KU Cancer Center launches clinical trial to eliminate radiation therapy for HER2positive

first_imgJun 30 2018Researchers at The University of Kansas Cancer Center have launched a clinical trial that eliminates radiation from the treatment protocol for an invasive type of breast cancer that accounts for one-fifth of all breast cancer patients.These are the patients who have breast tumors that contain high levels of a protein known as HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), which speeds up the growth of cancer cells. Treatment for HER2-positive cancer typically begins with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor(s), followed by surgery to remove it. Patients then undergo radiation therapy to knock out any lingering malignant cells.Fifteen years ago, omitting radiation therapy would have been unthinkable. The risk of recurrence was just too great. But that was then. In the last decade, breakthrough drugs such as trastuzumab and pertuzumab, which shut down the HER2 protein, have transformed treatment for this kind of breast cancer. The addition of these new targeted drugs to the chemotherapy regimen has slashed the risk of recurrence by more than half.In 2012, Melissa Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at the KU School of Medicine and a researcher affiliated with the KU Cancer Center, was a new faculty member at a tumor conference listening to other oncologists report how rare it is to see a recurrence of breast cancer in many early-stage HER2-positive patients. They were talking specifically about patients for whom chemotherapy, combined with these targeted drugs, destroyed all the cancer. When the surgeon went in to remove the tumor after the chemo, the tumor was already dead, which meant it contained zero live cancer cells. “I have been watching for six years, and have never seen a patient like that have a breast recurrence, not in my clinic,” said Mitchell. She also notes that patients with a dramatic response to the chemotherapy frequently ask why they need to have radiation.”The treatment drugs have just become so effective that it made us think that maybe we could scale back and spare patients the side effects of radiation,” she said. Those potential side effects include swelling of the breast, dryness, itching or burning, scarring, fatigue. In rarer cases, radiation has also been associated with a secondary cancer. Radiation has also been known to cause long-term heart and lung damage. Radiation visits also require time away from work or family, and for some patients in rural areas, those visits also may mean travel to a distant radiation treatment facility.Mitchell’s clinical trial is believed to be the first to examine removing radiation from the treatment plan for HER2-positive cancer with lumpectomy. Radiation has long been the standard of care for breast cancer patients who have had a lumpectomy. “If patients can avoid radiation with low risks, it’s to their advantage. It would also save tremendous amounts of time, resources, and money,” said Allen M. Chen, M.D, the Joe and Jean Brandmeyer Endowed Chair and Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology. “This study has the potential to change the standard of care and be groundbreaking.”How the trial worksMitchell and her follow researchers are in the process of recruiting post-menopausal women at least 50 years of age who are in the early stages of HER2-positive invasive ductal carcinoma (a type of breast cancer that originates in the milk ducts), and who have clear lymph nodes. Patients in the trial will choose whether they prefer to be in the intervention or control groups. Participants in the intervention group will not receive radiation, while those in the control group will receive the typical standard of care, which includes radiation.Mitchell notes that the patients she talks to already tend to fall into two camps. Some patients fear the cancer returning and say they want radiation because they don’t ever want to have surgery again. Some refuse radiation therapy or are hesitant about it: “There’s some fear about radiation. Other investigators are studying the potential to eliminate surgery in this same population, but surveyed patients have said they would rather skip radiation than surgery. Patients just feel more comfortable having the cancer cut out.” Patients also become overwhelmed by the time and financial stress that radiation treatment entails.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskPatients in the study who opt to omit radiation as part of their treatment after lumpectomy will have follow-up examinations every three months for five years. The examinations will include imaging (mammograms or MRIs), and patients will be asked to fill out surveys on quality of life and the cosmetic aspects of their treatment. Their results will be compared with those of the controls: patients who opted to have the standard radiation.”We hope to find that without radiation, patients do fantastic, that they do not have a recurrence–and all while having less risk of side effects, including heart and lung damage,” said Mitchell.A paradigm shiftThis might be the only trial looking at omission of radiation for HER2-positive breast cancer patients specifically, but it is part of a much broader shift. Not that long ago, cancer was so deadly that it was common to attack the disease from all possible treatment angles. Today, as more is known about cancer biology and as improved cancer treatments have produced better outcomes, researchers around the country are considering scaling back on therapies that might no longer be necessary or worth the side effects. And with new ways to gauge how individual patients will respond to different therapies, treatment can also be de-escalated according to what will work better for each patient-and what treatments would barely be effective at all.This is not to say that de-escalation is an entirely new idea. Qamar Khan, M.D., associate professor of medicine and a co-investigator on the study, points out that just the reduction in the number of radical mastectomies over the last couple of decades is a good example of de-escalation. “We realized that many women really didn’t need them,” he said.Mitchell herself has another study in which she is looking at shortening the radiation treatment time for node-positive invasive breast cancer from a six- to seven-week course to a three- to four-week one. A co-investigator on Mitchell’s HER2 study, Jamie Wagner, DO, chief of the breast surgery division (CK), is working on a national trial looking at de-escalating treatment for all types of breast cancer that are typically treated with chemotherapy followed by surgery. In that trial, the investigators are using extra imaging-MRIs, mammograms-to predict which tumors will be gone after chemotherapy. The next step would be to omit surgery for those patients.”There are many different avenues for de-escalation,” said Wagner. “We want to maximize outcomes with the best survival rates while doing only necessary therapies. Therapy is not without consequences that impact patients for the rest of their lives. If we can get the best outcomes with the least side effects, that’s the best thing for patients and what we are all here for.” Source:http://www.kumc.edu/news-listing-page/mitchell-her2.htmllast_img read more

Fetal growth may improve if pregnant women use air purifiers reveals study

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 12 2018A new study led by SFU health sciences researchers Prabjit Barn and Ryan Allen reveals fetal growth may improve if pregnant women use portable air purifiers inside their homes.The study, a first of its kind, was conducted in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which is one of the most polluted cities in the world and has fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels more than seven times higher than WHO guidelines. Fine particulate matter is the pollutant most consistently linked with human health effects.The researchers recruited more than 500 women early on in their pregnancies and placed high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) air purifiers in half of the women’s homes. The air purifiers decreased fine particulate matter in the women’s homes by 29 percent.”We found that pregnant women who used HEPA air purifiers inside their homes gave birth to babies that weighed 85 grams more on average at term than women who did not use air cleaners during pregnancy,” says Barn.The researchers say that these results provide further evidence that air pollution exposure during pregnancy has a negative impact on fetal growth and that reducing exposures can be beneficial. Source:https://www.sfu.ca/university-communications/issues-experts/2018/09/study-finds-air-purifiers-may-benefit-fetal-growth.htmllast_img read more

Antsized radio runs on radio waves

first_imgResearchers have created a radio so tiny that almost seven would fit on the face of a penny. The device runs without a battery; instead it uses “power harvesting,” a process by which it recovers and uses energy from the same waves that carry signals to its antenna. Even if the radio chip did need a battery, a single AAA battery has enough power to run it for more than a century, researchers reported at the 2014 Symposium on VLSI Circuits Digest of Technical Papers. Many components of the radio had to be scaled down to fit onto the tiny silicon chip; the antenna, for example, is one-tenth the size of a Wi-Fi antenna—and yet, it runs at a fast speed of 24 billion cycles per second. The tiny radios cost only a few cents to manufacture, the researchers say, and such devices are key to the next wave of wireless devices; eventually they could link together gadgets like smart phones with everyday objects, which will then be able to make decisions with minimal human intervention.last_img read more

Killing badgers not enough to defeat costly tuberculosis in cattle UK report

first_img mike lane/Alamy Stock Photo The Department for Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which oversees the control program, believes the results of two pilot culls are promising and has expanded the effort. Skeptics aren’t convinced that the 70% target has actually been reached in all places. In 2017, workers caught and killed some 20,000 badgers in 20 parts of England. (Wales and the other devolved nations each have their own strategies.) The government this year increased the number of licenses and now allows badgers to be controlled, either by killing or by vaccinating the animals against TB, in 32 areas. Meanwhile, some 30,000 infected cattle were killed last year.In February, DEFRA commissioned an external review of its strategy to evaluate progress and additional actions that could be taken. Although the agency didn’t ask reviewers to analyze the ongoing badger culls, the report briefly addresses the controversial issue. The authors reiterated that the best evidence comes from the Randomized Badger Culling Trial, showing a “modest but real effect” in reducing the number of new outbreaks by about 15%. “If a decision is made to cull,” the review finds, “then carrying it out over sufficiently large geographic areas to reduce the relative effects of perturbation and utilizing natural barriers to badger movement, as is done at the moment, is in our view correct.” Less is known about how well vaccination works, the panel said, and the government could consider running a large trial. “We desperately need more evidence about the efficacy of vaccination,” Godfray said.The review notes that far more cases of TB result from transmission between cattle than from badgers, so it urges DEFRA and farmers to do more to control bovine TB on farms. Cattle can be protected by keeping badgers from contaminating their feed, for example, and by using better fences around their pastures. And farmers can prevent introducing TB into the countryside by better management of manure. But so far, the implementation of these relatively cheap measures has been “disappointingly low,” the review finds, perhaps because of a fatalistic view about living with the disease and a sense that it is a government problem. This lack of farmer involvement is “severely hampering” efforts to control the disease.Another key strategy is not inadvertently transporting infected cattle to other areas. DEFRA already requires testing for TB before cattle are moved from high-risk to low-risk areas, but the review suggests expanding the testing zone and switching to a more sensitive kind of test, which would reduce the number of false negatives. “Evidence is accumulating that there is more infection circulating in the national herd than we previously realized,” Godfray said. (Better tests for TB in cattle should be a high priority for research, the report noted.) In addition, farmers who buy cattle should be informed if they are coming from a high-risk area. A new national tracking system for cattle should make this feasible, in addition to revealing insights into how the disease spreads. The government should also consider reducing compensation for the slaughter of infected animals, as this might provide a disincentive to trading of cattle from high-risk areas.The report makes “many strong and bold proposals to improve cattle TB control,” says Rosie Woodroffe, an ecologist at the Zoological Society of London. But she is skeptical that a robust trial of vaccination can be done in places that have already experienced culling, because it would increase the prevalence of TB among badgers and therefore could make vaccination less effective. Matt Keeling, an epidemiologist at The University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K., predicts the recommendations in the report will have “huge policy implications.” DEFRA expects it will need a few months to evaluate the review and respond. Killing badgers not enough to defeat costly tuberculosis in cattle, U.K. report finds One of the most contentious wildlife management debates in the United Kingdom is whether badgers must be killed in order the slow the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, a disease that costs farmers and taxpayers about £120 million a year. Farmers insist the culling is necessary, because badgers can spread the disease to cattle. Wildlife advocates counter that the practice is inhumane and can make the problem worse.A new review of the issue, released today, reaffirms that badgers are partly responsible, but urges farmers to do more to protect their herds and prevent inadvertent spread of the disease. “It is wrong to put all the blame on wildlife,” said population biologist Charles Godfray of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, an author of the review. “This is a disease that needs action on all fronts.”Bovine TB is the “most pressing animal health problem in the U.K.,” according to the review. The strain that infects cattle is killed by pasteurizing milk, but sick animals produce less milk and lower quality meat. Infected animals are typically killed. The disease been particularly difficult to control in the United Kingdom and is getting worse, in part because badgers are also susceptible. The bacteria can spread between cattle and badgers that live near farms. In 2014, the U.K. government launched a 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease with a combination of testing, controls on cattle movements, and a controversial plan to kill badgers. The justification for the culling comes from a large randomized trial that took place between 1998 and 2005. It found that culling can reduce the number of TB cases in cattle, but only if at least 70% of the badgers around a farm are killed. Killing fewer can disrupt the social structure of badger communities, causing some to travel farther away and potentially spread the disease. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country European badgers can spread tuberculosis to cattle, but killing the animals to prevent outbreaks has led to controversy. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Erik StokstadNov. 12, 2018 , 7:00 PMlast_img read more

