ERAS pathway helps enhance a mothers recovery after cesarean delivery

first_imgAmong the updated guidelines, one important aspect is safely limiting opioid intake, which will help provide infants with optimal breast milk and avoid the potential of subsequent opioid abuse. Drinking before and after surgery will also give the mother the nutrients needed for the operation and subsequent recovery.As part of the ERAS process, nurses on the care team begin communicating with mothers scheduled for a cesarean delivery about recovery prior to her day of admission. From there, they then follow the mother through the process of admission, preoperative preparation, surgery and recovery, all while implementing the ERAS guidelines to optimize the mother’s recovery.”We’re really proud that we are able to bring this ERAS pathway to the UAB and Greater Birmingham community, giving mothers more recovery options,” Powell said. “We believe that, as we continue to implement this pathway, mothers undergoing cesarean delivery will benefit from optimized recoveries with less opioid use. This is clearly better for both mothers and their babies.” Aug 3 2018A new enhanced recovery after surgery process -; also known as ERAS -; has been developed and implemented at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to help enhance a mother’s recovery after a cesarean delivery, one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States.A cesarean delivery is classified as major surgery with a much longer recovery than after a vaginal delivery because a mother’s abdomen has been surgically opened to safely remove the baby. A part of a combined effort by UAB anesthesiologists, maternal fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, neonatologists, pharmacists, and labor and delivery nurses, this new ERAS pathway will use evidence-based methods to help mothers recover after a cesarean section in a more optimized manner and gets them back to their baseline as soon as possible.Related StoriesBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryBariatric surgery should be offered to all patients who would benefitTackling high sugar content in baby food”With roughly 25 percent of deliveries at UAB being cesarean births, we knew that we needed to take a constructive look at the recovery process to make sure all mothers were receiving optimal care and that our team was helping them maximize their healing,” said Mark Powell, M.D., assistant professor in UAB’s Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine. “Many people underestimate the recovery needed after a cesarean delivery and here at UAB, we are confident these new guidelines will benefit both mother and baby.”Updated guidelines to the ERAS pathway include: Beverage intake before surgery to keep mother hydrated, including water and clear sports drinks Walking after surgery to encourage healing to incision site and improve body function Incorporation of non-opioid medications for pain management Early eating and drinking post-operation to enable mother to regain strengthcenter_img Source:https://www.uab.edu/news/health/item/9646-eras-pathway-helps-cesarean-section-mothers-reduce-recovery-time-and-improve-outcomeslast_img read more

African Bird Cries Wolf to Steal Food

Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Fork-tailed drongos, glossy black African songbirds with ruby-colored eyes, are the avian kingdom’s masters of deception. They mimic the alarm calls of other species to scare animals away and then swipe their dupes’ dinner. But like the boy who cried wolf, drongos can raise the alarm once too often. Now, scientists have discovered that when one false alarm no longer works, the birds switch to another species’ warning cry, a tactic that usually does the trick.“The findings are astounding,” says John Marzluff, a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who was not involved in the work. “Drongos are exceedingly deceptive; their vocabularies are immense; and they match their deception to both the target animal and [its] past response. This level of sophistication is incredible.”Since 2008, Tom Flower, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cape Town, has followed drongos in the Kuruman River Reserve in the Kalahari Desert. He’s habituated and banded about 200 of the robin-sized birds, and, using food rewards, has trained individuals to come to him when he calls. After getting its snack, the drongo quickly returns to its natural behavior—catching insects and following other bird species or meerkats—while Flower tags along. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Drongos also keep an eye out for raptors and other predators. When they spot one, they utter metallic alarm cries. Meerkats and pied babblers, a highly social bird, pay attention to the drongos and dash for cover when the drongos raise an alarm—just as they do when one of their own calls out a warning. Studies have shown that having drongos around benefits animals of other species, which don’t have to be as vigilant and can spend more time foraging. But there’s a trade-off: The drongos’ cries aren’t always honest. When a meerkat has caught a fat grub or gecko, a drongo is apt to change from trustworthy sentinel to wily deceiver. In a previous study, Flower showed that the birds get as much as 23% of their daily food by emitting a false alarm and then stealing their victim’s meal. The meerkat that’s just caught a gecko, for instance, is likely to drop it and run for the nearest burrow when it hears a drongo’s alarm—whether true or false.Drongos also imitate the alarm calls of numerous other species. Altogether, the birds can make as many as 51 different warning cries. Six are those that drongos themselves use to announce the presence of various types of predators; the other 45 are the alarms of other species. And all the species—including the meerkats and babblers—know and pay attention to one another’s warning calls, Flower says. “They’re all eavesdropping on each other. It’s like they speak each other’s language.”But what benefit do drongos get by imitating the alarm calls of other animals? To answer that question, Flower and his colleagues carried out a series of playback experiments using pied babblers as the target species. The results showed that after hearing a drongo imitate a babbler’s or starling’s alarm cry, the babblers stayed away longer from a foraging area than when they heard the drongo’s warning call. The babblers also ignored alarm calls after they’d heard one type three times in a row. But when the third call was a warning that they’d not previously heard, they took flight. The experiments show that “it pays for drongos to have large alarm repertoires, to use their target’s alarm call, and to vary their calls,” Flower says.Which is exactly what the birds do. By following 42 marked wild drongos, he and his colleagues observed 151 occasions when the birds repeatedly attempted to steal food from the same victim. In 74 of these attempts, the birds changed the type of alarm they were using. They were most likely to do so, the scientists found, when one type of false call didn’t do the trick. Moreover, when a drongo changed its call, it was more likely to succeed in stealing its target’s food, the team reports online today in Science.“The drongos are producing their calls tactically. They’re changing their calls in response to the feedback they get from their target,” Flower says. “And that’s how they’re able to overcome the problem of crying wolf too often.”“The birds’ tactical deception must reflect sophisticated cognitive abilities,” says Karl Berg, an ornithologist at the University of Texas, Brownsville, who was not involved in the work. Indeed, Flower and his colleagues note that some might be inclined to see the birds’ talent as suggestive of something like “theory of mind”—the ability to intuit what others are thinking, a skill that has definitively been found only in humans.But Dorothy Cheney, a primatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, says that “simpler explanations,” such as associative learning, “are more likely” to explain “what the drongos are thinking when they produce their deceptive calls.” For example, she notes, it’s possible that drongos have learned two behavioral contingencies: “One, targets flee when they hear alarm calls,” and “Two … switch alarm call type if the previous call failed” to send the victim fleeing. At the very least, the birds seem to have an understanding of cause and effect, notes Flower, who is now working on a new study to try to nail down what goes on in a drongo’s head. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email read more

