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Prescription Medication Drop Box Installed at Quincy Police DepartmentWenatchee Valley Home Sales

first_imgA prescription medication drop box has been placed in front of the police department for about a month.  This drop box was provided free of charge by Rite Aid and KidCents, the Rite Aid Foundation’s charitable giving program.The Quincy Police Department is encouraging the public to use this free service to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription and non-prescription drugs that you may have at home.Accepted items include prescription and over-the-counter medications.Items that are NOT accepted: Illegal drugs, needles or other sharps, lotions or liquids, inhalers, aerosol cans, thermometers or hydrogen peroxide.last_img read more

Fungus turns frogs into sexy zombies

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A fungal disease that has killed amphibians worldwide may be spreading by making the mating calls of infected males more attractive to females. The finding—one of the first—to show that the pathogen can alter a species’s reproductive behavior could explain why frogs and related animals continue to disappear across the globe.“If true—that the fungus is manipulating individuals’ behaviors to facilitate its spread—then this is extraordinary,” says Michael Ryan, a herpetologist at the University of Texas, Austin, who was not involved in the study.The pathogenic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), causes chytridiomycosis (also known as chytrid fungus disease, which kills amphibians by destroying their skin, disrupting their immune systems, and causing heart failure). Scientists first recognized its lethal effects in the 1990s when numerous species of frogs in Australia and Central and South America experienced massive die-offs; a related fungus attacks salamanders. Bd has been blamed for the extinction of hundreds of amphibian species, and poses a threat to up to one-third of the world’s frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians. There is no cure, but some frog species infected with the fungus are able to survive for years, indicating that they’ve adapted to the disease. Indeed, a recent study showed that Bd has been evolving with amphibians for some 40,000 years, although some species have only recently encountered it. 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 Curiously, frogs infected with Bd become lethargic, Ryan notes. “Therefore one would expect the amount of calling to be lower in infected males. But this is not what the study found—and that’s very surprising.” It suggests, he adds, that Bd can act like a parasite and turn its host into a zombie.Those zombie males may be spreading Bd in the population by attracting more females that in turn become infected and then pass on to their offspring the males’ susceptibility to the disease, the study’s authors say. (They do not yet know the mechanism Bd uses to change the host’s behavior.) Or, the scientists point out, selection may be acting on the infected males, which because of their shortened lifespans, may be increasing their calls in order to reproduce earlier. Either way, the disease ends up enhancing an individual’s reproductive success while harming the population.And that means that “Bd has an impact on frog populations even when we don’t see outbreaks of chytridiomycosis,” says Cori Richards-Zawacki, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, who recently found that the disease causes male leopard frogs in the lab to up their reproductive efforts. Although it might seem that a species has adapted to Bd and shows no clinical signs of the disease, she says, “in reality it’s still stressed by the infection, which is likely to take a less dramatic but still important toll on the population over time.”Indeed, Waldman says that even if a species survives an initial die-off from the pathogen, it could still end up going extinct due to the disease’s “sublethal” effects. “Some of these populations that were hard hit are coming back, but slowly. Their populations are small, and that leaves them vulnerable to other random catastrophic events that might lead to extinction.” In which case, Bd would still have killed them off, just indirectly.The scientists looked at only one frog species—and only one of its life history stages, Waldman also notes. “It shows that Bd continues to be an enigma.” And a far greater challenge to understand and control. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The scientists analyzed the calls for such things as the number of pulses per note, the repetition rate of the pulses, the number of notes, and the call’s duration.Only nine of the frogs tested positive for Bd. These males were slightly larger than uninfected males (40.17 versus 39.24 mm), the team reports today in Biology Letters, and they exerted more effort when calling than their healthy counterparts, producing faster and longer calls—traits female frogs are known to prefer. (Listen to the call of a Bd-infected male, below.) center_img But even amphibian populations adapted to Bd continue to suffer and decline from its effects, says Bruce Waldman, a behavioral ecologist at Seoul National University and one of the authors of the new paper. “Some people think that amphibian populations are declining primarily due to catastrophic die-offs caused by Bd,” he says. “But the story is much more complicated than that.”To find out how Bd affects a frog species that appears to be tolerant of the pathogen, Waldman and his student Deuknam An (the study’s lead author, who died shortly after completing the study), studied Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) in the wild. This species, which is found in eastern and central Asia, the Koreas, and Japan, has not been reported dying en mass from Bd even though individuals get infected.An and Waldman studied the mating calls of 42 male Japanese tree frogs. They recorded the animals during their breeding season from June to mid-August 2011 in rice paddies in South Korea. The calls are composed of a train of pulsing notes. (Listen to a normal call, below.) 00:0000:0000:00 00:0000:0000:00 Emaillast_img read more

