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Art Therapy Innovation

first_imgby, The Eden AlternativeTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesSalem-Eden-MuralBy Erin Partridge, MA, ATR, RYT, Art Therapist, Life Enrichment Coordinator – Salem Lutheran Home, Oakland, CA — Originally published in The Eden Alternative BlogWe spent a sunny afternoon on the Terrace arranging our recent artwork into a ‘gallery’ on the wall of the activity room. As we stood back and admired our work, I asked the Elders “so what would you think about painting a picture right onto the wall?”“Oh, I don’t know if we could do that.”“Let’s do it now!”“Well, we have to decide what to paint. Blue is nice.”After we settled on the idea that it was a possibility to paint on the wall, we started discussing what we should paint. We considered painting people or animals and then one person came up with the theme: “We really ought to paint California, since that is where we are.” I asked what parts of California and we talked about cities and landmarks, nature and people. We settled on the idea of a nature scene with all California native plants and animals.A week later, I gathered five Elders around my laptop computer. Using Google image searches, we looked at photographs of different things to include in our mural. The Elders made all the decisions about which things to include, how big each element should be, and the composition or arrangement of the mural.Once we were given the green light to begin painting, we projected the Elders’ design onto the wall and drew outlines of each tree, flower, and animal. Once the pencil outlines were complete, we were ready to paint. I poured out some bright blue paint and then asked an Elder if he wanted to do the honors. He stood right up and made the first brushstrokes onto the wall. Since then, when we talk about his painting, he says that it can be the way he settles disagreements in the future: “You know, I was the first one to paint our mural!”Many Elders enjoyed coming and watching the mural evolve. When I looked down from the ladder, I saw their alert, curious faces looking back at me. We had conversations about the different pieces of the image and discussed color choices and painting technique. Very rarely did someone doze off while the mural painting was going on; they watched closely and talked about what they saw. They looked at the printed pictures of our original design and the additional source material. They asked questions about what parts come next or what colors were being used. Quite a few Elders have participated in the painting—including some who did not engage in any other art projects. One Elder promised me that she would do “one brushstroke.” After she painted one burnt sienna brushstroke on a redwood tree, she sat down and watched for 20 minutes. Then she stood back up and said “I did not fill it in the way you did” and reached for the brush. She painted for about 5 minutes and then handed the brush back to me. An hour later, I overheard her telling a family member that she had been painting the mural that afternoon.The project has been such a novel experience that it seems to be making impressions on Elders long after the painting was done. “So what are you going to do with the mural when it is done?” asked one of the assisted living residents. The answer is in what has been happening since we painted it. Beyond being a way to brighten the end of the hallway, it has become a way to engage the Elders. It can be a wall-sized game of “I spy” or a starting point for a story. It has been the backdrop for a miniature restaurant which helped an Elder finish her first meal in a long time. It has been a way for mother and daughter to reminisce about a favorite animal. From start to finish, it has been a process of empowering those living on the Terrace —putting their words and actions on display and showing our whole community that living with dementia does not mean an end to expression and innovation.Editor’s Note: Erin Partridge will be presenting about Art Therapy & The Eden Alternative at the American Art Therapy Association conference in June 2013 Related PostsInterview with Geriatrician, Eden Alternative Founder, and Author Bill ThomasBill Thomas is a very busy man. He is the founder of the Eden Alternative that has been on the forefront of transforming nursing homes into elder-centered communities.  He developed the Green House Project, which focuses on replacing institu…The Eden Alternative: Using Community Involvement to Reframe AgingEngagement with the broader community helps bring meaning and joy to elders living in The Eden Alternative-registered Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon, Canada.Looking For Best Intergenerational ProgramsI’m speaking on a panel about intergenerational engagement at a local conference in Seattle. I’d love to get feedback from or audience on amazing intergenerational programs from around the world.TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Innovation The Eden Alternativelast_img read more

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShare65Share2Email67 SharesIt’s time for our annual New Year’s toast to the ChangingAging community and roundup of the Top 5 Posts of the year. Thank you readers and contributors for making 2015 another record breaking year! Our unique but simple message that aging equals growth continues to resonate both on the blog and at the more than 100 live events Dr. Bill Thomas hosted in 30 cities through his 2015 Age of Disruption Tour.Thanks in large part to the excitement and connections generated through the 2015 and 2014 tours, ChangingAging’s audience has grown tremendously in recent years doubling in 2014 to 150,000 visitors and jumping again to 265,000 visitors in 2015.In 2016 we plan to dramatically increase our impact and reach with a stronger focus on connecting the digital world of ChangingAging.org with our real world efforts and live 2016 Age of Disruption Tour events. Look forward to more frequent updates and original reports highlighting how individuals and communities are changing aging.Below, enjoy a look back at the Top 5 Posts of 2015.What Are the Best Books on Aging?The Culture Change Movement Is OverThe Age of Disruption is HereA Radical Idea: Residents Hiring StaffSix Ways Elders Can Save the WorldQuestion: What was your favorite ChangingAging post from 2015, and what would you like us to write more about in 2016?Related PostsHappy New Year From ChangingAging!On this New Year’s Eve we’d like to raise a toast to our readers and thank everyone who supported our efforts to change aging for the better!Finding the Right LanesAs we prep for the second half of the Age of Disruption Tour this October and November we’re working on a three-pronged community outreach strategy to engage with local “changing aging” allies.ChangingAging Editorial GuidelinesCheck out ChangingAging’s new editorial standards for guest blog posts inspired by the Age of Disruption Tour and the FrameWorks Institute’s efforts to reframe aging.TweetShare65Share2Email67 SharesTags: Age of Disruption New Year’slast_img read more

first_imgJul 16 2018During the five years before people develop the first clinically recognized signs of multiple sclerosis (MS), they are up to four times more likely to be treated for nervous system disorders such as pain or sleep problems, and are 50 per cent more likely to visit a psychiatrist, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.The study, the largest-ever effort to document symptoms of people before they know they have MS, could enable physicians to diagnose the disease – and thus start treating it – earlier, thus possibly slowing the damage it causes to the brain and spinal cord.MS results from the body’s immune system attacking myelin, the fatty material that insulates neurons and enables rapid transmission of electrical signals. When myelin is damaged, communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted, leading to vision problems, muscle weakness, difficulty with balance and coordination, and cognitive impairments.Because the symptoms are varied, often associated with other disorders, and can be transitory, diagnosing MS can be a challenge. Confirmation of the disease usually is done by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a test of nerve impulses, or an examination of spinal fluid.Canada has one of the highest rate of MS in the world, for reasons that elude scientists.The researchers, led by Helen Tremlett, a Professor in the Division of Neurology at UBC, examined health records of 14,000 people with multiple sclerosis from B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia between 1984 and 2014 and compared them to the health records of 67,000 people without the disease.Related StoriesHigh levels of blood lipids may worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms in obese patientsScientists discover mechanism responsible for chronic inflammation in MSResearchers move closer to finding the root cause of MSTremlett and former postdoctoral fellow José Wijnands found that fibromyalgia, a condition involving widespread musculoskeletal pain, was more than three times as common in people who were later diagnosed with MS, and irritable bowel syndrome was almost twice as common.Two other conditions with markedly higher rates among people to be diagnosed with MS: migraine headaches and any mood or anxiety disorder, which includes depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.The higher rates of those illnesses also corresponds with higher use of medications for musculoskeletal disorders, nervous system disorders, and disorders of the genito-urinary tract, along with antidepressants and antibiotics.The study, published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal, provides definitive evidence that MS can be preceded by early symptoms – known as a prodrome – that aren’t considered “classic” manifestations of the disease, like blurred vision or numbness or weakness in the limbs. As recently as 2000, medical textbooks asserted that MS did not have a prodrome.”The existence of such ‘warning signs’ are well-accepted for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, but there has been little investigation into a similar pattern for MS,” said Tremlett, a Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis and member of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. “We now need to delve deeper into this phenomenon, perhaps using data-mining techniques. We want to see if there are discernible patterns related to sex, age, or the ‘type’ of MS they eventually develop.”Source: http://www.med.ubc.ca/a-constellation-of-symptoms-presages-first-definitive-signs-of-multiple-sclerosis/last_img read more

