Worthington & Caron Proud to Again Sponsor the 4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

On June 7 some of the leading physicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of pleural mesothelioma will meet at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica, California for the4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. The symposium will be an all-day affair and begin at 8 am.Worthington & Caron is proud to sponsor this symposium for the fourth consecutive year.Once again, Dr. Robert B. Cameron will lead the symposium. In addition to being the Director of the UCLA Mesothelioma Comprehensive Research Program, Dr. Cameron also is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and Scientific Advisor at the Pacific Meso Center.Although the seminar is geared toward physicians, it also offers continuing medical education …

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ADFA Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Business cards have arrived!

My ADFA Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Inc business cards have arrived in the mail. I am now officially ADFA’s Social Media Voice and I’m very proud and honoured to be asked to take on this very important role and one that I am very passionate in getting the word out that there is no safe asbestos, asbestos kills. Helping via Social Media to create awareness, support and advocacy is a very powerful tool in today’s modern technology.Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA) is a not-for profit organisation working to provide support to people living with asbestos related diseases, family members, carers and friends. ADFA is a community based group founded by Trade Unions, victims, families of victims, and concerned citizens to meet the needs …

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New EMS system dramatically improves survival from cardiac arrest

A new system that sent patients to designated cardiac receiving centers dramatically increased the survival rate of victims of sudden cardiac arrest in Arizona, according to a study published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine.”We knew lives would be saved if the hospitals implemented the latest cutting edge guidelines for post-cardiac arrest care and we were able to get cardiac arrest patients to those hospitals, similar to what is done for Level 1 trauma patients,” said lead study author Daniel Spaite, MD, Director of EMS Research at the University of Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center in Phoenix and Tucson and a professor and distinguished chair of emergency medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “Taking these patients directly to a hospital optimally prepared to treat cardiac arrest gave patients a better chance of survival and of preventing neurologic damage, a common result of these cardiac events.”Under the study, 31 hospitals, serving about 80 percent of the state’s population, were designated as cardiac receiving centers between December 2007 and November 2010. Approximately 55 emergency medicine service agencies also participated in the study.The study shows that the survival rate increased by more than 60 percent during the four-year period of the study, from 2007 to 2010. More importantly, when the results were adjusted for the various factors that significantly impact survival (such as age and how quickly the EMS system got to the patients after their arrest), the likelihood of surviving an arrest more than doubled. In addition, the likelihood of surviving with good neurological status also more than doubled.This statewide effort was accomplished through the Save Hearts Arizona Registry and Education-SHARE Program, a partnership involving the Arizona Department of Health Services, the University of Arizona, over 30 hospitals and more than 100 fire departments and EMS agencies. The SHARE Program is part of a network of statewide cardiac resuscitation programs dedicated to improving cardiac arrest survival and working together as the HeartRescue Project.”We worked closely with the hospitals around the state to implement these Guidelines and then formally recognized the hospitals as Cardiac Receiving Centers (CRCs) ,” said Ben Bobrow, MD, Medical Director of the Bureau of Emergency Medicine Services and Trauma System for the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix, Ariz. “We then developed protocols for our EMS agencies to transport post-cardiac arrest patients to those centers. Our overarching goal was to have more cardiac arrest victims leave the hospital in good shape and be able to return to their families and careers. As we suspected, ‘regionalizing’ the care for these critically-ill patients markedly increased their likelihood of survival and good neurologic outcome.”Dr. Bobrow, who is also a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and an emergency physician at Maricopa Medical Center, said the study shows that just transporting these patients to the nearest emergency department does not maximize the likelihood of a positive outcome. …

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Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to U.S. obesity epidemic, particularly among children