A young doctor fights to cure his own rare deadly disease

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country © April Saul Fajgenbaum spent his first weeks out of the hospital combing through thousands of pages of medical records stretching back to childhood, hunting for something, anything, that doctors might have missed. As his medical saga unfolded, he learned that his potential killer was a rare and vicious immune disorder—Castleman disease, which strikes about 5000 people in the United States each year—and knowledge about it was in depressingly short supply.Fajgenbaum abandoned plans to become an oncologist, skipped medical residency, and enrolled in business school instead—building a powerhouse network of hundreds of physicians, researchers, and drug company employees around the world to help him decipher Castleman. He co-authored papers with his doctor, wrote a case study about himself, proposed a new model of the disease, and currently coordinates a dozen Castleman studies from his small office at UPenn, where he is an assistant professor. His bare chest, pockmarked with blood moles that are a harbinger of a Castleman relapse, appeared on the cover of JAMA Dermatology in early 2013. It’s not exactly Mr. February, but Fajgenbaum is proud. Data: Courtesy of Dr. David Fajgenbaum; Adapted by G. Grullón Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) During his first semester in business school, Fajgenbaum, his physician Van Rhee, and a medical school friend, Christopher Nabel, wrote a paper for Blood that proposed the new model for his form of Castleman disease. The trio suggested that the lymph node effects were secondary, and that the disease was driven by some sort of systemic inflammatory disease mechanism, like certain gene mutations, or autoantibodies, or possibly a virus. (One virus, called HHV-8, is known to be behind a subset of MCD cases, but Fajgenbaum’s form is idiopathic.)Fajgenbaum was keenly aware that his own treatment matched the traditional model, in which IL-6–secreting tumors are the disease driver. He was still taking the IL-6 blocker that had failed him before, as well as some maintenance chemotherapy. As he readied the Blood paper for publication, the disease returned, and he came perilously close to death for a fifth time.The experience prodded him to overhaul his own treatment. Based on studies of his own blood and his rethinking of the disease, he wondered whether a drug suppressing activated T cells might work. His doctors agreed, and he became, to his knowledge, the only Castleman patient taking a particular immunosuppressant approved for other conditions.In a sense, each relapse had brought an epiphany—he needed Castleman experts, he needed to take on this disease himself. This time, “I was thinking to myself, I’ve spent every moment of every day, and it just wasn’t enough. … Maybe it’s that we need to make this bigger than Castleman disease, engage people outside” the field. He left the hospital 4 weeks later considering how to recruit more bright minds to the fight.Recruiting the best“I’m a cog in their machine,” says W. Ian Lipkin, a renowned microbe hunter who runs a 50-person lab at Columbia University. Lipkin was familiar with the viral form of Castleman disease. But he had no idea there were Castleman patients, like Fajgenbaum, without any obvious sign of that virus. Lipkin fits neatly into Fajgenbaum’s grand design: Identify the most pressing Castleman projects, then recruit the best person for each job.  Fajgenbaum connected hundreds of researchers through an online portal, crowdsourced for a list of possible Castleman studies, then prioritized them—a strategy inspired by a Wharton exercise in which all 800 first-year business students had to collectively come up with five approaches to combat climate change. The final tally included about 20 studies. One involved sifting through tissue samples from patients and looking for viruses, bacteria, or other nonhuman DNA or RNA that might trigger the disease. “Once we knew we wanted to do pathogen discovery, the first thing was an inventory” of every expert in the world, Fajgenbaum says. He and Nabel tapped immunologists, rheumatologists, and deans—“people who have a really good pulse.” Lipkin’s name rose to the top. Lipkin’s lab hums along with more than $4 million a year in federal funding. So the $57,000 CDCN could offer him was unlikely to be much of an incentive. But the young doctors had a connection. Chris Nabel’s father is Gary Nabel, an old friend of Lipkin’s and former head of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.“Gary called me in June of 2014 and asked whether or not I could help his son and some of his friends,” Lipkin says. “After I spoke with these kids, I got involved because they’re earnest and committed.” Lipkin asked for 25 frozen lymph nodes from 25 different patients, which seemed an easy request because everyone with Castleman gets a lymph node removed. Then Fajgenbaum and Nabel discovered that in more than 95% of cases, the lymph nodes are embedded in paraffin and kept at room temperature—not stashed in a freezer as Lipkin needed for analysis.The global network of researchers, which then numbered about 350, came through. Two physicians in Japan and another in Norway had some samples to offer. Eventually CDCN pulled together 34 samples for Lipkin. There followed material transfer agreements and more paperwork. It took 14 months from the time the lymph node hunt began until all the samples arrived at Columbia, for a study slated to last 3 months that should be complete any day now. “I think David is doing this in a very modern way,” says Alexander Fosså, a medical oncologist at Oslo University Hospital and the Norwegian who, to Fajgenbaum’s delight, had frozen samples. For Fosså, as for many other physicians, Castleman is “like a small niche” that he’s pursued since residency, when he struggled to treat his first patient. “When I do this as a hobby, I need to have some positive experience,” Fosså explains. “That’s what [Fajgenbaum] guarantees me—he’s fun talking to, he’s fun emailing with; that makes me smile.” Fosså holds that IL-6 is key to the disease, as evidenced by a clinical trial he was involved in, which led to the approval of an antibody drug, siltuximab, for Castleman in 2014. But he agrees it’s not the underlying cause. Studies to identify other mechanisms are moving forward, including genome sequencing of about 10 Castleman patients and their parents, and comparing levels of proteins during flares and remissions. In February, CDCN, UPenn, and a drug company inked an agreement to set up a patient registry; the cost and the company’s identity are still under wraps. The goal is to better understand the trajectory of Castleman, examine which treatments patients are taking, and identify those that might work. High on that list is Fajgenbaum’s own experimental treatment. Fajgenbaum has been on his immunosuppressant for 2.5 years now and remains healthy. The patient in him wants to “scream from the mountaintop,” telling everyone to try this treatment. The doctor in him is cautious and declines to even name it, for fear his good health is due to chance, not biology. If he remains relapse-free at 3 years—for another 6 months or so—then he plans to submit a case study describing his experience. “I need to be absolutely prudent,” Fajgenbaum says. He’s not just another Castleman patient. From his base at the University of Pennsylvania, David Fajgenbaum is trying to change the prospects for a dire disease—his own. 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 After the third time he nearly died but before the fourth, David Fajgenbaum embraced a new motto: Think it, do it. “I got out of the hospital with this profound sense of, you need to make the most of every second,” he says. A former college football player with close-cropped dark hair and a firm handshake, Fajgenbaum, 31, is the picture of youthful vigor now. But that belies a frightening reality. Tomorrow the symptoms with which he’s all too familiar could return, sending him to the intensive care unit (ICU) with every organ failing. Fajgenbaum was in his third year of medical school 6 years ago, on an obstetrics-gynecology (OB-GYN) rotation, when he was first hit by night sweats, fatigue, and weight loss. “I didn’t know what it was, but I knew something was terribly wrong,” he says. As his health deteriorated, he gritted his teeth and kept on delivering babies. After sitting through his OB-GYN exam, he stumbled a few blocks to the emergency room at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). “They ran some bloodwork and they said, ‘Dave, your liver, your kidneys, and your bone marrow are not working, what’s going on?’” Fajgenbaum was hospitalized straight away. A retinal hemorrhage causing temporary blindness, along with fading organ function, landed him in the ICU. There he remained, without a diagnosis, for nearly 7 weeks. Eventually Fajgenbaum recovered, and his baffled doctors “kept saying, ‘Let’s just hope it doesn’t come back.’ We had no idea what it was.” He acknowledges that he might die before completing his quest to understand and cure his affliction. “If this does come back and I don’t survive that episode, [I] would be sad … that I won’t be with my family and friends,” he says evenly. But “I’m literally doing everything humanly possible” to save myself and many others. And somewhat to his surprise, he’s crazy about his work. “I’m enjoying this battle,” he says. “I’m enjoying the chase after the unknown.”A dire diagnosisA Boston pathologist first described Castleman disease in 1954. Benjamin Castleman was mystified by a 40-year-old executive with fever and weakness who had an unusual mass in his chest. Doctors initially suspected cancer or another disorder, but the mass, when surgically removed, turned out to be something else al-​together—what would later become known as unicentric, or localized, Castleman disease.The disease was considered a sort of “prelymphoma” with autoimmune features, in which cells in lymph nodes proliferate and attack various tissues. Over time, doctors pinpointed an immune-system messenger called interleukin-6 (IL-6) as key. They came to believe that Castleman flares when lymph nodes secrete excessive IL-6, setting off a massive inflammatory reaction, either locally or throughout the body. Fajgenbaum was diagnosed with the disorder’s most dangerous subtype, idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (MCD), during his second bout of flulike symptoms and organ failure, which hit while he was still recovering from the first at his family’s home in Raleigh. A lymph node biopsy revealed the typical Castleman mix of atrophy and enlargement in different parts of the node, along with blood vessel overgrowth. Physicians turned to their usual rescue for critically ill Castleman patients: aggressive chemotherapy, intended to wipe out the immune cells that were attacking healthy tissue.Despite treatment, Fajgenbaum languished, and doctors told his Catholic family that he would not survive. A priest was called to offer last rites. It was November 2010, and Fajgenbaum was 25 years old.Two days later, his body began to right itself. In an effort to safeguard his health, he decided to travel west to seek counsel from a world expert in Castleman disease, Frits van Rhee at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. During that visit his symptoms returned. This time he was hit with seven chemotherapy drugs. Another brush with death was followed by slow recovery. Despite spending 4.5 of the previous 6 months hospitalized, Fajgenbaum was feeling more upbeat. “I just trusted that the medical system was going to figure this out,” he says. The research papers he’d skimmed were reassuring. “People were speaking very dogmatically about how the disease works. I just assumed that if this is in the medical literature, this is the case.”His optimism turned out to be misplaced. Fifteen months later, the familiar symptoms returned, and Fajgenbaum settled into a Little Rock hospital room for another extended stay and more chemotherapy. And now he began taking matters into his own hands, pressing Van Rhee for answers. Which immune cells were behind this? Which pathway? Why wasn’t treatment working? What was the contingency plan?Van Rhee was unable to comment on this story before Science went to press. But Fajgenbaum recalls that his doctor’s answer was not comforting. “He said, ‘Dave, we’ve tried everything on you and you’re not responding to anything. What do you think we should do?’” At that point, “it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Fajgenbaum says. “I really realized how far away we were from the goal line.”With his fiancée and two older sisters camped out next to him, Fajgenbaum made a promise: He would spend the rest of his life, however much remained, “trying to take this thing down.” The same seven-drug chemo cocktail saved him, and on 2 June 2012 he left the hospital. “I don’t think I’ve stopped sprinting since,” he says.At first, Fajgenbaum had to figure out in which direction to run. Guidance came from another young man, Josh Sommer, now 28 years old, who was diagnosed as a freshman at Duke University with chordoma, a rare bone cancer that often appears in the skull and spine. Sommer later dropped out of college to form the Chordoma Foundation in Durham, North Carolina, which he’s headed ever since.I got out of the hospital with this profound sense of, you need to make the most of every second.David Fajgenbaum, University of PennsylvaniaThe two connected through a mutual friend in 2012 and met at a Raleigh coffee shop. Sommer had a message for Fajgenbaum: Every rare disease needs a quarterback, someone to marshal the team, harness the resources, and lay out a game plan. “People have to put their faith in this person,” Sommer says, to drive a sometimes rickety research train toward a clear destination. “I said, ‘Look … this disease needs you and you can make a huge impact,’” Sommer recalls. To garner respect among scientists, Fajgengaum would have to become literate in the disease—“a peer,” Sommer told him. The two talked for hours. Meanwhile, Fajgenbaum’s initial hopefulness about his prognosis continued to fade. One trigger was his senior project for medical school, which began with a literature review of Castleman publications. There was one mystery about his own case: Upon his most recent relapse, he was already taking a drug that blocks IL-6, which was then experimental and has since become the only approved treatment for MCD. But if IL-6 causes the disease to flare, and Fajgenbaum had none, how could Castleman come back? The papers deepened his confusion. Fajgenbaum came to believe that the accepted model—Castleman is caused by tumors secreting IL-6, which sends the immune system into overdrive—was unsupported by actual data.One day, as he continued his senior project detective work, Fajgenbaum noticed something odd as he pored over images of lymph nodes from patients with autoimmune diseases, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. “They had almost identical lymph node features” to Castleman, he says. “It was so peculiar.” In Castleman, the lymph node abnormalities are considered drivers of the disease; in lupus, they are a reaction or side effect. Could it be, he wondered, that as in lupus, enlarged lymph nodes are an outcome of the disease, rather than its cause?Fajgenbaum needed the medical community’s help. He scoured the PubMed database to find every researcher who had published on Castleman, and wrote more than 400 personal emails, inviting them to a meeting he was organizing at that December’s American Society of Hematology conference in Atlanta. To his surprise, many seemed unaware of each other and their work.One of those who said yes was Jean-FranÇois Rossi, a hematologist at Saint-Eloi Hospital in Montpellier, France. Castleman scientists “are from different origins,” Rossi explains, spanning hematology, multiple myeloma, lymphomas, and other specialties. Rossi was curious to learn more and eager to meet with other experts. In Atlanta, 27 Castleman experts gathered in a conference room in the convention center, with another five dialing in over the phone. Fajgenbaum, an unknown medical student 6 months from graduation, ran the event. There were disagreements about disease terminology, about which cells were worth studying. “It became so clear there was no consensus,” says Fajgenbaum, who delicately calls the gathering “revealing.”The challenges, Fajgenbaum came to believe, weren’t rooted in science so much as business. “There was no overarching strategy,” he says, no 5-year road map of the kind corporations embrace. He concluded that to tackle Castleman he needed to pursue an MBA, and successfully applied to one of the world’s best programs, at the nearby Wharton School at UPenn.Well-suited résumé“I remember when he came to interview,” says June Kinney, who teaches health care management at Wharton. “He looked very vigorous and healthy. … How could he look so healthy and have this shadow hanging over him?”Kinney was impressed not only by Fajgenbaum’s current plans but by a tragedy-fueled achievement in his past. When Fajgenbaum was 19, his mother had died of brain cancer. Devastated and isolated, he launched an organization for grieving college students called AMF—which then stood for Ailing Mothers and Fathers, and also his mother’s initials, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum. Since renamed Actively Moving Forward, AMF now has 55 chapters at colleges around the country. Fajgenbaum continued to head the sprawling organization through medical school. This year, he co-authored a book, We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young Adults, a collection of 33 personal narratives.Launching and running the nonprofit “was the ultimate training ground” for overhauling the Castleman world, he says. Kinney agreed. “I don’t get very many people that come in and have that kind of accomplishment at that stage,” she says. “Obviously there’s a lot of innate talent there in terms of motivating and inspiring people to build an organization.”At Wharton, Fajgenbaum shoehorned his class commitments around his sequel to AMF: the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN). He also drew on class lessons on, for instance,  negotiation strategies, the economics of drug development, decision-making, and management. Networking the globeReaching across national borders, the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network is linking up doctors and researchers, including some who haven’t worked in the disease before.last_img read more

