Young cancer survivors have higher risk of pregnancy associated heart failure shows

first_img Source:https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/childhood-cancer-survivors-have-higher-risk-of-deadly-heart-disease-in-pregnancy?hit=wireek May 28 2018Girls who survive cancer have a higher risk of developing a deadly heart disease when pregnant later in life, according to a study presented today at Heart Failure 2018 and the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure, a European Society of Cardiology congress.Researchers say young cancer survivors should be warned of this pregnancy-associated heart failure called peripartum cardiomyopathy so that they can be closely monitored. Separately, the researchers found that women with existing peripartum cardiomyopathy are at increased risk of developing cancer.”Our finding that cancer and peripartum cardiomyopathy share some biological markers in the blood suggests that there is a physiological connection between these diseases,” said Professor Denise Hilfiker-Kleiner, author of the study and Dean of Research in Molecular Cardiology, Hannover Medical School, Germany.Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a life-threatening type of heart failure where the heart becomes enlarged and weak in late pregnancy or after childbirth. It occurs in about one in 1,000 pregnant women worldwide. “Without treatment, up to 30% of women die and less than half of patients fully recover,” said Professor Johann Bauersachs, Director of the Department of Cardiology and Angiology, Hannover Medical School.”It has been suspected, without having real data, that cardiotoxic anticancer treatment injures the heart and years later a second stress on the heart like pregnancy induces cardiomyopathy,” said Professor Hilfiker-Kleiner. “Our study provides evidence for links between the two diseases.”The two-part study was conducted using German registry data. In part one, Stella Schlothauer, a young medical student in Professor Hilfiker-Kleiner’s lab, compared the ten-year prevalence of cancer, which occurred before or after peripartum cardiomyopathy in 207 women to the ten-year cancer prevalence in the general population of women aged 0-49 years in Germany.Thirteen of the 207 women with peripartum cardiomyopathy had cancer during the ten-year period – a prevalence of 6.3%. One woman had two cancers. Of the 14 cancer diagnoses, nine occurred before peripartum cardiomyopathy and five occurred after peripartum cardiomyopathy. The ten-year cancer prevalence in the general population of women in Germany aged 0-49 years was 0.59%.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedProfessor Hilfiker-Kleiner said: “Women with peripartum cardiomyopathy had ten times more cancer, either before or after their heart failure, than the general population of women. About two-thirds of cancers occurred in children or young adults who then developed peripartum cardiomyopathy, while one-third were diagnosed two to three years after peripartum cardiomyopathy. We think there may be genetic or epigenetic factors which make women more prone to both diseases. This is on top of the long-term cardiotoxic effects of anticancer therapies.”In part two, the researchers analyzed the blood of 47 women with peripartum cardiomyopathy and 29 healthy women of the same age and time since pregnancy to look for peptides and proteins associated with cancer. Levels of several of these cancer markers were higher in the peripartum cardiomyopathy group – for example human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), a protein which is elevated in around one in five breast cancers. Compared to healthy women, cancer markers were elevated in women with peripartum cardiomyopathy regardless of whether or not they had previous or subsequent cancer during the study.”Cancer survivors should be warned that they are at increased risk of pregnancy-associated heart failure,” said Professor Hilfiker-Kleiner. “These are high-risk pregnancies and women need close monitoring of their hearts for any sign of heart failure. We need more data so that we can tell pregnant women with a history of cancer how high their risk of developing a second deadly disease is.””Women who develop peripartum cardiomyopathy are at higher risk of subsequent cancer and should make sure they attend routine cancer screening,” she said.last_img read more

Scientists find enzyme that breaks down plasmalogens in Alzheimers disease patients

first_imgMay 31 2018Alzheimer’s disease patients lose up to 60% of a component called plasmalogen from the membranes of the cells in their brains, but it’s still not known how or why. In a paper to be published in the June 1 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis provide the first report of an enzyme that breaks down plasmalogens, a breakthrough in understanding the molecular processes that occur during Alzheimer’s and other diseases.Plasmalogens are particularly abundant in the heart and brain, where they are involved in structuring cell membranes and mediating signals. Plasmalogens are phospholipids defined by a particular chemical bond, called a vinyl-ether linkage. Because of the technical difficulties of studying plasmalogens, however, many aspects of their biology are unknown, including how the vinyl-ether bond is broken to break down plasmalogens in cells.”These molecules, plasmalogens, have been swept under the rug because nobody likes to think about them,” said Richard Gross, the professor at Washington University who oversaw the new study. “(They’re) hard to work with. They’re susceptible to light, they’re stable in only certain solvents, they have a limited lifespan after they’re synthesized unless extreme precautions are taken, and they’re expensive to make and synthesize.”In the new study, Gross’ team performed painstaking experiments to find the elusive mechanism by which plasmalogens are enzymatically degraded. Cytochrome c is typically found in mitochondria where it facilitates electron transport, but it is released into the cell under stressful conditions. Gross’ team showed that cytochrome c released from the mitochondria can catalyze the breakdown of plasmalogens in the cell. Further, the products of this reaction are two different lipid signaling molecules which were not previously known to originate from plasmalogen breakdown.Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predisposition”That was one thing that surprised us,” Gross said of the signaling products. “The second thing that surprised us was the ease (with which the bond is broken)…The implication is that there is probably a lot of plasmalogen (breakdown) that’s going on in conditions of oxidative stress.”The results tie in with another observation about the brain cells of Alzheimer’s disease patients, which is that they often have dysfunctional mitochondria and a resultant release of cytochrome c. Gross is now interested in delving deeper into how and why plasmalogen loss occurs in Alzheimer’s patients, particularly those who develop the disease in old age, not due to familial mutations.Gross speculates that as people age, the accumulation of reactive oxygen species leads to cytochrome c release, activation of its peroxidase activity and plasmalogen breakdown in many membranes.The results also have implications for understanding disorders in the heart and other plasmalogen-rich tissues, integrating studies of mitochondria, cell membranes and cell signaling under stressful conditions.”This is like a quantum jump into the future,” Gross said.Source: http://www.asbmb.org/last_img read more

Low carbohydrate diet can increase risk of premature death finds study

first_img Source:https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Low-carbohydrate-diets-are-unsafe-and-should-be-avoided Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 28 2018Low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should be avoided, according to a large study presented today at ESC Congress 2018.Study author Professor Maciej Banach, of the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, said: “We found that people who consumed a low carbohydrate diet were at greater risk of premature death. Risks were also increased for individual causes of death including coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer. These diets should be avoided.”Obesity is a major health issue worldwide and raises the risk of several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Different diets have been suggested for weight loss, such as diets low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. The long-term safety of these diets is controversial, with previous studies reporting conflicting results of their influence on the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death.This study prospectively examined the relationship between low carbohydrate diets, all-cause death, and deaths from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), and cancer in a nationally representative sample of 24,825 participants of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 1999 to 2010. Compared to participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32% higher risk of all-cause death over an average 6.4-year follow-up. In addition, risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer were increased by 51%, 50%, and 35%, respectively.The results were confirmed in a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies with 447,506 participants and an average follow-up 15.6 years, which found 15%, 13%, and 8% increased risks in total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality with low (compared to high) carbohydrate diets (see figure for total mortality).Professor Banach said: “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”Related StoriesEggs for breakfast benefit people with Type 2 diabetesCarbohydrate plays important role in regulating blood pressure, research suggestsLow-carb diet may reverse metabolic syndrome independent of weight lossParticipants in the NHANES study had an average age of 47.6 years, and 51% were women. They were divided into quartiles based on the usual percentage of carbohydrates in their diet. The risks of all-cause and cause-specific death over an average 6.4-year follow-up rose with each fall in carbohydrate intake (see table), and remained significant after adjusting for all available factors that might have influenced the association (model 2 in the table).The researchers also examined the link between all-cause death and low carbohydrate diets for obese (body mass index [BMI] 30 kg/m2 or greater) and non-obese (BMI under 30 kg/m2) participants in two age groups (55 years and older versus under 55) and found that the link was strongest in the non-obese older participants.Regarding the mechanisms underlying the correlation between low carbohydrate diets and death, Professor Banach noted that animal protein, and specifically red and processed meat, has already been linked with an increased risk of cancer. He said: “The reduced intake of fiber and fruits and increased intake of animal protein, cholesterol, and saturated fat with these diets may play a role. Differences in minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals might also be involved.”He concluded: “Our study highlights an unfavorable association between low carbohydrate diets and total and cause-specific death, based on individual data and pooled results of previous studies. The findings suggest that low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should not be recommended.”last_img read more