How to make a planet just like Earth

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 SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—Only a small number of worlds around other stars look anything like Earth: roughly the same size and at the right distance from their star for liquid water to be present. But are these Earth-like exoplanets really made from the same sort of stuff—a rocky surface, an iron core, and just a dash of water? A study presented here today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society suggests that exoplanets, at least up to 1.6 times the mass of Earth, follow pretty much the same recipe as our home. So if we’re looking for life out there, we can probably ignore anything bigger than that.NASA’s Kepler satellite has detected the greatest number of exoplanets. It detects them by the dip in brightness they cause when they pass in front of their parent star. This decrease allows researchers to deduce the diameter of the planet but not its mass. Measuring mass requires an entirely different technique. As an exoplanet orbits its star, its own gravity makes the star wobble back and forth very slightly—the heavier the planet, the greater the wobble. Astronomers can measure the wobble by measuring the frequency of a star’s light very accurately with an instrument called a spectrograph. When the star is wobbling away from Earth its light is stretched out and reduced in frequency; when it moves toward us, the light is bunched up and its frequency increases.Astronomers have been studying exoplanets this way for years, but a team led by astronomer Courtney Dressing of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, used a new spectrograph called HARPS-North, attached to Italy’s Galileo National Telescope in the Canary Islands, to measure the mass of a group of small exoplanets—which produce smaller wobbles—more accurately than ever before. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The team calculated the masses of 10 known exoplanets with diameters that are less than 2.7 times that of Earth. Plotting the mass results against the planets’ diameters, the researchers found that the five smallest exoplanets—all less than 1.6 times Earth’s diameter—lay on the curve typical of a largely rocky planet with an iron core, the same curve that Earth and Venus sit on. “This suggests that they have the same recipe as Earth,” Dressing told a press conference here today.In contrast, the five larger exoplanets turned out to have significantly lower densities, suggesting that they contained more lighter material, or “fluffy stuff” as Dressing termed it, that could include water, hydrogen, or helium. There are outliers among low mass worlds that also have low density, but “to find truly Earth-like worlds, we should focus on planets less than 1.6 times the size of Earth, because those are the rocky worlds,” Dressing said.Astronomer Debra Fischer of Yale University told the conference that the results “make sense.” The fact that “they lie along a line is extremely suggestive. Not a lot of things are falling off the line,” she says. Astronomer Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge agrees. “It’s great to see such accurate measurement of exoplanets, and the potential that high-accuracy planetary masses and radii can actually tell us something about planet formation is promising,” she says. Other studies have also suggested that 1.6 times the size of Earth may be a dividing line between rocky and more gassy planets. “It’s good to see yet another line of evidence that about 1.6 Earth radii is the cut off,” Seager says.For those that want to cook up their own Earth-like planet, Dressing proposed a recipe:Makes one small model planetIngredients:1 cup magnesium1 cup silicon2 cups iron2 cups oxygen1/2 teaspoon aluminum1/2 teaspoon nickel1/2 teaspoon calcium1/4 teaspoon sulfurDash of water delivered by asteroidsBlend well in a large bowl, shape into a round ball with your hands, and place neatly in a habitable zone area around a young star. Do not overmix. Heat until mixture becomes a white hot glowing ball. Bake for a few million years. Cool until color changes from white to yellow to red and a golden-brown crust forms. It should not give off light anymore. Season with a dash of water and organic compounds. It will shrink a bit as steam escapes and clouds and oceans form. Stand back and wait a few more million years to see what happens. If you are lucky, a thin frosting of life may appear on the surface of your new world.*Correction, 6 January, 5:24 p.m.: This item originally stated “the heavier the star, the greater the wobble” in reference to how the mass of exoplanets is calculated. It should be “the heavier the planet, the greater the wobble.” We have updated the item to correct this.last_img read more

Heres what happens when you combine science with hip hop comic books

first_imgBut if you want to know the history of life, you gotta hear it.McFadden, who had the audience rap with him, says students are always interested in music and watching YouTube videos. “As a teacher you’re always trying to connect with students,” says McFadden, who says he has a lot of love and respect for hip hop himself. “If that’s common ground for you, that’s the common ground.”In another presentation, Judy Diamond, a curator at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, explained how she has led a project that used comics to engage kids in science. In the book World of Viruses, which exists both in print and in an interactive incarnation, students meet viruses portrayed as a buxom vixen (human papilloma), thuggy prisoners (foot and mouth), and a green monster (emiliania huxleyi). In one sketch, different viruses flag down taxis.“OK virus, where to?” asks the cabbie. The feet, says one. The hands, says another. The genitals, says a third. “OK, mind if I tag along and watch?” the cabbie asks.A third presenter, Julius Diaz Panoriñgan, described a game called zombie tag that he uses to teach science at 826LA, a nonprofit that offers after-school writing and tutoring lessons in Los Angeles, California. Students run around and try to put stickers on each other to spread a “zombie” pathogen. “Some students naturally figured out that, ‘Hey, if I isolate myself I’m not going to get infected with zombie-ism—or measles or whatever,’ ” Panoriñgan says. He adds that there are a lot of connections between zombies and the science, technology, engineering, and math agenda. “By the end of it, students just want to do it more and more.”At the session, audience members had a chance to write hip hop songs about the definition of life, which several performed at the end, including one who broke it down like this:Cells are a molecule, live in every thangWhen you think about what goes on, it is just insane.The session ended with some mad props to all the presenters.Check out our full coverage of the AAAS annual meeting.What message would you send into space? Tell us on Twitter and Vine with #msgtospace! SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA—Remember when the first life was cells in soup? Now they’re everywhere from my brain to the chicken coop. Those were lyrics a middle school science teacher threw down at “Comics, Zombies, and Hip-Hop,“ a session today at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes Science). The teacher, Tom McFadden of the Nueva School in Hillsborough, California, explained how he builds enthusiasm for science by having his students write hip hop lyrics and then make videos. In a packed room at the meeting, he danced through an evolution song his students wrote, “This is How Life Builds from 3.5 ’Til,”—a send up of hip hop act Souls of Mischief’s “’93 ’Til Infinity.” McFadden chanted:So there’s this is little theory, some people fear it, 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! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emaillast_img read more

