Green Deals Nest Thermostat E 133 shipped Reg 169 more

Source: Charge Forward Trusted eBay seller E-Techgalaxy (99.3% positive feedback from 60,000) offers the Nest Thermostat E for $133 shipped. For comparison, it sells for $169 at just about every online retailer, including Home Depot.  Nest Thermostat E delivers a variety of smart features that are designed to save 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills, according to the manufacturer. You’ll be able to leverage your smartphone along with Google Assistant or Alexa to adjust temperatures and more. Rated 4.8/6 stars. If you need a lower cost alternative, consider this Honeywell option at $69 that drops some smart functionality. more… read more

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Watch New Tesla Roadster Appear In Stunning Tale Of Light Video

first_imgA TALE OF LIGHT – TESLA ROADSTER 2020 from The Yazuki on Vimeo.Base Specs:Acceleration 0-60 mph 1.9 sec – 1/4 mile 8.8 secTop Speed Over 250 mphWheel Torque 10,000 NmMile Range 620 miles200 kWh battery packSeating 4Drive All-Wheel Drive (three motors – two for rear wheels, and one for front axle)Base Price $200,000Base Reservation $50,000Founders Series Price $250,000Founders Series Reservation (1,000 reservations available) $250,000Source: Teslarati Tesla Roadster Delights Us In New Images: Wallpaper + Video Tesla Roadster Makes Rare Appearance At Design College Source: Electric Vehicle News If enthusiasts around the world already are making such enticing works of Roadster art, then just imagine all the tuning, races hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars and endless reviews of the Roadster when it becomes available. Just like we’ve seen so far with the Model S, Model X and even Model 3.Original Vimeo version of video: The Yazuki – A TALE OF LIGHT – TESLA ROADSTER 2020center_img A Tale Of  Light – Tesla Roadster 2020 in digital form.The new Tesla Roadster is one beautiful car, but it needs a few years still before it will ultimately hit the market (hopefully in 2020, but you know Tesla has delays from time to time, right?).Filmmaker The Yazuki decided to sweeten the waiting period up by creating a video with a dark Tesla Roadster and light, which reveals the“True Power” of this amazing electric machine.Tesla Roadster Tesla Roadster Rendered In Slick New Colors Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 22, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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VW and UK grocery chain Tesco to deploy 2400 EV chargers

first_imgOver the next three years, VW will partner with grocery store chain Tesco to deploy 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 stores in the UK.Charging network operator Pod Point will manufacture the equipment and install the charging bays in Tesco Extra and Superstore parking lots across the country. Customers will be able to use the 7 kW charger for free, or the 50 kW rapid charger for a market-based fee.VW says it hopes to sell one million electric cars per year worldwide by 2025. It plans to introduce the new I.D. line of EVs to the UK market in 2019, beginning with the I.D. Hatch, a Golf-sized model, and followed by the I.D. Buzz minivan and I.D. Crozz SUV. Source: Volkswagen via Green Car Congress Source: Electric Vehicles Magazinelast_img read more

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GMs new EV only costs 3400 but theres a small catch

first_imgThe catch is it’s an electric bicycle.GM has now joined a number of other automotive companies that have jumped into the rapidly growing electric bicycle industry. more…The post GM’s new EV only costs $3400 but there’s a small catch appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img

