Childhood abuse may impair weight-regulating hormones

Childhood abuse or neglect can lead to long-term hormone impairment that raises the risk of developing obesity, diabetes or other metabolic disorders in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).The study examined levels of the weight-regulating hormones leptin, adiponectin and irisin in the blood of adults who endured physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect as children. Leptin is involved in regulating appetite and is linked to body-mass index (BMI) and fat mass. The hormone irisin is involved in energy metabolism. Adiponectin reduces inflammation in the body, and obese people tend to have lower levels of the hormone. The study found dysregulation of these hormones in people who had been abused or neglected as children.”This study helps illuminate why people who have dealt with childhood adversity face a higher risk of developing excess belly fat and related health conditions,” said one of the study’s authors, Christos S. Mantzoros, MD, DSc, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the VA Boston Healthcare System, both affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. “The data suggest that childhood adversity places stress on the endocrine system, leading to impairment of important hormones that can contribute to abdominal obesity well into adulthood.”The cross-sectional study examined hormone levels in the blood of 95 adults ages 35 to 65. Using questionnaires and interviews, each participant was assigned a score based on the severity of the abuse or neglect experienced during childhood. Researchers divided the participants into three groups and compared hormone levels in people with the highest adversity scores to the other two-thirds of the participants.Participants with the highest adversity scores tended to have higher levels of leptin, irisin and the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein in their blood. All of these markers are linked to obesity. …

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Ipilimumab in advanced melanoma: Added benefit for non-pretreated patients not proven

The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) already assessed the added benefit of ipilimumab in advanced melanoma in 2012. A considerable added benefit was found for patients who had already received previous treatment. In the new dossier compiled by the drug manufacturer, the drug was now compared with the appropriate comparator therapy dacarbazine specified by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) also for non-pretreated patients.Again, the manufacturer claimed a noticeable gain in survival time and thus an added benefit. This time, IQWiG did not concur with the interpretation: The effect was estimated on the basis of an indirect comparison of individual patient data. The data were very uncertain and, moreover, by unilaterally excluding patients with particularly unfavourable prognosis, the effect was biased in favour of ipilimumab. Hence an added benefit of ipilimumab in advanced melanoma for non-pretreated patients is not proven.Approval expandedIpilimumab is a monoclonal antibody used in melanoma if the disease is so advanced that the melanoma can no longer be surgically removed or has formed metastases. In 2012, the manufacturer presented informative data from a randomized controlled trial for pretreated patients. These data indicated a major advantage of ipilimumab in survival time, which was associated with major risk of harm, however.After the European approval was expanded in 2013 to include patients who have not been treated for their advanced melanoma, the manufacturer now claimed an added benefit versus the appropriate comparator therapy dacarbazine specified by the G-BA also for this group.Indirect comparison of low qualityHowever, the manufacturer neither presented a direct comparison nor a so-called adjusted indirect comparison between the study participants who received ipilimumab or the appropriate comparator therapy. Instead, it based its assessment on an indirect comparison of individual patient data from different studies on ipilimumab and on one single study on dacarbazine, from which it chose those patients who had not received previous treatment of advanced melanoma.It can be assumed in these unadjusted indirect comparisons that patients on both sides of the comparison differ from each other with regards to important confounders, which can entail a systematic bias of the treatment effect. The manufacturer tried to account for these differences with a statistical method.Results biased in favour of ipilimumabHowever, the manufacturer only included those patients in its comparison for whom data on all confounders considered were available. …

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Lack of sleep, stress describe a mother’s experience after child’s ALL treatment

