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Month: July 2019

NIH director expresses concern but offers no new policy on sexual harassment

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first_img NIH director expresses concern but offers no new policy on sexual harassment for grantees By Jocelyn KaiserSep. 18, 2018 , 3:35 PM National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins in Bethesda, Maryland, yesterday ended a monthslong silence on the topic of sexual harassment in biomedical research, announcing plans to beef up procedures in NIH’s own laboratories. But the agency did not reveal any new policies to sanction NIH-funded investigators who commit sexual harassment at universities, a step that some researchers and some members of Congress would like him to take.Sexual harassment is “morally indefensible” and “unacceptable,” Collins said in a written statement. “Personally, I find this to be a matter of extreme importance,” he added in a follow-up interview with ScienceInsider. But he says the agency’s hands are tied because of “legal reasons.” In particular, Collins says the agency can’t move quickly to require that institutions report sexual harassment findings to the agency, as the National Science Foundation (NSF) plans to do. Collins’s comments come after several high-profile cases of sexual harassment in academic science. The incidents have inspired new policies by scientific organizations, including AAAS (publisher of ScienceInsider), which this week announced a new process for revoking fellow status for those found guilty of sexual or other misconduct. Tomorrow, NSF is expected to finalize a policy issued earlier this year that would require universities to tell NSF once they have completed an investigation into allegations of harassment by an NSF grantee and whenever they place a grantee on administrative leave. (ScienceInsider’s report on the NSF policy can be found here.)  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 NIH’s main lever for preventing sexual harassment, according to the agency, is a provision of a 1972 education law, called Title IX, that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender by any educational institution receiving federal funds. In abiding by those provisions, Collins said, universities are required to take steps to ensure “a harassment-free environment.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Francis Collins Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country National Institutes of Health NIH also requires that institutions report whether an NIH-funded grantee has been put on administrative leave or removed from their position for any reason. If NIH is not satisfied with the university’s subsequent decision to replace the grantee, the statement explains, “we then have the option to suspend or terminate the grant.” The proposed NSF policy also noted that the agency could take “unilateral action [including] suspension or termination of the award,” but NSF has since clarified that this may not necessarily mean an investigator found guilty of sexual harassment will be removed as principal investigator of a grant.Collins says NIH can’t automatically cut off funding to individual grantees accused of or found guilty of sexual harassment because the funding goes to the institution. Transferring a grant instead of ending it can be preferable to “preserve the science,” NIH notes, and to allow other staff, including possibly even the person who was harassed, to continue with their research.Last month, Senator Patty Murray (D–WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D–CT) criticized NIH’s approach to sexual harassment. In a 6 August letter to Collins, the lawmakers wrote that “the agency has largely failed to take steps to hold its awardee institutions accountable for fostering safe workplace environments regarding sexual harassment.” On 31 August NIH acknowledged that the agency has not sanctioned any institutions for failing to certify that they will comply with the civil rights policies.Its response to Murray and DeLauro also revealed that NIH has spent $2 million over the past 5 years on dozens of settlements involving cases of sexual harassment. (These incidents presumably occurred in NIH’s intramural program, although the letter does not specify that.) NIH’s plans for its intramural program announced yesterday include an updated policy on sexual harassment, a simpler reporting process and plans for a survey.Collins told ScienceInsider that no scientist has been suspended or barred from receiving NIH funding because of sexual harassment. NIH can refer allegations involving grantees to the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH’s parent agency. But Collins said that office is overwhelmed with Medicare fraud and other wrongdoing and doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to deal with NIH matters. The agency wants Congress to shift $5 million from its pending 2019 budget to the IG to help it pursue such cases and other transgressions, such as breaches of peer review and intellectual property theft.Requiring institutions to report sexual harassment findings to NIH would be a first step toward better oversight. But NIH can’t immediately follow NSF’s example, as Collins explained in a second statement released on 19 September. Unlike the standalone NSF, NIH—as part of HHS—must follow the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires a formal rulemaking process to make such a policy change. “That is why at the moment, we’re not in sync,” Collins says. Such a rulemaking, which involves the White House Office of Management and Budget, would take at least a year and “can readily get snagged along the way,” he adds.Asked why NIH can’t go ahead with such a rulemaking, Collins said, “We are actively exploring that possibility.” He also expects to discuss a new rule that would cover all research agencies as part of a plan work with NSF director France Córdova on harmonizing policies. Collins’s initial statement has gotten a mixed reception. “I don’t want to see the man found guilty of viciously retaliating against me at a national meeting with new trainees,” says neuroscientist BethAnn McLaughlin at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who is circulating an online petition that calls on NIH to take away training, travel and grant money, and study section services from any investigator found guilty of sexual misconduct. “It terrifies me.”Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Rockville, Maryland, says, “I think the community is looking for more, and rightly so.” He noted that the society recently sent a comment to one of NIH’s institutes calling for new policies. “I recognize it’s complicated for the NIH to work through,” he adds.Tracy Costello, chair of the National Postdoctoral Association, was more positive about yesterday’s statement. “I think NIH is moving in the right direction. … I think it’s a very complicated problem and I don’t know that there’s one quick answer,” says Costello, whose group is worried that a federal agency might take punitive action before an institution completes its investigation.Murray is also waiting to see what happens next. “I’m encouraged that [NIH] has acknowledged that it needs to do more, but we know the devil is in the details,” she told ScienceInsider. “So I’ll be watching closely to make sure they take serious action that has a real impact.”*Update, 20 September, 3:25 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct the description of the legal restrictions on NIH policymaking and to include a statement NIH released on 19 September.last_img read more