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Friday Roundup

first_imgHollywood film studios, more FBI agents, asset recovery, quotable, and for the reading stack.  It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Hollywood Film StudiosA recent Wall Street Journal article went in-depth regarding the FCPA scrutiny of Hollywood film studios doing business in China. According to the article, Sony received a subpoena from the SEC in June 2013 regarding possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The article states:“The SEC’s questions to Sony dealt primarily with potential bribery related to the release of “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in China in 2010, according to email communication between Sony’s in-house and outside legal counsel. A Sony-led investigation that followed the SEC subpoena examined the company’s distribution efforts more broadly, the emails show. The subpoena indicates an escalation of an inquiry that began in 2012 when the SEC requested that every major studio voluntarily provide information about their movie-distribution practices in China, a request that was publicly reported at the time. However the SEC’s specific concerns weren’t disclosed nor was it previously known that the agency had stepped up its probe with a subpoena. Sony documents show that the SEC refers to its probe as “In the Matter of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp,” indicating that the rival Hollywood studio behind “The Hunger Games” has been asked questions as well.”Many FCPA enforcement actions have, as a root cause, a foreign trade barrier or distortion.  This appears to be true in the case of the Hollywood film studios.  As stated in the article, the companies ran into “China’s quota and censorship systems to secure distribution for their films in that country.”  According to the article:“Hollywood studios are barred from distributing films on their own in China, but instead work with the state-owned China Film Group to secure one of the 34 highly coveted spots offered each year for imported movies. [Third party distribution firms] help studios navigate the bureaucracy.”More FBI AgentsThe Wall Street Journal reports:“The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s foreign corruption program will more than triple the number of agents focused on overseas bribery this year to more than 30 from around 10, according to bureau officials. The agents will focus on both sides of corruption, hunting down executives that pay off foreign officials, while also helping other nations recoup funds stolen by corrupt leaders. The FBI usually can’t directly arrest corrupt foreign leaders, but at the request of foreign law enforcement the bureau can help locate funds stolen by kleptocrats. […]  “With the growing global economy and the growing nature of international commerce with globalization of more companies and economies, it’s creating more opportunities for the potential of FCPA and corruption,” said Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the bureau’s criminal division, in an interview. The newly assigned agents will work out of field offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Boston, with backup from forensic analysts and other specialists in headquarters, which is also located in the capital. Currently, the bureau’s foreign anti-corruption field agents are managed out of a field office in Washington, D.C. and split their time while pursuing other white collar crimes, bureau officials said.”Asset RecoveryAs part of its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the DOJ recently announced the filing of a “civil forfeiture complaint seeking the forfeiture of nine properties worth approximately $1,528,000 that were allegedly purchased with funds traceable to a $2 million bribe paid by a Honduran information-technology company to the former Executive Director of the Honduran Institute of Social Security.”According to the DOJ:“From 2010 to 2014, Dr. Mario Roberto Zelaya Rojas, 46, of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, served as the Executive Director of the Honduran Institute of Social Security (HISS), a Honduran Government agency that provides social security services, including workers’ compensation, retirement, maternity, and death benefits.  According to allegations in the forfeiture complaint, Zelaya solicited and accepted $2.08 million in bribes from Compania De Servicios Multiples, S. de R. L. (COSEM) in exchange for prioritizing and expediting payments owed to COSEM under a $19 million contract with HISS.  Zelaya also allegedly instructed COSEM to make bribe payments to two members of the Board of Directors of HISS charged with overseeing the COSEM contract.  To conceal the illicit payments, COSEM allegedly sent the bribes through its affiliate company, CA Technologies.  As further alleged in the complaint, the bribe proceeds were then laundered into the United States and used by Zelaya and his brother, Carlos Alberto Zelaya Rojas, to acquire real estate in the New Orleans area.  Certain properties were titled in the name of companies nominally controlled by Zelaya’s brother in an effort to conceal the illicit source of the funds as well as the beneficial owner.  The current action seeks forfeiture of nine properties acquired with the proceeds of Zelaya’s alleged bribery scheme.”In the DOJ’s release, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell stated:“Our action today highlights how the Criminal Division’s Kleptocracy Initiative, with our network of law enforcement partners around the globe, will trace and recover the ill-gotten gains of corrupt officials.  Criminals should make no mistake:  the United States is not a safe haven for the proceeds of your crimes.  If you hide or invest your stolen money here, we will use all the legal tools we have to find it and seize it.”QuotableIn this Global Investigations Review article, Timothy Dickinson (Paul Hastings and a veteran of the FCPA bar) states:“Ten years ago, I would have been happy to bet anyone a doughnut that I could accurately define what a foreign official is. Now, with various court definitions and a lack of clarity from the DoJ, I fear I might actually lose my doughnut.”In this piece about the SEC’s internal controls enforcement theories, Michael Shepard (Hogan Lovells) states:“Beneath the surface of these developments [the increased use of the internal controls provisions] is a disconnect about what the internal controls provisions actually require. The government — and especially the SEC — has settled on an interpretation of the internal controls provision that is at odds with the understanding of many in-house finance professionals about what internal controls are intended to address. Ask corporate finance professionals about internal controls at their companies and you will likely get an answer about processes designed to protect the company’s assets at a level that would materially impact the company’s financial statements. Ask your friendly neighborhood SEC investigator about internal controls and you will instead get inquiries about the exponentially smaller level of amounts of money that would be enough to influence a low-paid public official in a poor third-world country. Not only is the SEC looking at controls on a more microscopic level, but its predilection to pursue internal controls charges sometimes seems based on an interpretation of the FCPA that borders on strict liability. Circumstantial evidence of a bribery violation — such as evidence that some money may have left the company without proper authorization or accounting records — translates for the SEC into proof that the company’s controls were inadequate. Statutory elements of reasonableness and scienter get short shrift in a world in which the SEC aggressively pushes internal controls charges, and the vast majority of companies remain predisposed to settle.”Reading StackPaul Barrett at Bloomberg BusinessWeek goes in-depth about the FCPA charges pending against Joseph Sigelman in an article titled “Does This Man Look Like a Felon to You?”From the New Yorker, “Can Corruption Be Erradicated?”“[C]orruption has always permeated so many fields of human endeavor that it may be not a corruption of anything—but, rather, a regrettable feature of our natural condition. Accountable government is an ideal, to be sure. It may also be an aberration.”[O]ur conceptual vocabulary for understanding [corruption], let alone combatting it, remains conspicuously meagre. The very term “corruption” is so inclusive as to be almost meaningless, encompassing bribery, nepotism, bid-rigging, embezzlement, extortion, vote-buying, price-fixing, protection rackets, and a hundred other varieties of fraud.”From Bloomberg BNA “As FCPA Complexity Increase, Corporate Interest in Self-Disclosure Wanes.”*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

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Dallas Boutique Hedrick Kring Adds Joel Bailey as Partner

first_imgBailey focuses his practice on defending clients sued in qui tam lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act and in products liability matters . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Password Username Lost your password?center_img Remember me Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img