“It’s a whole new cancer world” and “I don’t remember what it’s like to have sleep” were the most common themes of mothers interviewed by University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers during the maintenance period after a child’s treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Results of this qualitative study are published in a recent issue of the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.A second study, published today in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, shows the quantitative differences between stress, anxiety and depression in these parents of chronically ill children and parents of healthy children. Many months after their child’s diagnosis and treatment, 46 percent of mothers exhibited symptoms of clinical anxiety and 26 percent of mothers showed depressive symptoms.”Even though these mothers were in the maintenance phase of their child’s illness and the prognosis was good, we heard them say over and over that things could never go back to what they were before,” says Madalynn Neu, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the CU College of Nursing, an education partner of the CU Cancer Center.”Many had lost their normal lives — lost jobs, houses, friends. Some were juggling their time around their child’s needs and they had fears about many things — fear of recurrence, fear of making a mistake with medication, fear their kids might get sick with an infection,” says Ellen Matthews, PhD, RN, CU Cancer Center investigator and associate professor at the CU College of Nursing.The researchers explain that they chose to work with mothers in this maintenance period of relative stability following treatment so as to avoid making further demands on mothers during the acute period of their child’s illness. This allowed Neu, Matthews and colleagues to look at the mid- and longer-term effects of a child’s diagnosis on a mother’s wellbeing. For example, the researchers found that once sleep arrangements changed during a child’s treatment, they frequently stayed changed rather than going back to what parents had seen as “normal” before treatment.”Mothers talked about the difficulty of sleep while giving steroid medication. And if the ill child got to stay up late watching movies, the siblings wanted to stay up too. The same was true of sleeping in a parent’s room: if an ill child wanted to sleep close to a parent (or if a parent wanted to sleep close to an ill child!), siblings tended to move in as well. Sleep can be challenging for parents of well children and our studies show it’s even more so for parents of children who have experience ALL,” Neu says.Interestingly, the researchers point out that while depression and stress was higher in mothers of children treated for ALL, anxiety levels as measured by salivary cortisol levels were similar to mothers of well children.”This may have been affected by the fact that even the control group wasn’t without anxiety. Financial, marital, social and career concerns mean that parents of young children experience anxiety even without ALL,” Matthews says.The group hopes that awareness of maternal concerns after a child’s treatment for ALL will help design interventions that will help mothers manage these lifestyle issues affected by their child’s illness.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. …

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Dual role of brain glycogen revealed by researchers

In 2007, in an article published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) headed by Joan Guinovart, an authority on glycogen metabolism, reported that in Lafora Disease (LD), a rare and fatal neurodegenerative condition that affects adolescents, neurons die as a result of the accumulation of glycogen — chains of glucose. They went on to propose that this accumulation is the root cause of this disease.The breakthrough of this paper was two-sided: first, the researchers established a possible cause of LD and therefore were able to point to a plausible therapeutic target, and second, they discovered that neurons have the capacity to store glycogen — an observation that had never been made — and that this accumulation was toxic.Some scientists sceptical about the article upheld that the glycogen deposits were not cause by the neurodegeneration but were a consequence of another, more important, cell imbalance, such as a down deregulation of autophagy — the cell recycling and cleaning programme. In several articles, Guinovart’s “Metabolic engineering and diabetes therapy” group has recently brought to light evidence of the toxicity of glycogen deposits for LD patients, and has now provided irrefutable data.In an article published at the beginning of February in Human Molecular Genetics, with the associate researcher Jordi Duran as first author, the scientists show that in LD the accumulation of glycogen directly causes neuronal death and triggers cell imbalances such a decrease in autophagy and synaptic failure. All these alterations lead to the symptoms of LD, such as epilepsy.Glycogen, a Trojan horse for neurons?There was still a greater mystery to be solved. Was glycogen synthase truly a Trojan horse for neurons, as apparently established in the article in Nature Neuroscience? That is to say, was the accumulation of glycogen always fatal for cells, thus explaining why their glycogen synthesis machinery is silenced? The inevitable question was then why these cells had such machinery.In another paper published in Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, part of the Nature Group, the researchers provided the first evidence that neurons constantly store glycogen but in a different way: accumulating small amounts and using it as quickly as it becomes available. In this regard, the scientists set up new, more sensitive, analytical techniques to confirm that the machinery responsible for glycogen synthesis and degradation existed. In summary, they showed that, in small amounts, glycogen is beneficial for neurons.”For example, while the liver accumulates glycogen in large amounts and releases it slowly to maintain blood sugar levels, above all when we sleep, neurons synthesize and degrade small amounts of this polysaccharide continuously. They do not use it as an energy store but as a rapid and small, but constant, source of energy,” explains Guinovart, also senior professor at the University of Barcelona (UB).To observe the action of glycogen, the scientists forced cultured mouse neurons to survive under oxygen depletion. …

