Leukogene receives STTR grant to optimize compound for treatmentresistant multiple myeloma

first_img Source:http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 31 2018A $2 million phase 2 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to optimize a promising new compound that has shown efficacy in preclinical studies against treatment-resistant multiple myeloma has been awarded to a Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) startup company, Leukogene Therapeutics, Inc., in collaboration with MUSC researcher and company founder, Nathan G. Dolloff, Ph.D. Dolloff is an assistant professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at MUSC and a member of MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. Dolloff and his team will use the STTR award to further develop the new compound into a drug that could be used with proteasome inhibitors in treatment-resistant multiple myeloma.Proteasome inhibitors have contributed to the dramatic improvement in multiple myeloma treatment and outcomes over the past 15 years. They disrupt the normal ebb and flow of protein synthesis and breakdown in cells by blocking the activity of the proteasome, which is the cell’s major protein degradation machinery. This causes excess proteins to accumulate, which is highly toxic to some cancer cell types. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cells that normally help fight off infection by producing a large quantity of proteins called antibodies. Because these cells produce a great deal of protein, they are prime targets for proteasome inhibitor treatment.Although proteasome inhibitors work really well up front, patients eventually become resistant to the treatment. The compound Dolloff is developing is intended to provide patients with resistant multiple myeloma a new therapeutic avenue.”Nearly all myeloma patients eventually reach that stage when their physician tells them that they have explored all the options and that there’s nothing else,” says Dolloff. “Our goal has always been to develop that next treatment option and get it to patients as quickly as possible.”Using resistant cell lines that they started to develop in 2012, Dolloff’s team screened over 20,000 compounds, hoping to find one that reversed resistance to proteasome inhibitors in myeloma cells. Finally, they found the molecule for which they had been searching. This compound amplified the effects of proteasome inhibitors in a large panel of multiple myeloma cells, including those that had been made resistant, and reduced the number of cancer cells in mice with myeloma, helping them to survive longer.Related StoriesCannabis ingredient shows promise as potential antibiotic for superbugsLoose double-stranded RNA molecules spur skin rejuvenationAbcam Acquire Off-The-Shelf Diploid Library of Over 2,800 Knockout Cell LinesWhile proteasome inhibitors kill cancer cells by preventing the breakdown of proteins, Dolloff’s compound targets instead their synthesis, preventing proper folding, which is essential to protein function. Normally, unfolded or misfolded proteins would then be targeted to the proteasome for degradation to avoid the build-up of these dysfunctional proteins. However, in the presence of proteasome inhibitors, the breakdown is blocked, leading to the build-up of toxic misfolded proteins. In principle, the compound developed by Dolloff could offer a one-two punch when administered together with proteasome inhibitors.”We’re creating a lot of misfolded junk proteins, and that, in and of itself, is toxic to myeloma cells,” says Dolloff. “But because we are also blocking the breakdown side with proteasome inhibitors, we have a two-hit strategy that is extremely effective at killing myeloma cells.”The phase 2 STTR grant funds Dolloff and his team for two years to optimize this compound and select a lead molecule to take into clinical trials. During this time, they will improve the drug-like properties of the molecule, optimize its dose and treatment schedule in animal models, and start the pharmacology and toxicology experiments that are necessary to turn the compound into an investigational new drug.”Our plan is, within the next six to twelve months, to find and develop the strongest possible drug candidate,” says Dolloff. “This will be the one that we hope to see in patients.”During that time, Leukogene Therapeutics, Inc., will also be preparing for the product manufacturing and toxicology studies that are required by the FDA before clinical testing in humans. The company plans to seek industry partnerships to help accelerate the development process and provide a new product to cancer patients as fast as possible.The team is also exploring whether their new class of drug is effective in other cancer types and whether it can enhance the activity of other cancer therapies, not just proteasome inhibitors. Preliminary findings suggest that is the case.”One of the exciting things is that we think this goes well beyond myeloma and we can apply this to a lot of different cancers,” says Dolloff. “We may even be able to enhance a few drugs other than proteasome inhibitors.”last_img read more

Researchers untangle mysteries of evil protein in ERpositive breast cancer

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 12 2018Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, striking 1 out of 8 women. About 80 percent of all breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive, in which cancer growth is fueled by estrogen.A discovery that could have implications for developing more precise treatments for ER-positive breast cancer has been made by Marco Padilla-Rodriguez, PhD, a recent graduate of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine. Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez untangled some of the mysteries of a protein called EVL — pronounced “evil” — which is thought to reduce the ability of ER-positive breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body.As a graduate student, Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez collaborated with UA Cancer Center member Ghassan Mouneimne, PhD, assistant professor of cellular and molecular medicine, and a team of UA and international researchers who used epidemiological data to compare breast cancer patients taking hormone replacement therapy at the time of diagnosis with those who were not. They analyzed genetic data to identify EVL as an important regulator of cancer cells’ ability to spread, and conducted follow-up experiments in breast cancer cells.The study results recently were published online in the open-access journal Nature Communications. Study contributors included investigators from the UA, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Institut de Recherche sur les Maladies Virales et Hépatiques in Strasbourg, France.ER-positive breast tumors are studded with estrogen receptors, which are like gas tanks that can be filled with estrogen, fueling cancer’s growth. Patients now are treated with surgery and chemotherapy, typically followed with anti-estrogenic drugs, such as tamoxifen, which reduce cancer recurrence by cutting off breast cancer cells’ fuel supply.The estrogen story is not “black and white,” however. Cancer is most dangerous when cells break free from the original tumor and travel to other areas of the body, a process called metastasis. But tumor cells can replicate without metastasizing, remaining contained in their original site. Although estrogen does increase risk for the initiation of breast cancer and fuel its growth, it does not seem to promote metastasis.”In breast cancer, estrogen is connected to the growth of the tumor, but it also seems to suppress the ability of cancer to spread,” Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez said. “The growth of the tumor and the tumor’s ability to spread aren’t always linked. You might have a large tumor, but it stays contained. You might have a small tumor that spreads throughout the body.”Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerThe Mouneimne Lab analyzed genetic datasets to identify EVL as a factor in taming estrogen’s cancerous effects. They found that estrogen enhances the production of EVL, which seems to keep cancer cells contained to the original tumor site. As estrogen levels fall, so do levels of EVL, freeing cancer cells to invade neighboring tissues — the first step in metastasis. EVL’s role in regulating a cell’s actin cytoskeleton could be the key to its ability to suppress cell movement.”Cells have skeletons, just like we have a skeleton,” Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez explained. “Actin is one type of skeleton. Unlike our skeleton, actin can be remodeled, like Lego pieces being shaped into different structures.”Depending on how a cell rearranges its actin cytoskeleton, it might be more likely to stay in one place, adhering to adjacent cells, or it could have the ability to migrate, crawling away from other cells like a microscopic caterpillar. “Generally, cells like to cluster together,” Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez said. “When we treat them with anti-estrogenic drugs, actin allows the cell to break away and pull itself forward.”One of the next steps is to learn how to leverage EVL’s interaction with estrogen to develop combination treatments for patients with ER-positive tumors. While anti-estrogenic drugs such as tamoxifen rein in tumor growth, they also might indirectly reduce EVL levels, accelerating remaining cancer cells’ invasion of neighboring tissues.”With tamoxifen, you’re inhibiting the brakes,” Dr. Mouneimne said. “Now we want to go after the gas pedal to halt the cancer from progressing. Then we will be inhibiting both growth and invasion.”Dr. Mouneimne is working with Tech Launch Arizona to commercialize a method to measure EVL levels in ER-positive breast tumors, with the hope that someday such a diagnostic could be used to expand personalized medicine options for breast cancer patients.Source: http://uahs.arizona.edu/Source:last_img read more

