The Atlantic:Jason Silva is a self-described epiphany junkie. He recently enthused to me about how some movies, for example, manage to capture attention and create a complete, immersive transformation for the viewer.In his “Shots of Awe” YouTube series, Silva wants to interrupt your mundane existence with “philosophical espresso shots” designed to inspire you to live to the fullest.It’s easy to get swept away by Silva’s vision of the future: a revolutionary convergence of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. He considers awe to be a pivotal ingredient in making ideas resonate. In his three-minute clips, he hardly takes a breath as he spouts rousing optimism over digitally animated film.He may be onto something. A new study published in the journal Psychological Science shows there are residual health benefits to having your mind blown.“People increasingly report feeling time-starved, which exacts a toll on health and well-being,” states the study.Read the whole story: The Atlantic More of our Members in the Media >
Brazilian researchers yesterday described for the first time another complication in babies born with Zika virus infection: a joint deformity known as arthrogryposis.The new findings underscore warnings from top health officials over the past several months that microcephaly and brain malformations could be the tip of the iceberg regarding birth defects linked to the virus. Though microcephaly was the first Zika-linked manifestation seen in newborns, clinicians who have observed a range of problems refer to the birth defects as congenital Zika syndrome.In other Zika research developments today, a team led by the University of Kansas unveiled a new Zika risk map that accounts for more factors that earlier maps.Joint problem seen alongside other birth defectsResearchers from the Brazilian city of Recife, which has been at the center of the outbreak, detailed seven arthrogryposis cases in babies born with Zika virus in an early online edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Though earlier case reports hinted at an association between arthrogryposis and microcephaly in newborns affected by Zika virus, yesterday’s report is the first case series.All of the babies had congenital Zika infections and signs of brain calcification. They were seen at a rehabilitation center in Pernambuco that follows Zika-affected babies. Investigations ruled out other causes of microcephaly, including toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, rubella, syphilis, and HIV. All were born at term, and only one child had a normal head circumference.Arthrogryposis was seen in both the arms and legs of six babies and only in the legs of the seventh. Electromyelography suggested problems with peripheral motor neurons, and spinal MRI showed thinning of the spinal cord.Problem linked to Zika attack on nerve cells?High-definition scans of joints and surrounding tissues found no joint abnormalities, which led the team to suspect that the deformities were neurogenic, affecting muscle contraction and relaxation and producing fixed postures in the womb.The team wrote that possible mechanisms include Zika virus damage to neurons or neural progenitor cells, already thought to be a culprit in microcephaly and related cerebral malformation. They also said the condition might be related to problems with arteries and veins.The team said that though more research with larger numbers of babies is needed to identify the neurologic abnormalities that lead to arthrogryposis, children born with Zika virus should receive orthopedic follow-up because of the risk of developing musculoskeletal deformities.’Expanding list of devastating outcomes’Siobahn Dolan, MD, MPH, medical advisor to the March of Dimes, said of the new findings, “Everything we’re learning from what Brazil is experiencing is concerning.” Reports of arthrogryposis seem to be “a downstream effect” and are another sign of how serious the neurologic insult from Zika virus can be to fetuses, she added.The expanding list of devastating outcomes is tragic, Dolan said.Clinicians don’t yet know what the long-term functional capacity will be for babies born with arthrogryposis, she said. “It will be a while until we know the full spectrum.”Dolan said the complications underscore the importance of steps to protect pregnant women, such as avoiding mosquito bites, taking sexual precautions if a partner may be infected with Zika virus, and avoiding travel to Zika-affected areas.New map weaves in more Zika factorsThe new Zika risk map was recently published on the fast-track publication site of Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Institute. In a University of Kansaspress release, researchers said the risk is affected by a range of factors, such as climate, socioeconomics, and people’s ability to access certain areas.Breaking down the global land areas into 5-by-5 kilometer squares, the map shows the virus’ powerful ability to spread in South and Central America, as well as the first assessment of Zika transmission risk in Europe, which appears to be relatively low. Vulnerable parts of the United States include parts of Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.Abdallah Samy, PhD, who led the team at the Kansas University Biodiversity Institute, said in the press release that the map can be used by public health officials and international groups to battle the virus. “It’s also intended for the public. If you’re going to travel to a specific area in Brazil, and you know it’s a risk area for Zika, you should consider how to reduce the chances of transmission with clothing or insect repellant,” he said.See also:Aug 9 BMJ reportAug 9 BMJ press releaseAug 10 University of Kansas press releaseOswaldo Cruz Zika fast track reportMarch of Dimes Zika virus and pregnancy advisory
Raytheon has received a contract worth $406 million from the U.S. Army for the ARC-231A radio system. The ARC-231A is a fully compliant, high performance, fully qualified, low risk solution for any airborne platform. The contract, which will be executed over the next five years, includes upgrades, production and support for up to 5,000 radios. Because the ARC-231A is software-defined, it can accommodate rapid upgrades without requiring the radio to be removed from its platform. The latest version of the system recently gained NSA Type 1 certification and delivers secure, classified communications on the battlefield.The AN/ARC-231 is an Airborne VHF/UHF/LOS and SATCOM Communications System. This system supports Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for airborne, multi-band, multi-mission, secure anti-jam voice, data and imagery transmission and provides network-capable communications in a compact radio set. The ARC-231 Radio System is fully qualified to appropriate Military Standards (MIL-STD) through Environmental, Reliability, Electromagnetic interference (EMI)/ Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) testing that ensures interoperability across the tactical environment and is Air-Worthiness certified.The Radio System operates from 30 to 512 MHz, AM/FM Very High Frequency (VHF), Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Line-of-Sight (LOS) with frequency agile modes Electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), UHF Satellite Communications (SATCOM), Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA), Integrated Waveform (IW), Air Traffic Control (ATC) channel spacing is operator selectable in 5, 8.33, 12.5, and 25kHz steps. Standard Ship-to-Shore Maritime operation is also available.According to Barbara Borgonovi, VP of Raytheon Integrated Communication Systems, these radios are the backbone of rotary-wing communications. It enables U.S. forces to maintain the edge in secure communications, whether they’re flying in contested or congested environments. The new radios will be installed on a variety of Army platforms, including the UH-60 Black Hawk, UH-72 Lakota utility helicopter and the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.