Montreal Is Happy With Electric Buses But Initial Costs Were High

first_imgMontreal Gazette wrote that the bus project was a success, but electric buses come at a high cost. Probably this is why the city is now purchasing more longer-range buses. 30 to be delivered by New Flyer. Another 4 will be supplied by BYD.“Eighteen months after the first fully electric buses took to Montreal’s roads on May 24, 2017, the experiment has been “very successful, even beyond our expectations,” said François Chamberland, the STM’s director of engineering, infrastructure and major projects. “It was a North American first, to use rapid-charging technology.””“At $800,000 apiece, the initial recharging stations were exorbitantly expensive because they were prototypes, but Chamberland said the price will come down now that more companies are producing them.”The total number of recharges over 135,000 km is 13,000 times. Average fast charge time is three minutes – “less than the anticipated five” – but sometimes up to seven minutes (“caused by winter conditions and busier rush-hour driving”). They are quiet, drive smooth and save 40% on energy/fuel costs.The New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE buses with 466 kWh also cost $1.2 million CAD, but don’t require that much of investment in charging infrastructure like the short-range buses.Before electric buses mature and become even more affordable, STM will purchase 929 hybrid-diesel buses by 2024. It means that the last one will be still in use in 2040.Source: montrealgazette.com EV buses and infrastructure becomes more affordable compared to early modelsMontréal would like to purchase only all-electric buses from 2025. The city introduced the first three in May 2017, and now waits for more, after gaining some experience.Initially, there were not many EV buses to choose from, so Société de transport de Montreal (STM) went with short-range (37 km / 23 mile) buses, combined with three DC fast charging stations (350 kW), that enables to replenish some range in a few minutes. Bus cost was $1.2 million CAD each plus three stations for $0.8 million CAD each. Compared to $0.9 million CAD for conventional buses, it’s more than twice as high.The buses work fine on line No. 36 (downtown Montreal to the Angrignon métro station in the west), which is just 11 km (6.8 miles) so four more buses will be purchased to electrify the line completely with seven EVs.More from Montréal BYD to Deliver First Electric Buses to Montreal and Longueuil Source: Electric Vehicle News Montreal To Add 100 2018 Nissan LEAFs To Fleet New Flyer Wins Canada’s Largest Contract For 40 Xcelsior CHARGE Buses Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 5, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

US PlugIn Electric Car Sales Charted November 2018

first_imgU.S. Plug-In Car Sales – November 2018 November 2018 Narrowly Misses Top All-Time Month For U.S. EV Sales No record in volume, but we do see a record in market share.Just a few hundred sales short of a new all-time record for plug-in electric car sales the in U.S. last month. IEVs data shows 44,148 sales in November, which is 157% more than a year ago! The highest result was in September – 44,589.Now we are in December, which means all hands on board to achieve 50,000 sales in a single month for the very first time. Fingers crossed.November bring us one important record as the market share increased to 3.16% (compared to nearly 3.1% in September).More sales reports Source: Electric Vehicle News Final Update: November 2018 U.S. Plug-In EV Sales Report Cardcenter_img U.S. Tesla Sales In November 2018 Up By 592% Total sales during the first 11 months of 2018 stand at 312,877 at an average market share of 2.0%. It’s the first time in the U.S. that we’ve crossed 300,000 in a single year and maintained 2% average (almost doubled from 2017).Tesla Model 3 totally dominated 2018 sales and was the first electric car to ever reach more than 100,000 sales in a year.From such a perspective, almost all of the other cars look like compliance EVs, despite some of them once being market leaders.The Tesla Model 3 currently represents almost 37% of the total U.S. plug-in electric car market and together with Model S/X, Tesla takes over 50% share (in the 11-month period thus far in 2018).The LOL chart below, shows that Model 3 is just one month from becoming #3 in cumulative sales, ahead of the Nissan LEAF. Tesla Model X on the other hand successfully overtook the Ford Fusion Energi (61,752 to 60,243).Finally, here is the presentation of the automakers closest to losing the federal tax credit (Tesla already entered the countdown for the phase-out of the federal tax credit).GM sold its 200,000th plug-in in November, but maybe just like in the case of Tesla, the federal tax credit counter will reach 200,000th a month later in December. Reaching 200,000 in early January would be more favorable than in late December, because it enables receipt of the full $7,500 tax credit for 3 more months (compared to just a few days). Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 14, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Shadow of Big Sam hangs heavily over turgid homecoming

first_imgShare on Twitter match reports Bolton Wanderers Mon 21 Jan 2008 18.58 EST Reuse this content Share via Email Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Shares00 Sam Allardyce was thousands of miles away, sunning himself on a beach in Barbados, but still managed to cast a substantial shadow over Kevin Keegan’s latest stab at miracle-working.A game blemished by shocking time-wasting tactics, far too many balls crashing towards the corners, overdependence on set pieces and an alarming absence of invention confirmed that Allardyce has left large managerial footprints all over Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers. Such imprints duly ensured that the electronic hoarding advertising Northern Rock – Newcastle’s stricken sponsor – with the words “Rock On” proved risible on two fronts. Indeed events on the pitch were frequently so dull that it was tempting to try to fathom out precisely how much of your annual tax bill was being invested in propping up the ailing bank.Happily one little touchline cameo contained a glimmer of hope for Newcastle’s future. Having seen Nigel Pearson, Allardyce’s erstwhile assistant, step into the technical area and instruct his full-backs to launch the ball deep into opposition territory, Keegan hastily shrugged him aside and signalled he wanted it played through midfield.If it is small wonder Newcastle frequently looked confused, Bolton knew precisely what to do. Gary Megson claimed his team were the mere pantomime horse in the “Geordie Messiah’s” latest theatrical production but they possessed an at times menacing kick and enjoyed the evening’s best chance when Shay Given’s left leg deflected the substitute Jlloyd Samuel’s late point-blank volley.”We came here to spoil the party and might have nicked it at the end,” enthused Andy O’Brien, Bolton’s former Newcastle centre-half. “Everybody expected us to get battered but Newcastle are only six points ahead of us and it always looked like it was only going to be a mistake or a set piece that would lead to a goal.”In his former life as a midfielder, Megson played briefly for Newcastle. “I enjoyed my time here but I’m not sure the supporters enjoyed me quite so much,” he joked. “Long term I can see this place competing with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal but Kevin’s got to get through this season first. It’s inconceivable they’ll go down but Newcastle have 27 points which is not enough to stay up yet. It’ll be next season when you see an entirely different side here.”Judging by the way Keegan – a man prone to instant judgments – constantly chided José Enrique, the less than sophisticated Spanish left-back who cost Allardyce more than £6m, the defender dubbed “The Bull” – as in a china shop – is unlikely to be here next term.Keegan could do worse than replace Enrique with Ricardo Gardner. “That’s the best Ricardo’s played for me and credit goes to Simone Gardner,” said Megson. “I spoke to his wife last night; I took the phone off him and told her, ‘I can’t get him to defend properly,’ and she’s probably told him to get his arse into gear.”Which is something Allardyce apparently believed Ameobi incapable of. Very much the invisible man at St James’ in recent months, the striker made an unexpected comeback. “King Kev has given me a lifeline,” he said. “Sam had his guys and unfortunately I was not in his plans. Being frozen out was a hard pill to swallow, especially after being here so long. I did have conversations with Sam but he had his views and I had mine. Now, though, it’s a clean slate for everyone – that’s something Kevin said straight away – and it’s music to my ears.”Ameobi thrives on praise and Keegan spoke warmly about the former England Under-21 international. “The players have lacked self-belief this season,” said Ameobi. “That’s the first thing Kevin wants to instil. We have not played to our potential; he’s here to get that out of us. He told us to go out and enjoy it today.”How long must it be since a Newcastle manager last suggested a game might be fun?Man of the match: Ricardo GardnerNot only suppressed James Milner but proved arguably Bolton’s most attack-minded player. Made a series of vital interceptions and the accuracy of his delivery impressedBest moment: Having dispossessed Milner, he whipped in a dangerous cross which just eluded Kevin Davies Topics Share on Facebook First published on Mon 21 Jan 2008 18.58 EST Soccer Newcastle United Shadow of Big Sam hangs heavily over turgid homecoming Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on Pinterest Share on Messenger Soccer Louise Taylor at St James’ Park Share on Twitterlast_img read more

