Critical access hospitals face problems in infection prevention and control practices shows

first_imgJun 13 2018Critical access hospitals (CAHs) face significant challenges in their infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, according to new research presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).CAH is a designation given by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to rural hospitals with 25 beds or less that are located at least 35 miles away from other hospitals.Public health officials reviewed IPC practices at 36 Nebraska hospitals using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Infection Prevention and Control Assessment Tool for assessing best practices. They found the greatest gaps existed in the domains of injection safety, central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) prevention, and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) prevention, but also found important gaps were present in all domains.Related StoriesMedicare going in ‘right direction’ on opioid epidemicAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyMedicare Advantage overbills taxpayers by billions a year as feds struggle to stop it”Lack of competency-based training programs and failure to perform audits and feedback appear to be recurrent themes in several domains,” said Margaret Drake, MT(ASCP), DHHS, ICAP, lead study author. “These challenges are not unique to the facilities we visited. CAHs across the country face similar issues.”A team of certified IPs and public health officials visited each of the participating CAHs. The hospitals participated on a voluntary basis, demonstrating their dedication to improving patient safety. During the visits, the team conducted assessments, audits, and observations focused on injection safety, and prevention of CLABSI and CAUTI. After each visit, IPs received a summary of all infection control gaps along with recommendations for improvement. The team also developed aThe study team also noted that having trained infection preventionists (IPs), allowing IPs to dedicate more time to infection control activities, and being a larger facility, were factors associated with the presence of certain CDC-recommended infection prevention and control practices in CAHs.”The results of this study align with national trends that point to the importance of adequate infection prevention staffing and training,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “Additional resources are needed to help hospitals, especially small, rural and under-funded hospitals, close the gaps in infection prevention and control and improve patient safety.” Source:https://apic.org/last_img read more

UM researchers awarded NIH funding to study bacterium that causes Lyme disease

first_imgJul 11 2018University of Montana researchers Dan Drecktrah and Scott Samuels were recently awarded $449,998 from the National Institutes of Health for the first year of a five-year project to study the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.They will work in conjunction with Meghan Lybecker of the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. Lybecker earned her Ph.D. from UM in 2007.Together they will investigate the “Regulation of glycerol utilization in Borrelia burgdorferi.” With an estimated 300,000 cases annually, Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the United States. It results from infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted via the bite of a tick.Related StoriesAntibodies.com raises £400,000 in pre-seed financing to help scientists discover more for lessTreating women with thyroid antibodies with Levothyroxine do not increase live birth rateNew DNA Microscopy Technique Offers Novel Insight into Genomic Information in CellsThe objective of their work is to understand the regulatory mechanisms that allow B. burgdorferi to respond and adapt to varied carbon sources in tick-to-mammal transmission and in Lyme disease pathogenesis, which will lead to improved diagnostic, prevention and treatment strategies. The long-term objective is to alleviate the human disease.Drecktrah also recently received nearly $260,000 in NIH funding for his project titled “Metabolic regulation during the two-host lifecycle of Borrelia.” In this project, he will investigate a novel signaling pathway that regulates the interaction of B. burgdorferi with its tick vector. The long-term objective of this project is to understand the unique strategies and mechanisms B. burgdorferi uses to persist in the tick and transmit to mammals. Source:http://news.umt.edu/2018/07/071018tick.phplast_img read more

Australianled global guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of women with PCOS

first_img Excess facial and body hair, acne or scalp hair loss Impaired ovulation or egg development in the ovaries leading to irregular cycles, reduced fertility and pregnancy complications Increased risk of weight gain, diabetes and other metabolic features Increased anxiety, depression and reduced quality of life Jul 23 2018Australian led global guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the primary cause of infertility in women will be published simultaneously in three international journals, supported by a suite of health professional and patient resources to improve health outcomes for women with PCOS.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 13% of women of reproductive age in non-Indigenous and one in three Indigenous women, and is a complex condition with challenges in making an accurate diagnosis.Monash University’s Professor Helena Teede led international engagement of more than 3500 consumers and health professional from 71 countries that identified major gaps for those with this condition including delays of up to two years in diagnosis and a lack of adequate information for women with PCOS, underpinned by a paucity of evidence-based diagnosis and treatment guidelines.According to Professor Teede, PCOS is a multi-faceted condition, “with reproductive, metabolic and psychological features which often means diagnosis is delayed, treatment is often not holistic and opportunities for prevention, treatment and improved health outcomes including in infertility and pregnancy health are missed,” she said.Monash University’s Professor Teede heads the national NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in PCOS has led the International Evidence-Based Guideline on Assessment and Management of PCOS across 37 societies and consumer groups from 71 countries. Seventy experts, health professional and women with PCOS met 20 times over a 15 month period to develop the guidelines, with expertise from Monash’s evidence and guideline expert Dr Marie Misso.The guideline will be published today in three international journals: Clinical Endocrinology; Human Reproduction and Fertility and Sterility and is an unprecedented example of international collaboration to improve health outcomes, Prof Teede said.”It is now vital to get the key guideline messages out to as broad a range of health professionals and women with PCOS as possible to translate this work into improved health outcomes for affected women,” said Monash University’s Assoc Prof Jacqueline Boyle and Dr Rhonda Garad who lead international translation of the guidelines.Related StoriesUNC and partners receive NIH funding to identify chlamydia vaccineResearch identifies new target that may help develop new treatments for common STDDisease transmissible from dogs to humans shows up in IowaPolycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine or hormonal disorder involving excess levels of the hormones insulin and androgen, causing the common clinical features of the condition: A key message from the guidelines is to reassure women that these features can be prevented and or treated, including infertility, once identified.Initial research found that the assessment and management of PCOS is inconsistent, with women generally dissatisfied with care. The guidelines and translation program aim to address this through the refinement and increased accuracy of diagnostic criteria; encouraging simpler, more appropriate testing; an increased focus on education of both patient and health care professional; lifestyle modification, (for instance obesity increases the risk and severity of PCOS); improving emotional wellbeing and quality of life, and increasing the use of evidenced based medical therapy and cheaper and safer fertility treatment.To increase the health literacy of women affected by PCOS, Monash University has created a PCOS app which provides information in English, and is being translated into Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese and Spanish.A GP Toolkit and care plan has been developed to assist in the rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatment of the disease. This and a suite of other consumer and health professional resources are designed to get the evidence based messages out there to improve diagnosis, care and health outcomes.Source: https://www.monash.edu/last_img read more

Study reveals early signs of cardiac impairment in patients with newly diagnosed

first_imgAug 2 2018Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in patients with lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease. In a new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology—a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology—imaging tests revealed signs of cardiac impairment in patients newly diagnosed with lupus, even before any symptoms of chest discomfort.To determine whether cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging might uncover early indicators of silent heart problems in patients with lupus, a team led by Meng Jiang, MD, PhD, FSCMR and Jun Pu, MD, PhD, FACC, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, studied 50 patients recently diagnosed with lupus, 60 patients with longstanding lupus, and 50 healthy controls.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesWeightlifting is better for the heart than cardioImaging tests revealed structural and functional changes in the hearts of patients with lupus, and the extent of the changes—including signs of scarring, or fibrosis—were related to lupus stage. The findings indicate that early detection and treatment of heart problems may benefit patients with lupus.Current tests that assess lupus patients’ heart health often do not examine changes that are visible with CMR. Therefore, CMR may be useful for detecting the markers of cardiac problems that arise early in the disease process. When these markers are evident, certain therapies may help protect patients’ hearts from additional damage.”Our findings may affect current lupus diagnostics and treatment—meaning more patients with silent cardiac insults could be identified and receive proper treatment,” said Dr. Pu.Also, once fibrosis appears at later stages, anti-fibrotic treatments may be appropriate, noted Dr. Jiang. “Whether these treatments will improve a patient’s prognosis still needs to be evaluated by further clinical studies,” she said.​ Source:http://en.sjtu.edu.cn/last_img read more