first_img Source:http://www.thoracic.org/ Jul 20 2018Supplemental oxygen eliminates the rise in morning blood pressure experienced by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients who stop using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the standard treatment for OSA, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.In “Effect of Supplemental Oxygen on Blood Pressure in OSA: A Randomized, CPAP Withdrawal Trial,” Chris D. Turnbull, BMBCh, a physician at the Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine at Churchill Hospital Oxford in the U.K., and co-authors report that in patients with moderate to severe OSA, supplemental oxygen prevented the rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and the increase in oxygen desaturations that were seen in the control arm of the study after CPAP was withdrawn.Twenty-five adults living in the United Kingdom participated in the study. All had been using CPAP successfully for over a year. CPAP was withdrawn for 14 nights, during which time participants first received supplemental oxygen or regular air overnight through a face mask or nasal cannula, and then crossed over to a second CPAP withdrawal period with the opposite treatment. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew when the participant was receiving the intervention (oxygen) or control (air) therapy.Many studies have demonstrated an association between OSA, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Some of these studies have linked the acute rises in blood pressure that OSA patients experience while sleeping to the constant need to wake up when their breathing stops or is partially blocked.The authors of the current study wanted to find out if these recurrent arousals were also responsible for higher blood pressure in OSA patients during the day or whether intermittent hypoxia (low oxygen levels), resulting from interrupted breathing during sleep, caused a rise in blood pressure during the day.Related StoriesNovel bed system with VR brainwave-control for sleep blissDon’t ignore diastolic blood pressure values, say researchersMore than 936 million people have sleep apnea, ResMed-led analysis revealsThe study found that supplemental oxygen substantially reduced intermittent hypoxia, but had minimal effect on two markers of arousal: the apnea-hypopnea index, a measure of sleep apnea severity that takes into account episodes of paused and shallow breathing, and the heart rate rises index. Based on these findings, the authors wrote that “intermittent hypoxia appears to be the dominant cause of daytime increase in blood pressure in OSA.”Dr. Turnbull said: “This is important because many patients, especially those with few symptoms, are unable to tolerate using CPAP treatment and other treatments may be needed for these individuals,” given that elevated levels of blood pressure put them at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. However, before supplemental oxygen can be used as an alternative to CPAP, the authors write that more research must be done to prove it is safe. Other studies, they note, have shown that supplemental oxygen could increase injury to the heart when administered after a heart attack, and that in some patients, supplemental oxygen causes hypercapnia (excessive carbon dioxide in the bloodstream).”The next challenge for researchers will be to see if supplemental oxygen treatment has similar effects in patients in the longer-term along with assessing its longer-term safety,” Dr. Turnbull said. The study also looked at objective and subjective measures of daytime sleepiness but did not find a difference between the two groups.last_img read more

first_imgMartha Bebinger, WBUR: marthab@wbur.org, @mbebinger This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Jul 31 2018The Trump administration announced a plan Friday that would affect about 40 percent of the payments physicians receive from Medicare. Not everybody’s pleased.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services calls its proposed plan a historic effort to reduce paperwork and improve patient care. But some doctors and advocates for patients fear it could be a disaster.The CMS plan, published in Friday’s Federal Register, is now open for public comment until early September. It would combine four levels of paperwork required for reimbursement, and four levels of payments, into one form and one flat fee for each doctor’s appointment (although there would still be separate filing systems for new and established patients).In a letter previewing the plan to doctors earlier this month, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that physicians waste too much time on mindless administrative tasks that take time away from patients.“We believe you should be able to focus on delivering care to patients,” Verma wrote, “not sitting in front of a computer screen.”Initially, that sounded pretty good to Dr. Angus Worthing, a rheumatologist in Washington, D.C. Then he tested the claim with his own analysis.During a typical 15- to 45-minute appointment with a patient, Worthing figured, “I might spend one to two minutes less in front of the computer, documenting and typing.”Dr. Kate Goodrich, CMS’ chief medical officer, noted that “saving one to two minutes per patient adds up pretty quickly over time.”But Worthing said the small savings in time is not worth the reduced payment he’d get. The CMS plan would offer a flat fee for each office visit with a patient, whether the doctor is a primary care physician or a specialist.Rheumatologists, in general, could expect a 3 percent reduction in Medicare’s reimbursement because they typically see and bill for more complicated patients, said Worthing, who chairs the government affairs committee for the American College of Rheumatology.And he noted that his personal net income from Medicare patients would drop even more — by about 10 percent. That’s because 70 percent of his costs — for rent, payroll and other expenses — are fixed or rising.Worthing is leading efforts by rheumatologists to persuade CMS to adjust its funding formula before the plan goes into effect in January.“The proposal is well-intentioned but it might cause a disaster,” he said, if it leads to fewer medical students going into rheumatology and other specialties that require doctors to manage complex patients. And physicians might stop taking Medicare patients altogether, or avoid those with more difficult problems.Al Norman, a 71-year-old Medicare patient, said he can see that disaster coming.“If you’re frail or if you are very healthy, you’re worth the same to a doctor [under the proposed plan], and obviously that means that the people who are more disabled or frail are less desirable patients,” said Norman, who worked on elder care issues in Massachusetts before retiring last year.Many doctors predict that the proposed payment changes would establish a financial incentive to see fewer Medicare patients. Goodrich, the Medicare official, disagrees.“That’s an unintended consequence we wanted to mitigate on the front end and avoid,” Goodrich said. Under the proposed system, doctors who need more time with patients could file for an “add-on” payment of $67 per appointment. That would require a small amount of additional documentation, she admitted, but would still reduce a doctor’s keyboard time, according to CMS estimates.Related StoriesMedicare Advantage overbills taxpayers by billions a year as feds struggle to stop itMedicare system aimed at improving care, lowering costs may not be having as much impact as thoughtMedicare recipients may pay more for generics than their brand-name counterparts, study findsThis “add-on” payment is “intended to ensure that physicians are being appropriately compensated for seeing the most complex patients,” Goodrich said.Still, critics of the plan say there are other unintended consequences CMS may not have anticipated.Dr. Paul Birnbaum, who has been practicing dermatology in the Boston area for 32 years, said he’s worried that paying doctors a reduced fee per appointment would translate to lots of short visits.“You would just see more people,” Birnbaum said. “You’d move people through faster. And so you have somebody come back for repeat office visits. And that, over time, would be inflationary.”More frequent trips to the doctor would mean more copays for patients and higher costs for Medicare, he said.The Trump administration is not suggesting the payment changes would save Medicare money. In her letter to doctors, Verma said some physicians would see their Medicare payments increase.And it’s not just doctors who treat elderly patients who are likely to be affected. If the Medicare payment changes take effect, private insurers might follow suit, in part because it’s easier for all insurers to use common billing procedures.Theoretically, obstetrician-gynecologists would be among the biggest winners; they treat fewer complex Medicare patients. Still, many OB-GYNs are worried about the coming changes, too.“There will be winners and losers, and my real fear is it’s not the physicians [who will lose the most]. My real fear is that it’s the Medicare beneficiaries,” said Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Some Medicare advocates are urging CMS to postpone these changes and consider a trial run.“If we’re going to talk about this kind of wholesale, large-scale reconfiguration of the way reimbursement is given to doctors,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, “it’s probably best to do that in a demonstration project where we can closely study the ramifications.”CMS hopes to enact any changes to Medicare fee schedules on Jan. 1, 2019.The main challenge remains convincing patients and physicians that the changes are worth doing in the first place.This story is part of a partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