King Of Rome finds going tough in the German Derby

first_imgShare on WhatsApp Share via Email Share via Email @tonypaley Share on Twitter Sun 6 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Support The Guardian The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage The all-conquering Coolmore team failed to follow up Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes win at Sandown with Mount Nelson yesterday when King Of Rome finished only sixth behind the home-based Kamsin in the German Derby in Hamburg.The Andrew Balding-trained Top Lock, the only British runner in the line-up, finished well to take third. Martin Dwyer was satisfied with his mount’s effort but felt the wet conditions in Germany had not helped his cause. He said: “I’m very pleased with this run. The rain didn’t really help as he probably needs a bit better ground, but it was a good performance.” Tony Paley Share on Facebook The Peter Schiergen-trained winner held off stablemate Ostland to give his handler a third win and a one-two in the race. “We actually had different tactics in mind as we wanted to turn it into a speed race, but he did it from the front really well,” said Schiergen. “I always thought he was very good and you have to forgive him for his last performance when he had a stomach ache. Today he was in great form and the rain didn’t disturb him, in fact, he likes soft ground. The Group One race in Baden-Baden (Grosser Preis von Baden) could be one of his objectives.” Impressive Royal Ascot winner Aqlaam is likely to be sidelined for about two months after suffering a pelvic injury. The Jersey Stakes winner was being aimed at next Sunday’s Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. “He’s had a bit of a setback. Long-term it’s not serious it’s just very bad timing,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.Ron Cox’s tip of the dayTop Seed 9.00 WindsorIt is a long time since this veteran campaigner was competing in Group and Listed races at the highest level but a switch to Ian Williams this season appears to have rejuvenated him and he looks to have been found an excellent opportunity to win his third race of the campaign. The selection was given a little too much to do last time but ran as if capable of exploiting his current modest handicap mark. Horse racing Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Topics First published on Sun 6 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Share on LinkedIn Horse racing King Of Rome finds going tough in the German Derby Shares00 … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Read more Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Champions League quarterfinal guide

first_imgDavid Pleat | Pick newest The holders will be pleased with this draw, and I expect there to be three English sides in the semi-finals Share on Facebook Share on Twitter 21 Mar 2009 20:36 Share on Facebook Facebook Barcelona and Bayern will definitely guarantee loads of goals. Too bad Klose is out though and I don’t rate Luca Toni that much. However, I do believe in Podolski and Ribery to work the Barca defence. On the other side, I don’t think Henry, Messi, Etoo and Iniesta need introduction.Chelsea favorites? Please, I prefer we are made the underdogs like last year. And I also hope the players are seething enough to pull out a good performance after losing to Liverpool twice this season. And it will be Mikel vs Gerrard, not Lampard. If it is true that Mascherano will miss the first leg, then that will be very important for Chelsea.For Porto, Helton is a disaster waiting to happen. With all due respect to Porto, I think Man U will win this tie.Its funny how everyone is saying Arsenal will beat Villareal. They are in for a shock. I’m surprised Mr. Pleat didn’t say anything about the deadliest player they have in Cazorla. Watch this space! Facebook Share Share on WhatsApp The Fiver: the Guardian’s take on the world of football Twitter unthreaded Topics Sportblog Football tactics Share Facebook | Pick Report Facebook Chelsea? Seriously? 100 Share on Facebook Threads collapsed Share via Email Reply 0 1 Read more 22 Mar 2009 2:42 Manchester United simonharris Arsenal recommendations Reply Chelsea Reply Champions League Report BlueLegend Wednesday 8 and Tuesday 14 AprilThis might be more difficult a test than many would consider, with Jürgen Klinsmann’s team hosting the return leg. Bayern have trailed lesser teams domestically this season (Hoffenheim, Hertha Berlin and Hamburg) but have good players in important positions. Mark van Bommel is still going strong, but it is Franck Ribéry, down their left, who is the main danger, making chances for Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni. Both teams are unbeaten in Europe this season but Barça’s firepower, with Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry, makes the bookies’ odds fair at 5-2 for them to win the final.Verdict BarcelonaKey clash Franck Ribéry v Daniel AlvesA duel between Ribéry and his direct, balanced movement with the ball and the Brazilian, who has an instinct for raiding and forcing his opposing winger to defend. Share on Twitter Share Share on Twitter Loading comments… Trouble loading? 0 1 kloutsider 22 Mar 2009 7:27 comments (7)Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion. View more comments 22 Mar 2009 23:45 I feel pretty confident that Barça will be too good for Bayern, but I wouldn’t bank on Arsenal against Villarreal.I watched them against Athletic de Bilbao tonight and they’re well-organised plus they’ve got some flair up front.They won 2-nil and the second goal from Mati Fernández was a real gem.http://www.spain-football.orghttp://forum.spain-football.org 25 Facebook Share on Facebook wewonitfivetimes 22 Mar 2009 8:32 Share Report Fri 20 Mar 2009 20.05 EDT Twitter Reply Share on Facebook Share on Twitter | Pick Report Share on Twitter Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment Facebook Sorry there was an error. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Userhelp 0 1 Shares00 Facebook Please select Personal abuse Off topic Legal issue Trolling Hate speech Offensive/Threatening language Copyright Spam Other Champions League 2008-09 21 Mar 2009 23:56 Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Reuse this content,View all comments > Twitter | Pick Sportblog Share on Facebook 0 1 COME ON PORTO!!! Share on Facebook Villarreal v ArsenalTuesday 7 and Wednesday 15 AprilA reunion for Robert Pires, but of greater significance is the form of the ex-Manchester United forward Giuseppe Rossi, who has led the line well for the Spaniards. Arsenal will be confident after their recent unbeaten run and could have Cesc Fábregas and Emmanuel Adebayor back in full flight. Have disappointed at times this season, losing to big-boys Barça, Real and Seville, but Manuel Pellegrini’s 4-4-2 has looked strong. The Spanish team consistently punch above their weight but I believe quite confidently that, with the second leg at the Emirates, Arsenal will go through comfortably.Verdict ArsenalKey clash Giuseppe Rossi v William GallasRossi is sharp, small small and can work his way into goalscoring positions with cunning and has an eye for a tap-in. Gallas will have to be strong, quick and focused.Manchester United v PortoTuesday 7 and Wednesday 15 AprilUnited will be delighted with this draw. Porto, probably, deflated. They will rely heavily on Lisandro López, with six goals in this competition, to snatch one at Old Trafford against the strongest defence in the Champions League. Helton, the Brazilian goalkeeper, can expect a peppering in Manchester. Outsiders Porto will need the away goal to have any chance, but Sir Alex Ferguson will be able to manoeuvre his squad to keep the second leg tight. Porto have two wins and two draws against United in six meetings, but domestically are only four points clear of Sporting Lisbon (heavy losers to Bayern).Verdict Manchester UnitedKey clash Lisandro López v Patrice EvraLópez plays as a right-sided attacker and will have seen a chink to exploit in Patrice Evra’s armoury when Aaron Lennon got inside the left-back several times in the Carling Cup final.Liverpool v ChelseaWednesday 8 and Tuesday 14 AprilLiverpool’s win at Manchester United sent out a strong signal, but Chelsea have found good form under Guus Hiddink and will relish playing the second leg at home. Rafael Benítez’s side have been excellent away from Anfield although against sides that play at a lesser pace than Chelsea. While Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres are in top form focus pre-match will inevitably centre on Benítez and Hiddink – and it will be interesting to see who is the most bullish. Another titanic battle in prospect, but Chelsea are strong enough defensively to keep the first leg tight, and go through.Verdict ChelseaKey clash Steven Gerrard v Frank LampardMichael Essien’s presence will encourage Lampard to get forward while Gerrard has more ammunition than any British player, power, precision and energy for 90 minutes.Barcelona v Bayern Munich Share All Email (optional) Show 25 Twitter | Pick Share via Email Order by oldest 22 Mar 2009 5:21 Yup. Can’t wait. Twitter Reply Isn`t Pascal Cygan at Villareal as well? 0 1 0 1 Share on Twitter Twitter Football tactics Report blogposts Share on Messenger BlueLegendMr. Pleat probably knows only the Villareal players that have played in England: Rossi, Pires… I think Arsenal and the English “pundits”are in for a shock. 0 1 expanded collapsed Share on LinkedIn Report Reason (optional) Twitter Report First published on Fri 20 Mar 2009 20.05 EDT VincentUkraine Share on Twitter Share Share | Pick | Pick 50 Liverpool Share on Pinterest Comments 7 Reply oldest AgentScully2006 Close report comment form Reply Share on Facebook Champions League quarter-final guide Share on Twitter PedroFromBrazil Reportlast_img