Ablating the mutant p53 gene in mice with colorectal cancer inhibits tumor

first_imgAug 15 2018By genetically manipulating and removing the most common mutant form of the p53 gene that promotes colorectal cancer in humans, an international team of scientists demonstrated that this therapy reduces tumor growth and tissue invasion. Led by Ute Moll, MD, Professor and cancer biologist in the Department of Pathology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, the findings are published in Cancer Cell.Specific ‘hotspot’ mutations of p53 have recently been recognized as strong promoters of cancer in humans. About 60 percent of colorectal cancers harbor p53 mutations. The challenge for scientists has been discovering whether and which mutant forms of p53 are best to target – and in which tumor entity – in order to halt the cancer process or slow it down. In this study, Dr. Moll and colleagues assessed one of the three most common p53 mutants in colorectal cancer – mutp53 R248Q, exchanging an Arginine (R) for a Glutamine (Q) – in a high fidelity genetic mouse model of the disease.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerThe researchers found that therapeutically ablating the mutant p53 gene in mice that had developed colorectal cancer markedly inhibited tumor growth and reduced tumor invasiveness by 50 percent.As an underlying mechanism they identified that the mutant p53 protein (produced from its corresponding gene), which is highly stabilized in the tumor cells, binds to and activates Stat3, a key tumor promoter. This promotes cancer progression and correlates with poor outcomes in humans and mice. The researchers demonstrated that Stat3 activation via the mutant p53 protein mediates tumor growth and invasion. They also showed that many human cancer entities including gastrointestinal cancers with R248 mutations are associated with poorer patient survival compared to those with nonR248 mutations of p53.Moreover, the researchers found that genetic deletion of mutant p53 was only one way to slow down tumor growth and progression.They also discovered that inhibiting the folding chaperone enzyme Hsp90 – which they discovered earlier to be responsible for mutant p53 protein stabilization – by a small molecule drug called 17AAG, Stat3 signaling, tumor growth and progression of mutp53-driven tumors were equally stopped.”We discovered that in p53-mediated colorectal cancer driven by the most common mutant form of p53, there is an exploitable tumor dependence on continued expression of the mutant protein for the tumors to thrive,” said Dr. Moll. “Our data suggest that this and similar p53 mutants represent actionable drug targets responsive to treatment by removal, for example with Hsp90 inhibitors,” she summarized.Dr. Moll will expand on this research and conduct experiments in other tumor entities in her new cancer lab located in Stony Brook University’s soon-to-open Medical and Research Translation (MART) Building. Source:https://www.stonybrook.edulast_img read more

Supreme Court Raises Bar for Patent Infringement

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 suggestion that there are different standards for direct and induced infringement didn’t sit well with the Supreme Court, which yesterday decided unanimously that the appellate court was wrong. For there to be induced infringement, Justice Samuel Alito explained, some single entity must also be liable for direct infringement. In other words, someone has to perform all the steps in the process; they can’t be distributed.That interpretation worries many biotech companies, which often hold patents involving complex, multistep methods. “It invites circumvention. It invites gaming,” says Hans Sauer, an intellectual property counsel for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which submitted a brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s decision. Sauer says the ruling provides a “road map” for those looking to mimic a patented process without getting sued. That road map might be useful if someone wanted to parcel out the manufacturing of a drug among several companies, for instance. However, pharmaceutical companies rely much more heavily on product patents than method patents, says Arti Rai, a patent law expert at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. If multiple groups collectively produce an already patented drug, they will quickly run up against more clear-cut product patent laws. “If you’re using the thing, you’re probably infringing,” she explains.But Rai says the threat to method patents could pose a serious problem in the emerging field of personalized medicine. Patient-specific approaches to diagnosis and treatment will often involve multistep method claims, she says. For example, a company may want to file a claim on the process of drawing blood from a patient, looking for a particular biomarker, and making a diagnosis or administering a drug.This scenario remains largely hypothetical, she notes, thanks in part to previous Supreme Court decisions on what is patentable. (In 2012, the Supreme Court decided in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. that the adjustment of drug dosage based on metabolites in a patient’s blood relied fundamentally on a law of nature, and thus couldn’t be patented.) But as companies try to obtain method patents by making the steps in the method more detailed, the Akamai decision may diminish the power of those patents. The high bar for patentability will force biotech companies to describe more specific, detailed steps in their methods, Rai says, and competitors could then avoid being sued by outsourcing any one of those steps.BIO’s Sauer agrees that this is a primary concern. “We don’t think it’s fair to sue a doctor or a patient or a clinical laboratory for the infringement of such a method,” he says, “but nonetheless, maybe it’s fair to sue somebody who masterminds the whole process and sells an infringing product to be used as part of that process.”*Correction, 4 June, 10:15 a.m.: The Supreme Court ruled on 2 June, not on 3 June, as was previously reported. U.S. biotech companies are worried that a patent decision yesterday involving two Internet technology companies could undermine patents on methods to diagnose and treat illnesses.The case before the Supreme Court, Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., dealt with a claim on a process to store and retrieve Web content. Akamai patented a process that involves storing and retrieving content on its servers to be loaded to a webpage. Limelight Networks offered a similar service, but it didn’t perform every step of that process itself. Instead, it instructed its customers to perform one important step—“tagging” the information designated to be stored on the servers.Akamai sued for infringement, and in 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Limelight was not liable for direct infringement because it hadn’t performed every step in the process. But the court said Limelight was still liable for “inducing” infringement, meaning that it advised or encouraged others to perform steps that led to infringement.   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 (*) read more

