May 16 2018Older people who enjoy a sexually active and emotionally close relationship with their partner tend to perform better at memory tests than sexually inactive older adults on a short-term basis, but this is not the case over a longer period of time. This is according to a study using data from more than 6000 adults aged 50 and over. The research by Mark Allen of the University of Wollongong in Australia is published in Springer’s journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.Age-related cognitive decline varies considerably and can range from mild to severe – in the case of people living with dementia. Lifestyle factors, such as someone’s level of education, smoking and drinking habits, and level of physical activity have all been found to play a role in the rate and extent of age-related cognitive decline. This study now shows that there is no link between sexual activity and rate of cognitive decline.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAllen investigated whether ongoing sexual activity and the experience of emotional closeness with a partner has any effect on memory. He analyzed and compared data from 2012 and 2014 contained in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), which includes information about the health, diet, well-being and socio-economic status of adults older than 50 living in England. Participants in the ELSA completed an episodic memory task and a questionnaire where they reported the frequency of intimate activities such as kissing, sexual touching and intercourse.Allen found an overall decline in all participants’ score on the memory test over time.”Decline in memory performance over time was unrelated to sexual activity or emotional closeness during partnered sexual activity” says Allen.He notes how the current study builds on previous experimental work conducted on non-human animals. Past research had established that sexual activity enhances rodents’ ability to recognize objects and therefore ultimately their episodic memory workings and overall brain health. It stimulated the growth of neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is activated when episodic and spatial memory tasks are performed. Source:https://www.springer.com/
Jul 13 2018What we eat plays a big role in our ability to regulate our body weight. Over time, however, different ideas have emerged about the most important dietary factors that cause us to put on weight.During the 1980s and 1990s, it was widely accepted that the most important factor in weight gain is the fat content of our diets. However, in the new millennium it was suggested that this focus on fat was misplaced, and that, in fact, the main factor driving obesity was our carbohydrate intake – notably, our intake of refined carbohydrates like sugars.Several hugely popular books were published in this period suggesting that eating fat might actually protect us from obesity.Most recently, however, attention has turned to protein, with the hypothesis that people eat food mostly to obtain protein rather than energy.According to this idea, when the protein content of our diet falls, we eat more food to meet our target protein intake. That makes us consume too many calories and we get fat. Since our food consists of fat, protein and carbohydrates – and at different times all three have been implicated in making us obese – it is difficult to know what to eat to stay slim.Part of the problem is that it is very difficult to do human studies that control food intake long enough to determine what dietary factors cause weight gain. Studies on animals similar to us, however, can suggest possible answers.Now scientists at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have performed the largest study of its kind to resolve what components of the diet cause mice to put on body fat. The study was published today in the journal Cell Metabolism.Related StoriesHarnessing target of the brain chemical serotonin to combat obesityResearchers propose new avenue in the search for anti-obesity drugsNew technique reduces postoperative deficit of oxygen in the blood in patients with morbid obesityThe study included 30 different diets that varied in their fat, carbohydrate (sugar) and protein contents. Mice of five different strains were fed these diets for 3 months, which is equivalent to 9 years in humans.In total, over 100,000 measurements were made of the mice’s body weight changes and their body fat was measured using a micro MRI machine. The result of this enormous study was unequivocal – the only thing that made the mice get fat was eating more fat in their diets. Carbohydrates, including up to 30% of calories coming from sugar, had no effect.Combining sugar with fat had no more impact than fat alone. There was no evidence that low protein (down to 5% of the total calories) stimulated greater intake, suggesting there is no protein target. The researchers believe that dietary fat caused weight gain because fat in the diet uniquely stimulated the reward centers in the brain, thus causing greater intake of calories.Professor John Speakman, who led the study, said “A clear limitation of this study is that it is based on mice rather than humans. However, mice have lots of similarities to humans in their physiology and metabolism, and we are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods. So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans.” Source:http://english.cas.cn/newsroom/research_news/201807/t20180712_195101.shtml
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 5 2018More than half of adults in the Western hemisphere over the age of 40 have small bulging pouches inside their intestine known as diverticula. Caused by weakening of the outer lining of the intestine, these pouches are typically harmless.But for some, these pouches can become painfully inflamed or infected, requiring treatment with antibiotics — or, in serious cases, surgery to remove the colon. At present, no one knows what causes diverticulosis (the formation of those pouches) or diverticulitis (inflammation of the pouches).Lillias Maguire, M.D., a colorectal surgeon at Michigan Medicine, wasn’t satisfied with typical explanations for the common inflammatory disease, which causes more than 200,000 hospital admissions each year in the United States.”The prevailing suspicion was that it is caused by diet,” Maguire says. “It’s been thought that diverticulitis might be linked to low fiber, since people consuming a typical Western diet are relatively constipated.”However, when you look more closely, this explanation doesn’t appear to shake out.”Studies have shown that diverticulitis tends to be inherited, says Maguire, with identical twins showing more similarity in their likelihood to develop the disease than fraternal twins. This points to a probable genetic component.To find out more, she approached Elizabeth Speliotes, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of gastroenterology, internal medicine, and computational medicine and bioinformatics who has been heavily involved with genetic studies of multiple different disease states.Speliotes mentored Maguire through a genome-wide association study to hunt for genes underlying the condition. The study is published in the journal Nature Genetics.Large-scale analysisGenome-wide association studies, or GWAS, are a relatively new and powerful tool for looking at the genetics of complex conditions that have both a genetic and environmental component and are not passed down directly from parent to child.These studies rely on the availability of large collections of genomes — and the bigger, the better.”There’s no way to do true GWAS in a cohort of 1,000 or even 5,000 people simply because the genome is so big,” says Maguire.Fortunately, such a collection exists in the form of the UK Biobank, which contains the genetic and medical information of more than 500,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69 years old. It’s an unprecedented resource that scientists from all over the world turn to in an attempt to unlock the genetics behind common diseases like heart disease, cancer and dementia.In this instance, the data had potential. “Through medical records, we know that about 28,000 people in the UK Biobank were admitted for diverticulitis,” Maguire says. With help from Speliotes’ lab, she compared those people with a cohort of about 31,000 people from the Michigan Genomics Initiative at U-M.Related StoriesAntibiotics can wipe out early flu resistance, study findsThe immune system in women may be different from men finds studyDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaThe goal: to find common genetic variants that might identify the potential genes behind the disease. “In a GWAS, we are looking for variants in the genomes unique to individuals that are associated with genes,” Maguire says. “They don’t necessarily pinpoint genetic mutations but they point us to a region in the genome that has multiple genes nearby.”Making new connectionsUsing the UK Biobank sample, researchers found 42 locations that were associated with 99 genes of interest. They credit the large sample of people to helping identify so many locations.”We then run a massive statistical test to see which variants come out as strongly