Video How AntMan ants got this Cheerio home

first_imgWhen out of their nest, workers of the longhorn crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) band together toward a common goal: to bring food back to the nest. But even when a few of these long-legged, silver-haired ants (of Ant-Man fame) team up to carry a large item—such as a wasp—they often lose their way home. That’s where a wandering ant comes in, according to a study published online today in Nature Communications. This wanderer from the same nest joins the group to steer it in the right direction—it pulls and others comply (as seen in the video above of ants carrying a Cheerio). But the new recruit eventually forgets the way home as well; perhaps the size and smell of the food impede navigation. That’s when another free-roaming ant comes to the band’s rescue and leads it toward the nest. Over time—and a handful of wandering ants—the group finds its way home.(Video credit: O. Feinerman et. al, Nature Communications, 2015)last_img read more

Bonobos need reading glasses too

first_imgGlasses may be trendy now, but for centuries they were the stodgy accessories of the elderly worn only for failing eyes. Now, new research suggests that aging bonobos might also benefit from a pair of specs—not for reading, but for grooming. Many older bonobos groom their partners at arm’s length instead of just centimeters away, in the same way that older humans often hold newspapers farther out to read. This made researchers think the apes might also be losing their close-up vision as they age. To see whether their hypothesis held, the researchers took photos of 14 different bonobos of varying ages as they groomed one another (above) and measured the distance between their hands and faces. By analyzing how this so-called grooming distance varied from ape to ape, the researchers found that grooming distance increased exponentially with age, they report today in Current Biology. And because both humans and bonobos shows signs of farsightedness around age 40, deterioration in human eyes might not be the mere result of staring at screens and small text, the scientists say. Rather, it might be a deep-rooted natural trait reaching back to a common ancestor.last_img read more

Artificial intelligence can predict which congressional bills will pass

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 By Matthew HutsonJun. 21, 2017 , 2:30 PM schools/iStock Photo Email The health care bill winding its way through the U.S. Senate is just one of thousands of pieces of legislation Congress will consider this year, most doomed to failure. Indeed, only about 4% of these bills become law. So which ones are worth paying attention to? A new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm could help. Using just the text of a bill plus about a dozen other variables, it can determine the chance that a bill will become law with great precision.Other algorithms have predicted whether a bill will survive a congressional committee, or whether the Senate or House of Representatives will vote to approve it—all with varying degrees of success. But John Nay, a computer scientist and co-founder of Skopos Labs, a Nashville-based AI company focused on studying policymaking, wanted to take things one step further. He wanted to predict whether an introduced bill would make it all the way through both chambers—and precisely what its chances were.Nay started with data on the 103rd Congress (1993–1995) through the 113th Congress (2013–2015), downloaded from a legislation-tracking website call GovTrack. This included the full text of the bills, plus a set of variables, including the number of co-sponsors, the month the bill was introduced, and whether the sponsor was in the majority party of their chamber. Using data on Congresses 103 through 106, he trained machine-learning algorithms—programs that find patterns on their own—to associate bills’ text and contextual variables with their outcomes. He then predicted how each bill would do in the 107th Congress. Then, he trained his algorithms on Congresses 103 through 107 to predict the 108th Congress, and so on. Nay’s most complex machine-learning algorithm combined several parts. The first part analyzed the language in the bill. It interpreted the meaning of words by how they were embedded in surrounding words. For example, it might see the phrase “obtain a loan for education” and assume “loan” has something to do with “obtain” and “education.” A word’s meaning was then represented as a string of numbers describing its relation to other words. The algorithm combined these numbers to assign each sentence a meaning. Then, it found links between the meanings of sentences and the success of bills that contained them. Three other algorithms found connections between contextual data and bill success. Finally, an umbrella algorithm used the results from those four algorithms to predict what would happen.Because bills fail 96% of the time, a simple “always fail” strategy would almost always be right. But rather than simply predict whether each bill would or would not pass, Nay wanted to assign each a specific probability. If a bill is worth $100 billion—or could take months or years to pull together—you don’t want to ignore its possibility of enactment just because its odds are below 50%. So he scored his method according to the percentages it assigned rather than the number of bills it predicted would succeed. By that measure, his program scored about 65% better than simply guessing that a bill wouldn’t pass, Nay reported last month in PLOS ONE.Nay also looked at which factors were most important in predicting a bill’s success. Sponsors in the majority and sponsors who served many terms were at an advantage (though each boosted the odds by 1% or less). In terms of language, words like “impact” and “effects” increased the chances for climate-related bills in the House, whereas “global” or “warming” spelled trouble. In bills related to health care, “Medicaid” and “reinsurance” reduced the likelihood of success in both chambers. In bills related to patents, “software” lowered the odds for bills introduced in the House, and “computation” had the same effect for Senate bills.Nay says he is surprised that a bill’s text alone has predictive power. “At first I viewed the process as just very partisan and not as connected to the underlying policy that’s contained within the legislation,” he says.Nay’s use of language analysis is “innovative” and “promising,” says John Wilkerson, a political scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. But he adds that without prior predictions relating certain words to success—the word “impact,” for example—the project doesn’t do much to illuminate how the minds of Congress members work. “We don’t really learn anything about process, or strategy, or politics.”But it still seems to be the best method out there. “Nay’s way of looking at bill text is new,” says Joshua Tauberer, a software developer at GovTrack with a background in linguistics who is based in Washington, D.C., and who had been using his own machine-learning algorithm to predict bill enactment since 2012. Last year, Nay learned of Tauberer’s predictions, and the two compared notes. Nay’s method made better predictions, and Tauberer ditched his own version for Nay’s.So how did the new algorithm rank the many (failed) bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act? A simple, base-rate prediction would have put their chances at 4%. But for nearly all of them, Nay’s program put the odds even lower.center_img Artificial intelligence can predict the behavior of Congress. 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 (*) Artificial intelligence can predict which congressional bills will passlast_img read more