Pricey new cholesterol drug scrapes by in heart risk study

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Image Source/iStockphoto 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 Researchers knew there was a general relationship between cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk, but “there was sort of a question of whether, when you get to very low [cholesterol] levels, that relationship would fall off,” says William Hiatt, a physician specializing in vascular medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver and a member of an FDA advisory committee that reviewed the drugs.Both groups launched trials to answer that question; Amgen is the first to release its findings. The company collaborated with several institutions, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Imperial College London, to enroll about 27,000 patients with a history of cardiovascular disease who were already taking statins. The researchers randomized patients to receive either injections of Repatha or placebo, and followed them for 2 years to track several cardiovascular events: heart attack, stroke, death, hospitalization for blocked blood flow to the heart, and stent or bypass surgery. After 2 years, 9.8% of patients in the treatment group had at least one such event, versus 11.3% in the placebo group, the team revealed today in The New England Journal of Medicine and at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Washington, D.C.In other words, a physician would need to treat about 150 patients with Repatha in a year to prevent one of these bad events, Hiatt explains. “The benefit here is meaningful and substantial,” he says, “although not overwhelming.” Given that many patients at risk of a heart attack or stroke have little else to try, he says, this is “absolutely an advance in cardiovascular medicine.”The question insurance companies are grappling with is whether that benefit justifies the list price of nearly $15,000 a year. “It’s an expensive medicine for a common disease, says Kathiresan, “and my sense is that the price will have to come down.”Still, the result is gratifying for researchers hoping genomic studies will serve up new drugs. The drug’s mechanism of action was discovered by studying people with mutations to the gene for PCSK9 that allowed them to maintain exceptionally low cholesterol levels. “The therapies basically exactly mirror the human genetics,” Kathiresan says. “This is potentially a road map for medicines development at large.” Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img A year and a half after its feted approval, a new cholesterol drug has passed a key test. There was no question that Repatha, an antibody drug developed by Amgen, could provide stunning drops in cholesterol for people who have already maxed out the benefits of decades-old statin drugs. But the clinical trials supporting its approval did not take the next step to show whether the therapy, known as a PCSK9 inhibitor, could actually improve or extend the lives of people taking it.Now, those results are in. Repatha showed a measurable—if modest—benefit in reducing cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke. “The open question was, ‘Does this way of lowering [cholesterol] reduce risk of coronary heart disease,’” says Sekar Kathiresan, a cardiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study. “The answer to that is a firm ‘yes.’ And that’s exciting.”The drug reduces cholesterol—specifically, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can build up in artery walls—by blocking an enzyme known as PCSK9, which would otherwise inhibit liver receptors that clear LDL cholesterol from the body. In clinical trials, both Repatha and its competitor, a drug called Praluent developed by Sanofi and Regeneron, reduced LDL cholesterol by about 60% in patients already taking statins. That was good enough for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approved both drugs in 2015. (The two companies are locked in a patent dispute, in which Amgen is attempting to block Praluent from the market.) By Kelly ServickMar. 17, 2017 , 9:00 AM Pricey new cholesterol drug scrapes by in heart risk study PCSK9 drugs can reduce blood levels of cholesterol, which builds up in arteries (above), but only now have they been shown to prevent heart attacks and strokes.last_img read more

Moving DNA to a different part of the nucleus can change how

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Researchers demonstrated that the technique worked by shifting several gene pairs from central locations (above right) to the edge of the nucleus (above left). They also used the technique to move stretches of DNA known as telomeres—the tips of chromosomes implicated in aging. When they moved the telomeres to the inner edge of the nucleus, the cell grew much more slowly, if at all. But when they put telomeres close to cajal bodies, aggregations of proteins and genetic material that process RNA, the cell perked up: It grew faster and divided sooner than usual. Thus, the researchers conclude, the positioning of the telomeres is very important to keeping a cell healthy and productive.Other researchers say they are impressed with the new CRISPR-GO technique. (GO stands for “genome organization.”) That’s because it opens up a whole new way of altering the organization of the genome, which could pave the way toward a better understanding how the nucleus works and possibly lead to finer control over gene activity to slow aging or prevent disease. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Elizabeth PennisiOct. 11, 2018 , 11:00 AM H. Wang et al., Cell 10.1016 (2018) 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 Though the 3 meters of DNA inside the nuclei of our cells looks like a jumbled pile of spaghetti, the genome is, in fact, pretty well organized. Now, scientists have discovered—using a modified version of the gene-editing tool CRISPR—that the location of DNA, not just the order of its base pairs, can make a critical difference in how certain parts of the genome work.The nucleus is dynamic, with everything—the chromosomes, the nucleolus, and so on—swirling around seemingly randomly. But in the past decade, researchers have realized that DNA on chromosomes inside can reposition itself in specific ways, ways that may alter the activity of the genes being moved. But, until now, they had no good way of proving that hypothesis.Enter CRISPR: Bioengineers have retooled the gene-editing technique to move specific stretches of DNA from one place to another inside the nucleus itself, they report today in Cell. First, they attach the DNA to a protein that, when prompted by the plant hormone abscisic acid, selectively links up with another protein found only in the target location. The second protein then “snags” the attached DNA, holding it fast in the desired spot. Removing the abscisic acid loosens the connection, freeing the DNA. Moving DNA to a different part of the nucleus can change how it works Emaillast_img read more

Hidden layer of gene control influences everything from cancer to memory

first_imgAn enzyme (pink) places a chemical mark (gold) on messenger RNA (blue), in an artist’s concept. Hidden layer of gene control influences everything from cancer to memory The idea that chemical tags on genes can affect their expression without altering the DNA sequence, once surprising, is the stuff of textbooks. The phenomenon, epigenetics, has now come to messenger RNA (mRNA), the molecule that carries genetic information from DNA to a cell’s proteinmaking factories. At a conference here last month, researchers discussed evidence that RNA epigenetics is also critical for gene expression and disease, and they described a new chemical modification linked to leukemia.Research has found that epigenetic marks decorate mRNAs like Christmas lights on a fence. The cell uses the marks “to determine where, when, and how much of the [associated] protein should be generated,” RNA biologist Pedro Batista of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, said at the conference. What’s more, says Michael Kharas of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, mRNA modifications “can affect the viability of cells, whether cells divide, cancer, neurologic diseases.” They are providing promising leads for drug developers. And, he adds, “There’s so many [more] diseases these things could be important in, ones people aren’t even looking at.”Modified mRNAs had been reported in the 1970s, but by 2008 they were largely forgotten. Then, Chuan He at the University of Chicago, Samie Jaffrey at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Gideon Rechavi at Tel Aviv University in Israel took a fresh look. Their teams focused on one mRNA modification called m6A: a methyl group—a simple chemical unit—attached to some of an RNA molecule’s adenine bases. He’s group showed that a well-known enzyme removes this mRNA modification, indicating that m6A has an important biological role, and Jaffrey’s and Rechavi’s groups developed mapping tools that showed it is widespread. Before the work, researchers knew mRNA epigenetic marks were there, but “they just didn’t know how to actually look for them,” says NCI researcher Shalini Oberdoerffer. Of at least half a dozen modifications of mRNA, m6A is the best studied. When proteins called readers attach to it, they direct the fate of the marked mRNA—which can vary dramatically.For example, m6A boosts gene expression needed for embryonic stem cells to properly differentiate into different cell types. But in blood stem cells, m6A restricts differentiation. In leukemia—a disease of blood stem cells gone awry—m6A sustains disease by keeping the cells in a stemlike state. In 2017, three groups, including Kharas’s, independently showed that eliminating the enzyme that places m6A on mRNA kills tumor cells in acute myeloid leukemia. At least three biotech companies are now developing experimental drugs to block such enzymes.At the meeting, Tony Kouzarides of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom reported a new mRNA modification and an associated enzyme that drives leukemia. “I suspect there will be many, many more” links to leukemia, he said.M6A has also turned out to be critical in the brain. Through its readers, it controls the precise timing of new neuron formation during development in mice and enables axons to regenerate after nerve injury. The modification also enhances memory. When He’s team knocked out the gene for an m6A reader in mice, the otherwise normal animals had memory defects. Injecting a virus carrying the normal reader gene reversed the effect. And when the researchers chemically stimulated the neurons to mimic the addition of a new memory, they saw a burst of protein synthesis that depended on m6A, they reported last year in Nature.Several years ago, Oberdoerffer followed a hunch that cells might use another simple chemical unit, an acetyl group, on mRNA. Her team reported last year in Cell that many mRNA cytosine bases are acetylated. The change boosts translation by stabilizing the molecules, and perhaps also by helping mRNAs match up with the correct transfer RNAs (tRNAs), the small RNA molecules that read the mRNA and add an amino acid to a growing protein chain. When mRNA and tRNA complement each other, they bind, triggering the addition of the amino acid. But the system isn’t exact—there are many more possible mRNA sequences than there are tRNAs, so tRNAs must somehow find (and bind to) some mRNAs that don’t match.Oberdoerffer’s team found a clue to the mystery: an acetylated mRNA base often sits where a tRNA must recognize the mRNA despite a mismatch. The RNA modification’s presence dramatically boosts gene translation, the researchers found. Oberdoerffer doesn’t think the modification is necessary for correct mRNA-tRNA recognition, but it may strengthen binding. “I think we will learn that the genetic code as we know it is not a static entity,” she says.Like other fledgling areas of research, RNA epigenetics (also known as epitranscriptomics) has its skeptics. In 2016, one group reported in Nature it had found a new modification, m1A, at more than 7000 sites across a cell’s complement of mRNAs. But a year later in the same journal, another group claimed that at most 15 mRNA m1A sites exist. “Because of that, everyone in the molecular biology community is a little bit suspicious about the validity of these [mRNA] modifications,” Jaffrey says.Other disputes rage over the functions of key enzymes and reader proteins. But epitranscriptomics is evolving fast. “We just need … a lot more knowledge about these things,” He says. “We need to stay open minded. The field is still very young.” Email 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 By Ken GarberJul. 1, 2019 , 2:45 PM STORM Therapeutics Click to view the privacy policy. 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Howard Student Aspiring Dentist Killed In Car Crash