associated with diverticulitis,” Maguire says.But that doesn’t mean all 42 are necessarily significant. The sheer size of the sample means some loci are bound to be just noise, she adds.When they compared the 42 loci from the UK Biobank with the Michigan Genomics Initiative sample, eight came out as common between the two groups.”When we see replication of loci across populations, it makes us feel more secure that there is a strong correlation,” Maguire says.What’s interesting, however, is what the genes they identified are associated with.Within the context of diverticulitis, “the genes we saw seemed to make sense,” says Maguire. “We identified genes for connective tissue cells, pathways that we know are associated with other connective tissues, hernia, and other diseases like aneurysmal vascular diseases that are also connective tissue related. We see this and start to think, ‘OK, we’re hitting something good.”Findings inform futureThe analysis offers new and useful insight on diverticulitis. Thirty-nine of the loci Maguire’s team found have never before been identified.Maguire believes they have the potential to serve as a starting point for finally explaining the origins of this disease.”Maybe by investigating some of our targets, we might have an answer about why this disease occurs and develop a drug or therapy that works a lot better than just taking out a piece of the colon or giving people recurrent courses of antibiotics,” she says.None of these discoveries, the researchers know, would be possible without biobanks.”The people who had the foresight to set up and participate in the Michigan Genomics Initiative have provided and are growing this amazing resource that will enable us to do a lot more studies to really understand what is happening to people — not just with diverticulitis but with other diseases, she says. “This is just the start.” Source:https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/lab-report/genome-wide-study-identifies-genes-linked-to-diverticular-disease
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 17 2018″Cherry Blossom,” a 39-year-old woman worked as a hotel breakfast bar hostess around the start of the “Great Recession.” She lost her job, and three years later she was being interviewed to assess her struggles with her unemployment. She talked about her empty refrigerator.A study by University of Missouri researchers that began as a survey of unemployment following the recession, led researchers to discover that participants used food to describe their circumstances.In lower classes, those surveyed tended to think about food as survival; they experienced food insecurity, but rarely asked for food from family because of perceived stigmas. People from the middle classes tended to use language to “blur” their relationship with food, making it challenging for the listener to know if they were experiencing food insecurity. As a result, they were unlikely to gain access to food resources to address food insecurity.However, people interviewed in the upper classes talked about food as a networking tool, rarely considering its physical necessity. Researchers believe that, given that food insecurity crosses social class boundaries during economic downturns, and given the variety of differing responses to food insecurity, policymakers should consider all demographics and socio-economic backgrounds when forming policies that affect food insecurity.”Food is the essence of social class — the way we talk about it, the way we think about it,” said Debbie Dougherty, professor of communication in the MU College of Arts and Science. “We usually think about hunger as something that’s purely material, we also need to think about hunger as something communicative. Food discourses are embedded into the U.S. culture and can reveal social and cultural capital. Our study revealed ways in which the food narrative shows the lived experiences of those experiencing unemployment.”Related StoriesUltra-processed foods cause overeating and weight gain, NIH study findsKNAUER has whole series of actions for Sustainability WeekStudy shows benefits of including red raspberries in the diet of people with pre-diabetesUsing a method called Photovoice, researchers asked participants to take photos of their experiences to help explain and illustrate their unemployment. Those surveyed tend to become more active in the research process, and their photos offer another source of data.The data were collected between 2012 and 2013, and participants were chosen from various demographic and socio-economic backgrounds. In their responses, 19 of 21 participants voluntarily spoke about food and food access. Several in lower and middle classes submitted photos of empty or barely stocked refrigerators, other talked of how difficult it could be to obtain food.”What was surprising was those who were in the upper classes were good at obscuring their ‘food drama,'” Dougherty said. “The privilege this group of people previously had — that they thought of food only as a social or work function — made it so that they didn’t have to think about their lack of food — they tended to maintain the fantasy of their lives by taking their laptops to the coffee shop and feigning work. Surprisingly, these are the people who get lost in the shuffle in the discussion of food insecurity.”Dougherty says that policymakers tend to think about food in regions — as a geographically related problem. Dougherty and her team suggest that policymakers at local, state and national levels should be addressing food insecurity as a more diffused problem that encompasses different classes and different neighborhoods in our towns and cities.”Our economy generally runs in 8 to 10-year cycles, so when we have an economic downturn, we need to be thinking more widely about distribution of food as opposed to thinking about it in these geographically narrow spaces,” Dougherty said. Source:https://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2018/0913-social-class-determines-how-the-unemployed-talk-about-food-insecurity-mu-study-finds/
ShareTweetSharePinRobert Haynes, new West Indies coach (r)The entire West Indies selection panel has been fired by the new administration and a three-man committee will select the regional team for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in England, the Trinidad Guardian has reported.Newly elected president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday in Antigua, that there is a new coach taking the team to the World Cup and also a new selection panel will be picking that squad.Barbadian Floyd Reifer will replace Richard Pybus as coach of the regional team. Reifer comes in to replace Pybus before the Englishman’s contract ends. He was contracted by the previous administration until the end of the Indian series in the Caribbean in August.Dominican, Lockhart Sebastien was a member of the selection panel that was fired. Read more…
ShareTweetSharePinHighlights include 24 per cent increase from U.S. market and record-breaking cruise passenger trafficSpurred on by a 24 per cent rise in arrivals from the United States, the Caribbean recorded a healthy 12 per cent increase in tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2019, according to statistics compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).In updating the media on the region’s performance at a news conference this morning hosted at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel as part ofCaribbean Week New York (#CWNY2019), CTO chairman Dominic Fedee revealed that between January and March this year there were 9.1 million international tourist trips to the region, up by 970,000 over the corresponding period last year.The arrivals boom extended to the cruise sector as well, with a single quarter record 10.7 million cruise passengers visits, an increase of 9.9 per cent or 900,000 more arrivals when compared to the same period in 2018.Due to its bullish economy, high consumer confidence and the strength of the U.S. dollar against global currencies , the United States was the strongest performinig market during the first quarter, with 4.5 million tourist visits, while Canada’s 1.5 million visits to the Caribbean represented a strong four per cent rise.On the other hand, the performance of the European market was less encouraging, with arrivals up marginally by 0.6 per cent. Of the 1.6 million tourist arrivals from Europe during the first quarter, 300,000 came from the United Kingdom (up 0.1 per cent), while arrivals from Germany fell by 8.1 per cent to 200,000 tourist visits. The Caribbean (up 1.8 per cent) and Latin American (up 1.6 per cent) markets also recorded growth, although at a much slower pace that the major makets.The overall healthy growth in both stayover and cruise visits, coupled with a 1.4 per cent rise in available airline seats durng first quarter of 2019 – bringing to 12.4 million the number of international seats attracted to the region during the period – the CTO is bullish in its forecast for the year, predicting an eight per cent to nine per cent increase in tourist arrivals, along with 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent growth in cruise arrivals.Visit www.OneCaribbean.org more information on the performance of the region.
