Fish parasite is a stripped-down jellyfish

first_imgIn rainbow trout, infection by a parasite called a myxozoan literally drives the fish crazy, causing a “whirling disease” that robs the fish of any control of its behavior, posing a serious threat to fish farms in the process. Now, researchers have proof that these tiny pests, consisting of just a few cells, are actually stripped-down jellyfish. Myxozoans were once considered protists—falling into the same group as amoebas, paramecia, and slime molds. But a few researchers questioned this categorization, noting that myxozoans contain a complex structure called a polar capsule that includes a barbed filament used to latch onto the host. This capsule looks a lot like the stinging cells of jellyfish. And with good reason, researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Genetically speaking, myxozoans belong to the cnidarian family tree, a group that includes jellyfish, hydra, and corals. The team compared the genomes and surveys of active genes of two myxozoans with those of true jellyfish, as well as those of Polypodium hydriforme, a parasite with a jellyfishlike life stage. Myxozoans, the team reports, are most closely related to Polypodium and share a common ancestor with jellyfish. As they became parasitic and pared their bodies to less than a dozen cells, myxozoans let go of a lot of their DNA, with one species shrinking its genome to 22.5 million bases, one-fortieth the size of Polypodium and other jellyfish genomes. Today myxozoans have 30% fewer genes than these relatives, and they lack the genes needed for multicellular development and differentiation, as well as those for cell-to-cell communication. Next, the scientists want to try to figure out just how a complex multicellular free-living jellyfish evolved into a parasite organism with just a few cells.last_img read more

Quinton De Kock to play third Test against depleted New Zealand

first_imgSouth Africa’s Quinton de Kock has been cleared to play the third test against New Zealand in Hamilton after passing a late fitness Test on Friday.The 24-year-old wicketkeeper injured the index finger on his right hand while fielding in South Africa’s eight-wicket win in the second Test in Wellington and underwent scans earlier this week.He missed training on Wednesday and Thursday and while scans determined the finger was not broken, he had damaged tendons. (Also read: Quinton de Kock likely to miss IPL due to injury)De Kock trained on Friday with strapping and a protective splint and South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said as far as he was concerned the aggressive batsman was too important to leave out for the series-deciding match starting on Saturday.”It’s a big game. Quinton is someone who you don’t just replace. From my side, I am trying to have Quinton in my team all the time,” du Plessis told reporters in Hamilton.”He has had problems with his fingers for quite a while. It’s part of being a keeper. It’s never nice to catch balls on the fingertips all the time and it’s been painful for him for a while.”Maybe the cold New Zealand conditions make it worse. It’s hurting for him a bit more now but because it’s a big game, resting him for someone else is not an option.”New Zealand need to win the Seddon Park match to level the three-match series at 1-1 but have been hampered by the loss of three pivotal players.advertisementBatsman Ross Taylor, who missed the second test with a torn calf, is again unavailable, while the pace-bowling duo of Tim Southee (hamstring) and Trent Boult (groin) were ruled out in the last 24 hours. (Also read: New Zealand paceman Tim Southee ruled out of third South Africa Test )Du Plessis said the loss of all three would be tough to overcome for the hosts and his team would be doing their best to exploit their absence and put pressure on Kane Williamson’s side.”It’s a huge blow,” du Plessis said. “I always take reference to our own team – if we lose guys like them in our side, it will be a huge loss.”You don’t just replace that in test cricket. But we know whoever comes in can do a job for the day and we have to respect that.”We are trying to put as much pressure as we can on New Zealand and… if we do that, hopefully it will be easier but it’s never a guarantee.”last_img read more

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales even after hearing Khashoggi tape