Cannibalistic tadpoles and matricidal worms point to a powerful new helper for

first_img David Pfennig, University of North Carolina Lava What our research shows is that a single mutation can lead to dramatic effects on life history through loss of ancestral plasticity. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Elizabeth PennisiNov. 28, 2018 , 2:00 PM The millimeter-long nematode Caenorhabditis elegans normally lays eggs (left), but when food is scarce the eggs (blue) hatch internally and the young (red) consume their mother from within (right). On the surface, the findings vindicate Lamarck: Acquired traits can be inherited. But biologists are quick to stress that what these organisms show is not true Lamarckian evolution. Application of Lamarck’s idea to modern findings “has led to a lot of confusion and debate,” says Cameron Ghalambor, an evolutionary ecologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.As biologists explore the underpinnings of plasticity and how it can lead to permanent change, they’ve uncovered a process that extends traditional evolutionary mechanisms rather than challenging them. The plasticity those changeable tadpoles display is built into their genetic code. And when an “acquired” trait does become permanent, it is because of mutations that “fixed” the plastic trait—a process biologists call genetic assimilation.Although some researchers bristle at giving any credence to Lamarckian thinking, “The way plasticity can influence evolution really fits very comfortably in the general framework of how we think evolution works,” Pfennig says.Transformed tadpoleIn 2003, evolutionary biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City raised eyebrows by suggesting phenotypic plasticity might also set the stage for permanent adjustments. Although her work focused on wasps, she drew on a vast literature about plants, butterflies, and other organisms that changed how they looked or acted. She proposed that, in the face of an environmental challenge, plasticity built into the genome enables at least some members of a species to cope. That would buy time for adaptive mutations to arise and be selected.Some of those genetic changes would simply increase the proportion of the most flexible individuals. But others might favor a specific trait. “This plasticity-first view solves some of the problems that are inherent if organisms have to wait for a genetic mutation,” explains Renee Duckworth, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “That is something that obviously would take a lot of time.” Pfennig and his lab members think spadefoot toads have followed that evolutionary trajectory. Through decades of fieldwork, his team and others have shown that some species, such as the eastern spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii), never naturally develop cannibal tadpoles. Another species, Spea multiplicata—the Mexican or desert spadefoot of Pfennig’s childhood—produces a mix of cannibals and omnivores depending on food availability, which may have enabled it to expand its range to shorter-lasting pools. But in populations of the plains spadefoot toad (Spea bombifrons) whose tadpoles live in the same ponds with S. multiplicata, almost all tadpoles are carnivores.To see how much plasticity each species can muster in the lab, Pfennig’s graduate student Nicholas Levis recently raised tadpoles on diets with a varying proportion of fairy shrimp. The eastern species, thought to be most representative of the first spadefoot toads to arise in evolution, responded just a little to a 100% shrimp diet, developing a shorter gut—better suited to a carnivorous diet—and mouthparts that were altered but still poorly adapted to catching prey. In short, it had limited phenotypic plasticity.Desert spadefoot tadpoles responded more strongly to the shrimp-only diet, exhibiting dramatic changes in gut and head shape and behavior. Metabolic genes that help digest protein became more active in these tadpoles, whereas the activity of genes needed to process the fats and starches in a detritus diet declined. But given a diet with little or no shrimp, the tadpoles could reverse all these adaptations.The plains toads that Levis studied, in contrast, turned out to be confirmed carnivores, he reported at this summer’s evolution meeting and, with Pfennig and lab member Andrew Isdaner, in a paper in the August issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution. Some of its tadpoles even hatched as carnivores, without the need of the fairy shrimp diet. And when given a detritus-only diet, the species’s tadpoles had difficulty regaining traits better suited for omnivory. “Some populations seem to have transitioned to all being carnivores, no matter what the situation,” Levis says. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Cannibalistic tadpoles and matricidal worms point to a powerful new helper for evolution Plasticity Lava 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 Genetic mutation When conditions are right, spadefoot toad tadpoles can turn into carnivores like these consuming a metamorphosing relative. Recently, Pfennig and his team have come upon something even more remarkable than that dramatic behavioral plasticity. In one species of spadefoot toad, they found, the carnivorous tadpole stage has become entrenched—there’s no need for a dietary trigger. A flexible response to the environment somehow became fixed.To some, such findings evoke the spirit of the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Decades before Charles Darwin laid out his evolutionary theory in On the Origin of Species, Lamarck and other biologists proposed their own mechanisms for evolutionary change. Among his ideas, Lamarck famously asserted in the early 1800s that organisms can acquire a new trait in their lifetime—longer necks for giraffes reaching for food; webbed feet for water birds—and pass it on to their offspring. Later, biologists cast aside Lamarckism, as the classic view of evolution emerged: that organisms evolve as a result of natural selection acting on random genetic changes.Now, however, evolutionary biologists have shown in multiple organisms, including lizards, roundworms, and yeast, that a plastic response can pave the way for permanent adaptations. The new evidence, much of it reported at the Second Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology here this summer, shows the connection between plasticity and evolution “is a real thing,” says Carl Schlichting, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “If you look for it, you are going to find it.” Email DAVID PFENNIG/UNC center_img Plasticity CHRISTIAN BRAENDLE/INSTITUT DE BIOLOGIE VALROSE The way plasticity can influence evolution really fits very comfortably in the general framework of how we think evolution works. Pfennig considers this a classic example of what he and others call plasticity-first evolution: Natural selection favored carnivory so strongly in this population of plains toad that this once-inducible phenotype somehow became genetically assimilated. “The idea is that the ancestor has the plastic ability and allows adaptation initially and then fixes it,” Schlichting says. Just why evolution acted to fix the carnivorous traits in this population isn’t clear, Levis says. It could be to avoid competing for the same food as other tadpole species. And Levis told the evolution meeting his group’s unpublished data show that plains toad populations that produce more carnivorous tadpoles do better, a hint there is some advantage to this carnivory.Life on the lavaAmmon Corl, a postdoc with Rasmus Nielsen at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and his colleagues have traced a similar interplay between plasticity and evolution in the side-blotched lizards of California’s Mojave Desert. He’s even caught a glimpse of the genes responsible. In sandy parts of the Mojave, side-blotched lizards scamper around in shades of tan and brown. But those living on the Mojave’s inky Pisgah lava flow are among the blackest lizards, presumably for camouflage from predators.In the 1980s, Claudia Luke, then a graduate student at UC Berkeley and now at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, switched dark and tan lizards between sandy and lava surfaces in the lab and found both varieties can adjust their colors to match their new surroundings in just a few weeks. But she also found the lizards from a sandy environment did not get as dark on lava as the regular lava dwellers, suggesting a genetic difference in the lizards’ ability to change color.Luke’s observation remained a puzzle for 20 years, until her unpublished thesis was discovered by Corl when he was a graduate student with Barry Sinervo, a behavioral ecologist at UC Santa Cruz. Corl sequenced the genes of the offspring of lizards from on and off the lava to track down genetic differences. He and his colleagues discovered two genes, PREP and PRKAR1A, that have mutated in the darker lizards. Each influences how much of the dark pigment, melanin, is produced in the skin.When the lava first cooled 20,000 years ago, the researchers suggest, phenotypic plasticity enabled lizards that wandered onto the newly cooled lava to darken for concealment and survive in the new environment. But these pioneers likely varied in their plasticity, and predators nabbed the lighter ones. That selective pressure favored mutations that increased darkening. “Plastic changes in coloration facilitated initial survival and then genetic adaptations allowed lizards to become even darker,” says Patricia Gibert, an evolutionary biologist at Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France. “This study provides one of the best examples of how plasticity precedes adaptive genetic change,” Ghalambor adds. The (adjustable) color of lizards Side-blotched lizards can adjust their skin color to match their environments. After a population moved onto black lava fields long ago, natural selection favored better-camouflaged lizards, and the population eventually developed permanent genetic mutations that enabled them to become even darker. Sand Lava The worms have a ghoulish way to cope. They stop laying eggs, which instead hatch inside the mother’s body, turning it into a lifeline for the developing young as they devour her insides. With enough food to survive, the nematode larvae can then enter a state of suspended animation called the dauer stage until the next windfall of fruit, when they mature and return to egg laying.In a compost pile outside Paris, biologists have found a C. elegans strain in which the plastic response has become permanent. For these worms, matricide is the rule: They don’t lay eggs, even when food is plentiful. “All the upstream signals related to food availability are irrelevant,” says Christian Braendle, an evolutionary biologist at the French national research agency CNRS and University of Nice Institute of Biology in Valrose, France, who learned of the strain and decided to follow up. The change in strategy must be adaptive—allowing more offspring to survive—because Braendle’s team keeps finding other matricidal wild strains.By crossbreeding the compost pile strain with nonmatricidal worms and analyzing the DNA of offspring, his team has now tracked down the key gene, which codes for an ion channel, a protein in the cell membrane that transmits signals between nerves and muscle cells. In the matricidal strain, a single base change in the gene alters the ion channel. As a result, the worm’s vulva muscle fails to respond to food signals that would normally cause it to expel eggs, causing them to hatch internally. “What our research shows is that a single mutation can lead to dramatic effects on life history through loss of ancestral plasticity,” Braendle said at the meeting.To confirm the mutation’s effect, his team engineered it into egg-laying worms, which then bore live young. And when they transferred the unmutated gene to the matricidal worms, they reverted to egg-laying, Braendle reported.”This might be the first description of the genetic mechanism underlying the transition from a historically plastic trait to a fixed trait,” Ghalambor says. If Lamarck had come across these matricidal worms, he might have thought a selfless mother had adopted this strategy in a single generation, then passed it on. Braendle’s unpublished work shows matricide is actually a plastic response encoded in the genes that, with one more mutation, became permanent.So 200 years later, biologists are realizing Lamarck wasn’t wrong in emphasizing that fast, flexible responses to the environment—what biologists now know as plasticity—can drive lasting change. Although mutations are still important drivers of evolution, responses to the environment “can be the precursors, and the genes are the followers,” Gibert says. “This is a change in the way of thinking.” AMMON CORL Plasticity Color range N. DESAI/SCIENCE Scientists are now using fast-breeding organisms to recreate such plasticity-first evolution. In Jonas Warringer’s lab at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, for example, graduate student Simon Stenberg applies environmental stressors to budding yeast for different lengths of time and tests the organisms for plastic or permanent responses. In one set of experiments, he’s been exposing the yeast to the herbicide paraquat, which causes eukaryotic cells to produce high concentrations of oxygen free radicals that damage DNA and other molecules. To gauge the health of the yeast, he measures its doubling time—how long it takes for a colony to double in size. When Stenberg first applied the toxin, the yeast’s doubling time slowed from the usual 1.5 hours to 5 hours.After as few as four generations, some of the colonies recovered half of their growth rate. Because that’s too little time for a genetic adaptation to arise and sweep through a whole colony, Stenberg concluded at least some of the yeast had a form of phenotypic plasticity that allowed them to cope with the excess free radicals. When he stopped applying paraquat and then reapplied it three to 100 generations later, the colonies’ growth rates again plummeted after 10 generations. The reduction indicates that the unknown paraquat-resistance mechanism was not yet permanently encoded in the genomes. But after constant exposure to paraquat for 150 generations, the yeast developed a permanent adaptation. They continued to grow even if Stenberg stopped applying the herbicide for 80 generations and then reapplied it.Since the meeting, Stenberg has found what may be the yeast’s coping mechanism: eliminating some or all of the DNA in their mitochondria, the cells’ energy-producing organelles. (Mitochondria themselves generate free radicals.) When the yeast were first exposed to herbicide, they temporarily reduced their mitochondrial DNA, a reversible change. After extended exposure, though, the change became lasting as they stopped making mitochondrial genomes altogether. (Yeast are among the few eukaryotic organisms that can survive without these genomes.) “The adaptation had become genetically assimilated,” Stenberg says.Making a meal out of momSo far, Stenberg hasn’t pinned down the genes responsible for this transition. But other researchers, working with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, have shown how a single mutation in one wild strain caused a plastic response to starvation to become fixed. In the lab, C. elegans—a key model animal for studying development and many other topics—is usually fed Escherichia coli bacteria. But in the wild, C. elegans lives on microbes in decaying fruit. These wild nematodes and their young live a life of feast and famine: Once the fruit is gone, it could take days to find more. MONTPELLIER, FRANCE—Growing up in South Texas, David Pfennig was fascinated by cannibalistic tadpoles. When summer storms soak the normally dry plains, spadefoot toads emerge from their burrows to lay eggs in short-lived pools. The tadpoles normally dine demurely on algae, tiny crustaceans, and detritus. But even as a boy, Pfennig could tell that the same toads sometimes spawned very different tadpoles. Those tadpoles had bulging jaw muscles and serrated mouthparts. They jostled aggressively in the shrinking puddles. They ate larger crustaceans, such as fairy shrimp—and one another.Later, when he became a biologist, Pfennig’s fascination turned into curiosity. Both kinds of tadpoles had the same parents, and hence the same genes. That they could turn out so differently, presumably because of their environments, didn’t square with the gene-centric view he had acquired during his studies in the 1980s. In that view, the genes inherited from parents should dictate every detail of how animals look and behave. “Yet here I was observing these animals that can modify their traits in response to the environment,” recalls Pfennig, who now runs a lab at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. “It was sort of mind blowing.”The toads display phenotypic plasticity, the ability to change how they look and act, and how their tissues function, in response to their environment. Other researchers had already documented the tadpole transformations. When algae and tiny prey are abundant, the tadpoles are small-jawed and mild-mannered. But if the pond also contains fairy shrimp, some tadpoles turn into the aggressive carnivores. They take advantage of the atypical food source, grow faster on the extra protein, and have a better chance of making it to adulthood before the water dries up. Christian Braendle, CNRS and the University of Nice Institute of Biology This side-blotched lizard and others living on a lava flow can adjust their coloring, but they are naturally much darker than relatives living on lighter sand.last_img read more