By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2019 10:29:56 pm Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Sri Sringeri Shankara Mutt facebook twitter whatsapp Will act in accordance with Constitution: Karnataka speaker after SC decision facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp 11:56 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp SC in its final judgement will have to create timelines for Speakers to decide a matter: GVL Narasimha Rao GVL Narasimha Rao, BJP on SC verdict in Karnataka MLAs case: SC in its final judgement will have to create timelines for Speakers to decide a matter be it Assembly or Parliament. If required we’ll look at the need for amending the act so that Speakers can’t go by their own whims and fancies. 11:02 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Congress-JD(S) hold meet to plan on how coalition will face the confidence motion Advertising facebook twitter whatsapp Karnataka floor test to be held tomorrow! Amid the ongoing turmoil in the state, Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar Monday scheduled a trust vote for the ruling Congress-JDS coalition government for 11 am on Thursday. He announced the decision of the trust vote after a meeting of the Business Advisory Council of the assembly. He also adjourned the house till Thursday after the BJP objected to the conduct of regular proceedings without the government proving it’s majority. facebook twitter whatsapp 10:18 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 Karnataka: JD(S) issues whip to its MLAs including rebels H Vishwanath, Narayana Gowda, H Gopalaiah, to be present for trust vote at Vidhana Soudha tomorrow. Whip states if session isn’t attended or voting is done against party, action will be initiated under Anti-defection law pic.twitter.com/BTXOqyE8ns— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019 There is evidence of BJP being behind the mass resignations, our petition is to look into that issue: K C Venugopal “Our petition of disqualification is not related to any party whip. The same stands even after this verdict as they (rebel MLAs) have voluntarily given up the membership with a purpose to sabotage this government joining hands with the BJP,” said AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal.”They are various evidence that shows BJP’s hands in this mass resignation. Our disqualification petition (submitted to the Karnataka speaker) is to look into that issue,” he further said.”Our petition of disqualification is not related to any party whip. The same stands even after this verdict as they (rebel MLAs) have voluntarily given up the membership with a purpose to sabotage this government joining hands with the BJP,” AICC Gen. Sec. @kcvenugopalmp says. pic.twitter.com/gAvfa9LWqo— Ralph Alex Arakal (@ralpharakal) July 17, 2019 Karnataka crisis LIVE updates: 16 Congress and JD(S) MLAs have submitted resignations since July 1.The numbers in the House will reduce only when the resignations are accepted by the Speaker or if the rebels are disqualified.In the SC Tuesday, the CJI countered arguments that the court did not have the jurisdiction to direct the Speaker to act in a particular manner at this stage. “The extent of jurisdiction depends on the kind of restraint this court would like to impose upon itself. There is no inflexible rule,” the bench told senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi who appeared for the Speaker.Also Read | Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relookA total of 16 Congress and JD(S) MLAs have submitted resignations since July 6. This means the coalition strength will fall to 101 compared to the BJP’s 105 plus two Independents in the 224-member House. If the resignations are accepted, the 13-month-old Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka will lose the majority, paving the way for the BJP to stake claim to form the government.On Monday, Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar scheduled a trust vote for the ruling Congress-JDS coalition government for 11 am on Thursday. He announced the decision of the trust vote after a meeting of the Business Advisory Council of the assembly. He also adjourned the house till Thursday after the BJP objected to the conduct of regular proceedings without the government proving it’s majority.On Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy announced a move to seek a trust vote after 16 MLAs of the coalition put in their papers, reducing the government to a minority. BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa has been demanding that CM Kumaraswamy resign immediately or face a trust vote at the earliest.The Congress-JDS coalition are trying to bring back a few rebels to restore it’s majority numbers, even as 15 rebel MLAs have approached the Supreme Court with a plea to direct the Speaker to accept their resignations. 14:53 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 Karanataka crisis: Congress says SC order nullifying whip sets ‘terrible judicial precedent’ The court allowed the intervention application of five rebel MLAs to be made as parties in the case, in which 10 MLAs have approached the apex court earlier. The Congress workers have alleged that the resignation by the rebel MLAs was a ploy to destabilise the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in the southern state.On Tuesday, the top court heard all the parties. Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and the speaker questioned its jurisdiction on entertaining the rebel MLAs, who alleged that they were being forced to act in a particular manner so as to save the coalition government in the state that had lost majority. (PTI) Crucial SC verdict at 10:30! As the political crisis continues in Karnataka, all eyes will be on the Supreme Court verdict on pleas moved by the dissident MLAs against Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar scheduled to be announced today. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who heard a clutch of petitions filed by 10 MLAs of the Congress and JDS coalition government against the Speaker for not accepting their resignations on Tuesday had decided the same. Read Bangalore news LIVE updates here 10:17 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Karnataka CM meets Congress MLAs camping in Bangalore resort Hours ahead of the floor test scheduled to take place in Vidhana Soudha on Thursday, Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy met Congress legislators camping in Windflower Prakruthi Resort, Bangalore. Kumaraswamy should not wait for trust vote, resign immediately: BJP Reacting to the Supreme Court’s verdict, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar, said, “There is anarchy in the state because of HD Kumaraswamy, he should resign immediately after this verdict and not wait for the trust vote.” facebook twitter whatsapp Karnataka crisis: JD(S) issues whip to its MLAs to be present in Assembly tomorrow facebook twitter whatsapp There is no question of going to the Assembly: Rebel Karnataka MLAs Rebel Karnataka MLAs who are in Mumbai says, “We honour Supreme Court’s verdict. We all are together. We stand by our decision. There is no question of going to the Assembly.”No question of going to Assembly, say rebel MLAs after SC verdictFollow Karnataka crisis LIVE UPDATES | https://t.co/zpI2xozCYY pic.twitter.com/7PU7ueFyeQ— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) July 17, 2019 SC rules: Rebel Karnataka MLAs can’t be compelled to participate in trust vote In an interim order, a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said it thought fit to permit the Speaker to decide on the resignations “within such time frame as the Speaker may consider appropriate”. The bench added that the MLAs should be given an option to attend or not to attend the proceedings of the House.The order came on petitions by the MLAs challenging the action of Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in not accepting their resignations. The bench said it was of the view that the Speaker should not feel fettered by any order and should be free to make a decision. The court directed that the Speaker’s decision be placed before it as and when it is taken. Read more here 12:15 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 21 Comment(s) 10:06 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp 15:25 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 11:42 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 11:05 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp 22:23 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 CM has lost mandate,he must resign tomorrow, says BS Yeddyurappa after SC verdict Former Karnataka CM and BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa on Supreme Court’s verdict in Karnataka rebel MLAs case: Certainly the Government will not last because they do not have the numbers. Karnataka CM has lost his mandate and when there is no majority he must resign tomorrow. I welcome SC’s decision, it’s the victory of constitution and democracy, a moral victory for rebel MLAs. It’s only an interim order, SC will decide powers of Speaker in future. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also left it to the Speaker to decide on the resignations of the rebel MLAs within the timeframe he thinks appropriate. The top court was hearing the pleas of the MLAs against Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar for sitting on their resignations.In Karnataka, resignations by the MLAs have plunged the Congress-JD(S) coalition government into crisis earlier this month. Thirteen Congress and three JD(S) MLAs have resigned since July 6, technically reducing the numbers of the coalition from 117 to 101 compared to the BJP’s 105 in the 224-member House where the halfway mark is 113.The bench had on Tuesday said the position and powers of the Speaker after the enactment of the anti-defection law in 1985 may require a relook, after hearing the rebel MLAs, the Speaker and Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. Earlier on Friday, the top court had restrained the Speaker from taking any decision till July 16 on the resignation and disqualification of the rebel MLAs. Also, a vote of confidence has been scheduled in Vidhana Soudha on July 18.Live BlogKarnataka crisis: Future of the Kumaraswamy government will be decided tomorrow after floor test. 10:20 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 SC rules: Rebel Karnataka MLAs can’t be compelled to participate in trust vote The Supreme Court Wednesday left it open to the Karnataka Assembly Speaker to decide on the resignations of the 15 rebel Congress and Janata Dal (S) MLAs but ordered that they should not be compelled to attend the proceedings of the state Assembly. In an interim order, a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said it thought fit to permit the Speaker to decide on the resignations “within such time frame as the Speaker may consider appropriate”. Read More 22:29 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Welcome to our LIVE blog. The Supreme Court is all set to pronounce its order on the pleas of 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs against Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar for not accepting their resignations from the Assembly today. Follow to get the latest updates here! facebook twitter whatsapp Karnataka crisis: What was SC’s Kihoto Hollohan order of 1992, what is the role of Speaker? Karnataka crisis HIGHLIGHTS: Resignations by the MLAs have plunged the Congress-JD(S) coalition government into crisis earlier this month.Karnataka crisis HIGHLIGHTS: Welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict on Wednesday which said the 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs should not be compelled to take part in the trust vote which is scheduled to be held in Karnataka Assembly tomorrow, the rebel MLAs who are in Mumbai said there is no question of going back to attend the floor test. “We honour the Supreme Court’s verdict. We all are together. We stand by our decision. There is no question of going to the Assembly,” ANI quoted the MLAs as saying. 10:30 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 MLAs should not be compelled to take part in the trust vote: Supreme Court The Supreme Court Wednesday left it to the Speaker to take a decision on resignations of 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs within the timeframe he thinks appropriate. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also said that the MLAs should not be compelled to take part in the trust vote which is scheduled to be held tomorrow.#KarnatakaPolicalCrisis Supreme Court leaves it to Speaker to take a decision on resignations of 15 rebel Congress & JD(S) MLAs within timeframe he thinks appropriate. Adds the MLAs should not be compelled to take part in House proceedings @IndianExpress— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) July 17, 2019 Related News 14:40 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 Will act in accordance with Constitution: Karnataka speaker after SC decision Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court decision, giving him the freedom to decide on the resignations of rebel MLAs, and said he would conduct himself responsibly in accordance with the principles of the Constitution. “With utmost humility I welcome and respect the Supreme Court decision,” Kumar said soon after the apex court pronounced its order on the issue that has pushed the state into political turmoil. “The Supreme Court has put extra burden on me, I will conduct myself responsibly in accordance with constitutional principle,” he told reporters in Kolar, his home town. Read More 10:56 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 15 MLAs are given liberty that may or may not go to the House tomorrow: Mukul Rohtagi Mukul Rohatgi, representing Karnataka rebel MLAs in SC: In view of Trust Vote kept for tomorrow, SC has said two important things- 15 MLAs will not be compelled to attend the House tomorrow. All 15 MLAs are given the liberty that may or may not go to the House tomorrow. The three-line whip issued against them (rebel MLAs) to attend the House tomorrow is not operative in view of the SC judgement. Secondly, the Speaker has been given time to decide on the resignations as and when he wants to decide.Mukul Rohatgi: The three-line whip issued against them (rebel MLAs) to attend the House tomorrow is not operative in view of the SC judgement. Secondly, the Speaker has been given time to decide on the resignations as and when he wants to decide. https://t.co/VPvyWDgxzM— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019 22:20 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 11:03 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp 12:42 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 11:54 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 12:20 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 Watch | Kumaraswamy declines to comment on SC verdict #WATCH Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy declines to comment, when asked about Supreme Court’s verdict on Karnataka rebel MLAs. #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/aR1ww6aNgl— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp SC has put an extra burden on me, I will conduct myself responsibly: Karnataka Speaker Reacting to the Supreme Court’s verdict, Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar says, “I respect and welcome Supreme Court order with utmost humility. SC has put an extra burden on me, I will conduct myself responsibly in accordance with constitutional principles.” facebook twitter whatsapp 11:55 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 Speaker’s powers need relook: SC The Supreme Court Tuesday said that the position and powers of the Speaker after the enactment of the anti-defection law in 1985 may require a re-look. “When the 10th Schedule (Anti-Defection law) was added (to the Constitution), a very high status was given (to the Speaker). But with (what has happened in the) last 10-25 years, probably a re-looking is required,” observed the bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose. Read More “It is impossible for any external strategy to break our solidarity,” @DrParameshwara wrote on Twitter as he shared pictures of the meeting reportedly held to discuss the plan on how the coalition would face the confidence motion on Thursday, July 18. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/Mozs0sNrGL— Ralph Alex Arakal (@ralpharakal) July 17, 2019 Chief Minister of Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Sri Sringeri Shankara Mutt in Shankarapuram. #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/qzRyA2tb5s— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019 Kumaraswamy will lose mandate tomorrow: BS Yeddyurappa Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa says, ” We are waiting for Supreme Court’s decision, the MLAs who have resigned will not be affected. Tomorrow CM is going to move the confidence motion, he will lose the mandate, let us see what will happen.”Former Karnataka CM & BJP leader, B. S. Yeddyurappa: We are waiting for Supreme Court’s decision, the MLAs who have resigned will not be affected. Tomorrow CM is going to move the confidence motion, he will lose the mandate, let us see what will happen. pic.twitter.com/pne91pn9d8— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2019
Wrapping Up: The CEO Who Could Save Intel Avoiding the Psychopath CEO There has been a high correlation between folks who become CEOs and a mental deficiency termed “psychopath.” The incidence rate is around 4x the general population. (As a group, CEOs have more than any other job title.)Psychopaths lack the behavior controls and tender feelings the rest of us take for granted. This behavioral problem actually can be an asset if the firm is on the ropes and large numbers of folks have to be laid off in order for it to survive. The guilt could cripple a normal CEO.However, if the firm isn’t in distress, this behavioral problem can put the firm in distress. The problematic CEO can focus excessively on personal benefits, elimination of perceived rivals, and cost cutting until the firm fails.Because of this, I think executives with this behavioral problem should be weeded out of the executive pool, as they’ll likely do their firms more damage than good over the course of their careers.Empathy is critical to any effective manager, and layoffs should be hard. Doing a lot of them can crush a company culture and destroy the firm’s ability to execute.Psychopaths tend to revel in being cruel and often are defined by angry outbursts that are triggered if anyone questions their status. Natural rule-breakers, they often get in trouble with affairs, are caught doing insider trading or misappropriating company assets, and tend to be scandal magnets. They are known to cover up past indiscretions and inflate their accomplishments.What is problematic is that when they become CEOs, they often think that whatever controls they used early in their careers no longer apply, and they go off the rails.Sadly, this means that their psychopathic behavior may not be that obvious while they are working up in the organization but can be incredibly obvious once they are in the job of CEO.You’d think that boards would have a process to weed out psychopaths from their CEO pools so that rather than being 4x the norm, psychopaths would be even less common in CEO ranks than in the general population.However, psychopaths are good at getting rid of the CEOs above them and eliminating any competition for the job. Finally, they are extremely good at dodging blame. Wherever the buck stops, it never stops at their desk — particularly when the problem is their fault. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. Intel is a mess, but it got there largely due to bad CEO choices. What I think is particularly sad is that Paul Otellini, Brian’s predecessor, was a far better CEO for Intel than Brian Krzanich is. Sadly, like many CEOs forced out of their jobs, Paul died last year. Something else that should concern us more is the number of CEOs who decline rapidly after they leave that job.Intel needs its heart back. The last few years have seen a massive purge of loyal Intel employees and executives, the destruction of much of Intel’s support structure, and an excessive focus on litigation over execution (Qualcomm and threatened against Microsoft).Intel needs someone who can come in and restore the company’s ability to execute without further disruption.There is only one person who has both the experience and the pedigree to do this. That person is Pat Gelsinger, whom I’ve often thought of as the heart of old Intel.Gelsinger was Intel’s first CTO. He drove much of the initial wave of cool PCs, and developed one of Intel’s iconic processors. I know him, and he is both one of the most capable and conscientious executives I’ve ever met.Currently he is running VMware, and given how he was treated at Intel I have my doubts whether his wife would support his returning — but I know Pat still cares about the company, and he has both the experience and compassion to get Intel back to becoming a firm that can execute rather than one that is being destroyed from within.I can almost hear every existing and past Intel employee chanting, “Help us Pat Gelsinger, you are our only hope.” Sometimes I wonder if boards think CEO is a throwaway job. Considering that boards used to have a ton of ex-CEOs on them, and given the historic bad choices that have badly hurt or destroyed companies, you’d think someone would have developed a decent process to pick a good CEO.IBM, which just reported impressively good earnings, might be a good place to start if you were looking for one, given that it has done this, largely successfully, for a century. It identified candidates early, and you can see the impressive results from its training in Lisa Su’s execution at AMD.You’d think that firms at least would learn from their mistakes. Old HP picked Carly Fiorina, who was a train wreck for the firm, then went to Mark Hurd who (before being fired) showcased that relevant skills were critical, and then followed him with Leo Apotheker and Meg Whitman — neither of whom had the requisite skills. (Ironically, when HP was spun out from HPE, Dion Weisler, Whitman’s pick, turned out to be excellent.)Yahoo went from disaster CEO to disaster CEO and finally was sold for a small fraction of what it was worth.Intel now seems to have the second bad CEO since founder Andy Grove left the company, and I can’t imagine what the heck Andy Bryant (Intel’s chairman), was thinking in selecting and keeping Brian Krzanich at the helm.In addition to Andy Bryant, there are three people on Intel’s board who should know better: Aneel Bhusri, who runs an HR firm; Reed E. Hundt, who provides strategic advice; and Gregory D. Smith, CFO and EVP for performance and strategy at Boeing. I wonder if they think they won’t be held accountable if Intel fails?Sqoop sent me an alert on Krzanich’s SEC 4 filing for his problematic US$25M stock sale confirming he massively changed the amount of stock he was going to sell after he knew of the huge Intel security problem but before it was disclosed to the rest of us.With an increasing number of folks suggesting Brian Krzanich should step down, I think it’s likely he will be gone by mid-year, and I have a suggestion for who should replace him.I’ll close with my product of the week: a new (to me) tool that helped me write this piece: Sqoop. In an era of fake news, it is a reliable public data search and alerting service. Given how many top executives have been losing their jobs due to sexual abuse, often related to filed law suits, just the litigation coverage alone is incredibly helpful and can lead to a better story or better protected investment.Today, more than ever, we need good sources for real facts, not fake news. That’s what Sqoop is, and that makes it my product of the week. Warning Signs We are surrounded by fake news. For a lot of us who write and invest, fake news can get us in a ton of trouble.When I was thinking about what to write this week, I got an alert from Sqoop that provided the actual Form 4 disclosures for Brian Krzanich that showcase what may be insider trading. (I’m an ex-internal auditor, and things like this really torque me off).Once you set up your profile, Sqoop emails you alerts on litigation, stock filings, and other documented information on the companies you cover or invest in. While there are psychopath tests (by the way, if you just look at this test you can see the kind of mindset that quickly identifies as a psychopath), it is doubtful you’ll be able to get a candidate to take one honestly rather than game it. You can game psychiatrists as well, so that isn’t a reliable measure (though I sure would use one just to protect my own butt were I on Intel’s board).Red flags include things like an open marriage, no kids or a lack of connection to their children, history of infidelity or multiple marriages, a lack of loyalty to their current employer, a willingness to break rules to get the job, excessive focus on compensation, and a near psychic ability to tell you what you wanted to hear. You might also look to see if they mentored subordinates or protected superiors.Once in the job, if you get a CEO who was hired to take the firm to smartphones and diversify, but instead kills the related efforts (smartphones, wearables, makers etc.) and then sells every share of stock he has in a sequence that looks both like insider trading and total lack of confidence in the company he is running, then it is time for a new CEO. Just saying.
More Than It Can Chew? The tiff marks the latest in an evolving series of disputes related to ecosystem building. Companies with their own hardware and content ecosystems constantly must choose between interoperability and competition, suggested Tim Mulligan, senior analyst at Midia Research.”Hardware/ecosystem proxy wars are an inevitable consequence of an integrated tech and media company looking to replicate Apple’s success with building a closed ecosystem around their devices,” he told TechNewsWorld.Amazon and Google have competing video ecosystems and voice-activated devices, so each must take steps to protect its respective business interests.Google may wind up being the party that takes the biggest hit, as keeping YouTube off the Amazon Echo Show could hit it directly in the wallet.”This is one of those instances where Google’s young executive staff showcases as a serious problem,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”What they are doing is stupid,” he told TechNewsWorld.YouTube depends on advertising revenue to make a profit, Enderle pointed out, and cutting off access is going to hurt Google more than Amazon. A long-simmering dispute between Google and Amazon this week escalated into a front-burner feud, following Google’s decision to block its YouTube video service from Amazon’s Echo Show, effective immediately, and from its Fire TV, effective Jan. 1.Google apparently decided to cut off YouTube as retaliation for Amazon’s refusal to carry its products, including Chromecast and Google Home, on its website. Further, Amazon has not made its Prime Video service available to Google Cast users. Amazon also recently stopped selling some smart home products from Nest, another subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet. On the other hand, it could be Amazon’s ambitions that have kept it from reaching a deal with Google, observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”The problem apparently began with a disagreement over Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on its Echo Show devices but has escalated from there, with Google restricting access to its content and Amazon pulling Google products from its site,” he told TechNewsWorld.”You could call it a commonplace pissing match between online behemoths, but if so, it’s one where the company’s’ customers are the ones who are most likely to get splashed, King quipped.The conflict could escalate further if Net neutrality is voted out at the next meeting of the FCC, Tirias Research Principal Analyst Paul Teich told TechNewsWorld. “That might be a way for the competitors to charge customers obscene amounts of money to have the convenience of cross-platform access.” Echo Wars David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.
