vacuum, just as a bit of grit can trigger the formation of a bubble of steam in boiling water, as they explain in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters.Without such a seed, a bubble of true vacuum would inevitably shrink. That’s because, even though the vacuum within the bubble has lower energy than the vacuum outside the bubble, the bubble wall at which the two meet has very high energy. So the bubble can lower its total energy by growing smaller and disappearing. For a bubble with a tiny black hole inside, however, it’s a different story. The black hole’s gravity can shift the energy balance, Moss explains, so that any bubble beyond a certain very small size could instead lower its energy by growing. Within a fraction of a second, the bubble would then expand to consume the entire visible universe, Moss says.Those black holes have to be small, Moss and colleagues argue, and they could conceivably come from two sources. They could be “primordial” black holes lingering since the birth of the universe. Or they could be microscopic black holes created within particle collisions such as those at the LHC.So should we worry? No, Moss says. The fact that the universe has been around 13.8 billion years shows that primordial black holes will not trigger such a collapse, he says. As for black holes at the LHC, even if they can be created they also won’t create havoc, he says. The proof of that comes from cosmic rays, which crash into the atmosphere and create even higher energy particle collisions than the LHC can. So even if such collisions spawn black holes, the black holes don’t trigger vacuum collapse, Moss says, or the cosmos would have vanished long ago.The real point, Moss says, is that theorists can no longer shrug off the problem by assuming that the collapse of the vacuum would take a hugely long time. By showing that—according to the standard model—the collapse should happen quickly, the paper suggests that some new physics must kick in to stabilize the vacuum.Others aren’t so sure the argument is persuasive. The theorists make a number of questionable assumptions in their mathematics, says Vincenzo Branchina, a theorist with Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Catania. John Ellis, a theorist at King’s College London, questions the consistency of the calculation. For example, he says, it assumes that the standard model holds true to very high energy scales. However, he notes, the only way the LHC can make a mini black hole is if the standard model conks out and space opens up new dimensions at much lower energy, he says. Still, both Branchina and Ellis say that based on other arguments, they suspect that something does make the vacuum stable.As for the presentation of the argument in the new paper, Ellis says he has some misgivings that it will whip up unfounded fears about the safety of the LHC once again. For example, the preprint of the paper doesn’t mention that cosmic-ray data essentially prove that the LHC cannot trigger the collapse of the vacuum—”because we [physicists] all knew that,” Moss says. The final version mentions it on the fourth of five pages. Still, Ellis, who served on a panel to examine the LHC’s safety, says he doesn’t think it’s possible to stop theorists from presenting such arguments in tendentious ways. “I’m not going to lose sleep over it,” Ellis says. “If someone asks me, I’m going to say it’s so much theoretical noise.” Which may not be the most reassuring answer, either. 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 If you like classic two-for-one monster movies such as King Kong vs. Godzilla, then a new paper combining two bêtes noires of pseudoscientific scaremongers—mini black holes and the collapse of the vacuum—may appeal to you. Physicists working with the world’s biggest atom-smasher—Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—have had to reassure the public that, even if they can make them, mini black holes, infinitesimal versions of the ones that form when jumbo stars implode, won’t consume the planet. They’ve also had to dispel fears that blasting out a particle called the Higgs boson will cause the vacuum of empty space to collapse. Now, however, three theorists calculate that in a chain reaction, a mini black hole could trigger such collapse after all.Come out from under the bed; there’s a big caveat. If this could have happened, it would have long before humans evolved. “The thing you mustn’t say is, ‘Shock, horror! We’re going to destroy the universe!’” says Ian Moss, a theoretical cosmologist at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and an author of the paper explaining the result. Rather, he says, the message is that some unknown physics must enter to stabilize the vacuum—encouraging news for physicists searching for something new. Still, Moss acknowledges that the paper could be taken the wrong way: “I’m sort of afraid that I’m going to have [prominent theorist] John Ellis calling me up and accusing me of scaremongering.”Stability of the vacuum is a real issue. Ever since the discovery of the long-predicted Higgs boson in 2012, physicists have known that empty space contains a “Higgs field,” a bit like an electric field, that is made of Higgs bosons lurking “virtually” in the vacuum. Other fundamental particles such as the electron and quarks interact with the field to gain their mass. However, particle physicists have calculated that, given their current standard model of the known particles and the Higgs boson’s measured mass, the Higgs field may not be in its stable, lowest energy state. Rather, it could achieve a much lower energy by taking on much higher strength. That energy-saving transition should inevitably cause the vacuum to collapse and wipe out the universe.center_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 Emaillast_img read more