first_imgAug 14 2018The diabetes epidemic in Guatemala is worse than previously thought: more than 25 percent of its indigenous people, who make up 60 percent of the population, suffer from type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, suggests a new study published in PLOS ONE from researchers at the Penn Center for Global Health, in collaboration with the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City and the Hospitalito Atitlán. That’s almost double the rate from a diabetes estimation back in 2003. The team also found that the driving force behind the epidemic is not obesity – most often associated with an increased risk of the disease elsewhere in the world – but aging.Indigenous populations, including those living in Guatemala, are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes compared to their urban counterparts and those living in developed nations. However, a lack of data has prevented researchers from corroborating this pattern in the Central American country. Though underlying genetic susceptibilities, along with socioeconomic reasons, have been suspected to play a role, the risk factors have not been fully understood.”This alarming increase in both diabetes and pre-diabetes appears to be significantly related to aging, and not obesity or BMI (body mass index) – a surprising finding that contradicts the traditional relationship we know between unhealthy weights and these diseases,” said first author Kent D.W. Bream, MD, an assistant professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Global Health. “While it remains unclear why such a disparity exists in this population, some studies have pointed to increased physical inactivity and insulin resistance as drivers of diabetes in the elderly.”Around the world, being obese or overweight has long been associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes – a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high because of a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use it efficiently. About 80 percent of diabetes cases are diagnosed in obese or overweight people. Pre-diabetes is when a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. About 70 percent of people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes, research has shown.The researchers identified a total of 400 adults (18 years and older) living in the Guatemala City communities of San Pablo La Laguna, San Juan La Laguna, San Pedro La Laguna, San Antonio Palopó, Santa Catarina Palopó and San Lucas Tolimán (100,688 residents), and in the rural highland region of Atitlán, Guatemala – which represented the indigenous Maya population.Related StoriesMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useTeams obtained BMI and collected blood samples from the adults to test non-fasting capillary glucose and hemoglobin HbA1c that determined their diabetes state, as part of the Guatemala Penn Partners program.The overall prevalence for both diabetes and pre-diabetes was 13.8 percent each in people living in Atitlán, compared to 7.2 percent previously reported in the communities of Guatemala City. A study from 1970 of rural populations found a diabetes prevalence of 4.2 percent, while a study from 2003 reported 8.4 percent.The researchers found that age had a statistically significant association with type 2 diabetes, while BMI did not. Irrespective of BMI, an individual over 65 years old was more than 10 times more likely to have diabetes compared to individuals below the age of 40. Similarly, individuals 40 to 64 years old were more than five times more likely to have diabetes than individuals younger than 40.Past studies linking diabetes to aging suggest several possible explanations, including pancreatic deterioration, epigenetic dysregulation of pancreatic islet cells, mitochondrial functional decline, increasing myosteatosis (skeletal muscle fat infiltration that occurs with aging), and reduced physical activity. Others suggested that aging is an independent factor adversely affecting insulin concentrations and insulin resistance.”Further investigation of specific ways Guatemalan lifestyles have changed, [body tissue fat] distribution, correlation with anemia, and genetic risk factors is required to understand environmental and genetic influence,” the authors wrote.Beyond these factors, the increasing prevalence in diabetes in Guatemala may be driven by the advanced aging of its population. People are living longer. In 1970, the average life expectancy was 52 years and currently is 72 years. In addition, the high cost of diabetes treatments like insulin and limited social support for dietary and lifestyle changes all create barriers that aggravate an epidemic.”The conclusions of this study suggest that diabetes in rural regions of Guatemala may be of epidemic proportion,” the authors wrote. “Access to effective and simplified screening tools will assist in patients identifying their status to implement the medical and behavioral interventions to prevent morbidity and mortality.”The authors believe these findings may also apply more broadly across Central America and influence diabetes in the United States. “The increasing prevalence of diabetes will be followed by an increasing prevalence of complications, including potentially a decreased life expectancy within impacted communities,” Bream said. Source:https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2018/august/alarming-diabetes-epidemic-in-guatemala-tied-to-aging-not-obesitylast_img read more

first_imgAug 17 2018Researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have designed and fabricated a high performing self-fitting bone scaffold by combining a shape memory foam and hydroxyapatite (the principal mineral component of bone tissue). It can be safely and conveniently implanted into bone defects and induce bone regeneration, thus enhancing the recovery of bone injuries and fractures. Up to date, no bone scaffold in commercial market possesses such shape memory self-fitting effect. being implanted via minimally invasive operation; self-adaption and self-fitting; optimal structure for bone remodeling; full biocompatibility; and optimal mechanical properties. Despite the regenerative capacity of bone, for large bone defects due to bone tumor resections or severe fractures, bone grafting surgeries (autografts or allografts) are always required for orchestrating bone regeneration. With bone fracture becoming a rising worldwide health concern, especially for aging societies, how to improve grafting process or induce bone regeneration effectively, thus help relieve suffering and reduce society’s medical expenses, have become a rising challenge for scientists. Taking hip fractures from osteoporosis as an example, a latest study projected that the number of annual new cases in Hong Kong, of  9,590 this year, will be tripled by 2050; while Malaysia and Singapore will reach 3.5 times during the period.One promising field explored by tissue engineering scientists is to develop a bone scaffold which can act as template for speedy tissue regeneration, and can be used in minimally invasive operation so as to reduce hospitalization stay and infection risk. The novel scaffold developed by the team of PolyU researchers, led by Professor Hu Jinlian (Principal Investigator) and Dr Xie Ruiqi from the Institute of Textiles and Clothing, and Dr Guo Xia from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences,has offered promising breakthrough. The team has close collaboration with Sichuan University in cell culture and animal modeling for the research.Characteristics of PolyU’s novel bone scaffoldThe novel scaffold made of shape memory polyurethane foam (a type of plastic material) and hydroxyapatite (HA) nano-particles is characterized by its remarkable self-fitting effect. As a shape memory material, the scaffold can be compacted at 0°C, implanted with compact shape at room temperature, and recovered to its original shape completely at 40°C. The scaffold thus can fill up the irregular bone defects perfectly. The transitional temperatures, with range close to human body’s physiological temperatures, also enhance the feasibility of using the scaffold in minimally invasive surgery.Related StoriesEngineered stem cells offer new treatment for metastatic bone cancerStudy reveals dual effects of new osteoporosis therapy on bone tissueInjectable hydrogel offers double punch against bone infectionsThe self-fitting scaffold possesses a highly porous structure with interconnected pores to allow cells migration and formation of new tissues. The average pore size of the scaffold is 670 μm (diameter of a human hair is around 100 μm), which is close to that of trabecular bone (the inner layer of bone) and thus mimics the actual in vivo microenvironment. The optimal structure of the scaffold is around 60% of space voids.The mechanical strength of the scaffold can neither be too low (may cause deformation or crash) nor too high (may reduce the density of surrounding bone tissue). The compressive strength of the PolyU developed self-fitting scaffold is designed at 13.6MPa (Megapascal), which is comparable to that of trabecular bone. Laboratory tests also show that the self-fitting scaffold is biocompatible and has no cytotoxicity.Animal study on bone regeneration”Our research team further examined the performance of the self-fitting scaffold in facilitating bone regeneration through a rabbit femoral defect study. The results show that our scaffold has overcome the disadvantages of traditional polymer scaffolds, and has great potential for bone regeneration,” said Professor Hu.In the animal study, 18 rabbits with a femoral bone defect in each knee, making up a total of 36 lesions, were divided into experimental group and control group.The bone defects of the rabbits in the experimental group were implanted with self-fitting scaffolds (with original size around 5% larger than the bone defects) compacted to around 50% of their original size. After triggering with 40°C saline, the scaffolds expanded from the compacted shape to fill the defect in 60 seconds. The bone defects in the control group were left unfilled.Twelve weeks after the surgery, the experimental group displayed faster bone tissue ingrowth in volume. There was 46% of bone ingrowth, or the proportion of total defects being repaired. On the contrary, the control group had only 24%.The self-fitting scaffold has been proved inducing the formation of osteoblasts and blood vessels, which are responsible for the synthesis of bone tissue. In the experimental group, 12 weeks after the surgery, the number of neovascular buds grew on the scaffolds was 4 times of that in the control group. Moreover, 5% of bone surface was covered by osteoblasts in the experimental group whereas the control group recorded almost no osteoblast.In conclusion, the novel shape memory scaffold developed by PolyU has the advantages of: PolyU researchers have developed a novel self-fitting scaffold which can be safely and conveniently implanted into bone defects and induce bone regeneration. The team is led by Professor Hu Jinlian (centre) and Dr Xie Ruiqi (left) from the Institute of Textiles and Clothing, and Dr Guo Xia (right) from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. Source:https://www.polyu.edu.hk/web/en/media/media_releases/index_id_6565.htmllast_img read more

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—A stream of hot protons from the sun is penetrating deep into the thin atmosphere of Mars, researchers reported here today at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The stream, known as the solar wind, is typically deflected by the ionosphere, a layer of ions and electrons forming a shield around Mars. But the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission—a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars—has found that some protons re-emerge within the ionosphere below altitudes of 200 kilometers. The effect could be used to monitor the strength of the solar wind even at altitudes where mission scientists had not expected to have any handle on it. MAVEN, which arrived in Mars’s orbit in September, needs to catalog the ways energy is deposited in the upper atmosphere in order to achieve one of its main mission goals: explaining how Mars lost much of its atmosphere. Billions of years ago, when Mars was warmer and wetter, the planet is presumed to have had a much thicker atmosphere—one that has been eroded steadily by the solar wind, and also during more catastrophic solar storm events, into the dry, cold landscape seen today (pictured).last_img read more