Driver Intentionally Hits Black People At Bus Stop

first_imgDisturbing Update: Driver who eye witnesses say intentionally ran over 6 black people RELEASED FROM CUSTODY WITH NO CHARGES! pic.twitter.com/o8MkSUmgQ5— SAVOY (@thesavoyshow) July 10, 2019“Nobody could believe what happened,” Shauntae Cosby, who witnessed the crash, told the Star Tribune. “It was just quiet.” Starbucks Introduces New Line Of Iced Beverages More By Bruce C.T. Wright .@kare11 LIVE: Crash, injuries reported at Minneapolis bus stop https://t.co/RZ1NaX2ruY— CYBERACTION (@cyberaction6700) July 9, 2019According to the Twitter account for The Savoy Show, which bills itself as “A Black American News Blog,” witnesses said the driver meant to run over the people at the bus stop. At least six people were hospitalized Wednesday after a driver hit a group of people waiting at a bus stop in Minneapolis, according to a new report. At least three of those people were injured critically. One witness who filmed the immediate aftermath said the driver, who is white, “intentionally” drove into the people at the bus stop because they were Black. Minneapolis It’s being reported that a van crashed into a bus stop in Minneapolis, injuring people inside. Eye witnesses are saying it was a very deliberate attack by a racist and that he circled the block a few times before intentionally mowing them down with his van pic.twitter.com/plmLHBrBqC— SAVOY (@thesavoyshow) July 9, 2019 The coverage from the Star Tribune did not make any mention of race.Officials have said the driver was not being chased.“Preliminary information confirmed witness accounts that the driver heading south on Lyndale Avenue in a tan van clipped the mirror of a southbound Route 22 bus that had stopped at W. Broadway to unload passengers,” the Star Tribune reported. “The man backed up and struck the mirror for a second time, then went around the corner and crashed into the bus shelter on Broadway.”While further details were unclear as authorities conducted their investigation, recent events around the country and world have shown the prevalence of people using motor vehicles as weapons. On top of that, race relations between the white and Black communities in Minneapolis have been rocky, at best.Just last month a former Minneapolis police officer who is Black was sentenced to prison for shooting and killing a white woman. The sentencing stood in contrast to other police shootings around the country where the roles were reversed and never even resulted in any criminal charges at all.Late last year, a white man from a Minneapolis suburb was charged with making felony terroristic threats and carrying a gun without a permit after he was accused of waving a gun at a group of Somali-American teenagers at a McDonald’s.That followed police officers who decorated the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct’s Christmas tree with racially offensive items.On top of that, this past Saturday marked the three-year anniversary since a police officer shot and killed Philando Castile in what many called a public execution. No one ever faced charged in that shooting. Twitter Finds Sweet Irony In Cops Complaining Arizona Starbucks Asked Them To Leave The driver, who was not immediately identified beyond his age of 83, was taken into custody before being released without facing any charges, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The Evolving Relevance Of ‘The Talk’ The combination of all of the above may have culminated in Wednesday’s incident at the bus stop.SEE ALSO:Don’t Mute New Orleans! Colonizers Call The Cops On Black Man For Playing The TrumpetProtesters Demand White Thug Who Brutalized A Black Child On A Playground Get More Than A Slap On The Wrist Everything We Know About Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s Murder Investigation Unpacking Mayor Pete’s ‘Douglass Plan’ For Black America BREAKING- large police presence at Broadway and Lyndale in #Minneapolis. Appears a van ran into this bus stop. Lots of people looking on @KSTP pic.twitter.com/UgQfQojp6P— Brett Hoffland (@BrettHoffland) July 9, 2019last_img read more

WPD victims room

first_imgWPD victims’ room December 14, 2017 RelatedSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adcenter_img Photo by L. Parsons The team at Alice’s Place, the center for domestic violence in Winslow, partnered with the Winslow Police Department to remodel their victim interview room. Funding for the project came from community donations, including a mural donated by local artist Nizhon Huenemann. Pictured here are Alice’s Place victim advocate Clarissa Norgaard (left), Director Theresa Warren (second from left), Winslow Police Chief Dan Brown (second from right) and advocate Tiffany Brooks (right). It was noted that Norgaard and Brooks played a key roll in implementing the project.last_img read more

New librarian welcomed by Winslow Council

first_imgFebruary 20, 2018 New librarian welcomed by Winslow Council By L. Parsons During the Winslow City Council on Feb. 13, City Manager Steve Pauken introduced the council to new library director Galen Worthington. Worthington said, “I came here from Sedona. There wasn’t anything wrongSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adcenter_img Photo by Steve PaukenGalen Worthington (pictured) was introduced to the Winslow City Council as the city’s new librarian during the Feb. 13 Winslow City Council meeting.last_img read more

