Distinct origin of ADHD identified In children with history of traumatic brain

first_imgAug 14 2018According to a study in Biological Psychiatry, physical brain injury in children contributes to the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), distinct from genetic risk for the disorder.In the study, youth who reported ADHD symptoms and had a history of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, did not have an increased genetic risk for the disorder. This is in contrast to developmental ADHD, which is caused in part by the small cumulative effects of multiple ADHD-related genes.”This article suggests that there are at least two forms of ADHD. One that is an expression of a risk inherited within families and the other which develops after traumatic brain injury,” said John Krystal, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “The latter is of particular interest in light of the growing evidence that contact sports and combat are associated with higher rates of traumatic brain injury than we previously recognized,” he added.Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussion”Mild traumatic brain injury (which includes concussion) is very common in adolescents; epidemiological data show that approximately 1 in 5 report a previous mild traumatic brain injury,” said senior author Anne Wheeler, PhD, of SickKids Research Institute and University of Toronto, Canada. This rate is alarming considering that as many as 50 percent of children develop ADHD symptoms soon after the injury. Although symptoms resolve over time in most children, others convert to a diagnosis of ADHD.In the study, first author Sonja Stojanovski, a doctoral student in Dr. Wheeler’s laboratory, and colleagues compared the origins of ADHD symptoms in 418 youth with a history of TBI and 3,193 with no TBI, all of whom were between 8 and 22 years old. Genetic risk score was associated with increased ADHD symptom severity, but only in youth without TBI. There was no association in those with TBI, meaning that genetic predisposition does not appear to make children more vulnerable to developing ADHD after brain injury.The researchers also looked for hallmark abnormalities in brain structure associated with the disorder. The association between volumes of ADHD-related brain structures and ADHD symptom severity was similar between the two groups. However, an analysis of the connections bridging the two brain hemispheres revealed opposite relationships with ADHD symptoms between the groups. The structural findings indicate the presence of both similar and distinct neural mechanisms that cause ADHD after TBI.”When thinking about treating youth with ADHD it is important to understand what the underlying causes are and how they may differ from person to person to move towards a personalized medicine approach,” said Dr. Wheeler. According to the findings of this study, this personalized approach may be based on whether a patient has experienced TBI. Source:https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/study-identifies-distinct-origin-of-adhd-in-children-with-history-of-brain-injurylast_img read more

CartiHeal and LSU Health successfully enroll first two patients in AgiliC IDE

first_img Source:https://www.lsuhsc.edu/newsroom/First%20US%20Patients%20Receive%20AGILI-C%E2%84%A2%20Implants.html Aug 17 2018CartiHeal, developer of Agili-C, a proprietary implant for the treatment of joint surface lesions, and two LSU Health New Orleans orthopedic surgeons announced today the successful enrollment of the first two US patients in the Agili-C IDE pivotal study. The first two cases in the United States were performed by Principle Investigator Dr. Vinod Dasa, Associate Professor and Director of Orthopedic Research, and Dr. Michael Hartman, Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, on August 14, 2018.The first patient who was randomized to receive an Agili-C implant in the US is a 53-year-old male. He suffered from a chronic painful cartilage lesion in the trochlea’s center and received a single implant in a mini-arthrotomy approach.Related StoriesBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Gene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene””Currently we lack good treatment options for patients who experience persistent knee pain due to cartilage problems and are too young for knee replacement” said Dr. Dasa. “The Agili-C implantation was smooth without complications. We plan to enroll more patients in the upcoming weeks and hope that this lDE trial finds that the Agili-C implant alleviates pain in these patients, allowing them to return to an active lifestyle.”In Europe and Israel, 80 patients have already been enrolled and treated in the study, which will include a minimum of 250 patients in US and OUS centers, aiming for an FDA PMA application. The trial’s objective is to demonstrate the superiority of the Agili-C implant over surgical standard of care (microfracture and debridement) for the treatment of cartilage or osteochondral defects, in both arthritic knees and knees without degenerative changes.Nir Altschuler, Cartiheal’s founder & CEO said, “We would like to congratulate Dr. Dasa and Dr. Hartman for enrolling the first two US patients. This is a significant milestone for our company and for our study. We are very pleased with the enrollment rate to date, and plan to open more US sites in the near future.”CartiHeal’s cell-free, off-the-shelf implant is CE marked for use in cartilage and osteochondral defects. Agili-C was implanted in a series of trials conducted in leading centers in Europe and Israel, in over 400 patients with cartilage lesions in the knee, ankle and great toe. In these trials, the implant was used to treat a broad spectrum of cartilage lesions, from single focal lesions to multiple and large defects in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.last_img read more

Research project explores how obesity is linked to social class

first_imgAug 20 2018WHILE the rich get thinner, the poorest pile on the pounds. What accounts for this “social gradient”, which results in obesity being most prevalent among the least well-off? The pleasure – tinged with guilt and anxiety – that they take in overeating is an explanation explored by a University of Huddersfield professor and his colleagues.The term “discordant pleasure” has been coined by the team. For less affluent people, “food pleasure is affordable, accessible, immediate and reliable in a way that other pleasures are not,” states an article in the journal Social Science and Medicine that is one of the outputs of the ongoing research. But, at the same time, overeating is “accompanied by feelings of frustration, sadness and shame as they struggled to lose weight”.Now Professor Paul Bissell, who has headed the research project, alongside Dr Christine Smith, Dr Joanna Blackburn and Dr Marian Peacock, is calling for health professionals to lessen the stigma that has grown around obesity.”You need to get over the shame and humiliation before you can do anything about it,” he says.Professor Bissell and his colleagues carried out a series of in-depth interviews with 45 people in South Yorkshire, who were both obese and materially-deprived and spoke frankly about the dilemmas they faced.The project originated, said Professor Bissell – who is Dean of the University of Huddersfield’s School of Human and Health Sciences – when he and his collaborators wanted to find reasons for the “social gradient” that has seen a shift from the richest to the poorest being the most obese members of society.Related StoriesMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver diseaseNovel program in England’s third largest city helps reduce childhood obesityMaternal obesity may negatively affect children’s lung developmentThe interviews led to deeper insights into some of the anxieties, sadnesses and shaming experiences of participants, added Professor Bissell, who recently delivered a keynote lecture, titled The missing discourse of pleasure in obesity science research: sociological reflections, at the latest conference organised by the University of Copenhagen’s Lifestyle, Obesity and Metabolic Research Group.”Twenty or 30 years ago, we would be more forgiving about people who are obese. Now, there is a discourse that health is entirely your own responsibility and we also view obesity in that light,” said Professor Bissell.”There is now much more fat shaming, stigma and hatred around obesity. If you ally that with social class, then it is people who are poor and obese who can be publically laughed at. Many of our participants experience extremely high levels of shame and humiliation because they are obese. And one of the things they do to manage their unhappiness is to eat more.”So they are stuck in a cycle, and it is tougher for poorer people to cope with the stigma of obesity and indeed cope with losing weight, because of their material circumstances and the fact that they have got less cultural capital,” continued Professor Bissell.The researchers have also linked the issue of obesity to neo-liberal economic policies, alleging that these have led to greater inequality and to welfare cuts.”If we did something about the social gradient in income and wealth, we would also be able to do something meaningful about the social gradient in obesity,” said Professor Bissell. Source:https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2018/august/obesity-and-its-links-with-social-class/ ​last_img read more