Computer avatars play role in diagnosis of dementia

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 14 2018Diagnosis of dementia was made via cognitive function tests such as Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and medical imaging systems at hospitals, a fairly large system for the purpose. As our population ages, an increasing number of people are developing dementia. Thus, easy-to-use dementia detection tests are sought after. In previous studies, diagnoses were made mainly using neuropsychological questions, so habituation to the same questions lowered performance in detecting dementia.A joint group of researchers from Osaka University and Nara Institute of Science and Technology demonstrated that it was possible to detect dementia from conversations in human-agent interaction. This technique has been realized through machine-learning: a machine learns characteristics of sounds of elderly people who answered easy questions from avatars on a computer.Related StoriesMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesNew app created to help people reduce exposure to anticholinergic medicationsHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionThe researchers proposed machine learning algorithms for detecting signs of dementia in its early stages, developing a dementia detection system using interactive computer avatars. They created a model for machine learning based on features of speech, language, and faces from recorded dialogues with elderly participants. Through machine learning, a computer came to able to distinguish individuals with dementia from healthy controls at a rate of 90 percent in 6 questions (2-3 minutes per question).The team prepared fixed questions based on neuropsychological tests and random questions not based on specific tests, recording interactive data of spoken dialogues with avatars from 12 participants (individuals diagnosed with dementia by a psychiatrist according to the diagnosis criteria Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV) and 12 healthy controls. They extracted speech, language, and image features from the recorded data, creating a model for detecting dementia and enabling a computer to learn for itself to detect dementia.As a result, the computer was able to distinguish between healthy controls and individuals with dementia with an accuracy of 92%. It was found that dementia could be distinguished with high accuracy by combining features of dementia, such as delay in response to questions from avatars depending on the content of questions, intonation, articulation rate of the voice, and the percentage of nouns and verbs in utterance.Senior author Takashi Kudo says, “If this technology is further developed, it will become possible to know whether or not an elderly individual is in the early stages of dementia through conversation with computer avatars at home on a daily basis. It will encourage them to seek medical help, leading to early diagnosis.” Source:https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/research/2018/20180908_1last_img read more

ScienceShot More Trees More Coffee

Would you like a tree with your coffee? That may not sound like a good idea, but a new study suggests that mixing trees with coffee bushes could boost bird populations while improving crop yields. Among the chief threats bean growers face is the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei), an insect that lays its eggs after digging into coffee berries. Recent studies in Jamaica’s “high mountain” coffee farms suggest that introducing insect-eating warblers such as the black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens, inset, about to snag a coffee berry borer) onto plantations can keep the pests in check. But sustaining a population of the birds on a farm is a challenge; because of borers’ small size and seasonal population changes, they make up only about 10% of warblers’ diets. To see whether adding additional bird habitat in the form of trees and shrubs (background, above) might make a difference, biologists created a series of computer simulations of the ecosystem in and around a coffee farm. Replacing about 5% of the coffee-growing area with trees randomly dispersed about the farm supported a threefold increase in the number of birds living there, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That increase cut the coffee berry borer infestation rates from about 35% to less than 15%, bringing with it a slight increase in coffee yields despite the reduced growing area. If the simulations hold in the real world, taking your coffee with a dash of shrubbery might be a good choice after all.See more ScienceShots. read more

Seven grains of interstellar dust reveal their secrets

first_imgEight years after a NASA mission brought them back to Earth, seven grains of interstellar dust keep giving scientists fresh puzzles to ponder. The flecks of dust had streaked into a tennis racket–sized collector on board a spacecraft named Stardust, and scientists announced their existence at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March 2013. Researchers now report in Science that the alien visitors are unexpectedly diverse. After extracting the particles and analyzing them with powerful x-rays, the researchers were intrigued to find that the grains contained crystalline minerals; astronomical measurements had indicated that cosmic rays whipping around the galaxy destroy most crystals. Three small particles contain sulfide, but others are sulfur-free—a hint that Stardust may have sampled two different populations of interstellar dust. Next, the researchers plan to measure the abundance of oxygen isotopes within the grains; if they differ from the sun’s, the discrepancy would confirm that the dust comes from outside the solar system. In the meantime, the team is looking for more grains embedded in the collector with the help of Stardust@home, software that lets volunteers identify possible grains by examining images of the material on their home computers, tablets, and cellphones. More than 30,000 “dusters” are listed as co-authors of the Science paper.last_img read more

Could a wireless pacemaker let hackers take control of your heart

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email In a 2012 episode of the TV series Homeland, Vice President William Walden is assassinated by a terrorist who hacks into his Internet-enabled heart pacemaker and accelerates his heartbeat until he has a heart attack. A flight of fancy? Not everyone thinks so.Internet security experts have been warning for years that such devices are open to both data theft and remote control by a hacker. In 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney’s cardiologist disabled the wireless functionality of his pacemaker because of just that risk. “It seemed to me to be a bad idea for the vice president to have a device that maybe somebody on a rope line or in the next hotel room or downstairs might be able to get into—hack into,” said the cardiologist, Jonathan Reiner of George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., in a TV interview last year.Medical devices such as insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and pacemakers or defibrillators have become increasingly small and wearable in recent years. They often connect with a hand-held controller over short distances using Bluetooth. Often, either the controller or the device itself is connected to the Internet by means of Wi-Fi so that data can be sent directly to clinicians. But security experts have demonstrated that with easily available hardware, a user manual, and the device’s PIN number, they can take control of a device or monitor the data it sends. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Medical devices don’t get regular security updates, like smart phones and computers, because changes to their software could require recertification by regulators like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And FDA has focused on reliability, user safety, and ease of use—not on protecting against malicious attacks. In a Safety Communication in 2013, the agency said that it “is not aware of any patient injuries or deaths associated with these incidents nor do we have any indication that any specific devices or systems in clinical use have been purposely targeted at this time.” FDA does say that it “expects medical device manufacturers to take appropriate steps” to protect devices. Manufacturers are starting to wake up to the issue and are employing security experts to tighten up their systems. But unless such steps become compulsory, it may take a fatal attack on a prominent person for the security gap to be closed.For more on privacy and to take a quiz on your own privacy IQ, see “The end of privacy” special section in this week’s issue of  Science. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Lightbased memory chip is first to permanently store data

first_imgToday’s electronic computer chips work at blazing speeds. But an alternate version that stores, manipulates, and moves data with photons of light instead of electrons would make today’s chips look like proverbial horses and buggies. Now, one team of researchers reports that it has created the first permanent optical memory on a chip, a critical step in that direction.“I am very positive about the work,” says Valerio Pruneri, a laser physicist at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, who was not involved in the research. “It’s a great demonstration of a new concept.”Interest in so-called photonic chips goes back decades, and it’s easy to see why. When electrons move through the basic parts of a computer chip—logic circuits that manipulate data, memory circuits that store it, and metal wires that ferry it along—they bump into one another, slowing down and generating heat that must be siphoned away. That’s not the case with photons, which travel together with no resistance, and do so at, well, light speed. Researchers have already made photon-friendly chips, with optical lines that replace metal wires and optical memory circuits. But the parts have some serious drawbacks. The memory circuits, for example, can store data only if they have a steady supply of power. When the power is turned off, the data disappear, too. Now, researchers led by Harish Bhaskaran, a nanoengineering expert at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and electrical engineer Wolfram Pernice at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, have hit on a solution to the disappearing memory problem using a material at the heart of rewritable CDs and DVDs. That material—abbreviated GST—consists of a thin layer of an alloy of germanium, antimony, and tellurium. When zapped with an intense pulse of laser light, GST film changes its atomic structure from an ordered crystalline lattice to an “amorphous” jumble. These two structures reflect light in different ways, and CDs and DVDs use this difference to store data. To read out the data—stored as patterns of tiny spots with a crystalline or amorphous order—a CD or DVD drive shines low-intensity laser light on a disk and tracks the way the light bounces off.In their work with GST, the researchers noticed that the material affected not only how light reflects off the film, but also how much of it is absorbed. When a transparent material lay underneath the GST film, spots with a crystalline order absorbed more light than did spots with an amorphous structure.  Next, the researchers wanted to see whether they could use this property to permanently store data on a chip and later read it out. To do so, they used standard chipmaking technology to outfit a chip with a silicon nitride device, known as a waveguide, which contains and channels pulses of light. They then placed a nanoscale patch of GST atop this waveguide. To write data in this layer, the scientists piped an intense pulse of light into the waveguide. The high intensity of the light’s electromagnetic field melted the GST, turning its crystalline atomic structure amorphous. A second, slightly less intense pulse could then cause the material to revert back to its original crystalline structure.When the researchers wanted to read the data, they beamed in less intense pulses of light and measured how much light was transmitted through the waveguide. If little light was absorbed, they knew their data spot on the GST had an amorphous order; if more was absorbed, that meant it was crystalline.Bhaskaran, Pernice, and their colleagues also took steps to dramatically increase the amount of data they could store and read. For starters, they sent multiple wavelengths of light through the waveguide at the same time, allowing them to write and read multiple bits of data simultaneously, something you can’t do with electrical data storage devices. And, as they report this week in Nature Photonics, by varying the intensity of their data-writing pulses, they were also able to control how much of each GST patch turned crystalline or amorphous at any one time. With this method, they could make one patch 90% amorphous but just 10% crystalline, and another 80% amorphous and 20% crystalline. That made it possible to store data in eight different such combinations, not just the usual binary 1s and 0s that would be used for 100% amorphous or crystalline spots. This dramatically boosts the amount of data each spot can store, Bhaskaran says.Photonic memories still have a long way to go if they ever hope to catch up to their electronic counterparts. At a minimum, their storage density will have to climb orders of magnitude to be competitive. Ultimately, Bhaskaran says, if a more advanced photonic memory can be integrated with photonic logic and interconnections, the resulting chips have the potential to run at 50 to 100 times the speed of today’s computer processors. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Watching neurons talk in a living brain