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Doctors call on health authorities for permission to provide stroke patients with

first_imgMay 25 2018Heart doctors from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council on Stroke are calling on national health authorities for permission to provide stroke patients with mechanical thrombectomy, a life-saving treatment for acute ischaemic stroke, in regions where there is a lack of trained specialists. Details of the proposal are presented today at EuroPCR 2018.”We have evidence that after a short period of training on the procedure, interventional cardiologists treating acute ischaemic stroke achieve the same results as traditional interventional neuroradiologists,” said Professor Petr Widimsky, Chair of the ESC Council on Stroke.Acute ischaemic stroke is a severe form of the condition where a blood vessel to the brain becomes blocked. It accounts for up to four in five strokes, or over one million cases in Europe each year.Related StoriesImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresWithout treatment most patients die or are severely disabled and permanently bedridden. Even with clot-busting drugs, 75% of patients die or are severely disabled. With mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure to physically remove the clot and restore blood flow to the brain, about half of patients survive and function normally. If performed within two to three hours of symptom onset, the rate of survival with normal neurological function rises to more than 70% of patients.In Europe, mechanical thrombectomy is currently provided by interventional neuroradiologists, but there is a severe shortage of these specialists. Even countries with the most specialists, such as Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, only have sufficient numbers to treat around one-third of acute ischaemic stroke patients. In some other countries, less than 1% of acute ischaemic stroke patients can be treated.Professor Widimsky said: “There are interventional cardiology units in all countries in Europe and the Americas, and in most other continents. The equipment for mechanical thrombectomy is available; it’s the trained specialists to perform the procedure that are lacking. This situation could be solved by training cardiologists to perform mechanical thrombectomy.”The ESC Council on Stroke is proposing that interventional cardiologists receive three months of training on how to do mechanical thrombectomy, rather than the typical two years required for other physicians. “Many interventional cardiologists routinely perform stenting of the carotid arteries so three months of training is sufficient to learn intracranial mechanical thrombectomy,” said Professor Widimsky. “It is up to health authorities in each country to decide if they will allow this.”The proposals are being put forward by the ESC Council on Stroke and the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions, a branch of the ESC. Source:https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Heart-doctors-call-for-permission-to-provide-therapy-to-stroke-patients?hit=wireeklast_img read more

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MR Solutions offers upgrade service for old MRI scanners to provide advanced

first_imgRelated StoriesMR Solutions wins third Queen’s AwardInnovative magnetic nanoparticles show potential for PET/MRI bimodal imaging applicationsMR Solutions offers new continuous PET detectors for better imagingMR Solutions’ upgrade service includes a wide number of options including the replacement of all the electronic systems, replacement of the gradient coils, boosting the power of the gradient coils, and even upgrading from a wet, helium magnet to a dry magnet which does not require helium top-ups. The costs associated with helium top-ups have increased substantially and can run to many thousands of dollars on an ongoing basis.The upgrade service is suitable for any brand of preclinical MRI system up to 11.7T and includes comprehensive development software and an extensive sequence library optimized for multiple applications.Physicist David Taylor, Chairman of MR Solutions explained: MR Solutions is the world technology leader in preclinical MRI scanners and continues to roll out technical innovations. These include the first commercial cryogen free range of superconducting MRI scanners up to 9.4T, the development of clip-on and within the bore PET and SPECT scanners for simultaneous or sequential imaging and earlier this year the introduction of a range of advanced CT preclinical scanners. Last month MR Solutions introduced into their PET scanners a gapless detection solution replacing the traditional photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) with silicon-based photomultipliers (SiPM). This improves image quality as the traditional rings cause artefacts that interfere with performance, enabling continuous scanning to take place.MR Solutions has offices in the UK, North America and Asia as well as a network of agencies across the world.Source: http://www.mrsolutions.com/news-events/news-item/mr-solutions-rejuvenates-old-mri-systems-provide-state-art-imaging/ Jun 14 2018Following requests from customers MR Solutions is now offering a service to upgrade old MRI scanners to provide state of the art imaging quality. The key technology in an MRI scanner is the spectrometer or “electronic brains” which interprets the signals from the magnet and creates the image. MR Solutions as the world’s leading independent supplier of spectrometers to manufacturers of preclinical MRI scanners can replace the old spectrometer with the latest generation EVO2+ for the most advanced levels of functionality and user control with an unlimited number of TX and RX channels. Customers were increasingly asking us if we were able to do anything with their existing equipment. While some providers offer refurbishment we wanted to go further and offer customers fully upgraded equipment. We have now successfully carried out such upgrades and have decided to offer the service more widely.” The EVO2+ spectrometer from MR Solutions or ‘electronic brains’ which can replace spectrometers in older preclinical MRI systems.last_img read more

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Patients with severe TBI recover to functional independence more often than before

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 17 2018Patients with severe traumatic brain injury treated at Helsinki University Hospital, Finland, recover to functional independence more often than before. At the same time, the proportions of elderly patients and patients treated conservatively have increased. The study found no specific reason to explain the observed improvement in outcomes; the results are accounted for by improvements in performance and effectiveness throughout the treatment chain, researchers say.According to a recent study by researchers from Helsinki University Hospital (HUH), patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) recover to functional independence more often than before. The study also observed a marked increase in the proportions of elderly patients and patients treated without surgery during the study period.Patients with severe TBI face poor prognoses; approximately half dies or are left with permanent disabilities. Accordingly, in the past two decades there has been numerous pharmaceutical studies that have aimed at improving outcomes after severe TBI. Unfortunately, all studies have ended with negative results. Moreover, these efforts have been simultaneous with an epidemiological shift towards more elderly TBI patients whose treatment is often complicated by chronic comorbidities.”These circumstances encouraged us to investigate whether patient outcomes have improved during the past two decades”, says Dr. Jari Siironen, chief physician of the neurosurgical intensive care unit at Helsinki University Hospital and one of the principal investigators of the research group.The researchers analysed patient records and imaging studies of more than 3,000 patients treated at the HUH neurosurgical intensive care unit due to a TBI during 1999-2015.There was no significant change in mortality over the course of the study period, but outcomes improved in those who survived.”The results demonstrate a considerable increase in the likelihood of recovery to functional independence during the study period”, says BM Matias Lindfors, the lead author of the study.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenThe study also observed notable increases in the proportions of elderly patients and patients treated without surgery. Interestingly, outcomes improved most in those treated without surgery.”The results indicate that certain patients can be successfully treated by conservative means”, says Dr. Rahul Raj, adding:”Intracranial surgery performed on critically ill patients is associated with significant risks, and these risks may sometimes outweigh potential benefits, particularly in the case of elderly patients.”The study found no specific reason to explain the observed improvement in outcomes. “The results are accounted for by improvements in performance and effectiveness throughout the treatment chain, from pre-hospital emergency care to rehabilitative services”, Raj says.A considerable proportion of patients who have sustained a severe TBI may recover seemingly well and still suffer from significant cognitive and emotional defects, limiting re-employment and everyday life.”Regaining functional independence does not necessarily equal full recovery. More research into other aspects of recovery are needed to further develop the rehabilitation of TBI patients based on each patient’s individual needs “, Lindfors says.TBI is a major cause of mortality and long-term disability worldwide, and a leading cause of death in young Finnish adults. In the western world, ageing populations are increasing the number of TBIs, while low- and middle-income countries grapple with TBIs caused by road traffic accidents. The WHO has predicted that TBIs will become a leading cause of morbidity and mortality within the upcoming years.Source: http://www.hus.fi/last_img read more