Dementia patients tend to wander and become lost

first_img Source:https://www.qut.edu.au/news?id=131132 May 25 2018The tendency of people with dementia to wander and become lost has led QUT researchers to recommend a ‘Silver Alert’ system, similar to Amber Alerts for missing children, be activated when someone with the diagnosis of dementia is reported lost.Led by Dr Margie MacAndrew from the QUT-based Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Carers and Consumers (DCRC-CC), the paper on the research outcomes – ‘People with dementia getting lost in Australia: Dementia-related missing person reports in Australia’ – has just been published in the Australasian Journal on Aging.”More than 425,000 Australians live with dementia and a common, potentially life-threatening behavior linked to dementia is wandering,” said Dr MacAndrew.”My colleagues and I examined news articles published between 2011 and 2015 reporting on a missing person who had dementia. In that time, 130 missing person cases were reported, mostly men with an average age of 75.”Of these, only 71 percent were reported as being found and of those, 20 percent were injured and another 20 percent or 19 people were deceased.”Dr MacAndrew said the study was an Australian-first and although there was an argument for the health benefits of wandering, including exercise and social interaction, it can be a risky behavior when it went beyond safe limits.”Characteristics of risky wandering include frequent and repetitive walking without resting which can be very tiring. Also walking without knowing where you are and how to get back home without help from another person; in other words, wayfinding problems,” she said.”Wandering can result in potentially life-threatening outcomes such as malnutrition, increased risk of falls, injury, exhaustion, hypothermia, becoming lost and death.””Not all people with dementia who wander become lost but they are much more likely to than their peers who do not have dementia”.Related StoriesCalling on global community to prevent dementia by preventing strokeDementia patients hospitalized and involved in transitional care at higher ratesA program of therapy and coping strategies works long-term for family dementia carersDr MacAndrew added that those identified from research as most vulnerable to becoming lost included those with disturbed sleep, extroverted personalities, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or those with more advanced dementia.”A similar study of newspaper reports in the United States alarmingly found most of the people with dementia who had died as a result of becoming lost were eventually found less than 1.6km from home,” she said.”A ‘Silver Alert’ system is now in operation in 18 US states so that when a person with dementia/cognitive impairment is reported as being lost media outlets, law enforcement units and departments of transport are involved to spread the message.”There is nothing similar in Australia at this stage despite the proportion of the population with dementia being similar. We think it could be very effective.”In our study, most people were found within five km of the place from which they went missing although one person managed to travel 800km. However, like the US, most of those found dead were very close to home.”The findings suggest that people living independently in the community, along with those in aged care facilities, may need to undergo routine assessment to identify risk of wandering and the negative outcomes associated with it.”We also recommend current approaches to coordinating a search and rescue attempt should include, careful searching in the immediate vicinity the person was last seen, particularly outbuildings and garden areas, should be given priority.”Rapid reporting within one hour of knowing a person is missing is also known to help search and rescue have a better chance of finding a person alive and well.”last_img read more

Low dose Aspirin daily – benefits and risks measured in two studies

first_img Source:https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31990-1/fulltext and https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1804988?query=recirc_mostViewed_railB_article Aug 27 2018By Dr Ananya Mandal, MDLow dose Aspirin has been advocated to reduce the risk of a second heart attack or a stroke or other heart problems in persons who have had one episode.A major new study published in the Lancet, has found that taking Aspirin to prevent the first heart attack fails to work. In fact the risks of taking low dose Aspirin to prevent the first heart attack outweigh the benefits. There have been numerous studies on the prophylactic and protective effect of this low cost medication. While certain studies have shown that it can prevent first strokes or heart attacks in persons who are at a moderate risk of heart attacks and strokes, some studies have not shown significant benefit.Aspirin has also been tested in people with cardiac disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol etc. In diabetes for example Aspirin intake on a regular basis may offer some protection against heart attacks or strokes but the risk of serious bleeding as a side effect of the drug remains high. Aspirin was also purported to have anti-cancer or cancer preventing properties. This has also been negated in studies. In the studies the researchers have used 100 milligrams per day.Study leader Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford in England said, “There’s been a lot of uncertainty among doctors around the world about prescribing aspirin. If you’re healthy, it’s probably not worth taking it.” The study was presented this Sunday (26th August 2018) at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Munich.Related StoriesResearchers report promising results of potential reversal agentAccess to real-time genotype data influences prescriber behavior after PCIACC/AHA guideline for prevention of cardiovascular disease releasedIn this latest study, the team of researchers from Boston used aspirin or placebo pills on 12,546 participants. These participants had a moderate risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke and other health problems. The participants were followed up for five years and it was seen that 4 percent persons in each group had a heart problem. These participants took medications for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol explained Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Side effects such as internal bleeding or stomach bleeding, was mild but seen twice as much with Aspirin than the placebo pills. Aspirin users also complained more of reflux, abdominal pain, indigestion etc. This new study was sponsored by Bayer.Low dose aspirin/fish oil supplements in diabetics In yet another study, researchers from Oxford, randomly assigned 15,480 adults with Type 1 or 2 diabetes with aspirin or 1 gram of fish oil, both the aspirin and fish oil or placebo pills. The pills were administered each day.The participants were followed for seven and a half years. Heart problems were lower among aspirin users. The risk of bleeding however was raised with aspirin. Fish oil supplements did not help though said study leader Dr. Louise Bowman of the University of Oxford. This study was published by the New England Journal of Medicine.The British Heart Foundation sponsored the study. Bayer and Mylan provided aspirin and the fish oil supplements, respectively.center_img Image Credit: Spaxia / Shutterstocklast_img read more

Researchers develop technology to help deconstruct surgeons robotic surgery skills

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 11 2018Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC are looking to technology to help deconstruct expert surgeons’ robotic surgery skills so they can create an objective, standardized way to train the next generation of surgeons. Using a data recorder plugged into a robotic surgery system, the team analyzed expert and novice surgeons’ movements during the reconstruction step of robotic radical prostatectomy, a common surgery for prostate cancer. The data helped the team decode surgical skills, develop a needle-driving gesture classification system and create a training tutorial. The results of their study will appear in the October 2018 issue of The Journal of Urology.”Although robotic surgery is a widely adopted minimally invasive option for treating prostate cancer, standardized training for it doesn’t exist yet,” says the study’s corresponding author, Andrew Hung, MD, assistant professor of clinical urology at the Keck School. “In order to create a methodical, streamlined training tutorial for this main reconstruction step of the prostate surgery, we relied on automated performance metrics and observation to objectively measure surgeon performance.”Related StoriesTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinenceNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Using both video and movement data recorded from 70 surgeries, the study found that experts outperformed novices in completion time, instrument movement efficiency and camera manipulation. Experts also had fewer needle-driving attempts and less tissue trauma.The researchers were also able to identify 14 common needle-driving gestures, which were classified as combinations of forehand, backhand, flush-hand, overhand or underhand. Compared to standardized gestures, random sequences of gestures were associated with lower efficiency, more needle-driving attempts and more tissue trauma.The data were then used to develop a tutorial that broke the complex surgical step into smaller, discrete steps.”While there is no single perfect way to do a perfect operation, creating a standardized method for robotic surgery training provides surgeons a common training ground,” Hung says.Hung and his colleagues are currently testing the efficacy of the tutorial with a group of medical students in the research lab at the Keck School. The team is hopeful that their approach to developing this training tutorial could one day be applied to any procedure in any kind of robotic operation.Robotic radical prostatectomy accounts for 87 percent of prostate cancer surgeries in the United States.Source: https://www.keckmedicine.org/last_img read more