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) $181.75 million to Genome Canada to support the nonprofit agency’s regional genomics centers through 2019–20; $7.66 million a year for 5 years in continuation funding for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics starting in 2017–18; $10.73 million over 2 years to create 825 business internships and fellowships; $15.32 million over 3 years in continuation funding for the Canada Brain Research Fund; $38.31 million over 5 years to the National Optics Institute to provide R&D and technical support for businesses operating in the areas of optics and photonics; and $9.19 million over 2 years for “research, training and outreach” activities at the Stem Cell Network. 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 The Stem Cell Network funding falls well short of the community’s call for a $383.11 million over 10 years federal contribution toward a $1.15 billion plan to “create a vibrant cell therapy and regenerative medicine industry and drive health care change.” Other community recommendations that the government didn’t fully follow included calls to establish a multi–billion dollar national dementia strategy and a stronger Canadian response to antibiotic resistance. It also didn’t follow a plan from a blue-ribbon commission chaired by former University of Toronto President David Naylor that urged the creation of a $766.22 million dollar Health Innovation Fund and a $766.22 million Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada to “effect sustainable and systemic changes in the delivery of health services to Canadians.”But the government did throw its financial muscle behind measures in support of its climate change agenda, including $1.532 billion over 2 years for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, $99.61 million over 5 years for “clean technology research, development and demonstration activities,” and $15.32 million over 8 years to create two Canada Excellence Research Chairs in “clean and sustainable technology.” In another shot across the Conservative bow, Morneau provided $151.02 million over 5 years to reinvigorate ocean and freshwater sciences, including support for the Experimental Lakes Area, a freshwater research facility in northern Ontario whose $1.53 million per year appropriation that was axed by Harper in 2013.Overall spending in Morneau’s 2016–17 blueprint, Growing the Middle Class, is projected to rise $15.71 billion, to $242.97 billion, with Ottawa running a deficit of $22.53 billion and the debt load rising to $497.05 billion. But the additional spending, Morneau argued, is vital. “A fundamental change must happen: Canadians need to believe that hope and hard work will be rewarded again.” Back from the deadTo those ends, the Trudeau government will resurrect two initiatives killed by the Conservatives. The first, a “Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund,” will provide $1.53 billion over 3 years for universities and colleges to “modernize research labs, retrofit buildings used for advance training, and expand on-campus incubators that support start-ups as they grow their businesses.” Former Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale had promised in 2005 to provide $766.22 million for institutions to renovate everything from libraries to access ramps for disabled students and electronic learning networks. The current Morneau plan proposes to cover 50% of the costs of retrofitting labs and research facilities. Morneau also announced he is resurrecting Goodale’s $122.6 million plan to promote more university-industry linkages by way of “large-scale integrated facilities.” They would serve as sort of incubator-centers for startup companies, venture capitalists and business service providers located near a university or government research institute.That initiative had been premised on former chief national scientist Arthur Carty’s belief that Canada needed to develop community-based “knowledge-based industrial clusters” to promote economic growth. Carty had served as the nation’s scientific policy guru from 2004 to 2008, but then Harper obliterated the position. (Last fall, Carty told the seventh annual Canadian Science Policy Conference that the Conservatives were essentially hillbillies who created such a lamentable state of science affairs that Trudeau would have to find “the courage and fortitude to carry through with promises to eradicate such in-bred behavior.”)Morneau subscribed directly to Carty’s economic-development model, saying in his budget address that it is one that “Canada can and must build on. We believe that businesses, post-secondary institutions, governments and other stakeholders can work together to accelerate economic growth. We will invest $800 million [$612.98 million] over four years to support innovation networks and clusters designed to increase collaboration and create value through innovation.”The outlays won’t start flowing until 2017–18, however, as the Liberals will take a year to flesh out their innovation agenda. That “plan for change” will, among other things, “assess opportunities to increase the impact of federal support on Canada’s research excellence and the benefits that flow from it” and “examine the rational for current targeting of granting councils’ funding and bring greater coherence to the diverse range of federal research and development priorities and funding instruments.”Finance officials, who speak on condition of anonymity during the budget rollout—which is held in Ottawa in locked rooms—indicated that the plan will include the development of a “cluster mapping portal,” which will sketch regional economic strengths, as well as areas of business activity that can be directly aligned with local university capabilities.Granting council increasesThe planned granting council budget increases—$22.99 million for each of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), $12.26 million for the Social Sciences and Engineering Research Council (SSHRC)—will, in combination with deferred increases announced last year, result in the agencies receiving a combined $108.04 million in additional funding this year, after years of static or declining budgets. NSERC’s budget will rise to $865.83 million, CIHR’s to $789.21 million and SSHRC’s to $558.58 million. Support for the indirect costs of research within universities will rise by $14.56 million to $261.28 million annually.The science spending, part of an effort to juice an economy that has stagnated because of a precipitous decline in commodity prices, particularly oil, also includes a promise to shell out $290.4 million over 4 years (commencing in 2017–18) to secure Canadian participation in the International Space Station through 2024.Morneau also provided: What a difference a government makes. After spending nearly a decade in the darkness of the former Conservative government’s so-called “war on science,” Canada’s research community finds itself stepping into the sunshine after the nation’s new Liberal government today unveiled a fiscal blueprint for 2015–16 that provides an immediate $72.79 million per year injection into the budgets of the nation’s research granting councils. The new money comes after years of static or declining budgets.And in a bit of déjà vu, today’s spending plan also resurrects several initiatives from the last budget a Liberal government presented, in 2005, before the Conservatives swept to power.Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised “sunny days” for the nation after winning a general election last October, and today Finance Minister Bill Morneau laid out a host of scientific goodies. And Morneau vowed that more will follow in the months to come, as the Liberals “put forward a new Innovation agenda which will outline a new vision for Canada’s economy as a center of global innovation, renowned for its science, technology, resourceful citizens, and globally competitive companies.” Morneau also fired a parting shot across the bow of ex–Prime Minister Stephen Harper by declaring that the Liberals will promote “evidence-based policies.”last_img read more

first_img Email The quest to build the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was a story of ingenuity and persistence—and a decades-long scientific soap opera. In 1972, Rainer Weiss, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, described how a device called an interferometer could detect ripples in spacetime. But LIGO, two giant interferometers in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, didn’t take data until 2002. It finally scored a discovery on 14 September 2015, after a 5-year, $205 million upgrade.The idea for LIGO gathered steam only after Kip Thorne, a theorist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, took an interest, Weiss says. In the summer of 1975, the two attended a NASA workshop in Washington, D.C. Thorne had forgotten to book a hotel room, so Weiss took him in and the two talked all night. Thorne had doubted Weiss’s scheme and had even suggested in a textbook that it couldn’t work. Now, Weiss says, Thorne “flipped completely, saying what was in his book was wrong and becoming an advocate.”Thorne saw LIGO as an opportunity for Caltech, and in 1979 he brought in Ronald Drever, a physicist at the United Kingdom’s University of Glasgow, who was working on an interferometer of his own. Thorne had asked Weiss to apply for the Caltech job, Weiss says, but Weiss’s record was too thin. “I sent him my CV,” he says, “and he calls me up and says, ‘Well, I got it, but it’s not all here. There must be some pages missing.’” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Weiss expected to work with Drever. However, Drever “wanted nothing to do with me,” Weiss says. “And it was not just me. He was going to come to America and build something by himself.” (Drever is in poor health and cannot give his side.) So for several years, Drever, Thorne, and Weiss all ran the nascent project together as a “troika,” building separate prototypes at MIT and Caltech until 1987, when the National Science Foundation (NSF) demanded that they combine their efforts under one director.That director was Rochus “Robbie” Vogt, who had been provost of Caltech. He and Drever tangled, and Vogt kicked Drever out in 1992, changing the locks on his office. Still, Vogt advocated effectively for the project with Congress, and under his guidance the team wrote “a damn good proposal” for the twin LIGO instruments, says Michael Zucker, a LIGO physicist at Caltech. But Vogt didn’t see LIGO through to completion. “He envisioned a very small elite group pulling this whole thing off,” Zucker says. “That was misreading the environment.” In 1994, Caltech replaced Vogt with Barry Barish, a particle physicist and veteran of several big projects, who expanded the organization. “He put the project together in a way that was solidly run, and a lot of the personal squabbles stopped,” Weiss says. Only then did NSF approve $300 million for construction.Meanwhile, Weiss couldn’t convince MIT to take a larger role in the project. Once, Weiss recalls, Gary Crawley, acting director of NSF’s physics division, came to MIT to urge John Deutch, MIT’s provost from 1985 to 1990, to invest more in LIGO. After hearing Crawley’s plea, Deutch asked for a piece of paper, Weiss says. “He takes out a pen, scrawls a big zero on it, and shoves it under Crawley’s nose,” he says. Deutch says, “I don’t remember the drama of writing on a piece of paper,” and notes that other MIT administrators and physicists also opposed LIGO.Through it all, Weiss continued to work on LIGO, even more so after he retired from MIT in 2001. “No scientific puzzle is too minor or beneath him,” says Nergis Mavalvala, a LIGO physicist at MIT. In recent years Weiss has led an effort to chase down and explain leaks in the enormous, 8-kilometer-long vacuum systems that contain the LIGO interferometers.Over the years, Weiss suffered his share of frustration, says his son, Benjamin Weiss, a curator at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. “We used to hear about Drever and Vogt around the dinner table,” he says. But Weiss seems to have avoided bitterness, perhaps because of the way he dealt with disappointment. “Honestly, he worked more,” Benjamin says. After dinner—and a spell at the piano—Weiss would sit at the dining table with a legal pad, working after others were in bed. By all accounts he still does.*Correction, 26 August, 12:27 p.m.: The story has been changed to correctly identify the NSF official who requested more support from John Deutch and that Deutch was MIT’s provost at the time.last_img read more

