Last Chance to Play Lifes Most Dangerous Game

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesOnly three more Tour stops in 2015 for Dr. Bill Thomas’ Age of Disruption Tour! Click here to buy tickets for his signature “non-fiction” theater performance Life’s Most Dangerous Game this week in Tampa, West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale.Related PostsTickets On Sale Now! 2016 Age of Disruption TourIt’s time to announce the U.S. city lineup for Dr. Bill Thomas’ 2016 Age of Disruption Tour! Without further ado…Age of Disruption 2016 World TourWe are excited to announce that Dr. Bill Thomas and the Center for Growing and Becoming have committed to continuing the Age of Disruption Tour in 2016 and 2017!New Podcast: How To Play Life’s Most Dangerous GameWelcome to the only Podcast on the web featuring a physician, Dr. Bill Thomas, and musician, Nate Silas Richardson, who team up for the #AskDrBill Show. Today’s question: “What about the aches, pains, and chronic illness/risk of disease?”TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Age of Disruption Life’s Most Dangerous Gamelast_img read more

No gaps in understanding Heres your primer on Medigap coverage

first_imgJudith Graham: @judith_graham Jul 26 2018Every year, older adults can opt out of a Medicare Advantage plan and opt in to original Medicare during open enrollment season, which begins on Oct. 15. But unexpected problems can arise with this change. Notably, seniors who want to return to original Medicare might not be able to purchase Medicare supplemental insurance, also known as Medigap coverage.Medigap covers some or all of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare (deductibles, copayments and coinsurance), minimizing the financial risk to seniors. Under original Medicare, there is no limit to an individual’s out-of-pocket liability. (By contrast, Medicare Advantage plans limit out-of-pocket costs to a maximum $6,700 a year.)Yet private insurers are required to offer Medigap policies only when people first enroll in Medicare and under a few special circumstances. Otherwise, insurers can refuse to cover people with preexisting conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.”People think they can choose Medicare Advantage one year and traditional Medicare another year, and go back and forth without difficulty,” said Tricia Neuman, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation and a co-author of a new report on consumer protections in Medigap. “But in states that don’t guarantee supplemental coverage, this might not be a realistic option.” (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)Only four states require insurers to issue Medicare supplemental policies to adults age 65 and older, regardless of their health status: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New York. Dozens of other states have more limited protections.Craig Boyle, 69, learned about uncertainties surrounding Medigap the hard way three years ago, after he ran over a fire hose while biking to work in Denver and landed on his head.Rushed to the emergency room, Boyle was told that he’d broken a couple of vertebrae but had a much bigger problem: Scans revealed two tumors at the top of his spine, compressing his spinal cord.Surgery was in order, and doctor friends recommended two local surgeons with significant experience in this rare procedure. But neither worked with Kaiser Permanente of Colorado, the Medicare Advantage plan Boyle had chosen when he turned 65.Boyle thought he could switch to original Medicare and be treated by a specialist at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus. But two large Medigap insurers declined to cover him because the spinal surgery was a disqualifying preexisting condition.”I have to say, I’m fairly knowledgeable about insurance, but I had no idea that this was a possibility,” Boyle said.He ended up getting lucky: A Medicare Advantage plan offered by Aetna in Colorado had in its network the University of Colorado surgeon he wanted to see. Boyle joined that plan (Medicare Advantage plans are required to accept all applicants), had the procedure and experienced no significant complications afterward.Because your health needs can change after you first sign up for Medicare, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of supplemental coverage, said Fred Riccardi, director of programs and outreach at the Medicare Rights Center. Your local chapter of SHIP (which often stands for Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program) is a good place to start.Here’s some essential information about Medigap coverage:Medigap basics. Medicare supplemental policies help fill gaps in traditional Medicare coverage. There are 10 types of plans, each with standard benefits.All plans cover coinsurance and copayments for Medicare Part A (hospital services), Medicare Part B (physician services and outpatient care), and hospice care, either in full or in part. All but one plan pays in full or in part for Medicare’s hospital deductible — this year, $1,350 per hospital stay. Some plans pick up coinsurance costs for skilled nursing facilities ($167.50 per day after the first 20 days); some do not. Drug costs are not included among other benefits.Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsAbout 13 million people — over 95 percent of them older adults — had Medigap coverage in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available.Premiums vary depending on someone’s age, gender, geographic location and, in some states, smoking status. Monthly costs range from under $100 on the low end to over $250 on the high end, said Katie Haug, an insurance broker at Caravus in St. Louis.Medigap open enrollment. Once you’ve enrolled in Medicare Part B, insurers are required to offer you a Medigap policy, regardless of your health status, over the next six months.If you’ve chosen original Medicare, your automatic right to buy Medigap ends after this six-month period. Insurers can then exclude you from coverage or charge you more for a policy if you’ve been recommended for surgery or if you have a preexisting condition, such as chronic bronchitis, asthma or rheumatoid arthritis.If you’ve chosen a Medicare Advantage plan, you have 12 months to change your mind, select original Medicare and qualify for a Medigap policy regardless of your health status. This ends after you’ve been enrolled in Medicare Advantage for a year. From this point on, Medigap insurers can take your medical status into account in deciding whether to offer you coverage.Special considerations. Under federal law, you regain your right to buy a Medigap policy regardless of your health status under the following conditions: if your Medicare Advantage plan withdraws from the area where you live or is found guilty of fraud; if you move out of your plan’s service area; or if your retiree health coverage is canceled by your former employer.Twenty-eight states go further by requiring insurers to issue Medigap policies to seniors when an employer alters retiree health coverage. (More than 13 million people on Medicare have out-of-pocket expenses covered through retiree health plans.) Nine states have a similar requirement for people who become ineligible for Medicaid. (More than 7 million individuals on Medicare are also enrolled in Medicaid, which covers Medicare’s out-of-pocket expenses.)Last September, Boyle experienced another change in his insurance status when Aetna notified him it was discontinuing his Medicare Advantage plan in Colorado. Because this triggers an automatic right to purchase Medigap coverage, he was able to transfer to original Medicare — this time, with supplemental coverage from UnitedHealthcare.Now, he and his wife pay $360 a month for their supplemental coverage. This arrangement works better since the couple divides their time between Colorado and Florida, where she has relatives and is treated for Parkinson’s disease at a renowned clinic at the University of Florida.”I have to say, I feel fortunate that things worked out for us,” he said, “even though there were some rocky parts along the way.”KHN’s coverage of these topics is supported by Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and John A. Hartford Foundation This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Whole brain analysis reveals why mindful people feel less pain