US has no plans to cap H1B work visa program State Department

first_img US to begin accepting H-1B petitions for next fiscal year from April 1 Related News It is “completely separate from our ongoing discussions with India about the importance of ensuring the free flow of data across borders,” the spokeswoman added.Earlier on Thursday, India said it was in talks with the United States on H-1B visas, but foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a news conference: “We have not heard anything officially from the US government” on capping such permits for Indians.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit New Delhi next week for talks that will include areas of disagreement between the two countries over trade.Two senior Indian officials told Reuters on Wednesday they had been briefed last week on a US plan to cap the number of H-1B visas given annually to Indians at between 10% and 15% of the total number issued.There is no country-specific limit on the 85,000 H-1B work visas the United States issues every year, and an estimated 70% of them go to Indians. US company to pay USD 1.1 million in back wages to H1B employees including Indians By Reuters |Washington | Updated: June 21, 2019 9:17:43 am Advertising Mike Pompeo will assure India on H1B visa cap: official Reuters reported on Wednesday that the United States had told India it was considering restricting the H-1B visa programs for countries with the data storage requirement. The H-1B program issues US visas to skilled foreign workers.Read | US tells India it’s mulling caps on H-1B visas to deter data rules: report“The Trump Administration has no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally,” a State Department spokeswoman said in a statement in response to the Reuters article.While an administration’s “Buy American Hire American” executive order calls for a broad review of US worker visa programs, including the H-1B program, it was not targeted at a specific country, the spokeswoman said. H-1B work visa program, US H-1B work visa, US state department, us-india ties, us work visa cap, us visa, us news, There is no country-specific limit on the 85,000 H-1B work visas the United States issues every year. (File Photo)The Trump administration has no plans to cap H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, the State Department said on Thursday. Post Comment(s) Advertisinglast_img read more

Four British nationals arrested in eastern China

first_imgBy Reuters |Beijing | Published: July 12, 2019 1:19:58 pm Related News With paper and a promise, a Chinese cafe keeps traditional writing alive China still ‘cautiously optimistic’ on US trade talks despite new tariffs China: At least 26 killed, 28 injured after tour bus catches fire Advertising The embassy did not comment on the circumstances leading to the arrests in Jiangsu province. Police in Xuzhou, a city in Jiangsu, said on Tuesday it had detained 19 people on drug-related charges and that 16 of them were foreigners. The police statement did not identify the foreigners.Relations between Beijing and London have deteriorated in recent months, partly due to top British officials’ calls for China to honour its agreements on the former British colony of Hong Kong, which has been rocked by protests in recent weeks, and China’s human rights record.China’s state radio said some of the detained individuals were teachers at an English education centre operated by EF Education First, a privately held Swiss firm that operates in 114 countries. The company said in a statement dated Wednesday that it deeply regrets the incident and was cooperating with authorities on the matter.EF Education First did not immediately comment on a Reuters query Friday regarding the case, including the nationalities of those being held by authorities. Local police told Reuters the case was under investigation and did not provide further details on the detained individuals. British National's Arrest, British national's arrest China, British Embassy, Britain China Relations, Beijing news, Beijing and London, World news, Indian Express news The British embassy in Beijing did not comment on the circumstances leading to the arrests. (Representational Image)Four British nationals have been arrested in eastern China, the British Embassy in Beijing said Friday, amid escalating diplomatic tension between the two countries. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Trump administration uniquely dysfunctional says Britains ambassador to US

first_img US independence day, US independence day speech 2019, donald trump, north carolina, Federal Aviation Administration “It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020,”  Kim Darroch wrote, adding that Trump could still trigger a conflict with Iran.Britain’s ambassador to the United States described President Donald Trump’s administration as “dysfunctional”, “clumsy” and “inept”, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported, citing a series of confidential memos. In memos to the British government which date from 2017 to the present, Kim Darroch said Trump “radiates insecurity” and advises officials in London that to deal with him effectively “you need to make your points simple, even blunt”. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Post Comment(s) With Iran deal teetering on brink, Europeans assess next steps Tropical Storm Barry nears New Orleans, raising flood threat NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home “We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” Darroch wrote in one, according to the newspaper.In others, the newspaper said he had described the administration as “uniquely dysfunctional” and that media reports about White House “knife fights” are “mostly true”.Darroch wrote that “we could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral, rather than just a rollercoaster: something could emerge that leads to disgrace and downfall.” By Reuters |London | Updated: July 7, 2019 3:38:34 pm Advertisingcenter_img But he also warned British officials not to write Trump off, saying there was a “credible path” to him winning a second term in office. He said Trump may “emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator.”A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the public would expect ambassadors “to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country”.“Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid,” he said.“It’s important that our ambassadors can offer their advice and for it to remain confidential. Our team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt these will withstand such mischievous behaviour.” In a memo written last month, Darroch described confusion within the administration over Trump’s decision to abort a military strike on Iran, and that the president citing the number of predicted casualties as the reason he had changed his mind “didn’t stand up”.“It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020,” Darroch wrote, adding that Trump could still trigger a conflict with Iran.“Just one more Iranian attack somewhere in the region could trigger yet another Trump U-turn. Moreover, the loss of a single American life would probably make a critical difference.”During a state visit to Britain last month, Trump was effusive about the “special relationship” between the United States and Britain, promising a “phenomenal” trade deal after Britain leaves the European Union.The Mail on Sunday reported that in a message sent after that visit, Darroch said that the president and his team had been “dazzled” by the visit and Britain might be “flavour of the month” but “this is still the land of America First”. Best Of Express Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook 62 US Border Agents are linked to degrading Facebook posts Advertising Related News last_img read more

Official Lightning caused Jim Beam bourbon warehouse fire

first_imgBy AP |Versailles (france) | Published: July 11, 2019 8:45:45 am Top News Post Comment(s) In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Advertising Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook News outlets report cabinet spokesman John Mura confirmed the cause Wednesday. The fire started July 2, destroying the Woodford County warehouse and about 45,000 barrels of bourbon.Some alcohol flowed from Glenns Creek to the Kentucky River, and then to the Ohio River where fish died. Jim Beam and environmental officials used equipment to restore oxygen to the water in an attempt to minimize the number of fish killed.The cabinet said on Facebook that the alcohol plume is dissipating as it moves along the Ohio River.Mura says the cabinet plans to issue Jim Beam a notice of violation that could lead to a fine. jim beam warehouse fire, fire at jim beam warefouse, warehouse fire at jim beam, jim beam fire, jim beam warehouse, world news, Indian Express The fire started July 2, destroying the Woodford County warehouse and about 45,000 barrels of bourbon. (AP)The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said lightning sparked the fire at a Jim Beam warehouse that caused bourbon to leak into creeks and rivers. NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home last_img read more