Ocean heat waves like the Pacifics deadly Blob could become the new

first_img BREE WITTEVEEN Email By Warren CornwallJan. 31, 2019 , 8:00 AM DANTÉ FENOLIO/SCIENCE SOURCE Extreme-severeStrongModerateNo warming0.050.12 By late 2016, the marine heat wave had crashed across ecosystems all along North America’s western coast, reshuffling food chains and wreaking havoc. Unusual blooms of toxic algae appeared, as did sea creatures typically found closer to the tropics (see sidebar). Small fish and crustaceans hunted by larger animals vanished. The carcasses of tens of thousands of seabirds littered beaches. Whales failed to arrive in their usual summer waters. Then the cod disappeared.The fish “basically ran out of food,” Barbeaux now believes. Once, he didn’t think a food shortage would have much effect on adult cod, which, like camels, can harbor energy and go months without eating. But now, it is “something we look at and go: ‘Huh, that can happen.’”Today, 5 years after The Blob appeared, the waters it once gripped have cooled, although fish, bird, and whale numbers have yet to recover. Climate scientists and marine biologists, meanwhile, are still putting together the story of what triggered the event, and how it reverberated through ecosystems. Their interest is not just historical.Around the world, shifting climate and ocean circulation patterns are causing huge patches of unusually warm water to become more common, researchers have found. Already, ominous new warm patches are emerging in the North Pacific Ocean and elsewhere, and researchers are applying what they’ve learned from The Blob to help guide predictions of how future marine heat waves might unfold. If global warming isn’t curbed, scientists warn that the heat waves will become more frequent, larger, more intense, and longerlasting. By the end of the century, Bond says, “The ocean is going to be a much different place.”The Blob beginsEven as ominous headlines warned of what National Geographic dubbed “The blob that cooked the Pacific,” researchers scrambled to decipher what was happening. They consulted satellite readings; crisscrossed the Pacific on research ships, sometimes dredging the depths with nets; picked through the carcasses of birds and whales; and huddled over microscopes and lab aquariums.The Blob was spawned, experts say, by a long-lasting atmospheric ridge of high pressure that formed over the Gulf of Alaska in the fall of 2013. The ridge helped squelch fierce winter storms that typically sweep the gulf. That dampened the churning winds that usually bring colder, deeper water to the surface, as well as transfer heat from the ocean to the atmosphere—much like a bowl of hot soup cooling as a diner blows across it. As a result, the gulf remained unusually warm through the following year.But it took a convergence of other forces to transform The Blob into a monster. In the winter of 2014–15, winds from the south brought warmer air into the gulf, keeping sea temperatures high. Those winds also pushed warm water closer to the coasts of Oregon and Washington. Then, later in 2015 and in 2016, the periodic warming of the central Pacific known as El Niño added more warmth, fueling The Blob’s growth. The heat wave finally broke when La Niña—El Niño’s cool opposite number—arrived at the end of 2016, bringing storms that stirred and cooled the ocean.Satellites and instrumented buoys made it relatively easy for scientists to track The Blob’s bloom and fade. But the vast sweep of its ecological impact was harder to see.That story starts with some of the ocean’s tiniest inhabitants, which sit at the base of the marine food chain. In the Gulf of Alaska, phytoplankton blooms shrank during the warm years, a trend scientists trace to a lack of the nutrients that the winds usually churn to the surface with colder, deeper water. The decline in phytoplankton appears to have rippled out to copepods—fat-rich crustaceans the size of a sesame seed—that feed on the algae, says Russell Hopcroft, a zooplankton ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. During Blob years, the copepods grew leaner at the same time as phytoplankton ebbed and water temperatures climbed, he says. When warmer water moved north to Alaska, it also carried in different, less nutritious copepod species. A fin whale found on an Alaskan beach in 2015 might have been among the victims of The Blob. Related story Invasion of the glowing sea pickles By Warren Cornwall Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Gentemann, C., et al. Geophysical Research Letters 44.1, 312, (2017) Ocean heat waves like the Pacific’s deadly ‘Blob’ could become the new normal By early 2015, the unusually warm water known as The Blob covered a vast swath of the Pacific Ocean. Pyrosomes are typically tropical creatures, but spread north after the emergence of The Blob. It’s getting warm in here The portion of the world’s oceans experiencing moderate to extreme marine heat waves has been growing since the 1980s. 19820.000.250.500.751.00198619901994199820022006201020142016Percent of total ocean areaYear (GRAPHIC) V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE; (DATA) HOBDAY ET AL., OCEANOGRAPHY, 31 (2), 2018 Toxic algae blooms that stretched along much of the west coast in 2015 might have played a role in the seabird and whale deaths. But some of the animals might have simply starved because competing predators had vacuumed up available forage fish. The seabird die-off, for example, peaked in the winter of 2015–16, just as warmer waters would have revved up the appetites of fish like cod, notes John Piatt, a USGS marine ecologist based in Port Townsend, Washington. “If murres and whales are dying en masse everywhere, what does it tell you?” Piatt asks. “That there’s no food anywhere.”Researchers are still puzzling over many Blob mysteries. Even as common murres suffered, for example, tufted puffins that feed on the same fish showed few problems, notes Heather Renner, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Homer, Alaska. And although the cod story seems to fit together neatly, there are still unknowns, such as exactly how warmer water temperatures affected baby cod. Laurel hopes some answers will emerge from ongoing laboratory experiments that involve raising young cod in aquariums with different water temperatures. The findings could help illuminate how tiny temperature shifts influence growth and survival, particularly during crucial winter months when the fish live largely on fat reserves.Other clues could come from the bodies of baby cod that researchers have collected from Kodiak Island beaches every year since 2006, then packed into lab freezers. Laurel has long wanted to study the collection to see how climate, ocean conditions, and diet shape development. Now, the urgency of understanding The Blob has unlocked money for that work.Lingering signsAlthough the blob has dissipated, its impact lingers. Of five common murre colonies in the gulf surveyed in 2018, only two seem to be breeding at normal levels. Just 99 humpback whales returned to Glacier Bay last year, with only one new calf in tow, far below the 3-decade average of more than eight calves per year. Cod numbers this year are projected to be even lower than they were last year. That means more tough times for cod fishers. Federal officials cut the allowable catch by 80% after the 2017 collapse, and the 2019 limits are even lower.But a recovery may be in the offing. With cooler waters, tiny cod filled the bays at Kodiak Island in the summer of 2018. Larger, high-fat copepods showed an uptick, as did forage fish. Seabirds have resumed breeding in some places. Krill have rebounded off the west coast. “It indicates that to some extent the ecosystem is able to restabilize once [more typical] conditions return,” says Janet Duffy-Anderson, a NOAA fisheries ecologist based in Seattle.Now, scientists are ramping up efforts to study similar firestorms that are gathering strength in other corners of the ocean. Warmer temperatures are threatening corals in the Red Sea, kelp forests in southern Australia, and fisheries off the coasts of New England and eastern Canada. Rising temperatures are also affecting ecosystems near New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and the coast of Argentina. In northern Australia, record air temperatures late last year sparked warnings of more damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Back-to-back marine heat waves in 2016 and 2017 are estimated to have killed half the reefs there.”Marine heat wave” became a common part of scientific parlance in just the past decade. Now, research on the waves “is kind of taking off,” says Eric Oliver, a physical oceanographer and marine heat wave expert at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. In 2016, he and a group of Australian, U.K., and U.S. scientists moved to give the field some common metrics by proposing that a marine heat wave be defined as a string of five or more days in which ocean water temperatures are in the top 10% compared with the previous 3 decades. Last year, recognizing that ocean warming might soon get public attention like other natural disasters, some of the same scientists suggested ranking their severity much like hurricanes, ranging from Category I to Category IV. They also proposed naming marine heat waves based on their location and year—so The Blob might have been called Northeast Pacific 2013.Each heat wave has its own constellation of causes. But there is one common and increasingly potent factor, researchers say. As oceans soak up more heat from a warming planet, heat waves are becoming more common and more intense. The number of days with a marine heat wave somewhere on the globe has doubled since 1982, according to a 2018 study by Swiss scientists published in Nature. Those researchers warned that, if warming continues on the current trajectory, marine heat waves will become 41 times more frequent by the end of the century. They will also be longer and bigger. Heat waves would typically last more than 100 days, with maximum temperatures 2.5°C above average. The western tropical Pacific and Arctic oceans would be the hardest hit. The changes, the authors wrote, would probably push “marine organisms and ecosystems to the limits of their resilience.”That scenario fits with what Bond foresees for the northeast Pacific. The climate and ocean models he uses produce sobering scenarios. By 2050, without major curbs on planetary warming, average ocean temperatures in that region will likely be between 1°C and 2°C above historic levels—meaning Blob-like temperatures will become typical. As a result, Bond says, “When we have a marine heat wave in 2050, it’s going to be way out there—in the uncharted territory.”Other tastes of that future might be just around the corner. Even as researchers close the book on The Blob, they are keeping a close watch on new heat waves off Alaska. In the winter of 2017–18 the northern Bering Sea was devoid of ice for the first time on record. And last summer, a warming trend that started in 2014 turned feverish. Water temperatures in the Bering Sea, where walleye pollock support one of the world’s biggest fisheries, hit 4°C above normal in some regions. Already, the heat appears to be having an impact. Late last year, researchers found that numbers of fatty copepods—a favorite of young pollock—were 90% below average. The big question is what impact the copepod shortage will have on fish trying to survive their first winter, Duffy-Anderson says. That won’t be known until later this year.Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Alaska, calm, warm weather this past fall has spawned a new patch of unusually warm water, one that is eerily like the baby Blob. In October 2018, Barbeaux logged into Facebook to share a news story warning The Blob might have a sequel. His comment succinctly captured what many scientists are thinking as they probe the effects of the last heat wave: “Oh, crap.”*Correction, 11 February, 3:05 p.m.: The credit for the image of Earth’s temperatures has bee updated. As I braced myself on a lurching deck, surrounded by fog at midnight, it was easy to imagine that we were chasing a mythical creature. But in fact, I had joined a group of researchers on a cruise off the coast of Newport, Oregon, last August to search for Pyrosoma atlanticum, a mysterious, glow-in-the-dark gelatinous tube.Also known as sea pickles, pyrosomes typically dwell near the tropics. But after “The Blob” engulfed these usually chilly waters in 2014, they were among a host of warm-water species that appeared far north of their usual ranges. Tiny squat lobsters normally found in California showed up on Oregon beaches. Warm-water fish including marlin, sunfish, and tuna were caught as far north as Alaska.Even after The Blob receded, however, the pyrosomes continued to appear in vast swarms, creating headaches for fishing and research vessels. They fouled lines and buckled nets with their sheer weight. Scientists on a 2017 trip hauled aboard 18,000 pyrosomes in 5 minutes.Mystery surrounds the behavior and biology of pyrosomes, which are really a colony of hundreds of tiny organisms living together in a transparent shell roughly the length of a person’s hand. Researchers know they emit a deep blue glow when touched. They poop golden pellets. But to learn more, researchers sailed 20 nautical miles offshore aboard the research vessel Elakha to try to catch some.It proved harder than expected. Just a month before our voyage, “they were thick out here,” said Elizabeth Daly, a marine biologist at Oregon State University’s (OSU’s) Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, as she scanned the water. But that night there was not a sea pickle in sight.Daly and her colleagues want to know what the arrival of pyrosomes means for the ocean ecosystem off Oregon’s coast. Though it’s hard to see much menace from a creature that resembles a floppy pink hot dog when pulled from the water, pyrosomes are voracious eaters. One study found they can suck up as much as 50% of the plankton floating near the ocean surface. Figuring out how much they are eating here is one goal of a 1-year research initiative led by Kim Bernard, a zooplankton ecologist at OSU in Corvallis.The fragile creatures aren’t easy to study. They often disintegrate when jostled. Daly—who declares, “I love gelatinous things”—has figured out a better way to keep them intact. Researchers gingerly insert a thread through the bodies of the sea pickles and suspend them, like pendants on a necklace, inside plastic bags filled with seawater. Still, most last only a day or two in the lab.That’s been enough time for scientists to begin to answer some questions. For example, the pyrosomes appear to be eating just 2% of the phytoplankton in the ocean off Oregon, much less than was feared.There are plenty of other puzzles. Why, for example, do the pyrosomes essentially disappear from waters here in the late summer and fall? In July 2018, Bernard and her crew caught buckets of pyrosomes. But the next month, six trips netted just one. (We caught none.)Now, the researchers are watching to see whether they come back. Or are they gone for good, leaving just a tale about the years of The Blob and the invasion of the sea pickles? Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe When marine biologist Steve Barbeaux first saw the data in late 2017, he thought it was the result of a computer glitch. How else could more than 100 million Pacific cod suddenly vanish from the waters off of southern Alaska?Within hours, however, Barbeaux’s colleagues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Seattle, Washington, had confirmed the numbers. No glitch. The data, collected by research trawlers, indicated cod numbers had plunged by 70% in 2 years, essentially erasing a fishery worth $100 million annually. There was no evidence that the fish had simply moved elsewhere. And as the vast scale of the disappearance became clear, a prime suspect emerged: “The Blob.”In late 2013, a huge patch of unusually warm ocean water, roughly one-third the size of the contiguous United States, formed in the Gulf of Alaska and began to spread. A few months later, Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, dubbed it The Blob. The name, with its echo of a 1958 horror film about an alien life form that keeps growing as it consumes everything in its path, quickly caught on. By the summer of 2015, The Blob had more than doubled in size, stretching across more than 4 million square kilometers of ocean, from Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Water temperatures reached 2.5°C above normal in many places. Krill—tiny shrimp that, like copepods, are a key food for many fish—felt the heat, too. In 2015 and 2016, as The Blob engulfed the coasts of Washington and Oregon, the heat-sensitive creatures vanished from biologists’ nets.As the base of the food chain crumbled, the effects propagated upward. One link higher, swarms of small fish that dine on copepods and krill—and in turn become food for larger animals—also became scarce as warm waters spread. On a remote island in the northern gulf, where scientists have tracked seabird diets for decades, they noticed that capelin and sand lance, staples for many bird species, nearly vanished from the birds’ meals. In 2015, by one estimate, the populations of most key forage fish in the gulf fell to less than 50% of the average over the previous 9 years.Of the fish that remained, some offered little nourishment. Sand lance caught in 2016 were so stunted that Yumi Arimitsu, a fisheries ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Juneau, thought she was holding fish that had recently hatched. But a check of their ear bones showed they were a year old. The fish had so little fat that each one provided just a tenth of the energy content of one average fish from other years.Finger-length juvenile cod that spend their first summer feeding in the gulf ‘s shallow waters also disappeared. In 2014, when NOAA researchers on an annual survey cast their nets into two bays off Kodiak Island in Alaska, they came up almost empty. There were “no fish around,” recalls Ben Laurel, a NOAA fisheries ecologist based at the agency’s lab in Newport, Oregon. “There’s just this big hole.”Even as these food stocks declined, the warmer water delivered a second blow to the cold-blooded creatures there, from copepods to adult cod. The heat dialed up the metabolism of the animals, forcing them to eat more to keep their bodies fueled—just as prey became scarcer.Barbeaux thinks that one-two punch is what did in Pacific cod, gray-flanked fish that can grow to more than a meter. After his initial shock at discovering the 2017 cod crash, he started to assemble a picture of a creeping underwater famine. Looking back, researchers noticed adult cod caught in 2015 and 2016 were skinnier than normal. The stomachs of cod caught in 2015 were half-empty compared with boom years, and contained few energy-rich capelin and tanner crabs.Despite their ability to go months without eating, the cod could not withstand this double whammy. Computer simulations developed by federal scientists suggest that, as warm waters lingered, the fish ran a deep caloric deficit. Barbeaux suspects the weakened fish became more vulnerable to disease and predators, such as salmon sharks.A wave of deathThe cod’s demise wasn’t easily observed. But other changes occurring in the ocean’s depths became visible in sudden, morbid convulsions on beaches and in bays. In late 2014, thousands of starved Cassin’s auklet seabirds began to wash ashore in Washington and Oregon. On New Year’s Day 2016, a retired bird biologist in Whittier, Alaska, stumbled across the white and gray bodies of 8000 common murres lining a beach, like so many abandoned buoys. In the following days, people found the normally hardy seabirds—known for their ability to fly hundreds of kilometers in a day to find fish—dead and dying across much of southern Alaska. They piled up on beaches and staggered along highways like little zombies. As many as half a million died, scientists estimate.Then there were the disappearing whales. In the summer of 2015, 2 years into The Blob, just 166 humpback whales returned to Alaska’s Glacier Bay from their winter calving grounds near Hawaii and Mexico, a 30% drop from 2013. All the humpback calves seen in Glacier Bay that year disappeared later and are presumed dead. And the bodies of 28 humpback and 17 finback whales washed up on beaches in Alaska and British Columbia in Canada.last_img read more