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal government is showing no apparent signs of toughening its stance on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, even after Canada’s spy chief heard a recording of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Speaking to reporters today in Windsor, Ont., Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada’s position that no new arms-export permits will be signed for Saudi Arabia as the Khashoggi case is being reviewed. That’s no different from what Canada’s been saying for weeks.Khashoggi’s killing last month at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Canada and renewed public outrage over Ottawa’s controversial $15-billion deal to sell light-armoured vehicles to the kingdom.CSIS director David Vigneault recently travelled to Turkey to listen to the recording Turkish authorities have of the killing and briefed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as other top officials upon his return.Freeland says Canada is reviewing its arms sales to Saudi Arabia — but her government has come under pressure to cancel the armoured-vehicles deal.She also says she spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday to press for a credible, transparent investigation into what she calls Khashoggi’s “atrocious murder.”Under intensifying pressure, Riyadh has changed its story about Khashoggi’s death, first saying he walked out of the consulate the day he disappeared but eventually acknowledging he was killed inside the building. Saudi Arabia has also recently acknowledged Turkish evidence that showed the slaying was premeditated.The killing has prompted international condemnation, including from Trudeau himself, but the prime minister has offered no clue on how the recordings may have affected his thoughts on the matter.Trudeau has said the penalty for cancelling a $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia would be “in the billions of dollars.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

US stocks dip again following several days of steep losses

first_imgNEW YORK — Stock prices are moving slightly lower on Wall Street Thursday morning, a day after another big plunge rocked markets around the world.The benchmark S&P 500 index has slumped more than 5 per cent in the last six days and is now 15 per cent below the peak it reached in late September. After steady gains through the spring and summer, stocks have slumped in the fall as investors worry that global economic growth is cooling off and that the U.S. could slip into a recession in the next few years.Markets are also concerned about twin threats that could make the situation even worse: the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which has lasted most of this year and shows few signs of easing, and rising interest rates, which act as a brake on economic growth by making it more expensive for businesses and individuals to borrow money.On Wednesday, stocks gave up an early gain and ended up with big losses after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fourth time this year and signalled it was likely to continue raising rates next year, although at a slower rate than it previously forecast.Investors are responding to a weakening outlook for the U.S. economy by selling stocks and buying ultra-safe U.S. government bonds. The bond-buying has the effect of sending bond yields lower, which has the positive effect of lowering interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of long-term loans.At the same time, the lower bond yields can send a negative signal on the economy. The bond market has correctly predicted previous U.S. recessions by sending yields on long-term bonds sharply lower.Stocks took sharp losses right after trading started on Thursday, but settled down soon thereafter. In the first hour of trading, the S&P 500 index was down 9 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,498.The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 147 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 23,172. The Nasdaq composite fell 18 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,620.The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slid 5 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,344.Smaller company stocks have been crushed during the recent market slump because slower growth in the U.S. will have an outsize effect on their profits. Relative to their size, they also tend to carry more debt than larger companies, which could be a problem in a slower economy with higher interest rates.The Russell 2000 is now down 23 per cent from the peak it reached in late August and it’s down 12 per cent for the year to date, twice the loss of the S&P 500 index, which tracks large companies.Oil prices continued to retreat. They’ve dropped about 40 per cent since early October as the slowing global economy and rising production have knocked prices down.Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.9 per cent to $46.77 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 2.6 per cent to $55.78 a barrel in London.Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the two-year Treasury note rose to 2.66 per cent from 2.65 per cent, but the yield on the 10-year note fell to 2.76 per cent from 2.77 per cent.The gap between those two yields has been shrinking this year. When the 10-year yield falls below the two-year yield, investors call it an “inverted yield curve.” That is often interpreted as a sign a recession is coming, although it’s not a perfect signal, and when recessions do follow inversions in the yield curve, it can take a year or more.In France, the CAC 40 lost 1.6 per cent and Germany’s DAX fell 1.5 per cent. The British FTSE 100 slipped 0.5 per cent. Indexes in Italy, Portugal and Spain took bigger losses.Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 2.8 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 1 per cent. Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.9 per cent.Health care and household goods companies were taking some of the largest losses after weak results from companies including Walgreens and Conagra. Both of those companies reported disappointing sales, and Conagra sank 9.5 per cent to $26.33 while Walgreens Boots Alliance lost 2.2 per cent to $71.69.The dollar fell to 111.64 yen from 112.36 yen. The euro rose to $1.1455 from $1.1368. The British pound rose to $1.2654 from $1.2621.Technology companies, which have suffered severe losses since early October, did a bit better than the rest of the market Thursday. Apple added 0.7 per cent to $162.06 and Intel gained 1.3 per cent to $46.18.Canadian marijuana grower Tilray jumped 9.5 per cent to $77.75 after it announced a joint venture with AB InBev’s Labatt Breweries brand. The companies are planning to develop non-alcoholic drinks that contain two compounds found in marijuana, THC and CBD. Both will invest $50 million in the joint venture.On Tuesday Tilray stock jumped 16 per cent after it announced a medical marijuana products partnership with drugmaker Sandoz. The stock has been extremely volatile this year but has more than quadrupled in value since it went public in July.___AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at Jay, The Associated Presslast_img read more