first_imgThe school Provost Anthony Wutoh issued a statement to the Howard community regarding Burks’ death writing, “On behalf of the entire Howard University community, I wish to express our sincere condolences to the Burks family and friends.” Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. We send our condolences and love to the family, friends and classmates of our fallen Bison, Brittany Burks. Burks passed away this past Monday and we honor her memory and hope for healing for our Bison community. pic.twitter.com/g95XyUryih— HUSA (@HUSAssociation) June 28, 2019Following the deadly crash, D.C. police were not quick to confirm that the police pursuit led to Bassett hitting Burks’ vehicle. Police Chief Peter Newsham told the media on Wednesday that he wanted to wait for more of the facts to come out.“It’s very concerning, the information that we have to this point,” Newsham said. “I don’t want to pre-judge it. So, we’re going to wait until we have all the information before we make a determination.”The investigation into the incident is pending, but more importantly, it must be remembered that a woman with a dream lost her life. In a Facebook post, Burks had an important message for those looking to fulfill a dream as well:“You have to guard your dream and follow your heart no matter what other people suggest,” she wrote.A GoFundMe has been created to help her family bring her body home.SEE ALSO:Rickey Smiley Tapped To Take Over Morning Show When Tom Joyner RetiresNipsey Hussle’s Alleged Killer Reveals Motive, According To Court Docs Brittany Burks , Howard University SUBSCRIBE More By Megan Sims Jamaican Republican Who Is Running Against AOC Supported Her A Year Ago Twitter Crowns Kamala Harris Winner Of The Second Democratic Debatecenter_img Morehouse Students Take To Social Media And Claim Sexual Harassment Complaints Were Ignored Many kids have dreams about what they want to do when they grow up. When a woman from Buffalo, New York, knew she wanted to become a dentist she set on a journey to make her dreams a reality. Unfortunately, one ill-fated night dashed her dreams when her young life ended in the blink of an eye when she was killed in a car crash this week.“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a dentist and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else,” wrote 27-year-old Howard University School of Dentistry student Brittany Burks in a 2016 Facebook post. “I realized how strongly I felt about achieving my dream as I went through many upsets on my journey but consistently refused to give up.” Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. On Monday night 24-year-old Darnell Bassett struck a K9 cruiser in Northeast Washington, D.C. just blocks away from his home. D.C. Police immediately began a pursuit that led them toward the highway. As Bassett went further onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, a police supervisor called off the chase, but Bassett continued toward Maryland. One minute later, he crashed into the back of Burks’ Honda CR-V at a high rate of speed. Burks, who had been stopped on the right shoulder of the Parkway, had to be extracted from the vehicle.Bassett was placed in custody and airlifted to a trauma center. Burks was pronounced dead on the scene, her hopes of pursuing her dream frozen in time.“We just devastated. She’s my only child,” Burks’ mother Kim Swan said. “She was just a real sweet, real good spirit about her.”The Howard University community also mourned the loss of Burks, who had been a student there for three years. One of her classmates called the College of Dentistry a “big family.”“Nobody’s taking it that easy but it’s good because everyone here is very close. That’s the main thing that’s happened, it’s a big family here if anybody does need a shoulder to cry on, they got it,” Burks’ classmate, Aimir Diam said. US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE White Tears! Former Meteorologist Files Lawsuit Claiming He Was Fired Because Of Diversitylast_img read more

The northern and southern lights are different Heres why

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The findings could improve the prediction of solar storms—which can disrupt electricity grids, satellites, and astronauts in space, the team says. For now, though, observers can just appreciate these stunning—but distinct—light shows. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The northern and southern lights are different. Here’s why Pixabay By Alex FoxJan. 25, 2019 , 5:10 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email The northern lights (above) and their lesser-known sibling the southern lights, aurora borealis and aurora australis, respectively, undulate across the skies in hazy green and sometimes red ribbons near Earth’s polar regions. The two phenomena aren’t identical, however, and now researchers think they know why.Aurorae appear as solar wind, a gust of charged particles emitted by the sun, blows across Earth’s magnetic field. Because the charged particles flow along symmetrical lines in Earth’s magnetic field linking the north and south poles, it made sense to assume the atmospheric displays in each hemisphere would mirror each other. Advances in Earth imaging technology overturned this way of thinking in 2009, when scientists observed simultaneous aurorae drifting across the poles in patterns that didn’t match up.The study examined images of 10 asymmetric aurorae taken simultaneously from both poles and related changes in the aurorae to changes in Earth’s magnetotail, a windsocklike extension of Earth’s magnetic field. The researchers found that when solar wind approaches Earth from an east-west direction, it creates uneven pressure on Earth’s magnetotail and tilts it toward the side of the planet shrouded in darkness. That tilt causes the idiosyncrasies of shape and location of the northern and southern lights, the team reports this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.last_img read more