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Promising cervical cancer study: Combining drugs, chemo to extend life

Research on cervical cancer performed by a physician at the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The multi-site research project by Bradley J. Monk, MD, is expected to change the standard of care for women with advanced cervical cancer.The featured research revealed that women with advanced cervical cancer live about four months longer with the combined use of bevacizumab (Avastin) and chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone. Women who combined bevacizumab with chemotherapy lived an average of 17 months after diagnosis, while those who received chemotherapy alone lived 13.3 months.”This research proves that there are new options for patients with metastatic cervical cancer,” says Dr. Monk, the project’s senior author. “I predict that adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy will become the new standard of care.” Dr. Monk is nationally recognized for his expertise in cervical cancer and chairs the Gynecologic Oncology Cervical Cancer Committee for the National Cancer Institute funded Gynecologic Oncology Group. Krishnansu S. Tewari, MD, at the University of California Irvine was the first author on the study published online February 20 in the Journal.The research was conducted between April 2009 and January 2012. …

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Robotic construction crew needs no foreman

On the plains of Namibia, millions of tiny termites are building a mound of soil — an 8-foot-tall “lung” for their underground nest. During a year of construction, many termites will live and die, wind and rain will erode the structure, and yet the colony’s life-sustaining project will continue.Inspired by the termites’ resilience and collective intelligence, a team of computer scientists and engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has created an autonomous robotic construction crew. The system needs no supervisor, no eye in the sky, and no communication: just simple robots — any number of robots — that cooperate by modifying their environment.Harvard’s TERMES system demonstrates that collective systems of robots can build complex, three-dimensional structures without the need for any central command or prescribed roles. The results of the four-year project were presented this week at the AAAS 2014 Annual Meeting and published in the February 14 issue of Science.The TERMES robots can build towers, castles, and pyramids out of foam bricks, autonomously building themselves staircases to reach the higher levels and adding bricks wherever they are needed. In the future, similar robots could lay sandbags in advance of a flood, or perform simple construction tasks on Mars.”The key inspiration we took from termites is the idea that you can do something really complicated as a group, without a supervisor, and secondly that you can do it without everybody discussing explicitly what’s going on, but just by modifying the environment,” says principal investigator Radhika Nagpal, Fred Kavli Professor of Computer Science at Harvard SEAS. She is also a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute, where she co-leads the Bioinspired Robotics platform.Most human construction projects today are performed by trained workers in a hierarchical organization, explains lead author Justin Werfel, a staff scientist in bioinspired robotics at the Wyss Institute and a former SEAS postdoctoral fellow.”Normally, at the beginning, you have a blueprint and a detailed plan of how to execute it, and the foreman goes out and directs his crew, supervising them as they do it,” he says. “In insect colonies, it’s not as if the queen is giving them all individual instructions. Each termite doesn’t know what the others are doing or what the current overall state of the mound is.”Instead, termites rely on a concept known as stigmergy, a kind of implicit communication: they observe each others’ changes to the environment and act accordingly. That is what Nagpal’s team has designed the robots to do, with impressive results. Supplementary videos published with the Science paper show the robots cooperating to build several kinds of structures and even recovering from unexpected changes to the structures during construction.Each robot executes its building process in parallel with others, but without knowing who else is working at the same time. …