In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) concludes that SSBs contribute to the United States’ obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, TOS’s position statement unveiled today provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their consumption of SSBs.”There’s no arguing with the fact that the high rates of obesity in the U.S. are troubling for our nation’s health, specifically the recently reported rise in severe obesity among children in JAMA Pediatrics,” said TOS spokesperson Diana Thomas, PhD, Professor at Montclair State University and Director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research. “Following a thorough review and analysis of the existing research, TOS concludes that, by adding more non-nutritious calories to the American diet, SSBs have contributed to the U.S. obesity epidemic. Further, we recommend that to maintain and improve health children minimize drinking SSBs and adults reduce or avoid SSB consumption as part of an overall strategy to reduce calories.”According to the position statement posted online, TOS defines SSBs as sodas, sports drinks and other types of beverages that are primarily made up of water and added sugar. Consumption of these drinks in the U.S. remains high — Americans report that SSBs comprise 6-7% of overall calorie intake.”Despite the challenges researchers have faced with isolating the impact of specific foods or beverages on body weight, the studies conducted on SSBs thus far have generated important and meaningful data leading to our conclusion,” said Dr. Thomas. “The evidence shows that individuals with a higher BMI consume more SSBs than their leaner counterparts, and that decreasing SSB consumption may reduce overall calorie intake and help individuals with obesity or overweight reach healthy weight goals.”Weight gain occurs when total energy intake exceeds energy expenditure for extended periods of time. …

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Biochar stimulates more plant growth but less plant defense, research shows

In the first study of its kind, research undertaken at the University of Southampton has cast significant doubt over the use of biochar to alleviate climate change.Biochar is produced when wood is combusted at high temperatures to make bio-oil and has been proposed as a method of geoengineering. When buried in the soil, this carbon rich substance could potentially lock-up carbon and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The global potential of biochar is considered to be large, with up to 12 percent of emissions reduced by biochar soil application.Many previous reports have shown that biochar can also stimulate crop growth and yield, providing a valuable co-benefit when the soil is treated with biochar, but the mechanism enabling this to happen is unknown.Professor Gail Taylor, Director of Research at the University’s Centre for Biological Sciences and research colleagues, in collaboration with National Research Council (CNR) scientists in Italy and The James Hutton Institute in Scotland, have provided an explanation why biochar has this impact. They have published their findings in the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy.They found that when thale cress and lettuce plants were subjected to increasing amounts of biochar mixed with soil, using the equivalent of up to 50 tonnes per hectare per year, if applied in the field, plant growth was stimulated by over 100 percent. For the first time, the response of more than 10,000 genes was followed simultaneously, which identified brassinosteroids and auxins and their signalling molecules as key to the growth stimulation observed in biochar. Brassinosteroids and auxins are two growth promoting plant hormones and the study goes further in showing that their signalling molecules were also stimulated by biochar application.However, the positive impacts of biochar were coupled with negative findings for a suite of genes that are known to determine the ability of a plant to withstand attack from pests and pathogens. These defence genes were consistently reduced following biochar application to the soil, for example jasmonic and salcyclic acid and ethylene, suggesting that crops grown on biochar may be more susceptible to attack by pests and pathogens.This was a surprising finding and suggests that if reproduced in the field at larger scales, could have wide implications for the use of biochar on commercial crops.Professor Taylor, who co-ordinated the research, says: “Our findings provide the very first insight into how biochar stimulates plant growth — we now know that cell expansion is stimulated in roots and leaves alike and this appears to be the consequence of a complex signalling network that is focussed around two plant growth hormones. However, the finding for plant defence genes was entirely unpredicted and could have serious consequences for the commercial development and deployment of biochar in future. Any risk to agriculture is likely to prevent wide scale use of biochar and we now need to see which pest and pathogens are sensitive to the gene expression changes..”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Genetic cause of heart valve defects revealed

Heart valve defects are a common cause of death in newborns. Scientists at the University of Bonn and the caesar research center have discovered “Creld1” is a key gene for the development of heart valves in mice. The researchers were able to show that a similar Creld1 gene found in humans functions via the same signaling pathway as in the mouse. This discovery is an important step forward in the molecular understanding of the pathogenesis of heart valve defects. The findings have been published in the journal “Developmental Cell.”Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) is a congenital heart defect in which the heart valves and cardiac septum are malformed. Children with Down’s syndrome are particularly affected. Without surgical interventions, mortality in the first months of life is high. “Even in adults, unidentified valve defects occur in about six percent of patients with heart disease,” says Prof. Dr. Michael Hoch, Executive Director of the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute of the University of Bonn.For years, there have been indications that changes in the so-called Creld1 gene (Cysteine-Rich with EGF-Like Domains 1) increase the pathogenic risk of AVSD. …

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Forests crucial to green growth