RTI activists murder Special CBI court orders police protection for four witnesses

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first_img Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Two NPCC officers held for seeking bribe to clear bills: CBI By Express News Service |Ahmedabad | Published: July 18, 2019 2:57:07 am Bhagwandas Dhakan, who had been re-examined in January 2018, expressed fear of being attacked by the accused or their family members. The court extended his police protection until pronouncement of the judgment.Sources said an assessment would be made and depending on the threat perception, further extension may be granted to the four key witnesses. Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed RTI activist's murder: Special CBI court orders police protection for four witnesses The court had on July 11 convicted former BJP MP Dinu Solanki and six others and sentenced them to life imprisonment for the murder.A special CBI court on Wednesday ordered police protection for four crucial witnesses who had deposed during the trial in the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa in 2010. The court had on July 11 convicted former BJP MP Dinu Solanki and six others and sentenced them to life imprisonment for the murder. ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict He said he had also requested the court to order that appropriate legal action be taken against the person who issued the threat. On July 12, Judge Dave granted “full police protection till July 17”. On Wednesday, the court granted a further extension in the period of protection until January 2020.Rama Solanki used to work for the former MP Dinu Solanki at his farmhouse in Harmadiya. By his own submission, Rama was investigated and cross-examined as a witness and his statement taken on May 16, 2013.Dharmendragiri Balugiri Goswami, another key witness and resident of Una, was among 26 witnesses re-examined by the special CBI court. Goswami said, “It was at my hotel, Hotel Comfort Inn, where the murder was plotted. I have had police protection since the re-trial was ordered in 2017.” Goswami was re-examined in 2018. As per court records, on February 1, 2018, after completion of the first part of his cross-examination, Goswami informed the court that his wife had telephoned him and told him that somebody had kidnapped their son.However, his wife later informed him that their son had returned home. Following this incident, judge Dave said, “…if police protection to the witness and his family is extended till pronouncement and final judgment, it would serve the purpose and if the witness intends police protection even for further time, he may approach this court for further relief.” Best Of Express center_img Advertising Advertising Legal sources said that the period of protection given to witnesses expired the day the court pronounced its judgment, following which Special CBI Judge KM Dave chose to extend protection, considering the perception of threat to the witnesses.Of the four witness, main witness Rama Haja Solanki has been granted protection until January 20, 2020. Two others, Dharmen-dragiri Goswami and Bhagwan-das Himmatbhai Dhakan, have been granted protection until August 16 this year, while advocate Anand Yagnik, a star independent witness, has been granted protection for four weeks.Speaking to The Indian Express, Rama Solanki said, “I have had police protection for the past four years. On the day of the judgment (July 11), a man called at 6.48 pm , merely hours after the court pronounced its verdict, threatening to kill me.” He said the man claimed to be calling from Surendranagar. “The next day, I filed an application at the Kodinar police station as well as before the court seeking police protection.” CBI raids: Opposition MPs write to PM accusing govt of ‘intimidation’ and ‘coercion’ CBI searches former Samajwadi Party MP Ateeq Ahmad’s premises in UP Related News Post Comment(s)last_img read more

QUT study analyzes nature of men donating sperm online

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first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 2 2018As prospective parents increasingly seek sperm donors online, an international study has analyzed what sort of men are donating sperm in this informal setting as opposed to a traditional clinic. And it seems a key characteristic is they are more agreeable.The international Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology has just published the latest study (Clinical vs. Exclusively Online Sperm Donors: What’s the difference? from QUT behavioral economist Dr Stephen Whyte”Scientists have been studying the psychology and motivations of men who donate in clinical settings for more than 40 years but globally tens of thousands of men and women are now choosing to participate in informal sperm donation,” said Dr Whyte, who added the study found exclusively informal donors were also more likely to be in a committed relationship and more likely to identify with a sexuality other than heterosexual, such as gay, bisexual or asexual.”Connection websites are growing in popularity with the UK-based PrideAngel site having more than 27,000 members even just four years ago.”Websites like these are a new cyber conduit for donors and recipients. Compared to the traditional clinical sperm banks and assisted reproductive technology providers, this online marketplace is far less constrained for participants.”The finding that males already in committed relationships are less likely to have a history of clinical donation compared to single males is really a unique finding and may imply male donors currently in a relationship are more popular with women in the online setting.”It may also represent a stronger signal of a male’s ability to cooperate and coordinate successfully with a partner for the purpose of having offspring.”Formal donation by males (technically) only requires them to attend a clinic and provide a sample at their convenience. Informal donation is a two-sided interaction requiring logistical precision in coordinating timing and travel as well as alignment with a recipient’s fertility needs and some level or emotional or psychological support.”Related StoriesSperm quality among Swiss men in ‘critical state’, say expertsAncient epigenetic change deactivates some genes linked to cancerStudy explores factors that impact fertility preservation decisions in transgender youthThe data for the study was collected via a 42-question online survey of 7,696 registered male members of PrideAngel. The donors ranged in age from 22 to 66 years of age.”As this global marketplace for sperm grows, research is needed to identify and explore the socio-economic characteristics, personality and clinical reproductive history of this new group of men and how it impacts on their reproductive psychology and behavior,” he said.”Men and women who interact on the connection websites and forums have made a conscious decision to be or find a donor outside of the traditional clinical settings. These developing cyber economies operate outside regulatory frameworks and record-keeping which makes very difficult to conduct research into the micro-level behavior of participants.”Dr Whyte said growing appeal of connection websites may be explained by the fact they provide a setting in which men and women can communicate directly, reducing financial & psychological burdens and barriers that have existed previously. It also allows the men and women involved to freely negotiate their preferred donation and ongoing parenting arrangements.”Future research could focus on establishing a greater understanding of the catalysts for males to participate or transition between both clinical and informal sperm donor settings, as well as develop a more accurate picture of the motivations beyond those participating in the informal marketplace,” he said. Source:https://www.qut.edu.au/news?id=137649last_img read more