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BSI accredits Oxehealths vital signs measurement software as Class IIa medical device

first_img Source:https://www.oxehealth.com/news/oxehealth-secures-world-first-accreditation-for-its-vital-signs-technology Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 20 2018The British Standards Institute (BSI) has accredited Oxehealth’s vital signs measurement software as a Class IIa medical device in Europe.This is the first time that software enabling a digital video camera sensor to remotely measure vital signs has been approved as a medical device.No global medical device regulator, including the US Food and Drug Administration, has previously approved a device of this nature.To detect pulse rate, the device works in the same way as the familiar pulse oximeter, which detects the slight changes in skin color caused by the blood being pumped around the body.Related StoriesParticipation in local food projects may have positive effect on health‘Climate grief’: Fears about the planet’s future weigh on Americans’ mental healthDon’t ignore diastolic blood pressure values, say researchersHowever, unlike a pulse oximeter, which must be attached to a patient’s skin, it can be used to monitor pulse rate remotely. The device also detects the movements of the body caused by breathing to count breathing rate.The Oxehealth vital signs measurement software will now be marketed alongside the company’s existing suite of contact-free activity tracking tools, which are already being used by NHS trusts and care homes to assist staff who need to monitor patients at risk of falls, self-harm or other injuries.Chief executive Hugh Lloyd-Jukes said: “I am thrilled by the European medical device accreditation, which confirms that our technology can take spot measurements of pulse rate and breathing rate that are as accurate and safe as a device that you clip on the skin.Lloyd-Jukes added: “Clinicians have been using the Digital Care Assistant to help them to identify risky activities and to understand patient activity better.”The addition of the medical device solution will enable organizations to take pulse and breathing rate observations to inform treatment decisions. It is a world first that has the potential to help staff transform care in settings where they cannot, or do not want to, enter a room.”Looking after the elderly and vulnerable can be extremely challenging. Yet, in contrast to their peers in intensive care, the medical staff working in mental health, nursing homes and custodial settings have never had access to frequent, accurate vital sign measurements.”Now they do, and we are thrilled to be bringing them a 21st Century tool that will help them improve the care of some of society’s most frail patients.”last_img read more

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Novel method achieves accurate and precise temperature estimation in fatcontaining tissues

first_img Source:http://english.cas.cn/newsroom/research_news/201806/t20180613_194146.shtml Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 20 2018Magnetic resonance thermometry (MRT) is the only imaging technique that noninvasively provides temperature distribution in vivo. The water proton resonance frequency shift (PRFS)-based method is the most popular choice for MR temperature monitoring in aqueous tissues.A research team led by Prof. ZHENG Hairong from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a “dual-step iterative temperature estimation (DITE)” method for fat-referenced PRFS temperature imaging in fat-containing tissues.Related StoriesSuper-Resolution Raman Imaging with Plasmonic SubstratesInnovative magnetic nanoparticles show potential for PET/MRI bimodal imaging applicationsAn injection of nanoparticles for spinal cord injuriesIn mammals, there are two types of adipose (i.e., fat-containing) tissue: white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT).”WAT stores excess energy as triacylglycerol, whereas BAT burns fat to dissipate energy in the form of heat after activation and is now considered to be the next potential therapeutic target for metabolic syndrome” said ZHENG.The proposed DITE method achieved accurate and precise temperature estimation compared with the results measured by the fluorescent thermometer, a common method and a golden standard of measuring temperature.The average mean error, standard deviation, and root mean squared error were -0.08°C, 0.46°C and 0.56°C, respectively, within the region of interest (ROI) around the thermometer in the ex vivo BAT using a water bath experiment. The method can provide a potential imaging tool for the characterization of brown adipose tissue in vivo.Prof. ZHENG said, “In the future, we will apply this method to monitor the temperature in BAT in vivo and characterize BAT activity using this temperature imaging technique.”By modulating BAT activity, this study provides crucial insight relevant to the treatment of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.last_img read more