first_imgThe Boss eats a moose carcass in Banff National Park. By Colette DerworizFeb. 8, 2017 , 11:15 AM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) John E. Marriott/Getty Images In Canada’s Banff National Park, warning systems to alert bears to approaching trains might reduce deaths. Dan Rafla/Parks Canada Email She’s not the only one asking. In a brace of recent or forthcoming studies, scientists identify culprits ranging from blind curves to spilled grain, and propose steps for making the tracks safer worldwide.Public outcry over the bear deaths spurred Cassady St. Clair and her colleagues to launch a study with officials in Banff National Park after the rail company provided CAD$1 million to start the project. Between 2012 and 2017, she and students and volunteers walked the railway and studied the tracks for clues. They examined the tracks’ curvature and topography; they tested scat to determine what bears were eating; they measured train noise; and they hung remote cameras from trees to record wildlife.As part of the study, a team from Parks Canada captured and fitted 26 grizzly bears with GPS collars—including The Boss, 18 months after he was struck by the train. For 4 years the collars reported locations every 2 hours, yielding about 7500 bear locations. The data showed that only six grizzlies, including The Boss, regularly used the railway, perhaps because he deterred some other bears from using the rails. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country BANFF NATIONAL PARK, IN CANADA—Grizzly bear No. 122, a 270-kilogram male aptly nicknamed The Boss, spends a lot of time traveling and eating along the railway that winds through the Canadian Rockies here. Bears have used the tracks since Canada’s first national park was created in 1885, gorging on the buffaloberries that thrive along the right-of-way and the occasional carcass of an elk hit by a train.Nearly 2 decades ago, the behavior turned risky, as trains began striking and killing grizzly bears. The Boss, father of at least five cubs and the biggest bear in the park, was himself struck in November 2010 but managed to survive. Many others weren’t so lucky, with at least17 grizzlies killed by trains since 2000—a major hit to the local population of about 60.“Why would that be?” wonders biologist Colleen Cassady St. Clair of the University of Alberta (UA) in Edmonton, Canada, as she walks along the tracks in a bright orange vest and fluorescent yellow helmet. “Why now? That’s the million-dollar question.” Why are grizzlies dying on Canada’s railway tracks? The team also evaluated the changing landscape of the past 20 years. For example, the Trans-Canada Highway expanded, bringing fencing and a system of wildlife underpasses and overpasses to allow animals to cross it. That changed the bears’ movements and cut down on the roadkill they scavenged, perhaps spurring them to scavenge more intensively on the tracks.One stretch of track through an underpass for wildlife emerged as a hot spot: an S-shaped curve passing beneath Five Mile Bridge on the highway. At least seven grizzly bears have been hit by westbound trains speeding up on a straightaway that comes out of the curves, and a train crew reported hitting and likely killing an additional two cubs near here last October. “It turned out to be … a killing field,” Cassady St. Clair says.Walk near Five Mile Bridge and you’ll get a hint why bears are dying: The curving tracks and topography tend to muffle trains’ whistles and rumbles. Steep slopes on either side might cause a bear to run straight on the tracks rather than down the hill.At a second hot spot near the Trans-Canada Highway, known as Morant’s Curve, trains killed another three grizzlies. “If we’re right,” Cassady St. Clair says, “mitigating those two sites would have reduced mortality by half in the last 20 years. I find that very hopeful.”Research by the UA team offers ways to make such spots safer. A paper being published this month in Animal Conservation considers the long-suspected culprit: spilled grain from trains carrying Canada’s wheat harvest. The study determined that trains spill 110 metric tons annually on the tracks in the national park—enough to feed 50 adult grizzlies for the year. Food spillage on tracks “is actually a very global issue,” says lead author and postdoc Aditya Gangadharan of UA. “Anthropogenic food leads to risk and can lead to mortalities for a number of species.”That suggests it’s important for the railway to quickly repair leaking train cars, clean up spills, and limit trains from stopping in national parks. Some of these measures are already in place, though critics say the rail company hasn’t gone far enough.Another study offers a way to warn bears of an oncoming train. In a paper in review at Ecological Engineering, Jonathan Backs, a Ph.D. candidate in engineering and biological sciences at UA, came up with an inexpensive device that can detect passing trains and relay a warning by radio. His device includes flashing lights and a dinging sound that alerts wildlife, giving them time to flee. Backs hopes it could be used on railways around the world.Several other papers by Cassady St. Clair’s team, still in review or in process, suggest other strategies. They include new wildlife trails to provide escape routes, clearing vegetation along the railway, and fencing around hot spots.As Cassady St. Clair says, no one step can stop all the track deaths. “There’s a lot more going on than grain,” she says. “Track considerations and topography, other aspects of human use, and a remarkable diversity of smaller factors combine—it’s a kind of perfect storm.”In the meantime, The Boss will be out of hibernation soon and is expected back on the tracks, making some observers uneasy. But Cassady St. Clair expects that he’s a wiser bear now. “He has this firsthand experience. … He’s not going to mess with [trains] again.”last_img read more

first_img Email These half-billion-year-old creatures were animals—but unlike any known today 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 J. Hoyal Cuthill Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A fossil of one of the 200 or so types of Stromatoveris Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Colin BarrasAug. 8, 2018 , 7:00 AM Artist’s reconstruction of Stromatoveris, an ancient marine animal The Stromatoveris fossils, which were all unearthed in Yunnan province in southwestern China, are beautifully preserved, Hoyal Cuthill says. As she examined specimen after specimen she became increasingly excited. “I began thinking: My goodness, I’ve seen these features before.” Like some of the strange Ediacaran organisms, Stromatoveris was made up of several radially repeated, branched fronds with a fractal internal architecture. J. Hoyal Cuthill So-called Ediacaran organisms have puzzled biologists for decades. To the untrained eye they look like fossilized plants, in tube or frond shapes up to 2 meters long. These strange life forms dominated Earth’s seas half a billion years ago, and scientists have long struggled to figure out whether they’re algae, fungi, or even an entirely different kingdom of life that failed to survive. Now, two paleontologists think they have finally established the identity of the mysterious creatures: They were animals, some of which could move around, but they were unlike any living on Earth today.Scientists first discovered the Ediacaran organisms in 1946 in South Australia’s Ediacara Hills. To date, researchers have identified about 200 different types in ancient rocks across the world. Almost all appear to have died out by 541 million years ago, just before fossils of familiar animals like sponges and the ancestors of crabs and lobsters appeared in an event dubbed the Cambrian explosion. One reason these creatures have proved so tricky to place in the tree of life is that some of them had an anatomy unique in nature. Their bodies were made up of branched fronds with a strange fractal architecture, in which the frond subunits resembled small versions of the whole frond.Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and Jian Han at Northwest University in Xi’an, China, have now found key evidence that the Ediacaran organisms were animals. They analyzed more than 200 fossils of a 518-million-year-old marine species named Stromatoveris psygmoglena. Paleontologists had previously concluded that the 10-centimeter-tall species was some sort of animal—in part, says Hoyal Cuthill, because it was found alongside other known animals, and all of the fossils are preserved in a similar way. Hoyal Cuthill and Han argue S. psygmoglena was also an Ediacaran organism, a rare “survivor” that somehow clung on through the Cambrian explosion. To find out what sort of animals Stromatoveris and the other Ediacaran organisms were, Hoyal Cuthill and Han ran a computer analysis that uses anatomical features to reconstruct evolutionary relationships. They found that Stromatoveris and the other Ediacaran organisms don’t belong to any living animal group or “phylum.” Instead, they cluster on their own branch in the animal evolutionary tree, between the sponges and complex animals with a digestive cavity like worms, mollusks, and vertebrates, the team reports today in Palaeontology. “This branch, the Petalonamae, could well be its own phylum, and it apparently lacks any living descendants,” Hoyal Cuthill says.“It looks very likely [the Ediacaran organisms] are animals,” says Simon Conway Morris, a paleontologist at the University of Cambridge, who worked with Han on the first description of Stromatoveris in 2006, but who was not involved in the current study. At that point there were just a handful of known Stromatoveris fossils. The researchers argued that they were similar to some Ediacaran organisms, although others later questioned that link. Conway Morris says the new study “extends the story very nicely” by exploring the Ediacaran nature of Stromatoveris in more detail.Geobiologist Simon Darroch at Vanderbilt University in Nashville is also comfortable with the idea that the Ediacaran organisms were animals and that a few survived into the Cambrian. But on a first look he is not convinced that Stromatoveris was one such survivor; he thinks the evidence that it had the fractal architecture of an Ediacaran organism isn’t strong—yet he’s open to persuasion.If the new conclusion settles one mystery, though, it introduces another. The Ediacaran organisms represent the first major explosion of complex life on Earth, and they thrived for 30 million years. Their demise has been linked to the appearance of animals in the Cambrian Explosion, Hoyal Cuthill says. But that simple explanation doesn’t work as well if Ediacaran organisms were animals themselves, and some were still alive tens of millions of years later. “It’s not quite so neat anymore,” she says. “As to what led to their eventual extinction I think it’s very hard to say.”last_img read more