New procedure allows leg length to be precisely adjusted during hip replacement

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first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 3 2018After a patient has been fitted with an artificial hip joint, sometimes the leg on that side ends up longer or shorter than before. This can lead to problems in the spinal column. A newly developed procedure enables leg length to be precisely adjusted during hip replacement surgery.Today hip replacement is a routine surgical procedure. Some 210,000 hip prostheses are implanted every year in Germany. A frequent complication consists of the situation that, after the operation, the patient’s leg is not the same length as it was before. Normally, a leg length discrepancy of less than one centimeter is well tolerated. Any more, and the patient will most likely have to wear orthopaedical shoe lifts to compensate for postural imbalance and prevent back pain.Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, together with partners in science and industry, has found a solution to this problem. “It consists of three main components: an optical system to measure leg length, a modular implant design, and a pre-op planning software tool,” says Dr. Ronny Grunert from the institute’s Department for Medical Engineering.The leg length is measured in the operating room just prior to surgery. First, a plastic box with optical markers on its surface is attached to the patient’s tibia. Holding the limb in extension, the surgeon then takes the leg by the heel and lifts it upward. During this maneuver, a 3D camera is used to record the circular motion described by the optical markers on the patient’s shin. In essence, it’s like using a mathematical compass to draw circles around a point, which in this case is the hip joint around which the leg rotates. In this analogy, the optical markers correspond to the tip of the pencil. After provisionally inserting the implant, a second measurement is carried out. The software program compares the two rotational measurements to verify that the leg length remains the same before and after the intervention. If a difference is detected, the length inequality must be corrected.Free choice of femoral stem and acetabular cupRelated StoriesPorvair Sciences develops new fluid collection vent for surgical suction cannistersBariatric surgery should be offered to all patients who would benefitCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatment”Together with our partners, we have developed a modular concept that allows the size and position of the artificial hip joint to be optimized for each patient during surgery,” explains Grunert. This modular approach is more flexible than having to choose between prefabricated implants in a limited range of sizes. It allows the surgeon to select the best-fitting combination of femoral stem and acetabular cup. The procedure consists of implanting the femoral stem and connecting it with the acetabular cup by means of a sliding screw. By adjusting the position of the screw, it is possible to precisely adjust the leg length according to the pre-op measurement. If necessary, a different acetabular cup can be selected.The third component of the new procedure, the pre-op planning software, helps the physician to select the most suitable prosthetic joint. Dr. Torsten Prietzel, Medical Director of the Endoprosthetics Network and Chief Surgeon at the Helios Clinic in Blankenhain, is already using the software on a trial basis. The modular implants and the system for measuring leg length are also still in the test phase. Ronny Grunert estimates that all three components of the system will be ready for clinical use in two years’ time. Source:https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2018/december/precise-adjustment-in-the-operating-room.htmllast_img read more

Lowincome patients at increased risk of catastrophic amputation after knee joint replacement