first_imgEver wonder what it looks like when brain cells chat up a storm? Researchers have found a way to watch the conversation in action without ever cracking open a skull. This glimpse into the brain’s communication system could open new doors to diagnosing and treating disorders from epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease.Being able to see where—and how—living brain cells are working is “the holy grail in neuroscience,” says Howard Federoff, a neurologist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved with the work. “This is a possible new tool that could bring us closer to that.”Neurons, which are only slightly longer than the width of a human hair, are laid out in the brain like a series of tangled highways. Signals must travel down these highways, but there’s a catch: The cells don’t actually touch. They’re separated by tiny gaps called synapses, where messages, with the assistance of electricity, jump from neuron to neuron to reach their destinations. The number of functional synapses that fire in one area—a measure known as synaptic density—tends to be a good way to figure out how healthy the brain is. Higher synaptic density means more signals are being sent successfully. If there are significant interruptions in large sections of the neuron highway, many signals may never reach their destinations, leading to disorders like Huntington disease.The only way to look at synaptic density in the brain, however, is to biopsy nonliving brain tissue. That means there’s no way for researchers to investigate how diseases like Alzheimer’s progress—something that could hold secrets to diagnosis and treatment.To remedy this, a team of Yale University scientists have developed a surgery-free technique to view how well neurons are talking to one another, as they report today in Science Translational Medicine. They call it “synaptic density imaging.”The approach uses a radioactive molecule that, when applied to brain tissue, selectively latches on to certain membranes. When paired with positron emission tomography (PET), a scan that measures nuclear radiation given off by the molecule, the chosen areas light up on the image of the organ being studied. The brighter the light, the more glucose—or energy—used by those cells. When applied to synapses, the technique should be able to tell whether a message is successfully jumping from one neuron to another. Multiply that by the 100 trillion synapses in the brain, and you’ve got an accurate picture of synaptic density.The team intravenously injected a radioactive molecule into baboons, hoping it would stick to a membrane protein in the brain called synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A for short). SV2A molecules usually hang out near the ends of neurons where messages are received, so it would theoretically light up on a PET scan when a message makes its synaptic jump. After comparing PET scan images of SV2A in the baboon brains to autopsies, the researchers decided SV2A was indeed an accurate marker for synaptic density. Now that they had their marker, they could potentially tell whether some areas of the brain were affected by disorders like Parkinson’s: A lack of synaptic firing would cause those areas to come up dark on the PET scan.To confirm the results in humans, the researchers used synaptic density imaging to look at the brains of people with temporal lobe epilepsy. The condition causes seizures through the loss of synaptic firing in the same area every time. In their experiment, the scientists correctly predicted the precise areas of the brain that came up dark on the PET scan—the areas that had lost synaptic density.The researchers hope the technique can be used to follow a neurological disorder over a patient’s lifetime to show not just where synapses are failing to fire, but also whether medications are restoring those synapses’ functionality.Federoff is excited about the new technique, but he says more work needs to be done to determine just how accurate and consistent the approach is. That will require looking at people in different age groups and with varying brain conditions, he says. “This could very well be another tool in the everyday clinical evaluation toolbox.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Would you live in a wooden skyscraper

first_imgThe push to demonstrate the potential of wood has touched off a skyscraper race. The new Vancouver dormitory risks being surpassed by a 21-story residential tower in Amsterdam, scheduled to start construction in 2017. In April, Michael Ramage, an architect and structural engineer at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, unveiled a plan for a needle-thin, 80-story skyscraper in London, one of four designs he’s creating with architects in three different cities. There’s no imminent plan to build any of them. But Ramage predicts that wooden towers this tall could go up within a decade, and he and his colleagues are now testing the kinds of beams and steel connectors that could support a supertall wooden structure.Others, meanwhile, are campaigning to change building codes that, in most of North America, cap wooden buildings at six stories. The Vancouver dormitory is a case in point: Its designers had to apply for a special exemption from the building code. To assuage fire safety concerns, they sheathed its interior wooden columns in three layers of sheetrock. They also used reinforced concrete for the first floor and two major rectangular cores housing the elevator and stairs. The cores could have been built of wood, but doing so could have made it even harder to win government permits. “Until these kinds of innovative products or design methods or construction methods are in the code, they’re not likely to be widespread,” says Eric Karsh, a principal engineer at Equilibrium Consulting in Vancouver, who has worked on other tall wooden buildings.Government, university, and private scientists are now doing the meticulous tests that could make future building codes friendlier to wood. The Vancouver dorm will be outfitted with motion sensors and moisture detectors as scientists gauge how the building endures perhaps its most brutal trial—housing 400 college students. In the United States, scientists plan to erect a 10-story wooden building on a massive earthquake simulator at the University of California, San Diego, in 2020, to see how well a seismic protection system performs. Another group is setting off explosives near CLT-built walls to test how they would withstand a blast. Others are igniting a model apartment lined with CLT to see how the interior burns.Barber, the fire engineer, says that much of the rap against wood reflects confusion between familiar wood-framed buildings, built of small, combustible lumber, and tall ones with massive timbers. Those huge pieces of wood actually withstand fire well, burning slowly and predictably, he says. An exterior layer of charred wood insulates the center of the timber, helping preserve its strength. “The science is somewhat already proven,” Barber says. “It’s more the case of the construction industry getting more familiar with how these buildings can be constructed and that they can be constructed safely.”The results so far have won over officials in Quebec in Canada, which last year raised the height limit to 12 stories for buildings using so-called mass timber. In the United States, the International Code Council, whose rulebook guides local building codes, announced in January that it was forming a committee to evaluate tall wooden buildings.Meanwhile, a handful of U.S. architects and developers are already moving forward. Alan Organschi, a Connecticut architect who teaches at Yale, wants to turn four blocks of downtown New Haven into a thicket of wooden mid-rise buildings ranging from six to eight stories. The project, called Timber City, envisions as many as 12 buildings in a former industrial neighborhood near the Yale campus. He’s now working with a developer to build the first—a six-story mix of apartments and shops.For Organschi, like many in the field, the measure of success will be when a new 10-story wooden building is considered as unremarkable as the antique sitting in downtown Vancouver once was. “If we could get up to eight to 10 stories and really build it well and efficiently, I think we’d start to see real gains,” he says. “I think we’d have a more renewable way of thinking about city building.”For more of our coverage on sustainability visit our Conservation topic page. Cambridge University, Perkins+Will, Thornton Thomasetti Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A Douglas fir tree is a marvel of natural engineering. The trunk, made mostly of slender dead cells each a few millimeters long, can reach heights of 100 meters. It’s supple enough to sway in windstorms without snapping, yet strong enough to support its weight—up to 160 metric tons. Kilogram for kilogram, a wooden beam made from this fir is 3.5 times stronger than steel. A single tree can store half its weight in carbon and can replace itself, given enough time. Its luminous, patterned wood can be sculpted into virtually any shape.Not far from Canadian forests thick with Douglas firs, the most ambitious effort yet to harness these remarkable qualities in a human structure is rising. A few kilometers from downtown Vancouver, on the University of British Columbia campus, workers are putting the finishing touches on an 18-story dormitory set to be the world’s tallest wooden building. As skyscrapers go, the boxy structure is modest. Yet it represents a leap forward for a material long regarded as too weak, variable, and flammable to support high-rise buildings. Conceptual interior rendering of the River Beach tower project in Chicago, Illinois. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Source: University of British Columbia and Acton Ostry Architects Inc. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Although CLT has been around for a quarter-century, tall wooden buildings are only now taking off. Credit growing concerns about climate and computer advances that make it easier to fashion custom-shaped panels, says Sam Zelinka, head of building and fire sciences research at the Forest Products Laboratory, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Madison. “The carbon thing has got people thinking about—I don’t know what kind of word you want to use—sustainability and greenness,” he says.Besides being renewable, wood proponents argue, timber offers a double helping of carbon benefits. It’s less energy intensive to produce than steel and concrete. And the wood in a building effectively sequesters carbon, while trees regrowing in logged areas can absorb additional carbon dioxide (CO2). A report from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, estimated that throughout its entire life, a large building made mostly from wood would have a carbon footprint a third smaller than a comparable one made from steel or concrete.On a global scale, replacing the steel used in construction with timber such as CLT could cut CO2 emissions by 15% to 20%, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry. “It’s amazing what can be done,” says Chad Oliver, the study’s lead author and head of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at Yale University.But others question those projections. William Keeton, a forest ecologist at the University of Vermont in Burlington, found in a 2010 study that a New England forest left alone or lightly logged for more than a century would store approximately a third more carbon than a more heavily logged forest plus the wood products coming from it. He also cautions that it’s hard to predict whether swapping wood for steel would lead to a perfect one-to-one exchange. For example, building designs could change in response to the shift in materials. “We just have to be a little careful to recognize that wood products are not the panacea,” he says.A mass switch to wood could also have major implications for forests. Oliver estimates that replacing the world’s structural steel with wood could require 40% of global annual forest growth—almost a tripling of today’s logging levels. That’s still less than the new wood grown in forests each year, Oliver says. But given today’s logging techniques, he says, “we would have a lot of highly degraded forests.” Scientists and architects across the globe are trying to adapt this ancient building material for the demands of the modern city. Spurred by new ways to work with wood and concerns about the environmental toll of urban construction, they are trying to push the limits of height for wood construction and win wider acceptance for its use. “We’re in sort of the early, early days of this,” says Michael Green, a Vancouver architect who has gained international attention for evangelizing about the potential for tall wooden buildings. “Right now I liken it to kind of the beginning of the steel revolution 120 years ago.”The Vancouver building, assembled from composite wooden components engineered to be stronger and more fire-resistant than ordinary wood, is unlikely to remain the tallest wooden structure for long. Engineers have conceived designs for soaring wooden skyscrapers that, at up to 80 stories, would rival their steel-framed cousins. But wood’s true potential for 21st century cities is likely to emerge in the lab, where scientists are conducting myriad torture tests on new designs for wooden walls, beams, ceilings, and floors. Their goal: to see whether wood can overcome the safety concerns that, in the past, helped relegate it to the little leagues.In 2013, Green’s 29-meter-tall Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, Canada, earned bragging rights as what was then the tallest wooden building in North America. But it came with this qualifier: the tallest modern one. A 111-year-old building not far from his office in Vancouver rises 34 meters, supported by massive beams carved from old-growth Douglas firs. “It’s hard to feel like you’re some hero of science or innovation when you’re trying to keep up with what we used to do,” Green says ruefully.When true skyscrapers started rising in the late 19th century, wood’s drawbacks began to loom. Its cells act like little sponges, swelling and shrinking by as much as 10% as they absorb and release moisture. Knots and twists in the grain make wood behave in unpredictable ways. It’s more brittle than steel and more bendable than concrete. It rots, and, of course, it burns.The carbon thing has got people thinking about—I don’t know what kind of word you want to use—sustainability and greenness.Sam Zelinka, head of building and fire sciences research, Forest Products LaboratoryThis final quality played a pivotal role in its decline as a structural material for large buildings, says David Barber, a Washington, D.C.-based fire engineer and expert in wooden buildings at the engineering firm Arup. As fire storms swept through cities built chiefly of wood—San Francisco, California, in 1851 and 1906; Chicago, Illinois, in 1871; Boston in 1872—insurers and officials discouraged tall wooden buildings in favor of less combustible material. Wood was consigned to low-rises and single-family houses.The beams and panels in today’s tall wooden buildings, however, are a far cry from natural wood. Instead of being hewn from a single tree, they’re made of myriad bits of wood, glued together in a range of patterns. For tall buildings, a key innovation is known as cross-laminated timber, or CLT. Imagine plywood on a huge scale. Long pieces of lumber much like standard two-by-fours are glued together edge to edge, forming sheets. Those sheets are then pressed together in three or more layers, the wood in each layer running perpendicular to the adjacent sheets.Developed in Europe in the 1990s, CLT has several advantages over conventional wood. The perpendicular layers counter wood’s tendency to warp and twist and add strength. Individual wood pieces can be selected to create a more uniform final product. Sheets of CLT can span gaps of 18 meters—wide enough to serve as the floor for a multistory building. For going tall with wood, “CLT was kind of the trigger,” says Erol Karacabeyli, a veteran engineer at a Vancouver lab of FPInnovations, a nonprofit created by the Canadian government and the timber industry to find new ways to use wood.At FPInnovations, Karacabeyli leads the way into a cavernous room, where CLT panels 17 centimeters thick and 8 meters long, like those making up the floors in the new wooden dorm nearby, lie in a stack. They were being tested to see how much weight they could handle. Or, as Karacabeyli puts it, “So what happens if you have a really big party?” New heightsBrock Commons, a student dormitory in Vancouver, Canada, will soon be the world’s tallest wooden building.last_img read more