Piranhalike teeth and torn fins reveal ancient fish fight

first_img By Gretchen VogelOct. 18, 2018 , 11:00 AM Piranhalike teeth and torn fins reveal ancient fish fight The Jura-Museum, Eischstatt, Germany Email This 150-million-year-old fish (seen as an artist’s illustration) wasn’t named after the piranha for nothing. It apparently used its long, dagger-shaped teeth to slice into other fish, according to a new study, as evinced by the slashed tailfins of some victims found nearby.Researchers first discovered the animal—christened Piranhamesodon pinnatomus (pinnatomus means “fin cutter”)—in 2016 in the same southern German limestone deposits as the famous feathered dinosaur Archaeopteryx. Most other fish in the shallow sea where P. pinnatomus lived had teeth adapted for crushing, not biting or tearing. (Their stomach contents suggest they ate hard-shelled prey such as clams and sea urchins.)The scientists think P. pinnatomus might have used “aggressive mimicry” the way modern-day piranhas do—even though they belong to a different branch of the fish family tree. Piranhas today resemble their more peaceable relatives, allowing them to get close enough to unsuspecting prey that they can tear off a fin. (The attack doesn’t kill the prey, and fins can regrow.) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) P. pinnatomus, too, resembles other fish found nearby—except for those teeth. The fossil is the oldest bony fish known that would have been able to cut flesh out of larger prey, the team reports today in Current Biology. The researchers say it’s a striking example of evolution inventing some of the same tricks twice.last_img read more