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UAB researchers study dysfunction of the immune system associated with NSAID carprofen

first_img Source:https://www.uab.edu/news/research/item/9774-in-cardiac-injury-the-nsaid-carprofen-causes-dysfunction-of-the-immune-system Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 21 2018Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are commonly used as inflammation blockers worldwide. However, recent clinical data show these painkillers can have serious side effects that create some risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney or heart failure.Attention has focused on how NSAIDs may cause dysfunction of the immune system, including disrupting the normal immune response involved after heart injury. This normal response has two stages — the acute phase, where leukocytes from the spleen migrate to the heart’s left ventricle to clear out dead heart-muscle cells and form scar tissue, followed by a resolving phase to dampen the acute inflammation.Related StoriesPromising new approaches in the fight against brain metastasisStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusAustralia leads the world in childhood immunization coverageUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham researchers, led by Ganesh Halade, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Disease, have now studied such dysfunction associated with the NSAID carprofen. In a study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, they found that sub-acute pretreatment with carprofen before experimental heart attack in mice impaired resolution of acute inflammation following cardiac injury.They focused on three aspects of the inflammation resolution axis — cardiac function, leukocyte profiling and inflammation-resolution markers.They found that, after heart attack, the carprofen-pretreated mice had a greatly intensified amount of the CD47 cell-surface marker in the left ventricle and the spleen. The CD47 marker is a “don’t eat me” signal, and the increased CD47 was found to be on neutrophil cells, which are involved in acute inflammation after heart injury. Thus, the amplified CD47 on neutrophils resisted clearance of the neutrophils and developed a non-resolving inflammation.The UAB researchers also found that carprofen treatment before heart attacks pre-activated neutrophils in the spleen to make them more inflammatory, and it also activated pro-inflammatory macrophages. This helped trigger the swarming of activated neutrophils from the spleen to the left ventricle after the heart attack. At the same time, reparative leukocytes in the left ventricle were compromised.Carprofen pre-treatment failed to limit expression of the enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, further dysregulating the production of resolving lipid mediators, which created a deficit in the resolution of inflammation in the injured heart.Furthermore, the carprofen pretreatment led to an imbalance of inflammatory and reparative cytokines after cardiac injury, and this expanded the inflammatory phase in the injured heart.last_img read more

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Sense of touch turns bats into acrobats

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img Ask any elementary school student how bats get around, and they are likely to give you the well-known answer: echolocation. But a new study suggests that the furry fliers use more than just these high-frequency sound blips to get from point A to point B. They also have a keen sense of touch that allows them to detect and respond to the motion of air over their wings, turning them into agile aerial acrobats.Bats’ thin, flexible wings—a thumb and four fingers connected by webbing—stretch and reshape during flight, unlike those of birds and insects. Their agility in the air demands quick, precise wing movements and a constant adjustment of tiny muscles in the wing membrane. They also use their wings for other delicate tasks, like holding food and cradling young. To adjust their complex wings for the job at hand, they must integrate a variety of sensory feedback.To understand how bats feel their way around the sky, researchers mapped the arrangement of touch-sensitive receptors on the wings of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). They found high concentrations of sensors known as Merkel cells at the base of tiny hairs that cover the wings, they report online today in Cell Reports. Merkel cells are highly sensitive to fine touch, and when airflow jostles a hair, the cells react to its motion. Because the wing is hairy on both sides, bats are sensitive to airflow both above and below, says neuroscientist Cynthia Moss of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, a senior author of the study. Bats rely on finely tuned patterns of airflow to keep themselves aloft, including vortices at the leading edges of the wings that enhance lift. The animals may use their hairs to sense these vortices and make midair corrections, says animal flight researcher Anders Hedenström of Lund University in Sweden, who was not involved with the research. “The problem for the bat is … their aerodynamics is very hard to control in slow flight, because these [vortices] are very unsteady phenomena,” he says. “They need some kind of information about the flow near the wing.”The team also studied how bats’ brains responded to the stimulation of their wings. They measured the response of neurons in the bat’s somatosensory cortex—the area of the brain that responds to touch—when they blew small bursts of air on the wing or lightly touched it. The bats’ neurons fired quickly in response but quieted down soon after, indicating that air currents could produce rapid but brief feedback, suitable for making swift adjustments in flight.The researchers also found an unexpected arrangement in the bats’ neural circuitry, which they uncovered by tracing neurons in the wings back to the spinal column. In most mammals, sensory neurons in the hand or forelimb are connected to upper parts of the spinal column. But in parts of the bats’ wings, the neurons’ connections were mixed, with some connected to the upper spinal column and some connected to a lower part. This, the team says, can be explained by the embryonic development of the bat’s wing, which originates from both the forelimb and the torso.Most prior research in bat movement has focused on visual sensing or echolocation, and a better understanding of how bats use their sense of touch could have practical applications, Moss says. It could be applied to designing new types of wind-sensing aircraft with flexible wings that could be more maneuverable than modern aircraft.”I think this is exciting and that it takes us one step forward in the understanding of bat flight, which is a very complex phenomenon,” Hedenström says. “We still need to research exactly what information these nerves convey to the bat and how it’s processed,” he says, but “there is a need for the bat to get this information. I think that’s pretty clear.”last_img read more