first_img Source:https://newsroom.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2018/09/Mindful-People-Feel-Less-Pain Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 7 2018Ever wonder why some people seem to feel less pain than others? A study conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine may have found one of the answers – mindfulness.”Mindfulness is related to being aware of the present moment without too much emotional reaction or judgment,” said the study’s lead author, Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the medical school, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We now know that some people are more mindful than others, and those people seemingly feel less pain.”The study is an article in press, published ahead-of-print in the journal PAIN.The researchers analyzed data obtained from a study published in 2015 that compared mindfulness meditation to placebo analgesia. In this follow-up study, Zeidan sought to determine if dispositional mindfulness, an individual’s innate or natural level of mindfulness, was associated with lower pain sensitivity, and to identify what brain mechanisms were involved.In the study, 76 healthy volunteers who had never meditated first completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, a reliable clinical measurement of mindfulness, to determine their baseline levels. Then, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging, they were administered painful heat stimulation (120°F).Whole brain analyses revealed that higher dispositional mindfulness during painful heat was associated with greater deactivation of a brain region called the posterior cingulate cortex, a central neural node of the default mode network. Further, in those that reported higher pain, there was greater activation of this critically important brain region.The default mode network extends from the posterior cingulate cortex to the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. These two brain regions continuously feed information back and forth. This network is associated with processing feelings of self and mind wandering, Zeidan said.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymoma”As soon as you start performing a task, the connection between these two brain regions in the default mode network disengages and the brain allocates information and processes to other neural areas,” he said.”Default mode deactivates whenever you are performing any kind of task, such as reading or writing. Default mode network is reactivated whenever the individual stops performing a task and reverts to self-related thoughts, feelings and emotions. The results from our study showed that mindful individuals are seemingly less caught up in the experience of pain, which was associated with lower pain reports.”The study provided novel neurobiological information that showed people with higher mindfulness ratings had less activation in the central nodes (posterior cingulate cortex) of the default network and experienced less pain. Those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain, Zeidan said.”Now we have some new ammunition to target this brain region in the development of effective pain therapies. Importantly this work shows that we should consider one’s level of mindfulness when calculating why and how one feels less or more pain,” Zeidan said. “Based on our earlier research, we know we can increase mindfulness through relatively short periods of mindfulness meditation training, so this may prove to be an effective way to provide pain relief for the millions of people suffering from chronic pain.”last_img read more

Yellowstones massive volcano could erupt more frequently than scientists thought

first_img Yellowstone’s massive volcano could erupt more frequently than scientists thought By Paul VoosenOct. 25, 2017 , 2:50 PM iStock.com/kwiktor center_img SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—Some 630,000 years ago, the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming recorded its last catastrophic eruption, forming a caldera that nearly spans the park’s width and belching a thick layer of ash, or tephra, across North America. But rather than a single event, Yellowstone may have erupted twice in a span of 270 years, new evidence from mud cores discovered off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, indicates. The cores, presented here today at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, were captured at the farthest extent of the ash’s reach, recorded as wisps of tephra in finely sedimented, ancient mud uplifted near the ocean floor. Most evidence of the Yellowstone eruption (the park’s Grand Prismatic geyser is pictured) is found on land in thick layers of compacted, weathered rock, which could have easily hidden the dual eruption, the researchers say. Both tephra layers also coincide with a stark temperature decline of 3°C, according to the core’s records of oxygen isotopes and fossilized plankton, with each episode lasting 100 years or more. If confirmed, the research could indicate that Yellowstone can recharge its eruptions much more quickly than typically thought—and that traditional views of volcanic winter, the period of cooling caused by a volcano’s reflective droplets and ash, fail to explain how a century of cooling could follow the eruptions.last_img read more

Glassy debris points to relatively recent asteroid impact in southeast Asia

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A tektite, a piece of glassy debris created during a large impact. Glassy debris points to relatively recent asteroid impact in southeast Asia A kilometer-size asteroid slammed into Earth about 800,000 years ago with so much force that it scattered debris across a 10th of our planet’s surface. Yet its impact crater remains undiscovered. Now, glassy remains believed to have come from the strike suggest the asteroid hit southeast Asia as our close ancestors walked the Earth.“This impact event is the youngest of this size during human evolution with likely worldwide effects,” says Mario Trieloff, a geochemist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany not involved in the research. Large impacts can disrupt Earth’s climate by spewing dirt and soot high into the atmosphere, where it can block sunlight for months or even years.Putative remains from this impact have been found before. Researchers have recovered chunks of glassy debris known as tektites across Asia, Australia, and Antarctica, and their distribution pattern suggests the asteroid struck Southeast Asia: The largest tektites—weighing more than 20 kilograms and presumably ejected the shortest distances from the impact—have been found there. By Katherine KorneiJan. 3, 2018 , 12:35 PM PjrStudio/Alamy Stock Photo Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) John R. Foster/Science Source 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 To try to confirm this hypothesis, Aaron Cavosie, an astrobiologist and geochemist at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and his colleagues examined the chemical composition of three tektites from Thailand. They searched for evidence of reidite, a rare mineral formed only by extreme pressures and temperatures, like those of an asteroid impact. But the team had to infer that reidite had existed: It disappears just seconds after it forms and transforms into zircon, a mineral common in Earth’s crust. Email An artist’s representation of a large impact on Earth. The scientists studied tiny crystals of zircon in the tektites and looked at their geometrical orientation. They found that the crystals, each about half the width of a human hair, exhibited three different orientations intersecting at roughly right angles, consistent with laboratory and theoretical results that show how zircon transforms into reidite and then back into zircon. On the other hand, zircon crystals that have never converted to reidite tend to all be oriented in one direction.The former presence of reidite in these tektites means that they were exposed to crushing pressures and searing temperatures, Cavosie and his team concluded. This discovery, paired with the generally large masses of tektites found in Thailand, is consistent with the impact occurring somewhere in Southeast Asia, the team reports in Geology. Other researchers have found evidence of a high-pressure version of quartz in some tektites, but reidite is a better tracer of a nearby impact, Cavosie and his team argue. “Reidite requires substantially higher shock pressures to form,” Cavosie says.The mystery of the missing crater isn’t solved yet, however, says Billy Glass, an emeritus professor of geology at the University of Delaware in Newark not involved in the research. “[The researchers] can’t narrow down the source crater based only on samples from one location,” he said. “They need to study samples from over all of Southeast Asia.”Cavosie and his team plan to examine more tektites from the strewn field in the future. They’re puzzled why a crater that’s both presumably large and geologically young—meaning it hasn’t been exposed to much erosion due to rain and wind—hasn’t been found. The crater, if discovered, could also shed light on how the impact affected life nearby. “Our not-too-distant ancestors witnessed this impact,” Cavosie says. “They might have been dragging their knuckles, but an event like the formation of a 50- to 100-kilometer-diameter impact is sure to have gotten their attention.”last_img read more

Slippery volcanic soils blamed for deadly landslides during Hokkaido earthquake

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Landslides in the town of Atsuma killed dozens after last week’s earthquake on Japan’s Hokkaido island. Slippery volcanic soils blamed for deadly landslides during Hokkaido earthquake The magnitude-6.7 earthquake that struck Japan’s Hokkaido island on 6 September had an outsize impact on the landscape: hundreds of landslides that scarred hillsides, decapitated ridges, and caused most of the 41 deaths attributed to the earthquake. Now, some scientists are saying the island was primed for the landslides when heavy rains soaked subsurface deposits of volcanic soil in the region, turning them into a geologic grease layer. Others, however, aren’t convinced yet.Like much of Japan, Hokkaido hosts numerous volcanoes, both active and dormant. Kyoji Sassa, a landslide expert and professor emeritus at Kyoto University in Japan, believes eruptions over the ages have left layers of volcanic material such as pumice draping the hilly landscape beneath sediments deposited later, as is seen in many other volcanic areas in Japan. The porous volcanic material readily soaks up water and becomes slippery, Sassa says. And Hokkaido had just been hit by drenching rains from Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful storm to strike Japan in 25 years. It pummeled the Osaka area to the south on 4 September, then traveled up the archipelago, delivering heavy rains to Hokkaido.When the earthquake shook the water-logged soils a few days later, Sassa says the shear forces easily ruptured the weak pumice strata, allowing tons of heavy, wet soil to slide downhill. The landslides, concentrated in an area near the quake epicenter on the southern side of the island, “moved very rapidly,” says Sassa, founder and secretary general of the International Consortium on Landslides, because wet pumice is particularly slippery. By Dennis NormileSep. 11, 2018 , 10:10 AMcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images Shin-ichiro Hayashi, a landslide scientist at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, who has been out to investigate the landslides, agrees that volcanic material is laced through the soils. But he says “further investigation is required” to determine whether those deposits really set the stage for the recent landslides. Hayashi notes that Jebi’s rains were modest on Hokkaido. Instead, he says, a simpler explanation is that the rare inland earthquake along a previously unknown fault gave the unstable landscape near the epicenter an unprecedented shaking.But Sassa thinks the landslides defacing the wooded hills deliver a clear message: “An earthquake after rainfall is very dangerous; if one occurs, people living near cliffs should evacuate rapidly.”last_img read more