Updated Chronic fatigue syndrome scientist fired after conduct complaints Stanford says

first_imgJose Montoya had been at Stanford University’s School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, for nearly 30 years. Updated: Chronic fatigue syndrome scientist fired after conduct complaints, Stanford says Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Meredith WadmanJun. 4, 2019 , 5:20 PM *Updated, 7 June, 2:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with a statement from Jose Montoya and other information regarding the nature of the complaints against him. The University has robust policies providing for the fair and respectful treatment of employees, including the School of Medicine’s Statement on the Respectful Workplace, the University’s Code of Conduct, and related policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination. When conduct in violation of any of these policies occurs, the University will act to stop the conduct. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) After the first report of Montoya’s firing, The Stanford Daily on 4 June published a second story, reporting on an anonymous statement it said came from a group of women affected by Montoya’s actions. It said that the complaints involved “extensive allegations of sexual misconduct, assault and harassment.”center_img In a 5 June statement released by Montoya’s lawyer, the researcher issued a broad—if vague—apology, saying, in part, “I sincerely apologize to anyone who, in any way, I offended. What has unfolded since March has been a huge surprise and devastating to me and my family. It was even more shattering to learn, through the June 4 Stanford Daily article, that it was members of my Stanford ME/CFS team who experienced some of my behaviors as attempts at unsolicited sexual acts, harassment, and misconduct. It is extremely important that you know I have not been involved in any sexual or romantic relationships with employees, trainees, colleagues, or CFS team members.”On Twitter, some members of the CFS community, who also call the disease myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), voiced dismay. Journalist Hillary Johnson, who wrote a book on the puzzling condition, tweeted that Montoya is “A brilliant MD who singlehandedly turned Stanford around on ME years ago, who believed the FIRST patient he ever saw—at a time when powers at Stanford had decreed ME patients could not even be seen there.”Originally from Colombia, Montoya has directed the Toxoplasma Serology Laboratory at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation since 2008, according to his Stanford faculty profile. He has published dozens of articles on Toxoplasma gondii, the infectious parasite that is passed by contaminated food and water and damages fetuses. He has received multiple awards for teaching excellence.In his statement, Montoya suggests that his background may have led to the complaints, saying “The social norms in the U.S. are evolving and quite different than those from my culture and homeland. I did not sufficiently appreciate that difference. It is my responsibility to change and be both mindful and respectful of the boundaries of personal space – and I pledge to do just that.”Stanford did not specify what conduct led to its action. But the medical school’s statement went on to say:Stanford did not specify what conduct led to its action. But the medical school’s statement went on to say: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The School of Medicine has made the decision to terminate Dr. Montoya’s employment with the University. Upon receipt of complaints relating to his conduct, we promptly initiated an investigation led by an outside attorney and Stanford faculty member that found multiple violations of the University’s conduct policies. We believe that this is the appropriate course of action for the Stanford University community based on these findings. We note that Dr. Montoya has the right to appeal this decision. We are not commenting further on this matter out of respect for the privacy of all individuals involved. Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, has fired a prominent researcher who studies the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis as well as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).The school fired Jose Montoya on 30 May, citing unspecified behavioral violations, The Stanford Daily first reported.A Stanford spokesperson provided ScienceInsider with this statement: Emaillast_img read more

Podcast possible potato improvements and a pill that gives you a jab

first_img Because of its genetic complexity, the potato didn’t undergo a “green revolution” like other staple crops. It can take more than 15 years to breed a new kind of potato that farmers can grow, and genetic engineering just won’t work for tackling complex traits such as increased yield or heat resistance. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Erik Stokstad about how researchers are trying to simplify the potato genome to make it easier to manipulate through breeding.Researchers and companies are racing to perfect an injector pill—a pill that you swallow, which then uses a tiny needle to shoot medicine into the body. Such an approach could help improve compliance for injected medications like insulin. Host Meagan Cantwell and Staff Writer Robert F. Service discuss a new kind of pill—one that flips itself over once it hits the bottom of the stomach and injects a dose of medication into the stomach lining.This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.Download the transcript (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.About the Science Podcast[Image: Michael Eric Nickel/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Michael Eric Nickel/Flickr last_img read more

RomanEra Mega Villa Bigger than the Taj Mahal Discovered in England

first_imgThe remains of a huge Roman villa dated to 99 AD have been discovered in Oxfordshire, the second largest Roman villa that has ever been found in England. Archaeologists excavated the remains of the historic building, which is believed to be bigger than the mausoleum at the Taj Mahal, as part of a four-month-long excavation project. The foundation measures 278 feet by 278 feet. The findings so far include coins and boar tusks alongside a sarcophagus that contains the skeletal remains of an unnamed woman.Oxfordshire, UK. Photo by Oxfordmale CC BY-SA 4.0“Amateur detectorist and historian Keith Westcott discovered the ancient remains beneath a crop in a field near Broughton Castle near Banbury,” according to HisTech.Westcott, 55, decided to investigate the site after hearing that a local farmer, John Taylor, had plowed his tractor into a large stone in 1963. Taylor said he saw a hole had been made in the stone and when he reached inside, he pulled out a human bone.Broughton Castle. Photo by David Stowell CC BY-SA 2.0This was the woman’s body — experts believe she died in the 3rd century. The land previously belonged to Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, the parents of Martin Fiennes, who now owns the land.The Daily Mail reports that Martin Fiennes “works as a principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation and is second cousin of British explorer Ranulph Fiennes and third cousin of actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.”Excavation siteAccording to the Daily Mail, Westcott had a “eureka moment” when he found “a 1,800 year-old tile from a hypocaust system, which was an early form of central heating used in high-status Roman buildings.”Using X-ray technology such as magnetometry, the walls, room outlines, ditches, and other infrastructures were revealed. The villa’s accommodation would have included a bath-house with a domed roof, mosaics, a grand dining room, and kitchens. The largest Roman villa previously found in England is the Fishbourne Palace in West Sussex, which dates back to 75 AD.Archaeological excavationThe palace at Fishbourne was one of the most noteworthy structures in Roman Britain. Only discovered in the 1960s, the site has been extensively excavated, revealing that it was originally a military site. Lying close to the sea, Fishbourne was ideal as a depot to support Roman campaigns in the area.Built on four sides around a central garden, the site covered about two hectares, which is the size of two soccer fields. The building itself had about 100 rooms, many with mosaics. The best known mosaic is the Cupid on a Dolphin. Some of the red stones are made from pieces of red gloss pottery, most likely imported from Gaul.Roman conquest of Britain. Photo by Uk topo en.jpg CC BY-SA 4.0The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD, during the reign of Claudius. For the Claudian invasion, an army of 40,000 professional soldiers — half citizen-legionaries, half auxiliaries recruited on the wilder fringes of the empire — were landed in Britain under the command of Aulus Plautius.Archaeologists debate where they landed. It could have been Richborough in Kent, Chichester in Sussex, or perhaps both. Somewhere, perhaps on the River Medway, they fought a great battle and defeated the Catuvellauni, the tribe that dominated the southeast.By the middle of 3rd century AD, however, the boom was over, and the focus was defense. Walls were built around the towns, transforming them into fortresses. Inside the complexes, a slow decline began. Public buildings were boarded up and old mansions crumbled.Read another story from us: Ship which Sank in 1995 Found off California Coast – 3D Model MadeBy about 425 AD at the latest, Britain had ceased to be in any sense Roman. Towns and villas had been abandoned, and barter had replaced money.last_img read more