The value of forests and tree-based ecosystems extends far beyond carbon sequestration; they are the foundation of sustainable societies.A new report, launched in Jakarta, Indonesia on 21 March — the International Day of Forests — promotes REDD+ and the Green Economy as together providing a new pathway to sustainable development that can benefit all nations. It claims this approach can conserve and even boost the economic and social benefits forests provide to human society.Building Natural Capital — How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy was developed by the International Resources Panel. It outlines how REDD+ can be integrated into a Green Economy to support pro-poor development while maintaining or increasing forest cover.According to the report, REDD+ needs to be placed in a landscape-scale planning framework that goes beyond forests to consider all sectors of a modern economy and the needs of agriculture, energy, water resources, finance, transport, industry, trade and cities.In this way, REDD+ would add value to other initiatives, such as agroforestry projects that are being implemented within these sectors, and be a critical element in a green economy.The report provides recommendations on how to integrate REDD+ and Green Economy approaches, such as through better coordination, stronger private sector engagement, changes in fiscal incentive frameworks, greater focus on assisting policymakers to understand the role forests play in propping up economies, and equitable benefit sharing.While it is recognized that what lies ahead is a long process of societies adapting to new conditions, REDD+ could be integral to increasing agricultural and forestry outputs to meet future needs, while at the same time enhancing the conservation of forests and ecosystem services.Each year, the International Day of Forests highlights the unique role of forests in the environment and in sustaining livelihoods. The theme this year is Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development.”It is important day to remind us to save our planet as it is the only one we know which has trees says Tony Simons the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). “Trees are what made Earth habitable for mammals, and destruction of forests will lead to the ultimate destruction of mammals — including humans. Trees are one of the few things which live longer than humans — a true intergenerational gift. He added.Forests and trees are key to sustainable development. Not only do they store carbon, they support biodiversity, regulate water flows and, reduce soil erosion. Nearly 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests as a source of food, medicines, timber and fuel.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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The Escalating Debate Over E-Cigarettes

Follow the bouncing ping-pong ball. “E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco.”—Lauren Dutra, postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.“You’ve got two camps here: an abstinence-only camp that thinks anything related to tobacco should be outlawed, and those of us who say abstinence has failed, and that we have to take advantage of every opportunity with a reasonable prospect for harm reduction.”—Richard Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General, now board member of e-cigarette maker NJOY.“Consumers are led to believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes, despite the fact that they are addictive, and there is no regulatory oversight …

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Free online software helps speed up genetic discoveries

Microarray analysis — a complex technology commonly used in many applications such as discovering genes, disease diagnosis, drug development and toxicological research — has just become easier and more user-friendly. A new advanced software program called Eureka-DMA provides a cost-free, graphical interface that allows bioinformaticians and bench-biologists alike to initiate analyses, and to investigate the data produced by microarrays. The program was developed by Ph.D. student Sagi Abelson of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.DNA microarray analysis, a high-speed method by which the expression of thousands of genes can be analyzed simultaneously, was invented in the late 1980s and developed in the 1990s. Genetic researchers used a glass slide with tiny dots of copies of DNA to test match genes they were trying to identify. Because the array of dots was so small, it was called a “microarray.” There is a strong correlation between the field of molecular biology and medical research, and microarray technology is used routinely in the area of cancer research and other epidemiology studies. Many research groups apply it to detect genetic variations between biological samples and information about aberrant gene expression levels can be used in what is called “personalized medicine.” This includes customized approaches to medical care, including finding new drugs for gene targets where diseases have genetic causes and potential cures are based on an individual’s aberrant gene’s signal.An article written by Abelson published in the current issue of BMC Bioinformatics (2014,15:53) describes the new software tool and provides examples of its uses.”Eureka-DMA combines simplicity of operation and ease of data management with the rapid execution of multiple task analyses,” says Abelson. “This ability can help researchers who have less experience in bioinformatics to transform the high throughput data they generate into meaningful and understandable information.”Eureka-DMA has a distinct advantage over other software programs that only work “behind the scenes” and provide only a final output. It provides users with an understanding of how their actions influence the outcome throughout all the data elucidation steps, keeping them connected to the data, and enabling them to reach optimal conclusions.”It is very gratifying to see the insightful initiative of Sagi Abelson, a leading ‘out-of-the-box’ thoughtful Technion doctorate student whom I have had the privilege of supervising,” said Prof. Karl Skorecki, the Director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences at the Technion Faculty of Medicine and Director of Medical and Research Development at the Rambam Health Care Campus. …

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Galaxies in the early universe mature beyond their years