Researchers use DNA to take pictures of cells

first_img Weinstein et al./Cell By Mitch LeslieJun. 20, 2019 , 11:00 AM Email Researchers use DNA to take pictures of cells To look at a cell, you used to need a microscope. Now, researchers have found a way to view cells by using their own genetic material to take snapshots. The technique—called DNA microscopy—produces images that are less clear than those from traditional microscopy, but that could enable scientists to improve cancer treatment and probe how our nervous system forms.“DNA microscopy is an ingenious approach,” says geneticist Howard Chang of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, who wasn’t connected to the research. “I think it will be used.”To make the DNA microscope, postdoc Joshua Weinstein of the Broad Institute of in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues started with a group of cells in a culture dish. By creating DNA versions of the RNA molecules in the cells, they produced a large number of DNA molecules they could track. They then added tags—short pieces of DNA—that latched onto these DNA duplicates. Next, the scientists mixed in chemicals that produce multiple copies of these tags and the DNA molecules they connect to. As these copies built up, they started to drift away from their original location. When two wandering DNA molecules ran into each other, they linked up and spawned a unique DNA label that marked the encounter. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A group of cells captured with a traditional optical microscope (left) and with DNA microscopy (right) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country These labels are crucial for capturing a DNA image of the cells. If two DNA molecules start out close to each other, their diffusing copies will hook up frequently and produce more labels than two DNA molecules that start out farther apart. To count the labels, the researchers grind up the cells and analyze the DNA they contain. A computer algorithm can then infer the original positions of the DNA molecules to generate an image.In a sense, Weinstein says, the original DNA molecules are like radio towers that send messages in the form of DNA molecules to each other. Researchers can detect when one tower communicates with another one nearby and use the pattern of transmissions among towers to map their locations.To determine how well the technique works, the researchers tested it on cells carrying genes for either green or red proteins. The image created with DNA microscopy was not as sharp as one the researchers obtained with a light microscope, but it distinguished the genetically distinct red and green cells, the team reports today in Cell. In addition, Weinstein says, it captured the arrangement of the cells. That ability could be useful in analyzing a sample from, say, an organ in a human body. The technique can’t yet reveal fine details within cells, however.“The goal is not to replace optical microscopy,” Weinstein says. But DNA microscopy can do some things optical microscopy can’t. For instance, optical microscopy often can’t distinguish among cells with DNA differences, such as tumor cells with specific mutations or immune cells, which are often genetically unique after shuffling their DNA. Weinstein says DNA microscopy may help improve certain cancer treatments by identifying immune cells that can attack tumors. As our nervous system develops, cells often produce unique RNAs that enable them to make specialized proteins, and the technique could also help researchers investigate these cells.The technique is “pretty cool,” says molecular technologist Joakim Lundeberg of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, who helped develop an approach for visualizing RNA in cells. But he cautions that the study is preliminary and that researchers still need to determine the technique’s capabilities. DNA microscopy would be valuable if it could produce 3D images of cells in a sample, he says. “They need to demonstrate this in a tissue to really understand how useful it is.”last_img read more

Winslows spelling wiz kids move on to county spelling bee

first_imgJanuary 23, 2019 Photo courtesy of Winslow Junior HighThe Winslow Unified School District Spelling Bee was held last week. The winners included (left to right) fourth grader Elija Faber, sixth grader Leila Palty, seventh grader Kai Tafoya, sixth grader Darren Mark, eighth graders Lilly Landacre and Brooke Marquez, and overall champion eighth grader Parker Stubblefield will move on to the Navajo County Spelling Bee. Rounding out the top 10 finishers were (not pictured) sixth grader Elijah Aguila-Saufkie, fifth grader Grace Pollard and sixth grader Bode Dugi. The County Spelling Bee will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Snowflake High School Auditorium, located at N. Second St. W. RelatedSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adcenter_img Winslow’s spelling wiz kids move on to county spelling beelast_img read more

Excavating a horror that some Koreans wish would stay buried

first_imgOn a lush hillside torn open by an excavator, Park Sun-joo and volunteers combed through the soil with trowels and brushes, looking for villagers, including children, who were bludgeoned and buried, some still alive and moaning, by their own neighbors in 1950, at the outset of the Korean War.Park, a physical anthropologist by training, has excavated ancient human bones all his adult life to study the origins of the Korean people. But by recovering more recent human remains in this and other towns in recent years, he is cracking open one of the most tragic chapters of modern Korean history — and becoming a lightning rod for criticism from conservative nationalist groups.“Colleagues ask why I do this work, which is not exactly my academic specialty, paleoanthropology,” said Park, 71, in an interview. “But I cannot ignore the reality, the still-living agonies of the victims’ families, the old men and women who come out to our excavation site every day and watch us, hoping that they will finally be able to take home the remains of their loved ones.” After the war ended, those murdered by the Communist invaders and leftist vigilantes were treated like martyrs in South Korea.But military dictators who ruled South Korea after the war banned any public discussion of the atrocities committed by the South Korean police and right-wing vigilantes. Police put the victims’ families under surveillance and kept secret files on them into the 1980s. The families themselves hid their backgrounds, fearful of the stigma of being labeled the “reds’ offspring.”Today, many victims remain buried where they were executed and dumped nearly seven decades ago.“There is still a leftist-rightist tension at the bottom of our society, with the red stigma not yet removed, and many people deeply uncomfortable with any attempt to excavate the past,” Park said. “One way of healing the wounds that still divide our society is to recover the remains and return them to their families.”Park, a Seoul native, was a history major and aspiring journalist at Yonsei University in Seoul when he fell in love with archaeology while interning in a museum. But he had little inkling that he would become involved with Korean War remains when he returned home in 1989 with a doctorate in human osteology from the University of California at Berkeley and began teaching at Chungbuk National University.Then, in 2000, the Defense Ministry asked Park to help recover fallen soldiers in Korean War battle sites. A colonel told Park that he was the only osteologist he could find in South Korea.While excavating the young fallen soldiers, Park felt the tragedy that the war brought home. A soldier whose remains his team uncovered inspired the movie “Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War,” a 2004 box-office hit in South Korea.Around this time, another tragedy of the war was brought to Park for excavation.Under the liberal government of President Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea established its Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2005 to investigate civilian massacres during the war. The commission eventually confirmed widespread extrajudicial mass executions of unarmed civilians across South Korea by its own police and military, as well as by right-wing villagers.When it started excavating the killing sites in 2007, Park was asked to lead the efforts.Park’s team quickly uncovered the long-suppressed horror: skeletal remains stacked one on top of another, with hands still tied and bullet holes in the skulls. They corroborated witness accounts of police making victims crouch in trenches before shooting them in the head. Children’s bones were found with toy marbles.“Villagers were mobilized to dig anti-air-raid trenches when their towns were under Communist rule,” said Ahn Kyung-ho, a former truth commission investigator who still works with Park in excavating burial sites. “When South Korean forces took over, they were taken to the same trenches and executed.”The commission’s work proved deeply divisive, with conservative politicians condemning it as an ideologically driven campaign to discredit their fight against Communism. By the time President Lee Myung-bak, a conservative, shut it down in 2010, Park’s teams had excavated only 11 of 168 potential mass burial sites, recovering 1,600 sets of remains, a small fraction of the tens of thousands of civilians killed.Families felt dejected. Their efforts to reinstate the commission has remained stuck at Parliament, even after President Moon Jae-in, a liberal, took office in 2017. In 2014, their advocates launched a nongovernmental excavation team and asked Park to lead it.By then, Park was retired and was ready to join his Korean American wife in Washington. Both of his children grew up as U.S. citizens and live in America now. His son works in the U.S. Agency for International Development. His daughter works at a software company after a stint in the White House.“I asked my wife to give me five years before joining her,” Park said. “It looks like I have to ask for five more years.”Park’s team has recovered the remains of 400 people in six killing sites since 2014, including 208 executed in an abandoned gold mine in Asan, about 50 miles south of Seoul, in what the truth commission called a “crime against humanity.”Of those found in the mine, 58 were 12 years old or younger. Of the rest, more than 80% were women.In May, Park’s team returned to Asan to excavate a hillside near a village called Daedong-ri.“They bludgeoned the victims, adults and children, indiscriminately,” a witness identified only by his last name, Lee, told the truth commission, describing the execution of 80 people by fellow villagers at the site in 1950. “They then threw dirt over them, some still alive and writhing in pain.”“For years, the victims’ families could not dare come near this site for fear of being called reds,” said Hong Nam-hwa, 53, a Daedong-ri resident who lost several relatives and watched Park’s team work on a recent Saturday.Park’s work, funded largely by donations, has been painfully slow. Old burial sites have been destroyed to make room for highways and factories. The few witnesses alive who could locate the killing sites often would not cooperate, fearful of rekindling the ill feelings that remain raw in isolated rural communities.After 29 days of searching the hillside, Park’s team found bones that appeared to come from four people. But they had to stop to wait out the monsoon season. “I know there are more bones down here,” Park said. Advertising Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Taking stock of monsoon rain By New York Times |South Korea | Published: July 6, 2019 11:51:37 am The stories the old villagers tell Park resonate with him.His father was running a transportation company in Seoul when the war broke out. Police came and tortured him, demanding the whereabouts of his brother, a publishing company official who was accused of being a Communist sympathizer.Park’s uncle eluded police, but his father never recovered from the injuries inflicted on him and died a broken man, sick and jobless. His mother was forced to toil in a shoe factory to support her six children.“The people killed in these sites are of my father’s age,” Park said. “While digging up their bones, I think the same thing might as well have happened to my own family.” Top News Park Sun-joo, korean war, 1950 korean war, korea history Park Sun-joo, center, a physical anthropologist by training, with his team as they perform a simple memorial service for the victims whose remains they found in Asan, South Korea. (The New York Times)Written by Choe Sang-Hun Best Of Express Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Advertising Advertising After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Post Comment(s) As Park learned during his work, the killings of the Korean War were done not just by troops, but also by police and rival villagers.When North Korean invaders swept down into the south, the South Korean police executed thousands of political prisoners and people suspected of sympathizing with North Korea to prevent them from joining the North’s side. Then, as the rival armies swept up and down the Korean Peninsula in the early months of the war, towns changed hands, and more bloodbaths followed.North Korean supporters slaughtered the relatives of the South Korean police and soldiers with spears and pitchforks. When the South Korean police came back, they and right-wing villagers who had lost their relatives quickly ferreted out and executed those they accused of being Communist collaborators and their family members.Sometimes the revenge killings were fueled not just by political ideology but also by prewar family feuds. Villagers often wiped out entire families so there would be no one left to retaliate. More Explained Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield last_img read more