Targeted and populationbased strategies can lead to better hypertension control

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 4 2018Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the leading risk factor for heart disease, and improvements in both targeted and population-based strategies for blood pressure control can lead to better prevention and control of hypertension, according to a review paper published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This paper is part of an eight-part health promotion series where each paper will focus on a different risk factor for cardiovascular disease.The prevalence of hypertension globally is high and continues to increase. High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of stroke, ischemic heart disease, heart failure and noncardiac vascular disease, as well as other conditions.”Hypertension is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and social determinants,” said Robert M. Carey, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and lead author of the paper. “While genetic predisposition is nonmodifiable and conveys lifelong cardiovascular risk, the risk for hypertension is modifiable and largely preventable due to a strong influence by key environmental and lifestyle factors.”Modifiable lifestyle factors, which are gradually introduced in childhood and early adult life, include being overweight/obesity, unhealthy diet, high sodium and low potassium intake, insufficient physical activity and consumption of alcohol. Many adults do not change their lifestyle after being diagnosed with hypertension and sustaining any changes that are made can be difficult.Social determinants such as race and socioeconomic status are also risk factors for hypertension. High blood pressure is more prevalent in black and Hispanic populations as well as poorer areas and certain geographical areas such as the southeastern U.S.According to the authors, prevention and control of hypertension can be achieved through targeted and population-based strategies. The targeted approach is the traditional strategy used in health care practice and seeks to achieve a clinically important reduction in blood pressure for individual patients. The population-based strategy aims to achieve small reductions that are applied to the entire population, resulting in a small downward shift in the entire blood pressure distribution. Studies have shown that the population-based approach may be better at preventing cardiovascular disease compared with the targeted strategy.Related StoriesBlood pressure medication associated with increased risk of diverticulosisMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorVitamin D deficiency at birth increases risk of high blood pressure in childrenFactors preventing successful hypertension control include inaccurate blood pressure measurement and diagnosis of hypertension, lack of hypertension awareness and access to health care, and proper hypertension treatment and control. Low rates of medication adherence is also a common problem.”Challenges to the prevention, detection, awareness and management of hypertension will require a multipronged approach directed not only to high-risk populations, but also to communities, schools, worksites and the food industry,” Carey said.In the review, the authors discuss the Chronic Care Model, a framework for redesigning health care and addressing deficiencies in the care of chronic conditions such as hypertension, which may offer strategies for overcoming barriers at the health system, physician, patient and community levels. It is a collaborative partnership among the patient, provider and health system that incorporates a multilevel approach for control of hypertension. The model includes six domains–decision support, self-management support, delivery design, information systems, community resources and health care systems–which have been shown to lead to activated patients, responsive health care teams, improved health services and treatment outcomes, and cost-effectiveness. It also recognizes a collaborative partnership between the patient, provider and the care team. Community groups and organizations also play a significant role in providing health care information and support to various populations. Connected health, such as telemedicine and telephone and mobile health interventions can also help deliver improved care to a of greater number of patients with hypertension.”Remarkable progress has been made in the understanding of blood pressure as a risk factor for heart disease and improving approaches to the prevention and treatment of hypertension,” said Carey. “However, further research is still necessary to optimize care for these patients.” Source:https://www.acc.org/last_img read more

Hawkings final quest saving quantum theory from black holes

first_imgStephen Hawking, betting man Caltech Archives Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Adrian ChoMar. 20, 2018 , 5:45 PM Email Hawking’s final quest: saving quantum theory from black holes When Albert Einstein died in 1955, he had spent decades on a lonely, quixotic quest: to derive a theory of everything that would unify gravity and electromagnetism—even though physicists discovered new nuclear forces as he worked. Stephen Hawking, the great British physicist who died last week at age 76, also worked until the end. But he focused on perhaps the most important problem in his area of physics, one his own work had posed: How do black holes preserve information encoded in the material that falls into them?“He was clearly working on this big loose end, which really represents a profound crisis for physics,” says Steven Giddings, a quantum physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In a final bid to solve it, Hawking and two colleagues proposed a way for information to end up scribbled on a black hole’s inscrutable verge, although others are skeptical.A black hole is the gravitational field that remains when a star collapses under its own gravity to an infinitesimal point. Within a certain distance from the point—at the black hole’s event horizon—gravity grows so strong that not even light can escape. Or so theorists once assumed. Thanks to quantum uncertainty, the vacuum roils with particle-antiparticle pairs flitting in and out of existence too fast to detect directly. At the event horizon, Hawking realized in 1974, one particle in a pair can fall into the black hole while the other escapes. As the black hole radiates such particles, it loses energy and mass until it evaporates completely. Such “Hawking radiation” is too feeble to observe, but few scientists doubt its existence. 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 (*) With John Preskill (left) and Kip Thorne (middle), Stephen Hawking (right) wrestled with a black hole paradox.  But Hawking’s signature insight led to a troubling conclusion. Imagine throwing a dictionary into a black hole that then evaporates. Because the emerging Hawking radiation is presumably random, the information in the dictionary shouldn’t come back out with it. Such information loss would wreck quantum mechanics, which requires that the “wave function” that describes any system—be it the dictionary or the universe—evolve in a predictable way. That can’t happen if information is lost. If allowed for black holes, such information loss would spread through quantum physics like a cancer, researchers say, spoiling things like energy conservation.Hawking thought at first that the problem would be solved by changing quantum theory. In 1997, he and Kip Thorne, a gravitational theorist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, entered a wager with John Preskill, also a Caltech theorist. Hawking and Thorne stuck to their position that black holes destroy information. By 2004, however, Hawking changed his mind and conceded the bet. He gave Preskill a baseball encyclopedia—from which arcane information could be recovered at will. Hawking spent much of his later years trying to figure out how a black hole could regurgitate information—although he also worked on theories of what triggered the big bang. Three years ago he began his last work on black holes with Malcolm Perry, a theoretical physicist and Hawking’s colleague at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and Andrew Strominger, a theorist at Harvard University. “It was only 2 weeks ago that I saw him,” Perry says. “He certainly wasn’t in the best shape, but his mind was clearly focused on the problem.”In a pair of recent papers, the scientists attack a pillar of black hole theory called the no-hair theorem. It is widely interpreted to mean that just three parameters—mass, spin, and electric charge, the last presumably zero—suffice to describe a black hole. Like bald pates, black holes of similar masses and spins then have no details—no “hair”—to distinguish them, as American theorist John Archibald Wheeler quipped. That sameness implies a black hole keeps no record of whether, say, it swallowed the play King Lear or the movie King Kong.But strictly speaking, Strominger says, the theorem states only that two similar black holes can be “transformed” into each other by a handful of mathematical relations called diffeomorphisms, which relabel the coordinates of space-time. An infinite family of other diffeomorphisms has been neglected for decades, he says. They imply that a black hole’s event horizon might be bedecked with an infinity of charges, a bit like electric charges. The charges could distinguish one black hole from another and encode infalling information, Strominger says. “We’re cautiously optimistic about this idea,” he says. “Stephen was very optimistic.”However, the charges may not encode enough information or may not do so in a unique way, Giddings cautions. One theorist who requested anonymity out of respect for Hawking says his various solutions for the black hole information problem pale next to his best work. Hawking’s latest work also misses a bigger issue, the theorist says. If a black hole preserves information, he argues, then an unavoidable conclusion of Einstein’s theory of gravity—that there’s no way to tell if you’re falling into a huge black hole—must be wrong.Others credit Hawking for working on important problems in spite of the degenerative nerve disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, that led to his use of a wheelchair and eventually rendered him able to speak only through a computerized voice synthesizer. Ironically, Hawking’s disability may have helped him avoid the isolation that enveloped Einstein, says Marika Taylor, a theoretical physicist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, who from 1995 to 1998 was Hawking’s graduate student. Hawking had to rely on collaborators to flesh out his ideas, she says, and so remained deeply connected to his peers. “Without stepping on the toes of his actual family,” Taylor says, “his physics family was incredibly important to him.” By Daniel CleryFamously playful, Stephen Hawking left a trail of light-hearted bets about serious scientific questions. In the best known, he wagered that information falling into a black hole is lost forever; he later changed his mind and conceded the bet. That wasn’t his first loss. In a high-profile bet in the early 1970s, he claimed that black holes themselves—the subject of so much of his life’s work—did not exist.At the time, the best candidate for a black hole was Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest x-ray sources in the sky, centered on a supergiant star. Theorists suspected an unseen orbiting companion was sucking in material from the star, creating a superhot accretion disk blazing with x-rays. Astronomers could calculate the companion’s orbit and infer its minimum mass: six times that of our sun. Theory suggested it had to be a black hole, but other, remote possibilities remained.Hawking bet another theorist, Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, that Cygnus X-1 was not a black hole, with the prize being a magazine subscription. Hawking explained in his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes that the bet was a sort of “insurance policy” for him. “I have done a lot of work on black holes, and it would all be wasted if it turned out that black holes do not exist. But in that case, I would have the consolation of winning my bet, which would bring me 4 years of the magazine Private Eye,” he wrote.But a few years later, even though astronomers were still not certain that Cygnus X-1 was a black hole, Hawking conceded. Thorne wrote in his 1994 book Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy, “Late one night in June 1990 … Stephen and an entourage of family, nurses, and friends broke into my office at Caltech, found the framed bet, and wrote a concessionary note on it with validation by Stephen’s thumbprint.”That loss did little to dent Hawking’s enthusiasm for a wager. Just a year later, he bet that a theoretical object called a naked singularity can’t exist. A singularity is a point where the gravitational field becomes infinite. Every black hole should contain one, hiding behind its event horizon. Thorne and his Caltech colleague John Preskill believed an exposed singularity, without an event horizon, could also exist; Hawking considered that “an anathema … prohibited by the laws of classical physics.” The loser would pay up in clothing, to cover nakedness.In 1997, Hawking conceded the bet “on a technicality,” Preskill says. The same day he framed a new version: that a naked singularity can never form under “generic” conditions. That bet remains unresolved.A few years later, Hawking entered the game again with a contrarian bet. The long-sought Higgs boson was hailed as the last missing piece of the Standard Model of particle physics. Hawking was not keen to see it discovered. He worried that it would simply cement the Standard Model without pointing the way to a more coherent theory. As a result, in the early 2000s he bet Gordon Kane, a particle physicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, that the particle would not be found.When the Higgs was confirmed in July 2012, Hawking hailed it as an “important result” and said Peter Higgs, who had proposed the particle 48 years earlier, should receive a Nobel Prize (as he did, the next year). But, Hawking said, “It’s a pity in a way because the greatest advances in physics have come from experiments that gave results we didn’t expect.” He then added, “It seems I have just lost $100.”last_img read more