Japan to enlarge massive cosmic ray array in Utah

first_img Email The expansion, known simply as TAx4 or “TA times four,” could help researchers pin down the origins of the highest energy rays, in which a single subatomic particle can carry as much energy as a golf ball plunging to the green. Physicists have yet to find the sources of the rays. However, last July TA researchers reported an excess of rays with an energy above 60 exa–electron volts (EeV) coming from the general direction of the constellation Ursa Major, which includes the Big Dipper. “We’ve got about 20 events in a cluster with a width of about 20 degrees,” says Hiroyuki Sagawa, a physicist at the University of Tokyo and co-spokesperson for the TA team. If the rays come equally from everywhere, then such a circle ought to contain about five rays, Sagawa says. “If we obtain more data we may observe structure within the hotspot,” he says.The expansion will also make TA almost as big as its rival, the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, which has 1600 particle detectors of a different design spread over 3000 square kilometers. In 2007, the Auger collaboration reported that the highest energy cosmic rays appear to come from the fiery hearts of certain galaxies. However, that correlation has not held up as Auger has continued to collect more data. Auger commenced taking data in 2005, and TA in 2008, and over the years the teams have disagreed on several key results. For example, TA physicists argue that—as most physicists expected—the highest energy rays are protons, whereas Auger physicists argue they may include heavier atomic nuclei.Years ago, Auger physicists had argued for building a twin version of their array in the Northern Hemisphere. Now, with its expansion, TA will effectively play that role. “With two [equal-sized] observatories we can see the whole sky,” Sagawa says. “That’s very important,” he says, as the hemispheres may look different in cosmic rays.Like Auger, TA also features batteries of specialized telescopes that on clear, moonless nights can detect the faint light, or fluorescence, produced by an extensive air shower. Such telescope observations provide a better measure of the energy of the shower and are key for calibrating the array of surface detectors: By comparing the readout of the fluorescence telescopes and surface detectors on the same events, physicists can figure out how to better estimate a shower’s energy from the surface detector alone. TA currently has three batteries of telescopes and researchers are hoping the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) will pay for two more, says Douglas Bergman, a physicist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.The TA team is hoping NSF will spend about $1 million mainly for building the new batteries, Bergman says. Researchers already have the telescopes themselves from a previous experiment, he says. Physicists applied to NSF last fall and will do so again this fall, Bergman says. “I think the prospects would be better in the sense of there being this exciting news from Japan,” Bergman says.Even some TA physicists caution that with more data the hotspot may not hold up. “I personally am still in doubt whether it is real,” Tsunesada says. In the past, many tantalizing cosmic ray results have failed to pan out, he notes. In fact, Tsunesada says, if the expanded TA and Auger don’t detect sources of the highest energy rays, the search could come to an end. “This could be the last chance for us air-shower researchers,” Tsunesada says. Others are more optimistic. For example, Sagawa notes, it may be possible to study air showers over a vastly larger area using space-borne fluorescence telescopes. 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 Every once in a while, a cosmic ray—a subatomic particle from outer space—strikes the atmosphere with an energy 10 million times higher than a humanmade particle accelerator has ever achieved. Physicists don’t know where such mind-bogglingly energetic particles come from, but they could be closing in on an answer thanks to the expansion of one of the world’s biggest cosmic ray experiments.Japan will spend $3.7 million to nearly quadruple the size of the Telescope Array (TA), which currently consists of 507 particle detectors spread across 700 square kilometers of Utah desert. The detectors sense the avalanche of particles, or what physicists call an “extensive air shower,” triggered when a ray hits the atmosphere. Physicists will deploy 400 more loosely spaced detectors to stretch TA’s area to about 2500 square kilometers—twice the area of New York City—says Yoshiki Tsunesada, a physicist and TA team member at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. From the size and direction of an air shower, physicists can deduce the energy and direction of the original ray. Researchers hope to complete the expansion in 2017. Japan paid two-thirds of the current array’s $25 million cost.center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