Flotilla of tiny satellites will photograph the entire Earth every day

first_imgFlotilla of tiny satellites will photograph the entire Earth every day Email By Mark StraussFeb. 23, 2017 , 9:00 AM Planet’s images are also finding a niche among researchers who deal with human-caused calamities, like deforestation. Matt Finer, a researcher at the Amazon Conservation Association in Washington, D.C., gets weekly deforestation alerts based on Landsat images, but says they are too coarse to determine whether the damage is natural or human-caused. He now turns to Planet data to decide whether an event is concerning. He recalls one incident when his group spotted 11 hectares of forest loss in Peru, accompanied by extensive dredging—signs of an illegal gold mining operation. “The Peruvian government was on the ground within 24 to 48 hours, kicking the miners out,” he says. In previous years, Finer says, hundreds of hectares might be lost before anyone acted.Micah Farfour, a special adviser on remote sensing at Amnesty International in New York City, is using Planet images to monitor humanitarian crises as they unfold. Timely images can help her corroborate witness testimony or pinpoint emerging refugee crises. “It’s a really, really amazing tool for narrowing down time frames,” Farfour says. Still, images acquired from other private satellite companies, like DigitalGlobe, remain crucial to Amnesty’s work, because they can offer the 30-centimeter resolution needed to, say, identify mass graves or count the buildings destroyed in a village that’s been burned to the ground.Another limitation of Planet’s Doves is that they only have four spectral bands—red, green, blue, and near-infrared—compared with Landsat’s 11 bands. “Planet’s daily observation frequencies are incredibly useful,” says David Roy, a remote sensing scientist at South Dakota State University in Brookings and co-leader of the Landsat science team. “But there are lots of things … that are probably not doable with Planet labs data.” A major missing component, he says, are thermal bands in the far infrared, which enable Landsat to monitor the evaporation of water from plants. That’s “quite important if you’re looking at drought monitoring or water consumption, particularly in agriculture,” Roy says. The Doves also lack a shortwave infrared band, which on Landsat can distinguish between different types of vegetation.These concerns have not slowed the juggernaut of Planet. In early February, it made two major announcements: It had folded Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 data into its archive and it had initiated a deal to acquire Google’s Terra Bella satellite imaging division and its seven SkySats, which have the capability to image at 0.7 meters. However, a spokesperson for Planet declined to say whether scientists will have access to those higher resolution images once the deal is completed.In the meantime, as more scientists publish their papers using Planet imagery, word is getting around. Mascaro says he was at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2016 when Kääb showed how Planet data were enabling the monitoring of glaciers. “Not surprisingly, I got a few Ambassadors applications from people who were in the room.” On 14 February, earth scientists and ecologists received a Valentine’s Day gift from the San Francisco, California-based company Planet, which launched 88 shoebox-sized satellites on a single Indian rocket. They joined dozens already in orbit, bringing the constellation of “Doves,” as these tiny imaging satellites are known, to 144. Six months from now, once the Doves have settled into their prescribed orbits, the company says it will have reached its primary goal: being able to image every point on Earth’s landmass at intervals of 24 hours or less, at resolutions as high as 3.7 meters—good enough to single out large trees. It’s not the resolution that’s so impressive, though. It’s getting a whole Earth selfie every day.The news has already sparked excitement in the business world, which is willing to pay a premium for daily updates of telltale industrial and agricultural data like shipping in the South China Sea and corn yields in Mexico. But scientists are realizing that they, too, can take advantage of the daily data—timescales that sparser observations from other satellites and aircraft could not provide.”This is a game changer,” says Douglas McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who wants to use Planet imagery to map coral bleaching events as they unfold. At present, coral researchers often rely on infrequent, costly reconnaissance airplane flights. “The previous state of the science was, for me, like taking a family photo album and shaking out all the photos on the floor and then being asked to haphazardly pick up three images and tell the story of the family.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Satellite swarm With the launch last week of 88 tiny “Doves,” the satellite company Planet now has 144 at work, which will permit daily images of the entire Earth. In 6 months, camps near Adjumani, Uganda, grow as refugees flee violence in South Sudan. Andreas Kääb, a geoscientist at the University of Oslo, applied to the program to obtain additional data for his work on glaciers, including an investigation into a massive glacial avalanche in Tibet last July that killed nine herders and hundreds of sheep and yaks. Kääb already had before-and-after imagery from Landsat and Sentinel-2, U.S. government and European Space Agency satellites that have, respectively, 30-meter and 10-meter resolution and revisit intervals of 16 and 10 days. But higher resolution Planet images provided Kääb with valuable, timely clues. The appearance of large crevasses before the avalanche indicated the glacier was “surging,” although surges, typically somewhat slow, don’t usually lead to avalanches. But Kääb also saw water pooling on the surface of the glacier—a sign of heavy rainfall or unusually high temperatures. That water might have seeped through the crevasses, soaking the sediments below the glacial bed and creating a lubricant that triggered the sudden slip. When he saw a second nearby glacier with similar patterns, “We warned Chinese authorities, but when our warning arrived the glacier had already collapsed,” Kääb says. (No people, or yaks, were hurt.)Kääb also used Planet images to study surface displacements along fault lines in New Zealand following the country’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake last November. Though high-resolution GPS ground stations are typically used for this, not all faults have dense GPS networks monitoring them. He used Planet images to determine that two fault lines had slipped between 6 and 9 meters—showing that medium-resolution optical satellites can fill the gap.Dave Petley, who studies landslides at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, has not joined the Ambassadors Program yet, but says that access to the images would be “transformational” for his research. Orbital imagery has revealed some 80,000 landslides in the wake of the New Zealand earthquake. Aftershocks are likely responsible for many of them. But because available images can be weeks apart, “we just have to assume that everything happened in the main shock,” Petley says. Daily images during the sequence of aftershocks would show how the landscape responds to different amounts of shaking, Petley says, and help with disaster response. “You want to know how many of your roads are damaged, how many valleys might be blocked.” 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 (Data) Jonathan McDowell, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA; (Graphic) J.You/Science McCauley is participating in Planet’s Ambassadors Program, which provides free satellite imagery to researchers as it is collected, with no lag time, under an agreement that prohibits them from reselling the data. Joe Mascaro, a tropical ecologist who runs the program, says it was created in the fall of 2015 in response to queries from scientists yearning for access to the company’s growing archive of data. Over the course of 2016, Planet approved the applications of about 160 researchers across a range of fields. “We anticipate there will be many new applications of our data that we didn’t anticipate,” Mascaro says. The company intends to expand the program in the months ahead, and says it is looking for projects that have social, humanitarian, and environmental impacts—and that have the potential for rapid publication in peer-reviewed journals.last_img read more