Nintendo on Thursday revealed its upcoming Switch games for 2018 via a Nintendo Direct Mini video. Riding high after its major comeback last year, Nintendo announced a number of game titles that will be released in the first half of the year, including Mario Tennis Aces, Dark Souls, Donkey Kong Country and Kirby Star Allies, as well as a new mode for the hit Super Mario Odyssey.The Switch, which debuted worldwide early last year, has been Nintendo’s fastest-selling console system of all time. Nearly 5 million units were sold in the United States in 2017. Nintendo last month revised its sales estimates for first year targets from 10 million to 14 million.One of the Switch’s main attractions is that it is a compact system that can be played at home or on the go. Importantly, the system launched with a strong lineup of titles. The releases last fall of Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, further spurred demand. For Nintendo Faithful “Nintendo’s Direct Mini was just that — a mini conference to tide people over, as we go into the year,” said Steve Bailey, senior analyst for games at IHS Markit.”It’s not going to be representative of the company’s full-year plans for the Switch, especially given the nature of the titles revealed,” he told TechNewsWorld.It was very much a service for the Nintendo faithful and established gamers, Bailey added.One other factor could be at play given the timing, suggested Lewis Ward, IDC research director for gaming.”A lot of companies got a lot of press coming out of CES this week, and Nintendo wanted to get its name back in the headlines,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This was a way to do it.” Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter. Not Exactly Tentpole Titles To date, upwards of two-thirds of Switch console owners have bought Super Mario Odyssey, and more than 50 percent of have bought both Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild.Those sales came on top of last year’s strong sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.Nintendo’s success with the Switch can be credited in part to the popularity of Mario and Zelda’s signature character Link.The new Mario and Zelda games “were the AAA ‘tentpole’ titles that helped move hardware, and are obviously the type of games that helps ease buying the decision for hardware,” Ward explained.Nintendo’s 2018 lineup may not be quite as strong as those AAA titles, however, and some of the games already have been released either for the Wii U or on other platforms.”None of the titles are as impressive as Super Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild,” said Ward.”In the case of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it was already released on the Wii U,” he pointed out.”What we are seeing is that Nintendo made a profound investment in some of these games for the Wii U and they didn’t meet expectations, so the company is hoping it will do a better job of monetizing the investment by releasing the games on the Switch,” Ward said.”This is about a low-cost means of having those titles perform better now than they did the first Recipe for Success This week’s announcement is really just a teaser for what is yet to come. Gamers will have to wait a while for more details to emerge about the upcoming titles. Whether any of the titles announced for the first half of 2018 really are enough of a recipe for success is just part of the equation for Nintendo this year.”The Switch’s success rests on some first-party franchise games of fantastic quality, improved relations with third-parties, and a well-executed vision for creating a platform that straddles TV and handheld gaming,” noted IHS Markit’s Bailey.”We’ve seen attempts by other manufacturers to explore such a space, but Nintendo’s the first to bring a specialist extent of focus and commitment to such a hardware proposition,” he added.Other questions remain as well, Baily noted.For example, “how will its paid online service pan out?” he wondered. “How will it leverage its enormous back-catalog of games? What will be the pillar titles on a par with Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild? And how does it plan to position messaging around the console in order to broaden its audience?”How these issues will be resolved will fall largely into the wait-and-see category, but as the Switch appears to have strong third-party support, 2018 could be another banner year for Nintendo’s hit console.”This is further proof that Nintendo has momentum coming into 2018,” said Ward. “Nintendo is definitely back.”
Source:https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago698913.html Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 8 2018People who drink sugary beverages are more likely to eat fast food and confectionery and less likely to make healthy dietary choices, University of Otago research has found.Dr Kirsten Robertson, of the New Zealand university’s Department of Marketing, says consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) is a significant problem in New Zealand.The drinks have little nutritional benefit and are a leading cause of obesity, tooth decay, and type 2 diabetes.New Zealand has an obesity epidemic, is the third most overweight nation in the OECD, and 17 per cent of adults’ total sugar intake comes from SSBs.”While a number of other countries have successfully implemented national taxes on SSBs, New Zealand relies on industry self-regulation and has called for better labeling so individuals can take responsibility for their own sugar intake,” Dr Robertson says.However, the study, published in international journal PeerJ, found people who drank SSBs were less likely to try to eat healthily, and less likely than non-SSB consumers to read food labels.The researchers surveyed more than 2000 people, measuring their food and beverage intake over a 24-hour period and self-reported their intentions to eat healthily.Of those, 30.5 per cent had consumed SSBs in the past 24 hours. They also displayed a general pattern of unhealthy eating as they also consumed dessert, confectionery, fast food and pre-prepared food, and were less likely to eat breakfast or a meal made from scratch.”The findings raise significant concerns regarding the effectiveness of the current soft intervention measures. The fact that SSB consumers are less likely than non-SSB consumers to try to eat healthily, or to read food labels, raises serious questions about the likelihood of them changing their behavior in response to better labeling,” Dr Robertson says.Related StoriesNovel program in England’s third largest city helps reduce childhood obesityResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantAlong with many other researchers, she believes the food and advertising industries have created an obesogenic environment where consumption choices require significant cognitive effort.”Past research shows the sugar content in SSBs in New Zealand exceeds WHO recommendations, thus industry self-regulation is not working.”Further, national taxes have been shown to have little effect on industry sales – with the UK soft drink industry simply reformulating their products to reduce the sugar content.”Given SSB consumers are less likely than non-SSB consumers to read food labels, national taxes will give some power back to individuals to be able to make healthier choices without having to refer to food labels,” she says.The New Zealand Government could learn from the many other countries that have implemented national taxes on SSBs, including Fiji, Spain, Mexico, France, Tonga, and Belgium.”Findings in other countries suggest national taxes will encourage the industry to reformulate their products by reducing the sugar content and will encourage consumers to select other alternatives. Therefore, we support the sugar tax recommendation by the New Zealand Medical Association and the New Zealand beverage guidance panel.”At the end of the day, SSBs have little nutritional benefit and are causing our country significant harm.”