Academies calculate how much Brexit will cost UK researchers

first_img Academies calculate how much Brexit will cost U.K. researchers Some academic fields in the United Kingdom will have major funding holes to fill once the country leaves the European Union, according to new research commissioned by four U.K. academies. The Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society commissioned the Technopolis Group, an independent policy research organization, to find out in detail just how reliant U.K. science is on European funding. The €1.1 billion per year that U.K. research now gets from Europe is, the report found, spread across all academic disciplines it analyzed but some fields will have a tougher time than others finding alternative sources.According to the study, U.K. archaeology gets the largest proportion of its funding from Europe (38%), followed by classics (33%) and information technology (IT) (30%). Of the top 15 fields by that measure, only two are natural or physical sciences. But in terms of absolute amounts of money, the rankings are very different: Clinical medicine won the most EU funding in 2014–15 (£120 million), followed by biosciences (£91 million), physics (£55 million), chemistry (£55 million), and IT (£46 million). By Daniel CleryMay. 23, 2017 , 7:15 PM Though the government has pledged to continue supporting U.K. researchers bidding for European funds during Brexit negotiations, no guarantees have been made that similar amounts of funding will be supplied by the U.K. treasury after the divorce is finalized. Jeff Djevdet/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) last_img read more

Podcast a mysterious blue pigment in the teeth of a medieval woman

first_imgOBERLIN.EDU/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide free lectures and assignments, and gained global attention for their potential to increase education accessibility. Plagued with high attrition rates and fewer returning students every year, MOOCs have pivoted to a new revenue model—offering accredited master’s degrees for professionals. Host Meagan Cantwell speaks with Justin Reich, an assistant professor in the Comparative Media Studies Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, about the evolution of MOOCs and how these MOOC professional programs may be reaching a different audience than traditional online education.Archaeologists were flummoxed when they found a brilliant blue mineral in the dental plaque of a medieval-era woman from Germany. It turned out to be lapis lazuli—an expensive pigment that would have had to travel thousands of kilometers from the mines of Afghanistan to a monastery in Germany. Host Sarah Crespi talks to Christina Warinner, a professor of archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, about how the discovery of this pigment shed light on the impressive life of the medieval woman, an artist who likely played a role in manuscript production.This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.Download the transcript (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.About the Science Podcast[Image:Oberlin.edu/Wikimedia Commons; Music: Jeffrey Cook]last_img read more