Ebola survivor II Nancy Writebol We just dont even have a clue

first_imgEbola nearly killed Nancy Writebol in July—and it also made her famous, which helped broadcast to the world that it needed to respond more aggressively to what had grown from a small outbreak into an out-of-control epidemic.Writebol, a clinical nurse associate, became ill with the disease while working for the missionary group SIM in Monrovia. She and her husband David spoke with Science on 24 September about a topic that has yet to receive much attention: How do health care workers who are trained to protect themselves nevertheless become infected with the Ebola virus? The Writebols also discuss how the outbreak grew into an epidemic, as well as the treatment she received both in Liberia and then at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.Q: Any idea how you became infected? Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img N.W.: I don’t know how I became infected and how I contracted it. There are some thoughts about how I might have gotten it. Nobody is really sure, least of all me. I never felt like I was unsafe and I never felt like I walked into a situation where I was being exposed. I was on the low-risk side of things. I never was in the crisis or the Ebola center. I was always on the outside. I made sure doctors and nurses were dressed properly before they went in, and I decontaminated them before they went out. We kept a close check on each other about whether people felt safe.We had an employee who was doing the same job that I was doing. He got sick and I didn’t know he was sick. He didn’t tell anybody. He actually thought he had typhoid. The day that I started having symptoms, at least a fever, was the last day I saw him. He did have Ebola. He did not survive.I never remember touching him, although it’s possible he could have picked up a sprayer to decontaminate someone, and I could have picked up the sprayer. Or we touched the same thing. I never touched him.Q: You were educated about Ebola transmission?N.W.: Oh my goodness, yes.Q: Did you have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE)?N.W.: Yes, we did. It was my responsibility to make sure they were dressed properly in PPEs before they ever went into the isolation. I didn’t want any of our doctors or nurses getting infected. I mean, I saw people dying of Ebola. We had PPEs and followed every single protocol that [Doctors Without Borders (MSF)] had in their manual—and we had been trained by MSF.Q: Were you wearing PPE in your job, disinfecting doctors and nurses? N.W.: No, I was wearing gloves and a disposable apron. There were times I had a mask on. I was behind a line where I did the disinfecting. They were on one side of a line and I was on the other side. I never crossed those lines. We just don’t even have a clue what happened.I’ve often wondered if I was back there now, having been through the experience, what would I do differently. The only thing is I took temperatures of family members who would come to see patients. I never had to turn anybody away because they had a temperature, but it’s possible I might have come in contact with somebody on the outside who had Ebola and maybe shook a hand? Although we weren’t really shaking hands with anybody. Most people had a fear of even us. They felt like to be involved with Ebola, you had it.Q: On what date did you start feeling symptoms?N.W.: Tuesday, 22 July. That afternoon I started running a fever. I felt like I had malaria. I contacted an SIM doctor. We did a malaria test and it was positive. I had malaria medication at home, and I went home and I stayed home. I was weak. I had the headache. Had the fever. Those were my symptoms. I took malaria medications but was just not shaking the fever at all. On Saturday, our doctor came over and she said, “We’re just going to do the Ebola test to relieve everyone.” I was just thinking still malaria. They did another malaria test and it showed negative, because I had taken the medication. Then they did the Ebola test that Saturday morning, and Saturday night the result came back that I was positive.Q: Do you think you had malaria coincident with Ebola?N.W.: I did. I tested positive for it.Q: What happened next?N.W.: They left me at home for the next 10 days.Q: Was David there?N.W.: Yes. It’s just the grace of God that David did not come down with Ebola. For the whole 4 days that they thought it was just malaria, David did the cooking at our home. I just didn’t feel good. We were still sharing our bedroom. Our doctor was exposed and she had dinner with us the night she told us I had Ebola. I’d had malaria once that year. I knew what it felt like and it was so similar.D.W.: They isolated me after that. For a few days, I went in to see Nancy in a PPE. Our home became an isolation unit. Then they said, “We can’t let you do that anymore because you can’t get back to the United States by commercial aviation.” They kept me out.N.W.: Thankfully there was a window near where my bed was and David could stand outside and talk to me.Q: David, did you check your temperature every few hours?D.W.: Yep. I got close to 99.2° [37.3°C], but I realized after I took my temperature that I’d just had a cup of coffee.Q: What happened with Kent Brantly?N.W.: I got sick the 22nd and Kent on the 23rd. Kent was actually much sicker to begin with, and then I took a turn for the worse. Kent went out on Saturday the 2nd. I left August 4.Q: You and Kent Brantly both received ZMapp. Do you think it helped?N.W.: It’s given at three different times. I had two of the doses in Liberia, and the third at Emory. I don’t know that I can say when I was given the ZMapp it made a dramatic difference in how I was feeling. I think I was very, very, very sick, critically sick. I’m not saying it didn’t help—I do think it had some benefit to it—but it wasn’t this huge, dramatic “I had this ZMapp and now I can sit up and take a shower.”They give ZMapp via IV and they give it slowly and then turn it up a little. When they turned it up on me, my hands started itching terribly and then they turned it back down so I wouldn’t have a reaction to it. That’s the only thing I remember about the ZMapp.Q: Were you very ill when you left Liberia?N.W.: I didn’t know whether I would survive the flight.D.W.: I wasn’t sure either. She had to be carried into the aircraft. She didn’t walk in or walk off.N.W.: I was in PPE the whole trip back. And I was dehydrated. They were having a terrible time in Liberia finding a vein in which to run fluid. At one point they decided to try and do an IV into the bone. That was very painful. They don’t really know what happened, whether the needle bent when it went into the bone, but once they tried pushing fluid, it was excruciating and they decided to stop. When I got to Emory they just put a central line in.Q: Would you go back again and work in an Ebola treatment unit?N.W.: I’ve done some reading on that and talked to doctors at Emory about that. My doctors at Emory are not sure how long immunity would last. It’s not been studied. I’ve read that even if a survivor was willing and able to help with the care for Ebola patients, because there are so many strains of Ebola, it would still be very wise and necessary to operate in PPEs and not just assume you’re immune.Q: What do you think of your own role in this epidemic and the fact that it wasn’t until you and Kent Brantly became ill that the world began to take notice that something was seriously amiss?N.W.: Never in my life would I have dreamed this would happen. We’d been in Liberia for a year and had a doctor come into the country in March or April who laid out a graph of other Ebola timelines and how the disease had gone along in Congo and Uganda, and how it was just this steady little disease working its way along—and then it spikes and spikes again and grows into a mushroom. He overlaid where Liberia was on that graph. He made the observation that we had not seen the worst of it yet.D.W.: People were calmed down and thought it was over. In early June, Monrovia started getting the multiple cases from Foya [a town in the north that borders both Sierra Leone and Guinea, the two other hard-hit countries].N.W.: We hadn’t started to hit the mushroom at all. And then Samaritan’s Purse had an epidemiologist who came into the country who sat with us and said, “I went to Foya. You have not seen the end of this. It’s going to get bad.”D.W.: All along, we were concerned there was not a larger response. It’s the publicity that was generated from Nancy’s story and Dr. Brantly that woke things up. That was astonishing.Q: You knew it was wildly out of control?N.W.: I would have never predicted the numbers WHO [the World Health Organization] and CDC [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] are predicting now. I looked at that and thought, “Oh my goodness”; we had no clue it was going to go to that extent. You’re talking a half-million in Liberia alone.Q: What did you think of the media coverage of ZMapp?D.W.: Initially it seemed a bit sensational: This is the magic bullet. That’s what they do, they gravitate toward that, but they’ve also backed off that and had a more balanced approach. It’s promising, but don’t put too much hope into it until more studies are done.N.W.: I think they understand, too, that nobody really knows how much it helped. Because there were so many other things playing into it. There were blood transfusions. The other care given to us.Q: Did you have a blood transfusion?N.W.: I did. I had blood transfusions in Liberia and Emory. Neither was convalescent serum, though. There wasn’t a match.Q: How’s your health now?N.W.: I’m recovering. I’m regaining my strength. When I left Emory, I could hardly walk up steps at all. I have some neuropathy in my feet. While I was in Emory it was excruciating. They couldn’t even put sheets or blankets on my toes. That’s much better.I wear out easily. And of course there’s just the emotional side of it. I was on that job from the 11 June case, that first patient we had, to 22 July, and I saw about 40 people and we saw one survivor during that period of time. To watch the rest of those people die was difficult. I was dealing with some of their families and trying to encourage them and pray with them. To watch families watch their loved ones die, that’s hard, too.For a story about Ebola’s infection risk for health care workers, click here.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Science in UK election on camera