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Eggcounting lets parasitic wasps know if a host is taken

first_imgLike most mothers, female parasitic wasps (Leptopilina heterotoma) want the best for their offspring. For the tiny, dime-sized insects, this means finding a caterpillar—the host—in which to lay their eggs. Each egg develops into a larva that slowly kills the host by eating its interior tissue. But only one larva can grow per host. How is a parasitic wasp to tell which caterpillars are “free” and which have already been parasitized? The insects make this distinction with their egg laying organs, needle-like structures called ovipositors that they insert into the caterpillar (visible above between the hind legs of the parasitic wasp). Within seconds, the wasps can tell whether some other mother has laid her eggs inside the host. Now, researchers report in PLOS ONE that the wasps can even count the number of eggs that have been previously laid. To find out how, the scientists stimulated the minute, taste budlike structures on the tip of the wasp’s ovipositor with the blood of fruit fly (Drosophila) larvae. The larvae were either free of parasitical eggs, or had one or two eggs. The wasp’s ovipositor’s taste buds are equipped with six neurons, which send signals to the insect’s brain. The scientists recorded these signals as they exposed the wasps’ ovipositors to the larval blood. Their analysis showed that these signals differ depending on whether there were no other eggs, one egg, or two eggs inside the host. Thus, using a simple taste-test, the wasps are able to count—and select—the best home for their eggs.last_img read more

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Where did the gay lisp stereotype come from

first_imgJACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA—The notion of a “gay lisp”—an offensive stereotype to many people—has been a confusing phenomenon for linguists. For decades, popular depictions of gay men have sometimes portrayed them pronouncing the letter “s” as more of a “th” sound—even though studies have failed to find “lispier” speech in gay men than in straight men. Now, however, preliminary data from a small study presented here last week at the biannual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) show that young boys who don’t identify with their assigned gender use “th”-like pronunciation at slightly higher rates than their peers who do, although they seem to grow out of that tendency. The authors speculate that stereotypes of gay adults may be rooted in the speech of boys who go on to identify as gay.Benjamin Munson, a speech scientist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who presented the research, has published many studies on how patterns of speech sometimes do correlate with gender and sexual orientation. We learn speech patterns as part of our social identity, and the letter “s,” in particular, is charged with social meaning, Munson says: “You get a lot of mileage out of having a very distinctive ‘s.’” His previous research showed, for example, that even though gay men don’t seem to lisp their “s”s more frequently than straight men, they do produce a slightly crisper “s” sound, with a narrow frequency range and a high peak frequency. (“S” sounds produced by women in that study were crisper still.) To show the contrast, Munson has recorded a sentence in three exaggerated speech styles that contain different “s” pronunciations: the first has an especially crisp “s,” the second a less crisp “s” that is closer to the “sh” sound, and the third a more lisplike “th”-like sound. Munson wanted to explore how the crisp “s” speech style might emerge in young men. He hypothesized that boys who would eventually identify as gay would, as their speech developed, gradually diverge from their peers in an increasingly crisp pronunciation of “s.” To test the idea, Munson chose a unique population: 5- to 13-year-old boys diagnosed with gender dysphoria. These children feel a distressing mismatch between the gender they experience and the one assigned them at birth, as well as a desire to be another gender, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They are also statistically more likely to identify as gay in adulthood, Munson explains. “It’s not like every gay adult was a boy with gender dysphoria, nor does every boy with gender dysphoria become a gay adult,” he says, but “this is the best hope we have for looking at the evolution of this [speech] style within an individual.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img The team looked at 34 boys with gender dysphoria recruited from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, and 34 age-matched boys without gender dysphoria. The researchers asked boys from each group to pronounce a series of words and sentences loaded with “s” sounds, such as “The squirrel sat on the seesaw.” They then analyzed the acoustic properties of the recordings. In a crisper “s,” more energy should be concentrated at higher frequencies, and very little energy at lower ones.Surprisingly, samples from boys with gender dysphoria didn’t show that feature. Instead, they showed a more even spread of energy across the frequency spectrum—a characteristic of the stereotypical, lispy “th” sound that Munson has failed to find in gay adults. Boys without gender dysphoria didn’t show this speech pattern, and as boys with the condition got older they seemed to lose the lisp. It vanished by age 11.There are two possible explanations for the findings, Munson says. One is that the lisp is really a feature of gender dysphoria—possibly a product of the genetic and environmental factors that lead to the condition. And because adults have learned to associate the pattern with seemingly less masculine boys, they assume adult gay men do it as well, hence the stereotype.That suggestion is worth considering, says Paul Reed, sociophoneticist at University of South Carolina, Columbia , who was not involved in the research. “How concrete [the connection] is would need to be researched,” he says, “but it’s definitely plausible.” However, Reed points out that stereotypes can also arise in a more arbitrary way—when a listener makes a random guess about a speech style they perceive as vaguely different.The other possibility, says Munson, is that parents of kids with the lispy “th” were more likely to bring them to the mental health center, which would have biased his study. If that’s the case, he says, no firm conclusions about learned speech patterns can be drawn from the work.In upcoming research, he plans to study how children interpret the social meaning of “s” sounds and whether, like adults, they perceive these sounds as more feminine, or adopt them because they carry other subtle meanings, such as a sense of precision or high level of education. “Which of those meanings the kids would be hooking up on,” he says, “I don’t know.” Emaillast_img read more