White House sends mixed messages on 2020 research spending bills

first_img NASA WFIRST Project/Dominic Benford from Michael Lentz/Brooke Hsu 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 White House sends mixed messages on 2020 research spending bills Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) President Donald Trump doesn’t want Congress to boost the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF). But he has no objection to giving more research dollars to parts of the Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA.A series of letters this month from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the Democratic chairwoman of the spending panel in the U.S. House of Representatives paints that seemingly contradictory picture of the Trump administration’s views of federal support for basic research. It confirms the suspicions of critics who say Trump doesn’t recognize the value of research and lacks any overarching philosophy on federal investments in the sector. That ambiguity, they say, could also complicate efforts to protect science in negotiations with congressional Democrats in the coming months over a budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which starts on 1 October.In March, for the third year in a row, Trump asked Congress to make massive cuts to the budget of almost every federal research agency. That request was part of his broader attempt to shrink spending on civilian programs while increasing support for the military and homeland security. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email President Donald Trump hasn’t objected to a congressional rescue of NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, which he has proposed killing. By Jeffrey MervisMay. 28, 2019 , 2:15 PM Republican and Democratic legislators alike have reversed those cuts in the past two fiscal years, and in March they vowed to take similar actions for 2020. This month, House Democrats began to move bills containing generous increases for many of those agencies. For example, one bill would give NIH an additional $2 billion rather than impose a $5 billion reduction on its $39 billion budget. Another bill would raise NSF’s budget by 7%, to $8.6 billion, rather than have it plunge by 12.5%.Every administration weighs in on the substance of important legislation as it moves through Congress, with comments addressed to the relevant legislator. Accordingly, OMB’s letters this year have gone to Representative Nita Lowey (D–NY), who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations. And although the letters reaffirm key concepts in the president’s budget request, OMB’s choice of which research programs to highlight appears almost random. In addition, there are significant differences in how OMB has reacted to similar actions taken by Congress both last year and this year.NIH boosts “unsustainable”The proposed NIH increase is a prime example. The pending spending bill for NIH contains “the fifth consecutive $2-billion increase” for NIH, acting OMB Director Russell Vought told Lowey in a 7 May letter. That “is unsustainable and incompatible with the Administration’s effort to focus resources on high-priority research,” Vought argued. Last year, however, OMB raised no objections when legislators proposed giving NIH a similar increase, which was adopted with broad bipartisan support. Supporters wonder what’s changed.NSF advocates are unhappy with OMB’s criticism of any increase for that agency. On 21 May, Vought chastised Lowey for embracing “the misguided notion that increases to defense spending must be matched or exceeded by increases to non-defense spending.” Giving NSF $1.6 billion more than the president had proposed is a manifestation of that “misguided” view, he wrote. “This unrequested funding undermines the administration’s intent to keep non-defense spending in check,” Vought asserted.In this case, however, OMB has not changed its tune. In June 2018 it wrote to the Republican chairman of the Senate appropriations committee complaining about legislators adding $600 million to the president’s 2019 request for NSF. Congress eventually ignored that objection, too.The spending bill that funds NSF also covers NASA. But the $850 million that legislators want to add to Trump’s request for space science programs apparently isn’t a problem for OMB. Vought’s letter does not even mention it. Instead, Vought faults the Democratic-led panel for “providing far less funding than is needed to support the administration’s goal of a near-term human lunar landing,” a reference to Trump’s recent goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024.One day earlier, Vought showed a similar ambivalence toward energy research in a letter to Lowey about spending levels for DOE. Vought had nothing to say about the committee’s decision to add nearly $1.4 billion to the president’s request for DOE’s Office of Science, turning a $1.1 billion proposed cut into a $285 million increase for the $6.5 billion office. But he attacked a $60 million boost for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a $366 million DOE agency that supports research on tough energy problems with potentially huge commercial payoffs.“The administration is disappointed that the bill does not eliminate ARPA-E,” Vought wrote to Lowey on 20 May about the 10-year-old agency Trump has tried for 3 years to shutter. “It makes little strategic sense that ARPA-E still exists independent of DOE’s main applied research programs.”The letters to date have had no impact on legislators: One day after they were sent, the House Appropriations Committee approved two bills without altering the level of funding for NIH, NSF, and ARPA-E. But the letters do lay down a marker in what are expected to be contentious negotiations over the 2020 budget.“Was Kelvin shut out?”The OMB letters have raised the question of what role, if any, the president’s science adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, is playing in budget policy. Droegemeier has largely avoided the issue of federal spending in public interactions with the U.S. research community since becoming director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in January. Science lobbyists say that’s no surprise, given the bad hand that he’s been dealt.Instead, Droegemeier prefers to talk about the nation’s overall investment in research, for which industry provides the lion’s share. “We have priorities that were articulated in the 2020 budget request,” Droegemeier told a pro-science audience at a meeting held earlier this month at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of AAAS, which publishes ScienceInsider. He cited investments in artificial intelligence, quantum information science, and advanced manufacturing, areas that bolster what the Trump administration calls the “industries of the future.”“But if we only focus on that, we’re missing the bigger picture,” Droegemeier added. “When you leverage the federal investment of more than $130 billion against everything else, we have a really spectacularly powerful [research] enterprise.”Through an OSTP spokesperson, Droegemeier declined to say whether he supports OMB’s criticism of the pending funding levels for NIH and NSF. He also refused to say whether he had weighed in on drafts of the OMB letters, known to Washington, D.C., insiders as a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP).The process of developing an SAP begins by compiling a list of all the congressional language and funding levels that don’t conform to the president’s request, explains Kei Koizumi, a visiting scholar at AAAS and a former senior adviser to the OSTP director under former President Barack Obama. “The priorities are set by OMB leadership,” he adds, “and then the SAP is circulated to OSTP and other White House offices.”The political dynamic was different for much of Obama’s term because Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, he says. “We were usually asking [Congress] to put things back in,” he notes. “But in this administration, I would expect OSTP to be doing the opposite, in other words, asking ‘Can we not say we’re opposed to the increases for NIH and NSF?’”Joel Widder, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist with a roster of academic and research institutions, decries the way that most science programs are treated in the OMB letters. “It’s not a good sign,” says Widder, who has worked at NSF and for Congress. “Was Kelvin shut out?”last_img read more