first_img“For too long science has not featured in the General Election debate,” said Imran Khan, chief of the British Science Association, in a statement. “We hope this series opens up discussions about science policy and its impact on communities across the UK.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email On 7 May, the United Kingdom will have a general election, the first in 5 years. Science has not come up much in the campaigning. Hoping to change that, the British Science Association interviewed representatives from six major parties about their views on research issues and has posted the videos online—but they ended up with few concrete differences to highlight.The Conservative Party, which has held power in coalition with Liberal Democrats for the past 5 years, touted its protection of existing science budgets and recent increases in research-related capital spending. The Labour Party vowed, if elected, to protect science from cuts, and highlighted European ties as vital to research. The Green Party was unusually specific, repeating its pledge to increase government spending on science to 1% of gross domestic product. Liberal Democrats want to build bridges between parties to guarantee a healthy future for research. Plaid Cymru, a party that advocates independence for Wales, emphasized research related to the environment. Scotland largely runs its own science agenda, but the Scottish National Party said it would invest in renewable energy and work on the “scientific skills shortage.” The UK Independence Party did not participate.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Watch a new skin sensor measure your health while you exercise

first_imgEver use the expression “sweating buckets” after a tough workout? It doesn’t have much literal meaning, but if you ever looked for a way to quantify your perspiration, this new tech might interest you. Researchers have created a soft adhesive patch that can measure the composition of your sweat, they report today in Science Translational Medicine. You can scan the patch with your smartphone and an app will give you information about your electrolyte balance, dehydration levels, and total water loss. It works like this: As your pores release sweat, a ring-shaped channel fills up and diverts into four different sensors that absorb the moisture. Each sensor has a corresponding color—blue, yellow, orange, or red—and each one measures something different: chloride, glucose, pH, or lactate. The color becomes more vibrant based on the concentration of what it monitors. Measuring electrolyte loss can combat fatigue, and tracking chloride ions can indicate susceptibility for diseases like cystic fibrosis. With a little tweaking, the patch could even be used to test for doping at athletic events, the authors say.last_img read more

Watch the weird aerodynamics behind mosquito flight

first_img Mosquitoes are strange fliers. Compared with other insects, birds, and bats, their shorter wing strokes and oddly long—and skinny—wings have made scientists wonder how they can get off the ground at all. Now, a new study shows how these animals get their lift: with help from a clever rotation of their wings. Most animals generate lift, the force that keeps them aloft, during the downstroke of each wing beat. This creates a vortex of swirling air over the wing’s leading edge, which lowers the pressure above the wing and pushes the animal up. But the mosquitoes supplement this leading edge lift with a little something extra. To find out what it was, scientists recorded high-speed video of the southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) and modeled its flight aerodynamics. They found that mosquitoes rotate their wings at the end of each upstroke and downstroke, which generates lift along the entire length (and explains why long wings are useful). The rotation also helps them harness the wind from their previous wing beat, they report today in Nature. When the wing reverses direction, the air that rushed over it during the previous stroke forms a second vortex at the back of the wing. The mosquitoes angle their wings to take advantage of this trailing edge vortex (red spirals at the rear of the wing in the above video) to generate lift in a process known as “wake capture.” Although the new aerodynamics have been shown only in mosquitoes so far, the scientists say the same principles could be at play in other insects, especially those with long, slender wings and short, rapid wing beats. By David ShultzMar. 29, 2017 , 4:00 PM Watch the weird aerodynamics behind mosquito flightlast_img read more