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Get tough! How Outward Bound adventures increase teenage resilience

Today’s youth face many debilitating situations in their lives such as depression, suicide, poverty, and physical issues. In this environment how can they develop coping strategies for life and personal resilience? How can we support them to do this?Hayhurst et al define resilience as “the ability to react to adversity and challenge in an adaptive and productive way.” Their article published in Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, centers on a 10 day youth sailing voyage in New Zealand and its effects on personal resilience. The results were fascinating.The study carried out a split test on 2 groups of teenagers. Each group faced the same conditions — tough physical work, domestic duties, tiredness, seasickness, bad weather and cramped conditions. They initially received training but gradually were encouraged to develop independent sailing and self-governance. Both groups were tested for resilience at the beginning and end of their voyages. Group 2 also undertook resilience tests during the trip and 5 months after. Resilience tests were also done on a control group of students undergoing a college psychology course. How much difference was seen in the resilience levels of the voyagers as opposed to the stay at home students? …

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People who know their ‘heart age’ make greater improvements to their heart health

Risk scores for diseases such as CVD are usually presented as the percent chance of contracting the disease within the next ten years. The Heart Age Calculator, http://www.heartage.me, uses the same well established risk factor data, but expresses an individual’s risk score as their estimated Heart Age to make it more personally relevant to the individual.Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer(3), but doctors have long struggled to explain risk factors to patients in a way that encourages them to change their behaviour thus reducing risk. Previous research has shown that Heart Age is more likely to be understood and motivate people to make positive changes than traditional % risk scores, especially those who are at higher levels of modifiable risk(4).Now, for the first time, researchers have shown that using the Heart Age tool to raise awareness of CVD risk promotes behavioural changes that result in a decrease in CVD risk. Researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain carried out the study amongst 3,153 patients, who were randomly assigned to one of three groups before completing an annual health assessment. One group was then presented with their CVD risk expressed as a % risk, while another received the same information expressed as their estimated Heart Age. A third control group received general guidance on healthy living only. Follow up measurements were recorded a year later during the subsequent annual health assessment.Dr Pedro Tauler, researcher belonging to the Research Group on Evidence, Lifestyles and Health from the University of the Balearic Islands, commented “We know that traditional risks scores can be confusing. We wanted to test whether using the Heart Age Calculator to talk to patients about their CVD risk would have an effect on motivating them to adopt healthier lifestyles and, in turn, reduce their risk of developing CVD.”The results showed that patients who had been told their CVD risk (both as a percentage or Heart Age) demonstrated significant decreases in their risk scores compared to the control group, with improvements being greatest in the Heart Age group. Furthermore, patients who were told their Heart Age were far more likely to take action to live healthier lifestyles, such as quitting smoking. Quitting rate for smokers was four times greater in the Heart Age group compared to those who received the traditional percentage risk scores.The authors highlight that the significant improvement in CVD risk seen in this study in the Heart Age group was reached with no intervention other than informing participants of their Heart Age.Dr Pedro Tauler said: “This would suggest that the mere fact of presenting the patients with information that is easy to understand has a positive effect in engaging them to take preventive action. …

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Retrieval practice improves memory in severe traumatic brain injury, researchers demonstrate

Kessler Foundation researchers have shown that retrieval practice can improve memory in individuals with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). “Retrieval Practice Improves Memory in Survivors of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury,” was published as a brief report in the current issue of Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in February 2014. The article is authored by James Sumowski, PhD, Julia Coyne, PhD, Amanda Cohen, BA, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation.”Despite the small sample size, it was clear that retrieval practice (RP) was superior to other learning strategies in this group of memory-impaired individuals with severe TBI,” explained Dr. Sumowski.Researchers studied ten patients with severe TBI and memory impairment (<5<sup>th percentile) to see whether RP improved memory after short (30 min) and long (1 week) delays. During RP, also described as testing effect, patients are quizzed shortly after information to be learned is presented. RP was compared with two other learning strategies–massed restudy (MR), which consists of repeated restudy (ie, cramming) and spaced restudy (SR), for which individuals restudy information at intervals (ie, distributed learning).Results showed that recall was better with RP than with MR or SR. Moreover, RP was more effective for memory after short delay, and was the only strategy that supported memory after long delay. This robust effect indicates that RP would improve memory in this group in real-life settings. “If these individuals learn to incorporate this compensatory strategy into their daily routines, they can improve their memory,” Dr. Sumowski noted. …