Why sparks fly when you microwave grapes

first_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country YouTubers have gone grape crazy. In a plethora of internet videos, kitchen scientists have cut a grape almost in half—leaving just a strip of skin connecting the two sides—and stuck it in the microwave. In seconds, sparks erupt. Now, physicists think they know why this happens.Here’s the common explanation: Water-heavy grapes trap the wavelengths of energy microwave ovens emit because the waves are roughly the same size as the diameter of grapes. That energy starts charging up electrolytes inside the fruit, which then flow from one half of the grape to the other—using the strip of skin like an electrical wire and gaining energy as they go. The current quickly burns through the skin, causing the charged electrolytes to try to jump from one half of the grape to the other, supercharging the surrounding air into a bright flare of plasma—the same light-emitting state of matter responsible for the sun’s rays and fluorescent lighting.To test this hypothesis, the researchers put grapes into microwaves and watched what unfolded with thermal cameras. Early on, the scientists found that a pair of grapes could also produce plasma, as long as they were kept within 3 millimeters of each other. If grapes can produce plasma without the skin strip, the researchers say, then the energy that produces the plasma must build up another way. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Why sparks fly when you microwave grapes The thermal cameras revealed a hot spot between the grapes from a buildup of electromagnetic energy—not inside the grapes where the internet’s explanation would predict. This led the physicists to a new explanation: When two grapes are close to each other in a microwave, the waves they absorb bounce back and forth in the tiny space between them, creating an increasingly powerful electromagnetic field. This continues until the electromagnetic field becomes so powerful that it supercharges nearby electrolytes that then shoot out in a brief explosion of fiery plasma, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Aside from damaging microwave ovens, the authors say their findings could, with the right materials, one day be extended to trap and concentrate visible wavelengths of light for use in nanoscale microscopy. By Alex FoxFeb. 18, 2019 , 3:15 PMlast_img read more

Climate change doubters are finalists for Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board

first_img A few are associated with the Heartland Institute, which has advocated for the rejection of climate science to lawmakers, teachers and voters. Among its efforts is the publication of books, like the “Roosters of the Apocalypse,” which describes climate change as an “apocalyptic prophecy” (Climatewire, April 2, 2012). Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Climate change doubters are finalists for Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board MIKE THEILER/UPI/NEWSCOM By Scott Waldman, E&E NewsOct. 18, 2018 , 12:30 PM Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) John Christy (left) is among the candidates for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. Originally published by E&E NewsFinalists for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Science Advisory Board include researchers who reject mainstream climate science and who have fought against environmental regulations for years.Among them is an economist from the conservative Heritage Foundation whose work was cited by President Trump as a justification for withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. Another downplays the dangers of air pollution. Several scientists are from energy companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., and the list includes a researcher who argues that more carbon dioxide is good for the planet. The agency released a list of 174 nominees yesterday and will accept public comment until Nov. 7. The Science Advisory Board provides EPA with expert advice on a range of scientific and technical issues. Former Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to reshape the SAB by forcing off academic researchers who received agency grants, while elevating those who were funded by industry.The latest round of selections, which will be made by acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, could shift the makeup of the board toward an industry viewpoint as EPA weighs a number of deregulatory actions. It currently has 44 members.Last week, Wheeler replaced five of seven members on the agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. He weighted the panel with industry voices and regulators from states critical of regulations adopted under former President Obama (Climatewire, Oct. 11). EPA also disbanded an affiliated panel that had been working on an assessment of the current limits on airborne particulates.The list of finalists from which Wheeler will select the newest members of the SAB includes academics whose work has been funded by the premier science agencies in the United States, such as the National Science Foundation, NOAA and the National Institutes of Health.Gretchen Goldman, who has a Ph.D in environmental engineering, is the research director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Kimberly Cobb, director of the Global Change Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is an expert on climate change and coral reefs. Steven Cohen is the former executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Andrew Rosenberg is the director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.However, many stand out for fighting against climate science and agency regulations. The work of several has been used to justify rolling back environmental rules.James Enstrom, who has served as a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute and is a retired professor from UCLA, has received funding from the tobacco industry to produce research that downplays the risks of secondhand smoke. He has said that his work negates the research of air pollution experts who connected fine particle air pollution, or PM2.5, with premature deaths.A description of his qualifications for the appointment said that Enstrom’s research, which has vastly different conclusions from those of the majority of scientists, justifies rolling back EPA regulations on air pollution, known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).”His research shows that the EPA PM2.5 NAAQS is scientifically unjustified and must undergo complete and objective reassessment,” says the description submitted to EPA.Richard Belzer is an independent consultant on regulatory economics who has worked for a number of conservative think tanks, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and R Street Institute. His recent clients include Exxon Mobil, the American Chemistry Council and Fitzgerald Glider Kits, which is pushing EPA to roll back air pollution protections on heavy trucks.Belzer has encouraged the Trump administration to go after EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, a scientific determination that provides the legal underpinning for agency regulations on climate-changing emissions.”The goal here is not to change the policy but to correct the science,” Belzer said at a conference hosted by the Heartland Institute last year.John Christy, another nominee, is Alabama’s state climatologist and a professor at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He’s a favorite of congressional Republicans who reject mainstream climate science and says that human-caused global warming has been exaggerated. At a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing, he was one of the first to suggest that a “red team” climate debate could contest established findings on global warming. He has also called on EPA to revisit the endangerment finding and has said that it is not scientifically valid.Anthony Lupo, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri, Columbia, has argued that global warming is natural, not man-made. He co-founded Climate Exit, or “Clexit,” which asserts that rising levels of carbon dioxide benefit the Earth.Kevin Dayaratna is a senior statistician and research programmer with the Heritage Foundation. He was invited to attend Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in the Rose Garden in June 2017, and his work was cited by the president as a reason to quit the accord. He says in his work that the agreement could shrink the U.S. gross domestic product by $2.5 trillion within two decades. (Trump stated that it would arrive within a decade.) The report was criticized by some as being misleading, because that amount is less than 1 percent of the aggregate GDP over that period, and the report did not account for the cost of taking no climate change action.William Happer, an emeritus physics professor at Princeton University, is also on the list. Happer helped Pruitt develop the red-team concept and heads the CO2 Coalition, which received $150,000 in funding from the Mercer family in 2016 to suggest that more carbon dioxide would benefit humans.Happer was recently appointed to serve on the Trump administration’s National Security Council as the senior director for emerging technologies. Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net Read more…,Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.netlast_img read more