PepsiCo vs potato farmers

first_imgThe Gujarat government must not opt for an out-of-court settlement with PepsiCo as the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act 2001 lets farmers cultivate any variety they like to, including the patented variety of potatoes, say activists. The food and beverage multinational recently sued farmers in Gujarat for cultivating their proprietary FC5 variety of potatoes that are used to make Lay’s chips. This variety is designed to have less moisture and sugar content than other spuds. Also Read – A special kind of bondAlliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), a farmers’ rights advocacy platform, opposed the state’s attempt to settle the matter saying the Act is applicable irrespective of the source of seed, type of seed, type of registrant, type of crop, and to who and how the harvest was sold. “There should be absolutely no compromise on farmers’ rights and seed sovereignty. The state government should make the Act as the basis of any settlement, if at all, and anything less than that is unacceptable. It would have failed all the farmers in India and not just the sued farmers if it succumbs to corporate lobbying,” said Kapil Shah of Vadodara-based NGO Jatan Trust. Also Read – Insider threat managementThe state is talking about settling outside the court after Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Ratilal Patel, on April 27, 2019, said the state would implead in the case. PepsiCo had also proposed to settle in the last court hearing on April 26. The corporate giant’s offer had two terms. One, farmers should stop growing the registered potato variety and surrender their existing stocks. And if they wished to continue, they must enter PepsiCo’s collaborative farming programme where they buy seeds from the company and sell the produce back to it. “PepsiCo should withdraw the cases unconditionally, explicitly acknowledging that its rights under the law are indeed subject to farmers’ rights. It is PepsiCo that should be asked to sign an undertaking that this will not happen to our farmers again. It should apologise to the defendant-farmers and compensate them adequately for trespassing their farms, breaching their privacy, video-recording without farmer’s knowledge, intimidation, unnecessary expenses and harassment they have been subjected to,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA. The All India Farmers’ Forum (AIFF) had also earlier demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw its lawsuits and apologise to the Indian peasants. “PepsiCo India should understand that this is India and not USA where hundreds of farmers have been sued by giant seed industry like Monsanto Inc that has milked millions of dollars from farmers,” Kuruganti added. (The views expressed are of Down To Earth)last_img read more

Priyanka holds roadshow in North East Delhi in support of Sheila Dikshit

first_imgNew Delhi,: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a roadshow Wednesday afternoon in support of Sheila Dikshit, her party candidate from North East Delhi constituency drawing a huge crowd. Perched atop a minibus that started from Seelampur, a minority dominated area, Priyanka Gandhi and Dikshit waved at the ebullient hordes of supporters who were raising slogans “Desh me aandhi Priyanka Gandhi”. The Congress banners adorned the road. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehicles People jostled with each other to catch a glimpse of Priyanka Gandhi. Some were also showering rose petals on her as the minibus passed by. “Sanitation is the main issue here. Manoj Tiwari (the BJP MP who is seeking a reelection from the seat) was never seen here. (Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal cannot run the government,” said Zubair Ahmed, a resident of Seelampur. Priyanka Gandhi will also hold another roadshow in South Delhi later in the evening.last_img read more