An international team of researchers, including astronomers from Swinburne University of Technology, has discovered the most distant examples of galaxies in the early Universe that were already mature and massive.The mature galaxies were found at a record-breaking distance of 12 billion light years, seen when the Universe was just 1.6 billion years old. Their existence at such an early time raises new questions about what forced them to grow up so quickly.”These distant and early massive galaxies are one of the Holy Grails of astronomy,” Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Karl Glazebrook, who was involved in the discovery, said.”Fifteen years ago they were predicted not to even exist within the cosmological model favoured at the time. In 2004 I wrote a paper on the discovery of such galaxies existing only three billion years after the Big Bang. Now, with improved technology we are pushing back to only 1.6 billion years, which is truly exciting.”Astronomers used deep images at near-infrared wavelengths to search for galaxies in the early Universe with red colours. These red colours indicate the presence of old stars and a lack of active star formation. Surprisingly, they located 15 galaxies at an average distance of 12 billion light years — only 1.6 billion years after the Big Bang.The galaxies are barely detectable at visual wavelengths and are easily overlooked. But in the new near-infrared light images they are easily measured, from which it can be inferred that they already contained as many as 100 billion stars on average per galaxy.The mature galaxies have masses similar to that of the Milky Way, but were already retired from star-formation when the universe was only 12 per cent of its current age.”While the Milky Way still forms new stars at a slow rate today, the galaxies we discovered must have formed very rapidly in a relatively ‘short’ time — roughly one billion years — with explosive rates of star-formation. These must have been several hundred times higher than in the Milky Way today,” Macquarie University’s Dr Lee Spitler said.”This is the best evidence to date that these galaxies grew up in a hurry. People have reported ‘old’ galaxies before, but it was never clear until our data that they were actually ‘old’. The excellent imaging products from the Magellan telescope allowed us to prove they are indeed ‘old’.”The finding raises new questions about how these galaxies formed so rapidly and why they stopped forming stars so early.The galaxies were discovered after 40 nights of observing with the FourStar camera on the Magellan Baade Telescope in Chile and combined with data from Hubble’s Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey and the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey. …

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DNA test better than standard screens in identifying fetal chromosome abnormalities

A study in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine potentially has significant implications for prenatal testing for major fetal chromosome abnormalities. The study found that in a head-to-head comparison of noninvasive prenatal testing using cell free DNA (cfDNA) to standard screening methods, cfDNA testing (verifi prenatal test, Illumina, Inc.) significantly reduced the rate of false positive results and had significantly higher positive predictive values for the detection of fetal trisomies 21 and 18.A team of scientists, led by Diana W. Bianchi, MD, Executive Director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, reports the results of their clinical trial using non-invasive cell-free DNA prenatal testing in a general obstetrical population of pregnant women, in an article entitled “DNA sequencing versus standard prenatal aneuploidy screening.”The multi-center, blinded study analyzed samples from 1,914 pregnant women, and found that noninvasive cfDNA testing had a ten-fold improvement in the positive predictive value for trisomy 21, commonly known as Down syndrome, compared to standard prenatal aneuploidy screening methods (aneuploidy is a term for one or more extra or missing chromosomes). Importantly, the cfDNA test performed consistently well in a general population of pregnant women, regardless of their risk for fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Previous studies have shown that the tests were more accurate for women who had higher risks for fetal chromosomal abnormalities, but this was the first time that the cfDNA tests were compared in a general obstetrical population to the variety of blood and ultrasound tests that comprise the current standard of care in the United States.”We found that the major advantage of noninvasive prenatal DNA testing was the significant reduction of the false positive rate,” said Bianchi. “Prenatal testing using cell-free DNA as a primary screen could eliminate the need for many of the invasive diagnostic procedures (such as amniocentesis) that are performed to confirm a positive screen.”Prenatal screening for fetal aneuploidy is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as part of routine prenatal care. Researchers compared current standard noninvasive aneuploidy testing techniques — serum biochemical assays and nuchal translucency measurements using ultrasound — with a noninvasive, cell-free DNA test. Serum biochemical assays identify biomarkers for chromosomal abnormalities while nuchal translucency measurements use ultrasound examinations to measure the thickness of a space at the back of the baby’s neck. With Down syndrome, more fluid is present, making the space appear thicker. Cell-free DNA testing works by mapping and counting DNA fragments in a mother’s blood sample and comparing the measurements to normal reference samples. …