Germanys wolves are on the rise thanks to a surprising ally the

first_imgA wolf pup faces off with a tank on a training ground near Münster, Germany. Sebastian Koerner/LUPOVISION Germany’s wolves are on the rise thanks to a surprising ally: the military Email By Erik StokstadFeb. 15, 2019 , 5:55 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)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 Wolves are an impressive success story for wildlife recovery in central Europe, bouncing back from near extermination in the 20th century to a population of several thousand today. And in Germany, where populations have been growing by 36% per year, military bases have played a surprisingly central role in helping the animals reclaim habitat, a new analysis finds.”What is really remarkable is that the military areas acted as a stepping stone for the recolonization”—and were far more important than civilian protected areas in the early stages of recovery, says Guillaume Chapron, a wildlife ecologist at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, who was not involved in the research. “It shows that when you strictly protect wildlife, it comes back.”Across much of Europe, wolves were heavily persecuted for attacking livestock. They were wiped out in Germany during the 19th century. But in the 1980s and 1990s, new European laws protected wildlife and habitat, setting the stage for their recovery. And in eastern and southern Europe abandoned farmland meant fewer people and more deer for wolves to hunt. In the late 1990s, wolves began to dart into Germany from the forests of Poland. The first litter of pups in Germany was reported in 2001 in Saxony-Brandenburg. They’ve since spread westward into six more of Germany’s 16 federal states, and monitoring data show their numbers are rising. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The population growth “is quite impressive,” says Ilka Reinhardt, a biologist with Lupus, the German Institute for Wolf Monitoring and Research in Spreewitz, who has been involved in efforts to study the wolves since they returned to Germany. The latest data suggest the country has 73 packs and 30 pairs of wolves. “Twenty years ago, no one would have expected this,” she adds, noting Germany’s fragmented habitat and the prevalence of roads and humans. “It shows how adaptable wolves are.”Reinhardt was particularly struck by their occurrence in military areas. “This was surprising to us,” she says. She and her colleagues noticed that the first pair of wolves to show up in a new state always settled on a military training ground. The second pair, and usually the third also sought out military lands. After that, subsequent breeding pairs would be detected in protected areas or other habitats, the team reports online this week in Conservation Letters.The military training grounds were clearly a desired location for pioneers, but what was the appeal? Reinhardt could find no sign that habitat was better there than in nature reserves, as measured by the amount of forest and density of roads. But when they compiled the death records, they were shocked to find that wolf mortality rates were higher in protected areas than in the military training grounds.The difference seems to be poaching. Although the military training grounds are not fenced—which means wolves and deer can enter and leave at will—they are closed to the public and posted with many signs. The deer populations are managed by federal foresters, so when private hunting occurs, it is strictly regulated. This means fewer opportunities for poaching wolves, Reinhardt says. Elsewhere, including many nature reserves, deer are managed by private hunters. These areas are much smaller than military bases and may have more hunters coming through—so the odds are higher that someone with a vendetta might encounter a wolf. (Why shoot wolves? “I think it’s like everywhere, they are considered as competitors,” Reinhart says. “People are afraid that the wolves will eradicate the deer.”)Today, poaching does not jeopardize wolf populations, which are large enough in most parts of their range to withstand occasional killings. But poaching could have prevented the first pairs from establishing in nature reserves, Reinhardt says.Reinhardt and her colleagues recommend that when military training grounds are decommissioned they should be designated as nature reserves and the strict regulations on hunting maintained. “Because of their size in our crowded landscape, they function as conservation areas,” she says, “even though they are not meant to be.”To Chapron, it’s a positive legacy of the Cold War. More soldiers—and fewer poachers—is better for the wolves, he says. “We can clearly see that the wolf owes an acknowledgment to the military.”*Correction, 18 February, 8:50 a.m.: This story has been updated with the most recent population estimate of wolves in Germany.last_img read more

Human noise may be scrambling the eggs of baby fish

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The researchers think the stress produced by boat noise may boost embryo metabolism, draining yolk energy reserves and forcing the embryos to grow faster. Indeed, chromises reared with boat noise had yolks 13% smaller than their ambient counterparts at hatch time. Smaller yolks may mean less energy available to newly hatched, growing larvae.The scientists say it’s still not clear whether any of these changes are detrimental to the fish. If they are, they say, noise pollution may be having an even more insidious impact than previously believed. Human noise may be scrambling the eggs of baby fish Ethan Daniels/Alamy Stock Photo Whether it’s cargo ships, oil rigs, or sonar, humans make a lot of noise in the ocean. This cacophony can disorient fish and make them more vulnerable to predators. Now, for the first time, researchers have revealed that noise pollution can meddle with these sea creatures even before they hatch.The team focused on two species of damselfish common on Australian coral reefs: spiny chromis (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) and the red and black anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus, pictured). Both are fairly easy to rear in the lab and they differ in the ways their embryos develop. In the lab, the researchers watched the offspring of these fish mature under audio recordings of either ambient reef sounds, or reef sounds with motorboats passing overhead every 5 minutes. They monitored the embryos’ heart rates, yolk sizes, and physical characteristics.Undersea din can warp baby reef fish development, the team reports this month in Marine Pollution Bulletin. The embryo hearts of both fish beat 10% faster when boat noise was played, and the spiny chromises exposed to the racket hatched about 5% larger than those under ambient noise; their eyes were also about 9% larger. Email By Jake BuehlerMar. 29, 2019 , 12:50 PM 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