Which Bank Will be Next to Settle RMBS Fraud Claims

first_imgWhich Bank Will be Next to Settle RMBS Fraud Claims? Last week’s settlement between Goldman Sachs and several regulators, including the U.S. Department of Justice, for $5 billion to resolve claims of RMBS fraud has fueled speculation among analysts that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will reach a settlement in the next few weeks to resolve claims.The British-based RBS is one of 18 financial institutions sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in 2011 to recoup U.S. taxpayer costs following the government’s $187.5 billion bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008. The RBS suit is the last of 18 cases not resolved either through trial or settlement. Out of the 18 lenders sued, 16 of them settled for a combined total of about $17 billion. Nomura Holdings took FHFA to trial in March for a case in which RBS was also a defendant. After a two-month bench trial, Nomura was found liable for deceiving the GSEs in the sale of $2 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities and was ordered to pay $839 million in penalties. Nomura has appealed the verdict.FHFA sued RBS in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut over the selling of approximately $32 billion worth of faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the crisis. FHFA claims that the GSEs relied on false and misleading statements made by RBS when purchasing the mortgage-backed securities, causing the Enterprises to suffer massive losses. Reports surfaced in early July that the FHFA, conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since 2008, is seeking up to $13 billion in damages from RBS in the lawsuit. The bank had set aside about $3 billion for a possible settlement.RBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether or not there will be a settlement or if the bank plans to take FHFA to trial. Analysts believe regulators would like to have the case resolved before the presidential race heats up in the coming months.Last year, RBS attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that the FHFA waited too long to sue. In August 2015, however, a federal judge denied RBS’ attempt to have the suit thrown out.RBS has settled with the FHFA before over mortgage-backed securities. In June 2014, RBS agreed to pay $99.5 million to settle a separate FHFA suit claiming that the bank sold more than $2 billion worth of faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007.Several large financial institutions have settled with the U.S. Justice Department and state regulatory agencies to resolve claims of mortgage-backed securities fraud: Citigroup for $7 billion in July 2014, JPMorgan Chase for a then-record $13 billion in November 2013, and Bank of America for a record $16.65 billion in August 2014. in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Market Department of Justice Residential Mortgage-Backed Security Royal Bank of Scotland 2016-01-18 Seth Welborncenter_img Share January 18, 2016 622 Views last_img read more

Social media giant Facebook is reportedly close to

first_imgSocial media giant Facebook is reportedly close to reviving former MTV series Loosely Exactly Nicole.Bringing the single-cam comedy back would mark the first time Facebook has invested in scripted television.Netflix and Hulu have both revived linear TV shows, while Yahoo did the same with former NBC comedy Community.Loosely Exactly Nicole was one of three scripted series axed at Viacom-owned US cable channel MTV earlier this year.Significantly, Facebook hiredMTV’s Mina Lefevre in February as head of development, working under former CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen, who joined last year as head of global creative strategy.Lefevre had developed Loosely Exactly Nicole and launched the show before her departure.The 3 Arts Entertainment and Jax Media-coproduced series stars Nicole Byer (Girl Code) as an aspiring actor struggling to crack Hollywood, pay bills andkeep her dating life in order.Facebook rival Apple launched its first original series, Planet of the Apps, last week, and was planning a scripted series featuring musician and entrepreneur Andre ‘Dr Dre.’ Young last year, though news of this has since gone quiet.Traditional networks have also been experimenting with Facebook and Twitter as a distribution platform for their programming, though the idea of those services becoming rival commissioners could alter that collaborative spirit.last_img read more

With the rise in voice controlled systems voice b

first_imgWith the rise in voice controlled systems, voice biometric authentication is a logical method for securing access to these systems. Since the controller may be coupled to a plethora of other home automation it is vital to ensure access is strictly protected. At the same time, the increase in voice authentication for financial institutions and automotive control presents two other critical needs for secure access.Given all of these possible threats, it is vital to ensure that voice access is strictly protected. The uniqueness of voice prints makes biometric authentication a good choice, but it is important to understand that vulnerabilities may still exist and to implement hardened security measures that can protect all device access.Download this free whitepaper to find out more.last_img read more