Giant study links DNA variants to samesex behavior

first_img By Michael PriceOct. 20, 2018 , 10:25 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Giant study links DNA variants to same-sex behavior Email iStock.com/DeoSum A study of hundreds of thousands of people uncovered four genetic variants that were more common in people who reported at least one instance of same-sex sexual behavior.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA—How genes influence sexual orientation has sparked debate for at least a quarter-century. But geneticists have had only a handful of underpowered studies to address a complex, fraught, and often stigmatized area of human behavior. Now, the largest-ever study of the genetics of sexual orientation has revealed four genetic variants strongly associated with what the researchers call nonheterosexual behavior. Some geneticists are hailing the findings as a cautious but significant step in understanding the role of genes in sexuality. Others question the wisdom of asking the question in the first place.Andrea Ganna, a research fellow with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined data from hundreds of thousands of people who provided both DNA and behavioral information to two large genetic surveys, the UK Biobank study and the private genetics firm 23andMe. They analyzed DNA markers from people who answered either “yes” or “no” to the question, “Have you ever had sex with someone of the same sex?” In total, they identified 450,939 people who said their sexual relationships had been exclusively heterosexual and 26,890 people who reported at least one homosexual experience.In Ganna’s talk yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics here, he emphasized that the researchers were cautious about exploring sexual behavior that is still illegal in many countries, and that they tried to frame their questions carefully “to avoid a fishing expedition.” The team, which includes behavioral scientists, preregistered their research design and also met regularly with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) community to discuss and share results. Ganna acknowledged that what they call “nonheterosexual behavior” includes “a large spectrum of sexual experiences, that go from people who engage exclusively in same-sex behavior to those who might have experimented once or twice.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The researchers performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in which they looked for specific variations in DNA that were more common in people who reported at least one same-sex sexual experience. They identified four such variants on chromosomes seven, 11, 12, and 15, respectively.Two variants were specific to men who reported same-sex sexual experience. One, a cluster of DNA on chromosome 15, has previously been found to predict male-pattern baldness. Another variant on chromosome 11 sits in a region rich with olfactory receptors. Ganna noted that olfaction is thought to play a large role in sexual attraction.A much smaller 1993 study, which used a different kind of association technique known as a genetic linkage study, had suggested a stretch of DNA on the X chromosome was linked to inherited homosexuality. In the new GWAS, that stretch was not found to be associated with the reported same-sex behavior. But the lead author of the earlier study, Dean Hamer, then of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, praised the new work. “It’s important that attention is finally being paid [to the genetics of sexual orientation] with big sample sizes and solid institutions and people,” he said. “This is exactly the study we would have liked to have done in 1993.”The four newly identified genetic variants also were correlated with some mood and mental health disorders. Both men and women with the variants were more likely to have experienced major depressive disorder and schizophrenia, and women were more likely to have bipolar disorder. Ganna stressed that these findings should not be taken to mean that the variants cause the disorders. Instead, it “might be because individuals who engaged in nonheterosexual behavior are more likely to be discriminated [against], and are more likely to develop depression,” he said.Ganna noted that the correlation with schizophrenia and risk-taking behavior was more pronounced in the UK Biobank participants, who tend to skew older than those in the 23andMe group. That could be because older generations faced more sexual discrimination than younger ones, Ganna said, noting that environment likely plays a significant role in which traits wind up correlating with sexual orientation.Overall, he said the findings reinforce the idea that human sexual behavior is complex and can’t be pinned on any simple constellation of DNA. “I’m pleased to announce there is no ‘gay gene,’” Ganna said. “Rather, ‘nonheterosexuality’ is in part influenced by many tiny genetic effects.” Ganna told Science that researchers have yet to tie the genetic variants to actual genes, and it’s not even clear whether they sit within coding or noncoding stretches of DNA. Trying to pin down exactly what these DNA regions do will be among the team’s difficult next steps.“It’s an intriguing signal,” he said. “We know almost nothing about the genetics of sexual behavior, so anywhere is a good place to start.”He added that the four genetic variants could not reliably predict someone’s sexual orientation. “There’s really no predictive power,” he said.Given the complexity of human sexual behavior, much of which is not captured in the study questions, biomedical informatics graduate student Nicole Ferraro from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, questioned the work’s utility. She and fellow biomedical sciences grad student Kameron Rodrigues said the study didn’t do enough to explore the nuances of how one’s sexual identity differs from sexual behavior, and they worried that the study could be used to stigmatize members of the LGBTQ community. “It just seems like there’s no benefit that can come from this kind of study, only harm,” Rodrigues said.The abstract for Ganna’s talk referenced another provocative result: Heterosexual people who possess these same four genetic variants tend to have more sexual partners, suggesting associated genes might confer some mating advantage for heterosexuals. That could help explain why these variants might stick around in populations even if people attracted to the same sex tend to have fewer children than heterosexuals. Ganna did not touch on that finding in his talk, citing lack of time.That was probably a wise choice, geneticist Chris Cotsapas at the Yale School of Medicine said, because the evolutionary implications haven’t been firmed up. “People are going to oversimplify it to say, ‘Gay genes help straight people have more sex,’ and it’s really not that simple,” he said.Overall, the findings were “very carefully, cautiously presented,” Cotsapas said, and represent a good start for geneticists charting the complexities of human sexuality.With reporting by Jocelyn Kaiser.last_img read more