Watch artificial intelligence predict Conan OBriens gestures just from the sound of

first_imgWatch artificial intelligence predict Conan O’Brien’s gestures just from the sound of his voice Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA—Every time you talk, your body moves in sync, whether it’s something as subtle as eyes widening or more extreme movements like flailing arms. Now, researchers have designed an artificial intelligence that knows how you’re going to move based purely on the sound of your voice.Researchers collected 144 hours of video of 10 people speaking, including a nun, a chemistry teacher, and five TV show hosts (Conan O’Brien, Ellen DeGeneres, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, and Seth Meyers). They used an existing algorithm to produce skeletal figures representing the positions of the speakers’ arms and hands. They then trained their own algorithm with the data, so it would predict gestures based on fresh audio of the speakers. The generated gestures were closer to reality than were randomly selected gestures from the same speaker or predictions from a different type of algorithm originally designed to anticipate the hand movements of pianists and violinists. Speakers’ gestures were also unique, the researchers reported here this week at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference. Training on one person and predicting another’s gestures did not work as well. Feeding the predicted gestures into an existing image-generation algorithm led to semirealistic videos, as seen in the video.The team’s next step is to predict gestures based not only on audio, but also transcripts. Potential applications include creating animated characters, robots that move naturally, or movement signatures of people to identify fake videos.center_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Matthew HutsonJun. 21, 2019 , 11:45 AMlast_img read more

Signs You Should Be Making More Money

first_imgWe’ve all found ourselves in a tight situation when the economy is slow and we need work as soon as possible. But now that things are looking up, it might be time to look for a position that offers more for what you have to offer now that you have a steady check coming in.Everyone Else Is Getting Bonuses… Before you go to your boss with a request for more money, it pays to know just where your salary falls. Is your boss paying you what you deserve? Are they getting away with paying you pennies for premium work? You might be surprised at what you find after doing a little research.So what do you do if your paycheck is a lot lighter than it should be? If asking for a raise doesn’t work, it might be time to move on. Now that the job market is looking better, putting your resume in somewhere else might be the way to finally get paid the money you deserve. Here are sure signs you’re leaving much-deserved money on the table.The Company Is Making More Money Also On News One: You’re Just Happy to Have a Job But no paycheck to match. If your employer isn’t willing to pay you more for more work, you can always put those added skills on a resume to look for the next position on the ladder with the title and salary you deserve. If you have something valuable to offer that you think is unique, but you’re not getting paid like it, it might be time to start going out on interviews. Present your skills to prospective employers until you find one who values what you have to bring to the table. Or consider starting your own business where you’re in charge of your hourly wage and don’t have to answer to anyone else.Your Benefits Package Is BustedIf your benefits package falls well below the average or your company still doesn’t offer one, there are two things you can do: look for a company that gives you better perks, or negotiate for a raise in benefits instead of dollars. Times can be tough, but just holding on to any job can be keeping you from the salary and success you deserve. Don’t quit the job you have, but in the meantime, do keep an eye out for positions you’re qualified for that offer a lot more.You Know Your Worth It might be more valuable in the long run. And some employers are more willing to give up vacation days and better dental benefits than more zeros on a check.You’ve Been at Your Job for a While If that happens to you frequently, it might be time to research salaries for your position in your area (or outside of it if you’re willing to move). Your company might be paying you less for your position — and that’s information you can use to argue for more pay.You Have a Lot More Responsibility When you’re a loyal team member your boss can take that for granted and your paycheck can suffer. If it’s been a while since you’ve tested your skills and years of experience on the job market, it might be time to go on a few interviews. You might be surprised at the bigger salary you can demand when you show that you’re willing to switch companies. 20 Tweets Dragging Roseanne Barr To A White Privilege Hell If other people have found greener pastures, consider joining them. A job that overworks and underpays most of its employees is unlikely to change for the better anytime soon.The Business Isn’t Doing Wellcenter_img And you’ve been taking longer lunch breaks and cutting corners to pay yourself back. It’s a sign that it’s time to look for another position that will motivate you to work to your potential by paying you what you deserve. But you’re not. If you feel you deserve one, it’s time to ask. If you’re still being overlooked it’s time to move on to where you’re more valued.You Haven’t Received a Raise in over a Year At the moment, going out on a job hunt doesn’t feel worth it for just a few extra thousand dollars a year. But if you consider long-term goals, you might think differently. Add a few thousand to your salary every few years in your career and those zeros can add up. Sometimes it pays to push for more now so it can pay off later.You Took a Job Below Market Salary Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire on August 9, 2016.It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that 40 percent of employees feel that they’re not getting paid enough. Most of us feel like we could use a little more money for the hours we put in at our jobs. But how do you know when you’re actually being underpaid and when it just feels like “I don’t get paid enough for this”? You’re Comfortable with Your Salary Just because they can’t pay you more doesn’t mean you can’t earn more elsewhere. There’s company loyalty and there are career goals. If you don’t feel like your job has the potential to get back on track, move on.SEE ALSO:What $100 Buys You From State To StateHow To Save Kids From Being Broke Adults LegacyProd Most positions come with annual increases in salary, even just to compensate for cost of living increases. If you haven’t had that conversation with your boss, you may be the one who needs to start it.You Just Know It’s Time to Go And yet, your paycheck has stayed the same. It might be time for a meeting to talk about being compensated for your contributions to the company’s success. Have examples and figures to prove what you’ve done already.Your Colleagues Are Living LargeYou end up at a dinner with someone with the same job as you and think “How can they afford all of this on a __ salary?” Everyone Else Has Already Quitlast_img read more