New artificial nerves could transform prosthetics

first_img Prosthetics may soon take on a whole new feel. That’s because researchers have created a new type of artificial nerve that can sense touch, process information, and communicate with other nerves much like those in our own bodies do. Future versions could add sensors to track changes in texture, position, and different types of pressure, leading to potentially dramatic improvements in how people with artificial limbs—and someday robots—sense and interact with their environments.“It’s a pretty nice advance,” says Robert Shepherd, an organic electronics expert at Cornell University. Not only are the soft, flexible, organic materials used to make the artificial nerve ideal for integrating with pliable human tissue, but they are also relatively cheap to manufacture in large arrays, Shepherd says.Modern prosthetics are already impressive: Some allow amputees to control arm movement with just their thoughts; others have pressure sensors in the fingertips that help wearers control their grip without the need to constantly monitor progress with their eyes. But our natural sense of touch is far more complex, integrating thousands of sensors that track different types of pressure, such as soft and forceful touch, along with the ability to sense heat and changes in position. This vast amount of information is ferried by a network that passes signals through local clusters of nerves to the spinal cord and ultimately the brain. Only when the signals combine to become strong enough do they make it up the next link in the chain. New artificial nerves could transform prosthetics Email Now, researchers led by chemist Zhenan Bao at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, have constructed an artificial sensory nerve that works in much the same way. Made of flexible organic components, the nerve consists of three parts. First, a series of dozens of sensors pick up on pressure cues. Pressing on one of these sensors causes an increase in voltage between two electrodes. This change is then picked up by a second device called a ring oscillator, which converts voltage changes into a string of electrical pulses. These pulses, and those from other pressure sensor/ring oscillator combos, are fed into a third device called a synaptic transistor, which sends out a series of electrical pulses in patterns that match those produced by biological neurons.Bao and her colleagues used their setup to detect the motion of a small rod moving in different directions across their pressure sensors, as well as identify Braille characters. What’s more, they managed to connect their artificial neuron to a biological counterpart. The researchers detached a leg from a cockroach and inserted an electrode from the artificial neuron to a neuron in the roach leg; signals coming from the artificial neuron caused muscles in the leg to contract, they report today in Science.Because organic electronics like this are inexpensive to make, the approach should allow scientists to integrate large numbers of artificial nerves that could pick up on multiple types of sensory information, Shepherd says. Such a system could provide far more sensory information to future prosthetics wearers, helping them better control their new appendages. It could also give future robots a greater ability to interact with their ever-changing environments—something vital for performing complex tasks, such as caring for the elderly. By Robert F. ServiceMay. 31, 2018 , 2:25 PMcenter_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 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! Countrylast_img read more

Why does AI stink at certain video games Researchers made one play

first_img By Matthew HutsonAug. 17, 2018 , 1:30 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Why does AI stink at certain video games? Researchers made one play Ms. Pac-Man to find out STOCKHOLM—Artificial intelligence (AI) can kick butt in games such as Pong and Space Invaders, but it comes off like a common n00b when playing Ms. Pac-Man (pictured). Now, by making AI play six classic arcade games, researchers are closer to figuring out why thinking machines excel at some games and stink at others, they reported last month at the International Conference on Machine Learning here.The team developed a new system for visualizing how Atari-playing AIs operate. They chose Atari because the games are relatively simple and a frequent focus for researchers developing “reinforcement learning” algorithms, AIs that learn behaviors through trial and error. An AI “sees” the screen (as an input of ones and zeroes) and at first randomly responds with commands for “left,” “right,” “fire,” and so on, slowly shaping its strategy as it receives points for certain actions. In Space Invaders, the AI moves a ship back and forth across the bottom of a screen while shooting descending aliens and dodging their projectiles.After thousands of practice games, an AI can best human performance at Space Invaders. To understand its strategy, the team blurred little sections of the screen, obscuring the ship or aliens or projectiles or shields or empty space. If blurring a section threw off an AI, the AI must have been paying a lot of attention to that area of the screen. The system then creates “saliency maps,” videos where the most critical screen areas are highlighted with colored blobs so that an observer can see where the game-playing AI is focusing. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country ArcadeImages/Alamy Stock Photo center_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The researchers knew that an AI playing Space Invaders appeared to aim its gun at incoming aliens, but they didn’t know whether it was spraying gunfire at clusters of aliens or aiming at individual targets. The saliency maps revealed that the AI tracks specific aliens, the team from Oregon State University in Corvallis reported. (Check out the red blob in the center-left of the video below.) You might not care about an AI’s strategies at Atari games, but the system may someday be used to highlight how other algorithms see and act on the world. What does an autonomous car focus on when it changes lanes? How does a home care robot search for a pill bottle?The saliency maps also help debug algorithms. In one example, you can see that an AI playing Ms. Pac-Man—in which a yellow character must eats pellets in a maze while avoiding ghosts—fails because it doesn’t pay attention to the ghosts. If a car or robot doesn’t do its job well, you want to know what it’s missing so you can train it better. How to teach a robot to fear ghosts is another problem entirely.last_img read more