first_img Strong quake causes panic in eastern Indonesia, tsunami warning lifted Volcano on Indonesia's Bali erupts, flights canceled Fire is seen on the slopes of Mount Agung volcano following an eruption, as seen from Amed in Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia (Reuters/File)Bali’s airport has returned to normal operations after some flights were canceled on Friday night following an eruption of the Mount Agung volcano that spread ash over the south of the Indonesian island. The national disaster agency said the eruption lasted 4 minutes and 30 seconds and spread lava and incandescent rocks about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the crater. Indonesian woman jailed for reporting sexual harassment to seek amnesty Nine villages experienced thick ash fall. But the agency said it wasn’t raising the alert level for the volcano and its exclusion zone remains a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) radius around the crater. No evacuation was necessary, said spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.Bali airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim said nine flights between Bali and Australia were canceled on Friday night. Six postponed flights for Qantas and Virgin Australia would operate on Saturday, he said.Agung became active again in 2017 after more than a half century of slumber following a major eruption in 1963. Undersea quake south of Indonesia’s Bali causes brief panic Advertising Related News By AP |Jakarta | Updated: May 25, 2019 2:21:31 pm 0 Comment(s)last_img read more

first_imgICESat-2’s advances didn’t come cheap. Crystals used to amplify its lasers cracked when their metallic mounts expanded unexpectedly. Repairing them and addressing other complications delayed the original 2016 launch date and caused costs to balloon by hundreds of millions of dollars.During the long wait scientists kept an eye on polar ice with the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) CryoSat-2, which uses radar to detect height. But its readings have lower resolution because of its wider radar beam. NASA also mounted an annual airplane-based campaign called IceBridge, which worked well for Greenland but could not cope with the vast expanse of Antarctica, says Beata Csatho, a remote-sensing glaciologist at the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York system. “For Antarctica, this gap is really huge. We really don’t know what’s happened.”A first task for ICESat-2 will be to assess the blank white mystery that is the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Earth’s most massive. Extreme cold and high elevation are thought to protect it from major ice loss, but scientists want to understand how snowfall, melting ice, and shifting bedrock contribute to tiny changes in elevation. The satellite will also be able to peer into the crags of the Antarctic Peninsula, which, despite its small size, is responsible for a quarter of the continent’s ice loss. “That will certainly be the first place I look,” says Andrew Shepherd, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and principal scientific adviser for CryoSat-2. He notes that CryoSat-2’s radar beam is too wide to deliver precise ice measurements within the peninsula’s rugged mountain peaks.Scientists will also use ICESat-2 to monitor ice sheets’ grounding lines, where glaciers draining to the ocean first float free of the bedrock and become ice shelves. These shelves are vulnerable to melting from below by warm ocean waters, causing grounding lines to retreat inland. Because of the bowl-shaped topography of Antarctica’s bedrock, glaciologists worry the retreat could accelerate and expose ice to ever more water in a feedback process that could cause rapid ice collapse.Grounding lines reveal themselves at the surface of a glacier by subtle changes in the slope of the ice at the point where the ice starts to rise and fall with the tides. ICESat-1 could detect grounding lines, but only a few, and only for part of the year; ICESat-2 will check on them every 3 months. “We’re going to get a much better idea where warmer water is coming in underneath the ice,” says Helen Fricker, a glaciologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California.If an ice shelf is about to collapse into the sea, scientists will want to put together an observing campaign right away. Csatho is exploring how to use ICESat-2 data in an early warning system that would detect sudden melting events in near–real time, rather than a year or two afterward.When ICESat-2 is not watching ice sheets, it will measure the canopy height of high-latitude forests, providing climate scientists with a proxy measure for the carbon stored in trees. It will also join forces with CryoSat-2 to measure the snow that blankets land and sea ice. Because laser light bounces off the snow, while radar reflects from the ice below, combining the two satellites’ measurements could help investigators separate the snow from the ice. In Antarctica, where drifts can stand nearly 2 meters tall, that could sharpen measurements of changes in ice thickness. NASA and ESA are already discussing whether to shift CryoSat-2’s orbit to create more overlaps, Shepherd says. The European satellite has enough fuel to make the move, he adds.But first, ICESat-2 has to reach orbit and show that its eye on the ice is as sharp as promised.*Update, 16 September, 8:16 p.m.: NASA’s ICESat-2 successfully launched yesterday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 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 By Paul VoosenSep. 11, 2018 , 1:00 PM Nowhere are the realities of human-driven climate change more apparent than at Earth’s thawing poles. Arctic sea ice is vanishing, while melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are driving an acceleration in sea level rise. Yet for nearly a decade, NASA has lacked a dedicated satellite to measure how high the polar ice is piled—and how it is subsiding as ice melts or slides into the oceans.That gap is set to close with the 15 September launch of the $1 billion Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. ICESat-2 will bounce laser light off Earth’s surface, gauging changes in its elevation as small as the diameter of a pencil. Although the mission is a successor in name to ICESat-1, which ended in 2010, its multibeam laser instrument puts it in a different class, says Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. “Every season we’ll get a better map than ICESat-1 ever made.”Whereas ICESat-1 wielded a single laser beam, ICESat-2 has three pairs of parallel beams, enabling it to scan along multiple paths at once. (The pairings are needed to calculate slopes across a given track, which will help avoid misinterpretations of ice loss when a slightly offset return pass identifies changes in elevation.) Its resolution is also far higher: where ICESat-1 took readings once every 150 meters along its track, ICESat-2 will record elevations every 70 centimeters, firing its lasers 10,000 times a second. The frequent firing means each pulse is relatively weak; to capture the faint reflections, the satellite uses a small telescope to funnel light to sensitive vacuum tubes that can detect single photons. “I’m a physicist, and I’m still shocked it works,” says Thorsten Markus, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. NASA space laser will track Earth’s melting poles and disappearing sea icecenter_img NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ICESat-2’s three paired laser beams will cover the poles more quickly than its predecessor, and at higher resolution. Emaillast_img read more