The bird voice box is one of a kind in the animal

first_img 00:0000:0000:00 This means that the syrinx is an evolutionary novelty, Clarke and her colleagues reported last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. True novelties in evolution are hard to come by. They are innovations—new traits or new structures—that arise without any clear connections to existing traits or structures. Most previously suspected novelties, such as fingers and toes in land animals, have turned out to be the result of evolution tinkering with something that already exists, like fish fins in the case of fingers and toes.Such new innovations can “trigger further evolutionary steps,” says Johannes Müller, a paleozoologist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. By enabling songs to get more complex, he adds, the syrinx could have prompted birds with new variations of their songs to split into new species.And the study may have implications beyond avian crooners. Behavioral ecologist Richard Vogt from the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Manaus, Brazil, says it gives him a starting point to search for the structures that make sounds in turtles. Since 2008, Vogt and conservation biologist Camila Rudge Ferrara of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Manaus have shown that turtles, particularly social species, make a variety of sounds, even in their egg cases. It’s currently unclear whether they are using their larynx or generating these noises in just their mouths. The bird voice box is one of a kind in the animal kingdom A 3D image of where the windpipe splits to go into the lungs shows how elaborate the junction became in birds (right) compared with alligators (left), resulting in a new avian voice box. 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 Hans Glader/Minden Pictures This male spotted bluethroat bursts into song by activating an organ deep in its throat. 00:0000:0000:00 The two organs also appear to develop differently. The larynx is made from a mix of mesoderm and neural crest cells, which make up muscles and some facial bone and nerve cells, respectively. But the syrinx is made of just mesoderm cells—there are no neural crest cells involved. “It presents a rather interesting rare case of how new structures and developmental programs evolve,” Clarke says. These differences, however, still resulted in organs with the same function.Clarke and her colleagues suspect the ancestors of modern birds also had a larynx. Then, at some point before birds became birds, the cartilage in the windpipe just above the lungs expanded to form the syrinx. This expansion may have initially provided additional support for the split in the windpipe; eventually, it developed rings of muscle that enabled the complex avian sound repertoire heard today. Over millions of years, the syrinx took over sound production from the larynx, possibly because the syrinx was more versatile at producing a wide variety of sounds Email 00:0000:0000:00 Julia Clarke et al. center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Thrush song Turtle sounds The melodious call of many birds comes from a mysterious organ buried deep within their chests: a one-of-a-kind voice box called a syrinx. Now, scientists have concluded that this voice box evolved only once, and that it represents a rare example of a true evolutionary novelty.“It’s something that comes out of nothing,” says Denis Duboule, a geneticist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland who was not involved with the work. “There is nothing that looks like a syrinx in any related animal groups in vertebrates. This is very bizarre.”Reptiles, amphibians, and mammals all have a larynx, a voice box at the top of the throat that protects the airways. Folds of tissue there—the vocal cords—can also vibrate to enable humans to talk, pigs to grunt, and lions to roar. Birds have larynxes, too. But the organ they use to sing their tunes is lower down—where the windpipe splits to go into the two lungs. The syrinx, named in 1872 after a Greek nymph who was transformed into panpipes, has a similar structure: Both are tubes supported by cartilage with folds of tissue. By Elizabeth PennisiOct. 5, 2018 , 4:30 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Neither turtles nor the later-evolving crocodiles has a syrinx, says Nicolas Mathevon, an ethologist at the University of Lyon/St. Etienne in France, who studies the sounds crocodiles and their relatives—the only modern representatives of dinosaurs apart from birds—make. Crocodiles diverged from birds 240 million years ago, and many are famous for their calls. Caiman call The oldest known syrinx belongs to a bird fossil some 67 million years old; that’s about the same time all modern bird groups became established. To figure out where the bizarre organ came from, Julia Clarke, a paleontologist at the University of Texas in Austin, who made the syrinx discovery in 2013, assembled a team of developmental biologists, evolutionary biologists, and other researchers. The group combed the literature and compared the anatomy, genetics, and development of bird syrinxes and larynxes from a range of modern reptiles. The organs are quite different—even more so than early biologists believed—they discovered. To work the vocal cords, larynxes depend on muscles that attach to that organ’s cartilage. But the syrinx relies, at least in part, on muscles that in other animals extend from the back of the tongue to the bones that connect the arms to the body. But crocs have a very basic larynx, with structures that vibrate in airflow. If the syrinx evolved as birds came into existence, then “some dinosaurs may have had two sound sources,” Mathevon says. “Maybe one day we will find a fossil of a dinosaur with a larynx together with a syrinx.”last_img read more

People of the Stone Age Enjoyed a Dinner of Caviar

first_imgMany centuries before caviar became a prized — and pricey — delicacy served at restaurants, something amazingly similar was eaten by Stone Age humans out of their clay pots. That’s what a new study that was published in late 2018 in the journal PLOS One has concluded. The study featured protein analysis of a 6,000-year-old cooking pot, revealing traces of cooked fish roe. The pot was recovered from an archaeological site in Germany.Fragment of Endmesolithic pottery. Photo by 2018 Shevchenko et al. CC BY SA 4.0“For the study, researchers from Germany conducted a protein analysis of charred food remains caked to the shards of an Stone Age clay cooking vessel,” reported Mental Floss. “After isolating roughly 300 proteins and comparing them to that of boiled fresh fish roe and tissue, they were able to the identify the food scraps as carp roe, or eggs.”Prehistoric societies knew how to make full use of natural resources, the study authors pointed out.These groups of humans often lived close to rivers or lake shores. The scientists’ best guess is that these were hunter-gatherers who camped near lakes.Stone Age by Viktor VasnetsovTrying to understand how the Stone Age people used “aquatic resources,” the scientists assembled “zooarchaeological” materials (shellfish, bones, scales), processing tools, and related art objects like zoomorphic figurines, paintings, and adornments. They also analyzed the DNA recovered from ancient fishbones.According to Smithsonian, the lead author, Anna Shevchenko of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, “identified the elements of this prehistoric recipe by conducting protein analysis of charred food traces left on a clay cooking vessel dated to around 4000 B.C.”Common carpProteins on the clay that they analyzed matched those of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio).Specifically, the proteins are common in the fish eggs. Other proteins they looked at suggest that the pot also held fish flesh. The authors say that the long-ago diners may have prepared their delicacy by poaching roe in fish broth or water, using leaves to cover the pot, according to Nature.Fragment of ancient clay cooking pot. Photo by 2018 Shevchenko et al. CC BY SA 4.0The clay shards that they analyzed were recovered from Friesack 4 in Brandenburg, Germany, which is a Stone Age archaeological site that has yielded about 150,000 artifacts for study, including objects made from antlers, wood, and bone, since the date it was discovered in the 1930s.In the same study, the researchers report that they also found remnants of bone-in pork on a vessel recovered from the site.Through such research, scientists have confirmed that some of the foods we think of as modern delicacies have been around for thousands of years, not only fish eggs but also cheese, salad dressing, and bone broth.Electron microscopy of rim and basal foodcrusts from #3258 vessel. Photo by 2018 Shevchenko et al. CC BY SA 4.0This research technique falls under the burgeoning field of proteomics, or the large-scale study of protein sets, according to Smithsonian. Proteomics allows researchers to focus on species- or age-specific proteins, providing a higher level of detail than most archaeological assessments of historical food substances.The scientists said in a statement: “Burnt food particles are often found adhering to vessel shards on archaeological excavations. The analysis of their protein content helps us understand many aspects of prehistoric life.”To analyze a ceramic bowl of burnt food leftovers found at an archaeological site in the state of Brandenburg in Germany, scientists from the Brandenburg State Office for Historic Preservation and the Archaeological Museum (BLDAM) contacted the mass spectrometry experts at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden.Read another story from us: Unearthing Fast Food Joints and Takeaway Culture in Ancient Rome“The team led by Anna Shevchenko at the MPI-CBG developed a new proteomics analysis that can identify more than 300 proteins and differentiate ancient and contemporary proteins. In this way, the researchers found in the charred remains of prehistoric food the fish roe of a carp,” according to the statement.last_img read more

DYBT awards participants of poster and essay competitions

first_imgShareTweetSharePinPoster competition winners: Makayla George, Sydni Samuel and Joshua Dangleben from the Morne Jaune Primary SchoolThe Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT) has awarded the participants in the ‘My Business of the future’ poster competition and “A day in the life of an entrepreneur- shadow an entrepreneur experience” essay competition. The winners and participants were announced at a press briefing which was held at the Public Service Union (PSU) building on Tuesday.The winners of the poster competition are: Makayla George, Sydni Samuel and Joshua Dangleben from the Morne Jaune Primary School. Joy-Marie, Ciara Gregoire and Axya Isreal from the Convent Preparatory School came in 2nd while Regal Forest Fountaine from the Warner Primary School came 3rd.Kiah Charles and Darnail Augustine of the Convent Preparatory School were also recognized for participating in the poster competition.The Winner of the essay competition was Klazienne Morancie of the Arthur Waldron Seventh-Day Adventist Academy. Alana Luke of the Dominica State College (DSC) came 2nd and Kalyanna Deluge of DSC placed 3rd.The poster competition targeted primary school students who were instructed to create an image showcasing what business they would like to establish when they grow up. The essay competitions involved older persons who wrote about a Dominican entrepreneur that they admire.During Global Entrepreneur Week in November, the winners of the essay competition will get a chance to meet that entrepreneur and experience how their life is for a day.Phillip Rolle is Development Officer of DYBT EnterpriseAt the briefing, Development Officer of DYBT Enterprise, Phillip Rolle said 23 potential entrepreneurs benefited from the 13th Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP) which ran from may 13th to June 7th 2019.He said the first element of the EDP was the achievement motivation training (AMT) which was a one-week residential style programme to assist these young, business-minded people to understand their personality, leadership potential and to discover entrepreneurial spirit. That phase of the programme took place at Fort Shirley, Cabrits National Park, from May 13th to 17th.“The programme continued for the next three consecutive weeks at the PSU conference room and included intense modules on the essential elements of a business plan which, once approved by the DYBT, will facilitate the participants, access to credit at most local finical institutions, through a loan grantee arrangement,” Rolle stated.He said the beneficiaries also interfaced with resource persons and successful entrepreneurs and were provided with insight on taxes, banking, social security and business registration and other real business experiences, through panel discussions.Rolle said over 500 graduates of the DYBT programme now own successful businesses.last_img read more

County attorney pleads for jail district to continue services

first_img By Toni Gibbons NAVAJO COUNTY — From higher case loads to fewer prosecutors, Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon gave a bleak view of the county’s criminal justice future if a significant source of revenue, likeSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad August 21, 2018 County attorney pleads for jail district to continue serviceslast_img