UN chief saddened by loss of life destruction due to heavy rains

first_img Post Comment(s) Related News A statement issued by the UN Spokesperson’s office said that the Secretary-General Guterres is “saddened by the loss of life, displacement of people and destruction of property due to the heavy monsoon rains and associated flooding across South and South-East Asia, most notably in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.”Extending his condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims, to the Governments and people of the affected countries and wishes those injured a speedy recovery, Guterres said the United Nations stands ready to work with the authorities in the affected countries as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this ongoing monsoon season.Monsoon flooding has also affected Myanmar, where 21,000 people – many of whom have been affected by the conflict there – have been displaced in Kachin and Rakhine states.The UN and its partners are working closely with local and national organisations to help those in need, Haq added. More Indians becoming obese, number of undernourished in India decline: UN report By PTI |United Nations | Updated: July 16, 2019 12:47:55 pm UN officials express awe over India’s progress in achieving SDGs Advertising UNITED NATIONS, UN CHIEF ANTONIO GUTERRES, MYANMAR FLOODS, INDIA FLOODS, SOUTH EAST ASIA, world news, indian express Guterres said the United Nations stands ready to work with the authorities in the affected countries as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this ongoing monsoon season. (Reuters)UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed sadness at the loss of life, displacement of people and destruction of property due to the heavy monsoon rains in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar and said the world body stands by to provide support if required. Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq said Monday according to UN’s humanitarian officials, heavy monsoon rains in India have displaced more than one million people and claimed at least 44 lives.National disaster response teams are carrying out search-and-rescue operations and some 20,000 people are sheltered in dozens of relief camps. In southeast Nepal, recent heavy rainfall has reportedly killed 67 people and displaced more than 16,500 households, Haq said, adding that search-and-rescue operations have been stepped up, and food, water and tarpaulins are the most-needed items.“The United Nations offers its condolences to the Government and people of both Nepal and India and stands by to provide support if required,” Haq said. HIV cases decline by 16 per cent since 2010: UNAIDS Advertisinglast_img read more

Nintendo Unveils Labo a DIY Cardboard Kit for the Switch

first_imgThe Nintendo Switch has been riding a wave of popularity. It set a new record with 4.8 million unit sales in its first 10 months, becoming the fastest-selling home console in U.S. history, according to data from NPD Group. The console sold more than 1.5 million units in December, the most of any video game system.Nintendo Labo will launch officially on April 20. Besides the Variety Kit, the company will offer a Robot Kit: An interactive cardboard robot, with a visor, backpack and straps for the hands and feet, allows users to take control of a large in-game robot.Both the Variety Kit and Robot Kit will contain relevant Nintendo Switch software. The Variety Kit will retail for US$69.99 and the Robot Kit for $79.99. The Switch console is sold separately.A special customization set that includes stencils, stickers and colored tape will retail for $9.99.The company will host Nintendo Labo Studios in New York on Feb. 2-3 and in San Francisco on March 2-4, for kids aged 6-12 and their parents. A 13-key cardboard piano becomes a functioning instrument once the Switch console and the right Joy Con controller are inserted into the instrument. When the keys are pressed, an IR Motion Camera converts them into notes that are played through the console.Users can make cardboard motorbike handlebars and then insert the Joy-Con into each side and the Nintendo Switch in the middle. After hitting the ignition button on the bike, they can start the accelerator using the “bike’s” right handle.Labo is an “amazing evolution” of the Switch platform that will “inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination” in people of all ages, said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. Nintendo, riding high off of record-shattering sales of its Switch gaming console, on Wednesday announced an out-of-the-box addition to the family, Nintendo Labo. With its Toy-Con creations, Labo could rewrite the script on the way gaming companies expand their audience to the children’s market.Nintendo Labo, a do-it-yourself cardboard kit, offers five different Toy-Con projects kids can use to learn and interact with the Switch. The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit includes a Toy-Con Piano, Toy-Con Fishing Rod, Toy-Con House, Toy-Con Motorbike and two Toy-Con RC Cars. Nintendo truly has surprised many in the gaming industry with the Labo announcement, said Mat Pistcatella, industry analyst for U.S. games at NPD.”It’s an amazing concept,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and I can’t think of anything since the original reveal of the Nintendo Wii that made me sit back and just say “wow.”Nintendo Labo is designed to increase engagement and keep the Switch in the hearts and minds of users, many of whom are kids, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”This is a historic problem with Nintendo’s recent efforts like the Wii,” he told TechNewsWorld. “They get a ton of initial traction and then interest wanes.”The prospects for Nintendo Labo are a bit limited because it is so sharply aimed at the younger set, suggested Karol Severin, an analyst at Midia Research.”Nintendo is trying to capitalize on the popular Switch release by launching add-ons, which utilize and showcase the console’s capabilities and expand on user experience,” he told TechNewsWorld.There is no silver bullet that would appeal to a broader market in the same way Labo addresses children, Severin acknowledged. However, the company may need to expand its add-on strategy to appeal to nostalgia players or hardcore gamers as well. Record Sales Surprise Splash David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