This dizzying labyrinth will host next years party for maths Nobel prize

first_img Email Just two of the 17 wallpaper groups had the spirals he was looking for—those with mirror symmetry, so that they head off in opposite directions wherever they meet. Of those two, one had an underlying lattice of hexagons, the other of squares. Munthe-Kaas chose the hexagons to make the maze “more fun to move within.” In additions, he says hexagons have a more organic feel—think of honeycombs or the shells of tortoises.  The walls of the maze are made of yew trees, including several potted yews that can be moved around to change the arrangement of the maze. And because the labyrinth is so close to the Bergen airport, the striking design can be seen from the air.The unique garden, which opened last weekend, will host part of next year’s celebration for the Abel Prize, often called the “Nobel” of math. Visitors will be invited to solve a puzzle based on clues scattered throughout the maze.For Munthe-Kaas, who coincidentally serves as the current chair of the Abel Prize Committee, the project was great fun—and inspiring. The labyrinth is, he hopes, “something that will remain for hundreds of years.” This dizzying labyrinth will host next year’s party for math’s ‘Nobel’ prize Arne Ristesund 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 (*) When mathematician Hans Munthe-Kaas of the University of Bergen in Norway was asked to help design a new botanical garden for his school, he had absolutely no idea what he could contribute. One year later, he has devised a wonder: a math-based labyrinth (above) that will feature in next year’s celebration for the winner of the Abel Prize.Called the Archimedes Labyrinth, the maze occupies 800 square meters in Adiabata, a rain garden that takes its name from the adiabatic process that occurs when moist sea air is pushed over mountains.To design the labyrinth, Munthe-Kaas started with spirals. He took particular inspiration from the Archimedes spiral, a curve that appears throughout the natural world, including in fiddlehead ferns. He next looked to the symmetrical, infinitely repeating, 2D patterns known as “wallpaper groups,” which can be seen in mosaics common in ancient and medieval buildings, like Spain’s Alhambra. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Allyn JacksonOct. 9, 2018 , 1:10 PMlast_img read more

A world without clouds Hardly clear climate scientists say

first_img Email Several years ago, a project comparing six leading eddy simulations looked at how just a 2°C temperature rise influenced low ocean clouds. Two dynamics emerged that caused the clouds to thin, exacerbating warming. First, higher temperatures allowed more dry air to penetrate thin clouds from above, preventing them from thickening and reflecting more of the sun’s energy. Second, increased CO2 levels trapped heat near the cloud tops, preventing their cooling. Because such cooling drives the turbulence that forms clouds, the effect could impede cloud formation, fueling further warming. If emissions continued, it seemed plausible that these low clouds would melt away.The frustration with how poorly global models handle clouds was a primary reason that Tapio Schneider, a climate dynamicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena and the new study’s lead author, began construction of a new climate model last year. Dubbed the Climate Machine, it would use artificial intelligence to learn from eddy simulations and satellite observations to improve its rendering of clouds. Doing so first meant building, with his team, their own eddy simulation, one that could dynamically interact, or couple, with the ocean, allowing the simulated clouds to spur warming and vice versa.The new study, using an earlier eddy simulation built before the Climate Machine, shows the same feedbacks that others had previously identified. But Schneider ran it for much higher CO2 concentrations than most had done. As levels reached 1200 parts per million—three times what they are today, and a number that could be reached next century if no effort is made to stop climate change—the low cloud decks rapidly withered away.The model results themselves look solid, if not particularly novel. Several cloud scientists, however, object to the next step Schneider took: extrapolating the results of his eddy simulation, which represents only one spot that seems prone to cloud loss, to every area with similar stratocumulus cloud decks. Doing so resulted in all of these clouds disappearing nearly at once, allowing much more of the sun’s energy to suddenly be absorbed by the dark ocean. It’s a stretch to think the clouds and ocean would link together in such a simple way, says Bjorn Stevens, a climate scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. “This coupling is done in a manner which does not give one confidence in the result.”There’s no doubt these feedbacks will be in play. Past work has shown it, says Chris Bretherton, a cloud scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. “But they’d all happen at different times in different concentrations of CO2 in different places. That would smooth it all out.” There wouldn’t be a sudden tipping point where all the clouds disappeared. It would happen gradually, subject to the complex response of the ocean and atmosphere. “That’s where I take issue with this,” Bretherton says. “I think the tipping point is not right.”Indeed, the new model is so simple, lacking things such as the noise of weather, that it can only simulate rapid transitions, adds Stephen Klein, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. “Because of those simplifications, I don’t find the ‘tipping point’ nature of their work to be believable.”Schneider stands by his interpretation. “I looked for all possible reasons to be wrong but ran out of them,” he says. The main implication, he adds, is that climate models need to be better equipped to handle clouds. “We shouldn’t be complacent about trusting models to predict the future into the 22nd century. There could be other things that models don’t quite capture.”Bretherton says more cloud-resolving models are on their way. “Within the next few years, we will have global models that will do what [Schneider’s] does in a more defensible way.” Bretherton is the midst of developing such a model himself, which also relies on eddy simulations to power its simulations. To his surprise, he added, initial runs seemed to suppress the warming feedbacks for these clouds more than expected.The Caltech climate model, meanwhile, will take another few years to come together. But it’s no coincidence that Schneider began to push to develop the model once, 2 years ago, he witnessed his eddy simulation eliminating clouds.It will be an interesting test to see whether that tendency extends to the Climate Machine he’s developing, adds Matthew Huber, a paleoclimatologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The global model might catch this type of dynamic—or it could show that the climate system overall somehow buffers such “tippiness” at smaller scales out of its system. “That is indeed the only reason to develop this new model,” he says, “to predict climate surprises.”*Correction, 5 March, 10:10 a.m.: An earlier version of this story stated that the Climate Machine will be powered by the eddy simulation used in this study. The model will instead use a new, purpose-built eddy code. 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 Could the sheets of gray clouds that hang low over the ocean disappear suddenly in a warming world? Yes, if you believe a study published yesterday in Nature Geoscience—and the amplifying media coverage of it. If atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels triple—an unlikely, but not implausible scenario given past rates of human emissions—these stratocumulus clouds could vanish in a frightening feedback loop. Fewer of the cooling clouds would mean a warmer Earth, which in turn would mean fewer clouds, leading to an 8°C jump in warming—a staggering, world-altering change.But many climate scientists who research clouds are pushing back against the study, arguing that its analysis of one small patch of atmosphere does not apply to the entire globe. It’s a “simple model [that] essentially has a knob with two settings,” says Joel Norris, a cloud scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. “But it is very likely that the Earth has more knobs than that.”As sophisticated as they are, climate models have a hard time dealing with clouds. Condensing moisture and turbulent air form clouds at scales smaller than models can directly simulate, so instead they use approximations for this behavior. To understand clouds better, scientists have instead developed high-resolution eddy simulations, which re-create the life of small parcels of the atmosphere, including key physics of cloud formation that climate models can’t handle directly. By Paul VoosenFeb. 26, 2019 , 10:40 AM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Stocktrek Images, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo Low sheets of marine clouds Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A world without clouds? Hardly clear, climate scientists saylast_img read more