In wake of Ebola epidemic Margaret Chan wants countries to put their

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Q: Last week marked the first time since March 2014 that not a single new Ebola case was reported. You must be relieved.A: I think the whole world is relieved. Everybody is anxious to make sure that we get to zero cases and maintain zero. So we must keep up our efforts. We need two times the incubation period without new cases before we can declare this epidemic over. That means we have to wait for a minimum of 42 days.Q: Even then the virus can come back, of course. The virus can persist longer than 42 days in the semen of male survivors, which seems to have caused a resurgence in Liberia. A Scottish nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, was recently taken back to a hospital 9 months after she recovered from Ebola. At what point can we really say this is over?A: After the previous 22 Ebola outbreaks we did not have enough survivors to help us understand the disease, its transmission, its complications, and consequences. This is the largest outbreak. We have a lot of survivors. So WHO is working with partners, including the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the countries themselves to find answers to many of the gaps in science.We have seen a case where the virus persisted in the U.S., now there is this case in the U.K. We need to see exactly what kind of symptoms she has. Of course we keep an eye on this development and are working closely with the U.K. government to get information. But also: We know Ebola exists in bats, and their geographic range covers 20 countries or more in Sub-Saharan Africa. So we should not be too surprised if we see another Ebola outbreak. But we are on the verge of having an effective vaccine; we have good, quick diagnostics, and we have some treatments. So, hopefully we now have the weapons we need to go to war with the virus.Q: In retrospect, it seemed obvious that this outbreak would become huge. A deadly virus in a part of the world that had no experience with it, health systems neglected during years of civil war, and a population that was highly mobile across borders, distrustful of governments, and more inclined to seek out traditional healers. Why did WHO miss the significance of all of this?A: With the benefit of hindsight, the mistrust is a major problem. If you look at the epidemic curve, by May 2014, the number of cases really seemed to be coming down. And all our partners were packing up, ready to go home. But instead of sending patients to a treatment center as early as possible, people in the community kept their loved ones at home and nursed them. It was like a peat fire spreading underground.Q: But at some point, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was very clear that the outbreak was huge and out of control. Still, it took WHO until 8 August to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.A: Information was not flowing up. That is a big problem. You cannot manage what you don’t see and what you don’t know. I think all of us underestimated the context of these countries. An old disease in a new context gave us surprises.Q: WHO’s Emergency Committee regarding Ebola recently criticized 34 countries for imposing “disproportionate” restrictions on travel to and from the Ebola region; it said this is hampering the response and recovery efforts. A: This is a big problem. Countries that are affected by an outbreak should be transparent and report their diseases. Countries that are not directly affected should not impose trade or travel measures over and above what is recommended by WHO. This is part of the International Health Regulations [IHR], an international treaty with the good intention of building a collective defense system against a common threat. But the implementation of the IHR is very poor; there is a lot of disincentive. Why should I report? The minute I report, you impose a trade ban and travel ban on me. That is why we need to review the IHR and change them to provide incentive instead of disincentive.Q: What could incentives look like?A: We can encourage countries by telling them: “We will help you out but not just to contain the outbreak.” After the outbreak is done, we will do a gap analysis, together with the government, and bring in supporters, donors, to help them build a health system that is better capable of detecting an outbreak.Q: And how do you punish countries for wrongly imposing travel restrictions? A: We need to name these countries and put it on the web.Q: It seems like WHO isn’t learning from the past. The Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, led by Barbara Stocking, noted that a similar review done after the 2009 influenza pandemic also made recommendations to reform the IHR; if those had been implemented, “the global community would have been in a far better position to face the Ebola crisis,” the review said. Why weren’t those ideas implemented? A: I was director-general at that time. When I presented the recommendations to the governing body, they said: “Good. We thank you very much for that. But we don’t have the resources to do this.” Because the report came right after the global financial crisis. That is why the Stocking report made another recommendation: Health cannot be left in the hands of ministries of health alone. It has to escalate so that heads of state, heads of government, will consider the social, financial, and human costs of nonaction.Q: The Stocking report also recommended increasing WHO’s budget. At the World Health Assembly in May, you asked member states to increase their contributions by 5%; they rejected that. Are they keeping WHO from fulfilling its purpose?A: I ask the same question.Q: You’re the director-general. You should give the answer.A: I’m the equivalent of the CEO of a company. So member states are like the board members. I said to them: “If you want WHO to be strong and fit for purpose, keep your promises. Put your money where your mouth is.” But many governments support a zero nominal-growth policy for their contributions. Maintaining that policy for 10 years has reduced the purchasing power of my budget by about one-third.Q: Money is one problem, but people have suggested other changes. One proposed reform is restricting the director-general to just one 7-year term in office instead of two 5-year terms. Without the need to be re-elected, a director might find it easier to criticize member countries. Is that a good idea?A: I have told member states that it’s an idea they should consider. This job is getting more and more political and more and more intense. Can you imagine 10 years in this kind of position, where you have 194 bosses? And they do not necessarily agree on the difficult issues. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I feel privileged to be given the chance of serving the organization. But many countries behave like a visitor to WHO, not a shareholder. With the exception of a few countries, like Germany, the U.S., and the U.K., they are not serious in managing the organization. But the Ebola crisis has given me another opportunity to fast-track reforms. No more discussion. I keep telling people: I only have 21 months.Q: You have also advocated the idea of “white helmets,” teams of health workers ready to be deployed in a crisis. What exactly are your plans?A: WHO is good in mobilizing support. But if that support is not prepared in advance, you cannot mobilize. Every country must have a rapid response team: epidemiologists, public health, clinicians, information specialists. When they are trained together, when they exercise together, when they mobilize as a team, they can hit the ground running. The idea is to have a core capacity at WHO. If the outbreak is small, we manage on our own. But if it is beyond our capacity, I mobilize all these pretrained teams, from the countries, or [the United Nations Children’s Fund], the World Food Programme. WHO should be the conductor of an orchestra.Q: The most positive comments in the Stocking report were about WHO’s role in coordinating research and development. Thanks to a WHO-led trial in Guinea, we now have the first proof that one Ebola vaccine actually works. The report said WHO “will need to be involved in research and development work for future emergencies.” What form will that take?A: With Ebola, we brought people together and we said: “Okay, this is the situation. What are the molecules that are being developed, what is their potential?” Now, we want to turn things around. This is an opportunity to change the culture of people. Let’s bring people together in advance, to develop a blueprint for R&D for future high-impact pathogens. Everybody has to agree what is a reasonable clinical trial design. We bring the regulators in right at the beginning and ask them: “What kind of information do you need?” And then the WHO will give the target product profile. Hey, don’t give me a product that requires minus 80°C, that is not easy to do. I promised the member states I will present this blueprint for their consideration in 2016.Q: MSF has played a huge role in fighting the Ebola outbreak. MSF President Joanna Liu recently said she is very concerned that public health crises were increasingly being addressed by the private sector instead of governments.A: I agree with her. The duty to the well-being and the health of people is the primary responsibility of government. It is enshrined in the WHO constitution. And this is the problem: Leaders do not keep their promises to their people. If the world continues like this, we are not moving into a good space. We need to remind leaders that gaining trust is the only way to get re-elected. But, unfortunately, too many countries do not have that kind of system.Q: World leaders just agreed on a set of new, very ambitious goals at the United Nations: the sustainable development goals, or SDGs.A: I am very excited about the SDGs. One of the ministers at the G7 meeting said: “Dr. Chan, what you are telling us [about how badly the IHR are implemented] is very worrying. We just came away from New York endorsing 17 goals, 169 targets. If we, the political leaders, do not implement them …”Q: He was worried what would happen if the world misses those goals? A: Yes. And I said: “You better not do that. The community will not trust government anymore.”Q: But that happened with the Millennium Development Goals, didn’t it? There were only eight of them but we didn’t achieve them.A: It is still better than not having the millennium goals. The health-related goals surely have made progress. We must build on that achievement. I believe quiet diplomacy and encouragement work. It’s just like having a kid. You cannot hammer children all the time. You need to encourage them. Give them some freedom. That is how I manage my boy.Q: You manage your bosses like you manage your boy?A: Actually, my bosses are not behaving as well as my boy. [Laughs] Every year before school starts, I have a conversation with my son. What is your target this year? And I will say: “Mommy also has a target. Son, every year I want you to be in the top 25% of your class.” And he will say: “Mom, your target is easy.” So I say “Okay, then you can ride your bicycle, you can watch TV, you can play your game.” I don’t want to micromanage. What makes me unhappy is that my bosses, they promise and talk, but then they don’t walk the walk. That is the problem.Q: In recent years, organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Global Fund, and others have taken on ever bigger roles in global health. Is WHO becoming irrelevant amid these new giants?A: This is a question for member states. These initiatives are good, because they bring attention, energy, and resources. But they do not have the underpinning, the system to deliver. If you look at the three countries affected by Ebola, they are 10 years postwar and there has been no lack of support. Donors are asking: “We have been investing in these countries for 10 years; how come they cannot withstand the shock coming from an outbreak? How come they do not have the system to detect an outbreak early?” Because the way development assistance was done was wrong.Q: In what way?A: At the G7 meeting, Dr. Bernice Dahn, [the Liberian minister of health], said when governments pay international [nongovernmental organizations] to go and do the delivery of service, the people in the community trust these organizations that take care of them instead of the government. At the same time that you are building government institutions, making the government stronger and holding it to account, you are undermining it. Coming from her, that was really very convincing.Q: The counterargument is that if you give the money to governments, it may disappear.A: I fully agree with you. It’s another conversation I had with member states: When you get support from development partners, why do you put the money in Switzerland, in private accounts? Instead of putting it to work? A director-general must have the courage to speak truth to power. It’s unpleasant but you have to tell them.Q: At the G7 meeting of health ministers, you talked not only about Ebola but also about antimicrobial resistance. What did you tell them?A: Governments need to pay attention. We are seeing more and more drug-resistant disease and the drug pipeline is empty. The last group of antibiotics we have was developed almost 30 years ago. If we run out of antibiotics we are going into an era where simple infections can kill people again. We don’t want that. The health sector alone cannot do it. The use of antibiotics is huge for cattle, pigs, poultry, and even for fish, farming, and plants. We agree that antibiotics should treat sick people and sick animals. But why are we using antibiotics as a growth promoter?Q: What should be done in concrete terms?A: Doctors should not prescribe antibiotics if they are not needed. Animal sector: Don’t use them if they are not needed. … Invest in R&D, because the pipeline is empty. When new antibiotics become available, we may need to impose very tight and stringent regulatory measures to ensure that they are used only on prescription[s]. Anywhere you go, you can buy antibiotics over the counter. That is not a good practice.Q: You will step down in 2017. What do you hope to achieve until then? What do you hope your legacy will be?A: Since I took office in 2006 I have been promoting very important programs. I have made women’s health the top priority in my first term and my second term, and I have been working with [U.N.] secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and other people to promote the global strategy for women and girls. That will continue. Neglected tropical diseases drive me really crazy. This group of diseases, including malaria and dengue, anchors 1.5 billion people in poverty. How can you expect them to get a job when they cannot even go out of their small home? When I saw photographs of elephantiasis, it really just blew my mind.Every year 150 million people cannot afford health care costs, and 100 million out of the 150 million are pushed into the poverty trap. In order to prevent that you must have a safety net. That is why I promote health system strengthening and universal health coverage.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) BERLIN—As director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan is often ranked among the most powerful women in the world. But her agency appeared to be powerless to stop a devastating epidemic of Ebola last year. Critics have slammed WHO’s performance, and reviews have called for drastic reforms.Chan is used to crises; as Hong Kong, China’s Director of Health, she fought devastating outbreaks of bird flu and SARS before taking WHO’s top job in 2006. Science spoke to Chan on 10 October here, where she talked about the lessons from Ebola and the dangers of antimicrobial resistance at a meeting of the G7 health ministers. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.last_img read more