US shutdown begins Its disheartening discouraging deflating

first_img Past shutdowns have proved costly and disruptive. (This is the third this year alone.) As a result, science groups are expressing alarm. “Any shutdown of the federal government can disrupt or delay research projects, lead to uncertainty over new research, and reduce researcher access to agency data and infrastructure,” Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider), said in a statement.Some lawmakers are also worried. “I want to point out that our federal science agencies have a long history of working hard on research and education programs that return huge payoffs to the American people. Those agencies are basically closed for business today,” said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), who will become chair of the House of Representatives science panel next month. “As I’ve noted in previous shutdowns, as our competitors in other countries surge ahead in their R&D investments, we have basically shut down a large chunk of our federal science and technology enterprise. Shutting down the government is an embarrassment and the president should not be ‘proud’ of it.”It is not yet clear how long this shutdown might last, although Trump has said it could be a “very long time.” Agencies are preparing for the worst. Here’s a taste of what they might face:Smithsonian Institution: “It’s disheartening”The Smithsonian Institution will use remaining funds from budgets that Congress has already approved to keep operating through New Year’s Day, it said in a statement. Its popular public museums will be open, except for a traditional Christmas Day closure. And the institution’s broad array of research conducted by some 500 staff scientists—including studies in ecology, archeology, and paleontology—will have a week’s reprieve, too.After that, says Rick Potts, a paleoanthropologist who directs the Human Origins Project at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C., the shutdown will leave him “unable to lead writing and discussions of manuscripts involving several dozen co-authors across the U.S. and other countries. … We are not allowed to use our Smithsonian/government email accounts during a shutdown, which prevents communications that are at the heart of collaborative science.”Another NMNH scientist who asked not to be identified spent Friday afternoon scrambling to prepare for a long-planned scientific expedition abroad for which they might—or might not—be granted permission to leave as planned on 29 December.“It’s disheartening, it’s discouraging, it’s deflating. All those d-words,” they said as they surveyed the piles of satellite maps, sample bags, and notebooks they were planning to cart home yesterday, in case they got the go-ahead. This person also worries about early career colleagues who will be counting on their guidance during the expedition.“If I get on the plane next Saturday and am in my field area by the first of January and there’s a complete shutdown, I will have to come back. I will feel like I am not fulfilling my responsibility to the science that I am trying to do and especially to my colleagues.”  —Meredith WadmanNASA: High-profile mission could go darkPerhaps no agency will have a higher percentage of its workforce furloughed than NASA, where some 90% of its 17,586 workers would be sent home, according to a plan released last week. Exceptions are made for supporting missions in progress, such as the International Space Station and its astronauts, along with operations of, for example, essential satellite and robotic missions.If the shutdown lingers through the new year, it could complicate what was meant to be a highlight for the agency: the New Horizons spacecraft’s first flyby—on New Year’s Day—of an original resident of the Kuiper belt, the far-flung flotilla of planetary grist on the edge of the solar system. The New Horizons team, which is run by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will continue to work. So will the engineers behind NASA’s Deep Space Network, the massive radio antennas that enable communication with the space agency’s robotic fleet. But a shutdown could shutter NASA’s vaunted publicity machine. Twitter accounts could close. Press releases would remain drafts. Even the agency’s TV channel would go dark.Beyond the potential of such a media fumble, a shutdown that dragged into 2019 could start to cause serious delays for missions in development. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is technically a NASA contractor, so work could likely continue on its $2.5 billion Mars 2020 rover, which must hit a narrow launch window. But should the mission hit a point where the approval or review of a NASA employee is needed, all work would then stop.A similar story could play out for the delayed James Webb Space Telescope, now in the hands of contractors for testing. And even NASA’s return to human spaceflight, via the “commercial crew” vehicles developed by Boeing and SpaceX, could be postponed, including an uncrewed launch of SpaceX’s Dragon planned for next month from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. —Paul VoosenNSF: “Disruption in the grantmaking process”“There will definitely be a disruption in the grantmaking process,” says Amanda Greenwell, head of NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia. It also means scientists and university administrators won’t be able to talk with NSF program managers if any questions arise about NSF-funded research. But NSF has no in-house labs, Greenwell noted, and the contractors that run major NSF-funded facilities such as observatories and research vessels have enough money in their accounts to weather a short-term shutdown. —Jeffrey MervisUSDA: Skeleton crewsAccording to a shutdown plan posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), most activities would halt at its Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the in-house research agency, and at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which houses the agency’s competitive grants program.And many agencies will have just skeleton crews because of furloughs. Just four of the 399 NIFA staff would continue to work, another USDA document indicates, and just about 18% of ARS’s staff of 6285 would be exempt from the shutdown—including “senior leaders” and those involved in “the protection of research property and data where significant damage could result if unattended for any period of time.” —Kelly ServickNIST: Empty labsWith campuses in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado, NIST employs some 2900 scientists, engineers, administrators, and support staff. The agency runs six laboratories for advancing measurement science and standards to help U.S. companies. Most will be furloughed, but more than 500 staff members are expected to stay on part- or full-time to oversee proper shutdown of equipment ranging from a cold neutron source to nanofabrication facility, as well as ensure the safety of vital equipment and buildings. —​Robert ServiceNOAA: Port in a storm? The agency will continue to run a collection of essential long-term data about the oceans and atmosphere and other field data. Fortuitously, all the agency’s vessels are in port for scheduled winter maintenance, a NOAA official said. —​Jeffrey Brainard Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The U.S. government today began the process of partially shutting down after President Donald Trump and lawmakers in Congress could not agree on a short-term funding deal. At the center of the dispute is Trump’s demand for $5 billion to begin building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as he promised during his presidential campaign. Democrats and some Republicans in Congress oppose that demand, and the parties are trying to negotiate a resolution.The shutdown will not directly affect a number of major science agencies because they are already fully funded under spending bills signed by Trump. Those protected agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the departments of energy and defense.But the shutdown will scramble operations at a number of other agencies that fund or conduct research. That list includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Geological Survey, the Agricultural Research Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service. Overall, agencies will be forced to furlough about 380,000 employees under shutdown plans they have adopted. (An additional 420,000 “essential” employees involved in critical activities—such as air traffic control and military missions, or keeping spacecraft flying and laboratory animals alive—will be required to work without pay.) Dome of the U.S. Capitol at night Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img BKL/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) U.S. shutdown begins: ‘It’s disheartening, … discouraging, … deflating’ By Science News StaffDec. 22, 2018 , 9:45 AM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Volcanic lightning may be partially fed by Earths natural radioactivity

first_img By Sid PerkinsMar. 26, 2019 , 10:55 AM Corrado Cimarelli Volcanic lightning may be partially fed by Earth’s natural radioactivitycenter_img Much of the lightning that flickers around and within the ash plumes of erupting volcanoes is triggered by static electricity, which builds up when ash particles scrape against each other in flight. Now, a field study suggests Earth’s natural radioactivity may also help volcanic plumes get electrically charged—even when those clouds contain little or no ash.Scientists have long known that radon, a radioactive gas, is a part of the plumes that spew from active volcanoes. When those radioactive atoms decay, they emit charged particles and create “daughter” elements that also decay and emit charged particles of their own. In the fall of 2017, using balloon-borne instruments (pictured above) lofted from the peak of Stromboli—an active volcano on an island near the toe of Italy’s “boot”—researchers measured how much electrical charge builds up in an eruption plume for the first time.In some parts of the eruption cloud, the numbers of charged particles per cubic meter were at least 80 times the numbers found in a typical cloud on an overcast day, the team reports this month in Geophysical Research Letters. Data also reveal that positive and negative charges migrate to different parts of the eruption plume, setting up voltage differences. Those differences aren’t strong enough to trigger lightning by themselves, but in ash-filled plumes they may either slightly add to or diminish the charge differences generated by static electricity, the researchers note. It’s not yet clear, they add, how such changes would influence the strength, frequency, or brightness of volcanic lightning.last_img read more

Taylor council rejects all bids for waste water project

first_imgApril 9, 2018 Taylor council rejects all bids for waste water project By Diana Hutchison The Taylor Town Council was presented with updates on cemetery improvements, consideration for speed limit signs and construction bids for the wastewater treatment plan during their April 5 meeting. In December ofSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Up to 2 million Syrians could flee to Turkey if clashes worsen

first_img isis, syria, family sent from syria to US, US news, Cambodia, ISIS news The Al-Hol camp in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, where some of the women and children who fled lands Islamic State territory were detained. (The New York Times)Up to 2 million refugees could flee to Turkey if fighting intensifies in northwestern Syria as aid funds run dangerously low, the United Nations said on Monday. Best Of Express EU slaps sanctions on Turkey over gas drilling off Cyprus Turkey begins receiving Russian missiles in challenge to US and NATO Advertising “A few months ago, we asked to make sure that this nightmare scenario will not take place. Actually, it’s unfolding in front of our own eyes as we speak.”The U.N. appealed for $3.3 billion to cover humanitarian work within Syria this year, and despite generous pledges, it has so far received only $500 million, leaving the aid effort surviving “hand-to-mouth”, Moumtzis said. By Reuters |Geneva | Published: June 10, 2019 5:36:56 pm Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Advertisingcenter_img Turkey continues receiving Russian S-400 air defense parts Moumtzis told Reuters in Geneva that the situation was deteriorating and a deal between Russia and Syria to deescalate the fighting there was effectively no longer in place.“We see an offensive that is really targeting – or with an impact on – hospitals and schools in civilian areas, in areas where there is population and urban areas – which really should not be happening according to international humanitarian law,” Moumtzis said.Aid organisations have been encouraged to share their locations with the warring parties to avoid being hit. But after repeated air strikes on hospitals, many aid workers distrust such requests, Moumtzis said.“It’s a catastrophe, what has been happening… for the sake of humanity, there has to be an intervention,” he said. LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Syria’s Russian-backed military has been pressing an assault on rebels in their last major stronghold with air attacks and ground battles that have already forced tens of thousands to leave their homes.“Our fear is if this continues, and if the numbers continue soaring, and if the conflict intensifies, that we could see really hundreds of thousands, a million, two, heading towards the borders with Turkey,” the U.N. Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Panos Moumtzis, said.The onslaught since late April, focused mostly on southern parts of Idlib province and adjacent parts of Hama and Latakia, marks the most intense conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and his insurgent enemies since last summer. 0 Comment(s) Related News Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan last_img read more