first_img By Erika K. CarlsonJan. 24, 2019 , 4:00 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe To pass genes down to their children, parents split specialized cells called germ cells to create egg and sperm cells that each contain 23 chromosomes—half of the genetic material in the original germ cell. But before a germ cell splits, each chromosome swaps a chunk of itself with its partner chromosome in a process called recombination or “crossover,” because segments of DNA cross over between chromosomes in a pair. As a result, offspring won’t have chromosomes identical to that of their parents.Now, data show such crossovers may affect the rates at which individual genes mutate. Using a genetic data set of 155,250 Icelanders, researchers at deCODE Genetics, a biotechnology company based in Reykjavik, have created the most detailed map yet of the relative locations of genes on the human genome. By looking at the differences in parent and child DNA, the researchers could trace both crossovers and mutations in DNA as it passed from parent to child. Previous genetic maps revealed the locations of specific features to within thousands of DNA base pairs. The new map lets researchers pinpoint the location of a feature to a segment of DNA about 700 base pairs long.The team found that mutations occurred much more often near crossover sites, as they report today in Science. In stretches of DNA within about 1000 base pairs of where crossovers had happened, mutations were roughly 50 times more common than in the whole genome on average. And the farther from a crossover site a stretch of DNA was, the fewer mutations it had.Past studies have shown similar relationships between crossovers and mutations but in less detail. Because the crossovers that occur when parents’ sex cells are created are not random, they make mutations more likely in certain areas of DNA, making these mutations less random as well. “It points us to the very fact that there’s more than randomness to [the] generation of genetic diversity,” says neurologist Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE Genetics and an author on the new paper. Understanding how mutations happen can help biologists study how genetic diversity is created in the species and lend insights to the study of mutation-caused diseases as well.Parents’ ages also seem to matter. For each year older that a father or mother is when their child is born, the number of mutations in the child’s DNA will increase by about 1.39 and 0.38 respectively, the researchers find.A mother’s age also affects the number of crossovers a child will inherit, the study reports. For older mothers, the egg cells that eventually become offspring tend to have more crossovers than the egg cells of younger mothers.Aside from findings about crossover and mutation frequencies, the researchers identified several specific genes that might be associated with the rate or location of crossovers beyond the genes researchers already knew about. These genes and their possible connections to crossovers open new paths for research, Przeworski says.The project may be useful for researchers who study human evolution. Geneticist Priya Moorjani of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study, uses mutation rates in DNA as a clock for measuring how much time has passed since certain events in our evolutionary history. The data in this study may be helpful for learning what might control mutation rate and make our understanding of evolutionary timelines more precise, she says. To form an egg or sperm cell, a cell splits into two during meiosis so each resulting cell only contains half the chromosomes of the original. When parents pass their genes down to their children, they give the kids remixed versions of their own chromosomes. And that remixing of chromosomes can increase the chances that the child’s DNA will also mutate in certain locations, according to a high-precision study of the DNA of more than 150,000 people. The data in this study may be helpful for understanding mutation rates in humans and measuring how quickly we are evolving.“The scale of the study is just unprecedented,” says geneticist Molly Przeworski of Columbia University, who was not involved in the project. “The resource alone is going to be a boon for the field.”Your genome consists of long strands of the double-helix molecule DNA, which codes for your genes using the four chemical letters of life’s genetic alphabet. A total of about 3 billion pairs of letters, or “base pairs,” coil into 23 pairs of chromosomes in almost every one of your cells. Each chromosome can contain hundreds to thousands of genes, stretches of DNA that spell out the chemical recipes for myriad proteins. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Ed Reschke/Getty Images Gene-swapping in human sperm and eggs can increase genetic mutations in children Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Research ties with mainland China have grown since the handover. In 1998, 16.5% of all scientific papers produced in Hong Kong involved collaborations with the mainland; by 2017, the share had jumped to 53.2%, information scientists Ma Qian and Li Wenlan of Tianjin University in China reported in September 2018 in Scientometrics.Funding ties are also deepening. Hong Kong researchers have long been able to win grants from the Chinese government, but the money had to be spent within the mainland. Last year, however, the government dropped that requirement at the request of prominent Hong Kong scientists. In the first grants under the new policy, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in May 2018 awarded 22 million Chinese yuan ($3.2 million) to 22 Hong Kong research groups.Two new cross-border programs will announce their first grants later this year. One is backed by MOST and Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Bureau, and the other by Hong Kong’s Research Grants Council and China’s National Natural Science Foundation. The latter will focus on six research areas, including medicine and materials science.Even as Hong Kong has strengthened scientific ties with the mainland, questions about the durability of the city’s special status have grown. The current protests began soon after the extradition bill was unveiled in April. Opponents said it would enable mainland authorities to seize political opponents on flimsy charges. And more than 1700 academics from around the world voiced support for their Hong Kong colleagues by signing an online petition warning that the bill was “jeopardizing the rule of law and human rights in Hong Kong.” On 15 June, Hong Kong officials “indefinitely” postponed action on the bill.The bill was “definitely a concern for academics,” because it could have had “a chilling effect on people working on so-called ‘sensitive’ topics,” says philosopher Timothy O’Leary of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who taught at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) for 17 years. Some scientists also worried the law would hamper recruitment efforts.Authorities on both sides argue cross-border collaborations advance science and help Hong Kong become an innovation hub. But such schemes are also “a very useful mechanism” for integrating Hong Kong into China, notes one senior Hong Kong scientist, who asked to remain anonymous because of the issue’s sensitivity. Even so, he says it would be a leap from tighter integration “to Hong Kong institutions losing their autonomy.”Other researchers are even more sanguine. HKU microbiologist Yuen Kwok-Yung doubts “such additional funding will erode academic freedom in [Hong Kong] as long as … the independent judiciary and free press are still being protected.” And O’Leary says the recent protests show that Hongkongers “will not easily acquiesce to an encroachment on their civil liberties.” But he urges the city’s universities to follow the protesters’ lead “and continue to insist on the nonnegotiable importance of academic freedom.” Hong Kong researchers forge ties with mainland China even as protesters fight for autonomy Two million people, one-quarter of Hong Kong, China’s residents, joined protests against an extradition bill. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images center_img After a series of massive protests by Hong Kong’s residents, including many academics, the leaders of the semiautonomous Chinese city last week shelved controversial legislation that would have allowed people there to be extradited to mainland China. But even as that battle to preserve independence continues, Hong Kong’s researchers are forging closer ties with the mainland.Those links will be strengthened this year, with several new cross-border funding programs set to make their first awards. And although many researchers welcome the new opportunities for funding and collaboration, some worry they could give Beijing greater influence over Hong Kong’s research agenda.The tension arises from Hong Kong’s special political status. In 1997, China regained control of the former U.K colony under a “one country, two systems” policy that gives Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents a greater say in their economic and political affairs. Academic efforts have thrived under the arrangement. The city now hosts nearly 30,000 researchers, creating a per capita ratio triple that found on China’s mainland, according to United Nations statistics. Hong Kong’s research spending has risen from just 0.4% of its gross domestic product in 1998 to 0.8% in 2017. Several of the city’s universities are among the top 50 in the world, according to this year’s Times Higher Education rankings. Email By Dennis NormileJun. 18, 2019 , 3:35 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

first_imgA Hard Sell reMarkable on Monday will begin shipping what might best be described as an “untablet” — a device that is, essentially, an electronic piece of paper.The company is proud of its paper tablet’s simplicity, boasting that no other tablet has fewer functionalities.reMarkable users cannot install apps, watch videos or take photos. What they can do is read, write and sketch on a paper-like surface with a modern twist. Pricing and Demand Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. Among reMarkable’s digital powers:10.3-inch monochrome digital paper display with 1872 x 1404 resolution (226 DPI) and multipoint capacitive touch;Marker pen with a high-friction tip and tilt detection — no battery or pairing required; WiFi connectivity; 8 GB of internal storage — the equivalent of 100,000 pages — and 512 MB of DDR3L RAM;Rechargeable battery (micro USB);1-GHz ARM A9 processor;Codex Linux-based operating system, optimized for e-paper;Support for PDF and ePub document formats; reMarkable app for instant syncing with all other devices; One-click file transfer; andOptional secure cloud backup service. The purchase price is US$599 for the reMarkable paper tablet, marker, marker tips and cable.More than 35,000 units already have been sold, according to the company.”With the right targeting, I can imagine a subset of e-reader users would really enjoy this product and could move up to this when deciding to replace their old Kindle or Kobo,” said Eric Smith, director, tablets and touchscreens, at Strategy Analytics.”The problem is, it’s already a limited pool of potential customers for a company with a limited marketing budget and distribution reach,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This is now just as expensive as a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.”The pricing isn’t excessive, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, because demand for e-paper displays isn’t as strong as for LCD displays.”You don’t get the massive economies of scale that LCD displays enjoy, particularly at this large size,” he told TechNewsWorld.center_img “I do consider myself a ‘paper person.’ I’m someone who’s excited by the prospect of reading physical books and taking notes by hand,” wrote Avery Hartmans for Business Insider.”For that reason alone, I loved the experience of using reMarkable. It feels a lot like the early Kindles, but with … modern touches. Using it was a pleasant break from being constantly connected, and it was nice to have an excuse to doodle or write down to-do lists and notes,” she added.On the downside, it was “generally slow,” Hartmans pointed out. “For $600 I wanted the device to be quick and responsive, and it simply wasn’t.”Another problem was screen burn-in. Images remained faintly on the screen even after being erased, she noted.Although the reMarkable tablet didn’t quite meet her expectations, “I still think it’s an incredible product,” Hartmans wrote. However, “paying $600 for an E-ink tablet like this in 2017 still seems too steep to me.”The reMarkable tablet’s lack of additional functionalities — the ability to watch movies on it, play games or browse the Web — “is this device’s strongest feature,” Max Parker wrote for Trusted Reviews, because “it sets the [device] apart.”reMarkable is “a great tool for artists,” he said, noting that “the level of detail you can achieve is impressive.”However, he wasn’t impressed by the unremarkable design, and he would have preferred having the option to select a cloud service other than reMarkable’s.”You will be able to livestream from the reMarkable to a computer, however,” Parker pointed out, “which appears to make it an ideal tool for meetings and group working.” reMarkable is about 7×10 inches and a mere quarter-inch thick. It weighs in at .77 pounds. It has no glass parts, and is virtually unbreakable, according to the company.It is powered in part by E Ink Carta technology. Early Reactions “Lenovo’s Yoga Book and Yoga A12 are perfect examples of innovation in inking that really adds value to something many people already use,” said Strategy Analytics’ Smith.”Tablets equipped with another pane of glass for digitizing paper notes through EMR panels seems a more functional and less expensive innovation than reMarkable,” he suggested.The tablet “is going to be a really hard sell at such a high price point,” Smith said. “The price, low functionality and complicated workflow to move from connected device to ‘simplified’ reMarkable are big pain points.”last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 17 2019Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery made by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. The discovery may prove to be of great significance for avoiding serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.Wide gaps exist in our understanding of how the immune system works and how we might avoid diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Now, two researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute have made a discovery that could prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. PhD Mathias Heltberg and Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen have found an entirely new mechanism in the way that bodily cells regulate themselves – through chaos.The researchers investigated how a particular protein produced within cells, NF-kB, stimulates genes. Among other things, this particular protein is vital for maintaining the body’s immune defense system and thereby, the body’s ability to combat disease. The concentration of NF-kB fluctuates over time, and these swings impact the genes and subsequently, the condition of cells.The researchers demonstrated that chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein – what in mathematics is known as chaotic dynamics – can increase the activation of a number of genes that are otherwise not activated. In other words, when in a chaotic state, the NF-kB protein is most effective at activating genes and optimally “tuning” the immune system.”The results can have a tremendous impact on our understanding of how the immune system functions and how the incidence of some of the most serious illnesses, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, might be avoided. For example, we know that cancer is related to a failure of signaling within the body. So, to avoid cancer, it is imperative to have the right dynamic at work in cells,” says Mogens Høgh Jensen, a professor in biocomplexity at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute.Related StoriesStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusMaking Bacterial Infections a Thing of the Past for Chronic Respiratory ConditionsMathematical model helps identify determinants of persistent MRSA bacteremiaImproved knowledge can improve cancer treatmentThe researchers point out that this new knowledge can be deployed in future therapies.”These could come in the form of new medications that ensure proper protein function. Therapies could also involve the withdrawal and testing of cells from a body to gauge whether cells are in the right condition to have the correct swings. If they aren’t, it may be possible to predict and discover illnesses before they occur,” explains Mathias Heltberg, a PhD student in Biocomplexity.The research results are among the first to prove that chaos can be an important aspect of the mechanisms that steer the enormous complexity characteristic of all living things. Even the researchers were surprised by their discovery, as chaotic dynamics is often seen as something that living organisms seek to avoid. The new knowledge opens up an entirely new understanding of how genes can be regulated through varied swings in the proteins that control them.”Chaos is a mathematically well-defined dynamic,  one that, for example, has previously been used to explain great changes in weather systems. With the enormous complexity that characterizes higher order living things, it is evident that chaotic dynamics will occur in different types of systems. But how chaos plays a decisive role in living cells is entirely new,” concludes Mogens Høgh Jensen. Source:https://www.science.ku.dk/english/press/news/2019/chaos-in-the-body-tunes-up-your-immune-system/last_img read more