Timing is everything US trio earns Nobel for work on the bodys

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Timing is everything: U.S. trio earns Nobel for work on the body’s biological clock Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Gretchen Vogel, Erik StokstadOct. 2, 2017 , 5:50 AM From left to right: Michael Young, Jeffrey Hall, and Michael Rosbash. Discoveries about how organisms stay in sync with Earth’s rhythm of day and night have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Michael Young of The Rockefeller University in New York City share the prize equally for their work on how several genes work together to control the basic circadian clock, encoding proteins that build up during the night and are broken down during the day. These clocks are ticking inside plants, fungi, protozoa, and animals. In recent years, researchers have found that the clock is related not only to our sleep cycle, but also to metabolism and brain function.Circadian, or daily, rhythms are “just as fundamental as respiration,” says Charalambos Kyriacou, a molecular geneticist at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. “There isn’t any aspect of biology that circadian rhythms aren’t important for. They are totally fundamental in a way that we didn’t anticipate” before the discoveries honored today. The presence of a biological clock was already surmised in the 18th century. In 1729, French astronomer Jean Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan showed that mimosa leaves, which open at dawn and close at dusk, continued this cycle even when kept in darkness. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that the idea of an internal clock—as opposed one that responds to external cues like light—was settled.The genetic basis for a daily physiological cycle was first discovered in fruit flies in the 1970s. Seymour Benzer and Ronald Konopka at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena created mutant flies that had abnormal biological clocks. One type had a broken clock—its patterns of activity became arhythmic—whereas the others now had either a 19-hour or a 28-hour cycle. Benzer and Konopka showed the mutations all had hit the same gene, presumably in different ways. They and other researchers homed in on a gene called period.Hall and Rosbash finally sequenced the gene in 1984, as did Young. Hall and Rosbash showed that its protein, called PER, rose and fell over 24 hours, peaking at night. They suspected the clock was driven by a feedback loop, with the protein PER interfering with the period gene. (“It makes you scratch your head and wonder if it’s even possible,” Young said in a 1985 news story in Science about the discovery.)For the clock to work, PER had to get into the nucleus. Young figured out how that happened. In 1994, he and colleagues discovered a second clock gene, timeless, that allowed PER to enter the nucleus and stop period from making more. (Their paper was published in Science.)  Charalambos Kyriacou, University of Leicester center_img Researchers have since found half a dozen more genes that influence the cycle. For example, period and timeless are turned on by clock, discovered in 1997 by Joseph Takahashi, now at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas, and his colleagues. Within a year, this group discovered another key part of the feedback loop: When PER and TIM get into the nucleus, they also curtail the activity of clock.Clock genes are extremely influential, affecting the activity of most other genes in the body in one way or another. Circadian mechanisms influence metabolism—how our body uses and stores energy—blood pressure, body temperature, inflammation, and brain function. Time of day can influence the effectiveness of drugs and their side effects. And mismatches between the clock and the environment, for instance as a result of jet lag or shift work, have been shown to play a role in mood disorders and even cancer risk.“Since the seminal discoveries by the three laureates,” the Nobel Assembly said in its press release today, “circadian biology has developed into a vast and highly dynamic research field, with implications for our health and wellbeing.” (An extensive discussion about the trio’s work is available from the Nobel Assembly here; watch a video of this morning’s announcement here.)The award came as a complete surprise to one of the Nobelists. “You are kidding me,” Rosbash said this morning after he was called and notified of the honor, Thomas Perlmann, the Nobel Commitee’s secretary, told journalists this morning.The Nobel Prize comes with 9 million Swedish Kronor ($1.1 million), which Hall, Rosbash, and Young will share. The amount went up from 8 million kronor last year, an increase of 12.5%. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country There isn’t any aspect of biology that circadian rhythms aren’t important for. They are totally fundamental. CUHK; Gairdner Foundation; Gruber Foundation. Email Related Science papers D. Rogulja, M. W. Young, “Control of sleep by cyclin A and its regulator,” Science 335, 6076 (30 March 2012)P. Meyer, L. Saez, M. W. Young, “PER-TIM interactions in living Drosophila cells: An interval timer for the circadian clock,” Science 311, 5758 (13 January 2006)S. A. Brown et al., “PERIOD1-associated proteins modulate the negative limb of the mammalian circadian oscillator,” Science 308, 5722 (29 April 2005)A. Busza et al., “Roles of the two Drosophila CRYPTOCHROME structural domains in circadian photoreception,” Science 304, 5676 (4 June 2004)J. D. Levine et al., “Resetting the circadian clock by social experience in Drosophila melanogaster,” Science 298, 5600 (6 December 2002)J. D. Plautz et al., “Independent photoreceptive circadian clocks throughout Drosophila,” Science 278, 5343 (28 November 1997)M. P. Myers et al., “Light-induced degradation of TIMELESS and entrainment of the Drosophila circadian clock,” Science 271, 5256 (22 March 1996)M. P. Myers et al., “Positional cloning and sequence analysis of the Drosophila clock gene, timeless,” Science 270, 5237 (3 November 1995)A. Sehgal et al., “Rhythmic expression of timeless: A basis for promoting circadian cycles in period gene autoregulation,” Science 270, 5237 (3 November 1995)N. Gekakis et al., “Isolation of timeless by PER protein interaction: Defective interaction between timeless protein and long-period mutant PERL,” Science 270, 5237 (3 November 1995)Z. J. Huang, K. D. Curtin, M. Rosbash, “PER protein interactions and temperature compensation of a circadian clock in Drosophila,” Science 267, 5201 (24 February 1995)J. C. Hall, “The mating of a fly,” Science 264, 5166 (17 June 1994)A. Sehgal et al., “Loss of circadian behavioral rhythms and per RNA oscillations in the Drosophila mutant timeless,” Science 263, 5153 (18 March 1994)L. B. Vosshall et al., “Block in nuclear localization of period protein by a second clock mutation, timeless,” Science 263, 5153 (18 March 1994)I. Edery, J. E. Rutila, M. Rosbash, “Phase shifting of the circadian clock by induction of the Drosophila period protein,” Science 263, 5144 (14 January 1994)D. A. Wheeler et al., “Molecular transfer of a species-specific behavior from Drosophila simulans to Drosophila melanogaster,” Science 251, 4997 (1 March 1991)C. P. Kyriacou, J.C. Hall, “Interspecific genetic control of courtship song production and reception in Drosophila,” Science 232, 4749 (25 April 1986)last_img read more