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Integration brings quantum computer a step closer

An international research group of scientists and engineers led by the University of Bristol, UK, has made an important advance towards a quantum computer by shrinking down key components and integrating them onto a silicon microchip.Scientists and engineers from an international collaboration led by Dr Mark Thompson from the University of Bristol have, for the first time, generated and manipulated single particles of light (photons) on a silicon chip — a major step forward in the race to build a quantum computer.Quantum computers and quantum technologies in general are widely anticipated as the next major technology advancement, and are poised to replace conventional information and computing devices in applications ranging from ultra-secure communications and high-precision sensing to immensely powerful computers. Quantum computers themselves will likely lead to breakthroughs in the design of new materials and in the discovery of new medical drugs.Whilst still in their infancy, quantum technologies are making rapid process, and a revolutionary new approach pioneered by the University of Bristol is exploiting state-of-the-art engineering processes and principles to make leaps and bounds in a field previously dominated by scientists.Featuring on the front cover of Nature Photonics, this latest advancement is one of the important pieces in the jigsaw needed in order to realise a quantum computer. While previous attempts have required external light sources to generate the photons, this new chip integrates components that can generate photons inside the chip.”We were surprised by how well the integrated sources performed together,” admits Joshua Silverstone, lead author of the paper. “They produced high-quality identical photons in a reproducible way, confirming that we could one day manufacture a silicon chip with hundreds of similar sources on it, all working together. This could eventually lead to an optical quantum computer capable of performing enormously complex calculations.”Group leader Mark Thompson explained: “Single-photon detectors, sources and circuits have all been developed separately in silicon but putting them all together and integrating them on a chip is a huge challenge. Our device is the most functionally complex photonic quantum circuit to date, and was fabricated by Toshiba using exactly the same manufacturing techniques used to make conventional electronic devices. We can generate and manipulate quantum entanglement all within a single mm-sized micro-chip.”The group, which, includes researchers from Toshiba Corporation (Japan), Stanford University (US), University of Glasgow (UK) and TU Delft (The Netherlands), now plans to integrate the remaining necessary components onto a chip, and show that large-scale quantum devices using photons are possible.”Our group has been making steady progress towards a functioning quantum computer over the last five years,” said Thompson. “We hope to have within the next couple of years, photon-based devices complex enough to rival modern computing hardware for highly-specialised tasks.”However, these are just the first steps. To realise useful quantum machines will required a new breed of engineering — quantum engineers, individuals capable of understanding the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and applying this knowledge to real world problems.Bristol’s newly established Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantum Engineering will train a new generation of engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs to harness the power of quantum mechanics and lead the quantum technology revolution. This innovative centre bridges the gaps between physics, engineering, mathematics and computer science, working closely with chemists and biologists while interacting strongly with industry.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. …

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Are you political on Facebook?