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first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 30 2019Above-knee amputation (AKA) is a rare but severe complication of deep infection after knee replacement surgery. Low-income patients are at increased risk of this catastrophic complication, reports a study in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® (CORR®), a publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons®. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.Race and sex do not affect the risk of AKA after periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), according to the new research, led by Shyam Brahmabhatt, MD, of Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, Philadelphia. In an accompanying ‘Take 5′ interview, Dr. Brahmabhatt and CORR Senior Editor M. Daniel Wongworawat, MD, discuss the new evidence on how social factors may influence health outcomes and access to care for patients with complications after knee joint replacement surgery.Income and Insurance Status Affect Amputation Risk in Patients with Infected Knee ProsthesesUsing data from a nationally representative hospital database (Nationwide Inpatient Sample), the researchers identified approximately 33,000 patients diagnosed with PJI after knee joint replacement surgery between 2010 and 2014. Referring to infection developing around the artificial joint implant (prosthesis), PJI itself is a serious complication, usually requiring further surgery.In a small number of cases, treatment of the infection is unsuccessful, requiring amputation of the limb at a level above the knee. Of the 33,000 patients with PJI, about three percent had AKA. The researchers analyzed risk factors associated with AKA, focusing on socioeconomic measures (income and insurance status), race, and sex.Socioeconomic factors were significantly related to AKA risk, even after adjustment for the patients’ health status and other characteristics. Patients living in areas (based on ZIP code) in the lowest one-fourth of income were 58 percent more likely to sustain an AKA, compared to those living in the highest-income areas.Related StoriesMini MRI device could help diagnose knee injuries more quickly and accuratelyCommon traits keep many patients with knee cartilage issues from participating in clinical trialsResearchers report new regenerative medicine approach for treating osteoarthritis of the kneePatients on public insurance were also at higher risk. Compared to those with private insurance, the odds of AKA were 94 percent higher for Medicare patients and 86 percent higher for Medicaid patients.The risk of AKA was not significantly different for black compared to white patients. That’s an important finding, as previous studies had suggested that black race might be a risk factor for AKA after knee replacement surgery. Risk was also similar for men compared to women.Because of the large number of patients who undergo knee joint replacement and the poor functional outcomes associated with AKA, it is essential to understand the risk factors for this devastating complication. A recent study in CORR® reported that the occurrence of AKA due to PJI more than doubled over a 15-year period.The researchers were surprised to find that where the patient lived had such a major impact on AKA risk. “While ZIP code may not be a perfect measure of socioeconomic status, it is associated with the level of resources that may be available to people living in that area,” says Dr. Brahmabhatt in his ‘Take 5’ interview. The researchers call for further studies to explore strategies to prevent PJI – particularly in patients from low-income areas.Drs. Brahmabhatt and Wongworawat discuss the findings in the context of multidisciplinary efforts to reduce health disparities and inequalities in care. “The message that I would impart is that upholding the principles of equity, social justice, and ensuring community health are important for all physicians,” says Dr. Brahmabhatt. “It’s important to remember that all specialties work together as a team to fulfill vital roles in helping our patients towards that goal.” Source:http://home.lww.com/news.entry.html/2019/04/30/low_income_is_a_risk-SScj.htmllast_img read more

Study finds sex differences in inflammationinduced anhedonia

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first_imgOur study is the first to show that there are sex differences in neural sensitivity to reward in response to inflammation, which has important implications. This may suggest one reason women experience depression at a far greater rate than men, particularly for the kinds of depression that may be inflammatory in nature.”Naomi Eisenberger, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, senior author Related StoriesUnhealthy gut microbiome may make breast cancers more aggressive finds studyCircadian rhythm influences immune responses across a range of diseasesResearchers one step closer to unmasking the cause of familial MSIn the study, healthy men and women received a substance to increase inflammation. Dr. Eisenberger and colleagues measured activity in the reward region of the brain, the ventral striatum, while the participants played a game to receive a monetary reward. Women with greater inflammatory responses showed less brain response in anticipation of potential rewards, but the relationship was not present in men.”This suggests that women with chronic inflammatory disorders may be particularly vulnerable to developing depression through decreases in sensitivity to reward. Clinicians who treat female patients with inflammatory disorders may want to pay close attention to these patients for possible onset of depressive symptoms,” said first author Mona Moieni, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Eisenberger. This study highlights the important gender differences that exist in the human brain and suggests a mechanism that might help explain the greater prevalence of depression in women compared to men.”Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging Because the increased inflammation had no effect on how men’s brains responded to reward, inflammation-induced anhedonia may be an important contributor to the increased rates of depression in women.Source:ElsevierJournal reference:Eisenberger, N. et al. (2019) Sex differences in the relationship between inflammation and reward sensitivity: A randomized controlled trial of endotoxin. Biological Psychiatry. doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.03.010 Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 15 2019Inflammation reduces the brain’s response to rewards in women, but not in men, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, published by Elsevier. Reduced activity in the brain’s reward center is the signature of anhedonia, a core feature of depression that reflects a loss of enjoyment in things or activities. Women are two-to-three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression, and the new findings pinpoint a key difference in men and women that could contribute to the lopsided rates of the disorder.last_img read more