The 7 Worst Pieces of Sex Advice Dispensed Throughout History

first_imgYour average sex tips and advice magazine these days may be filled with super silly suggestions on what you should and shouldn’t do in bed with your partner, but this is nothing new.In fact, since times immemorial people have been writing about sex. An ancient piece of evidence that originates from the Hindu tradition is the Kama Sutra. Still widely known today, the Kama Sutra was written sometime between the fourth and second centuries B.C. Though this was not exclusively a manual on how to have sex, the Kama Sutra provides the reader with useful information, as well as depictions of various sex positions.Only the missionary position is “natural”In the 13th century, when a German philosopher by the name of Albertus Magnus had his take on sexual positions, he was less liberal in his views than the author of the Kama Sutra.Albertus Magnus was a noted bishop of his era, and the church later canonized him as a Catholic saint. He was also called “Doctor Universalis,” hence it might make sense why he shared his expertise on sex positions alongside taking care of church business.Albertus MagnusAs news.com.au also tell us, Magnus advised that only the missionary position is an entirely “natural” style to embrace in sexual intercourse. Any other position is misbehavior.Doctor Universalis even created a list in which he ranks the top five sex positions from the most to the least acceptable.Erotic plaque depicting an intercourse between a male and a female in a missionary position. From Iraq, Old Babylonian Period, 2000-1500 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul Photo byOsama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) CC BY-SA 4.0Progressively more sinful positions, after the preferred missionary, he lists side-by-side, sitting, and standing. Lowest scoring turns out to be the “tergo” one — Magnus’ more preferred way of saying “doggy style” in Latin.Whether Albertus Magnus empirically proved his rank list with personal experiences, we don’t know.Ladies, don’t “tantalize” your man with a handWeird, bizarre, or bad sex advice keeps showing up in different epochs. The year 1680 saw the publication of The School of Venus, or the Ladies Delight Reduced into Rules of Practice. In the book, the curious 17th century reader is introduced to a charming young virgin by the name of Katherine, and Roger, who appears to have his fair share of desires to “deflower” her.FlirtationSome of the advice contained in the lewd and raunchy language of the book is not in favor to hand jobs: “I would have no Woman tantalize a Man with her hand, since she hath a more proper place to receive and bestow his instrument.”pistachiosNext follows a strange piece of advice regarding food. We learn that Roger is not such a bad fellow after all, as —  after the act — he offers Katherine some pistachios to eat. The young woman is then informed that after sex, pistachios are “the best restorative in the World.”It’s no good if “his thoughts wander”Food-related sex tips keep showing up in The Book of Nature (1861) penned by James Ashton, a lecturer on sexual physiology. Te major advice here? Check the grocery store for lima beans, tomatoes, onions, or asparagus. These are cited as the best aphrodisiac foods to boost action in the bedroom.Eugen de BlaasBefore we are informed about the wonderful properties of these vegetables, we are also told about other options we should consider: “the particular food which is calculated to stimulate the sexual organs is shell-fish, or sea fish of any kind, and turtle, as these generally contain phosphorus.” So, eat your turtle people!Baby turtle eat flowerOther than this, The Book of Nature provides the reader also with some philosophical advice, such as how to ensure healthy procreation and a healthy offspring. It seems one should be really concentrated when having sex, as: “When a man is performing this act, if his thoughts wander, the product will be feeble, and if his wife become pregnant the offspring will be inferior.This fact is applied to the offspring of great geniuses, who are supposed to be thinking of something else when they beget their children, and hence their descendants are often much below them in intellect.”Masturbating is badAn abundance of bad sex advice can also be dug out from the Victorian days. One common sentiment is against men masturbating.While it is suggested that some foods and drinks should be avoided in order to prevent the shameful act (such as mustard, wine or beer), according to author Henry Hanchett, the habit should be tamed from youth. Parents should “run their children around throughout the day in wild play so the children would be too tired to masturbate before bed.”The advice is particularly applicable to boys as girls have a “low, almost nonexistent sex drive, so only truly deranged females would succumb to the temptations of masturbation.”Don’t share your bed nor room with a spouseThe 1900s brought the advice that wedded partners should not share a bed together if they want to retain a hot sex life, as shared by redbookmag. This advice comes from a 1902 book entitled What a Young Wife Ought to Know.The passage reads: “The custom in many English homes of each having a room, which is peculiarly one’s own, may seem to our freedom-loving natures, a cold custom; but is not this better when a proper self-control seems difficult, than a freedom which degenerates into license?”:Jan Steen – The Sleeping CoupleIt further says: “True, the door between these two rooms should seldom be shut, but the fact that there are two rooms relieves of many temptations, and prevents the familiarity, which even in married life breeds content.”Further, according to the book, women are advised to engage in sexual intercourse only when they wish to have a baby.Never, ever use lubeThe tips were no better some 15 years later when British writer and sex education pioneer Walter Gallichan published his The Psychology of Marriage in 1917. One of the main messages the book has to share with the reader? It sounds familiar. Again, don’t masturbate, because if you do this you will get sick, develop a mental disease, and eventually this will lead to the “destruction of society.”The best tip on how to save society from masturbation? It’s again in the hands of parents, who need to take proper care of their children, including to provide them with a “non-stimulating diet” and “rational clothing.”Two years later, in 1919, American physician H.W. Long advised in his Sane Sex Life and Sane Sex Living to never, ever use lubricants. Applying any lubes is “filthy” according to this author, adding a comparison that using lubes for your private parts is “like greasing the mouth to make food slip down easily.”Floor-scrubbing is great for the female figureLast but not least, the year 1963 saw Ann Landers’ Talks to Teen-agers about Sex hit the bookshops. According to this author, “Housework, particularly floor-scrubbing, is not only great for the female figure, but it’s good for the soul. And it will help you take the edge off your sexual appetite.”The same writer advising boys how to kill their their sexual temptations? “Don’t sit around and read junk that fires your imagination and stimulates you sexually. Channel your energies into constructive outlets. Go out for football, basketball or baseball. Play tennis, golf, ping-pong, soccer or handball. Improve your swimming, wash the car, paint the garage, practice the trombone, build a boat, do your homework, mow the lawn, clean the attic.”Read another story from us:“Nature never intended that woman’s waists should be like wasps”- Victorian advice to single womenTranslated? Boys, just do anything but don’t have sex. Bonus points for “practicing the trombone.”last_img read more

International New York Times to end all daily political cartoons

first_img State opens probe into Trump tax allegations in NYT report 0 Comment(s) Best Of Express By New York Times | Published: June 11, 2019 9:11:14 am New York Times CEO warns publishers ahead of Apple news launch Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan The New York Times announced Monday that it would no longer publish daily political cartoons in its international edition and ended its relationship with two contract cartoonists.Two months earlier, The Times had stopped running syndicated political cartoons, after one with anti-Semitic imagery was printed in the Opinion section of the international edition.In a statement, James Bennet, editorial page editor, said The Times was “very grateful for and proud of” the work that the cartoonists, Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song, had done for the international edition over the years. Advertisingcenter_img Related News Advertising In his statement, Bennet said The Times would “continue investing in forms of opinion journalism, including visual journalism, that express nuance, complexity and strong voice from a diversity of viewpoints.”He noted that in 2018, for the first time in its history, The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning — a series that told the story of a Syrian refugee family. White House narrows search for anonymous op-ed writer LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? International New York Times to end all daily political cartoons The syndicated cartoon that prompted the most outrage was a caricature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Donald Trump. (Source: Wikipedia)Written by Steve Lohr “However,” Bennet added, “for well over a year we have been considering bringing that edition into line with the domestic paper by ending daily political cartoons and will do so beginning July 1.”Chappatte wrote on his website Monday that after more than two decades of contributing a twice-weekly cartoon, “I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh: That’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon — not even mine — that should never have run in the best newspaper in the world.”The syndicated cartoon that prompted the most outrage was a caricature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Donald Trump.The Times issued an apology, saying the cartoon was “clearly anti-Semitic and indefensible.” One of The Times’ Op-Ed columnists, Bret Stephens, denounced the cartoon and wrote that The Times should “reflect deeply on how it came to publish anti-Semitic propaganda.”last_img read more

Supreme Court may hear plea seeking deportation of illegal migrants

first_img Advertising By Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 5, 2019 2:11:20 am Harish Salve: The lawyer who represented India in Kulbhushan Jadhav case Related News SC rules: Rebel Karnataka MLAs can’t be compelled to participate in trust vote Karnataka crisis: SC verdict a moral victory for rebel MLAs, says Yeddyurappa The plea by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was mentioned on Thursday before a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta who agreed to take it up after it was pointed out that it has been pending since 2017.Upadhyay’s petition claims that a huge number of illegal migrants, particularly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have not only threatened the demographic structure of bordering districts but seriously impaired security and national integration. Supreme court, deportation of illegal migrants, illegal migrants, illegal migrants case, illegal migrants in india, Myanmar illegal migrants, Bangladesh illegal migrants, Indian express The plea by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was mentioned on Thursday before a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta who agreed to take it up after it was pointed out that it has been pending since 2017. (File photo)The Supreme Court next week is likely to hear a petition seeking identification and deportation of immigrants who have entered India illegally. 0 Comment(s)last_img read more