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Scientists complete the top quark puzzle

Scientists on the CDF and DZero experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have announced that they have found the final predicted way of creating a top quark, completing a picture of this particle nearly 20 years in the making.The two collaborations jointly announced on Friday, Feb. 21, that they had observed one of the rarest methods of producing the elementary particle — creating a single top quark through the weak nuclear force, in what is called the “s-channel.” For this analysis, scientists from the CDF and DZero collaborations sifted through data from more than 500 trillion proton-antiproton collisions produced by the Tevatron from 2001 to 2011. They identified about 40 particle collisions in which the weak nuclear force produced single top quarks in conjunction with single bottom quarks.Top quarks are the heaviest and among the most puzzling elementary particles. They weigh even more than the Higgs boson — as much as an atom of gold — and only two machines have ever produced them: Fermilab’s Tevatron and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. There are several ways to produce them, as predicted by the theoretical framework known as the Standard Model, and the most common one was the first one discovered: a collision in which the strong nuclear force creates a pair consisting of a top quark and its antimatter cousin, the anti-top quark.Collisions that produce a single top quark through the weak nuclear force are rarer, and the process scientists on the Tevatron experiments have just announced is the most challenging of these to detect. This method of producing single top quarks is among the rarest interactions allowed by the laws of physics. The detection of this process was one of the ultimate goals of the Tevatron, which for 25 years was the most powerful particle collider in the world.”This is an important discovery that provides a valuable addition to the picture of the Standard Model universe,” said James Siegrist, DOE associate director of science for high energy physics. “It completes a portrait of one of the fundamental particles of our universe by showing us one of the rarest ways to create them.”Searching for single top quarks is like looking for a needle in billions of haystacks. Only one in every 50 billion Tevatron collisions produced a single s-channel top quark, and the CDF and DZero collaborations only selected a small fraction of those to separate them from background, which is why the number of observed occurrences of this particular channel is so small. …

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Reducing HIV transmission among drug injectors lowers AIDS mortality in heterosexuals

Although community network studies show that sexual relationships occur between members of “risk groups” — men who have sex with other men (MSM), people who inject drugs (PWID), non-injection drug users (NIDU) — and heterosexuals, researchers at New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) note that little research has been done to help explain how HIV epidemics and programs in one population affect others and how to reduce the risks of transmission.A recent study conducted by researchers from CDUHR, led by Samuel R. Friedman, Director of both CDUHR’s Interdisciplinary Theoretical Synthesis Core, and the Institute for Infectious Disease Research at NDRI, sheds light on the pathways connecting HIV epidemics in different populations.It shows that programs for people who use drugs — like syringe exchange, HIV counseling and testing, and drug abuse treatment — are associated with subsequent lower rates of AIDS incidence and death among heterosexuals.”Since existing theory and research have relatively little to say about the cross-population processes being studied, we used exploratory analytic technique to study these relationships,” explains Dr. Friedman.The objective of the study, “Do metropolitan HIV epidemic histories and programs for people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men predict AIDS incidence and mortality among heterosexuals?” was to better understand how epidemics among MSMs and PWIDs correlate with later epidemics and mortality within heterosexuals; how prevention programs targeting specific groups affect future epidemics among other populations; and whether the size of MSM and PWID populations are associated with the later epidemics and mortalities among heterosexuals. The study was published in the Annals of Epidemiology.The study looked at data from 96 large US metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from 1992 — 2008. “We have only limited ability to study the mechanisms by which our independent variables come to be associated with outcomes,” explains Dr. Friedman. “Research into whether interventions in one key population affect HIV epidemics in other key populations is of high policy relevance and should be a priority.”Although the study highlights the necessity of future studies, it found that HIV counseling and testing in PWIDs was associated with lower AIDS incidence in heterosexuals, while counseling and testing in MSMs were not; and that availability of syringe exchange programs and drug abuse treatment programs were associated with lower AIDS death rates among heterosexuals.The study also highlights a link between racial/ethnic residential segregation and rates of AIDS incidence and mortality among heterosexuals and points to evidence pairing social causations like income inequality with mortality.”Our findings are descriptive of the relationships of the measured variables in these large metropolitan areas,” said Dr. Friedman. “They do not, however, imply that these findings can necessarily be extended to smaller MSAs, non-metropolitan localities, other time periods or other countries, for that further research is clearly needed.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Sauces and marinades address consumers’ desire for ethnic flavors