Cancer researchers discover new functions for common oncogene MYC

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first_imgAltogether, our study reveals that MYC can affect the production of key metabolic enzymes and immune receptors in lymphoma cells by regulating the efficiency of mRNA translation and the integrity of protein synthesis.”Hans-Guido Wendel, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center The researchers now plan to investigate how MYC regulates these different aspects of protein production in cancer cells.Source:The Rockefeller University PressJournal reference:Ouyang, Z. et al. (2019) c-MYC regulates mRNA translation efficiency and start-site selection in lymphoma. Journal of Experimental Medicine. doi.org/10.1084/jem.20181726 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 30 2019Cancer researchers have discovered surprising new functions for a protein called MYC, a powerful oncogene that is estimated to drive the development of almost half a million new cancer cases in the US every year. The study, which will be published May 29 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, shows that MYC affects the efficiency and quality of protein production in lymphoma cells, fueling their rapid growth and altering their susceptibility to immunotherapy.MYC drives the development of a wide range of cancers by enhancing the growth and proliferation of tumor cells. This is mainly due to MYC’s function as a transcription factor controlling the production of protein-encoding messenger RNAs (mRNAs) from thousands of different genes within the cell. However, some evidence suggests that MYC might also control the subsequent “translation” of these mRNAs into proteins, a process carried out by complex cellular machines known as ribosomes.A group of researchers led by Hans-Guido Wendel at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Zhengqing Ouyang at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, and Gunnar Rätsch at the ETH Zürich, analyzed the types of mRNA translated by ribosomes in lymphoma cells containing either low or high levels of MYC. The researchers determined that high levels of MYC stimulate the translation of a specific set of mRNAs, many of which encode components of the respiratory complexes that allow the cell’s mitochondria to produce energy.The research team found that, in the absence of MYC, the proteins SRSF1 and RBM42 can bind to these mRNAs and prevent them from being translated by ribosomes. When MYC levels are high, however, SRSF1 and RBM42 no longer bind to the mRNAs, and they are free to be translated into respiratory complex proteins. MYC therefore promotes the generation of energy that can fuel the lymphoma cells’ rapid growth and proliferation.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’The researchers also discovered that MYC affects how much of an mRNA that ribosomes translate, resulting in the production of longer or shorter versions of proteins. For example, lymphoma cells containing low levels of MYC produce a truncated version of the protein CD19 that, unlike full-length CD19, is no longer exposed on the surface of the cancer cell.This is important because lymphoma can be treated using CAR-T immune cells that have been genetically engineered to recognize and kill CD19-expressing cancer cells. Loss of surface CD19 is associated with resistance to CAR-T cell therapy, but how lymphoma cells reduce surface CD19 levels is unclear. The researchers found that CAR-T cells were less able to recognize and kill lymphoma cells that lacked surface CD19 because they expressed low levels of MYC.last_img read more

New approach to poststroke rehabilitation proposed

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first_imgFor a long time, it was believed that when one hemisphere is bad, the second, instead of helping it, suppresses it even more. In this regard, the suppression of the activity of the “unaffected” hemisphere should help restore the affected side of the brain. However, the fact is that this particular scheme does not work in many patients after a stroke. Each time it is necessary to check what the impact of the unaffected hemisphere is — whether it is suppressive or activating.”Maria Nazarova, one of the authors of the article and a researcher at the HSE Institute of Cognitive Neurosciences Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 27 2019The existing approach to brain stimulation for rehabilitation after a stroke does not take into account the diversity of lesions and the individual characteristics of patients’ brains. This was the conclusion made by researchers of the Higher School of Economics (HSE University) and the Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Sciences in their article, ‘Predicting the Response to Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation in Stroke’.Among the most common causes of death worldwide, stroke ranks second only to myocardial infarction (heart attack). In addition, a stroke is also a chronic disease that leaves patients disabled for many years.In recent decades, non-invasive neuromodulation methods such as electric and magnetic stimulation of various parts of the nervous system have been increasingly used to rehabilitate patients after a stroke. Stimulation selectively affects different parts of the brain, which allows you to functionally enhance activity in some areas while suppressing unwanted processes in others that impede the restoration of brain functions. This is a promising mean of rehabilitation after a stroke. However, its results in patients remain highly variable.The study authors argue that the main reason for the lack of effectiveness in neuromodulation approaches after a stroke is an inadequate selection of patients for the application of a particular brain stimulation technique.According to the authors, the existing approach does not take into account the diversity of lesions after a stroke and the variability of individual responses to brain stimulation as a whole. Researchers propose two criteria for selecting the optimal brain stimulation strategy. The first is an analysis of the interactions between the hemispheres. Now, all patients, regardless of the severity of injury after a stroke, are offered a relatively standard treatment regimen. This approach relies on the idea of interhemispheric competition. Related StoriesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesCancer patients taking statin medication has lower risk of suffering a strokeNew method improves detection of atrial fibrillation in stroke survivorsThe second criterion, scientists call the neuronal phenotype. This is an individual characteristic of the activity of the brain, which is ‘unique to each person like their fingerprints’. Such a phenotype is determined, firstly, by the ability of the brain to build effective structural and functional connections between different areas (connectivity). And, secondly, the individual characteristics of neuronal dynamics, including its ability to reach a critical state. This is the state of the neuronal system in which it is the most plastic and capable of change.Only by taking these criteria into account, the authors posit, can neuromodulation methods be brought to a new level and be effectively used in clinical practice. To do this, it is necessary to change the paradigm of the universal approach and select methods based on the individual characteristics of the brain of a particular person and the course of his or her disease. Source:National Research University Higher School of EconomicsJournal reference:Nazarova, M. et al. (2019) Predicting the Response to Non-invasive Brain Stimulation in Stroke. Frontiers in Neurology. doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.00302.last_img read more