Cross country added to Snowflake athletics

first_imgCross country added to Snowflake athletics By Toni Gibbons The Snowflake School District Governing Board unanimously approved the reinstatement of the Snowflake High School (SHS) cross country team as a funded sport at the meeting on Sept. 13. SuperintendentSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad September 19, 2018center_img Photo by Toni GibbonsSnowflake High School cross country Head Coach Lynn Johnson requested the Snowflake School District Governing Board reinstate the cross country team as a funded sport due to the increase of students participating.last_img

Mexico Leader of La Luz del Mundo charged with child rape

first_imgBy AP |Los Angeles | Published: June 5, 2019 7:27:38 am Top News 0 Comment(s) Garcia is being held on $25 million bail, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Garcia had an attorney.A third follower, Alondra Ocampo, 36, was arrested in Los Angeles County and is being held at the sheriff’s Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood ahead of her arraignment Wednesday in Los Angeles. A fourth defendant, Azalea Rangel Melendez, remains at large.David Correa, a spokesman from the headquarters of La Luz del Mundo in Guadalajara, Jalisco, said in a phone call that they learned about the charges from the media and were waiting for official information.“We categorically deny those false accusations,” Correa said. “We know him personally and he is an honorable and honest man.” Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Advertising Mexico church, mexico church Leader charged with child rape, La Luz del Mundo, La Luz del Mundo leader charged with child rape, priest accused of rape, clerical abuse, catholic church sexual abuse, world news, Worshippers raise their hands at La Luz Del Mundo, “Light of the World, Restoration of the Primitive Christian Church,” during the Holy Dinner celebration at the Hermosa Provincia Temple in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Source: AP/File)The leader and self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo — a controversial church based in Mexico that claims over 1 million followers — has been charged with human trafficking and child rape, California officials said Tuesday. The church, whose name translates to The Light of the World, has been the subject of child sex abuse allegations for years but authorities in Mexico have never filed criminal charges.In May, an opera concert at Palacio de Bellas Artes, the main cultural venue in Mexico, generated controversy because in some places it was presented as a tribute to Garcia. Critics said a secular state such as Mexico shouldn’t use a public place for that purpose.The work, “The Guardian of the Mirror,” was broadcast on social networks and screened outside the Palace, with the church’s followers in the audience.La Luz del Mundo denied that it was an homage and said the opinions expressed in social networks were not promoted by the institution.center_img Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Advertising Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Best Of Express Joaquin Garcia and another follower of the church, 24-year-old Susana Medina Oaxaca, were arrested Monday after landing at Los Angeles International Airport, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office said.Garcia, 50, faces 26 counts of felony charges that range from human trafficking and production of child pornography to forcible rape of a minor. The charges detail a series of disturbing allegations involving three girls and one woman between 2015 and 2018 in Southern California.Garcia coerced the victims into performing sex acts by telling them that refusing would be going against God, authorities said.last_img read more

Govt readies plan for second wave of asset monetisation

first_img Advertising Written by P Vaidyanathan Iyer | New Delhi | Updated: July 15, 2019 10:10:57 am Recently, the Cabinet cleared Adani Enterprise’s bid for the lease of three airports — Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru — operated by Airports Authority of India on a public-private partnership basis. Adani would carry out the operations, management and development of the airports for 50 years. BSNL offers cashback up to 25%, free Amazon Prime on broadband plans More Explained psu assets, govt psu assets revival, bsnl mtnl revival, govt bsnl mtnl revival plan, psu assets, govt psu assets, Amitabh Kant, govt asset monetisation On list: BSNL, GAIL, state bank assetsAN INTER-MINISTERIAL committee of the government will soon recommend a second list of PSU assets, including pipelines of GAIL, mobile towers of BSNL and MTNL, and ATMs of state-owned banks, that could be monetised to raise resources for fresh investment by these undertakings. Advertising In the first round, the IMC had approved and submitted a list of 19 assets for monetisation to the government. These included 12 sports stadiums (three of Railways — one in Delhi and two in Visakhapatnam), five of Sports Authority of India (Delhi), two of ONGC (one each in Ahmedabad and Vadodara), one of BPCL in Mumbai, and one of RINL in Visakhapatnam.Also on the first list were NTPC’s Badarpur Thermal Power Plant in Delhi, ITDC’s Ashoka Hotel in Delhi, and four mountain railway properties in Darjeeling, Matheran, Nilgiris and Kalka-Shimla. It also included 18 central government holiday homes across India, which are currently under the Directorate of Estates.Also Read | Merger of three PSU general insurance companies to get ‘serious push’ this fiscalAccording to senior officials, in many cases of asset monetisation and recycling, the idea is to give the funds raised back to the company itself. “To beat the slowdown, we need the private sector to restart investment. If PSUs start spending, it will give confidence to the private sector to make fresh investments, which can set in motion a virtuous cycle of investment,” an official said. Advertising “The money raised by leasing such a large tower network can be used to at least pay back the small and medium enterprises to which BSNL owes significant sums. The government need not provide funds from the Budget for this,” said an official.State-owned banks have vast ATM networks, although mergers between some have led to a marginal decline. In 2017-18, public sector banks had 1.45 lakh ATMs, 3,000 less than the previous year. Private sector banks, on the contrary, added about 1,500 ATMs last year, taking the total number to 60,145.“The IMC is still discussing with relevant departments on how best to utilise the large ATM network of public sector banks. Can they be pooled? Will it be possible to hive it off? How best can these assets be recycled and monetised?” said sources.The IMC is encouraged by two big asset sale decisions taken by the government over the last year or so. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) decided to auction nine projects last year. Australian capital fund manager Macquarie won these by offering an upfront payment of Rs 9,400 crore. Macquarie is required to collect toll, and operate and maintain these projects for 30 years, after which the assets will be handed back to NHAI. The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and comprising the Finance Secretary and Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), has already held three-four rounds of meetings with administrative ministries to push through the second lot of assets for recycling and monetisation.The IMC has discussed hiving off the pipeline and tower businesses of GAIL and BSNL, for second wave of asset monetisation respectively, and leasing them out to private players. It is also considering ways to utilise the large ATM network of state-owned banks.“This is the only way to raise money for big investments by government companies,” said an official, who did not wish to be named. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Taking stock of monsoon rain Officials noted that asset recycle and monetisation should not be confused with disinvestment. In disinvestment, the government offloads or sells part of its ownership, whereas in asset monetisation, the ownership remains with the government — the underlying assets are leased on a long-term basis to private players.For instance, GAIL had a network of around 11,400 km of natural gas high-pressure trunk pipelines with a pan-India capacity to handle volumes of around 206 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic metres per day), as on March 31, 2018. However, average gas transmission during the last financial year was only 105 mmscmd, roughly 50 per cent of capacity.The pipelines can be handed over to private players on long-term lease, and the funds raised could be used by the PSU to expand its national pipeline network.While BSNL leases out some of its mobile towers, it has been at a slow pace. Given its country-wide network — 67,279 towers till September 2018 — it leased out only 1,415 to other telecom service providers and earned Rs 336 crore. Hiving this off to a separate business, like what many private telecom players had done, will attract investors.Read | Centre readies list of land assets for disinvestment Best Of Express Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Over 1,000 mobile towers of BSNL not functional over non-payment of energy bills: Ravi Shankar Prasad Related News BSNL is offering broadband consumers 5GB daily data free of cost 16 Comment(s)last_img read more

Parental education associated with increased family health care spending

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 19 2018Parents educated beyond high school invest more in family health care, reducing the likelihood of adverse medical conditions despite differences in family income and health insurance, according to a recent Rutgers study that appeared in the Southern Economic Journal.The study, led by Alan Monheit and Irina Grafova, at Rutgers School of Public Health, examined the association between parental education and family health care spending in single-mother and two-parent families based on data from the 2004 to 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).Related StoriesPersistent poverty endangers health in 20% of UK childrenMaking Bacterial Infections a Thing of the Past for Chronic Respiratory ConditionsB. Braun awarded prestigious quality mark by Royal College of Surgeons of EnglandThey found that parental education beyond 12 years is associated with increases in family health care spending and decreases in specific health conditions and poor health status, including hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.According to Monheit and Grafova, higher parental education was associated with increased total health care spending on both children and parents, and was also associated with sizable increases on ambulatory care spending for both family types.For instance, compared to single-mother families in which a mother lacks a high school diploma, single-mother families in which a mother is college educated spend an additional $1,000 annually toward family ambulatory health care.The study also found that families headed by single mothers who had higher levels of education spent more for prescription drugs and dental care while two-parent families with more education spent more for dental care and mental health services.”Our study confirms the important association between the educational attainment of parents and the family’s access to and use of health care services,” said Monheit.The study’s findings support the well-established “Grossman model of health demand,” in which health is a “good” that is inherited and increased by investments beyond the price of medical care, and depreciates over time as someone’s health naturally deteriorates over time. This study thus supports the critical association between education and monetary investments in health. Source:https://news.rutgers.edu/kids-health-outcomes-have-more-do-parents-level-education-income/20181017#.W8dbOBNKiBslast_img read more

Montana Stateled research project wins 10 million grant to prevent batborne diseases