Lately Ive been thinking a lot about the Liberian

first_imgLately I’ve been thinking a lot about the Liberian elbow bump.When Ebola overtook the West African country in 2014, many people were afraid to shake hands and embrace in the customary way. That’s understandable, because Ebola is spread by the exchange of bodily fluids during body-to-body contact.So Liberians came up with a less touchy-feely greeting. They bumped elbows.The reason I thought of the elbow bump was a comment made by a teacher in a hot yoga class I take. In a room heated to 96 degrees, the students work hard at their poses (and also lift weights and do cardio). (I know, it’s wild!) After a strenuous set of exercises, the teacher called out, “High five your neighbor.”And I thought… really? Slap my sweaty and possibly germy palm up against the sweaty and possibly germy palm of a stranger? During a flu season that has been described as “severe.”Wouldn’t an elbow bump be less risky?So I spoke to a couple of experts. And I learned a few things about the way we get infected with colds and viruses. And about the advisability of high-fiving.Your hands get you in trouble.”A fact that a lot of people get shocked about is that 80 percent of all cold, flu and upper respiratory infections and diarrheal illnesses are passed along to us by your hands.” That’s what Dr. Mark Gendreau told me. He’s the chief medical officer for Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals in Massachusetts.What happens is that a large infectious droplet from a cough or a sneeze (or maybe just plain talking or singing) lands on a surface, where it can survive “for up to 24 hours,” says Gendreau. Then your hand makes contact. And then you do that thing that humans do 200 times a day or so — you touch your face. “If you introduce enough of the microorganism to your eyes, nose and mouth, you’re going to get the infection,” he says.Good luck with not touching your face.”It’s very hard not to do it even if you’re telling yourself not to do it,” says Gendreau. “It’s like in our DNA.” I wanted to know why that is, and he said, “I don’t think anybody really knows why.”So if you can’t stop touching your face, then what?First of all there is hand washing with sanitizer or soap “at least 15 to 20 seconds,” says Gendreau. “The time is of the essence. The goal is to disrupt the cellular membrane of the microorganism [to] kill it.”And drink!Sorry, I mean water, not booze. “There’s a structure in the back of your mouth and nose and top portion of your lungs and trachea called the mucociliary complex, says Gendreau. They’re like “little tiny air cells” that beat in an upward fashion nonstop to move stuff out of you. Stuff like germs. “They become less effective if you’re dehydrated,” he says.Also perhaps try some North American ginseng and elderberry extract.”They have really strong science behind them. They rev up your immune system, they have antiviral properties and they’re safe,” he says.During an outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, he says, the city of Calgary wanted to stockpile Tamiflu (“which is really iffy in terms of effectiveness” says Gendreau). But they couldn’t find enough. So they went for ginseng instead. Gendreau cites a study of Canadian nursing home residents. All of them got a flu vaccine; then about 100 of them were given twice daily doses of 200 mL (about .05 teaspoons) of North American ginseng extract and another 100 or so got a placebo. In the ginseng group, there was only one case of respiratory illness versus seven in the non-ginseng group. That’s a 90 percent reduction in risk!As for “elderberry syrup,” it was studied in Sweden, where researchers found gave a 15 mL dose (about three teaspoons) of syrup four times a day for five days to one group of flu patients and a placebo syrup to another group. The elderberry sippers had relief from their symptoms four days earlier than the others.Maybe you should worry more about what’s in the air than what’s on someone’s hands.In a new study in PNAS, Dr. Donald Milton says that he found that maybe those big infectious droplets shed in coughs and sneezes aren’t the big problem. The body is pretty good at warding them off, he says. But fine particles of infectious material that people simply breathe out when they’re sick “will penetrate deeper in the lung,” says Milton, a medical doctor and professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland.In his study he found that “48 percent of the fine aerosol samples acquired in the absence of coughing had detectable viral RNA.” So if you have a fever but aren’t coughing or sneezing, maybe you should consider staying home, Milton suggests. He stresses that more research needs to be done about the potential risk posed by these fine particles, “but it has tremendous implications for hospital infection control.” Not to mention what’s hanging in the air in my yoga class!As for my high-fiving dilemma…Gendreau says the riskiest type of person-to-person contact is mouth-to-cheek (so be wary of air kisses and full body hugs). “The bro hug is moderate risk,” he says. That’s a handshake that leads into a hug with a back pat.”Handshake or high five is probably mild risk. Palm to palm is slightly riskier than knuckle to knuckle,” he says. “Bacteria tend to congregate on the palm.””I can high five you but you should wash your hands afterward,” says Milton.As for the Liberian elbow exchange: “Smart thing,” says Gendreau.”A very good thing,” agrees Milton. “I like elbow bumps.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