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Cold snap makes lizards evolve in just a few months

first_img By Elizabeth PennisiAug. 3, 2017 , 2:00 PM We may complain about freezing temperatures, but most cold snaps leave us little worse for the wear. That’s not the case for a common lizard living on the Texas-Mexico border, which, in just the span of a few months, underwent a dramatic genetic transformation in response to cold weather. In fact—in one of the most detailed examples of rapid evolution to date—a new study shows that just one cold snap can change the way green anoles’ muscular and nervous systems respond to temperature.“It’s a very conclusive instance of rapid evolution,” says Charles Brown, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, who was not involved with the work. The study, he says, is “one of the only real examples in which the genetic mechanisms behind these rapid evolutionary events have been shown.” And Michael Logan, an evolutionary ecologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, calls the work “the most comprehensive demonstration of natural selection to date” on how body temperature is regulated.Previous studies have documented weather-linked changes in animal shape and size. As far back as 1898, biologists found a population of sparrows that became bigger after a bad snowstorm. Brown’s research into cliff swallows has shown similar shifts in body shape and even behavior. And other studies of green anoles have shown changes, too: Anoles that moved to a new island with more trees than bushes evolved longer legs, perhaps to travel greater distances, whereas anoles living in cities have apparently evolved stickier feet to cling to metal and glass. Just this week, researchers reported that Brazilian geckos isolated on islands have evolved larger heads to eat bigger termites than they had access to before. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Cold snap makes lizards evolve in just a few months Lizards living near Brownsville, Texas, increased their cold tolerance by several degrees after a polar vortex swept through the region. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Researchers found rapid evolution in green anoles after an unexpected cold snap.  He found that lizards near the southernmost end of the range—near Brownsville, Texas—became uncoordinated at about 11°C. Lizards near the northernmost end of the range, however, could right themselves in temperatures as low as 6°C. And he saw differences in gene activity in lizards from those two places.He thought he and his colleagues were all done with his fieldwork when the winter of 2013–14 hit. It was a very unusual, extreme weather event. A polar vortex caused the lowest temperatures in 15 years in Texas and the rest of the southern United States. The snap lasted just a week in north Texas, but Brownsville, at the Mexican border, was “hammered,” says Ray Huey, an emeritus evolutionary physiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved with the work. There, the cold lasted a month. So Campbell-Staton and his team went back in the spring to see how the extreme weather had affected the lizards. Typically, researchers studying the effects of such an event can only indirectly assess what the animals were like beforehand. But Campbell-Staton already had those data in hand. He “was lucky in one sense,” Huey says. “They saw an opportunity and jumped on it.”When the researchers repeated the chamber experiments, they found the cold tolerance of the surviving Brownsville lizards had increased—the animals could right themselves down to 6°C, just like the northernmost lizards, Campbell-Staton and his colleagues report today in Science. And their DNA reflected this change. The repertoire of active genes in their livers more closely resembled those of the northern Texas lizards, including genes involved in the functioning of the nervous and muscular systems. That could help the chilled lizards maintain their coordination, the researchers write. “They got the whole animal all the way down to genomics,” Huey says. “It’s not often that you see [coverage] of such diverse levels of biological organization in the response to an extreme evolutionary event.” “I think these unusual weather events may be an underappreciated mechanism underlying rapid evolution,” Brown says. To see this 100 years after the sparrow study, but with additional techniques, is “really pleasing,” Huey adds.But as Butch Brodie, director of the University of Virginia Mountain Lake Biological Station in Pembroke points out, it’s not clear whether evolution will continue to push the lizards to be ever more cold tolerant. “The temptation from results like these is to assume extreme events drive much of evolutionary change, but it may not be that simple,” he says. It could be that cold tolerance comes at a cost to the lizard, he notes, so that in normal or warm winters, the cold-resistant lizards would be at a disadvantage. “I hope they will follow these populations over time to see if the cold tolerance stays at this new level,” Huey says.Tracking these lizards to see their evolution over the long term could help researchers understand whether evolution runs in fits and starts or proceeds steadily over time, an insight that would help us understand evolution more broadly.Campbell-Staton, now at the University of Illinois in Urbana, says he plans to continue visiting Texas to do just that. PiccoloNamek/Wikimedia Commons Alexander Jaffe But Harvard University graduate student Shane Campbell-Staton was interested in something else—anoles’ ability to adapt to the cold. Green anoles are brightly colored lizards that can easily switch their coloration from green to brown. Their ancestors hail from Cuba, but the slender reptiles long ago spread across the U.S. Southeast, and they’re often sold in pet stores under the name American chameleon.Wanting to understand how the wandering lizards managed to adapt to cold temperatures on their journey north, Campbell-Staton looked over several years at five populations of Anolis carolinensis living at different latitudes. He tested their temperature response by putting them in a chamber that gradually cooled. When they get too cold, they lose the coordination to right themselves after they’ve been flipped over. The test was an easy way to assess at what temperature the anoles ceased to be able to function right.  last_img read more

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How taming cows and horses sparked inequality across the ancient world