Astronomers spy an iron planet stripped of its crust around a burnedout

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Astronomers have discovered a small planet around a white dwarf, which in this artist’s conception is plowing through a disk of dust and leaving a trail of gas in its wake. By Daniel CleryApr. 4, 2019 , 2:00 PM Astronomers spy an iron planet stripped of its crust around a burned-out star In a glimpse of what may be in store for our own solar system, astronomers have discovered what appear to be the shattered remains of a planet orbiting a white dwarf, the burned-out ember of a star like our sun. If the team’s calculations are correct, the orbiting object may be the iron core of a small planet that had its outer layers ripped off by the white dwarf’s intense gravity.Although astronomers know of thousands of exoplanets in the Milky Way, they struggle to see anything much smaller than Earth. The new object is by far the smallest, more of an asteroid than a planet. Its discovery also provides a clue into the fate of planets as their stars age. When sunlike stars run out of hydrogen fuel and start to burn elements like helium and carbon, they swell up into red giants and consume any planets that orbit too close. Those that survive witness what can happen next when the red giant’s fuel is exhausted: It collapses into a small and dense white dwarf, which cools over trillions of years. Its intense gravity can rip apart any surviving planets that stray too close, consuming some material and leaving the rest in a swirling disk of dust.Finding the planetesimal, 400 light-years from Earth, wasn’t easy. A team of astronomers, led by Christopher Manser of the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K., had been watching this particular white dwarf for 15 years. They gained some observing time on the world’s largest optical telescope, the 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands, in 2017 and 2018. The white dwarf, known as SDSS J122859.93+104032.9, or SDSS J1228+1040 to its friends, is one of only a handful of white dwarfs with a surrounding disk of both gas and debris, and the team wanted to study minute-by-minute changes in the gas. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Most exoplanets can’t be seen directly, but are found when they cast a shadow crossing the face of their star or when they tug their star back and forth with the force of their gravity. Manser’s team used a similarly indirect method. They picked apart the light coming from the disk to see its spectrum of frequencies and zoomed in on three bright spectral lines produced by calcium ions, which act as a flag for the gas circulating in the disk.  As the gas—including the calcium ions—zips around the white dwarf, its light gets Doppler shifted to slightly higher frequencies when moving toward Earth and lower frequencies when moving away. The effect also spreads out the normally narrow calcium emission lines into broad bands with peaks at each end—shaped like a hammock slung between two poles.Manser says his team had expected to see such broadened lines with perhaps some random fluctuations in the peaks, caused by pieces of debris colliding and producing flares of gas. Instead they saw that the two peaks in each calcium line rose and fell in opposition to each other every 2 hours like clockwork. “It was a really exciting discovery,” Manser says.The researchers give several possible explanations for the metronomic peaks, including a large planet in orbit and vortices in the dust disk. But writing in Science today, they reject all but one: that this is the signature of a planetesimal orbiting the star. They argue that the calcium lines are not from the planetesimal itself, but from a cloud of gas that surrounds it, either because it is being battered by disk debris or because radiation from the star causes it to emit gas. As that gas cloud follows the planetesimal in its orbit, it boosts one emission peak while moving toward Earth and, an hour later, the other peak while moving away.“It’s amazing to me that they can deduce the existence of an object so small,” says astronomer Ben Zuckerman of the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the work. But he and astronomer Mukremin Kilic of the University of Oklahoma in Norman agree that the team’s explanation is the likeliest one. “Is it a planetesimal?” Kilic asks. “Given the information available, that’s probably the best conclusion.”The result is also surprising because the object is so close to its Earth-size star. If it was in our solar system, it would be orbiting inside the surface of the sun. Any object that close to a white dwarf would normally be torn apart. The researchers calculate that if the planetesimal were simply held together by its own gravity, the entire thing would need to be the density of iron, making it similar to the metallic asteroids found in our solar system. If it had differentiated layers to give it strength, it could be less dense and as large as 720 kilometers across, on a par with the dwarf planet Ceres. Whatever the object was originally like, the researchers say, it must have had its outer rocky layers ripped away by the white dwarf, leaving only its metallic core.The fact that this object was found around one of the very few white dwarfs that has both dust and gas in its disk suggests gas could be “a smoking gun for planetesimals,” Manser says. So the team is hoping to look at other white dwarfs that have gassy disks in search of more orbiting survivors.Meanwhile, the fate of SDSS J1228+1040 and its companion gives us a sobering picture of our solar system’s future. It is thought that when the sun swells into a red giant, it will consume Mercury, Venus, and Earth. The other planets may move outward and survive, but those movements could cause gravitational jostling that ejects planets entirely or sends them spiraling inward to their doom. Not a pretty thought, but we do have about 6 billion years to contemplate our fate. University of Warwick/Mark Garlick last_img read more

Missouri couple experiences Happy Holbrook

first_imgMissouri couple experiences Happy Holbrook Photo courtesy of Navajo County Historical SocietyApril was Happy Holbrook Month and the Holbrook Visitors Center and Museum shared the event with Scot and Jennifer Stuerke of Kansas City, Mo. The couple stopped in Holbrook on their way home from a vacation to take in the Petrified Forest National Park and sections of Route 66. Presenting them with a Happy pillow for their vehicle is Navajo County Historical Society Staff Member Gene Dixon (left). May 8, 2019center_img RelatedSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img read more

Eway toll collection to continue activists remind CM of promise

first_img Pune-Mumbai Expressway: 17 yrs after road opened, basic safety measures still missing Related News Mumbai-Pune Expressway: Accidents on the ‘death stretch’ over the years Post Comment(s) EXPLAINEDMajor poll issueThe toll issue had generated a lot of heat in the run-up to the 2014 state assembly elections. BJP made it a big issue by promising to do away with several toll booths, including the expressway booth. It is likely to be raked up again during the forthcoming state elections which are due in less than six months.From 2004, Mhaiskar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (MIPL) was collecting the toll. Its contract is coming to an end next month. MIPL’s parent company, IRB, had won the toll contract for Rs 918 crore in 2004. Vivek Velenkar, who heads the Sajag Nagrik Manch, said, “This is beyond imagination. The Fadnavis government came to power after repeatedly promising the people of Maharashtra that they would do away with toll system…”According to the Manch, which has sent a letter to the CM reminding him of his promise, “the present contractor has earned mega profit. We had brought this to the notice of the CM. The government turned a blind eye to this. Because of this, we had to file a PIL in the Bombay High Court on whose hearing is underway.”The Manch said, “As per the contract, the toll operator was supposed to get Rs 2,869 crore by August 2019. It got the amount by November 2016. In last three years, it has earned an additional over Rs 1,500 crore.” mumbai, pune, mumbai pune expressway, accident, accident on mumbai pune expressway, compensation, compensation money, mumbai news, indian express news On July 8, MSRDC published an advertisement on its website, inviting tenders for appointing a private party for collection of toll for three months or till appointment of a new agency. (File)THE MAHARASHTRA State Road Development Corporation has invited tenders for appointing a private party for collection of toll on Pune-Mumbai Expressway, which means the toll collection system on the expressway is set to continue despite severe opposition from citizens and activists. The decision has angered activists in Pune, who have reminded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of his promise to scrap the toll system on the expressway and other roads of the state.center_img Advertising Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | Published: July 17, 2019 8:14:46 am On July 8, MSRDC published an advertisement on its website, inviting tenders for appointing a private party for collection of toll for three months or till appointment of a new agency. The advertisement does not state for how many years MSRDC intends to contract the private party. Sources in MSRDC said they are planning to appoint the agency for 15 years or even more than that. Mumbai-Pune Expressway: MSRDC to organise intermittent blocks today last_img read more