Bronze Age plague wasnt spread by fleas

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 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 Zimbabwecenter_img When the plague swept through Europe in 1665, no one could figure out how the devastating disease spread. But after a tailor in the small village of Eyam in central England died that September, people eventually put two and two together. He had received a parcel of cloth infested with fleas just 4 days before dying of bubonic plague. Within a month, five other villagers had succumbed, and the local vicar convinced the town to voluntarily put itself under quarantine. It eventually became clear that it was fleas, probably on rats, that spread the plague so far and so quickly.But now it appears that the plague did not always infect fleas—and the disease may not have always spread so rapidly or been as devastating. A new study of ancient DNA from the teeth of 101 Bronze Age skeletons has found that seven people living 2800 to 5000 years ago in Europe and Asia were infected with Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague. But their strains of Y. pestis were missing a gene that allowed it to infect fleas, according to the study published today in Cell. This pushes back the earliest evidence of the plague by almost 3300 years and offers a key clue about how this disease became so contagious. “It’s really cool that they can pinpoint the acquisition of key genes that allow the movement of this bacteria into fleas,” says evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who was not involved with the study.The plague has caused death and destruction in Europe at least since Roman times, launching at least three major pandemics that changed the course of history—the Plague of Justinian from 541 to 544, which weakened the Byzantine Empire; the Black Death, which killed almost half the population of Europe between 1347 and 1351; and the Great Plague of 1665, which lasted more than 30 years. Ancient DNA researchers have shown in recent years that Y. pestis caused all three of those pandemics. But until now, they were unable to determine whether Y. pestis caused reported plagues 2224 years ago in China and almost 2500 years ago in Greece. They suspected that ancient versions of the plague were not as devastatingly rapid in spread, but they could not test that idea because they lacked samples of the earlier pathogens. Now, an international team of ancient DNA researchers and archaeologists has solved the mystery almost by accident after sequencing the genomes of 101 Bronze Age skeletons from Europe and Asia. The team started out by trying to pinpoint the origins and migrations of early Europeans. DNA samples revealed that a group of nomadic herders, the Yamnaya, swept into Europe from the plains of today’s Russia and Ukraine sometime between 5000 and 4800 years ago, bringing their culture and, perhaps, the Proto-Indo-European language with them. But archaeologist Kristian Kristiansen of the University of Gothenberg in Sweden wondered whether they also brought disease—and suggested that researchers test the DNA of Bronze Age humans in Europe and Asia to find out.The team, led by evolutionary biologist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, screened 89 billion short segments of DNA from the teeth of 101 individuals. The raw data included DNA from bacteria in the teeth, usually considered “old waste data,” says Willerslev, because it can contaminate the human DNA samples. They detected Y. pestis in seven people, ranging from Bronze Age skeletons that dated back as early as 4800 years ago in Russia, Estonia, and Poland, to an Iron Age individual who lived almost 3000 years ago in Armenia.When they sequenced the complete genomes of the Y. pestis DNA in those seven individuals, the team found that the bacterial genomes from the earliest samples lacked two genes that helped Y. pestis evade the immune systems of humans and fleas during the Black Death. In particular, the Y. pestis in the earliest Bronze Age individuals lacked a gene called Yersinia murine toxin, which protects the bacterium from a toxin inside the gut of fleas. So although these Bronze Age people suffered from the plague, they probably got it from airborne droplets, contaminated food, or the transmission of bodily fluids, rather than from fleas that infested rodents, as did Europeans during the Black Death and other pandemics.Using the same samples, the team also traced the evolution of Y. pestis and confirmed that it evolved from a soil bacteria closely related to Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, a bacterium that causes Far East scarletlike fever in humans, and is most often spread through food. The two bacterial lineages diverged about 55,000 years ago. That date has large margins of error, but suggests that Y. pestis is much older than thought—previous estimates suggested it originated just 3300 years ago. But researchers now realize that it probably wasn’t until the end of the Bronze Age that the bacteria evolved from a less virulent species that may have spread more like the flu, tuberculosis, or AIDS than the bubonic plague, which is transmitted through flea bites to the skin.“This suggests that it was quite a different disease in the Bronze Age from what it was in medieval times,” says Johannes Krause, a paleogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who was not involved with the study. Poinar agrees that the most exciting part of the paper is that it solves a longstanding mystery about how the bubonic plague was able to spread so rapidly in the Middle Ages. He says: “The whole flea-rodent ecology of plague is what led to major pandemics of the bubonic form of the plague in Europe.”Plague might have been devastating back in the Bronze Age, too. Researchers speculate that if invading armies from the Russian steppe brought plague with them into Europe—even if it didn’t spread by fleas—it could have wiped out small bands of European farmers and made their territory vulnerable to invasion, much as Spanish conquistadors infected Native Americans with smallpox. And the plague was just one of the armory of devastating diseases that shaped the course of human history. “The most important take-home message is now we can do this for all kinds of diseases,” Willerslev says.last_img read more

Video Dogs show empathy during play

first_imgLaugh and your best friend will probably join in. Her face will also instantly mimic your mirthful expression. Scientists call this emotional contagion (it also happens when someone yawns), and regard it as a basic form of empathy—the ability to experience what someone else is feeling. But humans aren’t the only animals who automatically and rapidly mimic each other’s expressions. Orangutans, chimpanzees, and geladas do as well. Now, researchers report online today in the Royal Society Open Science that dogs do, too. The scientists’ video recorded the play sessions of 49 dogs (26 female and 23 male), ranging in age from 3 months to 6 years, at a dog park in Palermo, Italy. They evaluated the videos for evidence of rapid mimicry—that is, dogs who in less than 1 second matched their playmate’s play postures (such as a bow) or facial expressions. In the video above, for example, one dog gives the other what the researchers call a “relaxed open mouth” expression—a dog’s signal for “let’s play.” And the second dog automatically makes the same expression with his mouth. Seventy-seven percent of the dogs rapidly mimicked the play bows and play faces of their dog pals, the scientists report. And like humans and other primates, the dogs most often experienced this emotional sharing with canines they knew well and played with on a regular basis. Dogs that shared at least one moment of rapid mimicry also played together longer—further evidence, the scientists say, that dogs are likely empathetic.last_img read more

Stray WiFi signals could let spies see inside closed rooms

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 Stray Wi-Fi signals could let spies see inside closed rooms Seemingly random, the 2D hologram looks nothing like the object. But the 3D ghost of the object can be retrieved by shining another beam like the reference beam on the plate, as the light waves scatter or “diffract” in a way that reproduces the wave fronts originally reflected from the object.Now, Reinhard and Philipp Holl, an undergraduate at TUM, have used radio waves from a Wi-Fi router instead of a laser to produce a hologram of a thin aluminum cross measuring about a meter wide, as they report in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters.Their experiment relies on none of the billions of digital bits of information encoded in Wi-Fi signals, just the fact that the signals are clean, “coherent” waves. However, instead of recording the key interference pattern on a photographic plate, the researchers record it with a Wi-Fi receiver and reconstruct the object in a computer. They placed a Wi-Fi transmitter in a room, 0.9 meters behind the cross. Then they placed a standard Wi-Fi receiver 1.4 meters in front of the cross and moved it slowly back and forth to map out a “virtual screen” that substituted for the photographic plate. Also, instead of having a separate reference beam coming straight to the screen, they placed a second, stationary receiver a few meters away, where it had a direct view of the emitter. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) For each point on the virtual screen, the researchers compared the signals arriving simultaneously at both receivers, and made a hologram by mapping the delays caused by the aluminum cross. The virtual hologram isn’t exactly like a traditional one, as researchers can’t recover the image of the object by shining more radio waves on it. Instead, the scientists used the computer to run the radio waves backward in time from the screen to the distance where wave fronts hit the object. The cross then popped out.“It’s obvious from the image that there’s a cross there,” says Neal Patwari, an electrical engineer at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “That’s very impressive.” But he cautions that the method might not work well in a cluttered environment.Moreover, the receivers and object were in the same room, where the cross could easily be seen. In principle, it should be possible to station Wi-Fi receivers outside a room and image objects on the inside, Reinhard says. However, Mark Coates, a computer engineer at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who was not involved in the project, cautions that it may be tricky, especially if the walls have metal studs, which would also reflect radio waves. “Basically, there are waves coming from so many directions that this technique is going to much more challenging,” Coates says.Primarily Reinhard imagines putting an array of Wi-Fi sensors in the ceiling of a factory to make holograms that can better track products labeled with radio-frequency identification tags. Patwari notes that other researchers have already developed simpler ways to use stray Wi-Fi signals to track the movement of people within buildings. Such radio tracking techniques will soon take off, Patwari predicts: “In 5 to 10 years were going to be using Wi-Fi more for localization than for communication.” By Adrian ChoApr. 28, 2017 , 5:45 PMcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country P. M. Holl and F. Reinhard, Physical Review Letters Your wireless router may be giving you away in manner you never dreamed of. For the first time, physicists have used radio waves from a Wi-Fi transmitter to encode a 3D image of a real object in a hologram similar to the image of Princess Leia projected by R2D2 in the movie Star Wars. In principle, the technique could enable outsiders to “see” the inside of a room using only the Wi-Fi signals leaking out of it, although some researchers say such spying may be easier said than done.The idea came about a few years ago, says Friedemann Reinhard, an expert on quantum sensors at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany. “At lunch we had a discussion about what the world would look through Wi-Fi eyes,” he says, “and it became clear that if you want to see the world through Wi-Fi, you could make a hologram.”A camera makes an image by collecting light reflected from an object and focusing it onto a screen to create a 2D pattern of greater or lesser intensity: the image. In contrast, a hologram more fully exploits the wave nature of light. Typically, lasers are used. The laser beam is split, and half of it reflects off the object and onto a photographic plate. The other half—the reference beam—shines directly on the plate. Like evenly spaced water waves lapping on a beach, the light waves in the reference beam arrive in flat wave fronts. In contrast, those reflected by the object are modified by it, and so some parts of the wave front arrive at the plate earlier and others later, depending on where they bounced off the object. The interference of the two sets of waves creates a pattern of bright and dark spots—the hologram. Emaillast_img read more