Sauces and marinades are an easy way for consumers cooking at home to infuse distinctive flavors into all kinds of different foods. In the February issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Writer David Despain writes about new consumer trends and the growing interest in international/ethnic flavor preferences regarding sauces and marinades.A new Mintel report titled “Cooking Sauces, Marinades, and Dressings — U.S.” says the market reached a total of $7.4 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $9.1 billion by 2018. Consumers poled in the report showed an interest in international/ethic, exotic, spicy/hot, and authentic regional flavors. Also trending in marinades and sauces is the need for transparency, consumers want to know how authentic their products are and what ingredients are in them. Clean label texturizers are on the rise to provide sauces with a rich appearance, smooth texture, and creamy mouthfeel without compromising shelf-life stability.Mark MacKenzie, Managing Director with Passage Foods, North America says the key drivers of new regionally inspired products, like Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesia (instead of just Asian) are due to younger generations more adventurous food tastes. These consumers, mainly ages 22 to 34, are eating out at ethnic restaurants, watching food and travel shows on TV, and are interested in diversifying the way they cook and eat. Home cooks looking to expand their weeknight dishes to include flavors inspired by restaurant dishes and global food trends can now find slow-cooker sauces, classic American sauces infused with ethnic flavors, and ready-to-use simmer sauces in stores.Read the full Food Technology article at http://www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2014/february/features/sauces-marinades.aspxStory Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Team sport compensates for estrogen loss

When women enter menopause, their estrogen levels taper. This increases their risk of cardiovascular disease. New research from University of Copenhagen shows that interval-based team sport can make up for this estrogen loss as it improves their conditions, reduces blood pressure and thereby protects the cardiovascular system.While aging and an array of physical transformations go hand in hand for all, menopause has a significant influence on physical changes in women.Estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, is an important guardian of the female vascular system. Thus, as estrogen levels fall during menopause, the risks of increased blood pressure and development of cardiovascular disease increases.A new study by the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Team Sport and Health documents and addresses the issue.Changes to the cardiovascular system occur soon after menopause”Results demonstrate that blood pressure among post-menopausal women is 10% higher immediately after menopause than in similarly-aged, pre-menopausal women. They also had higher levels of an early marker for arteriosclerosis,” explains postdoc Michael Nyberg.The new aspect of this study is that researchers have investigated the effects of estrogen in women of the same age, both before and after menopause. Previous studies didn’t look at similarly aged pre- and post-menopausal women. Instead, they investigated women with 15-20 year gaps in age. Therefore, they were unable to determine whether changes were due to age or estrogen loss.Results of the recent study have now been published in the journal, The American Journal of Physiology.Floorball prevents cardiovascular disease among womenIn a bid to prevent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the study examined the effect of 12-week floorball training among post-menopausal women. The results were clear.”Following just 12 weeks of twice weekly practices, the women’s conditions had improved and their blood pressure was reduced by 4 mmHg, which correlates with a 40% lower risk of stroke,” explains Professor and Centre Director Jens Bangsbo.Continuing, Bangsbo asserts that, “Furthermore, there was a positive development in relation to levels of substances vital to blood vessel function, including a 20% decrease in markers associated with arteriosclerosis.””The results demonstrate that team sports that include interval exercise are a fantastic opportunity for hormone treatment, in relation to estrogen, because one can avoid an array of undesirable side-effects,” according to postdoc, Michael Nyberg.Team sport — fun as well as healthy”Another advantage of a team sport like floorball is that participants have fun. That’s important, because when a person is engaged in a team sport, they aren’t preoccupied with the otherwise intense exercise in which they are engaged. …

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Addiction Treatment After Naloxone

Photo Credit California is now following the footsteps of Colorado and other states that allows the use of naloxone or Narcan, an FDA approved, non-addictive drug that prevents heroin overdose.California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 635 into law, which took effect on January 1st of this year permitting the use of naloxone by non-medical professionals across the state. Just this week, Gil Kerlikowske the White House Director of National Drug Control Policy highlighted the effectiveness of naloxone as one of many attempts to limit the rise of heroin abuse and overdose in the US. Currently, more than 100 overdose deaths occur from heroin abuse in the US each day. The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman last week was one of an estimated 700 that occurred that…

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Why did the orangutan come down from the trees?