Disabled people across the country have marched st

first_imgDisabled people across the country have marched stopped traffic and blocked the office entrances of government contractors as part of a national day of action that drew attention to a disability benefit they say is “rotten to the core”.Campaigners believe the personal independence payment (PIP) system was only introduced as a replacement for working-age disability living allowance (DLA) as a way of removing disabled people’s entitlement to support, as part of the government’s austerity programme.They also point to the growing evidence of the “shoddy nature” of the PIP assessments, carried out by the government’s contractors, Capita and Atos, which they say are “making a killing” from the contracts.The national day of action featured protests at nearly 20 locations across the country, mostly at Atos and Capita assessment centres, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield, Norwich, and Brighton (where protesters included retired Paralympian Kristina Veasey).There was also support from the cast of Graeae’s musical Reasons to be Cheerful, who tweeted: “@r2bcheerful cast team are in solidarity with #PIPFightback demos around UK today. ‘No’ to PIP delays, cuts & errors.”The day of action was organised by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and two other user-led, grassroots organisations, WinVisible and the Mental Health Resistance Network.The largest action took place in central London, with scores of protesters blocking traffic and Capita’s main entrance.They then marched to the headquarters of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Westminster, before they “faced down the world’s media” on College Green, opposite parliament, as journalists gathered to cover the last day in office of prime minister David Cameron and the first day of his successor, Theresa May.Disabled activists shouted out the names of disabled people who they believe died as a direct result of the government’s social security cuts and reforms.Paula Peters, from DPAC, said she wanted Atos and Capita to lose their assessment contracts, with the process brought back in-house, and for PIP to be scrapped and replaced with the old disability living allowance (DLA).She said: “The assessments are abusive and humiliating, so we want them to stop.”Peters made it clear that disabled people’s anti-cuts protests would continue under the new prime minister.She said: “She is just as guilty as David Cameron of the horrendous human rights abuses disabled people have suffered these past six years.“We won’t stop resisting this government, no matter who the prime minister is.”In central Birmingham, protesters – including two former chairs of the British Council of Disabled People (BCODP) – were outside the PIP assessment centre used by Capita.Sandra Daniels (pictured, centre), from DPAC West Midlands, who organised the protest, said she believed the government wanted to cut the number of people receiving DLA by 25 per cent, and that mental health survivors and people with learning difficulties were among those being subjected to “sham assessments and reassessments”, a process she said was “ongoing” and “relentless”.She said: “I want disabled people to have the benefits and support to be able to be members of the community.“They should be given the resources they need to uphold their human rights and inclusion in society.“They are pushing us back to the margins of society once again. Disabled people are losing their independence and will no longer have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”Anne Pridmore, a former BCODP chair, said she believed the cuts to working-age DLA were “just the start” of a “trickle, trickle” process of cuts to DLA spending, and that the government would eventually begin cutting the higher rate mobility element of DLA from disabled people over the age of 65.She said the programme of PIP cuts “does not make sense. The government wants to get people in work, but if they take their [Motability] cars off them they are not going to be able to go to work.”Bob Williams-Findlay, another former BCODP chair, said: “PIP has had a devastating effect on people’s lives and not only those who have lost it, but people here today who are living in fear of being reassessed.“They know the criteria is so tough that unless you are immobile you are not going to get PIP.”He said PIP had proved to be not only a deliberate cut to spending on disability benefits but also an attempt to “redefine who is and who is not a disabled person”, and he called for it to be replaced with an improved version of DLA.He said: “To me, PIP is the epitome of body fascism because it focuses on the body and it doesn’t focus on the social environment and barriers.”He said he believed PIP contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which focuses on removing these barriers.Williams-Findlay said: “Looking at the costs of living as a disabled person, what is it that increases our costs? It’s the barriers.”He said he had not yet been reassessed for PIP himself, but added: “I live in fear that I will get rejected, because it takes no account of reality. Can you walk 20 metres? Can you pick up a bag of sugar?”Andrew Comer, a former committee member of Birmingham People First, before it was forced to close this year after losing its funding, said he was waiting to hear the results of his own PIP assessment.He said: “I am concerned about everything from the [closure of the] Independent Living Fund to PIP.“People with all kinds of disabilities are not being listened to by the government.”Another disabled activist, known as “Angry Fish”, who has yet to be reassessed for PIP, said the austerity programme was “doing most damage, and sometimes fatal damage, to disabled people”, including the unnecessary “stress, anxiety and fear” caused by the reassessment process.He said: “People are having their lives totally ruined by the PIP process and austerity.”He pointed to the hundreds of people every week who were losing their Motability vehicles after being reassessed for PIP, which could cause many of them to lose their jobs, which could then cause their personal assistants to lose their jobs.And he called for a new programme to replace PIP, which would provide a “holistic perspective of people’s capacity to engage in society”.Mark Lynes, another Birmingham protester, said he believed PIP was introduced to “take away support from society” and was an attack on the social security system.He said: “A lot of people have lost their total independence. They are struggling and have lost their Motability cars.”Meanwhile, the former senior DWP civil servant Paul Gray has issued a call for evidence as part of his second review of PIP on behalf of the government. The first review took place in 2014.In announcing the call for evidence, work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb also announced that his department had launched its own evaluation of PIP, with initial findings to be published by early next year.Pensions minister Baroness Altmann said the audit would ensure that the advice provided by Capita and Atos was “of suitable quality, is fully explained and is justified”.Gray, who chairs the social security advisory committee, said the audit followed his recommendation in 2014 that DWP should commission a “rigorous quantitative and qualitative evaluation strategy” to examine the experience of PIP claimants.He said the audit would run alongside his own review and “may help to inform my final conclusions”.Gray said that a “major objective” of his second review would be to assess how “further evidence” was used to reach PIP entitlement decisions which “properly reflect claimant needs and the day-to-day functional impacts of their condition”.This appears to mirror serious, long-standing concerns over DWP’s failure to ensure that the necessary further medical evidence is collected for claimants of employment and support allowance, the out-of-work disability benefit, particularly for those with mental health conditions.last_img read more