Scientists discover a sixth sense on the tongue—for water

first_img By Emily UnderwoodMay. 30, 2017 , 1:15 PM In an attempt to settle the debate, Yuki Oka, a neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and colleagues searched for water-sensing taste receptor cells (TRCs) in the mouse tongue. They used genetic knockout mice to look for the cells, silencing different types of TRCs, then flushing the rodents’ mouths with water to see which cells responded. “The most surprising part of the project” was that the well-known, acid-sensing, sour TRCs fired vigorously when exposed to water, Oka says. When given the option of drinking either water or a clear, tasteless, synthetic silicone oil, rodents lacking sour TRCs took longer to choose water, suggesting the cells help to distinguish water from other fluids.Next, the team tested whether artificially activating the cells, using a technique called optogenetics, could drive the mice to drink water. They bred mice to express light-sensitive proteins in their acid-sensing TRCs, which make the cells fire in response to light from a laser. After training the mice to drink water from a spout, the team replaced the water with an optic fiber that shone blue light on their tongues. When the mice “drank” the blue light, they acted as though they were tasting water, Oka says. Some thirsty mice licked the light spout as many as 2000 times every 10 minutes, the team reports this week in Nature Neuroscience.The rodents never learned that the light was just an illusion, but kept drinking long after mice drinking actual water would. That suggests that although signals from TRCs in the tongue can trigger drinking, they don’t play a role in telling the brain when to stop, Oka says.More research is needed to precisely determine how the acid-sensing taste buds respond to water, and what the mice experience when they do, Oka says. But he suspects that when water washes out saliva—a salty, acidic mucus—it changes the pH within the cells, making them more likely to fire.The notion that one of the ways animals detect water is by the removal of saliva “makes a lot of sense,” Knight says. But it is still only one of many likely routes for sensing water, including temperature and pressure, he adds.The “well-designed, intriguing” study also speaks to a long-standing debate over the nature of taste, Di Lorenzo says. When you find a counterexample to the dominant view that there are only five basic taste groups, she says, “it tells you you need to go back to the drawing board.” 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 Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Scientists discover a sixth sense on the tongue—for water Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Viewed under a microscope, your tongue is an alien landscape, studded by fringed and bumpy buds that sense five basic tastes: salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami. But mammalian taste buds may have an additional sixth sense—for water, a new study suggests. The finding could help explain how animals can tell water from other fluids, and it adds new fodder to a centuries-old debate: Does water have a taste of its own, or is it a mere vehicle for other flavors?Ever since antiquity, philosophers have claimed that water has no flavor. Even Aristotle referred to it as “tasteless” around 330 B.C.E. But insects and amphibians have water-sensing nerve cells, and there is growing evidence of similar cells in mammals, says Patricia Di Lorenzo, a behavioral neuroscientist at the State University of New York in Binghamton. A few recent brain scan studies also suggest that a region of human cortex responds specifically to water, she says. Still, critics argue that any perceived flavor is just the after-effect of whatever we tasted earlier, such as the sweetness of water after we eat salty food.“Almost nothing is known” about the molecular and cellular mechanism by which water is detected in the mouth and throat, and the neural pathway by which that signal is transmitted to the brain, says Zachary Knight, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. In previous studies, Knight and other researchers have found distinct populations of neurons within a region of the brain called the hypothalamus that can trigger thirst and signal when an animal should start and stop drinking. But the brain must receive information about water from the mouth and tongue, because animals stop drinking long before signals from the gut or blood could tell the brain that the body has been replenished, he says.last_img read more

These tiny frogs cant hear their own mating songs

first_img By Lakshmi SupriyaSep. 26, 2017 , 4:00 PM 00:0000:0000:00 These tiny frogs can’t hear their own mating songs To find out what was going on, the researchers conducted hearing sensitivity tests in the lab, which revealed that the frogs’ brains didn’t respond to the mating calls. Dissection revealed that the frogs’ ears were underdeveloped, similar to several species of salamanders and eels that cannot produce vocal sounds. This is the only known example of an animal not being able to hear its own mating calls, and scientists suspect the frogs preserved their singing ability because it provides potential mates with visual cues, like the movement of their vocal sacs. And what about predators? Ground-foraging birds like guans can still hear the frogs’ calls. But the frogs’ bright colors—advertising their toxicity—are apparently enough to warn off the predators. S. Goutte et al./Scientific Reports If a frog cries in the forest, sometimes even the frog can’t hear it. Such is the sad fate of two species of pumpkin toadlets—Brachycephalus ephippium and B. pitanga—that live in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Frogs and toads usually rely on sounds to find mates, and their ears are tuned to pick up the particular frequencies emitted by their own species. But the two pumpkin toadlets, small frogs about 1.5 centimeters long, couldn’t hear their own high-frequency vocalizations when researchers played their calls back to them in the wild, a team of biologists reported last week in Scientific Reports. A B. pitanga mating call last_img read more