Odisha HC raps state govt for not sharing info on custodial deaths

first_img Medical college graft case: Former Odisha HC judge moves court for probe into leakage of tapes Related News odisha high court, odisha government, police custodial deaths, RTI inquiry custodial deaths, naveen patnaik, india news In 2007, RTI activist Biswapriya Kanungo had requested information on custodial deaths from January 1989 to December 2006.The Odisha High Court has rapped the government for praying for relief against sharing details of police custodial deaths – requested under an RTI application – even after a direction from the State Information Commission. Advertising Despite SC order, Odisha lawyers continue strike No signs of thaw in Odisha judicial crisis, courts idle for over 60 days As per the 2016 report of the National Crime Records Bureau, there were a total of 92 deaths in police custody/lockup across the country, though activists say custodial deaths are underreported. Odisha had reported zero custodial deaths, while Maharasthra had reported the highest, at 16.In 2007, RTI activist Biswapriya Kanungo had requested information on custodial deaths from January 1989 to December 2006. According to Kanungo, Odisha Police had rejected the RTI application, citing exemption for the Crime Branch, which compiles data on custodial deaths. “I approached the State Information Commission and they directed release of the information. However, the state government went to court on the matter,” he said.Dismissing a writ petition filed by the state government to set aside the direction of the SIC, the HC, in an order passed on Monday but published on Wednesday, directed compliance on the matter within three weeks.Kanungo and other activists say the Court’s decision will hopefully overcome a 12-year-long resistance from the state government to share information. Written by Sampad Patnaik | Bhubaneswar | Published: July 5, 2019 3:41:03 am 0 Comment(s)last_img read more

Swine fever toll in China may be twice as high as reported

first_imgLosses are not only from infected pigs dying or being culled, but also farmers sending pigs to market early when the disease is discovered nearby, farmers and industry insiders have told Reuters, which analysts say has kept a lid on pork prices in recent months.However, prices began rising substantially this month and China’s agricultural ministry has said they could surge by 70 percent in coming months as a result of the outbreak. Pork accounts for more than 60% of Chinese meat consumption.China, which produces half the world’s pork, said this month its sow herd declined by a record 23.9% in May from a year earlier, a slightly deeper drop than for the overall pig herd.Sows, or adult females bred to produce piglets for slaughter, account for roughly one in 10 pigs in China. A decline in the sow herd usually equates to a similar drop in pork output, industry experts say. More Explained By Reuters |Beijing | Updated: June 30, 2019 9:39:29 am Related News China GDP growth slows to 6.2% in second quarter Trump says ‘will take a look’ at accusations over Google, China Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Post Comment(s) Advertising Prosperous China says ‘men preferred’ and women lose “I dare not raise pigs,” she said. “You can’t see the virus with your eyes. The virus is still here, there is virus in the pigsty.” Best Of Express The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs did not respond to a fax seeking comment on claims of much higher losses than officially reported. It said on June 24 the disease has been “effectively controlled”, state news agency Xinhua reported.Dutch agricultural lender Rabobank said in April that pork production losses from China’s African swine fever outbreak could reach 35%. It is revising that number higher to account for widespread slaughtering in recent months, Pan Chenjun, senior analyst, told Reuters.Unreported outbreaksAfrican swine fever, for which there is no cure and no vaccine, kills almost all infected pigs, though it does not harm people. Since China’s first reported case last August – the virus is similar to the strain found in recent years in Russia, Georgia and Estonia – it has spread to every province and beyond China’s borders, despite measures taken by Beijing to curb its advance.The government has reported 137 outbreaks so far, but many more are going unreported, most recently in southern provinces such as Guangdong, Guangxi and Hunan, according to four farmers and an official recently interviewed by Reuters. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Taking stock of monsoon rain Advertising While other estimates are more conservative, the plunge in the number of sows is poised to leave a large hole in the supply of the country’s favourite meat, pushing up food prices and devastating livelihoods in a rural economy that includes 40 million pig farmers.“Something like 50% of sows are dead,” said Edgar Wayne Johnson, a veterinarian who has spent 14 years in China and founded Enable Agricultural Technology Consulting, a Beijing-based farm services firm with clients across the country.Three other executives at producers of vaccines, feed additives and genetics also estimate losses of 40% to 50%, based on falling sales for their companies’ products and direct knowledge of the extent of the deadly disease on farms across the country. The vast and fragmented nature of China’s agricultural sector, a secretive bureaucracy and what is widely believed among industry experts to be poor Chinese data quality, makes the full extent of the disease impossible to ascertain.“Almost all the pigs here have died,” said a farmer in Bobai county in China’s southwestern Guangxi region. Guangxi produced more than 33 million pigs in 2017, and is a key supplier to southern China.“We were not allowed to report the pig disease,” she told Reuters, declining to reveal her name because of the sensitivity of the issue, adding that authorities have detained farmers for “spreading rumours” about the disease. Reuters was unable to verify this.Authorities in Yulin city, which oversees Bobai county, confirmed an outbreak of the disease in one pig on May 27. It was only the second to be reported in the region after a case in the city of Beihai on Feb. 19.The agriculture and rural affairs bureau of Guangxi region did not respond to a fax seeking comment.Reuters also spoke to farmers in the cities of Zhongshan, Foshan and Maoming in neighbouring Guangdong province, all of whom had lost hundreds or thousands of pigs to the disease in the last three months. No outbreaks have been officially reported in those cities. None of the farmers agreed to be identified.The agriculture bureaus of Guangdong and Hunan provinces did not respond to faxes seeking comment.Like ‘an oil slick’China had 375 million pigs at the end of March, 10% fewer than at the same time a year ago, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). It had 38 million sows, a decline of 11% on the year, the NBS said.Numerous suppliers to the industry have said they believe the actual decline is much worse.Dick Hordijk, chief executive at Dutch co-operative Royal Agrifirm, told Dutch radio station BNR last month that his firm’s profits in China would be wiped out by the disease, which was spreading like “an oil slick”.“One hundred percent of our business was focussed on pigs, half of it is now gone,” he said. “That’s a disaster for the farmers and the animals.”The company produces premixes, or blends of vitamins and other nutrients, in two factories in China, and sells them to around 100 large pig farmers in China for use in feed.Stephan Lange, vice president for animal health in China at privately owned pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim, which makes vaccines, and Johnson, the Beijing-based veterinarian, said losses had been higher than 50% in pockets of the country.Major livestock producing provinces including Hebei, Henan and Shandong are believed by some in the industry to have been especially hard-hit.Big producers, empty farmsIn Shandong, the fourth largest pig-raising province in China, more than half of farms with large numbers of sows were now empty, Johnson estimated, based on his conversations with farmers and larger pig producers.The virus is so widespread that he has detected it on the surface of a highway in the province, where it can be spread by passing trucks, he added. He used the same test that is widely used to detect the virus in pigs.Shandong’s agriculture bureau did not respond to a fax seeking comment on the issue. Authorities there previously said the sow herd shrank by 41 percent in the seven months to February 2019, even after only reporting one outbreak.Henan said in a statement to Reuters it has only had two outbreaks of the disease. Its sow herd fell 16.5% in the first quarter, due to various factors including market prices and African swine fever, it said, without giving further details.In Hebei too, the northern province surrounding Beijing, many counties have few sows left, said Johnson, who saw his first case of the disease there in October.Hebei has only reported one outbreak – in February this year – but an agriculture ministry survey published online said the sow herd fell by 32% in the first quarter.Hebei province told Reuters in a statement the African swine fever situation was “stable” and disputed the assertion that there were few sows left in many counties.‘I dare not raise pigs’Beijing has repeatedly called for farmers to restock, but putting new sows on to a farm that has been infected with African swine fever is risky, say experts.The virus can survive for weeks outside a host, potentially living on in a farm that has not been thoroughly disinfected.Lange said a few of his customers have started restocking empty farms, but for some the disease returned.“There’s still a lot of insecurity obviously. If you get reinfected again, that’s really a lot of money you’re losing,” he said.The Bobai farmer, who now has no way of paying off her debts, said she has no intention of restarting her farm, even if she could afford to. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan swine flu, swine flu in china, china swine flu, swine flu outbreak in china, china swine flu outbreak, world news Losses are not only from infected pigs dying or being culled, but also farmers sending pigs to market early when the disease is discovered nearby. (File)As many as half of China’s breeding pigs have either died from African swine fever or been slaughtered because of the spreading disease, twice as many as officially acknowledged, according to the estimates of four people who supply large farms. Advertisinglast_img read more