Madhya Pradesh House at centre of Akash Vijayvargiya controversy set to be

first_imgVijayvargiya would later be arrested and sent to jail, and the Indore BJP would rally in support of him, even as photos of the assault were flashed across television screens.Five days later Vijayvargiya returned to a hero’s welcome, only to be admonished by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a message that has left the Indore BJP in hiding.Also Read | Vijayvargiya Jr swung bat for building that was declared danger more than a year agoFor his part, Bherulal approached the Madhya Pradesh High Court against the demolition, but the court refused to stay the process, though it did ask the IMC to arrange for temporary shelter for three months within two days, after which the demolition could take place. With the building set to be demolished on Friday, Bherulal said, “I was not in Indore yesterday, so the IMC sent us a notice that they have a house for us and they would help transport our stuff. They gave it to my son.” Senior corporation officers said that the demolition was set for 11 am and all necessary arrangements have been madeRead | Notice to son, Kailash Vijayvargiya says PM is supreme, party can actBherulal said that the temporary structure that the IMC has allotted them is in the Bhuri Tekri area of Indore. “That’s where they have allotted us, and so that’s where we will go. We lived here for 80 years on rent, so this is a sad day,” he said.By 2 pm, however, he said that no IMC official had turned up for help. “I am waiting for them, but go we must. This house will be demolished now, no matter what happens,” he said. Akash Vijayvargiya, Vijayvargiya assault on mc officials, attack on mc officials, Indore building demolition, Indore news, Indore building, PM Modi on Vijayvargiya son, indian express The Building in Indore for which Akash Vijayvargiya, scuffle with a municipal Officer, and bet him with cricket bat, on Friday, June 28, 2019. Express photo by Dipankar Ghose.Through a thin, crumbling staircase, Bherulal made his way back up to the first floor to check if he had left anything behind. The walls have cracks, and according to the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC), the entire structure is unsafe. Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? But as Bherulal prepared to move away, he was upset that he was leaving a home he had known for 80 years. “I do not want to talk about it. Anyway, it has all become a big tamasha. Now we have to leave,” he said.Houses 52 and 53 on Nagar Nigam road in Indore’s Ganji Compound have been at the epicentre of a national controversy. This house was declared a public safety hazard by the IMC and was scheduled to be demolished on June 26, when MLA Akash Vijayvargiya assaulted an IMC official with a bat. Vijayvargiya had alleged that the officials had misbehaved with women and the one remaining tenant family in the building.READ | Back home, few back Vijayvargiya Jr openly, debate now on ‘action’ Advertising ‘Wrong can’t be defended’: Sumitra Mahajan on Akash Vijayavargiya’s assault on civic officer Unaware of showcause notice by BJP to son, says Kailash Vijayvargiya center_img Written by Dipankar Ghose | Indore | Updated: July 5, 2019 6:59:28 am Related News Best Of Express PM Modi should caution all BJP politicians who assume they have the licence to throw their weight around Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Advertising 0 Comment(s)last_img read more

Somen Mitra quits as Bengal Congress chief party refuses to accept resignation

first_img Bengal Congress chief Somen Mitra quits, party asks him to carry on Both TMC, BJP governments are autocratic: Somen Mitra Advertising Related News Congress resignations, congress leaders resign, Somen Mitra, Bengal Congress president, Bengal Congress president resigns, indian express Somen Mitra has expressed his desire to quit but was stopped by party colleagues from doing so. (Photo: Express Archive)Adding to the list of party leaders quitting party posts, Somen Mitra on Tuesday resigned as West Bengal Congress president, taking responsibility for the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha polls. By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 9, 2019 4:13:03 pm Bengal Congress infighting out in open, several leaders skip rally The spree of resignations in the party has mounted pressure on the elders to follow suit even as the Congress is battling turmoil triggered by Rahul’s resignation as party president, taking responsibility for the Lok Sabha election defeat.Gogoi reportedly met Mitra on Monday and informed him that his resignation has not been accepted.On Sunday, Congress General Secretary Jyotiradiotya Scindia and Mumbai Congress Chief Milind Deora had put in their papers. While Scindia claimed responsibility for the Congress’ loss in parliamentary polls, Deora said he was looking forward to playing a role at the national level to help stabilise the party. Advertising Gaurav Gogoi, who is the AICC in-charge of the party affairs in the state, however, refused to accept Mitra’s resignation and requested him to continue as the party chief in Bengal, PTI reported.“On May 24, during a party meeting on Lok Sabha poll results, Mitra had taken full responsibility for the party’s dismal performance…and has expressed his desire to quit but was stopped by party colleagues from doing so. But after Rahul Gandhi resigned from his post last week, Mitra too sent his resignation to AICC on Sunday,” a press statement said.Read | Spate of resignations in Congress: A look at leaders who have put in their papers 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