President Kovind to release translated copies of 100 SC verdicts

first_img Taking stock of monsoon rain More Explained Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Best Of Express Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2019 1:41:14 am President Kovind to release translated copies of 100 SC verdicts On July 17, when President Kovind inaugurates the new Supreme Court building where the Appu Ghar once stood, he will release these translations.On July 17, when President Ram Nath Kovind releases translated copies of 100 Supreme Court judgments in seven Indian languages — Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya and Telugu — he will see coming to fruition something he has repeatedly spoken about, not just in his public speeches but also in his interactions with Chief Justices of High courts and at least two Chief Justices of India. President Ram Nath Kovind bats for translating High Court verdicts in local languages Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Advertising In his first meeting with current CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Kovind mentioned that from his own experience as a lawyer he found that use of English in courts leaves most people at a loss, and emphasised the need for them to be translated in Indian languages, sources in Rashtrapati Bhavan said.CJI Gogoi agreed and told the President that it is something he also had been thinking about, and promised to act on the suggestion.On July 17, when Kovind inaugurates the new Supreme Court building where the Appu Ghar once stood, he will release these translations. Advertising 1 Comment(s) Related News Addressing a function at the High Court of Kerala, in Kochi, on October 28, 2017, Kovind had said, “It is important to not only take justice to the people but also to make it understandable to litigating parties in a language they know. High Courts deliver judgments in English…. Perhaps a system could be evolved whereby certified translated copies of judgments are made available…in local or regional languages.”Days later, speaking at the inauguration of the National Law Day Conference in Delhi, the President had raised the point again: “…enhancing legal literacy and simplifying legal rules; easier language while delivering judgments, so that these are understood by a greater number of people; and as I have suggested earlier, quick availability of certified translated copes of High Court judgments in the local language…”Referring to the July 17 event, a source said the plan is that eventually all Supreme Court orders will be available in all Indian languages.“A start had to be made, which has been made with these 100 in seven languages,” the source said. “The honourable judges themselves prioritised these 100 (verdicts) based on what is of relevance to the common people. These relate to labour laws, family laws, personal laws, consumer laws and rent laws, among others. “They may not be very high-profile (cases), but they are judgments that the common person should know about.”This is the first time that translations of judgments are being made available by the apex court.In Chhattisgarh, the practice of translating High Court judgments has already started. When Kovind met the then Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court T V Nair Radhakrishnan — since then transferred to Calcutta High Court — in October 2017, the President had raised the issue. Within a few weeks, Justice Radhakrishnan said that translated copies of the High Court’s orders have been made available in the state in Hindi.A senior Rashtrapati Bhavan official said, “We are hoping that by the end of the year all high courts would have the facility of judgments being translated in local languages.” Decisive mandate to Narendra Modi to build new India: Prez Ram Nath Kovind After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Sources in the President’s Office said that on July 13, when Kovind travels to Chennai for a function at the Dr Ambedkar Law University there, he is likely to make a public request to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court to make available translations of the court’s judgmentsin Tamil.Pointing out that Kovind discussed the issue of translating court orders into local languages each time met a Chief Justice of High Court or the CJI, the official said, “The President also told them that a lot of times litigants have to pay double the fees to lawyers only to have the judgment relayed to them in their languages. He had mentioned this also to former CJI Deepak Misra.” Who is Biswa Bhushan Harichandran? last_img read more

Harish Salve hails verdict says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed

first_imgSalve further said the next step for India would be to ensure that Jadhav gets a fair trial in accordance with Pakistan’s Constitution and gets justice. He added that the world court ruled that Pakistan committed a breach by not informing Jadhav’s detention and arrest for three months.He also warned Pakistan against another farcical attempt. “We expect Pakistan to do whatever it has to do including appropriate legislative measures to guarantee a fair trial. So Pakistan’s conduct is under watch and if what they do is another farcical attempt, we will be back in the Court,” Salve said.Taking a dig at Pakistan’s counsels, Salve said many adjectives were used by Pakistan in court and his upbringing and India’s traditions stood in his way from replying back. “I have a degree of personal satisfaction that a lot of adjectives were used by Pakistan, even in replying at court I characterise them as unfortunate. I said it’s my upbringing and India’s tradition which stood in my way of replying to them in that language,” he added. International Court of Justice to deliver verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case on July 17 Advertising By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2019 10:46:04 pm Kulbhushan Jadhav ICJ Verdict: ‘Truth, justice prevails,’ PM Modi welcomes judgment Related News kulbhushan jadhav, kulbhushan jadhav case, kulbhushan jadhav hearing, kulbhushan jadhav icj, who is kulbhushan jadhav, kulbhushan jadhav icj hearing, kulbhushan jadhav pakistan, india pakistan, icj, international court of justice “Want to start by expressing gratitude of my country to the ICJ for the manner in which it intervened in this case,” Harish Salve said.Hours after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, India’s counsel Harish Salve Wednesday expressed his gratitude to the top UN court for protecting the Indian national from being executed. Advertising “Want to start by expressing gratitude of my country to the ICJ for the manner in which it intervened in this case. It protected Kulbhushan Jadhav from being executed, in a hearing which was put together in a matter of days,” Salve said while addressing a presser.In a major diplomatic victory for India, ICJ granted consular access to Jadhav and ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence for the Indian national. In a 15-1 verdict, a bench led by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said Pakistan had violated India’s rights to consular visits after Jadhav’s arrest. Pakistan’s judge was the lone dissenter during the hearing today.Read | The lawyer who represented India in Kulbhushan Jadhav case Highlights of ICJ verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Key points 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