first_img Source:https://www.europeanlung.org/en/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 11 2019A new study that directly compares new heated tobacco devices with vaping and traditional cigarettes shows that all three are toxic to human lung cells.The study published in ERJ Open Research suggests that the new device, which heats solid tobacco instead of an e-liquid, is no less toxic to the cells than ordinary cigarette smoke.Researchers say the study adds to evidence that these newer electronic nicotine delivery devices may not be a safer substitute for cigarette smoking.The study was led by Dr Pawan Sharma, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.He said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and with the introduction of e-cigarettes in the last decade, the trend of nicotine uptake is not going to slow down in the near future. If the current trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030 around the world.”The latest addition in this emerging trend is the planned and vigorous introduction of heated tobacco devices. They are commonly called next generation or heat-not-burn products. We know very little about the health effects of these new devices, so we designed this research to compare them with cigarette smoking and vaping.”Researchers tested the effects of all three nicotine sources on two types of cells taken from the human airways: epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells. In healthy lungs, epithelial cells act as the first line of defence to any foreign particles entering the airway while smooth muscle cells maintain the structure of the airway. However, smoking can lead to difficulty in breathing primarily by hampering the normal functions of these cells.Dr Sharma and his team exposed the cells to different concentrations of cigarette smoke, e-cigarette vapour and vapour from a heated tobacco device, and measured whether this was damaging to cells and whether it affected the cells’ normal functions.The researchers found that cigarette smoke and heated tobacco vapour were highly toxic to the cells both at lower and higher concentrations while e-cigarette vapour demonstrated toxicity mainly at higher concentrations. Researchers say that these concentrations represent the levels of nicotine found in chronic smokers.Dr Sukhwinder Sohal, a researcher at the University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, and leading author on the study, said: “We observed different levels of cellular toxicity with all forms of exposures in human lung cells. What came out clearly was that the newer products were in no way less toxic to cells than conventional cigarettes or e-cigarette vaping.”Related StoriesStudy: Less than 50% of U.S. adults exposed to court-ordered anti-smoking advertisementsLow rates of recommended treatment for tobacco dependence in patients hospitalized with SUDsStudy reveals how habitual smoking may contribute to development of hypertensionDr Sharma added: “Our results suggest that all three are toxic to the cells of our lungs and that these new heated tobacco devices are as harmful as smoking traditional cigarettes.”It took us nearly five decades to understand the damaging effects of cigarette smoke and we don’t yet know the long-term impact of using e-cigarettes. These devices that heat solid tobacco are relatively new and it will be decades before we will fully understand their effects on human health.”What we do know is that damage to these two types of lung cells can destroy lung tissue leading to fatal diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and pneumonia, and can increase the risk of developing asthma, so we should not assume that these devices are a safer option.”Dr Sharma hopes his results will stimulate more research on heated tobacco devices and he plans to continue this work by studying the effects of nicotine devices on more sophisticated models of lung tissue and in mice.Professor Charlotta Pisinger is Chair of the European Respiratory Society’s Tobacco Control Committee and was not involved in the research. She said: “These new heated tobacco devices are marketed as producing 95% lower levels of toxic compounds because the tobacco is heated, not burned. However, the first independent studies have shown that combustion is taking place and toxic and carcinogenic compounds are released, some in lower levels than in conventional cigarette smoke, others in higher levels. A review of the tobacco industry’s own data on these devices has shown that, in rats, there is evidence of lung inflammation, and there is no evidence of improvement in lung inflammation and function in smokers who switch to heated tobacco.”The introduction and vigorous marketing of new devices is very tempting to smokers who want to stop smoking and mistakenly believe they can switch to another harmless tobacco product. It is also opening another avenue for attracting young people to use and become addicted to nicotine. This study adds to evidence that these new devices are not the safe substitute to cigarette smoking they are promoted to be.”last_img read more

first_imgThe American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of assessing levels of physical activity, both in the clinic and within the workplace. They also highlight the need for physicians to objectively assess cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), as current methods (patient questionnaires) are open to patient bias.Accurate and objective CRF assessments that are based on exercise tolerance are often expensive and require professional facilities and specialist staff to carry out.The new study led by Harvard University researchers suggests that a simple, free test based on push-up capacity could be a useful way to assess CRF.The study, which is the first of its kind, was carried out under the hypothesis that “higher fitness levels would be associated with lower rates of incident CVD.”The researchers used data from fitness tests from over 1,000 firemen in the US state of Indiana. Over a period of ten years, medical records were observed to measure the amount of cardiovascular disease diagnoses.Each participant undertook baseline and periodic physical exams that included push-up capacity and maximal or submaximal exercise tolerance tests between the years 2000 and 2007, with surveillance lasting until 2010.With an average age of 39.6 (the actual ages ranging from 21 to 66), the cohort also had an average body-mass index (BMI) of 28.7. Despite being occupationally active, the cohort’s BMI score of 28.7 put them in the overweight range.Out of 1,104 men, 37 experienced health problems related to CVD, including heart failure, sudden cardiac death, or receiving coronary artery disease diagnoses. The study claims “significant negative associations were found between increasing push-up capacity and CVD events.”Professor Jeremy Pearson stated “this study shows that fitter firefighters have less chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next decade.”Whilst the results may not be revolutionary, the study highlights that ‘push-up tests’ could be a simple, universal, cost-effective way of predicting CVD, potentially with more accuracy than a treadmill based test.Senior author of the study and a specialist in cardiovascular disease Stefanos Kales said that “push-up capacity is positively correlated with aerobic capacity and physical fitness,” and that “these types of objective functional markers are generally good predictors of mortality”.It is important to note that this study dealt with only one group of people, and the study’s results may not be reflected in different groups of people. Other cohorts, such as women or people who are less active, would need to be tested to definitively prove this test’s findings. Source:Yang J., et al. Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men. JAMA Network Open. 15 February 2019. The narrowing of our arteries with fatty substances, which can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes, starts early, often in our 20s and 30s. Keeping fit, no matter your age, is an important way to reduce your risk.”Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director, BHFcenter_img By Lois Zoppi, BAFeb 18 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A new study has found a link between the number of push-ups a person is able to do and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings show that middle-aged men who are able to complete 10 push-ups could reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 97 percent.g-stockstudio | ShutterstockCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. It is well documented that smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and lack of physical activity are some of the main risk factors for developing CVD.last_img read more


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