Trump blasts Bitcoin Facebooks Libra demands they face banking regulations

first_img Advertising Related News Advertising Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Post Comment(s) US mulls increasing merit-based immigration to 57% donald trump, us, united states, donald trump us, us president trump, trump, bitcoin, facebook, crytocurrency, libra digital coin, paypal, jpmorgan, digital currency, twitter, google, white house, money laundering, terrorist financing, internet, world news, indian express news Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020. (Representational Image)US President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized Bitcoin, Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to US and global regulations if they wanted to “become a bank.” Facebook, the White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.Bitcoin, the best-known digital coin, was created in 2008 as an alternative to currencies controlled by governments and banks, but crypto trading and digital currencies remain largely unsupervised. The market has also faced allegations of money laundering and terrorist financing.Trump’s series of tweets on cryptocurrency also come on the heels of an event at the White House where the president criticized large technology companies that he said treated conservative voices unfairly.The Internet Association, a trade group representing major tech firms like Facebook, Twitter and Google, said: “Internet companies are not biased against any political ideology, and conservative voices in particular have used social media to great effect.” Trump says ‘will take a look’ at accusations over Google, China center_img By Reuters |Washington | Published: July 12, 2019 10:22:20 am “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump wrote on Twitter.“If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International,” he added.Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020. Facebook and 28 partners, including Mastercard Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc and Uber Technologies Inc, would form the Libra Association to govern the new coin. No banks are currently part of the group. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Best Of Express US House votes to set aside impeachment resolution against Trump JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank by assets, plans to launch its own digital coins.Trump’s comments come one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook’s plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.Powell said the Fed had established a working group to follow the project and was coordinating with other countries’ central banks, several of which have also expressed concern about Facebook’s digital currency project.The US Financial Stability Oversight Council, a panel of regulators that identifies risks to the financial system, is also expected to conduct a review.last_img read more

Will give free safety kits to sanitation workers in Delhi announces CM

first_imgBy PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 15, 2019 3:41:50 pm CM, Sisodia granted bail in case of defamation Related News Delhi RTR flyover: Your route to airport just got smoother Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia granted bail in defamation case filed by BJP’s Vijender Gupta Advertising “Earlier, there were only 50 percent sewer lines in Delhi and in our tenure, it has gone up to 80 percent,” the chief minister claimed.Kejriwal also spoke about the work done by his government on potable water supply in the city.“In the last 70 years, only 58 percent colonies in Delhi had the facility of potable water supply lines but we have increased it to 93 per cent and in the next one year, every colony would have it,” he said. Speaking at a workshop organised by the Delhi Jal Board at Talkatora Stadium, he said it feels dejected to hear about the deaths of sanitation workers.“We are concerned about the lives of sanitation workers and will give free safety kits to those working in Delhi so that no mishaps happen,” Kejriwal said.Around 4,000 workers joined the workshop.“We have organised a one-day workshop to enhance the skills of sanitation workers and make them aware about the use of safety kits. There are around 12,000 sanitation workers with DJB and around 4,000 joined the workshop,” said Vice Chairman of DJB Dinesh Mohaniya. Advertising Arvind Kejriwal, safety kits for sanitation workers, sanitation workers, sanitation workers death, sanitation worker in delhi, Indian Express news, Latest news “We are concerned about the lives of sanitation workers and will give free safety kits to those working in Delhi so that no mishaps happen,” Kejriwal said. (File photo)Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said his government will give free safety kits to sanitation workers in the national capital. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Over 900 children reported ill in last three years after consuming midday