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 14 2018Zhu et al. have reviewed the recent developments in the knowledge about the binding, inhibitory mechanisms and structure-activity relationships of hSERT, hNET and hDAT, which are primary human monoamine transporters hMATs. These mechanisms will be used for the future synthesis, design and discovery of hMAT inhibitors for curing depression and behavioral disorders. Researchers will also be able to test these inhibitors in in vitro and in vivo experiments and with the help of computation models.This review summarizes the structure information, activity and selectivity characteristics, binding modes and side effects of the approved, in clinical studies or developed compounds.The information will play an important role in the structure-based discovery of novel chemotypes and chemical fragments with high activity and selectivity to the central site related to antidepressants targeting hMATs.The structure and activity functions, selectivity of human monoamine transporters (hMATs) were determined with the help of studying X-ray crystal structures; in the case of hSERT these crystal structures revealed 5+5 inverted-topological repeats in protein formed by TM1 to TM5 and from TM 6 to TM10. Site mutagenesis experiments and X-ray crystal structures showed that the central binding site of MATs is encircled mainly of residues of TM1, TM3, TM6, TM8 and TM10 and substrates 5-HT, NE and DA bound in the central sit. Antidepressants drugs SSRIs, SNRIs and TRIs lock the transporter in outward-open conformation.Related StoriesComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerThe allosteric binding site of the compounds were established by MD simulation-based MM/GBSA binding free energy calculations. Docking based VS, and pharmacological based VS studies were also reported for the discovery of hSERT inhibitors.Synthesis, efficacy, inhibition structure activity of sNRIs, sDRIs, SNRIs, SDRIs and TRIs and experimental models were studied in detail and the information has been presented in tabular from for the benefit of the reader. Similarly, the design & synthesis and binding affinity with SERT of dual acting agents were reviewed in this manuscript with help of Computer Aided Drug Design (CADD).The allosteric inhibitors ATM7 was reported with the help of integrating computational simulation and CADD approached. Several other small molecules were recently identified as hSERT allosteric inhibitors. A new class of novel allosteric modulators of the hNET and hDAT were also reported.Imaging agents for human MATs in living cells were synthesized. Compound IDT374 revealed the highest potency for interaction with hSERT.The authors comment that hMAT targeting drugs may be used more increasingly in the future and we may see some more drugs of this type in approved by regulatory authorities in the future.Source: https://benthamscience.com/
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 3 2019University of Arizona biomedical engineering professor Philipp Gutruf is first author on the paper Fully implantable, optoelectronic systems for battery-free, multimodal operation in neuroscience research, published in Nature Electronics.Optogenetics is a biological technique that uses light to turn specific neuron groups in the brain on or off. For example, researchers might use optogenetic stimulation to restore movement in case of paralysis or, in the future, to turn off the areas of the brain or spine that cause pain, eliminating the need for — and the increasing dependence on — opioids and other painkillers.”We’re making these tools to understand how different parts of the brain work,” Gutruf said. “The advantage with optogenetics is that you have cell specificity: You can target specific groups of neurons and investigate their function and relation in the context of the whole brain.”In optogenetics, researchers load specific neurons with proteins called opsins, which convert light to electrical potentials that make up the function of a neuron. When a researcher shines light on an area of the brain, it activates only the opsin-loaded neurons.The first iterations of optogenetics involved sending light to the brain through optical fibers, which meant that test subjects were physically tethered to a control station. Researchers went on to develop a battery-free technique using wireless electronics, which meant subjects could move freely.But these devices still came with their own limitations — they were bulky and often attached visibly outside the skull, they didn’t allow for precise control of the light’s frequency or intensity, and they could only stimulate one area of the brain at a time.Taking More Control and Less Space”With this research, we went two to three steps further,” Gutruf said. “We were able to implement digital control over intensity and frequency of the light being emitted, and the devices are very miniaturized, so they can be implanted under the scalp. We can also independently stimulate multiple places in the brain of the same subject, which also wasn’t possible before.”Related StoriesResearch sheds light on how hepatitis B virus establishes chronic infectionResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairHow an orchestra of neurons control hunger pangsThe ability to control the light’s intensity is critical because it allows researchers to control exactly how much of the brain the light is affecting — the brighter the light, the farther it will reach. In addition, controlling the light’s intensity means controlling the heat generated by the light sources, and avoiding the accidental activation of neurons that are activated by heat.The wireless, battery-free implants are powered by external oscillating magnetic fields, and, despite their advanced capabilities, are not significantly larger or heavier than past versions. In addition, a new antenna design has eliminated a problem faced by past versions of optogenetic devices, in which the strength of the signal being transmitted to the device varied depending on the angle of the brain: A subject would turn its head and the signal would weaken.”This system has two antennas in one enclosure, which we switch the signal back and forth very rapidly so we can power the implant at any orientation,” Gutruf said. “In the future, this technique could provide battery-free implants that provide uninterrupted stimulation without the need to remove or replace the device, resulting in less invasive procedures than current pacemaker or stimulation techniques.”Devices are implanted with a simple surgical procedure similar to surgeries in which humans are fitted with neurostimulators, or “brain pacemakers.” They cause no adverse effects to subjects, and their functionality doesn’t degrade in the body over time. This could have implications for medical devices like pacemakers, which currently need to be replaced every five to 15 years.The paper also demonstrated that animals implanted with these devices can be safely imaged with computer tomography, or CT, and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, which allow for advanced insights into clinically relevant parameters such as the state of bone and tissue and the placement of the device. Source:https://news.engineering.arizona.edu/news/controlling-neurons-light-without-wires-or-batteries
Source:https://www.santafe.edu/news-center/news/could-energy-overload-drive-cancer-risk Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 12 2019It’s well-known that obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation are major risk factors for cancer. But just how cancer evolves in people with these diseases — and why a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help prevent it — is poorly understood. New research published in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health offers an intriguing theory: By providing an over-abundance of energy to cells, these diseases might super-charge their growth and cause them to become cancerous.Much of the research that explores how cancer develops focuses on mutations that arise in non-reproductive cells, meaning that they are not passed down from parent to offspring; instead, they are only passed on to new “daughter” cells when a mutated cell divides within a tissue. But a number of recent studies have suggested that these “driver mutations” are surprisingly common in normal cells, not just in cancers. “This led me to believe that cancer driver mutations cannot be a complete explanation for why some tissues give rise to cancer, while others do not,” says lead author John Pepper, a biologist with the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. “A small collection of papers in the last few years made me go ‘wait a minute, suddenly that explanation is not adequate anymore.'”Related StoriesResearchers identify potential drug target for multiple cancer typesUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerHealthy tissue has a built-in limiter that keeps cell proliferation in check. But an energy overload — common in diabetes, obesity, and inflammation — can overwhelm those guardrails. “One question is, how abundant are the resources cells need for proliferation? If they are more abundant in some tissues, that might be what evolves into cancer,” Pepper says. He and his colleagues, Daniel Wu of Stanford University and C. Athena Aktipis of Arizona State University, building on previous work by French researchers and others that suggested an oversupply of energy may be one of those proliferation resources, used a computer model of cell evolution to simulate what happens when a tissue is flooded with energy. They found that such an overload did indeed cause a cell production boom. The study hints at a new explanation for how cancer evolves, particularly in the obese and other high-risk populations.It may also help explain the inverse: why following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce that risk. “One of the pieces that’s been missing is, when these lifestyle changes are made it has to be through some kind of physiological mechanism,” Pepper says.While empirical studies are needed to confirm the findings, the study lays the groundwork for what could be an important advance in cancer prevention research — an area that deserves increased attention, he adds.Pepper credits conversations with other Santa Fe Institute faculty — Michael Hochberg, Chris Kempes, Jim Brown, and Geoffrey West — for inspiring him to consider the connection between energy supply and cancer cell proliferation.