University research center will search for extraterrestrial intelligence

first_imgThe massive Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico was used in a NASA search for alien radio signals before Congress canceled it in 1993. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email The cutoff in federal funding has had a long-term, chilling effect, Wright says. He has identified just five people with Ph.D.s in research related to SETI. “It takes a special kind of person to go into a field that’s unfunded and holds few job prospects,” says Wright, who has, until now, had to pursue SETI as a hobby and sideline to his main job as an exoplanet investigator.The new Penn State center would hire faculty and postdocs and introduce undergraduate and graduate courses. It could eventually offer grants to researchers outside the university.So far, Penn State has received two private gift pledges totaling $3.5 million, which will create a new professorship within the astronomy department and subsidize other SETI research. Although that leaves a considerable sum to be raised, Wright considers it a good start, showing that “this idea is something that resonates.” He believes, moreover, that Penn State is an ideal base for SETI research because it has the pieces needed for such a far-reaching, interdisciplinary enterprise: a strong astronomy department, a NASA-funded Astrobiology Research Center, and the Center for Astrostatistics. The university also serves as the hub for the worldwide Astrophysical Multimessenger Observatory Network.Andrew Siemion, director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, applauds the Penn State effort. “Having SETI in the school’s curriculum gives a stamp of approval to the field that is very important,” says Siemion, one of the five aforementioned Ph.D.s who never thought he could carve out a career in SETI.Tarter is similarly enthused. She sees the plans unveiled by Penn State as part of a “resurgence” of the field. She is excited by the steady stream of newly discovered worlds and is anxious to find out whether potentially habitable planets are, in fact, inhabited by intelligent life. “I don’t think you can ask the question of life beyond Earth and stop at microbes,” Tarter says. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is getting a home base. On 1 March, Pennsylvania State University in State College will announce the first contributions to a campaign that hopes to raise $110 million for the new Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence (PSETI) Center with endowed professorships and a degree-granting graduate program. It would be one of just a few academic SETI research centers and, if plans are realized, it could be the first to offer courses from the undergraduate to Ph.D. level. Some astronomers say it would provide a badly needed boost to a subdiscipline that has long suffered from neglect.“There really isn’t an academic ecosystem for the field as a whole,” says Penn State astronomer Jason Wright, who will serve as the PSETI Center head. “You can’t work on it if you can’t hire students and postdocs.”Financial backing for SETI research has been scarce ever since 1993, when the U.S. Congress banned NASA from funding it. “We became the four-letter word at NASA,” recalls astronomer Jill Tarter, a co-founder of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, one of the few other centers to support SETI research with nongovernmental funds. By Steve NadisFeb. 28, 2019 , 8:00 AMcenter_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 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country David Parker/Science Source University research center will search for extraterrestrial intelligencelast_img read more

Report Prominent neuroscientist worked for months after university found he violated sexual

first_img By Meredith WadmanApr. 11, 2019 , 6:05 PM Thomas Jessell, pictured in 2008 after winning the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, was ousted by Columbia University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for behavioral violations. Report: Prominent neuroscientist worked for months after university found he violated sexual relationship policies Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times/Redux center_img The student newspaper at Columbia University published a three-part series today documenting how strict procedural protections for tenured professors have compromised the university’s ability to eject from campus tenured faculty, including prominent neuroscientist Thomas Jessell, who have been found guilty by the university of sexual harassment, misconduct, or assault—or who have lost or settled  lawsuits alleging the same. Columbia announced 13 months ago that it was dissolving Jessell’s lab and removing him from “all administrative posts” after a university investigation revealed “serious violations of University policies and values governing the behavior of faculty members.” At the same time, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, dropped its support for Jessell’s work. (The student newspaper, Columbia Spectator, later reported that Jessell violated rules on consensual sexual and romantic relationships.)  But Columbia Spectator reports today that “at least eight months later … Jessell remained on campus working with students and using research facilities, according to multiple … researchers” at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Columbia President Lee Bollinger told the Spectator: “There are extremely strong protections for tenure. … You cannot remove or deny a faculty member the rights of tenure without going through a process that is basically a trial, something that is so difficult in many ways that it’s never been used.”last_img read more

EU Watchdog Accuses Facebook Google of Privacy Shenanigans

first_imgFacebook and Google have manipulated users into sharing data using so-called “darkpatterns,” such as misleading wording and confusing interfaces, according to a report the Norwegian Consumer Council released Wednesday.The practices nudged users toward accepting privacy options that favored the tech companies rather than themselves, the NCC found.Facebook and Google have no intention of providing users with an actual choice, the NCC has claimed, and their use of dark patterns constitutes a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation implemented across Europe last month.Some of the dark patterns: providing misleading privacy-intrusive default settings; hiding privacy-friendly choices; and giving users the illusion of control while at the same time presenting them with take-it-or-leave-it options. Privacy-friendly options — when they are provided — tend to require more effort from the user, according to the NCC.The companies have been manipulating users into sharing information, the NCC alleged, noting that such behavior shows a lack of respect for individuals or their personal data and privacy.Users who declined to choose certain settings were subject to deletion of their accounts in some cases.The Norwegian trade organization, which has been joined by otherconsumer and privacy groups in Europe and in the United States, hascalled for European data protection authorities to investigate whetherFacebook and Google — as well as Microsoft to a lesser degree, via itsWindows products — have been acting in accordance with the GDPR andU.S. rules.If the companies are found to be in violation of the GDPR, they could face fines of up to 20 million euros (US$24 million) or 4 percent of their annual global turnover. Although the NCC report specifically calls out Facebook and Google, as well asMicrosoft’s Windows 10 operating system, this could be just thetip of the iceberg in terms of how software firms have been handling the issue of privacy.”This practice isn’t limited to the big tech companies; almost alltech companies obfuscate the data they collect about users,” said JoshCrandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.”Most of the data are used for productive purposes, but sometimescompanies have used it for more profit-oriented endeavors that usersmay not appreciate,” he told TechNewsWorld.However, given the severity of the fines that companies may face, the daysof dark patterns could be coming to an end in Europe and theUnited States.”Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others are working to address theproblem,” remarked Pund-IT’s King.”It’s too dangerous and costly for them to ignore, but it also lookslike an issue that defies a simple ‘turn off the spigot’ fix — meaning we’re likely to continue to see similar investigations and findings in the months to come,” he predicted.”In addition, it should be awake-up call for companies affected by GDPR who hope they can somehowskate under the radar and escape notice,” King said. “Facebook, etc.,are obviously big fish, but over time the NCC and other GDPR watchdogswill turn their attention to smaller fry.” When it comes to the collection and sharing of user data, the default settings provided by the tech companies favor the companies over the end user, the NCC concluded.Users rarely change pre-selected settings, and both Facebook and Google have set the least-friendly privacy choices as their defaults, according to the report.More worrisome is that the sharing of personal data and the use of targeted advertising routinely are presented as being beneficial to the user, said the NCC. The wording and design suggests users actually benefit from having their data shared. At the same time, users who might want to opt for stricter privacy controls receive warnings about lost functionality.The NCC singled out Google for designing a privacy dashboard that actually discourages users from changing or even taking control of their settings, and for implying that users benefit from the default settings.The NCC noted that Facebook users actually are given no substantial choice — even after they take the extra effort to change their respective settings.Microsoft received some praise for giving equal weight to privacy-friendly and unfriendly options in its Windows 10 operating system settings. Dark Truth Patterns of Deceptioncenter_img The impact of the report’s findings is not limited to people within Europe.”Basically, ‘dark matter’ reads like a list of practices that havebeen commonplace for years among Web companies that rely onadvertising revenues for survival — particularly Facebook and Google,”said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”The bigger issue here is that since the EU’s recently implementedGDPR outlaws those functions, offending companies need to scrub themout of their sites or risk significant fines,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The thing is that dark practices are so mundane that they’ve becomepretty scrub-resistant, as the NCC investigation discovered,” Kingadded.The companies have been increasingly successful at monetizing data.”Facebook and Google have built very powerful platforms, businessesand audiences off the backs of their users’ data,” said Brock Berry, CEO of AdCellerant.”Their platforms are almost a utility to the public, in many ways, that’s operated like a business,” he told TechNewsWorld.”When they’re divisive in their tactics, they open the doors forcompetitors to enter the market, and I hope consumers step up, slowtheir usage of these platforms, and test other options that are morecustomer/consumer-centric,” Berry added.”Facebook and Google have a dutyto be consumer-friendly and customer-first focused,” he said. “It’s againsteverything they stand for to be surreptitious in their methods ofcollecting user data.” 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. Default Settingslast_img read more