B cell accumulation triggers nervous system damage in MS

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 8 2018B cells are important in helping the immune system fight pathogens. However, in the case of the neurological autoimmune disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS) they can damage nerve tissue. When particular control cells are missing, too many B cells accumulate in the meninges, resulting in inflammation of the central nervous system. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) demonstrated the process using animal and patient samples.The fight against illnesses and pathogens requires activation or deactivation of a large number of different cell types in our immune system at the right place and the right time. In recent years certain immune cells, the myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), have been receiving increasing attention in this context. They function as an important control mechanism in the immune system and make sure that immunoreactions do not become too strong.Impacts of the loss of controlIn the case of MS these controls in the nervous system appear to fail in part. Together with his team, Thomas Korn, Professor for Experimental Neuroimmunology at the TUM Neurology Clinic, succeeded in demonstrating this in a study published in the journal Nature Immunology. During MS the body attacks its own nerve tissue, resulting in damage and inflammations. This can in turn lead to paralysis as well as vision and movement disorders.”We were primarily interested in the control effect of the MDSCs on the B cells. Their function in the occurrence of MS is not yet clear. But they appear to play an important role, something we wanted to take a closer look at,” says Korn, explaining the study’s objective. B cells can develop into cells which produce antibodies, but they can also activate other immune cells by secreting immune messengers. Korn and his team used a mouse model in which the inflammatory disease can be triggered and develops much the same way as in the human body.MDSCs influence the B cell countRelated StoriesNature of social cognitive deficits in people with progressive multiple sclerosisNovel imaging molecule reveals brain changes linked to progressive MSObesity linked with greater symptomatic severity of multiple sclerosisThe team removed the MDSCs from the meningeal tissue and then observed an increase in the accumulation of B cells there. At the same time inflammations and damage occurred, triggered by the high number of B cells in the nerve tissue. This phenomenon did not occur when enough MDSCs were present, controlling the number of B cells.In the future Korn and his team want to explain how the B cells destroy the nervous system. According to the researcher there are two possibilities: In the meninges B cells emit substances which attract immune cells that then incorrectly destroy the body’s own tissues; or, B cells activate immune cells in the blood and lymph systems which then move to the meninges, where they cause damage.Patient tests confirm resultsBased on 25 tests of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of subjects with MS, the lack of MDSCs could also have a negative effect on the course of the illness in patients. When the researchers found large numbers of MDSCs in CSF, the patients usually also experienced milder symptoms with fewer episodes of inflammation. In contrast, patients with lower MDSC counts experienced stronger symptoms. “There are already approved therapies in which B cells are regulated and suppressed on a medicinal basis. Now we’ve provided an explanation of why this could be an effective treatment, at least in cases where the course of the disease is poor,” says Korn. Since the number of subjects tested in this case was small, he and his team are planning larger patient studies for the future.​ Source:https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/detail/article/35066/last_img read more

Multiple sclerosis therapies delay progression of disability

first_img Source:https://www.thermh.org.au/news/multiple-sclerosis-treatments-delay-progression-disease Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 17 2019An international study finds multiple sclerosis treatments have long-term benefits, and that early treatment is important.The Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne-led study is the first to provide evidence that the currently available therapies can delay progression of disability in Multiple Sclerosis. It showed that early treatment – particularly within five years of onset – delayed the secondary progressive stage of MS, which is characterized by an ongoing increase of disability.It showed that early treatment – particularly within five years of onset – delayed the secondary progressive stage of MS, which is characterized by an ongoing increase of disability.Currently, more than 23,000 Australians are living with MS.The conversion to the secondary progressive stage of MS is characterized by worsening of physical and mental capacity and reduced quality of life.Related StoriesNovel imaging molecule reveals brain changes linked to progressive MSEndogenous retrovirus type W found to be a major contributor to nerve damage in MSScientists discover mechanism responsible for chronic inflammation in MSTherefore, the capability to delay this progression of disability represents an important outcome for people living with multiple sclerosis.The results of the study were published in the international medical journal, JAMA.The study was led by the Clinical Outcomes Research unit (CORe) at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.The international study used data from 1555 patients, from 68 neurological clinics across 21 countries.One of the study leads, Associate Professor Tomas Kalincik, head of the MS Service at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and CORe at the University of Melbourne, said that the study showed how important it is to treat MS pro-actively.”People who converted from relapsing MS to secondary progressive MS experience gradual and mostly irreversible worsening of disability.”Most of the therapies that we use to treat MS have no effect once people have converted to secondary progressive MS. This study shows us how important it is to treat relapsing MS early and pro-actively,” Associate Professor Kalincik said.Royal Melbourne patient Gowri was diagnosed with MS when she was in her 20s. She now has monthly infusions to treat her MS.She is pleased that doctors have the data to prove that current treatments are effective.”It’s fantastic – it makes you feel very grateful that the treatment is working,” she said.”I had a great General Practitioner who referred me straight away to a neurologist. My treatment started very quickly.””This year will be 20 years since I was diagnosed, and even though I have some symptoms and I have been in hospital – particularly after the birth of my daughter, I’m able to work, catch up with friends and have a normal life,” Gowri said.Associate Professor Kalincik said the results are reassuring for neurologists and patients with MS.”This study shows that the therapies they have been treated with for many years, significantly improve the quality of their lives over the long-term” he said.last_img read more

Treating cancer patients with personalized combination therapies improves outcomes