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 15 2019Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).”Bio-Rad is proud to announce our first FDA-cleared liquid biopsy test in oncology,” said Annette Tumolo, Bio-Rad EVP and President, Life Science Group. “The QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System and QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit represent the first-ever digital PCR solution that can monitor and directly quantitate the molecular response of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia under tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy.”Related StoriesStudy identifies patterns of chronic lymphocytic leukemia growthOverlooked part of cell’s internal machinery may hold key to treating acute myeloid leukemiaHeart failure drug could be effective in treating leukemiaCML is a cancer of white blood cells that is characterized by a fusion of the BCR and ABL genes. Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy has transformed CML into a manageable chronic disease for many patients. The current standard for monitoring treatment response in patients with CML is using reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), but this method can produce variable results, particularly when measuring low levels of the disease. Using the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit, clinicians can accurately and reproducibly monitor residual disease in patients with CML, even at low levels, offering physicians better insight into the management of this disease.The QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System is designed to be flexible, allowing users to run either FDA-cleared in vitro diagnostic tests or lab developed tests on the platform.Bio-Rad introduced Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) technology to the market as a research tool in 2012, and it was quickly adopted in clinical cancer research for liquid biopsy and rare mutation detection. The portfolio of ddPCR products offers reproducible, absolute quantification with precision, sensitivity, and a scalable workflow. To date, there are more than 3,400 publications citing Bio-Rad’s ddPCR technology, including more than 900 publications focused on liquid biopsy.Source: http://www.bio-rad.com/
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 23 2019Waterpipe tobacco smoking, otherwise known as “hookah” or “shisha,” is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, especially among youth. Traditional hookahs burn charcoal as a heat source, but recently, electrical heating elements (EHEs) have been introduced to the market. Reinforced by product advertising and package labeling, many hookah smokers believe that EHEs are less harmful than charcoal. Now, researchers report in ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology that although EHEs reduce some toxicants, they increase others.Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTStudy finds increase in cigarette smoking among minority teens after college affirmative action bansResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairIn traditional hookahs, smokers burn charcoal on top of a tobacco preparation known as ma’ssel, a mixture of tobacco, glycerin, water and flavorings. The resulting smoke bubbles through water at the bottom of the pipe before being inhaled through a tube by the smoker. Previous studies have shown that charcoal contributes most of the harmful polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and carbon monoxide found in hookah smoke. Therefore, manufacturers have developed EHEs for hookahs, in some cases advertising them as “toxicant-free” or “carbon monoxide-free.” Alan Shihadeh and colleagues at the American University of Beirut wanted to investigate these claims by comparing the emissions of several major toxicants from waterpipes using EHEs or charcoal.With an automatic smoking machine, the researchers examined emissions from a hookah using charcoal or one of three commercially available EHEs as the heat source. They found that the EHEs reduced carbon monoxide and PAH emissions by 90% and 80%, respectively. However, emissions of acrolein, a highly reactive irritant thought to be responsible for nearly all non-cancer respiratory diseases in cigarette smokers, was several orders of magnitude higher with EHE use, compared with charcoal use. In addition, levels of some other volatile aldehydes were higher in EHE-produced smoke than in charcoal-produced smoke. Aerosolized particulate matter and nicotine yield were similar among the heating sources. These results suggest that marketing EHEs as safer than charcoal might be misleading, the researchers say. Source:American Chemical Society
It is critical to have the ability to monitor HIV patients at point-of-care settings in countries with limited resources and access to highly skilled technicians and laboratories in order to know how their treatment is progressing and whether or not a particular drug is working. With this important National Institutes of Health grant, professor Asghar in collaboration with professor Caputi can further develop this novel microchip, which has the potential to also be broadly applicable to other infectious diseases that have well-described biomarkers such as Dengue fever, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and malaria.”Stella Batalama, Ph.D., Dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 21 2019As of 2017, about 36.9 million people around the world were living with HIV– 1 in 4 were unaware of their HIV status. In developed countries, HIV-1 viral load is regularly used to closely monitor and assess a patient’s response to antiretroviral therapy to ensure drug adherence and to gauge how the disease is progressing. Antiretroviral therapy is effective, affordable and even freely available in many developing countries, yet it is only used by 59 percent of those infected with HIV. Unfortunately, HIV testing is expensive ($50 to $200 per test), technically complex, and requires trained technicians.The greatest challenge to reducing HIV in developing countries that have limited resources is the absence of point-of-care assays for viral load and the lack of trained technicians as well as modern laboratory infrastructure.Currently, there is no reliable technology that can detect HIV during the early stages of the infection or measure viral rebound in antiretroviral therapy in treated patients in resource constrained point-of-care settings. There is therefore, an urgent need to develop a rapid, disposable, automated, and low-cost HIV viral load assay to increase timely access to HIV care and to improve treatment outcomes.That’s exactly what a researcher from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is developing. He has teamed up with a researcher from FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine to combine their expertise in microchip fabrication, microfluidics, surface functionalization, lensless imaging, and biosensing to create a reliable, rapid and inexpensive device for viral load quantification at point-of-care settings with limited resources.They have received a $377,971 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a disposable HIV-1 viral load microchip that can selectively capture HIV from whole blood/plasma. The technology is being developed to be highly sensitive to quantify clinically relevant viral load during acute phase and virus rebound as well as inexpensive (costing less than $1), and quick (results in less than 45 minutes). Moreover, this technology is highly stable, and does not require refrigeration or a regular electric supply to enable HIV viral load at point-of-care settings.Related StoriesHIV DNA persists in spinal fluid despite treatment, linked to cognitive impairmentAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIVEven when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatment”Providing vital and timely health care services to people in developing countries that don’t have reliable electricity, refrigeration or state-of-the-art medical equipment is extremely challenging,” said Waseem Asghar, Ph.D., principal investigator, an assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and director of the Asghar Laboratory. “Just like pregnancy tests that can be stored at room temperature, the microchip we are developing to test HIV using multi-layer, immuno-functionalized microfluidic devices can be used in settings where refrigeration isn’t available.”Asghar is developing this technology with co-investigator Massimo Caputi, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine, who has expertise in the molecular biology of HIV-1 and the mechanisms of regulating cellular and viral splicing. Caputi has made important contributions to the understanding of how cellular proteins modulate the replication of the HIV-1 genome.Asghar’s technology employs a lensless imaging method that allows rapid cell counting without the need for skilled technicians to operate, making it suitable for point-of-care settings in developing countries as well as developed countries. In the near future, the researchers will validate the functioning microchip with blood/plasma samples from 200 HIV-infected subjects. Source:Florida Atlantic University