Immunotherapy medicine found to be effective in treating uveitis

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 19 2018A team of researchers from the UCH CEU’s Biomedical Sciences Institute has tested the efficiency of Bevacizumab, medicine used against cancer and in ophtalmology, to treat uveítis, thus stopping the inflammation from spreading.Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvula – the ocular tissue located between the sclera and the retina -, due to infections or autoimmune diseases. The uvula provides a majority of the blood supply to the retina, so early treatment of its inflammation could be key to prevent consequences in other ocular tissues, because, if it is not treated on time, the inflammation can spread to the vitreous and the retina. Researchers of the Biomedicine Sciences Institute of the Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU university (UCH CEU) in Valencia have tested for the first time on an experimental model the efficiency of Bevacizumab in treating uveitis. The results, which provide a new strategy for treating uveitis and preventing its effects, have been published in the international scientific journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.Related StoriesChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusAccording to professor Francisco Bosch, head of the UCH CEU’s Biomedical Sciences Institute, “Bevacizumab is a medicine used in combined immunotherapy for treating tumours, which also has several ophthalmologic uses for treating ocular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular oedema or glaucoma.” The research team of the UCH CEU, headed by doctor Bosch, has studied the medicine’s anti-inflammatory capacity for the first time, compared to its potential risks regarding toxicity, in induced uveitis on an experimental model.Anti-inflammatory effectAs professor Bosch highlights, “the cellular and histopathological count results obtained by our team proves the capabilities of the medicine to prevent inflammation, not only of the uvula, but also the retina and the vitreous chamber. And it also makes it possible to rule out the risk of retinal degradation that could be associated to the use of the medicine.”These results also provide relevant data regarding the controversy surrounding the use of injectable medicines with vascular endothelium anti-growth factor, the anti-VEGF. “Even though bevacizumab, commercialized as Avastin, was initially developed to treat several types of cancer, it is commonly used in ophthalmology despite this use not being recommended. Our results verify that in this field it is as effective and safe as other anti-VEGF medicines such as Lucentis, which was designed specifically for ophthalmologic purposes, but is more expensive,” stresses doctor Bosch.Source: read more