Social media and networks are ripe for politicization, for movement publicity, advocacy group awareness, not-for-profit fund-raising campaigns and perhaps even e-government. However, the majority of users perhaps see these tools as being useful for entertainment, interpersonal connections and sharing rather than politics. A research paper to be published in the Electronic Government, An International Journal reinforces this notion. The results suggest that the potential for political activism must overcome the intrinsic user perception that online social networks are for enjoyment rather than utility, political or otherwise.Tobias Kollmann and Christoph Stckmann of the E-Business and E-Entrepreneurship Research Group, at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and Ina Kayser of VDI — The Association of German Engineers, in Dsseldorf, Germany, explain that while social networks have become increasingly important as discussion forums, users are not at present motivated to accept political decisions that emerge from such discussions. As such, Facebook is yet to properly break through as the innovative means of political participation that it might become.The team roots this disjuncture in the psychological phenomenon of cognitive dissonance where two opposing concepts cannot be rationalized simultaneously and an individual discards one as invalid in favour of the other to avoid the feeling of psychological discomfort. For example, users enjoy logging on to a social network, such as Facebook, so that they can share photos, play games and chat online with friends. This is inherently at odds, it does not resonate, with the idea of Facebook being useful as a tool for discussing and implementing the perhaps more important realm of human endeavour we know as politics.However, the team says, the advent of politically oriented Facebook games, such as “Campaigns” and “America 2049” blur the lines between the area of enjoyment and political discussion. Moreover, they point out that the boundaries were already blurred in terms of interpersonal discussions among some users where political discussion is facilitated by the network and also perceived as an enjoyable part of participation despite it falling in the “useful” camp. Indeed, the team’s data from several hundred randomly selected Facebook users would support the notion that the perception of mutual benefit arising from political participation on Facebook positively adds to the perception of usefulness as well as being enjoyable. They allude to the fact that the findings might apply equally well to other so-called “Web 2.0” tools on the Internet.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. …

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Gastric bypass improves insulin secretion in pigs

The majority of gastric bypass patients mysteriously recover from their type 2 diabetes within days, before any weight loss has taken place. A study at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden has now shown that the insulin-producing beta cells increase in number and performance after the surgery.”We have suspected this for a while, but there have not previously been any models to prove it,” says Dr Nils Wierup, who led the research.The small study involved gastric bypass surgery on just four pigs, but is the only study of its kind and therefore unique.The results confirm that neither weight loss nor reduced food intake are required in order for the procedure to raise the number of beta cells, as the pigs had identical body weight and ate exactly the same amount of food.Type 2 diabetes develops when the body’s insulin-producing beta cells stop working, or when the body is not able to use the insulin that the cells produce.The majority of people who suffer from obesity and undergo a gastric bypass operation recover from their diabetes within days of the procedure. The operation involves altering the connection between the stomach and the intestines so that food bypasses the stomach and parts of the small intestine and instead goes straight into the small intestine. Until now, it has been a mystery why patients’ blood sugar levels normalise.The group at Lund University Diabetes Centre found that the pigs’ beta cells improve their insulin secretion. The researchers also studied tissue from the pigs’ pancreas, the organ where the beta cells are located, something that is almost impossible to do in humans. They found that the number of beta cells increased after the operation.The group have previously studied the effects of gastric bypass on humans.”The reason why we have now studied pigs is that they are omnivores like us and their gastrointestinal physiology is similar to that of humans. This basic research in GI tract functions is mutually beneficial, since it also helps the further refinements of surgical methods,” says Jan Hedenbro, surgeon at Aleris Obesitas, who has collaborated with Lund University Diabetes Centre on the project.The researchers hope that the findings could lead to new methods of treatment for type 2 diabetes in the future.”However, we are first going to repeat the study on pigs with obesity and diabetes,” concludes Nils Wierup.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Inherited gene variation tied to high-risk pediatric leukemia, risk of relapse