first_img Advertising Advertising mid-day meals, mid-day meal in schools, students mid-day meal, government schools, literacy mid-day meal, mhrd, indian express The Midday Meal scheme comes under the HRD Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy. (File photo)More than 900 children were reported ill and none of them died after consuming mid-day meals across the country in last three years, according to HRD Ministry officials. Mothers to be quality controllers in mid-day meal scheme in Goa By PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 14, 2019 4:11:25 pm Related News Those compromising with children’s nutrition must be hit with shoes: Madhya Pradesh minister The ministry had received 35 complaints from 15 states and Union Territories regarding substandard food quality during the same period.“A total number of 930 children were reported ill and none of them died after eating such food in the country during the last three years and current year. The overall responsibility for providing cooked and nutritious mid-day meal to eligible children lies with state governments,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.The Midday Meal scheme comes under the HRD Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy. Mid-day meals: 37 samples below mark Respective state governments were requested to furnish action taken reports (ATRs) in the matter, he said.“As per the reports received, action such as issuing warning against the official responsible, terminating the contract of concerned NGOs and organisations, initiating criminal proceedings and imposing penalties against the defaulting persons,” the official said.The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has also issued guidelines on quality, safety and hygiene in school-level kitchens to all the states and the UTs.“The guidelines also provide instructions to schools to procure AGMARK quality and branded items for preparation of mid-day meals, tasting of meals by 2-3 adult members of school management committees, including at least one teacher before serving to children,” the official said. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Trumps blocking of Twitter critics unconstitutional US appeals court

first_imgBy Reuters |New York/washington | Published: July 10, 2019 10:08:21 am donald trump, donald trump twitter followers, donald trump blocks people on twitter, twitter, US news US President Donald Trump.U.S. President Donald Trump violated the Constitution by blocking people whose views he disliked from his Twitter account, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. Advertising Donald Trump and Democrats clash over President’s ‘racist’ tweets More Explained Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Tuesday’s decision upheld a May 2018 ruling by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan, which prompted Trump to unblock some accounts.The Justice Department had called her ruling “fundamentally misconceived,” saying Trump used Twitter to express his views, not to offer a public forum for discussion.Parker, however, said Trump’s account bears “all the trappings of an official, state-run account” and is “one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business.”He said Trump and his aides have characterized the president’s tweets as official statements, and that even the National Archives considers them official records. They’re not afraid Related News Post Comment(s) In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the First Amendment forbids Trump from using Twitter’s “blocking” function to limit access to his account, which has 61.8 million followers.“The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” wrote Circuit Judge Barrington Parker, citing several Supreme Court decisions.Kelly Laco, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice, which argued the appeal, said: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision and are exploring possible next steps.” Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Advertising NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Parker also found it ironic that Trump censored speech at a time the conduct of the U.S. government and its officials is subject to intense, passionate and wide-open debate.“This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing,” he wrote. “We remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.” Explained: Trump’s immigrant policy; what the ICE planned, and why Best Of Express The White House declined to comment. White House social media director Dan Scavino was also a defendant. Twitter declined to comment.Trump has made his @RealDonaldTrump account, which he opened in 2009, a central and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda and to attack critics.His blocking of critics was challenged by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as seven Twitter users he had blocked.“The decision will help ensure the integrity and vitality of digital spaces that are increasingly important to our democracy,” said Jameel Jaffer, Knight’s executive director. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Advertising The case is Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University et al v Trump et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-1691.last_img read more

£500000 grant could pave way for new antibiotic to battle against drugresistant

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 14 2018A new antibiotic hailed as the “last line of defense” in the battle against drug-resistant superbugs such as MSRA and VRE is taking the next step in development thanks to a UK Government grant of almost £500,000.Over the next year scientists will develop a catalogue of simplified synthetic versions of a naturally-occurring antibiotic called teixobactin – dubbed a “game changer” when it was discovered in 2015 due to its ability to kill drug-resistant pathogens – by replacing key amino acids at specific points in the antibiotic’s structure to make it easier to recreate.The creation of an arsenal of new synthetic teixobactin molecules is a vital step in drug development due to a high failure rate when scientists only have a limited number of molecules to work with, and will form one of the key stages of the new research project.The team of chemists, biologists and clinicians which will use teixobactin as a building block is led by Dr Ishwar Singh at the University of Lincoln, UK, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool.The £484,000 grant from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will involve a ‘proof of concept’ trial in test subjects, which if successful, could potentially be used in hospitals as an investigational new medicine and be turned into a drug fit for human use.Dr Singh, an expert in biological chemistry and specialist in novel drug design and development at the University of Lincoln’s School of Pharmacy, said: “We know that the therapeutic potential of simplified synthetic teixobactin is immense, and our ultimate goal is to have a number of viable drugs from our synthetic teixobactin platform which can be used as a last line of defense against superbugs in hospitals.”So far we have demonstrated that we can make synthetic versions which are as potent at treating drug-resistant pathogens as the real thing, but we now need to expand our catalog of synthetic teixobactin as a precursor to production on a commercial scale. In drug development, there is a very high failure rate and pinning all hopes on one molecule could be risky. The catalog of molecules we will develop can be put through trials with the ultimate goal of taking a drug fit for human use to the clinic.”Related StoriesMultifaceted intervention for acute respiratory infection improves antibiotic-prescribingLugdunin in the human nose has strong antimicrobial properties against S. aureusNatural antibiotic made by Tübingen researchers interacts with human defense mechanismsThe grant is being awarded by DHSC as part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), a £10 million investment to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance.The work builds on the success of Dr Singh’s pioneering research to tackle antimicrobial resistance over the past three years. Earlier this year, the research team were the first in the world to successfully create simplified, synthetic forms of teixobactin. One of these was successfully used to treat a bacterial infection in mice. Importantly, the synthetic teixobactin offered dual benefits of both clearing the bacterial infection and minimizing its severity, which was not the case for the clinically-used antibiotic, moxifloxacin, used as a control study.Once developed, the teixobactin antibiotic will be the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years.It has been predicted that by 2050 an additional 10 million people will succumb to drug resistant infections each year. The development of new antibiotics which can be used as a last resort when other drugs are ineffective is therefore a crucial area of study for healthcare researchers around the world.Professor William Hope and Dr Shampa Das from the Centre for Antimicrobial Pharmacodynamics at the University of Liverpool will undertake the in vivo evaluations. Professor Hope said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Singh and the University of Lincoln to help develop new antibiotics that address unmet medical need related to antimicrobial resistance. The teixobactin project complements our other programs for development of new antibiotics for multidrug-resistant bacterial and fungal diseases.”The next step in the research will be the production of a so-called ‘investigational drug or medicine’ – a drug which is developed for safe testing in humans followed by clinical trials and new drug approval by regulatory bodies. Source:http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/last_img read more