First modeling system developed for testing agespecific human immune responses to vaccines

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 20 2018A team of scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital has developed the first modeling system for testing age-specific human immune responses to vaccines — outside the body. The practical, cost-effective new platform, using all human components, is expected to accelerate and de-risk the development, assessment and selection of vaccines.In a study published today in Frontiers in Immunology, a team from Boston Children’s Precision Vaccines Program, directed by Ofer Levy, MD, Ph.D., describes a three-dimensional human tissue culture construct that is able to reproduce immune responses of different populations and age groups in a laboratory setting. The platform is designed to enable researchers to test, evaluate and select human vaccine candidates for age-specific target populations, such as newborns and the elderly, before initiating costly human or animal trials.”By allowing us to select specific formulations based on individual characteristics, we can save time and money in the development of new, more effective vaccines,” says Levy, a physician-scientist in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s. “We believe this system could disrupt and galvanize the entire field of vaccinology and ultimately save lives.”New approach to an old problemImmunization is one of modern medicine’s greatest success stories. Yet we still lack vaccines for common diseases, such as HIV and respiratory syncytial virus — the number one cause of infant hospitalization in the United States — while other vaccines, such as those against tuberculosis or pertussis, are only moderately effective. Moreover, the average vaccine can take a decade or more to develop, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. The biggest stumbling block occurs late in development: Vaccines that worked flawlessly in mice regularly fail in clinical trials. Because of the high costs, many companies are reluctant to enter into vaccine development, despite the overwhelming need.”It’s simply not possible to conduct large-scale, phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of every potential vaccine for every pathogen we want to protect against,” says Levy. “We need a way to rapidly assess the candidates earlier in the process.”In 2010, Levy and his colleague Guzman Sanchez-Schmitz, MSc, Ph.D. received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create an in vitro model of the human immune system to test vaccines. It was a “man on the moon” effort, says Levy. The team set out to create a system that would not only faithfully replicate human biology but would also enable the study of targeted age groups.”We were radically committed to being age-specific in our approach,” said Levy. “Vaccines work differently in kids, and yet they are the group that needs the most protection.”Infants and the elderly are most at risk from infection, suggesting broad age-based differences in immunity. And while infants receive the most vaccinations, many vaccines don’t provide sufficient protection initially, requiring multiple boosters to confer full immunity.Personalized modeling of immune responsesThe team designed the construct to replicate a human capillary vein and interstitium — the fluid-filled spaces that line the circulatory system. It consists of a layer of endothelial cells, which typically line blood vessels, grown over a three-dimensional network of human proteins. To model the immune system of a newborn or an adult study participant, the researchers apply the participant’s plasma and immune cells known as monocytes to the surface of the construct.Related StoriesGeorgia State researcher wins $3.26 million federal grant to develop universal flu vaccineMore effective flu vaccine begins clinical trials across the U.S.Scripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachThe monocytes naturally migrate down through the endothelium into the human proteins below. During this process, many differentiate to dendritic cells, immune cells that initiate specific immune responses from T cells. After two days, these dendritic cells rise back through the endothelial layer, just as in the body they would pass through the walls of lymphatic capillaries en route to the lymph nodes.When effective vaccines are added to this system, the emerging dendritic cells pick up the vaccine antigens. These cells are then harvested and cultured with T cells to gauge immune response to the vaccine.”We relied on only human components, ensuring that the only thing that is not human-derived is the vaccine,” said Sanchez-Schmitz, first author on the paper. “That’s what makes this platform powerful. You can detect small amounts of foreign material in a way that other systems cannot, because you lower the threshold of background noise. Just as nature intended it.”The team successfully validated the system using two common, licensed neonatal vaccines: Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a live-attenuated bacterium widely used to immunize against child tuberculosis, and hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), containing inactivated fragments of the pathogen coupled with alum, added to boost immune response to the vaccine. “We started with vaccines that are recommended by the World Health Organization and given to newborns in resource-poor settings,” says Levy. “If we were going to model responses by age, it made sense to choose vaccines that are given to newborns, such as BCG and HBV.”The system will also enable researchers to model the immune systems of other vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, the elderly or the chronically ill, and open the door to testing individual responses.”This construct is highly versatile. It can be newborn, if you use newborn cells and plasma. It can be your own cells and plasma. That’s how personalized this system can be,” says Sanchez-Schmitz.The system marks a major advancement for Boston Children’s Precision Vaccines Program, which was founded to bring precision medicine principles to vaccinology and catalyze collaboration between academia, government and industry, with the goal of accelerating vaccine development for vulnerable populations.”Our in vitro systems are part of a larger precision vaccines paradigm that also includes special adjuvant systems to boost immune responses in distinct populations, targeted clinical trials, systems biology and animal modeling,” says Levy. “This is an opportunity to bring molecular biology and innovative immunology to human settings, and to do science that not only is sophisticated, but has a real chance in the near term to enhance human health.” Source:http://www.childrenshospital.org/last_img read more

Bloodsuckers carrying malaria parasites can be traced back up to 100 million

first_img Source:https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/mosquitoes-other-blood-sucking-flies-have-been-spreading-malaria-100-million-years Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 27 2018The microorganisms that cause malaria, leishmaniasis and a variety of other illnesses today can be traced back at least to the time of dinosaurs, a study of amber-preserved blood-sucking insects and ticks show.In addition to demonstrating the antiquity of vectors and their long-term association with parasitic microorganisms, the findings are remarkable for several reasons.First, bloodsuckers like mosquitoes, fleas, sand flies, ticks and biting midges aren’t frequently found in amber, and rarer yet is evidence of any microorganisms they might have been carrying.But a review by entomologist George Poinar of Oregon State University showed that amber from five regions around the world contained hematophagous arthropods carrying preserved, identifiable pathogens and parasites.”Feeding on vertebrate blood evolved as an efficient way for certain insects and acarines to get protein for growth and reproduction,” said Poinar, professor emeritus in the College of Science and an international expert on plant and animal life forms found preserved in amber. “It’s likely that primitive mosquitoes and other arthropod vectors were present back in the Jurassic and were even transmitting pathogens at that period. This would have resulted in widely dispersed diseases, many of which were probably fatal to vertebrates when they first appeared.”Poinar looked at bloodsucking insects and ticks encased in Dominican, Mexican, Baltic, Canadian and Burmese amber dating back from 15 million to 100 million years.Among the vectors were mosquitoes, sand flies, biting midges, bat flies, black flies, fleas, kissing bugs and ticks. They carry a cornucopia of microorganisms that today cause diseases such as filariasis, sleeping sickness, river blindness, typhus, Lyme disease and, perhaps most significantly, malaria.Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineScientists identify malaria’s Achilles’ heelMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorMalaria remains a relentless public health concern, with multiple nations reporting increases in infections for 2018. In Venezuela alone, Poinar notes, more than 650,000 new cases of malaria have been reported this year.”Numerous malaria species parasitize vertebrates today, and we now know that over the past 100 million years, malaria was being vectored by mosquitoes, biting midges, bat flies and ticks,” Poinar said. “Obtaining fossil records of pathogens carried by biting arthropods establishes a timeline when and where various diseases appeared and how they could have affected the survival, extinction and distribution of vertebrates over time.”Poinar stresses, however, that while his research shows what parasites and pathogens specific bloodsuckers were transmitting at particular periods and locations in the past, “these fossils are not old enough to tell us when and how associations between vectors, pathogens and vertebrates originated.”Poinar believes that the microorganisms first infected blood-sucking arthropods and only after equilibria had been reached between them were the microorganisms then vectored to vertebrates.”That topic has been and will continue to be under discussion for years to come,” he said.last_img read more