Surprise Shutdown also disrupting US science agencies that arent closed

first_img Many U.S. government scientists and federally funded researchers breathed a sigh of relief last month, after the partial shutdown of the U.S. government began. That’s because the budget impasse between Congress and President Donald Trump didn’t affect some of the largest federal research agencies, including the $39 billion National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the $35.6 billion Department of Energy (DOE). Their spending had already been approved.This week, however, it became clear that the shutdown is hampering even agencies that are open—sometimes in unexpected ways.At NIH, for example, officials have been scrambling to comply with a rule that requires them to publish notice of upcoming proposal review meetings in the Federal Register, the public notice publication for federal agencies. But the agency that publishes the Federal Register is closed, threatening NIH’s grantmaking process. AFGE/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) Email Hundreds of furloughed workers and others rallied in Washington, D.C., on 10 January to call for an end to the partial shutdown of the U.S. government. Surprise! Shutdown also disrupting U.S. science agencies that aren’t closed By Science News StaffJan. 19, 2019 , 10:30 AMcenter_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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) At DOE, managers are reportedly telling some employees to cancel travel because of the shutdown, even though the department is fully funded. The reports have prompted members of Congress to ask DOE to explain.Meanwhile, the shutdown also continues to wreak havoc at agencies such as NASA that are mostly closed. Yesterday, 181 postdoctoral fellows working at five NASA research centers were placed on leave after their funding dried up.Here are more details on this trio of shutdown stories:NIH reschedules panel meetingsNIH, which was closed during the last shutdown, hasn’t been spared entirely this time around. The agency has already had to reschedule at least three peer-review panels and is scrambling to avoid moving others because of its Federal Register problem.Typically, NIH study sections, or peer-review panels, must publish a notice of an upcoming meeting at least 15 days in advance. Because the Office of the Federal Register is shut down (it is part of the National Archives and Records Administration, an independent agency), it is only publishing certain documents.According to an 11 January notice, funded agencies that want to post something must certify in a “special handling letter” that a delay “would prevent or significantly damage the execution of funded functions at the agency.” That does not include “documents related to normal or routine activities.”Although study sections would appear to be part of NIH’s routine operations, an agency spokesperson says it has gotten one letter approved for a meeting set for 31 January and is awaiting word on others. But the agency has also moved an environmental science panel set for 8 January to late February and indefinitely postponed two clinical study panels set for 11 and 15 January.That may not be a complete count. Neurobiologist John Foxe of the University of Rochester in New York took to Twitter to lament a 1-month delay of a panel he serves on, commenting: “This thing is beginning to bite hard into the work of your nation’s scientists folks. … What utter foolishness!” Another researcher was told this week that his panel would be moved if the shutdown lasts another 1–2 weeks, then got another email saying NIH hoped “new procedures” would allow the agency to stay on track. Many of the councils for NIH’s institutes and centers, which make the final decisions about grants, also meet in January and February. But those notices were submitted to the Federal Register before the shutdown, so the meetings can take place, NIH says.Many more study section meetings scheduled for late January and February could now be in limbo. NIH officials are hoping to negotiate a blanket approval, arguing that the meetings are critical to its operations. “We’re trying to resolve this issue,” an NIH spokesperson says. —Jocelyn KaiserDOE’s mysterious travel banOn 10 January, Greenwire reported that DOE officials told workers within two programs—the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Advanced Research Projects Agency­-Energy—to cancel travel because of the shutdown. Yesterday, that report prompted Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), the chair of the House of Representatives science panel, to ask Energy Secretary Rick Perry for an explanation.“DOE is not impacted by the shutdown and based on the information available to me thus far, these travel restrictions seem arbitrary and capricious,” she wrote in a letter to Perry. “I sincerely hope that these reports are inaccurate,” she added, asking for answers by 25 January. —David MalakoffNASA postdocs on leave, but can get loansOn 16 January, a NASA contractor—the nonprofit Universities Space Research Association (USRA) in Columbia, Maryland—notified the 181 postdoctoral fellows it funds at five NASA research centers that they had to go on unpaid leave. That’s because NASA, which has been shuttered since 22 December 2018, can’t make the payments to USRA that it needs to run the $18-million-a-year postdoctoral program.Although the fellows can’t do any science, USRA is offering them interest-free loans to help them pay their bills this month, says Nicholas White, the group’s senior vice president for science. The stipends start at $60,000 and can exceed $80,000 for those living in high-cost locations, and the loans will fill the gap caused by losing 2 weeks’ pay. USRA has borrowed $500,000 to cover the January payments, White says, and expects that its costs could top $1 million if the shutdown extends through February.“We recognized that we needed to help out and that postdocs don’t have a lot of money,” White says. The loans are optional, he says, and USRA hopes NASA will agree to reimburse the organization once the shutdown ends. The fellows would be allowed to tack on any lost days at the end of their fellowships, which run for 2 years and sometimes are extended for a third year.The 79 foreign fellows in the group are facing a double whammy, White noted. They enter the United States on a J1 visa, which prohibits them from filing for unemployment and from taking another job while on leave.Some foreign fellows were initially concerned that being put on leave would invalidate the terms of their visa and require them to go home. But the Department of State has said the fellows retain their status so long as they are not destitute, according to White. Toward that end, USRA is also paying for health insurance while the fellows are shut out of their labs. —Jeffrey MervisClick here to see all of our stories about this and past shutdowns. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Archaeologists find richest cache of ancient mindaltering drugs in South America

first_imgNearly every culture on Earth has dabbled with consciousness- and perception-altering substances. Indigenous groups from Central and South America have used hallucinogens such as peyote and psilocybin mushrooms during rituals and religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered hundreds of items that provide a glimpse into these ancient practices, but few are as complete as the Bolivian find. Email A pouch containing psychoactive compounds was stitched together from the snouts of three Andean foxes. Archaeologists find richest cache of ancient mind-altering drugs in South America When José Capriles arrived in 2008 at the Cueva del Chileno rock shelter, nestled on the western slopes of Bolivia’s Andes, he didn’t know what he would find within. Sweeping aside layers of fresh and ancient llama dung, he found the remains of an ancient burial site: stone markers suggesting a body had once been interred there and a small leather bag cinched with a string. Inside was a collection of ancient drug paraphernalia—bone spatulas to crush the seeds of plants with psychoactive compounds, wooden tablets inlaid with gemstones to serve as a crushing surface, a wooden snuffing tube with a carved humanoid figure, and a small pouch stitched together from the snouts of three foxes.Now, more than a decade later, Capriles—an anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University in State College—and colleagues have discovered that the 1000-year-old bag contains the most varied combination of psychoactive compounds found at a South American site, including cocaine and the primary ingredients in a hallucinogenic tea called ayahuasca. The contents suggest the users were well versed in the psychoactive properties of the substances, and also that they sourced their goods from well-established trade routes.“Whoever had this bag of amazing goodies … would have had to travel great distances to acquire those plants,” says Melanie Miller, lead author of a new study on the discovery and a bioarchaeologist at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. “[Either that], or they had really extensive exchange networks.” Researchers discovered the mind-altering kit in the Cueva del Chileno rock shelter, high in the Bolivian Andes. Juan V. Albarracin-Jordan and José M. Capriles In 2010, Miller joined the team to help chemically analyze the items, which had been nearly perfectly preserved in the arid conditions of the 4000-meter-high mountains. Radiocarbon dating revealed that the outer bag was made around 1000 C.E. Next, Miller carefully unwound the fox snout pouch and emptied its dust and debris onto a piece of aluminum foil. Using a technique frequently used in modern illicit drug testing called liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, she and her fellow researchers hunted for chemical signatures in the sample. They identified at least five psychoactive substances: cocaine, benzoylecgonine, bufotenine, harmine, and dimethyltryptamine.Harmine and dimethyltryptamine are the main ingredients in ayahuasca, used ceremonially for centuries by indigenous South Americans. Miller says their presence alongside the snuffing tube and tablet may mean that people inhaled these chemicals long before they were brewed into a beverage. Juan V. Albarracin-Jordan and José M. Capriles center_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 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 (*) Juan V. Albarracin-Jordan and José M. Capriles By Michael PriceMay. 6, 2019 , 3:00 PM A snuffing tube was used to inhale ground-up plant matter with psychoactive compounds. The mixture’s origins also offer clues to the trade routes of the people who occupied the high plains. Several of the compounds come from the plant genus Anadenanthera—also known as vilca, cebil, or yopo—which grows widely through South America, but not in this region of the Andes. Similarly, the likely source of the harmine is a lowland Amazonian species.Miller says it’s possible that the mixture of compounds was unique to the region. The fact that at least two of the ingredients are known to be used in tandem in ayahuasca raises the possibility that this shaman was selecting plant combinations for specific mind-altering effects, they report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Maybe they were mixing multiple things together because they realized when they’re combined, they have a whole different set of experiences,” Miller says.When indigenous South Americans began to brew ayahuasca is still a major mystery, says Christine VanPool, an anthropologist at the University of Missouri in Columbia who wasn’t involved in the work. She’s intrigued by the idea they may first have discovered its properties by inhaling its key compounds. Shamans “say they’ve had [ayahuasca] for a very long time. So in some ways, I wasn’t surprised,” she says. But because archaeological evidence has been lacking, the new find is “exciting.”last_img read more

Comment sought on applicants for Arizona Court of Appeals opening

first_imgComment sought on applicants for Arizona Court of Appeals opening The public is asked for comments on 20 applicants for an opening on Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals created by the retirement of Judge Margaret H. Downie. The applicants are Paul V.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad November 10, 2017last_img