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.
May 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/
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.”
Ever 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.
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 flight
By Sid PerkinsMar. 26, 2019 , 10:55 AM Corrado Cimarelli Volcanic lightning may be partially fed by Earth’s natural radioactivity 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.
April 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 Ad
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 Advertising 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
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 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?
Salve 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 “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)
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 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.”
Facebook 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 Deception 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 Settings
Reviewed 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/
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.
Reviewed 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/
Feb 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 Center