Birla group patriarch Basant Kumar Birla passes away

first_img LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Birla is survived by his daughters Jayshree Mohta and Manjushree Khaitan. His son Aditya Vikram Birla died in 1995. Kumar Mangalam Birla, the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, is the grandson of BK Birla.He also authored several books, including an autobiography titled ‘Svantah Sukhaya’. Top News Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Born on 12 January 1921, the nonagenarian industrialist was the chairman of Century Textiles, Krishnarpan Charity Trust, BK Birla Institute of Engineering and Technology (BKBIET) and various educational trusts and institutes.He was the youngest son of industrialist and philanthropist Ghanshyam Das Birla. He had been active in business since the age of 15 and subsequently became the chairman of Kesoram Industries.READ | Who was Basant Kumar Birla?Birla specifically concentrated on sectors like cotton, viscose, polyester and nylon yarns, refractory, paper, shipping, tyrecord, transparent paper, spun pipe, cement, tea, coffee, cardamom, chemicals, plywood, MDF Board. BK Birla, Basant Kumar Birla, Basant Kumar Birla dead, BK Birla passes away, indian express Basant Kumar Birla passed away at the age of 98. (Express Archive)Birla group patriarch Basant Kumar Birla passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday. He was 98. Post Comment(s) By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2019 8:37:48 pm P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising Advertisinglast_img read more

Mukul Roy claims 107 West Bengal MLAs from CPM Congress and TMC

first_img 31 Comment(s) Advertising New induction only in Kolkata: Mukul Roy after defectors return to TMC Mukul Roy: NIA should probe Sandeshkhali clash Related News Mukul Roy, Bengal bjp, bengal mlas, trinamool congress, congress, bjp, cpm, mla defection, indian express Mukul Roy, himself a TMC turncoat, is believed to be instrumental in the outstanding victory of the BJP in Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections. (Photo: Express Archive)In a sensational claim, Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy Saturday said that a total of 107 state MLAs from CPM, Congress and TMC would soon join the saffron party. “107 West Bengal MLAs from CPM, Congress and TMC will join BJP. We have their list prepared and they are in contact with us,” Roy was quoted as saying by ANI. Advertising Ever since the BJP’s sweeping victory in the Lok Sabha polls, in which the party also made deep inroads into West Bengal, a number of Trinamool Congress MLAs and councillors had defected to the saffron party.Last month, TMC MLAs from Noapara and Bongaon, Sunil Singh and Biswajit Das, joined the BJP. On May 28, the BJP welcomed into its fold three Bengal MLAs, including Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu Roy, and over 60 councillors, a majority from the TMC.Besides Roy, the MLAs who had joined BJP were Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya, who had crossed over to the TMC from Congress, and, Debendra Nath Roy of CPM. A day later, another TMC MLA Monirul Islam joined the saffron party. No intention to topple Mamata Banerjee government: Mukul Roy However, five TMC councillors from Kanchrapara municipality, who had defected to BJP on May 28, returned to the ruling party Thursday. Nine more returned on Saturday.Read | Two TMC MLAs, over 50 councillors join BJP: Is Mamata’s party under saffron threat?Mukul Roy, himself a TMC turncoat, is believed to be instrumental in the outstanding victory of the BJP in Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections. Once considered to be the second-in-command of the Trinamool Congress, Roy joined the BJP in 2017 after a fallout with party supremo Mamata Banerjee. By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 13, 2019 10:12:35 pmlast_img read more

Cabinet nod to Bill to constitute new commission to replace MCI

first_img Undergraduate medical students to study ethics, communication from 2019-20 Advertising By Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 18, 2019 1:28:41 am Advertising Related News Implant Files: New licensing terms for medical devices, govt looks to Singapore The CCEA also approved construction of a new 81.7 km railway line between Sahjanwa and Dohrighat in Uttar Pradesh at a cost of Rs 1319.75 crore; the doubling of the 142.97 km line New Bongaingaon to Agthori in Assam at a cost of Rs 2042.51 crore; and construction of a third line between Allahabad and Mughalsarai (150 km) for Rs 2649.44 crore. The work on these railway lines will produce 90 to 100 lakh mandays of work, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said during the Cabinet briefing.The other Bills to get the cabinet’s nod on Wednesday include Dam Safety Bill to establish a National Dam Safety Authority as a regulator for 5600 dams in the country. The Bill has provisions for surveillance, inspection and repair of the dams and to set up standardised dam safety procedures across the country. A Companies (Amendment) Bill to replace an ordinance was also approved.The cabinet also decided that the new National Institutes of Design set up in Kurukshetra, Jorhat, Bhopal and Amaravati will be given status of Institutes of National Importance after amending the NID Act. A Bill to repeal 58 obsolete laws also got the Cabinet’s approval. The Bill proposes that NEET and common counselling will be applicable to all medical educational institutions, including AIIMS. The NMC Bill had been introduced in Lok Sabha some years ago when the provision of a standalone exit examination and the proposal for a bridge course that would allow Ayush doctors to practice allopathy had faced opposition. The Bill was sent to the standing committee after which the exit examination was changed to the final MBBS examination and the bridge course provision was dropped altogether.The proposed National Medical Commission will replace the Medical Council of India, which has been mired in corruption charges for years. The Parliament recently passed a Bill to replace the ordinance for a Board of Governors to supercede the MCI. The NMC will have four autonomous boards for undergraduate education, postgraduate education, medical assessment and rating, and ethics and registration.The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has also approved construction a 2880-MW Dibang Multipurpose Project in Arunachal Pradesh at the cost of Rs 1600 crore. Once completed, it will be the country’s highest dam at 278 m and also the largest hydroelectric project. Students learning science of medicine but not the art of healing: Major General Madhuri Kanitkar Parliament Monsoon Session, harsh vardhan, National Medical Commission, NMC Bill, Lok Sabha, Medical Council Amendment Bill, Indian express Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Piyush Goyal during a Cabinet briefing, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Medical Commission Bill which provides for the constitution of National Medical Commission that will replace the Medical Council of India as the apex medical education regulator. The Bill allows for just one medical entrance test across the country, a single exit exam (the final MBBS exam) that will work as a licentiate examination, a screening test for foreign medical graduates and entrance test for admission to postgraduate programmes. Under the Bill, the fees and charges of 50 per cent of the total seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities will regulated. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