Farmer fined Rs 48000 for power theft cops mark enquiry in FIR

first_imgThe PSPCL team had gone there to check power theft cases and was allegedly beaten up by the farmer. The PSPCL employees had staged a dharna that was lifted Friday after farmer Harmohan Singh, who had allegedly attacked the PSPCL team, was fined Rs 48,000 for power theft.“The farmer was found indulging in power theft. He was taking power directly from the main supply line by bypassing the meter installed at his house. He attacked us and tore our register,” said Amandeep Singh, the sub-divisional officer, who along with junior engineer Sukhwinder Singh was attacked at the Bajdike village on July 10.The PSPCL staff had lodged an FIR at Thuliwal police station. Later even the farmer got an FIR lodged against the PSPCL employees. Related News Advertising ‘Attacked’ by farmers, PSPCL faces FIR Gurpreet Singh, SHO Thuliwal said, “We have not canceled any of the FIRs, but have marked inquiry in the case that farmer got lodged against the PSPCL employees. So far no arrest has been made. We raided the house of Harmohan, but he was not there”.Meanwhile, PSPCL employees said that while in urban areas, electricity meters have been installed outside the houses, this practice is not so common in rural areas. In villages, more than 80 per cent meters are still inside the houses. “As the meters are installed inside, chances of power theft are maximum. Moreover, they don’t allow us to enter their houses for meter checking,” said a power corporation employee. Punjab struggles to clear PSPCL’s free farm power dues, waits for meeting with Centre Post Comment(s) Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published: July 14, 2019 8:40:11 am Advertising Amid complaints of power cuts, PSPCL says enough supply but grids overloaded punjab police, pspcl, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, power theft in punjab, barnala punjab, barnala village, india news, Indian Express The PSPCL staff had lodged an FIR at Thuliwal police station. (Representational Image)The Punjab Police has marked an inquiry into an FIR that a farmer has got lodged against the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) employees accusing them of forcibly entering into his house at a village in Barnala.last_img read more

Twopronged approach represents potential strategy for targeting latent reservoir of HIV

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 4 2018With more than 35 million people worldwide living with the virus and nearly 2 million new cases each year, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a major global epidemic. Existing antiretroviral drugs do not cure HIV infection because of the virus’s ability to become dormant, remaining present but silent in immune cells. Known as the latent reservoir, these infected cells – where HIV remains hidden despite antiretroviral therapy (ART) – can become active again at any time.”The latent viral reservoir is the critical barrier for the development of a cure for HIV-1 infection,” said Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). “One hypothesis is that activating these latent reservoir cells may render them more susceptible to destruction.”Related StoriesAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIVNovel method can help clinicians identify individuals most in need of PrEPScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachIn a new study published in Nature today, Barouch and colleagues demonstrate that administering broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAb) designed to target HIV in combination with agents that stimulate the innate immune system delayed viral rebound following discontinuation of ART in monkeys. The findings suggest that this two-pronged approach represents a potential strategy for targeting the viral reservoir.Barouch and colleagues studied 44 rhesus monkeys infected with an HIV-like virus and treated with ART for two and a half years, starting one week after infection. After 96 weeks, the animals were divided into four groups. One group – the control group – received no additional investigational treatments. Additional groups were given only an immune stimulating agent or only the antibodies. A fourth group was given the immune stimulant in combination with the antibodies. All animals continued ART treatment until it was discontinued at week 130, at which point the scientists began monitoring the animals’ blood for signs of the virus’s return, known as viral rebound.As expected, 100 percent of animals in the control group rebounded quickly and with high peak viral loads, as did nearly all of those given only the immune stimulant. But among those given the combination therapy, five of 11 monkeys did not rebound within six months. Moreover, those that did rebound showed much lower peak viral loads compared to the control animals. Animals given only the antibodies demonstrated a detectable but modest delay in rebound.”The combination of the antibodies and the immune stimulant led to optimal killing of HIV-infected cells,” said Barouch, who is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Together, our data suggest a mechanism by which the combination therapy stimulated innate immunity and rendered infected cells more susceptible to elimination. This study provides an initial proof-of-concept showing a potential strategy to target the viral reservoir.”This study is the result of a collaboration among researchers at BIDMC, Harvard Medical School; the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard; University of Massachusetts; Bioqual; and Gilead Sciences. Source:https://www.bidmc.org/about-bidmc/news/2018/10/combination-therapy-targets-latent-reservoir-of-hivlast_img read more