Orangutans come down from the trees and spend more time on the ground than previously realised — but this behaviour may be partly influenced by humans, a new study has found.Dr Mark Harrison, based in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester and Managing Director of the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) has, along with international colleagues, published results of a seven year study of Orangutans in Borneo in the journal Scientific Reports.The research, conducted between June 2006 and March 2013, is based on a large-scale analysis of Orangutan terrestriality using comprehensive camera-trapping data from 16 sites across Borneo. In total there were 641 independent Orangutan records taken at 1,409 camera trap stations over 159,152 trap days.The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is the world’s largest arboreal (tree-dwelling) mammal. Records of terrestrial behaviour are rare and tend to be associated with habitat disturbance.Marc Ancrenaz, from the HUTAN / Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme in Malaysia, and colleagues conducted the study. Dr Harrison, said: “We’ve known for some time that Orangutans use the ground to travel and search for food, but the influence of anthropogenic disturbances in driving this behaviour has been unclear. This is crucial to understand in this age of rampant forest loss and fragmentation, which is slicing up the Orangutan’s jungle home.”We found that although the degree of forest disturbance and canopy gap size influenced terrestriality, Orangutans were recorded on the ground as often in heavily degraded habitats as in primary forests.”All age-sex classes were recorded on the ground, but flanged males — those with distinctive cheek pads and throat pouches — travel on the ground more. This suggests that terrestrial locomotion is a greater part of the Bornean Orangutan’s natural behavioural repertoire than previously understood and is only modified by habitat disturbance.”Dr Harrison added: “The capacity of Orangutans to come down from the trees may increase their ability to cope with at least smaller-scale forest fragmentation, and to cross moderately open spaces in mosaic landscapes, although the extent of this versatility remains to be investigated.”The authors report that more than 70% of Orangutans occur in fragmented multiple-use and human-modified forests that have lost many of their original ecological characteristics. Modified Orangutan behaviour which sees them increasingly spending time on the ground therefore has its pros and cons:Dr Harrison explains that, “Increased terrestriality is expected to increase predation risk, interactions with and persecution by humans, and exposure to novel diseases. Unlike in Sumatra, where tigers are present, predation is less of a concern in Borneo, although infants might be at risk from bearded pigs and clouded leopards. In recent history, their biggest predator has been man, who is actually more likely to pick Orangutans off in the trees: Orangutans make a lot of noise and so are very obvious in the trees, whereas they can move with almost no noise and so more easily get away on the ground.”The scientists report that terrestrial behaviour therefore could also facilitate movement and dispersal, especially in degraded or fragmented landscapes as a result of natural or human-made processes. This could also create new opportunities to access different food sources.”Dr Harrison concludes: “Ultimately, a better understanding of what drives Orangutan terrestriality, how this influences their dispersal, movement and survival in a human-modified landscapes is important for designing effective management strategies for conservation of this endangered species in Borneo.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. …

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Wheat: Genetic discovery to keep crops disease-free

According to John Curtin Distinguished Professor Richard Oliver, Director of the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens (ACNFP) at Curtin, farmers can lose more than 0.35 tonnes per hectare in wheat yields to Yellow Spot, even after applying fungicide.For an average-sized farm of 4000 hectares, this could mean an almost $500,000 loss to disease per year — or about $212 million worth of damage to the wider Australian agricultural industry.Funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation, Professor Oliver and his team, in conjunction with independent research provider Kalyx Australia, have demonstrated that by taking away disease-sensitivity genes from the wheat germplasm, pathogens find it difficult to latch onto wheat and cause damage.”Our finding will help breeders produce crops in which disease losses are 60 to 80 per cent lower, and would be a real win for farmers — they will often be able to avoid using foliar fungicides,” Professor Oliver said.”Before now, breeding for resistance to Yellow (Tan) Spot and Septoria Nodorum Blotch was very time-consuming — no molecular markers were in use. The key has been to supply breeders with specific proteins (we call them effectors) that the fungi use to cause disease.”For the first time, our technology allows for a steady and sustained improvement in disease resistance without affecting the farmer’s pocket.”Furthermore, breeders are able to devote more time and resources to breeding for yield, as well as for rust and frost resistance.”Using large wheat variety trials provided by Kalyx Australia, the team looked at yield loss of different cultivars (plants chosen for breeding because of desirable characteristics) when subjected to natural disease and stress pressures in the WA wheatbelt.They compared cultivars with disease-sensitivity genes to cultivars that lacked these particular genes, and were able to show that the cultivars lacking the gene showed no yield loss and in some instances increased yields in the presence of disease.From this, the team were able to conclude if a sensitivity gene was eliminated, there would be minimal associated risks and it would be a safe and straightforward strategy for improving disease resistance.Professor Oliver said this research had never been done before as direct mapping for disease resistance had not led to useful molecular markers.”Previously geneticists would infect plants that were progeny of crosses between relatively resistant and relatively susceptible parents before doing the QTL (quantitative disease-resistance gene) mapping. But as disease resistance is multifactorial due to the several effector reactions, the QTL mapping was always a bit fuzzy and was therefore never passed on,” Professor Oliver said.”Our research looks directly at the loci that recognise the pathogens, which can be readily identified using a process we developed earlier, thereby bypassing the need for QTL mapping.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Curtin University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Protein to repair damaged brain tissue in MS identified