Effective stop smoking treatments less likely to be prescribed to people with

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first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 11 2019A new study from researchers at the Universities of Bath and Bristol suggests that doctors should rethink which drugs they prescribe to help smokers with mental health conditions kick the habit.Their results highlight that the most effective drug at helping individuals to stop smoking is less likely to be prescribed to people with mental health conditions.People with mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, are twice as likely to smoke compared to the general population. They tend to smoke more cigarettes per day, be more heavily addicted, and more likely to relapse when they try to quit. And whereas smoking rates in the UK have declined over recent decades, smoking rates have changed relatively little for people with mental health conditions.Most smokers wishing to quit are prescribed one of two common smoking cessation drugs: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or varenicline. Recent randomised trials and observational studies have found that patients prescribed varenicline are more likely to stop smoking compared to those prescribed NRT.But there have been concerns around the psychological safety of varenicline, with doctors reluctant to prescribe the drug to smokers with mental health conditions. In fact, the best evidence shows that varenicline is not associated with worse mental health outcomes.The new study, published today [Wednesday 10 July] in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, compares rates by which patients prescribed NRT* and varenicline** succeed in giving up, and what effects the drugs have on individual’s mental health.Drawing on data from over 200,000 smokers, it compares outcomes for patients with and without mental health conditions prescribed both types of drug. The results highlight that:Compared to smokers without mental health conditions, smokers with these conditions were 31% less likely to be prescribed varenicline than NRT.Smokers with mental health conditions who were prescribed varenicline were 19% more likely to have successfully quit at two years follow-up, than smokers who were prescribed NRT.Varenicline is more effective than NRT in helping patients stop smoking and there was little ‘evidence that varenicline was adversely associated with poorer mental health outcomes’. In general, varenicline was associated with better mental health outcomes.Lead researcher, Dr Gemma Taylor from the University of Bath’s Addiction & Mental Health Group with the Department of Psychology explains: Smoking is still the world’s leading cause of preventable illness and death. One in every two smokers will die because of their addiction unless they quit. Yet, whilst smoking rates have declined over recent decades for the general population, prevalence has not shifted to the same extent in people with mental health conditions who disproportionately suffer from smoking related mortality and morbidity and lower life expectancy.This study is about addressing this public health challenge to see whether assumptions about prescriptions could be challenged to give patients wishing to quit a better chance of success. Our results, in combination with results from clinical trials, suggest that doctors should rethink prescription practice in view of the benefits varenicline could bring to help those with mental health conditions stop smoking. Stopping smoking has clear physical health benefits, and there is growing evidence that stopping smoking is associated with better mental health too, benefits that could be as large as taking anti-depressants.” Related StoriesInternational study aims to more accurately describe mental health disordersOnline training program helps managers to support employees’ mental health needsIU-connected startup working to enable precision medicine for mental health issues, chronic painThe research team conducted the study using electronic medical records from 654 general practices in England from 2006-15 via the Clinical Practice Research Database.Comparing patients’ success in quitting smoking using either NRT or varenicline, they focused on rates by which patients with mental health conditions gave up at three, six and nine month windows, as well at one, two and four years after first prescription.The team also observed that across all patients, NRT and varenicline prescribing declined overtime. This could be because NHS Stop Smoking Services are being decommissioned from primary care.Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction, King’s College London and co-Chair of the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership said: “People with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke and smoke heavily than those without, and this contributes to them dying much earlier. Doctors should therefore be pulling out all the stops to help these smokers to quit, but this research involving nearly 200,000 smokers, shows that this is not happening.”Smokers with mental conditions are less likely to be prescribed varenicline than nicotine replacement therapy, despite the authors finding varenicline to be more effective and generally associated with better mental health outcomes.”The 2019 ASH report ‘A Changing Landscape: Stop Smoking Services and Tobacco Control in England’ suggests that in some parts of the country, people are being refused varenicline from GP surgeries. There is also preliminary evidence of this occurring in a related study being run by University of Bath’s Addiction & Mental Health Group, in which trial participants have been declined varenicline by their GP surgery and informed to seek varenicline elsewhere. Source:University of BathJournal reference:Taylor, G.M.J. et al. (2019) Prescribing Prevalence, Effectiveness, and Mental Health Safety of Smoking Cessation Medicines in Patients With Mental Disorders. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntz072.last_img read more