Oct. 20, 2013 — Research led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists has linked an inherited gene variation to a nearly four-fold increased risk of developing a pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) subtype that is associated with a poor outcome. The study appears today in the online edition of the scientific journal Nature Genetics.The high-risk variant was found in the GATA3 gene. Researchers reported the high-risk version of the gene was more common among Hispanic Americans and other individuals with high Native American ancestry than those of other ethnic backgrounds. Forty percent of Hispanic Americans carried the high-risk variant, compared to 14 percent of individuals of European ancestry. For this study, ethnicity was defined by genetic variations associated with ancestry rather than individual self-reports.Hispanic children are known to be at a higher risk of developing ALL and of dying from the disease. This is the latest in a series of St. Jude studies to report an association between inherited DNA variations in a handful of genes and an increased risk of childhood ALL among those of Hispanic ethnicity.This is the first study to link an inherited genetic variation to an elevated risk of developing the leukemia subtype known as Philadelphia chromosome-like ALL (Ph-like ALL). Individuals with the high-risk version of GATA3 were 3.85 times more likely than those who inherited a different version of the gene to develop Ph-like ALL. …

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FDA Issues Approval for Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Potential New Mesothelioma Treatment

The FDA has issued approval for biopharmaceutical company Verastem to begin a Phase 2 clinical study of a new drug for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. VS-6063 is an orally available, small molecule inhibitor of a crucial signaling pathway inside stem cells called the Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) pathway.FAK is vital for tumor development and is critical for the survival of cancer stem cells. VS-6063 was well-tolerated in a Phase 1 study and demonstrated signs of clinical activity in advanced solid tumors.Dr. Dean Fennell, Chair of Thoracic Medical Oncology at the University of Leicester, incoming President of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) and a member of the Verastem Mesothelioma Steering Committee, presented promising data at a briefing session on VS-6063 at the annual American …

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Florida Life Insurance: An Adaptable Insurance policy

Florida Life Insurance: An Adaptable Insurance policyWhen anyone thinks of purchasing life insurance, then term life insurance and whole life insurance strike one’s mind. You must deem the mixture of these two policies for the life insurance quotes i.e. universal life insurance. This insurance policy is a sort of permanent life insurance that has extra characteristics and benefits; it collects cash value through investment of the insurance premium payments, it is similar in some ways and was developed from whole life insurance.The attractive characteristic of this policy is that it has adaptability of premium payments, and has groovier prospective for cash value growth; the purchaser has the chance to change the insurance policy to beseem his altering requirements. In another word, this policy grants the …

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Accident Health Insurance Plans is drawing lot of concentration

Accident Health Insurance Plans is drawing lot of concentrationAccident health insurance plans are pulling insurers attentions towards the supplementary fortuity insurance coverage market on account of its usefulness. The personal injury insurance plan falls under the restitution group rather than the insurance group. Restitutes insure you for disability, loss, or accidental injury in cash expenditure to you either directly or through the healthcare provider. These accidental health insurance plans are as if guarantee subject & doesn’t require any wellness queries while inscribing. Those Americans who own this kind of accident insurance plan go through all the advantages concerning with this plan like treatment with any doctor, ER hospital, or urgent and critical care services.Those who have these plans can decide a welfare quantity of amount, policy …

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Discover Low-priced Florida Health Insurance

Discover Low-priced Florida Health InsuranceIn Florida there are copious ways by which you can find a low-priced health insurance, if you don’t have any group insurance coverage from your company, or you yearn for having an individual or family health plan. The bureau that regulates all the insurance companies in the state is Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The internet site of this agency incorporated of a folder that allows you to have a quick look over the information on insurance firms that do their dealings in the Florida. You just need to type the name of the insurance firm in which you are interested in.After filling the name you will get the phone number and Website, later on you can request for the …

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Carbon’s new champion: Carbyne, a simple chain of carbon atoms, strongest material of all?