EU Gives Nod to Big Brother Biometrics Database

first_imgEven if the CIR can’t be penetrated from the outside, which many security experts would find unlikely, it still could be compromised by insiders.”Edward Snowden was not a one-off,” observed Robert E. Cattanach, a partner with Dorsey Dorsey & Whitney, a law firm in Minneapolis.”There will be people who access this information who will be deeply troubled by it, and they will do something to demonstrate the potential for misuse,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s naive to think this will remain secure.”It also may be naive to believe that law enforcement, once in possession of the trove of data in the CIR, won’t exploit it to the fullest.”Law enforcement isn’t going to exercise any restraint on the use of data if that data is available,” Cattanach said. “We pretend we’re not going to do invasive things with data, but if the data is there, it’s going to be used.” Opaque Security Another concern raised about the CIR is that of mission creep.All EU states will have access to the CIR, but not all the states are as punctilious about respecting civil rights as others, Toohey explained.”This database could be used for surveillance of political enemies,” he said, “or lead to civil rights violations of the sort that we saw in the Nixon era” in the U.S.The European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, also raised a red flag about mission creep.”A central database — in contrast to decentralised databases — implicitly increases the risk of abuse and more easily rouses desires to use the system beyond the purposes for which it was originally intended,” he wrote.While the powers behind the CIR are selling the gigantic database a simple stitching together of existing data and biometrics, the CIR is much more than that, maintained Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch, a nonprofit group that supports research into justice, civil liberties, accountability and openness.”If there has been one clear lesson since 11 September 2001, it is that function creep is the name of the game,” he wrote in an analysis of CIR.”From the late 1970s onwards, each new stage of the technological revolution has been justified on the grounds that there is nothing new, it is just making life easier for law enforcement and border control agencies to get access to the information they need to do their job more efficiently,” Bunyan noted. “Whereas, the reality is that at each stage databases become ever more intrusive as security demands cumulatively diminish freedoms and rights.” The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved two measures that would integrate the region’s fragmented law enforcement and home affairs databases into a centralized one that would include biometric information on some 350 million EU and non-EU citizens.It approved creation of the new system, the Common Identity Repository, on two votes last week. One was to merge systems related to visas and borders, approved 511-123, with nine abstentions. The other was to merge systems with law enforcement, judicial, migration, and asylum information, approved 510-130, also with nine abstentions.Following the votes, the European Parliament issued a statement explaining that the new measures will make the information systems used for EU security, border and migration management interoperable. Allowing data to be exchanged between the systems will facilitate the tasks of border guards, migration officers, police officers and judicial authorities by providing them with more systematic and faster access to various EU security and border-control information systems. In some ways, the measure setting up the CIR invites abuse of the data. For example, the European Data Protection Supervisor, in an opinion on the new information framework supporting CIR, noted that provisions for “reasonable grounds” to access non-law enforcement data systems had been removed from the law.”The requirement to have reasonable grounds is a fundamental prerequisite of any access by law enforcement authorities to non-law enforcement systems,” he maintained. “This is indeed an essential safeguard against possible ‘fishing expeditions.'”Given the EU’s tough stances on privacy as found in the General Data Protection Regulation and “Right To Be Forgotten” court decision, it would seem that the creation of the CIR, with its potential to savage privacy, is incongruous.Not so, maintained Melinda McLellan, privacy and cybersecurity partner at New York City law firm BakerHostetler.”EU law has always recognized exceptions to restrictions on data processing and to data protection obligations for national security and public safety purposes,” she told TechNewsWorld.Article 2 of the GDPR states that it does not apply to processing personal data “by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, including the safeguarding against and the prevention of threats to public security,” McLellan noted.”Using biometric information for law enforcement purposes may represent an expansion in scope from a technological point of view, but legally the EU has always permitted this kind of personal data processing in the interest of national security,” she said. Insider Threats The new mega database created by the measure provides for the following: A European search portal allowing officials to make simultaneous searches, rather than searching each system individually;A shared biometric matching service for cross-matching fingerprints and facial images from several systems;A common identity repository providing biographical information such as dates of birth and passport numbers for more reliable identification; andA multiple identity detector to detect whether a person is registered under multiple identities in different databases. Fishing Expeditions Mission Creep 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. The European Parliament assured citizens that “proper safeguards will be in place to protect fundamental rights and access to data,” although no details of those safeguards were disclosed.”We’re expected to trust the security measures that the government puts on the data and database,” said Timothy Toohey, an attorney with Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles.”There will be protections, but the national security concerns behind creating these databases means there’s going to be a lack of transparency about what those security measures are,” he told TechNewsWorld.last_img read more

Two major studies on canine cancers may provide clues on human cancers

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 12 2018Two studies into deadly cancers in dogs are now underway, offered through the newly formed Clinical Trials Office at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. Dogs with spontaneous osteosarcoma, as well as dogs with mast cell tumors and solid tumors, may be eligible for enrollment.Each year, nearly 500 companion animals participate in voluntary clinical trials at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, with 30-40 studies enrolling patients at a given time. While several of these trials serve to gather information and test therapies for diseases and conditions found specifically in animals, over a dozen current trials are focused on diseases that occur in both animals and humans.”Dogs share many physiological similarities to humans, are exposed to the same environment and get many of the same diseases, like osteosarcoma, a malignant cancer of bone that occurs in both dogs and adolescents,” said Cheryl London, DVM, Ph.D., ACVIM (Oncology), director of the Clinical Trials Office. “Studying these naturally-occurring diseases in dogs and other companion animals–a growing field known as comparative medicine–helps provide researchers and medical professionals with important information to potentially advance development of therapies for treatment in both species,” added London,Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerAI-enabled device detects if targeted chemotherapy is workingWith a greater than 80% percent failure rate for cancer drug trials in humans, the opportunity to learn more about effectiveness of treatments and possible side effects in companion animals could more quickly and cost-effectively advance human drugs to market, and help companion animals along the way, said London.Participation in clinical trials at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center is voluntary for pet owners and typically includes coverage of all medical costs directly related to the trial.More information on two of the trials in canine cancer is available below:Canine OsteosarcomaThis clinical trial evaluates the effectiveness of new immunotherapy combinations for dogs with osteosarcoma that has spread to the lungs. The goal of this study is to find drug combinations that either stop the growth of tumor spread or that work to shrink the spread by stimulating the immune system to control the cancer. More information on the trial and eligibility is availableNew Chemotherapy Treatment for Solid Tumors (ART 207)This clinical trial evaluates the effectiveness of a new formulation of an old chemotherapy drug, paclitaxel, in dogs with a variety of different cancers including mast cell tumors, sarcomas and carcinomas. This new drug formulation is designed to selectively target the tumor cells and avoid normal tissues to hopefully reduce side effects while increasing chemotherapy delivery to the tumor. More information on the trial and eligibility is available online.Source: https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/new-clinical-trials-seek-treatments-canine-cancers-may-offer-clues-human-cancerslast_img read more