Seven chateaux and counting Chinese billionaire is big in Bordeaux

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“I pictured a French country house, and it just so happened that it had eight hectares of vines around it,” he said.That was his first chateau, Haut-Brisson in Saint-Emilion, which he purchased in 1997, without ever having sampled the fruits of the vine.He quickly learned that winemaking isn’t just about planting and harvesting vines—it’s a way of life. And as in life, “there are many things that you cannot control. You do the best you can, but then you have to wait for nature.” Bordeaux’s ‘magnificent’ lost vintage pushes small growers to the edge Citation: Seven chateaux and counting: Chinese billionaire is big in Bordeaux (2018, May 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-chateaux-chinese-billionaire-big-bordeaux.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. ‘Black coffee and baguettes’It wasn’t his love of a plummy merlot that brought the Vietnamese-born businessman to Bordeaux. “My children study in the United States, so I was looking for a place halfway for vacations. France is halfway,” he told AFP in an interview.But there was also a touch of whimsy in his decision to set up shop on the other side of the world.Growing up in Vietnam under French colonial rule—living in the capital’s sprawling Chinatown—he was enthralled by “images of De Gaulle, black coffee, baguettes and dreams of Paris.”But instead of buying a pied-a-terre in the French capital, Kwok opted for a house in the country. © 2018 AFP Peter Kwok pose dans la cave du Château Bellefont-Belcier, à Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, en Gironde, le 11 avril 2018 Peter Kwok pose dans le Château Bellefont-Belcier, à Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, en Gironde, le 11 avril 2018 Some left after seeing their investments wither on the vine, but Peter Kwok, who has no fewer than seven vineyards to his name, says he is here for the long haul.The 69-year-old Hong Kong-based billionaire has been in southwest France for the past 20 years, recently snapping up Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, a Saint-Emilion grand cru.Some in France’s winemaking community are sniffy about the Asian investors who have bought up 140 chateaux in Bordeaux.The acquisitions—though making up only 1.5 percent of the region’s 7,000 vineyards—have stirred sensitivities about growing foreign investment, particularly Chinese, in strategic or heritage sectors.In February, President Emmanuel Macron said he would work to prevent foreign investors buying French farms after it emerged that a Chinese fund had bought nearly 3,000 hectares (7,500 acres) of wheat fields in the centre of the country.The Chinese tycoons present in Bordeaux see wine mainly as a way of diversifying their fortunes.But Kwok, who has invested 60 to 70 million euros ($72.5-85 million) in the region, insists he’s not in it for the money—though as an investment banker he keeps a eye on the numbers.”Other friends who own vineyards warned me the only way to make a fortune in wine is to invest an even bigger fortune!” said Kwok, who heads the energy subsidiary of Chinese investment group CITIC. Explore further Kwok has earned respect from locals thanks to the quality of his wines At first, he sold most of his wines in Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.But as the reputation of his wines grow so too has his global distribution.With a few harvests under his belt his goal now is to build his “Vignobles K” brand.”The other aim is to make good wine, which will also take years, but not quite as many.”Wine as artAt Bellefont-Belcier, something of a sleeping beauty in Saint-Emilion, one of his first tasks will be to clean up the woods that dot the rolling limestone hills over which the estate is spread.Kwok has earned his chops when it comes to revamping older chateaux, having restored the 18th-century dry masonry terraced vineyards at the Tour-Saint-Christophe estate he acquired in 2012. Reflecting on those Chinese peers who bid farewell to Bordeaux after a brief dalliance, he said: “It (owning a chateau) became the fashion. They just wanted the experience. But they slowly realised that winemaking is not the business they thought.”His time in France, which he visits three or four times a year, has taught him that the key ingredient in wine is not equipment or skilled labour, it’s the “terroir”—the land.”It’s like being the owner of a piece of art,” he said. “Only with wine, it’s a piece of art you can work on.” Over the past decade Chinese investors have conquered dozens of chateaux in Bordeaux, France’s famed wine-growing region. read more

German cabin crew join Ryanair strike nearly 250 flights cut

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first_img Explore further German cabin crew said they would join pilots in Europe-wide strikes against Ryanair on Friday, as the airline announced it would have to cancel nearly 250 flights. © 2018 AFP Ryanair employees have been striking for higher pay and contracts that will let them access local benefits Citation: German cabin crew join Ryanair strike, nearly 250 flights cut (2018, September 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-german-cabin-crew-ryanair-flights.htmlcenter_img Ryanair says cancelling 190 flights over Friday strike The crews’ union Verdi said Thursday that after another four rounds of negotiations with the airline, “Ryanair did not submit a satisfactory offer”.Travellers in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy will also be affected by Ryanair walkouts.Germany’s Cockpit union (VC) had already said late Wednesday that its pilots would stage a strike in the protracted dispute.The Dublin-based carrier warned on Tuesday that 190 flights would be cancelled, affecting 30,000 passengers, before revising the figure downward a day later to 150 flights.After German staff announced they were joining the strike action, Ryanair increased the number again.”We have pre-cancelled some more flights (under 100) tomorrow (Fri 28) due to a short notice strike, called by the VC union in Germany,” it tweeted.Ryanair said the vast majority of its 2,400 normally scheduled flights would be unaffected by “these unnecessary strikes”.All affected customers have received email and text message notifications to advise them of cancellations and options, Ryanair said.Staff have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees. Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair has been employing them under Irish legislation.Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