Oct. 9, 2013 — Carbyne will be the strongest of a new class of microscopic materials if and when anyone can make it in bulk.If they do, they’ll find carbyne nanorods or nanoropes have a host of remarkable and useful properties, as described in a new paper by Rice University theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his group. The paper appears this week in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.Carbyne is a chain of carbon atoms held together by either double or alternating single and triple atomic bonds. That makes it a true one-dimensional material, unlike atom-thin sheets of graphene that have a top and a bottom or hollow nanotubes that have an inside and outside.According to the portrait drawn from calculations by Yakobson and his group:* Carbyne’s tensile strength — the ability to withstand stretching — surpasses “that of any other known material” and is double that of graphene. (Scientists had already calculated it would take an elephant on a pencil to break through a sheet of graphene.)* It has twice the tensile stiffness of graphene and carbon nanotubes and nearly three times that of diamond.* Stretching carbyne as little as 10 percent alters its electronic band gap significantly.* If outfitted with molecular handles at the ends, it can also be twisted to alter its band gap. With a 90-degree end-to-end rotation, it becomes a magnetic semiconductor.* Carbyne chains can take on side molecules that may make the chains suitable for energy storage.* The material is stable at room temperature, largely resisting crosslinks with nearby chains.That’s a remarkable set of qualities for a simple string of carbon atoms, Yakobson said.”You could look at it as an ultimately thin graphene ribbon, reduced to just one atom, or an ultimately thin nanotube,” he said. It could be useful for nanomechanical systems, in spintronic devices, as sensors, as strong and light materials for mechanical applications or for energy storage.”Regardless of the applications,” he said, “academically, it’s very exciting to know the strongest possible assembly of atoms.”Based on the calculations, he said carbyne might be the highest energy state for stable carbon. “People usually look for what is called the ‘ground state,’ the lowest possible energy configuration for atoms,” Yakobson said. “For carbon, that would be graphite, followed by diamond, then nanotubes, then fullerenes. But nobody asks about the highest energy configuration. …

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High dietary intake of polyphenols are associated with longevity

Oct. 9, 2013 — It is the first time that a scientific study associates high polyphenols intake with a 30% reduction in mortality in older adults. The research, published on Journal of Nutrition, is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not only a food frequency questionnaire. Research is signed by Cristina Andrés Lacueva, Montserrat Rabassa and Mireia Urpí Sardà, from the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology of the UB; Raúl Zamora Ros (ICO-IDIBELL), and experts Antonio Cherubini (Italian National Research Centre on Aging), Stefania Bandinelli (Azienda Sanitaria di Firenze, Italy) and Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Ageing, United States).Polyphenols: diet improves healthPolyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. More than 8,000 different phenolic compounds have been identified in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, etc. effects.The research published on Journal of Nutrition is based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno (Tuscany, Italy), within the InCHIANTI study. The group of the UB analysed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker — the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration — as a proxy measure of intake. To be exact, UB researchers contributes to first literature references on TUP application to epidemiological or clinical studies.New biomarkers for nutritional studiesProfessor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explains that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering questionnaire. Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. …

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Dogs’ behavior could help design social robots

Sep. 12, 2013 — Designers of social robots, take note. Bring your dog to the lab next time you test a prototype, and watch how your pet interacts with it. You might just learn a thing or two that could help you fine-tune future designs. So says Gabriella Lakatos of the Hungarian Academy of Science and Eötvös Loránd University, lead author of a study¹ published in Springer’s journal Animal Cognition that found that man’s best friend reacts sociably to robots that behave socially towards them, even if the devices look nothing like a human.This animal behavior study tested the reaction of 41 dogs. They were divided into two groups depending on the nature of human-robot interaction: ‘asocial’ or ‘social.’One set of dogs in the ‘asocial group’ first observed an interaction between two humans (the owner and the human experimenter) and then observed an ‘asocial’ interaction between the owner and the robot. The remaining dogs in this group participated in these interactions in the reverse order.Then, in the ‘social group,’ one set of dogs watched an interaction between the owner and the human experimenter followed by observing a ‘social’ interaction between the owner and the robot. The remaining dogs in this group also participated in these interactions in the reverse order. These interactions were followed by sessions in which either the human experimenter or the robot pointed out the location of hidden food in both the ‘asocial’ and the ‘social’ groups.A customized human-sized PeopleBot² with two arms and four-fingered hands were used. One of its robotic arms makes simple gestures and grasps objects. …

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