Risky Scripts Pose Threat to Web Surfers Say Researchers

first_imgAt least one session replay provider said it took a number of precautions to protect its clients’ information.”All of Clicktale’s policies and practices meet ISO 27001, aligning with the strict requirements of our global customers,” said Leor Hurwitz, general counsel at Clicktale.ISO 27001 is a security standard for information security management systems that mandates requirements for implementing, monitoring, maintaining and continually improving those systems.”By default, Clicktale is set up to not capture keystrokes or any common sensitive data fields contained within a Web page,” Hurwitz told TechNewsWorld.In addition to establishing default blocks, the company works closely with its customers to ensure that when it implements a session replay system, any sensitive information contained within a Web page is not included in the capture process, he explained.Those measures allow its clients to improve customer experiences without the need to capture sensitive information that is not directly related to the shopping experience, Hurwitz added. User input isn’t the only way privacy can be violated. Information on rendered pages also is captured by the replay services.”Unlike user input recording, none of the companies appear to provide automated redaction of displayed content by default; all displayed content in our tests ended up leaking,” the researchers wrote.Because it forces publishers to address that issue manually, the process is fundamentally insecure, they maintained.There are also potential risks in the transmission of data between the service provider and the publisher.Once a session recording is complete, publishers can review it using a dashboard provided by the recording service, the researchers explained.Some services deliver playbacks in an HTTP page, even if the original page was protected by HTTPS, they continued. That makes the playback page vulnerable to a man-in-middle attack that could suck all the data from the page and into a hacker’s hands.What’s more, some services don’t use HTTPS to communicate with their clients, which exposes the transmissions to passive network surveillance. However, the extent of data collected by the scripts far exceeds user expectations, according to researchers Steven Englehardt, Gunes Acar and Arvind Narayanan.Text typed into forms is collected before a user submits the form, and precise mouse movements are saved — all without any visual indication to the user, they noted in an online post.What’s more, the data can’t be reasonably expected to be kept anonymous.”In fact, some companies allow publishers to explicitly link recordings to a user’s real identity,” wrote the team. “Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.”That means that whether a visitor completes a form and submits it to the website or not, any information keyed in at the website can be seen by the operator.”Even if you deleted the data you entered into a form, it would be exposed and visible to the website owner,” said Abine CTO Andrew Sudbury.”You’re being recorded when you think you aren’t, so you might reveal things you wouldn’t reveal if you knew you were being recorded,” he told TechNewsWorld. Flubbing Scrubbing Blocking the Scripts Leaking Passwords Consumers concerned about replay scripts can obtain software to block them.”The javascript that performs this action is loaded by your browser when you visit a website. That can be blocked by a tracker blocker,” Abine’s Sudbury said.”The Web provides all sorts of amazing technical capabilities that are designed to let users have rich experiences at websites,” he observed, “but what’s frustrating is that the advertising, profiling and tracking industries have discovered very quickly clever ways to track people against their will.”Replay scripts have become an emerging topic among privacy advocates, noted David Picket, a security analyst at AppRiver.”The current discussion will raise user awareness,” he told TechNewsWorld. “That typically results in greater demand for oversight, and technologies to combat this problem will most likely be built into existing solutions or emerge to prevent it.” The researchers studied seven session replay script service providers for 482 of the top 50,000 sites listed on Alexa. The services were Yandex, FullStory, Hotjar, UserReplay, Smartlook, Clicktale and SessionCam.The services offer a number of ways for website publishers to exclude sensitive information from the replay sessions, the researchers found, but those options were labor-intensive, which discouraged their use.For leaks to be avoided, publishers would need to diligently check and scrub all pages that display or accept user information, they explained.For dynamically generated sites, the process would involve inspecting the underlying Web application’s server-side code, wrote Englehardt, Acar and Narayanan.Further, the process would need to be repeated every time a site was updated or the Web application powering it changed.”The scripts just gather everything, so someone would have to go in and spend time and energy telling the service provider what not to gather on any particular Web page,” Sudbury said. “Generally, the publishers don’t do that.”center_img Strict Requirements To identify some of the risks replay scripts posed to site visitors, the researchers set up test pages and used scripts from six of the seven companies in the study. One of the companies, Clicktale, was excluded for practical considerations.Password leakage is one risk the replay services can pose. All the services take pains to redact passwords from their replays, the researchers explained, but those policies can break down on pages with mobile-friendly login boxes that use text inputs to store unmasked passwords.The services redacted sensitive information in a partial and imperfect way, the researchers also found. In addition to automated blocking of information in the replay sessions, the services let publishers manually specify fields for exclusion.”To effectively deploy these mitigations, a publisher will need to actively audit every input element to determine if it contains personal data,” the team wrote. “This is complicated, error prone and costly, especially as a site or the underlying web application code changes over time. ” Peeping Scripts Vulnerable Transmissions A popular technique used by website operators to observe the keystrokes, mouse movements and scrolling behavior of visitors on Web pages is fraught with risk, according to researchers at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.The technique offered by a number of service providers uses scripts to capture the activity of a visitor on a Web page, store it on the provider’s servers, and play it back on demand for a website’s operators.The idea behind the practice is to give operators insights into how users are interacting with their websites and to identify broken and confusing pages.”You use session replay scripts to find out where all the dead zones are on your website,” said Tod Beardsley, director of research at Rapid 7.”If you have a space for a ‘click here for 10 percent off’ and no one clicks there, there may be a problem with that page,” he told TechNewsWorld.The scripts also can be used for support and to troubleshoot user problems, Beardsley added. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