Trumps biodefense plan aims to improve coordination across agencies

first_img In an attempt to bolster the U.S. government’s defenses against biological threats, President Donald Trump’s administration yesterday announced a strategy to better coordinate the often overlapping efforts of 15 departments and agencies and 16 branches of the intelligence community. “Our National Biodefense Strategy will address the full range of biological threats, including those that are naturally occurring, deliberate, and accidental—a first for the United States Government,” Trump said in a statement. He pledged the change would “promote a more efficient, coordinated, and accountable biodefense enterprise.”A senior administration official, who would only speak on background without being named, explained in a press briefing that “There wasn’t a clear accountability of who’s in charge.” In the new scheme, spelled out in a presidential memorandum and a 30-page report, the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., will oversee biodefense policy and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also in Washington, D.C., will take the lead on carrying it out. The HHS secretary will oversee a related Cabinet-level steering committee. There also will be an annual review of the strategy “to move away from the concept we see in too many strategy documents, that they’re written and then that’s the end of the process,” National Security Advisor John Bolton said at a separate press briefing with HHS Secretary Alex Azar.The steering committee plans to survey all government departments and agencies involved with biodefense, which will lead to requests for new funding—possibly as early as fiscal year 2020, Azar said. “It is really the first-ever holistic look across the government to see where we are acting, and where might there be any gaps in light of our awareness of threats, our preparedness needs, and our ability to respond,” Azar said. Email Nicole Lurie, who worked at HHS in former President Barack Obama’s administration as the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, says it’s always a good idea to try and “connect the dots” in the sprawling, complex U.S. government. But, she notes, her former HHS division already has the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise, which specifically coordinates federal preparedness for biological threats, including emerging infectious diseases. “This largely looks to me like a repackaging of what’s been going on,” says Lurie, who now is a strategic adviser to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a nonprofit based in Oslo.Lurie says she was surprised the new strategy leaves many important questions up in the air. “What puzzled me is usually if you have a strategic plan there’s an implementation plan that spells out who’s doing what when and who has the lead and who is helping,” Lurie says. “I didn’t see any of that, and I didn’t see intended outcomes.”Attempts to better coordinate the U.S. government’s response to biothreats date back to former President Bill Clinton. The Trump plan grew out of a report issued in 2015 by the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, a bipartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. That report called for making the U.S. vice president the point person for biodefense, and it led to a congressional law, passed in December 2016, which mandated that four agencies involved with biodefense issue a new plan within 275 days. “I don’t think it’s great that it’s an entire year late,” says microbiologist Asha George, executive director of the group. “But at the same time, Congress wasn’t really willing to push for it, and I’m just glad that this did come out. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect and has every little thing we could possibly imagine put into such a strategy, but it’s still pretty comprehensive and a good start.”George says the hard work lies ahead. “It’s an easy thing to say, ‘Hey we’re going to do this holistic thing, here’s a strategy, everyone tell us what you’re doing and here’s the cost,’” George says. “But it’s going to be quite a lift.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Trump’s biodefense plan aims to improve coordination across agencies 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 mediaphotos/iStockPhoto The White House hopes to bolster the country’s biodefense by better coordinating the activities of many government agencies. By Jon CohenSep. 19, 2018 , 12:20 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

The worlds largest bee vanished decades ago Now scientists have spotted it

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In 1981, the world’s biggest bee went missing—again. Wallace’s giant bee (above, right), which lives in the rainforests of Indonesia, is four times larger than a typical honey bee, with giant jaws and a wingspan of 6 centimeters—nearly as long as the short side of a dollar bill. (Those are the females; males are roughly half that size.) Now, the bee, which has been presumed extinct more than once, has been found again in the wild, a conservation group announced today.As part of a project to rediscover lost species around the globe, four entomologists and photographers scoured the North Moluccas in the Indonesian islands for Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto). After 5 days of searching, they located a single female inside a termite’s nest high in the trees—the bees build their own nests inside such structures, defending them with tree sap that they collect with their strong jaws.The bee was first discovered in 1858 by naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, who developed the theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin. At the time, Wallace noted the bee’s large jaws, which looked like those of a stag beetle. But Wallace was the last person on record to see one until an entomologist with the University of Georgia in Athens found several in 1981. The status of the species has been unknown ever since. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Erik StokstadFeb. 21, 2019 , 2:10 PM Email The world’s largest bee vanished decades ago. Now, scientists have spotted it again © Clay Bolt One threat to the bees is insect collectors, who may be targeting the species, according to a statement from Robin Moore of Global Wildlife Conservation, a nonprofit in Austin that sponsored the search. The larger concern is loss of habitat, as Indonesia’s forests are being cut down for agriculture. The researchers want to create a conservation plan for the species—and Global Wildlife Conservation hopes the publicity of the record-setting bee will help raise awareness for its protection.last_img read more

The White Privilege Of Golden State Warriors CoOwner

first_imgThe Golden State Warriors are seeing their chances of winning a third straight NBA championship grow dimmer right before their eyes. That fact was on display for the world to see Wednesday night when the Toronto Raptors traveled to Oracle Arena to defeat the defending champions on their home court in decisive fashion.2019 NBA Finals - Game ThreeSource: Lachlan Cunningham / GettyBut one person, in particular, had perhaps the most unique vantage point while experiencing that truth when the Raptors’ star guard Kyle Lowry dove into the crowd to save a ball during Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Lowry landed with great force on some of those folks who paid a pretty penny for courtside seats that sometimes can put you right in the middle of game action.That was the case for one white man who happened to be hit by Lowry’s fast-flinging body. But rather than understand that was a possibility with courtside seats, he reacted with anger and violence to Lowry making contact. “How dare he touch me,” that white man looked like he must have been thinking when he pushed Lowry. beyoncé’s face when shorty leaned over to talk to jay pic.twitter.com/5PqIhCmgGy— iffy (@somalijawn) June 6, 2019 Derion Vence, Maleah Davis, Brittany Bowens That commonly known fact to even the average basketball fan was apparently of very little consequence to Stevens, who would later be escorted from the arena that the team he partially owns calls home. Chances are he’s facing a hefty fine from the NBA and major pushback from the league’s players who have as recently as this past season been demanding more protection from overzealous fans who feel entitled because of how close they sit to the game. The news came just days after it was reported that the NBA was moving away from labeling those with major stakes in NBA franchises as “owners.” The racial implication of the loaded term in a league of Black players and white owners was finally being recognized by the NBA. Perhaps Stevens didn’t get the memo.SEE ALSO:New Database Shows Thousands Of Cops Publicly Post Racist and Pro-Violent Views To FacebookLinda Fairstein’s Publishing Company Is Standing By Her Lies, Corruption And Destroying The Lives Of Five Black Children UPDATED: 1:16 p.m. EDT — The NBA franchise co-owner who shoved a rival team’s star player Wednesday night was swiftly punished by the league, according to a new report. But considering the flagrant and angry natures of Mark Stevens pushing Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals, it was fair to question whether the punishment was adequate.According to Bloomberg, Stevens has been banned from attending any more games this season, which, at the most, are only four more contests this month. But after that, it would appear that Stevens’ punishment ends there. 2019 NBA Finals - Game ThreeSource: Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Unpacking Mayor Pete’s ‘Douglass Plan’ For Black America View this post on Instagram Everything We Know About Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s Murder Investigation The Evolving Relevance Of ‘The Talk’ There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL. There’s so many issues here. When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor and if you don’t know it’s on the back on the ticket itself that states the guidelines. But he himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for. He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions. Just think to yourself, what if @kyle_lowry7 would have reacted and put his hands back on him. You guys would be going CRAZY!! Calling for him to damn near be put in jail let alone being suspended for the rest of the Finals all because he was protected himself. I’ve been quite throughout the whole NBA playoffs watching every game (haven’t missed one) but after I saw what I saw last night, took time to let it manifest into my thinking I couldn’t and wouldn’t be quiet on this! #ProtectThePlayers #PrivilegeAintWelcomeHereA post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jun 6, 2019 at 9:42am PDT Bloomberg’s report came after NBA star LeBron James demanded Stevens be punished. James sounded off via his Instagram, claiming in part that Stevens “knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for. He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions.” Golden State Warriors , Kyle Lowry , NBA , NBA Finals , Toronto Raptors A Disturbing Timeline Of 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis Going Missing After Being Left With Her Stepfather Well, turns out that man has been identified, and his actions may not seem so surprising when finding out he who he is. According to Axios, he is “part Warriors owner” Mark Stevens. “The fact it wasn’t just a fan but someone tied to the Warriors significantly ups the stakes,” Axios wrote.2019 NBA Finals - Game ThreeSource: Lachlan Cunningham / GettyStevens at once displayed some of the most entitled white privilege seen in recent months by shoving Lowry, whose hard dedicated play could threaten the part owner’s pocketbook if the Raptors beat the Warriors.“The fans have a place; we love our fans,” Lowry told ESPN. “But fans like that shouldn’t be allowed to be in there, because it’s not right. I can’t do nothing to protect myself.”2019 NBA Finals - Game ThreeSource: Ezra Shaw / Getty James hinted that the outrage would be much more widespread of Lowry, a Black man, pushed Stevens, a man whose angry facial expression appeared to be fueled by every ounce of his white privilege when he shoved the player for no good reason. More By Bruce C.T. Wright He still gotta get banned. https://t.co/VvbduOnI8a— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) June 6, 2019Conversely, Stevens’ fellow courtside audience members included none other than recently crowned billionaire Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé, who were the model of grace (except for that one moment where Queen Bey looked like she was going to snatch the wig off of Becky With The Good Hair — spoiler: she didn’t.) Original story: Kyle Lowry was shaking his head after a courtside fan pushed him when he fell into the crowd. pic.twitter.com/5SwQv3hdnN— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 6, 2019last_img read more