Pregnant women face greater risk of having hemorrhagic stroke reveal studies

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 8 2019Pregnant women face a much greater risk of having a fatal, but less common, type of stroke caused by bleeding into the brain, according to results of two studies presented by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) at the International Stroke Conference 2019.A study led by senior author Farhaan Vahidy, PhD, MBBS, MPH, found that pregnant women and those who recently gave birth were three to 10 times more likely to suffer intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), which occurs when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts and spills blood into or around the brain. Vahidy is an associate professor of neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and director of the Population Health & Health Services Research Division at UTHealth Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease.”It’s important to remember that stroke is uncommon among the younger female population. Women undergo a number of physiological changes while pregnant, so we hypothesized that pregnancy would confer a higher ICH risk,” said first author and presenter Jennifer Meeks, MS, a research coordinator in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School. “However, the scale of the increase was highly significant and strikingly greater than what was anticipated.”Women with a history of other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes were found to be at a greater risk of ICH. Those who had preeclampsia or eclampsia were 10 times more likely to suffer ICH, according to the study.Using publicly available administrative data, researchers analyzed more than 3.3 million deliveries among women in hospitals in New York, California, and Florida. The same women, age 28 on average, were followed and served as their own controls when no longer pregnant or postpartum.”The results showed that the risk of ICH starts to increase during the third trimester and continues to rise into an extended postpartum period. Other attributes, such as race, also appeared to influence the likelihood. For instance, black women were twice as likely as white women to suffer ICH and Asian women were 1.68 times more likely,” Meeks said. “Further research is required to more precisely predict those groups of women who are at an increased risk of ICH during pregnancy so preventive measures may be taken.”Related StoriesNew method improves detection of atrial fibrillation in stroke survivorsNew approach to post-stroke rehabilitation proposedNew promising approach repairs system of blood vessels following strokeThere are two types of stroke, hemorrhagic and ischemic, which occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a clot. Around 15 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic, but they account for approximately 40 percent of all stroke deaths, according to the National Stroke Association.In the second study, researchers found women with arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain, had increased incidence of ICH from AVM rupture during pregnancy.Results showed women with AVMs were almost 3½ times more likely to have ICH associated with pregnancy and delivery.”Researchers have suspected that brain AVMs are more likely to bleed with pregnancy, but because they are uncommon, this connection was hard to prove. In our study, we looked at millions of women; the data confirmed this and were very compelling,” said Sunil Sheth, MD, the senior author, who is an assistant professor of vascular and interventional neurology at McGovern Medical School.The study analyzed data from nearly 6.3 million women, age 28 on average, with first-time pregnancy in hospitals in New York and Florida. Of these patients, 1,024 (0.02 percent) had an AVM, which was linked to a 340 percent increased risk of ICH during the pregnancy period.”An AVM is like having a little bomb in the head, which creates an explosion of blood in the brain if it ruptures. When this happens it can put the mother and baby in considerable danger,” Sheth said.The abstract called for further research and improved methods to reduce ICH risk.”We need to understand exactly what is happening – why do AVMs bleed in the first place and what is causing this substantially higher risk among pregnant women who have them?” Sheth said. “These findings could change the conversation of care for a very particular patient group. If we know a woman with a brain AVM is planning a pregnancy, it may be appropriate to treat the AVM before pregnancy or counsel for close monitoring during pregnancy.”Source: read more

Portugal charges 89 Hells Angels after Lisbon attack last year

first_img Related News World 10 Jul 2019 Moroccan jailed by Portugal for recruiting for Syrian war LISBON (Reuters) – Portuguese prosecutors have charged 89 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club with involvement in organised crime, attempted murder, robbery and drug trafficking, the public prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.The indictments follow a long investigation that has already led to dozens of arrests of Portuguese and foreign bikers. The prosecutor’s indictment alleges that in March last year, armed with knives, axes and batons, the accused attempted to kill four people and seriously injured others at a restaurant on the outskirts of Portugal’s capital Lisbon. The restaurant was destroyed in the attack.”According to the indictment, the accused belong to Hells Angels Motorcycle Club,” the statement said. World 21 May 2019 Portugal arrests 17 Hells Angels biker gang members in raids across country Of the 89, 37 are in pre-trial detention, five are at home under electronic surveillance and two are detained in Germany awaiting extradition to Portugal, the prosecutors said. The authorities said at the time the attacks were part of a turf war for control of illicit guns and drug trade. The bikers were also charged with qualified extortion, possession of illegal weapons and ammunition. The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was formed in the United States in 1948 and has branches around the world, including in Portugal since 2002. The US-based club nor their lawyers in Portugal could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alexandra Hudson)center_img World 29 May 2019 Dutch court bans “violent” Hells Angels motorcycle club Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more