Apple GE Join Forces on Industrial IoT Apps

first_imgApple Developers Closing Information Loop Resistance to Apple Good Approach The industrial sector — which includes manufacturing, logistics and supply chain industries — has the hottest demand for commercial and industrial IoT apps, followed by the energy sector, according to Gartner. There’s also demand in the smart cities, transportation and retail sectors.”Apple is taking the right approach by going after the biggest market segment,” said Gartner research vice president Mark Hung.”They’re offering GE customers enhanced capabilities and a better user experience than they may be used to,” he told TechNewsWorld.Meanwhile, GE hopes it can work some Apple magic in the industrial sector.”GE is expanding its efforts to leverage third-party innovation for its industrial IoT efforts, similar to what it perceives Apple was able to do originally with the App Store,” IHS Markit’s Lucero explained. “It already has an ‘App Showcase’ featuring both apps it provides, as well as apps from partners, such as Tech Mahindra.”The market for industrial IoT apps is still nascent, Lucero noted, with interest in the market exceeding investment in it.”Furthermore, while the iPhone and iPad may work well in some industrial environments, other environments will require ruggedized devices,” he pointed out, “and not be appropriate for Apple’s consumer-grade devices.” Although both Apple and GE benefit from the partnership, Apple may benefit more.”Apple is not always accepted in the enterprise environment and definitely not down into industrial applications,” said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”I know a couple of companies where IT managers are trying to keep Apple from coming into their shops,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This is an opportunity for Apple to become more ingrained as an enterprise-wide solution.”The partnership is likely to have the greatest impact in regions where consumers prefer Apple over other brands, like the United States, McGregor added. It offers a way for Apple to expand the enterprise presence not only of the iPhone and iPad, but also the Mac platform, with GE’s pledge to offer the computers to its global workforce.”Apple certainly wants enterprise adoption of its mobile devices,” noted Sam Lucero, a senior principal analyst at IHS Markit.However, “it is also important to the company that it expand sales of its Macs beyond consumers, creative professionals and educational institutions,” he told TechNewsWorld.center_img The partnership could be a boon for Apple’s army of developers.”The partnership will provide for native integration of iOS into GE industrial solutions,” said Mario Camilien, an engineer with TDI.”It will make it easier for Apple developers to make apps that can interact natively with GE’s industrial strength products solutions,” he told TechNewsWorld.Before Apple developers enter the industrial app market, though, they need to do their homework.”Developers must understand their targeted market,” Camilien said. “There is a need for developers who a have keen understanding of targeted markets.”They also need to realize that any apps developed for the industrial market don’t have the bestseller potential found in the consumer market.”You have to remember that many of these apps are highly customized by the suppliers or customers,” Tirias’ McGregor cautioned. “So, it is difficult to develop an app for the industrial segment with large market appeal.” Apple and General Electric on Wednesday announced a new software development kit for Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. The SDK, which will be available for download next week, enables developers to create applications for Predix, an Internet of Things platform made by GE.”Together, Apple and GE are fundamentally changing how the industrial world works by combining GE’s Predix platform with the power and simplicity of iPhone and iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.”Working together, GE and Apple are giving industrial companies access to powerful apps that help them tap into the predictive data and analytics of Predix right on their iPhone or iPad,” said GE CEO John Flannery. Applications developed with the new SDK could give industrial operators more insight and visibility into the performance of their equipment and operations on an iPhone or iPad.For example, a worker who was notified of a problem by phone would be able to check it out immediately and even collaborate with others on the scene to address the problem. The idea is to close the information loop faster, ultimately increasing cost savings and minimizing unplanned downtime.GE already has some apps in Apple’s App Store, such as its Asset Performance Management Cases app, and it plans to collaborate with Apple to create more apps, not only for internal use but also for its customers.”Apple is known for setting the standard on hardware and simple software interfaces,” said Brian Hoff, director of corporate innovation at Exelon, which uses the APM app. “When you combine this with the power of Predix and all of the data Exelon is aggregating and analyzing, the possibilities for game-changing solutions are endless.”In addition to collaborating with Apple on apps, GE will be standardizing on the iPhone and iPad for its global workforce of 330,000 employees, and promoting Mac computers as a choice for its workers. Meanwhile, Apple will be promoting Predix to its customers and developers as its choice of industrial IoT analytics platform. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

CEASE intervention enhances delivery of smoking cessation assistance for breastfeeding mothers