Taxi driver suspended for failing to help Indianorigin disabled passenger at UK

first_img Advertising By PTI |London | Published: June 18, 2019 6:10:37 pm Top News After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan “That incident left me very angry that with all my hard work, people still haven’t understood (about equality), and there is no compassion whatsoever for people who are not able and are dependent on others,” she added.A witness to the incident took to Twitter to complain about the driver’s behaviour on Sunday. Nisha Sahdev wrote that he left the disabled lady outside a temple in the rain after refusing to wheel her down the ramp to the car.She said: “I was shocked and sickened! He got in his car and drove off!!”ADT Taxis, the company Seth said she uses regularly while highlighting her disabled status, admitted that the fault lay with them and said an investigation was underway after the driver’s indefinite suspension.“The fault lies with us somewhere and we are investigating the incident. It is an unfortunate situation and we will learn from this,” said ADT manager Nigel Ord. uk driver, uk driver suspended, disabled passenger taxi driver, taxi driver suspended, taxi driver uk, taxi driver, uk temple taxi driver, indian disabled passenger uk, latest news, world news, indian express ADT Taxis, the company Seth said she uses regularly while highlighting her disabled status, admitted that the fault lay with them and said an investigation was underway after the driver’s indefinite suspension. (AP/ Representational)A taxi driver in the UK has been suspended “indefinitely” after an elderly Indian-origin wheelchair user was “humiliated and insulted” when he refused to assist her down the ramp at a temple in the city of Leicester. LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Advertising Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Saroj Seth, who had her right leg amputated three years ago, asked for help to get into the vehicle after visiting the Shree Geeta Bhavan Temple on Clarendon Park Road in the East Midlands city. But the 78-year-old former magistrate said she was left “humiliated and insulted” when the driver refused the assistance and drove off.“There was no compassion, no kindness,” said Seth, who was awarded an Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to community cohesion in Leicester in 2011.“He said ‘no, it is a liability to take a disabled person’ and said he was not going to touch the wheelchair. He didn’t want to come near me and stood by his car,” she told the BBC. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Kartarpur corridor Pakistan agrees to build bridge allow visafree travel to Indian

first_imgBy Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 14, 2019 4:19:19 pm Related News kartarpur corridor, kartarpur corridor india pakistan, meeting on kartarpur corridor, india pakistan meeting, wagah border, india pakistan relations, india pakistan tension The Indian delegation arrived at Wagah on Sunday.India also underscored the importance of the safety of pilgrims travelling along the route. “Pakistan side assured our delegation that no anti-India activity would be allowed,” the MEA statement said.The Indian delegation has also sought consular presence in Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara to be able to provide assistance to the pilgrims if required.Pakistan also highlighted the infrastructural constraints on its side and added that they might be able to accommodate the pilgrims only in a phased manner. India has, however, asked Pakistan to reconsider its position considering a large number of pilgrims who want to visit the site. “Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan wants peace in the region. He is committed to open the corridor in time for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak in November 2019,” Faisal added.India Pakistan meet, India Pakistan meet Sunday, India Pakistan relationship, Kartarpur corridor, Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, Kartarpur corridor discussions The meeting comes amid differences between the two sides over a range of issues, including over a bridge at Zero Line on the Indo-Pak border at Dera Baba Nanak. (File Photo)A delegation of 20 Pakistani officials led by Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal arrived at 9.15 am at the border to take part in the meeting. The Indian team comprised of SCL Das, Joint Secretary (Internal Security) and Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary (PAI–Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) in Ministry of External Affairs. Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook kartarpur corridor, kartarpur corridor india pakistan, meeting on kartarpur corridor, india pakistan meeting, wagah border, india pakistan relations, india pakistan tension India and Pakistan held talks on the Kartarpur corridor at Wagah on Sunday.Pakistan, in principle, has agreed to build a bridge at Zero Line on the Indo-Pakistan border at Dera Baba Nanak at the earliest to facilitate the movement of pilgrims along the Kartarpur corridor, the Ministry of External Affairs said  Sunday. The decision was taken after a two-hour meeting between the two sides met in Wagah to iron out the modalities of connectivity, the safety of pilgrims and infrastructural needs. Advertising Kartarpur Corridor: 54 immigration kiosks, seating for 2,000 part of passenger complex plan Till the bridge is constructed, India offered to make interim arrangements for making the corridor operational in November 2019, to mark the birth anniversary of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.So far, Pakistan had insisted on a causeway and were reluctant on building a bridge. India was of the view that not building a bridge would lead to flooding of Indian areas during monsoon when the Ravi river overflows.Giving into India’s demand to allow 5,000 pilgrims each day, Islamabad also decided to allow visa-free travel for Indian passport holders. The Indian side also requested Pakistan to allow OCI cardholders visa-free movement along the corridor as well. Replying to a question about how many Indian Sikhs will be issued permit at the opening of the corridor in November, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said: “It may be 5,000 or 8,000…I cannot give the exact number. This has to be decided yet.” India, Pakistan move closer on Kartarpur corridor, pro-Khalistan leader dropped from panel center_img NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Best Of Express Meanwhile, Pakistan dropped controversial Sikh leader Gopal Singh Chawla from its team that held talks with India. “Apparently, removal of Chawla is a damage control step by the Imran Khan government,” the official told PTI, adding that he had become so controversial that the Khan government was forced to revamp the whole PSGPC.The second round of talks, which were scheduled on April 2, was cancelled by India after Pakistan nominated Khalistani separatists in the 10-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee.Kartarpur corridor, Kartarpur corridor linking india and pakistan, Kartarpur and Gurdaspur connection, India Pak relations, indian express Kartarpur: A view of the shrine of Sikh leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan. (PTI Photo)Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor in Gurdaspur district. Two days later, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125-km from Lahore. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief 14 Comment(s) Kartarpur Corridor: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh appreciates Pakistan’s move on visa free travel Advertisinglast_img read more

Metaanalysis reveals effective treatment options for urticarial vasculitis

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 30 2018What treatments are available for patients with the rare inflammatory disease known as urticarial vasculitis? How effective are these treatments? Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin embarked on a systematic review and meta-analysis to address these questions. Recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the results of this meta-analysis reveal which of the available treatment options offer more promising outcomes.Urticarial vasculitis is a rare inflammatory disease of blood vessels which affects between 20,000 and 50,000 people in Germany every year. The disease remains difficult to treat, and none of the drugs currently used in the treatment of urticarial vasculitis have been specifically approved for this purpose. Physicians use an array of treatment options to help patients, and do so with widely varying results. With this in mind, a team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Marcus Maurer, Head of Research at Charité’s Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, set out to determine which of the options available would prove effective in treating urticarial vasculitis. To do so, the researchers carried out a meta-analysis of 250 publications, all of which reported on the treatment of patients with urticarial vasculitis. The central result of their meta-analysis is that patients with urticarial vasculitis appear to benefit from treatment with corticosteroids, biologics and immunosuppressive agents. In contrast, antihistamines and other anti-inflammatory drugs appeared to be ineffective.Related StoriesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorFood allergy caused by absence of beneficial bacteria in the gutAntihistamines are commonly used to treat patients with urticaria. While urticaria and urticarial vasculitis share a similar symptom complex (itching, wheals, redness and swelling of the skin), they do not represent variants of the same condition. The similarities of their dermatological manifestations mean that urticarial vasculitis is often mistaken for ordinary urticaria.”Our research is helping to ensure that we can improve the treatment of patients with urticarial vasculitis,” says Prof. Maurer. He adds: “Our future research projects will aim to develop criteria for improving the diagnosis of urticarial vasculitis. We are also hoping to develop methods that will enable us to objectively measure a patient’s response to treatment. These efforts will form the basis of future research to develop treatments specifically targeted at urticarial vasculitis.” Source:https://www.charite.de/en/service/press_reports/artikel/detail/wirksame_therapien_bei_urtikaria_vaskulitis/last_img read more