Stroke mimics and chameleons can complicate accurate diagnoses

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 26 2018Stroke specialists often see conditions known as stroke “mimics” and “chameleons” that can complicate accurate diagnoses, Loyola Medicine neurologists report in the November 2018 issue of Neuroimaging Clinics of North America.Stroke mimics are medical conditions that look like strokes, while chameleons are strokes that look like other conditions.Diagnostic accuracy “may be complicated by the abundance of both ‘stroke mimics’ and ‘stroke chameleons,'” neurologists Shannon Hextrum, MD, and José Biller, MD, wrote. Dr. Biller is professor and chair of the department of neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Dr. Hextrum completed a neurology residency at Loyola.Drs. Biller and Hextrum examined mimics and chameleons associated with ischemic strokes, which account for about 85 percent of all strokes. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots that block blood flow to an area of the brain. (The other main type of stroke, hemorrhagic, is caused by bleeding in the brain.)Permanent damage from an ischemic stroke can be minimized by quickly restoring blood flow. This can be done by administering the clot-busting IV drug tPA or by performing a minimally invasive surgery to remove the blood clot. But such treatments can do more harm than good if a patient is incorrectly diagnosed.The exact prevalence of stroke mimics is unknown. According to previous studies, anywhere from 1.4 to 38 percent of patients admitted for suspected ischemic strokes actually have other conditions.For example, Drs. Hextrum and Biller cite the case of a 79-year-old woman who experienced sudden weakness on the right side of her body and difficulty speaking – classic signs of a stroke. But a CT angiogram showed no evidence of stroke, and she later was correctly diagnosed as having viral encephalitis.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryIn another stroke mimic, a 60-year-old man had difficulty walking, speaking and reading. He also had vision problems that were preceded by a headache. The patient earlier had received radiation for a brain tumor. Rather than a stroke, he was experiencing SMART syndrome (stroke-like migraine attacks after radiation therapy).A wide range of other conditions also can mimic ischemic strokes, including seizures, sepsis, low blood sugar, dizziness, vertigo, drug and alcohol toxicity and multiple sclerosis.In treating an ischemic stroke, it’s critically important to restore blood flow within the first few hours before brain cells die. But fewer than 10 percent of ischemic stroke patients receive a clot-busting drug and fewer still undergo surgery to remove the clot. One reason may be the prevalence of stroke chameleons.Stroke chameleons with non-specific symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and decreased mental activity, pose a particular challenge when triaging patients in the emergency room. But often, such patients also have neurologic deficits that can indicate a stroke.Accurately diagnosing an ischemic stroke requires a detailed history and neurologic examination, which should not be rushed in an effort to speed administration of the clot-busting drug, Drs. Hextrum and Biller wrote.They conclude: “Attention to subtleties of the neurologic examination and listening closely to patients remain critical for both diagnostic accuracy and development of sound clinical judgment.” Source:http://www.luhs.org/last_img read more

Researchers identify treatable mechanism in patients with schizophrenia

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 4 2019For reasons that are unclear, schizophrenia patients have fewer connections between the neurons in the brain. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Massachusetts General Hospital, USA, have now succeeded in creating human cell models that show that there is an excessive degradation of connections in the brain of these patients, and they have been able to link this to a genetic risk variant for the disease. They have also been able to show that the antibiotic minocycline inhibits the degradation and that treatment in adolescence can be linked to a reduced risk of developing schizophrenia. The study is being published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.In the late teenage years, a normal extensive pruning of the number of connections between nerve cells, so-called synapses, takes place through microglia (the brain’s immune cells) selectively degrading less desirable connections. The process, referred to as synaptic pruning, is of great importance for the development of functional neural networks. Many individuals succumb to schizophrenia in their late teens, a period of intensive pruning in the brain.The researchers behind the study have created iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) from schizophrenia patients and have reprogrammed them into neurons (brain cells). Using a proprietary method, they have then created a model of the microglia synaptic pruning in a test tube. Comparisons with matched control subjects indicated a clear increase in the pruning of synapses in schizophrenia patients.”We also conducted experiments where we combined nerve cells from healthy individuals and diseased microglia, and vice versa, and could conclude that the excessive pruning in the disease models was due to both a disrupted function of microglia and aberrations in the synapses,” says Jessica Gracias, doctoral student at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, and co-author of the study.Increased degradation of synapseRelated StoriesTexting helps improve medication adherence, health outcomes for patients with schizophreniaNew machine-learning method more precisely quantifies a known indicator for psychosisStudy: Many patients with schizophrenia and epilepsy die before reaching the age of fiftyThe researchers also studied how different gene variants of the C4 gene (complement factor 4) affect the pruning. One variant of the complement factor proved to bind more strongly to synapses and result in the increased degradation of synapses. This is consistent with previous genetic findings indicating that this specific C4 risk variant increases the risk of schizophrenia.”The use of human cells from patients made it possible to study the risk variants directly because mice lack these specified variants of the C4 gene,” says Carl Sellgren Majkowitz, research group leader at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, and senior consultant at Region Stockholm, who led the research project together with Roy Perlis at Massachusetts General Hospital.Antibiotic proved to inhibit the synaptic pruningFinally, microglia in the cell models were also “treated” with an antibiotic, minocycline, which proved to inhibit the synaptic pruning. By then using electronic data records from more than 20,000 individuals who had received either minocycline or another antibiotic during adolescence, for treatment of acne, they were able to demonstrate a clear protective effect from minocycline treatment in relation to schizophrenia onset.The researchers hope that the findings will lead to more effective treatments for schizophrenia, which can then also be initiated early on in the event of an elevated genetic risk, for example. Source:https://ki.se/en/news/treatable-mechanism-identified-in-patients-with-schizophrenialast_img read more

MSU professor wins prestigious award for brain research

first_img Source:http://www.montana.edu/news/18508/msu-professor-wins-prestigious-award-from-national-science-foundation Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 15 2019Some electrical engineers design the giant dynamos and transmission lines that power society. Others apply their prowess to electronics in cars and televisions, or — still smaller — the microprocessors in phones and watches.Montana State University’s Anja Kunze, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, studies the tiny electrochemical signals that occur between individual brain cells to produce thought and awareness.”We are actually very versatile,” Kunze said of electrical engineers.Her research, which involves using precisely applied magnetic forces to gently massage brain cells in the lab, could one day lead to effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain conditions. And it is already opening up new avenues for brain research.Now, backed by a grant of more than $500,000 from the National Science Foundation, Kunze’s team can be even more ambitious, she said. The CAREER grant is considered the premier award for early-career researchers.”It’s very exciting to see this link between electrical engineering and biology,” said Todd Kaiser, head of the electrical and computer engineering department in the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering. “It really expands the research horizon.”According to Kunze, her CAREER-funded research aims to tease apart the interrelated mechanisms that brain cells called neurons use to communicate with each other. Scientists know that neurons function through combinations of mechanical force, electrical charge and biochemical transfer, but what’s not fully understood is how those pieces fit together, Kunze said.In Kunze’s lab, the researchers — which include multiple undergraduate students — infuse neurons with a liquid solution containing pieces of iron so small that they are measured by the nanometer, roughly 100,000 times smaller than humans can see with the unaided eye. By then applying precise magnetic forces, Kunze’s team can stretch the tentacled cells much the way they would grow in a healthy brain.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsThe magnetic stretching further mimics natural brain activity by opening tiny gates in the cell wall. Normally, the gates are controlled by neighboring brain cells exerting mechanical force or electrical charge. “It’s like we’re tricking the cell,” Kunze said.The opened gates allow an influx of electrically charged calcium ions, which triggers yet more neuron signaling. By first injecting the neurons with a special dye that becomes fluorescent in the presence of calcium, the researchers can see when cells have been stimulated by the magnetic stretching.Furthermore, by applying the magnetic forces to some neurons and then seeing which others light up, “it gives us a very precise picture of how the cells are connected to each other,” Kunze said.So far, Kunze’s team has demonstrated this process for relatively small networks of neurons over periods of seconds or minutes. The next step is to track the interactions within larger neuron networks for hours or even days.One major question is whether stimulating a small number of neurons with the nanoparticles has cascading effects throughout the neural network, Kunze said.That would have implications for applying the science to treating Alzheimer’s, which is linked to calcium levels in the brain. Possibly, stimulating a small portion of the brain for a short period would be enough to jump-start the calcium signal and bring brain activity back to normal, Kunze said.Eventually, the research could lead to medical devices that are less invasive than the surgically implanted electrical stimulation tools used to treat Parkinson’s disease, another degenerative brain condition, according to Kunze. Patients might ingest the magnetic nanoparticles and then an MRI or a similar device could be used to massage the neurons and stimulate healthy brain regeneration.”The questions we are asking are very fundamental, and the tools we’re developing are prototypes,” Kunze said. “But they are showing the proof of concept.”last_img read more