first_img Source:https://www.massgeneral.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 5 2018A study led by MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) researchers demonstrates that an MGHfC-developed program designed to help the parents of pediatric patients quit smoking can increase the provision of such assistance to breastfeeding mothers. The report published online in Nicotine and Tobacco Research also provides information on how breastfeeding may affect whether or how much a mother currently is smoking.”Mothers who smoke expose infants to secondhand and thirdhand smoke, and toxic substances can be transmitted through breast milk,” says Jeremy Drehmer, MPH, CPH, of the MGHfC Division of General Academic Pediatrics and the Massachusetts General Hospital Tobacco Research and Treatment Center (TRTC), lead author of the report. “This is the first study to show that mothers who smoke while breastfeeding are not being provided evidence-based smoking cessation assistance when visiting their child’s doctor. We found that 35 percent of mothers who have an infant 6 months old or younger and report ever smoking in their lifetime are continuing to smoke while breastfeeding. The study demonstrated that the CEASE intervention enhances the delivery of smoking cessation assistance at pediatric offices to mothers who breastfeed, capitalizing on this important time when mothers who smoke are more likely to quit.”Developed by a team led by Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, of the MGHfC Division of General Academic Pediatrics, director of Pediatric Research in the MGH TRTC, the CEASE (Clinical Effort Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure) program trains pediatric office staff members to regularly ask patients’ parents whether anyone smokes in their homes or cars and to provide assistance – nicotine replacement prescriptions and referrals to state quitlines – to household members who smoke. While studies have shown that mothers are more likely to quit smoking during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, most of those who smoked prior to pregnancy eventually resume. Although evidence has suggested that breastfeeding may be a critical time period to help mothers quit permanently, no previous study has investigated whether pediatric practices were providing smoking cessation assistance to breastfeeding mothers.The current CEASE study was conducted at 10 pediatric practices – two each in the states of Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Indiana. At one practice in each state, staff members were trained in the CEASE intervention to screen patients’ families for household tobacco use, advise parents on keeping their homes and cars smoke-free, and offer assistance to smoking family members in the form of nicotine replacement therapy prescriptions and enrollment in state-sponsored quitlines. The other practices in each state continued to offer usual care, serving as control practices.The study period – April to October 2015 – began approximately two weeks after intervention practice staff had been trained in CEASE practices. During those six months, mothers of patients 1-year-old or younger were asked whether they had and were continuing to breastfeed that child, whether they had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, and for those who had, whether they had smoked at all in the preceding seven days. Two groups of mothers with a history of smoking – those who had smoked during the previous week and those who had quit at some time during the preceding two years, smoked at least one cigarette during that time but had not smoked during the previous week – were invited to enroll in the study.Related StoriesStudy reveals how habitual smoking may contribute to development of hypertensionPre-pregnancy maternal obesity may affect growth of breastfeeding infantsStudy: Smoking does not shorten the length of telomeresEnrolled study participants were asked whether, during their child’s clinical visit, a provider had asked if they smoked, advised them to quit smoking, given them a prescription for nicotine replacement therapy to help quit smoking and enrolled them in a telephone quitline. Of more than 2,000 mothers who had brought a child 1-year-old or younger in for pediatric care, 511 – 245 at intervention practices and 266 at control practices – were eligible for and participated in the enrollment interview.Overall, among mothers who had ever smoked, those who were currently breastfeeding were less likely to currently be smoking than were those who had discontinued breastfeeding or had never breastfed. Currently smoking mothers who were breastfeeding were less likely to smoke every day and smoked fewer cigarettes per day than did those who had discontinued or had never breastfed. More than half of the breastfeeding mothers who currently smoked had tried to quit during the preceding three months, and among mothers who had smoked during the past year, those who were breastfeeding were more likely to have successfully quit during that time.Responses to the enrollment interview revealed that mothers were more likely to have been asked about their smoking – 67 percent vs. 29 percent – and to have been advised to quit – 61 percent vs. 21 percent -at the CEASE practices than the control practices. While 50 percent of breastfeeding mothers who smoked received a nicotine replacement prescription and 28 percent were enrolled in telephone quitlines at the CEASE practices, none of those seen at control practices were offered those assistance methods.”The findings that mothers with a history of smoking were less likely to smoke or smoked less while they were breastfeeding suggest that pairing smoking cessation assistance with breastfeeding is a strategic opportunity to help mothers quit for good, one that is drastically underutilized,” says Drehmer. “We are continuing to develop the CEASE intervention and have partnered with several state health departments – most recently Indiana and North Carolina – to bring it to more practices around the country.”Senior author Winickoff, a professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, adds “Two-thirds of mothers who quit smoking during pregnancy will relapse in the first 6 months after birth. The CEASE intervention offers mothers a real lifeline to creating a smoke-free family. We hope that other states will consider adopting this program.”last_img read more