Study Nurseled care can be more successful in managing gout

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 19 2018Providing nurse-led care for people suffering with the painful, long-term condition gout could lead to an increase in the number of patients sticking to a beneficial treatment plan, a clinical trial has revealed.The research, led by academics at the University of Nottingham and published in The Lancet, has shown that keeping patients fully informed and involving them in decisions about their care can be more successful in managing gout.And the study, which was funded by the charity Versus Arthritis, highlights the importance of individualized patient education and engagement to treat the condition.Professor Michael Doherty, in the University’s Division of Rheumatology, said: “The nurses delivered recommended best practice that includes full patient information and engagement and a treat-to-target strategy for urate-lowering treatment. Once fully informed almost all patients want urate-lowering treatment and continue to take it regularly. This results in gradual elimination of the urate crystals that cause gout and subsequent clinical improvements.”Although nurses delivered this care, the principles of patient education, treat-to-target urate-lowering strategy, and regular follow-up and monitoring are applicable to any health professional who treats people with gout. Although this takes more time with the patient to start with, long-term this becomes very cost effective.”Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, which affects around 2.5 per cent of adults in the UK and which causes episodes (“attacks”) of severe joint inflammation and pain. It is sparked by a persistent high level of uric acid (urate) in the body, causing sodium urate crystals to slowly but continuously form in and around the joints.Attacks are usually treated with anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen but doctors may prescribe drugs such as allopurinol or febuxostat over the long term for patients who are prone to frequent flare ups.Gout is the only form of arthritis that can be ‘cured’ in effect through the use of urate-lowering therapies (ULT). The ULT dose needs to be adjusted against the blood urate level until a target low level is achieved, this then prevents new crystals from forming and slowly dissolves away the crystals that are there. Patients can also make lifestyle changes if appropriate, such as losing weight if overweight, which can help to bring down urate levels and have other general health benefits.However, currently only 40 per cent of gout patients ever receive ULT, usually at a fixed dose rather than gradually increasing the dose until a target level of urate is reached in the blood. And getting patients to stick to their medication is tricky.A previous ‘proof of concept’ study suggested that when people with gout are fully-informed and involved in the decisions around managing their illness, more than nine out of ten wished to have ULT treatment and subsequent adherence to their medication over one year was excellent.This led to the latest two-year randomised controlled clinical trial in the community to directly compare nurse-led care to the usual GP-led care.More than 500 gout patients were recruited and randomly split between the two methods of management through more than 50 general practices in the East Midlands. They were followed up at one and two years and assessed for a series of outcomes including the level of urate in their blood, the frequency of gout flare ups and the presence of tophi – firm, white lumps below the surface of the skin caused by a mass of urate crystals.Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustThe research nurses had received training about gout and its management, which reflected current recommendations, and delivered an individualised package of care. This included a holistic assessment, a discussion of perceptions about the illness, full information about gout e.g its causes, consequences and treatment options, and patient involvement in shared decision-making.The study found that nurse-led care was associated with a much higher take up of ULT, with patients subsequently being more likely to stick to their treatment. At two years, 96 per cent of the nurse-led group were on ULT, compared to 56 per cent in the usual care group.And 95 per cent of patients had urate levels in the blood below the required target level, compared to just 30 per cent in the GP-led group.In addition, it revealed that around 400-500mg of allopurinol per day was the dose needed to achieve the right level of urate in the blood, which is more than the top dose of 300mg per day prescribed by most UK doctors.The nurse-led care significantly reduced flare-up frequency, reduced tophi and improved quality of life and was more cost effective too, saving the NHS money after five years.Stephen Simpson, Director of Research at Versus Arthritis, said: “Despite national guidelines on how to manage gout effectively, we know that many patients fail to receive any clear explanation of the condition or lifestyle advice to prevent recurring attacks, with few even receiving the appropriate drug treatment. As the most common inflammatory form of arthritis, affecting one in every 100 people, this is not good enough.”Currently, constraints on GP’s time mean patients are not fully aware of the benefits that come with taking their treatments. The patient-centred approach led by nurses in this study offers a convincing alternative that will not only help to alleviate problems in the long term but will also improve that person’s quality of life.We are optimistic that if the methods of treatment used in this study are incorporated into national guidelines for GPs we will see a much more effective long-term management of gout, an improvement in the quality of life a person has after an attack, as well reducing healthcare costs over time.”The Nottingham team worked in collaboration with academics in Health Economics and Decision Science at the University of Sheffield and received invaluable advice from the Nottingham Rheumatology Patient and Public Involvement group during the development of the study. The Nottingham team now plan to examine the feasibility of training existing Practice nurses to see if this results in equally good results. NICE is currently planning to develop UK Guidelines for Management of Gout and it is hoped that the principles used in this study will be incorporated into their guideline to GPs and other health practitioners who manage people with gout. Source:https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2018/october/nurse-led-care-significantly-more-successful-in-treating-gout-trial-reveals.aspxlast_img read more

Individuals with integrated medical behavioral and pharmacy benefits are more engaged in

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 30 2018A study by global health service company Cigna Corporation shows that individuals whose medical, behavioral and pharmacy health benefits are connected and administered by Cigna are more engaged in their health and well-being than those whose benefits are not fully integrated across medical, behavioral and pharmacy. As a result, people experience improved health and employers experience cost savings.”A person’s physical and mental health are connected, and health care is best delivered – and produces the best outcomes – when it is connected as well,” said Scott Josephs, M.D., national medical officer at Cigna. “The results of this study demonstrate the value of our integrated, holistic approach to health care, and we’ll continue to advocate for more integration on behalf of the people we serve.”Related StoriesStudy estimates health care costs of uncontrolled asthma in the U.S. over next 20 yearsBiden calling ACA ‘breakthrough’ for mental health parity highlights gapsIU-connected startup working to enable precision medicine for mental health issues, chronic painResults from this year’s study showed positive health outcomes for individuals and lower medical costs for employers who offer integrated medical, comprehensive behavioral and pharmacy benefits administered by Cigna, including: Source:https://www.signa.at/en/ Employers see an average medical savings of $193 annually for each covered person and $645 annually for each person with a known health improvement opportunity. 22 percent more people engage in health coaching and case management programs. Employers see annual medical cost savings of $9,792 for engaged customers with a specialty condition, such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. When people being treated for diabetes are engaged, the savings is $5,900. A 9 percent reduction in high cost medical claims for customers with integrated benefits. Customers with integrated benefits had a 10 percent reduction in out of network claims.center_img “When people are actively engaged in their health and well-being, we see improvement across all metrics,” said Jon Maesner, PharmD, chief pharmacy officer at Cigna. “Offering a fully-connected pharmacy benefit allows us to maximize every opportunity available to engage the people we serve, and we’re encouraged by the consistent value shown by connecting medical, behavioral and pharmacy benefits.”last_img read more

Drug combination not more effective in improving depression than single antidepressant

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 1 2018Psychiatrists and GPs increasingly combine mirtazapine with an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or SNRI (serotonin-noradenaline reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant for patients whose depression does not respond to a single antidepressant. A large clinical trial led by researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Keele, Manchester and Hull York Medical School, and published in the British Medical Journal today, looked at the effectiveness of adding mirtazapine to an SSRI or SNRI in patients who remain depressed after at least six weeks of conventional (SSRI or SNRI) antidepressant treatment. They found that this combination was no more effective in improving depression than placebo and call on doctors to rethink its use.The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, also found that patients taking mirtazapine in combination with another antidepressant had more adverse effects and were more likely to stop treatment than those who took an antidepressant and placebo.Depression is one of the top five contributors to the global burden of disease and by 2030 is predicted to be the leading cause of disability in high income countries. People with depression are usually managed in primary care in the UK and antidepressants are often the first line of treatment. However, many patients do not respond to antidepressants.The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises GPs to reconsider treatment if there has been no response after 4-6 weeks of treatment. The practice of adding mirtazapine has grown as psychiatrists and GPs search for effective ways of treating those who don’t respond to a single antidepressant. Previous small-scale studies had shown that this combination might be effective.Dr David Kessler from the Centres for Academic Mental Health and Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol, and lead author of the study, said:Related StoriesWeighing risks and benefits of antidepressant medication for older adultsStudy finds depression and anxiety symptoms among many asylum seekersNew structured approach to managing patients with depression in primary care”Half of patients in primary care who take antidepressants remain depressed despite sticking to their treatment, yet there is little evidence about how to treat those for whom the drugs don’t work.”Our study has found that there is unlikely to be a clinically important benefit for mirtazapine over placebo in addition to an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant in primary care patients with treatment resistant depression, and that the combination is not well tolerated. We recommend that GPs think very carefully before adding mirtazapine as a second antidepressant in this group of patients. This is particularly important when there are clear alternatives such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been shown to be effective in this group of patients.”About the studyPatients were aged over 17 years, were being treated for depression in primary care, and had been taking an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant for at least six weeks. They were still depressed using International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) criteria. All 480 patients who took part continued to take their SSRI or SNRI and were randomly assigned to one of two groups: either additionally taking mirtazapine or a placebo. Neither the patients nor researchers knew to which group each patient had been assigned. They were followed up at 12, 24 and 52 weeks to see whether their depression had improved.At 12 weeks just under 40% of patients had responded to treatment as measured by a halving of the severity of their depressive symptoms; there was a small difference in favour of the mirtazapine group but it was not clinically important and the study could not rule out the possibility of ‘no effect’. Outcomes at the later time points showed even smaller differences between the groups with no evidence of worthwhile benefit over the longer term. Source:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2018/october/depression-treatment.htmllast_img read more