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 5 2018In an effort to prevent some of the world’s most lethal diseases, an international research team spanning five continents and led by Montana State University will study bats in Australia, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Ghana.Raina Plowright, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in MSU’s College of Agriculture and College of Letters and Science, is leading a project to unravel the complex causes of bat-borne viruses that have recently made the jump to humans, causing concern among global health officials.The research team — which includes more than 20 scientists from Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Cambridge, UCLA, Penn State, Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, Griffith University in Australia and five other universities and institutions — is supported by a $10 million cooperative agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, an independent agency of the U.S. Defense Department that funds ambitious and potentially groundbreaking projects.”This research brings together one of the biggest teams in the world working on emerging bat pathogens,” Plowright said, adding that the project will study how the viruses are transmitted at the cellular level as well as on the scale of whole landscapes. “Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is find new solutions that can prevent people from getting sick.”Collectively called henipaviruses, the bat-borne pathogens were first identified in 1994 after an Australian outbreak of Hendra virus killed a dozen horses and their owner. Outbreaks of a related virus, called Nipah, have since resulted in hundreds of deaths in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.What most worries health experts, according to Plowright, is the potential for henipaviruses to cause future pandemics if human-to-human transmissions increase or new henipaviruses emerge that are more transmissible among humans. The diseases are highly lethal — up to three-quarters of infected individuals die — and there is no cure or vaccine for human infections.According to Peter Hudson, Willaman Professor of Biology at Penn State University and the project’s co-principal investigator, insights into how and why henipaviruses jump to humans could also help prevent outbreaks of other bat-borne diseases such as SARS and Ebola, which killed about 11,000 people in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. Even as health workers struggle to treat Ebola victims and contain human-to-human transmission, scientists haven’t fully understood the human-bat interactions at the root cause of the problem, he said.”I think we’re on the edge of finding out,” Hudson said.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairDogs and cats relieve academic stress and lift students’ mood, according to a new studyCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentPlowright’s prior research indicates that ecological changes such as deforestation may play a significant role in causing henipavirus outbreaks. For instance, her team found that incidents of Hendra virus in Australia are linked to bats flocking to urban and agricultural areas in response to loss of food sources in native forests, where the flying mammals play an important role in pollination. Those periods of nutritional stress are thought to suppress the bats’ immune systems and cause the animals to excrete viruses in urine and other body fluids. When horses eat contaminated grass beneath the trees where the bats feed, they become infected and pass the disease to humans. Similarly, Nipah virus in Bangladesh is transmitted to humans when bats feed on date-palm sap that is harvested and sold for human consumption.”Henipaviruses are also found in bats across Africa and Asia, and we don’t know how many are spilling over into other animals and people in places with poor surveillance,” Plowright said.Samples taken from the bats at the study locations will be sent to Rocky Mountain Labs, the National Institutes of Health facility in Hamilton, Montana, that is specially equipped to study emerging pathogens. Researchers there will inventory the viruses, document their genetic makeup and use controlled cell culture experiments to assess their ability to infect humans.The team will analyze the bat samples for proteins that indicate the ability of the bat immune system to respond to viruses as well as environmental stress, potentially providing insights into how the diseases spread to humans. Meanwhile, field observations and satellite imagery will be used to track environmental variables such as changes in land-use. The changes will be studied for links to the bats’ having closer contact with humans and to the animals’ immune response as a result of nutritional stress, according to Plowright.By putting together all of those pieces, Plowright said, the research team will develop mathematical models that predict outbreaks based on the presence of henipaviruses and environmental conditions that stress bat populations. That would give health officials information that could help them prepare for, or even prevent, future outbreaks, she said.According to Plowright, one solution to these deadly diseases may be simpler than once thought: protecting bat habitat or even restoring native food sources such as flowering trees in areas away from people. “We think we might be able to solve this problem by solving the root cause,” she said. Source:http://www.montana.edu/news/18219/msu-project-to-prevent-bat-borne-diseases-wins-10-million-grantlast_img read more

Study examines opioid prescribing rates for pediatric patients in EDs

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 21 2018Opioids for pain management in pediatric patients are sometimes necessary but their use has raised concerns about the effects of opioids and later abuse.This analysis examined opioid prescribing rates using information from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2006 to 2015 on more than 69,000 emergency department visits for patients younger than 18. Prescribing rates decreased from 8.2 percent in 2006-2010 to 6.3 percent in 2011-2015. Prescribing seemed to vary by region of the country, race, age and payment. For example, opioid prescribing rates were higher in the West; white patients and patients 13 to 17 were more likely to get prescriptions; and patients using Medicaid were less likely to get opioid prescriptions. The results of this observational study suggest inconsistencies in opioid prescribing requiring further research. Source:https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/study-looks-at-ed-visits-to-examine-opioid-prescribing-in-pediatric-patients/last_img read more

Mechanism behind how diabetes causes muscle loss revealed

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 23 2019Diabetes mellitus is associated with various health problems including decline in skeletal muscle mass. A research group led by Professor Wataru Ogawa at the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine revealed that elevation of blood sugar levels leads to muscle atrophy and that two proteins, WWP1 and KLF15, play key roles in this phenomenon. These findings were published on February 21 in the online edition of JCI Insight.Muscle mass decline associated with aging impairs our physical activity, making us susceptible to a variety of health problems and thus leading to shortened lifespans. Age-dependent muscle mass decline and the consequent impairment of physical activity is known as “sarcopenia”, a serious health burden in aging societies.We already knew that patients with diabetes mellitus are prone to muscle loss as they age, but an underlining mechanism for this phenomenon remains unclear. Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by insufficient action of the hormone insulin. Insulin not only lowers blood sugar levels, but promotes the growth and proliferation of cells; insufficient action of insulin has been thought to result in the suppression of growth and proliferation of muscle cells, which in turn contribute to the decline in skeletal muscle mass.Professor Ogawa’s research team made the surprising discovery that a rise in blood sugar levels triggers the decline in muscle mass, and uncovered the important roles of two proteins in this phenomenon. They found that the abundance of transcription factor KLF15 increased in skeletal muscle of diabetic mice, and mice that lack KLF15 specifically in muscle were resistant to diabetes-induced skeletal muscle mass decline (Figure 1). These results indicate that diabetes-induced muscle loss is attributable to increased amounts of KLF15.Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useIntermittent fasting may protect against type 2 diabetesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesThe team investigated the mechanism for how the abundance of KLF15 is increased in skeletal muscle of diabetic mice. They found that elevation of blood sugar levels slows down the degradation of KLF15 protein, which leads to an increased amount of this protein. Professor Ogawa’s team also discovered that a protein called WWP1 plays a key role in regulating the degradation of KLF15 protein.WWP1 is a member of proteins called ubiquitin ligase. When a small protein called “ubiquitin” binds to other proteins, the degradation of the ubiquitin-bound proteins is accelerated. Under normal conditions, WWP1 promotes the degradation of KLF15 protein by binding ubiquitins to KLF15, keeping cellular KLF15 abundance low. When blood sugar levels rise, the amount of WWP1 decreases, which in turn decelerates the degradation of KLF15 and thus the increase in the cellular abundance of KLF15.This study uncovered for the first time that elevation of blood sugar levels triggers muscle mass decline, and that the two proteins WWP1 and KLF15 contribute to diabetes-induced muscle mass decline.As well as diabetes mellitus, other conditions such as physical inactivity or ageing result in muscle mass loss. The proteins KLF15 and WWP, which have been shown to contribute to diabetes-induced muscle mass loss, may also be related to other causes of muscle loss. Currently, no drug is available for the treatment of muscle loss. Professor Ogawa comments: “If we develop a drug that strengthens the function of WWP1 or weakens the function of KLF15, it would lead to a groundbreaking new treatment”. Source:http://www.kobe-u.ac.jp/research_at_kobe_en/NEWS/news/2019_02_22_01.htmllast_img read more

Scientists to investigate link between sleep and dementia at UEAs new sleep

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 5 2019Scientists at the University of East Anglia will investigate the link between sleep and dementia at a new state-of-the-art sleep unit opening today (4 April).Sleep disturbances are common in dementia. But it is not yet known whether Alzheimer’s causes sleep problems, or whether sleep problems could be an early predictor of the disease.Pioneering research at UEA’s new sleep and brain research unit will investigate this big question.The research team hope that treating sleep disturbances early on could help slow down the progression of the disease – particularly as there are no other treatments available which do this.The first study to take place in the unit will investigate whether healthy people who are at increased genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s could be more vulnerable to sleep loss and how their body clock is affected.Volunteers spending a night in the unit can expect to stay in a modern hotel-like en-suite room.But instead of a relaxing break – their every move will be overlooked by a team of sleep specialists. They will also be hooked up to sensors measuring brain activity and take part in thinking, memory, balance, co-ordination, and attention tests throughout their stay.Lead researcher Dr Alpar Lazar, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, said: “We live in an ageing society, and sleep disturbances and dementia are two significant health problems in older adults.”A symptom of Alzheimer’s is poor sleep. Good sleep is central to maintaining cognitive performance – such as attention and memory as well as general brain health.”Sleep deficits have been shown to be early markers in certain brain disorders.Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionNew app created to help people reduce exposure to anticholinergic medicationsWhy women who work are less likely to develop dementia”But is it Alzheimer’s causing sleep problems, or do sleep problems modulate or contribute to the disease process?”Recent evidence suggest that sleep could be actively involved in the disease process. Trying to identify the cause of early sleep problems in people who have been recently diagnosed or who have genetic predispositions towards Alzheimer’s and the impact of these sleep problems on the brain will help us determine whether improving sleep could potentially slow down the disease process.”In this first study, we will look at healthy people who may, or may not, have an increased genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.”Volunteers will undertake a screening process, including genetic and psychological testing, wearing a small wrist-worn device to measure sleep and activity at home, and keeping a sleep diary.”They will then take part in a three-night lab session under one of two conditions -including one night complete sleep deprivation, or taking multiple short naps.”It may sound gruelling, but we hope it will help us understand more about the links between sleep, the body clock and the genetic risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This will help design future studies investigating specific sleep related interventions that could potentially slow down the progression of the disease.”Dr Lazar has been awarded a Seed Award in Science from the Wellcome Trust, which helps researchers develop novel ideas. Local businesses including Dovetail Furnishings, Hughes Electrical, Mattressman and Warings Lifestore have donated gifts-in-kind to help furnish the research unit. Source:https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/dedicated-sleep-and-dementia-research-unit-launches-at-uealast_img read more