Study provides new insight into generation of new neurons in adulthood

first_img Source:https://sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/research/news-events/news-article/?languageId=100001&contentId=1603898&disableRedirect=true&returnUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fsahlgrenska.gu.se%2Fforskning%2Faktuellt%2Fnyhet%2F%2Fny-kunskap-kring-nybildning-av-nervceller-i-hjarnan.cid1603898 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 3 2019Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in collaboration with research groups in Finland, Canada, and Slovenia, have discovered a novel and unexpected function of nestin, the best known marker of neural stem cells.In the developing brain, the 3 main cell types, specifically neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, are generated from neural stem cells. In some parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, the brain region involved in learning and memory, new neurons are being added to the existing neuronal circuitry even in the adulthood when severe restriction of neuronal differentiation occurs.Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryUsing mice deficient in nestin, a protein that is a component of the part of the cytoskeleton known as intermediate filaments or nanofilaments, the research team led by Prof. Milos Pekny showed that nestin produced in astrocytes has an important role in inhibiting neuronal differentiation. They linked this regulatory function of nestin to the Notch signaling from astrocytes to neighboring neural stem cells. Thus, surprisingly, nestin does not control the generation of neurons by acting within neural stem cells, but indirectly by regulating the neurogenesis-inhibitory Notch signals that neural stem cells receive from astrocytes, important constituents of the neurogenic niche.Generation and functional integration of new neurons in the adult mammalian hippocampus can lead to the reorganization of the neuronal circuitry, triggering 2 opposing effects: a better formation of new memories and a more pronounced loss of previously acquired memories. And indeed, adult mice lacking nestin have both increased number of newly born neurons in the hippocampus and impaired long-term memory.Intermediate filament proteins, or nanofilament proteins as they are sometimes called, are important stress proteins that in many cell types act as crisis command centers in times of cellular stress and emerge as interesting targets in many diseases – says Milos Pekny. They are also linked to the control of cell differentiation and in the brain or spinal cord their regulation might be a new approach for improving brain plasticity and regeneration responses in situations such as stroke, neurotrauma or neurodegenerative diseases.Our study adds to the list of important functions of astrocytes in the central nervous system, the cells that we increasingly view as the brain of the brain, a system that controls many processes in healthy and diseased brain – explains Ulrika Wilhelmsson.last_img read more

Sinks next to toilets in hospital may be reservoirs for Klebsiella pneumonia

first_img Source:https://www.elsevier.com/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 4 2019Sinks situated next to patient toilets in hospital rooms may be reservoirs for Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC), increasing the risk of dangerous germ transmission, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.The study found a high prevalence of KPC positivity in sink drains located next to toilets. Of the samples tested, 87.0 percent of patient sinks next to toilets tested positive for KPC – in stark comparison to the 21.7 percent of sink drains located closer to the entry door of the room.Related StoriesA bacterium may limit cardiovascular risks of 1 in 2 people, study showsNew research could help design algae that produces fuels and cleanup chemicalsNon-pathogenic bacteria engineered as Trojan Horse to treat tumors from withinKlebsiella is a type of bacteria that can cause a number of healthcare associated infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound infections, or surgical site infections. Increasingly, Klebsiella bacteria have developed antimicrobial resistance, most recently to the class of antibiotics known as carbapenems.In four of five rooms in which the entry-door sink tested positive, the sink near the toilet was also positive, suggesting a potential source for cross-contamination within the same room.Researchers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin performed the study in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) of a 600-bed Wisconsin hospital. The MICU did not have any documented interactions with KPC-producing organisms within the past year.”This study, if validated, could have major implications for infection control,” agree study authors, Blake Buchan, PhD, and Silvia Munoz-Price, MD, PhD. “If sinks next to toilets are indeed a reservoir for KPC, additional interventions – such as modified hand hygiene practices and sink disinfection protocols – may be needed to stem the risk of transmission among healthcare providers and patients alike.”This is the first study to directly examine the relevance of sink proximity to toilets in patient rooms. The researchers point out that while it is not clear how contamination occurs, it is plausible that biofilms growing in pipes shared between toilets and sinks or that flushing generates contaminated drops that reach the sink drains.”The results of this study demonstrate the importance of remaining vigilant to potential areas of cross-contamination,” said 2019 APIC President Karen Hoffmann, RN, MS, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “Maintaining a strong understanding of environmental risks is critical to protecting patient safety, and this is yet another example of how germs can lurk in often the most unexpected of places.”​last_img read more

Nokia profit hit as clients wary of spending on new networks

first_img Headquarters of Finnish telecommunication network company Nokia pictured in Espoo, Finland, Thursday July 26, 2018. Nokia announced it’s second quarter 2018 financial results on Thursday. (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva via AP) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The Finnish maker of telecommunications gear said Thursday that its net profit for the April-June period came in at 144 million euros ($169 million), down from 449 million euros a year earlier. Sales fell 6 percent to 5.3 billion euros.Nokia Corp. expects investments in the new 5G mobile equipment to pick up significantly in the second half of the year. CEO Rajeev Suri said the company was “well-positioned for the coming technology cycle given the strength of our end-to-end portfolio.”Suri noted Nokia has already succeeded in winning early 5G market deals in China and the U.S. Headquarters of Finnish telecommunication network company Nokia pictured in Espoo, Finland, Thursday July 26, 2018. Nokia announced it’s second quarter 2018 financial results on Thursday. (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva via AP) Citation: Nokia profit hit as clients wary of spending on new networks (2018, July 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-nokia-profit-clients-wary-networks.html Nokia shares dive as company warns of tough market Nokia says its second-quarter earnings slumped as clients were not willing yet to increase spending on the faster but more expensive new generation of mobile networks and are seeking price cuts.last_img read more