Bees get addition and subtraction new study suggests

first_img If math is the language of the universe, bees may have just uttered their first words. New research suggests these busybodies of the insect world are capable of addition and subtraction—using colors in the place of plus and minus symbols.In the animal kingdom, the ability to count—or at least distinguish between differing quantities—isn’t unusual: It has been seen in frogs, spiders, and even fish. But solving equations using symbols is rare air, so far only achieved by famously brainy animals such as chimpanzees and African grey parrots.Enter the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Building on prior research that says the social insects can count to four and understand the concept of zero, researchers wanted to test the limits of what their tiny brains can do. RMIT University By Alex FoxFeb. 6, 2019 , 2:00 PM Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Bees ‘get’ addition and subtraction, new study suggests Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Scientists trained 14 bees to link the colors blue and yellow to addition and subtraction, respectively. They placed the bees at the entrance of a Y-shaped maze, where they were shown several shapes in either yellow or blue. If the shapes were blue, bees got a reward if they went to the end of the maze with one more blue shape (the other end had one less blue shape); if the shapes were yellow, they got a reward if they went to the end of the maze with one less yellow shape.The testing worked the same way: Bees that “subtracted” one shape when they saw yellow, or “added” one shape when they saw blue were considered to have aced the test. The bees got the right answer 63% to 72% of the time, depending on the type of equation and the direction of the right answer—much better than random guesses would allow—the researchers report today in Science Advances.Though the results came from just 14 bees, researchers say the advance is exciting. If a brain about 20,000 times smaller than ours can perform arithmetic using symbols, it could pave the way to novel approaches in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Just don’t ask the bees to do your homework anytime soon.last_img read more

Dengue vaccine fiasco leads to criminal charges for researcher in the Philippines

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Also charged are Capeding’s former boss, former RITM head Socorro Lupisan; former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin; other officials at DOH and the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and current and former officials of Sanofi Pasteur, the French company producing the shots. The first of eight criminal cases—which could be consolidated—are now pending in five courts throughout the northern island of Luzon, where the vaccination campaign took place.Dengvaxia consists of an attenuated yellow fever virus that expresses genes of each of the four types of dengue virus. The Philippine FDA greenlighted the vaccine in December 2015, based on research funded by Sanofi Pasteur in which Capeding played an important role. For example, she was the first author on a 2014 paper in The Lancet detailing a study among more than 10,000 children in five Asian countries that showed Dengvaxia worked and had a good safety profile. In April 2016, the Philippine government launched a $67 million public school–based immunization program for Dengvaxia.That alarmed some scientists, because the dengue virus is peculiar: A first infection is rarely fatal, but a second one with a different virus type can lead to much more serious disease, because of what is called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), in which the immune response to the first virus amplifies the effect of the second type. Scott Halstead, a retired dengue expert formerly at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, argued that dengue vaccines could have the same effect, and warned that Dengvaxia should not be given to children never infected with dengue. But a vaccine panel at the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded in 2016 that Dengvaxia was safe for children aged 9 and older.Halstead’s concerns proved valid. In November 2017, Sanofi Pasteur announced that the vaccine could indeed exacerbate cases of dengue in children never previously infected, and the Philippines halted the campaign immediately. (WHO now recommends the vaccine be used only after a test to be sure children have had at least one brush with dengue.)The news enraged and frightened the parents of some 830,000 schoolchildren who had already received one or more Dengvaxia shots. Given the high prevalence of dengue in the Philippines, most probably already had the disease at least once, and thus are not at risk of ADE—but some had not. In September 2018, DOH Undersecretary Enrique Domingo told reporters that 130 vaccinated children had died; 19 of those had dengue, meaning ADE possibly played a role. The case triggered “mass hysteria,” says Edsel Salvaña, an infectious disease physician at the University of the Philippines here. “Parents thought their kids were all going to die.”What prosecutors think Capeding—or any of the other accused—is responsible for remains unclear, because the full report about the case has not yet been released. But other scientists have come to Capeding’s defense. “[If] you’re going to say that a scientist doing a clinical trial is actually liable for anything bad that happens once the product is approved, then that’s just crazy,” Salvaña says. “The indictment of Rose Capeding is an egregious, unjust, and highly disturbing act,” adds Tikki Pangestu, a Singapore-based adviser to the Asia Dengue Vaccine Advocacy Group who has written policy and advocacy papers with Capeding.But Halstead says the trials Capeding helped conduct were not well designed; if the researchers had looked separately at outcomes for children who did and didn’t have dengue before the shot, they would have identified the ADE risk, he says. He notes that Sanofi and WHO committees designed the trials, however, not Capeding. He declined to say whether criminal charges are warranted: “This is a very complex ethical and scientific question that needs to be handled carefully.”Sanofi, in a statement to Science, says the company “strongly disagrees with the DOJ’s findings made against its officials (current and past) and we will vigorously defend them.” It’s not yet clear when the criminal trials will start.*Correction, 6 June, 2 p.m.: An earlier version of this story suggested Halstead is still affiliated with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. 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 NOEL CELIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES By Fatima ArkinApr. 24, 2019 , 3:55 PMcenter_img A prominent pediatrician and medical researcher in the Philippines has been indicted over the failed—and many say premature—introduction of Dengvaxia, a vaccine against dengue that was yanked from the Philippine market in 2017 because of safety issues. If convicted of accusations leveled at her by the national Department of Justice (DOJ), Rose Capeding, 63, former head of the dengue department of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) here, could face up to 48 years in prison.In February, prosecutors concluded there is probable cause to indict Capeding and 19 others for “reckless imprudence resulting [in] homicide,” because they “facilitated, with undue haste,” Dengvaxia’s approval and its rollout among Philippine schoolchildren.Capeding, through her family, declined to comment, but her son Juhani Capeding says his mother “couldn’t have imagined” that submitting research to top medical journals could have led to “this point.” Some of Capeding’s colleagues agree. “As a scientist, I really feel so disgusted, dismayed, [and] heartbroken about the whole situation,” says Lulu Bravo, executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination here. Dengue vaccine fiasco leads to criminal charges for researcher in the Philippines Parents brought pictures of children immunized with Dengvaxia to a 2018 hearing at the Philippine Senate. Emaillast_img read more