Vittorio Gallo, PhD,Director of the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children’s National Health System, and other researchers have found a “potentially novel therapeutic target” to reduce the rate of deterioration and to promote growth of brain cells damaged by multiple sclerosis (MS). Current therapies can be effective in patients with relapsing MS, but have little impact in promoting tissue growth.The brain produces new cells to repair the damage from MS years after symptoms appear. However, in most cases the cells are unable to complete the repair, as unknown factors limit this process. In MS patients, brain inflammation in random patches, or lesions, leads to destruction of myelin, the fatty covering that insulates nerve cell fibers called axons in the brain, and aids in transmission of signals to other neurons.In yesterday’s publication of Neuron, Gallo, who also is a professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), reported identifying a small protein that can be targeted to promote repair of damaged tissue, with therapeutic potential. The molecule, Endothelin-1 (ET-1), is shown to inhibit repair of myelin. Myelin damage is a hallmark characteristic of MS. The study demonstrates that blocking ET-1 pharmacologically or using a genetic approach could promote myelin repair.Repair of damaged MS plaques is carried out by endogenous oliogdendrocytle progenitor cells (OPCs) in a process called remyelination. Current MS therapy can be effective in patients with relapsing and remitting MS, but “have little impact in promoting remyelination in tissue,” Gallo said. Several studies have shown that OPCs fail to differentiate in chronic MS lesions. Targeting ET-1 is a process that involves identifying signals in cells that could promote lesion repair.”We demonstrate that ET-1 drastically reduces the rate of remyelination,” Gallo said. …

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HPV study: Does vaccinating one sexual partner also benefit the other?

A new study by McGill University will examine whether vaccinating only one partner in a couple against the human papillomavirus (HPV) can help prevent transmission of HPV to the unvaccinated partner.The study — called TRAP-HPV, an acronym for Transmission Reduction And Prevention with HPV vaccination — is a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind trial involving 500 sexually active couples. The study aims to determine the efficacy of an HPV vaccine in reducing transmission of genital, anal, and oral HPV infection in unvaccinated sexual partners of vaccinated individuals.HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women globally. Prophylactic vaccines against certain high-risk HPV types have been shown to be effective in preventing infection. However, much remains to be understood on the effects of HPV vaccine on the blockage of transmission of target HPV types to sexual partners of vaccinated individuals.”This is the first study to look at whether unvaccinated partners of vaccinated individuals have a benefit in terms of protection from HPV infection,” explained Eduardo Franco, Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and leader of the study. “It will help us understand the important issue of herd immunity from HPV vaccination. If partner protection is sufficiently high we may be able to get adequate population level immunity from much less than 100% vaccination coverage and devote our scarce public health funds to other pressing needs.””Efficacy studies of the HPV vaccines generally look at genital HPV infections, but our study will also be looking at other anatomical sites that HPV infects, such as the anal and oral regions,” says Kristina Dahlstrom, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Oncology, Division of Cancer Epidemiology. “Increasing the knowledge about HPV transmission dynamics will benefit cost-effectiveness studies and have implications for decision-making when implementing population-level vaccination strategies.”The U.S. Centers for Disease Control considers HPV the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world. Another McGill study called HITCH (HPV Infection and Transmission in Couples through Heterosexual activity), also from Dr. Franco’s team, found more than half (56 per cent) of young adults in a new sexual relationship were infected with HPV. …

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