Climate change could pose threat to male fertility

first_img Source:http://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/climate-change-damaging-male-fertility Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 13 2018Climate change could pose a threat to male fertility – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.New findings published today in the journal Nature Communications reveal that heatwaves damage sperm in insects – with negative impacts for fertility across generations.The research team say that male infertility during heatwaves could help to explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.Research group leader Prof Matt Gage said: “We know that biodiversity is suffering under climate change, but the specific causes and sensitivities are hard to pin down.”We’ve shown in this work that sperm function is an especially sensitive trait when the environment heats up, and in a model system representing a huge amount of global biodiversity.”Since sperm function is essential for reproduction and population viability, these findings could provide one explanation for why biodiversity is suffering under climate change.”A warmer atmosphere will be more volatile and hazardous, with extreme events like heatwaves becoming increasingly frequent, intense and widespread.”Heatwaves are particularly damaging extreme weather events. Local extinctions are known to occur when temperature changes become too intense. We wanted to know why this happens. And one answer could be related to sperm.”The research team investigated the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) to explore the effects of simulated heatwaves on male reproduction.The beetles were exposed to either standard control conditions or five-day heatwave temperatures, which were 5°C to 7°C above their thermal optimum.Afterwards, a variety of experiments assessed the potential damage to reproductive success, sperm function and offspring quality.Heatwaves killed spermThe team found that heatwaves halved the amount of offspring males could produce, and a second heatwave almost sterilized males.Females, by contrast, were unaffected by heatwave conditions. However, female reproduction was affected indirectly because experiments showed that heatwaves damaged inseminated sperm within female reproductive tracts.Related StoriesExposure to EDCs can affect sexual development and reproduction of future generationsTesticular tissue cryopreservation offers hope for young men at risk of infertilityBlastocyst transfer linked to higher risk of preterm birth, large-for-gestational-age ratesFollowing experimental heatwaves, males reduced sperm production by three-quarters, and any sperm produced then struggled to migrate into the female tract and were more likely to die before fertilization.Kirs Sales, a postgraduate researcher who led the research, said: “Our research shows that heatwaves halve male reproductive fitness, and it was surprising how consistent the effect was.”The group also explored the underlying causes of male vulnerability. Heatwaves caused some impact on male sexual behavior – with males mating half as frequently as controls.Heatwaves caused damage across generations”Two concerning results were the impact of successive heatwaves on males, and the impacts of heatwaves on future generations,” said Sales.”When males were exposed to two heatwave events 10 days apart, their offspring production was less than 1 per cent of the control group. Insects in nature are likely to experience multiple heatwave events, which could become a problem for population productivity if male reproduction cannot adapt or recover.”The research also shows that offspring sired by heatwaved dads – or their sperm – live shorter lives – by a couple of months.And the reproductive performance of sons produced by dads – or sperm – exposed to heatwave conditions was also impacted. Sons were found to be less able to fertilize a series of potential mates, and produced less offspring.The researchers warn that this could add extra pressure to populations already suffering through climate change over time.”Beetles are thought to constitute a quarter of biodiversity, so these results are very important for understanding how species react to climate change. Research has also shown that heat shock can damage male reproduction in warm blooded animals too, and past work has shown that this leads to infertility in mammals,” added Sales.The researchers hope that the effects can be incorporated into models predicting species vulnerability, and ultimately help inform societal understanding and conservation actions.last_img read more

Stand Up to Cancer supports potential approach to more efficiently target pancreatic

first_img Source:https://www.mdanderson.org/newsroom/2018/11/stand-up-to-cancer-funds-innovative-approach-to-pancreatic-cancer.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018Research on a new way of deploying the immune system against pancreatic cancer, an exceptionally lethal cancer that has so far resisted new immunotherapies, will receive $1 million in initial funding from Stand Up to Cancer.The project led by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine will collect T cells – the immune system’s targeted warriors — from tumors, expand their number by the billions and then customize them to resist being shut down by a common substance that’s abundantly produced in tumor tissue.Stand Up to Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation to encourage cancer research collaboration, and the American Association for Cancer Research on Tuesday announced funding of seven projects, the first under its Pancreatic Cancer Collective, a collaboration with the Lustgarten Foundation to accelerate research and improve patient outcomes for pancreatic cancer. Only about 8 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive to five years, according to the National Cancer Institute.”We’re encouraged by Stand Up to Cancer’s support for this potential approach to more efficiently target and overwhelm solid tumors with an immune response,” said project leader Patrick Hwu, M.D., head of MD Anderson’s Division of Cancer Medicine and chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology.Immune checkpoint blockade drugs that unleash T cells to attack cancer have demonstrated some success in more than a dozen cancers, but have not worked against pancreatic cancer. Hwu is a pioneer in the field of adoptive cell therapy using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) – a process of capturing T cells that have attacked a patient’s tumor, expanding them in the lab, and then re-infusing them in the patient by the billions.Billions of T cells, genetically fortified”We know pancreatic cancer is immunosuppressive and that very few T cells penetrate the tumor, so we hypothesize that checkpoint blockade doesn’t work because there are too few T cells,” said team co-leader Chantale Bernatchez, Ph.D., assistant professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology at MD Anderson.The team’s answer to this problem combines MD Anderson capabilities to massively expand the relatively few T cells found in pancreatic tumors with Baylor College of Medicine technology to insert a defective receptor for Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-Beta) on those T cells, allowing them to resist being deactivated by TGF-Beta secreted by the tumor and surrounding cells.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryCo-leader Cliona M. Rooney, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, professor of Hematology-Oncology and Cell and Gene Therapy, has developed the approach to insert a gene that expresses a truncated “decoy” receptor on the T cells that allows TGF-Beta to bind to the receptor, but not deactivate the T cell.Rooney, Hwu and Bernatchez have collaborated for several years to optimize this gene modification on TILs used to treat melanoma. The anti-tumor efficacy of these genetically modified T cells is currently tested in a clinical trial to treat metastatic melanoma patients whose disease resists checkpoint blockade, a patient population with poor prognosis.A durable response in a subset of these patients suggests that this strategy may work in tumor types not responsive to current immunotherapies, Bernatchez said.The SU2C funding will support preclinical proof-of-concept studies testing this approach to treat human pancreatic cancer in mouse models. Stand Up to Cancer, 14 months from now, will select several of the original seven projects to fund clinical trials of the most promising approaches.Bernatchez and her team demonstrated earlier this year that they could find enough T cells in human pancreatic tumors to cultivate them in a medium that includes interleukin-2 and two antibodies that stimulate T cell growth, creating the billions of T cells necessary to treat patients.”We found we could grow enough T cells to infuse back into patients 90 percent of the time,” Bernatchez said.MD Anderson has joined with Iovance Biotherapeutics to open a clinical trial of these first-generation, unmodified TILs for patients with pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer or osteosarcoma.TILs have been used in a longstanding clinical trial for advanced melanoma, with MD Anderson reporting that 42 percent of 74 patients in the clinical trial had their tumors shrink, and 20 percent have durable responses. While checkpoint blockade drugs have superseded TILs in melanoma, researchers believe TILs might work in other tumor types, such as pancreatic cancer, that resist checkpoint blockade.last_img read more