2000yrold Bronze Ring with Remarkable Gemstone Found in Jerusalem

first_imgArchaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old bronze ring with a solitaire gemstone in what could be a former ritual bath, or mikveh, in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem. A Jewish penitent might have misplaced the ring after undergoing a ritual purification and before he embarked on a 2,000-foot climb toward the Temple Mount.“The ring was found by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists in what appears to be an ancient mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) on the Pilgrimage Road, which dates back to the time of the second Temple period,” reported the Jewish News Syndicate.The Biblical City of David in the period of Herod’s Temple, from the Holyland Model of Jerusalem. The southern wall of the Temple Mount appears at top. Photo by Ariely CC BY 3.0“The ancient paved road runs up from the Shiloach (Siloam) pool to the Temple Mount, and is thought to have been the main thoroughfare taken by pilgrims to the Temple.”Specifically, they found the ring in a bucket of dirt excavated from a structure on the side of the broad 24-foot-wide road. It has a bluish stone. The ring is small, and would today fit on a hand’s pinkie.Remains of the Second Temple Pool of Siloam. Photo by Markbarnes CC BY-SA 4.0“Just like today, it would appear that in the past, rings and jewelry were removed before bathing,” Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists Nachshon Zenton, Moran Hajabi, Ari Levy and Joe Uziel said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.“This ring allows us to personally connect with an individual’s personal story from 2,000 years ago. The ring, along with other finds, can shed light and expose the lives of people during the Second Temple period,” they said in a statement.The Second Temple period stretched from 530 BC to 70 AD and ended with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.Part of the Large Stone Structure asserted by archaeologist Eilat Mazar to be the remains of King David’s palace. Photo by Deror avi CC BY-SA 3.0Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation, which oversees the City of David National Park where the ring was found, said, “It’s incredible to think that this beautiful ring sat at the bottom of a mikvah on the ancient Pilgrimage Road for 2,000 years until it was uncovered by archaeologists in the City of David. It is yet another piece in the puzzle that is ancient Jerusalem.”The City of David is Israel’s largest active archeological site, found at the ancient city of Jerusalem. It is the place recorded in the Bible where King David established Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel 3,000 years ago.The first headquarters of the Knights Templar, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Crusaders called it the Temple of Solomon. Photo by Andrew Shiva CC BY-SA 4.0The ring isn’t the first such artifact found at the Temple of David site. Earlier in 2018 archaeologists found a golden earring from the earlier Hellenistic period. The earring featured a horned animal.Read another story from us: Man Inspired by Metal Detector TV Show Finds Precious 15th Century Ring“The ornament and its composition led them to assume that the earring had belonged to someone from Jerusalem’s upper classes,” reported Haaretz.last_img read more

Incitement case against Linton further adjourned

first_imgShareTweetSharePinLinton (r) leaves the court accompanied by Hector JohnThe incitement case against opposition leader Lennox Linton has been further adjourned to June 18, 2019. The matter came up for hearing on June 11, 2019 but found a stumbling block after the prosecution failed to summon witnesses as requested by the defense to have them cross examined.Magistrate Asquith Riviere allowed the press and members of the public to listen to the proceedings and asked the press to “act responsibly and report accurately.”“This is not a trial; it is a preliminary inquiry and it is not a public trial,” he said after reading section 35 of the Magistrates Code of Procedure Act which empowers a magistrate to bar the press and the public from preliminary inquiries.Linton’s attorney, Gildon Richards leaves the court houseGildon Richards, the Lawyer for Linton, urged the court not to have the names of Edison James (who has never been served) and Thomson Fontaine on the list with Linton since they are not jointly charged.Israel Khan SC who leads a team of Trinidadian lawyers representing the prosecution said that he was ready to proceed with the trial.However, when the first witness was called as per the request of the defense, it was discovered that the individual was not served and so was not present in court.Speaking to reporters, Richards said he intends to call all 75 prosecution witnesses to be cross examined.“Speed is not my agenda; we will take our time and see where it goes,” Richards stated. “It’s very unfortunate that those who were supposed to be at court did not show up although we gave them a list as to who we want and the order,” he said.Khan (centre) speaks to reporters outside the court houseMeantime, Israel Khan SC said despite a few setbacks, he is happy with the process. “I am happy with the process so far; its taking a long time – legal arguments – we are taking it one day at a time,” he said.He had urged the court to expedite the matter. However, Magistrate Riviere explained to him that since the passage of Hurricane Maria the court has been challenged.“I don’t have the luxury of sitting for an entire day since two other courts have to be accommodated in this space. We are all constrained…it is what it is,” he said.last_img read more

Winslow High School welcomes new principal

first_imgDr. William James Donner By L. Parsons         During a special meeting of the Winslow Unified School District Governing Board last week, approval was granted for the hiring of Dr. William James Donner as principal of Winslow High School.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Winslow High School welcomes new principalcenter_img April 10, 2019last_img

New Xbox Controller Could Open Whole New World to Gamers With Disabilities

first_imgMicrosoft on Thursday introduced its new Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed specifically for gamers with disabilities. The new hardware can be used for game play with an Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC, and it offers Bluetooth plug-and-play compatibility.It supports Xbox Wireless Controller features such as buttonremapping, and it connects to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts. Microsoft developed the Xbox Adaptive Controller to enable gamers with physicaldisabilities to customize their respective setups. To get this product to market actually may have taken some uniqueadaptation — not in anything technical, but rather in the kind of thinking that is typical ofcompanies such as Microsoft.”We have been around 14 years, but we spent some 10 years trying tothink we were helping gamers with disabilities,” said Mark Barlet,founder of AbleGamers.”Now we have spent the last few years trying to convince the marketthat people with disabilities played games, and had to convince thecompanies to put real effort into catering to those withdisabilities,” he told TechNewsWorld.”However, we noted that the management at these companies never sawthe why, because it was only a small portion of the population, so ittook a while to convince the industry that this was an untappedmarket,” Barlet added. “Finally we had people that were passionately roaming the halls for years who were now in a position to make it happen.”The advocacy, fact and reality finally converged three years ago, said Barlet.”We did warn Microsoft that it won’t sell millions of these, but thatthey’ll get these in the hands of everyone who wants them,” he noted.”Why wouldn’t Microsoft want more dedicated gamers in their camp?” Special Advantages Specialty Controller The inspiration for the Xbox Adaptive Controller was a 2014 social media post featuring a photo of a custom gaming controller made by Warfighter Engaged, a nonprofit organization that develops gaming controllers for disabled veterans.It caught the attention of a Microsoft engineer, which resulted in a hackathon at Microsoft’s 2015 Ability Summit, where the first prototype of a controller for people with disabilities was developed. Now, three years later, the final product is about ready for the market.Unlike the standard unit that is held in two hands, the XboxAdaptive Controller utilizes a flat yet compact design that allowsit to rest on a table.In the place of small joysticks that typically are controlled with auser’s thumb are two round light-touch-enabled pads that players canuse by rolling their palms on them or pressing with their hands. These offeressentially the same level of precision as the thumb joysticks on anormal controller, but they have an added option of providing an audiblecue for another layer of sensory input.The Xbox Adaptive Controller also features a standard D-pad, an Xbox power button, and a profile button that allows users to shift among several mapping options.Where the Xbox Adaptive Controller offers serious flexibility is inits ability to work with other existing accessibility tools, includingthose that offer air-power input methods or foot pedals. These canconnect to one the 19 3.5mm ports on the back panel of the controller.Each of these devices can be mapped to the unit, and can be modifiedon the fly without even pausing the game. The Xbox Adaptive Controller is designed from the ground up to be aunique controller for those with special needs.”Gaming — and especially online games — is an important outlet forpeople with disabilities,” said Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics.”They can often interact with others without having their disability play a role in the interaction,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Particularly as we move to technologies like virtual reality, gaming can be one ofthe few ways a disabled person can step away from their disabilities,depending on what they are,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst atthe Enderle Group.”For instance someone without legs or missing an arm or most of theirfingers can still play a video game — if they have the right controller — as well or better than someone who isn’t disabled,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Any physical deformities are hidden behind the game avatar so thedisabled person can, for a short time in game, experience what it islike to be treated for how they do — not how they look,” Enderle said.”Video games distract everyone from reality, and this can often be veryimportant for someone struggling with the unfairness of a disability.So, combined, video games can be incredibly important to someonechallenged by a disability.” Serious Control Panel Innovative Adaptations Microsoft partnered with several high-profile global organizations dedicated to providing accessibility to those with physical disabilities: The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged. Microsoft developers also worked directly with gamers who have limited mobility.The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be available later this year for about US$100. As the Xbox Adaptive Controller is designed to allow for greaterflexibility with other input devices, it also could be used forthose who prefer something beyond the normal controllers. In somecases, it could lead to gamers trying to get a potentiallyunfair advantage.”Adaptive controllers could actually provide advantages in gamingbecause they, in theory, better match the controller to the personusing it,” suggested Enderle.”Right now, game controllers are pretty generic but people come in allshapes and sizes,” he pointed out.”In other competitive sports we have, at the highest levels, customtools designed for the individual athlete, but not so much withcomputer gaming yet,” said Enderle. “These adaptive controllers, while initially focused on disabilities, could eventually open up a market for controllers that arespecifically designed for the gamer that uses them.”In most cases, the biggest advantage almost certainly will be openingup the world to those who have struggled just to enjoy the games for fun.Still, “if a controller for people with physical limitations gives someone anedge in a competition, all players will use it,” said Recon Analytics’ Entner.”I have personally played with quite a few players with disabilities,but only found out after quite a while,” he said. “Many relish thatthey are treated like everyone else when they are behind a screen andinteract with everyone unimpaired by the perception of others.” Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter.last_img read more