first_img Source:https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/personalizing_precision_medicine_with_combination_therapies_improves_outcomes_in_cancer Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 23 2019Precision oncology often relies on treating patients with a single, molecularly matched therapy that targets one mutation in their tumor. In a report, published online in Nature Medicine on April 22, 2019, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers found that treating patients with personalized, combination therapies improved outcomes in patients with therapy resistant cancers.”Response rates to therapies that target one alteration can be low and not durable. Our approach went beyond targeting a single alteration,” said first author and co-principal investigator Jason K. Sicklick, MD, associate professor of surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine and surgical oncologist at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. “In collaboration with a multi-specialty team of oncology experts, we formulated a personalized combination therapy for each patient. With this approach, we saw an increased response rate, as well as improved overall survival and progression-free survival in patients who were highly matched to treatment versus those who were unmatched or less well-matched.”In general, patients considered highly matched were those who had more than 50 percent of their tumor mutations matched to drugs.Of the patients treated who were highly matched with combination treatments that targeted multiple alterations, 50 percent saw their disease respond compared to 22 percent that were unmatched or less well matched.The prospective navigation trial — Investigation of Profile-Related Evidence Determining Individualized Cancer Therapy or I-PREDICT — enrolled patients with previously treated metastatic cancers at either Moores Cancer Center or Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.Molecular data, including genomic profiling using next generation sequencing technology developed by study collaborator Foundation Medicine, was gathered for each patient and presented to a molecular tumor board consisting of oncologists, pharmacologists, cancer biologists, geneticists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, and bioinformatics experts who focused on creating customized, multidrug combinations to target a majority of the genomic alterations in each patient’s tumors.The study consented 149 participants with metastatic, treatment-refractory disease, and, of these, 73 (49 percent) were matched to a therapy. Sixty-six were unable to be treated on the study, most commonly because their disease progressed too rapidly and they were placed in hospice or died, reflecting the advanced nature of their diseases.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancer”The percentage of patients matched was much higher than in most precision medicine studies because we implemented a team who instituted immediate review of genomic results, as well as navigators who helped patients and physicians access clinical trials, and off-label FDA-approved drugs,” said Shumei Kato, MD, assistant professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and one of the lead investigators.The therapies ultimately administered to each of the 83 treated patients were based on the treating oncologists’ choice and an individual patient’s preference. Only 10 patients had completely unmatched treatment. Seventy-three of the patients and their treating physicians chose a personalized, combination therapy that was matched to genomic alterations. The drugs included gene product-targeted drugs, hormone therapies, immunotherapies and chemotherapies.”Having 50 percent of patients with heavily pretreated disease responding when highly matched speaks to the importance of personalized, precision medicine combination approaches,” said senior author and co-principal investigator Razelle Kurzrock, MD, director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy at Moores Cancer Center. “Our next step is to determine if we can increase the benefit rate further if this strategy is instituted earlier in the course of the disease.”Patient outcomes were monitored until the disease progressed, treatment was no longer tolerated or the patient died.”Personalized, multi-drug therapies have not been used as standard treatment because there are concerns about the safety of administering drug combinations that have not been previously studied together,” said Sicklick. “Yet personalized combinations are necessary since no two tumors are exactly the same and so no two regimens will be the same. Our findings demonstrate that this approach is feasible and safe when patients are monitored closely and started on reduced doses.”Researchers say larger follow up studies are needed to confirm the findings.last_img read more

Study demonstrates the concept of systemic gene therapy treatment for gammasarcoglycanopathy

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 25 2019Gamma-sarcoglycanopathy (LGMD2C) is one of the most common limb-girdle myopathies. It affects less than 10 people per 1,000,000 and is characterized by progressive muscle weakness in the pelvis (pelvic girdle) and shoulders (scapular girdle), linked to mutations in the SGCG gene encoding gamma-sarcoglycan. There is currently no cure for this neuromuscular disease.In this study, Isabelle Richard’s team: demonstrated the concept of systemic gene therapy treatment: an AAV8 drug vector expressing deficient gamma-sarcoglycan allowed the protein to be reexpressed in the treated muscle after injection in mouse models of the disease, determined the effective treatment dose: Three different doses were tested. The drug vector restored, with the highest dose, an almost complete expression of the deficient SGCG gene. The researchers observed that the proportion of corrected muscle fibres is less than 5% with the lowest dose, between 25% and 75% with the intermediate dose and between 75% and 100% with the highest dose (see figure) Related StoriesResearchers discover gene linked to healthy aging in wormsNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingStudy urges genetic testing before abdominal-based free-flap breast reconstructionIn addition, the researchers also observed the consequences of physical exercise on muscle fibres and found that at the highest dose the treatment allows the treated muscle fibres to resist stress.”This study is the result of several years of work. Indeed, we had already tested another vector that proved to be well tolerated but with limited gene expression. Thanks to this work, we have determined the vector and dose that would be effective in patients and today we have the means to work on a clinical trial,” enthuses Isabelle Richard, lead author of the work.In 2006, a first phase I gene therapy clinical trial, lead by Genethon, tested the efficacy of an AAV1 vector injected intramuscularly in nine patients. One month after injection, the researchers found that the product was well tolerated and that the therapeutic gene was present in patients treated at the highest dose but in limited quantities (Results published in Brain, January 11, 2012).Source:AFM-TéléthonJournal reference:Israeli, D. et al. (2019) A dose response study in γ–sarcoglycanopathy mouse model in the context of mechanical stress. Molecular Therapy: Methods & Clinical Development. doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2019.04.007.last_img read more

Drinking Matcha tea may reduce anxious behavior research shows

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 9 2019Many different countries have a tea culture, and Japanese Matcha tea is growing in popularity around the world. In Japan, Matcha has a long history of being used for various medicinal purposes. It has been suspected to have various beneficial effects to health, but relatively little scientific evidence supported that claim.Now, a group of Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University has shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. Its calming effects appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, both of which are closely related to anxious behavior.Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchMatcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown (90% shade) Camellia sinensis green tea bushes. The tea (and food flavoring) is enjoyed around the world. In Japan, historical medicinal uses for Matcha included helping people relax, preventing obesity, and treatment of skin conditions. The researchers, therefore, sought to determine its various beneficial effects.The “elevated plus maze” test is an elevated, plus-shaped, narrow platform with two walled arms that provide safety for the test subject, typically a mouse. It is used as an anxiety test for rodents with the idea that animals experiencing higher anxiety will spend more time in the safer walled-off areas. Using this test, researchers found that mouse anxiety was reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. In addition, when the anxiolytic activity of different Matcha extracts were evaluated, a stronger effect was found with the extract derived using 80% ethanol in comparison to the extract derived from only hot water. In other words, a poorly water-soluble Matcha component has stronger anxiolytic effects than a component that is easily soluble in water. A behavioral pharmacological analysis further revealed that Matcha and Matcha extracts reduce anxiety by activating dopamine D1 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. Although further epidemiological research is necessary, the results of our study show that Matcha, which has been used as medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body. We hope that our research into Matcha can lead to health benefits worldwide.”Dr. Yuki Kurauchi, Kumamoto University Source:Kumamoto UniversityJournal reference:Kurauchi, Y. et al. (2019) Anxiolytic activities of Matcha tea powder, extracts, and fractions in mice: Contribution of dopamine D1 receptor- and serotonin 5-HT1A receptor-mediated mechanisms. Journal of Functional Foods. doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2019.05.046.last_img read more