Researchers aim to develop a functional cure for HIV using therapeutic vaccines

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 30 2018EU-funded researchers are leading efforts to develop a functional cure for HIV using innovative therapeutic vaccines to halt the progression of the devastating virus, increase the availability and affordability of treatment, and improve patients’ quality of life.The approach, which has undergone promising proof-of-concept preclinical and clinical trials in the EU-funded IHIVARNA project and is being investigated further in the HIVACAR initiative – also funded by the EU – marks a significant advance in preventive and therapeutic efforts to tackle the HIV epidemic worldwide.‘The aim is to achieve a functional cure for HIV. No therapeutic vaccine or drug combination has achieved this goal. Therefore expectations are very high,’ says Felipe García, the coordinator of both projects at Spanish research institute IDIBAPS.A functional cure would mean the immunodeficiency virus goes into remission, infected cells cease to replicate and the patient’s viral load is maintained at undetectable levels, preventing the onset of AIDS and other co-occurring diseases.Although it would not eradicate HIV infection, an effective therapeutic vaccine would enable patients to live an almost normal life, less reliant on taking a daily cocktail of antiretroviral drugs in order to keep the disease under control. And while prevention measures would still be necessary, the risk of transmission to other people would be minimised, helping to halt the spread of HIV.Vaccines on trialIn the IHIVARNA project, the researchers made important progress toward achieving that goal, using rational design techniques to develop immunogens – proteins encoded with mRNA messenger molecules capable of eliciting an immune response to HIV-1, the most widespread form of the virus.Successful preclinical and toxicological tests enabled the team to obtain regulatory approval for a proof-of-concept candidate vaccine, leading to phase I and phase II clinical trials, including a first-in-human dose-escalating trial with HIV-infected individuals.‘Overall, the vaccine was safe and well tolerated. It was able to induce moderate HIV-specific immune responses in the phase I clinical trial. Additional results from the phase II clinical trial are being analysed,’ García says.Related StoriesHIV persists in spinal fluid even after long-term treatment and is linked to cognitive deficitsHIV therapy leaves unrepaired holes in the immune system’s wall of defenseStudy: HIV patients continue treatments if health care providers are compassionateIn the follow-up project HIVACAR, the researchers are planning to administer therapeutic vaccines customised for each patient, alongside a potent antibody able to neutralise the binding of the virus to infected cells and a latency reversing agent, a molecule capable of unmasking the virus.‘Using a computer-simulation-assisted drug-development technique, we have sequenced HIV-1 from four patients and have prepared four personalised vaccines that will initially be tested in animal models. Clinical trials will subsequently be conducted with a number of HIV patients in five hospitals in four European countries,’ García says. ‘The final objective is to be able to offer an alternative to current combined antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 infected patients, although as these are proof-of-concept trials more research and further studies will be needed to confirm the results.’Urgently seeking new strategiesA therapeutic vaccine capable of achieving a functional cure would have an enormous impact on the lives of HIV patients, who are currently reliant on taking regular doses of antiretroviral drugs for life in order to suppress the disease, often with significant side effects.Although combined life-long antiretroviral therapy (cART) has proven highly effective in preventing disease progression and death, it has a number of public health, economic and clinical limitations. Standard cART does not fully restore health or a normal immune status in HIV-infected individuals, and patients still experience co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, bone disorders and cognitive impairment.Moreover, access to treatment and the cost of the drugs is an impediment in many areas of the world, especially in developing countries which are home to a majority of the 37 million HIV patients globally. Despite improved awareness, prevention measures and more effective treatments, 2 million people still become infected with HIV worldwide each year.‘These factors underscore the urgent need for new preventive and therapeutic strategies to be developed and tested,’ García says.Source: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/printversion_en.cfm?id=/research/headlines/news/article_18_11_29-1_en.html?infocentre&item=Infocentre&artid=49807last_img read more

New mouse model shows potential for rapid identification of promising muscular dystrophy

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 13 2018A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has created a new mouse model of a common form of muscular dystrophy with the potential of rapidly distinguishing promising therapeutic drugs from those unlikely to be successful. In their report published in Nature Communications they also describe testing a novel antisense oligonucleotide drug – a synthetic nucleic acid strand that prevents transcription of a protein by binding to its mRNA molecule – that may more effectively block production of aberrant proteins.”This novel fluorescent model allows monitoring of therapeutic drug activity simply by using a camera to take pictures of living mice,” says Thurman Wheeler, MD, MGH Department of Neurology, senior author of the report. “By crossing an established mouse model of myotonic dystrophy type 1 with one that expresses either a red or green fluorescent protein in muscle, depending on the splicing of a target RNA sequence, we developed a model in which muscles appear mostly green before treatment and transition to mostly red after successful treatment.”The most common form of adult-onset muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy has two subtypes. Type 1 (DM1) affects RNA splicing, the process that removes non-coding segments from an RNA molecule and determines precisely which protein is produced. The DM1-associated mutation affects splicing of RNAs encoding several important proteins in skeletal muscles along with proteins involved in insulin metabolism and cardiac function. Determining with existing animal models whether potential DM1 therapies could correct this aberrant splicing requires molecular analysis of muscle tissue, which is expensive, time consuming and requires a large number of animals to test each new drug.Wheeler’s team adapted an existing fluorescent-protein-based system developed for cellular studies into one in which the proteins were expressed only in skeletal muscle tissue. In this “bi-transgenic” mouse model, muscle fibers affected by the aberrant RNA splicing of DM1 fluoresce green while those in which splicing is appropriate fluoresce red. The ratio between the red and green signals indicates whether or not a potential therapy is correcting aberrant splicing.Related Stories’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryThe investigators first tested their model using an existing antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) that targets the RNA-mediated disease process in DM1. They were surprised to observe an increase of the red/green ratio beginning as early as three days after the ASO was injected into the animals’ muscles, an increase that persisted for several weeks. Muscle tissue analysis 49 days after injection confirmed correction of the aberrant RNA splicing. Subcutaneous injection with another ASO known to correct RNA splicing defects in the original DM1 model produced a therapeutic effect, as indicated by the increased red/green ratio, as early as 14 days after the first of four injections, an effect that became more pronounced through the eighth dose on day 25.Because previous studies testing ASOs as potential DM1 therapies were limited by a lack of sufficient drug concentration in muscle tissue, the MGH-based team tested a technology called ligand-conjugated antisense (LICA), which enhances delivery of a subcutaneously injected ASO to muscles throughout the body. Their LICA ASO – the first to be tested as a potential DM1 treatment – demonstrated therapeutic activity twice as fast as the unconjugated version of the same ASO, indicating a two-fold greater potency of the LICA drug.”Our results support further development of LICA technology for the treatment of DM1. In addition to new ASOs, other treatment strategies such as small-molecule candidate drugs, siRNAs and protein-based therapies also could be tested using this model. Long term it would be ideal for testing gene-editing therapeutic approaches, as they become available,” says Wheeler, an assistant professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Faster identification of promising therapies and early rejection of failed candidates will help make effective treatments available to patients sooner and at lower developmental costs.”Source: https://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=2323last_img read more