Graphic warning labels cancel out cigarettes appeal to young people

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 10 2018New research from Cornell University suggests graphic warning labels on cigarette ads have the same anti-smoking effect as similar warning labels on cigarette packs.The labels – which contain images such as bleeding, cancerous gums and lips – also cancel out the effect of ads that prompt children to think of smoking as cool, rebellious and fun, according to the research.”This study suggests the value of graphic warning labels extends beyond just getting people to have more negative feeling about smoking,” said lead author Jeff Niederdeppe, associate professor of communication, who wrote the paper with a team of Cornell-affiliated researchers. “It also seems to have the added benefit of reducing the influence of ‘social cue’ ads that entice young people to want to smoke in the first place.”The paper, “Using Graphic Warning Labels to Counter Effects of Social Cues and Brand Imagery in Cigarette Advertising,” was published in Health Education Research.Researchers studied the graphic warning labels’ effect on 451 adult smokers and 474 middle schoolers in rural and urban low-income communities in the Northeast. Each participant was randomly assigned a set of six ads. Some saw ads with social cues – such as a group of smiling people taking a selfie with a graphic warning label covering 20 percent of the ad. Other groups saw ads with various combinations of text-only warnings, graphic warnings, the current surgeon general warning, brand imagery and social cues.Using Cornell’s mobile media lab, researchers tracked study participants’ eyes to measure what parts of the ad they looked at and for how long. After viewing the ads, participants reported the degree to which they felt negative emotions, including anger, fear and sadness. The graphic warning label drew viewers’ attention away from ads and toward the warning, regardless of whether the warning was graphic or text only, more than the current surgeon general warning.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairGuidelines to help children develop healthy habits early in lifeThe graphic warning labels also aroused more negative feelings than the text-only labels and reduced the children’s perceptions that cigarette brands are attractive and exciting.”That’s important, because there’s pretty good evidence that the visceral reactions to these warnings are a main driver of their effectiveness,” Niederdeppe said. “These ads are trying to create a positive brand image, and the graphic warning labels help suppress that.”The study also found participants felt the same levels of negative emotion whether they looked at a graphic warning label covering 20 percent of a full page ad or 50 percent of a much smaller cigarette pack.”We were pleasantly surprised that the levels of negative emotion were equivalent between those two conditions,” Niederdeppe said. “It suggests that 20 percent coverage on an advertisement is a high enough threshold to create the negative emotion.”The Food and Drug Administration, which funded the study through its Center for Tobacco Products, will consult this research as it considers revising the current surgeon general warnings – text-only warnings that have not been changed in nearly 40 years. Source:http://www.cornell.edu/last_img read more

Bloodbased liquid biopsies can accurately track cancer treatment responses

first_imgFeb 14 2019Results of two clinical studies have added to evidence that blood-based liquid biopsies can accurately track lung cancer treatment responses by measuring circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) during immunotherapy and related treatments. Noninvasive liquid biopsies identifying tumor-specific changes provide an opportunity for widespread implementation of monitoring approaches for different cancer types in a variety of clinical settings.”Jillian Phallen, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at the Kimmel Cancer Center The new studies, described in the December issues of the journal Cancer Research, showed that tracking responses to treatment by measuring ctDNA was a more accurate way of assessing tumor growth or shrinkage than traditional imaging techniques.In a study of 28 adult patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), blood samples were taken prior to anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) or anti-HER2 (human epidermal growth receptor 2) treatments—which target cancer growth—and at intervals thereafter.All of the patients were seen at hospitals affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University or University of California San Diego, and were treated with osimertinib, mavelertinib, afatinib or erlotinib. Blood samples were analyzed to detect ctDNA shed by tumors into circulating blood and to track tumor burden during therapy by detecting gene mutations as well as chromosomal changes in tumor cells.As early as a week after receiving treatment, 20 patients with full molecular response to treatment had nearly complete elimination of ctDNA that could be detected in their blood samples. Eight nonresponders to the therapy had limited changes in ctDNA levels and significantly shorter progression-free survival. Overall, patient response to treatment could be detected four weeks earlier and was more accurate than CT imaging.The researchers also say that ctDNA analyses of patients with stable CTs or nonmeasurable disease using imaging had improved prediction of clinical outcomes compared to patients with CT imaging. The early detection of changes using ctDNA preceded responses seen in subsequent scans and allowed mutation changes in the tumors to be tracked. With these results, the study showed that measuring ctDNA for an advanced cancer can be accurate and noninvasive than with repeat CT imaging. Credit: Cancer Research Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/noninvasive-liquid-biopsies-rapidly-accurately-determine-response-to-cancer-treatment Together, these studies show that noninvasive liquid biopsy analyses of ctDNA changes during therapy are feasible and offer a more rapid and accurate assessment of treatment response than CT imaging. Velculescu cautions that more testing will be necessary to affirm the value of the results and to see if this method works for other types of cancer. He says he hopes the studies will spur development of new therapies by being able to diagnostically measure tumor loads more accurately. Conventional imaging does not always or quickly capture the unique timing and pattern of response to immunotherapy, highlighting the urgent need to develop biomarker-driven approaches such as measuring ctDNA in blood samples. Early detection of disease progression on immunotherapy opens a window of opportunity in which changes in liquid biopsies may allow patients with resistance to be rapidly identified and redirected to receive alternative therapies.”Valsamo Anagnostou, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, member of the Kimmel Cancer Center These results indicate the potential value of early assessment of responses to targeted therapies especially when CT imaging results are in the gray area between objective response and actual disease progression.”Alessandro Leal, M.D., a graduate student at the Kimmel Cancer Center Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerIn a second study of 38 patients with NSCLC, scientists including Valsamo Anagnostou, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center, measured ctDNA and immune blood cell changes to determine responses to anti-PD-1 therapy, which boosts the immune response against cancer cells.Nine patients with a response to immunotherapy had a complete reduction in ctDNA levels shortly after the initiation of therapy. In contrast, 12 nonresponders showed no significant changes or increase in ctDNA levels. Molecular response as measured by ctDNA levels more accurately predicted overall survival for these patients—patients without a molecular response had shorter progression-free and overall survival than molecular responders. Overall, tumor responses to the therapy that were detected using ctDNA were found nearly nine weeks earlier than with conventional imaging.Anagnostou and colleagues also investigated changes in the immune cells in the blood of these patients. Expansion of immune cells mirrored the ctDNA reduction during therapeutic response, suggesting that ctDNA reduction in circulating blood was in line with an effective immune response.Anagnostou says the researchers also validated some of their findings in a group of early stage NSCLC patients who received anti-PD1 therapy prior to removal of their tumors. The researchers found that circulating ctDNA molecular responses accurately captured the effect of immunotherapy. The authors also showed that reduction in tumor size after immunotherapy correlated with reductions in ctDNA levels. There is an unmet clinical need for real-time, noninvasive detection of tumor response to targeted and immune checkpoint blockade treatments. Our studies suggest that tests using blood samples will change the way cancer patients will be treated by helping to evaluate therapeutic responses more quickly and accurately, and avoid unneeded toxicity or ineffective treatments.”Victor Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of cancer biology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centerlast_img read more