Rise in cannabis use among Canadian youth preceded legalization

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 26 2019National discussions on cannabis legalization, along with increased access to medical marijuana, may have encouraged more high school students to consume the drug years before it became legal in Canada.A recent study using data from more than 230,000 questionnaires by Canadian high school students in grades 9 to 12 found that almost 10 per cent reported having used the drug at least once per week in 2017-18, with a further 18 per cent saying they had used it at least once in the last year.Both weekly and occasional use reached their lowest points in 2014-15 (9 percent and 15 percent respectively) and have since been rising steadily.”The problem was developing while legalization was being discussed, but well before concrete steps to change the law were taken,” said lead author Alex Zuckermann, a post-doctoral fellow with the Public Health Agency of Canada working in the School of Public Health and Health Systems.Related StoriesResearchers find lower opioid prescriptions rates in states that implemented medical cannabis lawsCannabis ingredient shows promise as potential antibiotic for superbugsCMC expresses dismay at the findings of new report “Drugs policy: medicinal cannabis””With medicinal use more widespread and talk of total legalization starting, we saw a shift in public perception starting around 2014. Before that, youth cannabis use was declining. These changing social norms may have contributed to rising youth use.”The work used data from the COMPASS Study, an annual survey of high school students in grades 9 to 12 in Ontario and Alberta. The demographic groups that saw the biggest increases since 2014-15 were female and Indigenous youth. Weekly use for females went from 7 to 8 percent, and occasional use from 17 to 19 percent during this time period. Indigenous youth weekly use went from 23 to 25 percent, and occasional use from 18 to 21 percent.”We often think of male youth when we talk about drug use, but here female students are driving increases. Historically, their use has been more stigmatized, so normalization may be having a bigger effect,” said Zuckermann. “We also see that Indigenous youth start young and have by far the highest rates of current use, factors that will have long-term health implications and need to be addressed.”In 2017-18, rates of lifetime and past-year cannabis use were highest among male (33 and 29 percent) and Indigenous students (55 and 46 percent), and lowest among Asian students (17 and 14 percent). Female students stood at 31 percent for lifetime use and 26 percent in the past year.”The ability to track multiple risk factors among youth over time and maintain ongoing data systems like COMPASS can provide valuable information to policymakers,” added Scott Leatherdale, principal investigator and a professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. “It helps to provide the necessary evidence to learn from new policy implementation.” Source:https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/surge-cannabis-use-among-youth-preceded-legalization-canadalast_img read more

Sports playbook can help generate more accurate prognoses for cancer patients

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 4 2019In this season of global soccer competitions and hotly contested political primaries, bookies and pundits are scouring every evolving scrap of information and sifting through mountains of data in an effort to predict the outcome of the next game or election. These predictions can change on a dime, however, based on a player’s poor pass or a candidate’s stellar debate performance.Statisticians refer to the technique of incorporating a variety of continuously generated information — who is on the bench, who was injured in the first half of the match, who polled well in Iowa yesterday — as calculating in-game win probability, and it’s been used for decades to predict the outcome of ongoing sports matches or elections.Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have taken a page from this playbook to generate more accurate prognoses for cancer patients. They’ve done so by designing a computer algorithm that can integrate many different types of predictive data — including a tumor’s response to treatment and the amount of cancer DNA circulating in a patient’s blood during therapy — to generate a single, dynamic risk assessment at any point in time during a patient’s course of treatment. Such an advance could be deeply meaningful for patients and their doctors. Source:Stanford Medicine When we care for our patients, we are walking on eggshells for a profound period of time while we try to determine whether the cancer is truly gone, or if it is likely to return. And patients are wondering ‘Should I be planning to attend my child’s wedding next summer, or should I prioritize making my will?’ We are trying to come up with a better way to predict at any point during a patient’s course of treatment what their outcome is likely to be.”Ash Alizadeh, MD, PhD., associate professor of medicinecenter_img Surprisingly, the researchers have also found that the approach, which they’ve termed CIRI for Continuous Individualized Risk Index, may also help doctors to pinpoint people who might benefit from early, more aggressive treatments as well as those who are likely to be cured by standard methods.The study will be published online July 4 in Cell. Alizadeh, a Stanford Health Care oncologist who specializes in treating patients with blood cancers, shares senior authorship with associate professor of radiation oncology Maxmilian Diehn, MD, PhD. Instructor of medicine David Kurtz, MD, PhD, and postdoctoral scholars Mohammad Esfahani, PhD, and Florian Scherer, MD, are the lead authors.Getting a more complete pictureThe researchers began their study by looking at people previously diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is the most common blood cancer in the United States. Although nearly two-thirds of adults with DLBCL are cured with standard treatment protocols, the remaining third will likely die from the disease.When a DLBCL patient is diagnosed, clinicians like Alizadeh, Diehn and Kurtz assess the initial symptoms, the cell type from which the cancer originated and the size and location of the tumor after the first imaging scan to generate an initial prognosis. More recently, clinicians have also been able to assess the amount of tumor DNA circulating in a patient’s blood after the first one or two rounds of therapy to determine how the tumor is responding and estimate a patient’s overall risk of succumbing to their disease.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerBut each of these situations gives a risk based on a snapshot in time rather than aggregating all the data available to generate a single, dynamic risk assessment that can be updated throughout the course of a patient’s treatment.”What we’re doing now is somewhat like trying to predict the outcome of a basketball game by tuning in at halftime to check the score, or by watching only the tipoff,” Diehn said, “when in reality we know that there are any number of things that could have happened during the first half that we aren’t taking into account. We wanted to learn if it’s best to look at the latest information available about a patient, the earliest information we gathered, or whether it’s best to aggregate all of this data over many time points.”Alizadeh and his colleagues gathered data on more than 2,500 DLBCL patients from 11 previously published studies for whom the three most common predictors of prognosis were available. They used the data to train a computer algorithm to recognize patterns and combinations likely to affect whether a patient lived for at least 24 months after seemingly successful treatment without experiencing a recurrence of their disease. They also included information from 132 patients for whom data about circulating tumor DNA levels were available prior to and after the first and second rounds of treatment.”Our standard methods of predicting prognoses in these patients are not that accurate,” Kurtz said. “Using standard baseline variables it becomes almost a crystal ball exercise. If a perfectly accurate test has a score of 1, and a test that assigns patients randomly to one of two groups has a score of 0.5 — essentially a coin toss — our current methods score at about 0.6. But CIRI’s score was around 0.8. Not perfect, but markedly better than we’ve done in the past.”Identifying better treatment optionsThe researchers next tested CIRI’s performance on data from previously published panels of people with a common leukemia and another on breast cancer patients. Although the prognostic indicators varied for each disease, they found that, by serially integrating the predictive information over time, CIRI outperformed the standard methods. Furthermore, it suggested that it might be useful to identify patients who might need more aggressive intervention within one or two rounds of treatment rather than waiting to see if the disease recurs.”What I didn’t expect was that aggregating all this information through time may also be predictive,” Alizadeh said. “It might tell us ‘you’re going down the wrong path with this therapy, and this other therapy might be better.’ Now we have a mathematical model that might help us identify subsets of patients who are unlikely to do well with standard treatments.”The researchers are next planning to test CIRI’s predictive capabilities in people recently diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma.The work is an example of Stanford Medicine’s focus on precision health, the goal of which is to anticipate and prevent disease in the healthy and precisely diagnose and treat disease in the ill.last_img read more