BMW blames trade headwinds emissions tests for weaker 2018

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first_imgProfits at German high-end carmaker BMW tumbled in 2018, the firm said Friday, with trade headwinds and tough new EU emissions tests’ drag on performance set to last into this year. “Challenges facing the entire sector are unlikely to diminish in the coming months,” chief executive Harald Krueger said in a statement.Net profit at BMW slumped 16.9 percent to 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion), the group said.The Munich-based firm pointed to “political uncertainty, a cooling global economy… rising production costs to meet regulatory requirements, exchange rate effects and rising raw materials prices” as weights on its earnings.Operating, or underlying, profits fell less sharply, shedding 7.9 percent to 9.1 billion euros.Revenues were less strongly affected, falling 0.8 percent to 97.5 billion.Other carmakers’ scramble to sell cars not certified under the so-called WLTP test cycle before its introduction in September led to “unexpectedly intense competition”, BMW said, penalising the group for its decision to adopt the new procedure early.Meanwhile the group’s bottom line also suffered as it was ordered to recall over a million diesel cars to replace faulty components.BMW boosted unit sales at its flagship brand slightly, to 2.1 million cars, but deliveries of Minis fell back 2.8 percent, to 361,500.Luxury subsidiary Rolls-Royce lifted shipments 22 percent, to 4,107.Looking to different world regions, sales in Europe were flat while the Americas and Asia recorded slight growth.”Volumes grew signficantly” in China as BMW ramped production of X3 SUVs locally, the group said.Bosses said they would offer shareholders their second-highest dividend payout ever, at 3.50 euros per share.Looking ahead to 2019, BMW expects a “slight increase” in unit sales, in part thanks to new models.Investors offered a mildly positive reaction to the news, with BMW stock gaining 1.1 percent to trade at 74.59 euros around 11:30 am in Frankfurt (1030 GMT). Explore further VW sees steady profits in 2018 results Citation: BMW blames trade headwinds, emissions tests for weaker 2018 (2019, March 15) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-bmw-blames-headwinds-emissions-weaker.html © 2019 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Renaults Senard expects Nissans new board to embrace alliance

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first_imgFILE PHOTO: Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard gestures at the end of a joint news conference in Yokohama, Japan, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File PhotoPARIS (Reuters) – Renault (RENA.PA) is confident that alliance partner Nissan’s (7201.T) new board will work to reinforce the their partnership as it struggles to turn the page on the Carlos Ghosn scandal, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said on Thursday. Nissan shareholders last month approved the appointment of a new board at the Japanese carmaker that includes more international profiles. “There is a change,” Senard told reporters in a briefing at Renault headquarters. “We have a new board that is conscious of its fiduciary duty. Let that board work.” Speaking to the Paris-based Anglo-American Press Association, Senard expressed confidence that Nissan directors will see alliance cooperation as essential in the face of challenges facing the auto industry. “Necessity sometimes helps,” he said. Reporting by Laurence Frost. Editing by Jane MerrimanOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

Treda property show brings together leading builders showcases projects

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first_img COMMENT November 02, 2018 COMMENTS The Treda property Show has brought together over 100 real estate companies, about a dozen banks and financial institutions to showcase their range of properties, products and services offerings in the realty sector.The 9th Edition of the three day Telangana Real Estate Developers Association (Treda) show which got underway today at Hitex expo centre with the theme “A property that suits the budget of every buyer.”S K Joshi, Chief Secretary, Telangana, inaugurated the show in the presence of leading real estate companies who are taking part in the event where over 145 stalls have been put-up.The real estate sector in Telangana, which has had to pass through tough times during the 2008 and up to 2014, has witnessed a steady growth over the last few years.Hyderabad and Telangana have been amongst sought after investment destinations for multinational and national companies who are attracted to the rapidly expanding infrastructure.The opening of a number of services companies, particularly in the IT and financial services, has provided a major boost to not only commercial realty but also housing segment.Various reports by independent real estate consultancy firms pointing towards a robust growth for the real estate sector in the State and Hyderabad in particular.P Ravinder Rao, President, Treda said, “Over the years, Treda’s vision has been to encourage growth of real estate sector. The Telangana Government initiatives towards developing infrastructure and coming up with new policies and various initiatives have made it an attractive destination for investments.”SBI, India Bulls Housing Finance, HDFC, ICICI Bank, LIC Housing Finance are among host of others who are taking part in the show providing an all encompassing platform for real estate buyers. events SHARE SHARE EMAILcenter_img Andhra Pradesh real estate (industry) SHARE Published onlast_img read more

17 killed in massive fire at Delhi hotel17 killed in massive fire

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first_imgAt least 17 people were killed as a massive fire swept through a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area on Tuesday.The fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace located on Gurudwara Road in Karol Bagh.A call about the fire was received at 4.35 am and 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, a senior officer from the Delhi Fire Service said.A senior Delhi Police official said 17 people were killed in the fire, including a child.The injured were rushed to three hospitals including the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML)Thirteen bodies are at the RML Hospital, a senior doctor said.A video of the incident showed two people jumping from the fourth floor of the burning buildingAccording to eyewitnesses, most deaths were caused due to suffocation.They said wooden panelling in the corridors of the hotel contributed to the quick spread of the fire.A fire department official said some fire extinguishers were found used suggesting people trapped inside tried to douse the fire in a bid to escape.Cooling process is underway and the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, he added. COMMENTS COMMENT The fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace on the Gurudwara road in Karol Bagh   –  Twitter/Ani February 12, 2019 Published on Delhi SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more