first_imgCattle and other livestock may have boosted inequality in Old World societies, including ancient Egypt.   Today, 2% of the world’s people own more than half its wealth. This rise of the superrich has economists, politicians, and citizens alike wondering how much inequality societies can—or should—accept. But economic inequality has deep roots. A study published this week in Nature concludes that its ancient hotbed was the Old World: Societies there tended to be less equal than those in the New World, likely because of the use of draft animals.“Nobody has tried to do this before—take this very broad view and see if there are significant differences between the Old World and the New World,” says historian Walter Scheidel of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who calls the results “quite striking.” Just as striking: Every ancient society studied was much more equal than the United States is today.Detailed economic records don’t exist for most premodern cultures, so the study’s authors needed a way not only to measure wealth at archaeological sites, but to compare it across societies. “To do a true comparative analysis, you have to get everything into the same framework,” says archaeologist Michael Smith of Arizona State University in Tempe, who led the study with Tim Kohler of Washington State University in Pullman. The researchers settled on house size, which many archaeologists already measure. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 1000 FRAGEN AN DIE NATUR, VIA THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, ROGERS FUND, 1948/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Email By Lizzie WadeNov. 15, 2017 , 1:00 PMcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The team worked with archaeologists around the world to collect data from 62 sites in North America and Eurasia dating from before 8000 B.C.E. to about 1750 C.E. (They also included one modern hunter-gatherer group, the !Kung San in Africa.) From the distribution of house sizes, they calculated each site’s Gini coefficient, a standard measure of inequality. Gini coefficients range from zero, indicating that each person has exactly the same amount of wealth, to one, representing a society in which a single person has all the wealth.The researchers found that inequality tended to gradually increase as societies transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming, supporting long-held hypotheses about how agriculture intensified social hierarchies. About 2500 years after the first appearance of domesticated plants in each region, average inequality in both the Old World and the New World hovered around a Gini coefficient of about 0.35. This figure stayed more or less steady in North America and Mesoamerica. But in the Middle East, China, Europe, and Egypt, inequality kept climbing over time, topping out at an average Gini coefficient of about 0.6, roughly 6000 years after the start of agriculture at Pompeii in ancient Rome and Kahun in ancient Egypt.Those numbers are far below the wealth inequality seen today in the United States and China, which have Gini coefficients of 0.8 and 0.73, respectively, according to studies by Chinese researchers and a 2008 United Nations study.The authors propose that domestic animals may explain the difference between the New World and the Old World: Whereas North American and Mesoamerican societies depended on human labor, Old World societies had oxen and cattle to plow fields and horses to carry goods and people. Livestock were an investment in future enterprises, allowing people to cultivate more land and stockpile food surpluses, as well as build trade caravans and armies to control huge territories. “Think about how people get rich in modern societies. They find clever ways to tie their current wealth into their future income,” Kohler says. Because land and livestock could be passed to future generations, certain families got even richer over time.Calculating Gini coefficients for ancient sites ought to be standard practice, says archaeologist Brian Hayden of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, but he notes that draft animals aren’t the only way to turn natural resources into heritable wealth. At Keatley Creek in British Columbia in Canada, he excavated houses up to 20 meters in diameter dating to between 2500 and 1100 years ago, and calculated a Gini coefficient of 0.38. He thinks that some families monopolized productive salmon fishing sites for generations, making this hunting and gathering society much less equal than others in the new data set. “The inheritance of fishing sites is exactly like the inheritance of land or cattle or anything else,” Hayden says. He’d like to see data from Andean South America, where empires from the Moche to the Inca controlled huge territories and also domesticated llamas and alpacas.Economist Peter Lindert of the University of California, Davis, calls the choice of house size as a wealth proxy “wise,” but archaeologist Melissa Vogel of Clemson University in South Carolina cautions that factors such as the quality of construction materials could complicate the analyses. “It’s great to try to do these larger comparisons,” she says. “But there are some real limitations.”David Carballo, an archaeologist at Boston University who studies the egalitarian society of Teotihuacan in central Mexico—Gini coefficient of 0.12—thinks such simplifications are a necessary price to pay for such a long and diverse record of inequality. Kohler and Smith hope other archaeologists will calculate Gini coefficients for their sites and add to the research. “We’re just scratching the surface,” Kohler says. How taming cows and horses sparked inequality across the ancient worldlast_img read more

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Mysterious masses of seaweed assault Caribbean islands

first_img Sea of trouble A satellite map from May shows abundant Sargassum across a swath of the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic that was largely free of floating seaweed until 2011. HELENE VALENZUELA/AFP/Getty Images (MAP) N. Desai/Science; (DATA) M. Wang, C. Hu, University of South Florida 0.00% PUERTO RICO This dead green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)—an endangered species—was found tangled in Sargassum on the island of Barbados on 8 June. Carla Daniel In retrospect, 2011 was just the first wave. That year, massive rafts of Sargassum—a brown seaweed that lives in the open ocean—washed up on beaches across the Caribbean, trapping sea turtles and filling the air with the stench of rotting eggs. “It presented immense challenges,” says Hazel Oxenford, a fisheries biologist at The University of the West Indies in Cave Hill, Barbados. Before then, beachgoers had sometimes noticed “little drifty bits on the tideline,” but the 2011 deluge of seaweed was unprecedented, she says, piling up meters thick in places. “We’d never seen it before.”Locals hoped the episode, a blow to tourism and fisheries, was a one-off. But a few years later “it came back worse,” Oxenford says. Now, the Caribbean is bracing for what could be the mother of all seaweed invasions, with satellite observations warning of record-setting Sargassum ​blooms and seaweed already swamping beaches. The Barbados government declared a national emergency on 7 June. “It’s catastrophic,” says James Franks, a marine biologist at The University of Southern Mississippi in Ocean Springs, who is one of many scientists trying to explain why a part of the ocean that was once seaweed-free is now rife with Sargassum. “Right now there’s [another] huge mass impacting Puerto Rico, and that’s the last thing they need.”Before 2011, open-ocean Sargassum was mostly found in the Sargasso Sea, a patch of the North Atlantic enclosed by ocean currents that serves as a spawning ground for eels. So when Sargassum first hit the Caribbean, scientists assumed that it had drifted south from the Sargasso Sea. But satellite imagery and data on ocean currents told a different story. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Since 2011, tropical Sargassum blooms have recurred nearly every year, satellite imagery showed. The new source region is encircled by currents running clockwise from South America to Africa and back again. From January to May, that loop breaks down and westward flows sweep Sargassum up the Brazilian coast toward the Caribbean. “All along the way, the Sargassum is blooming and growing,” Franks says.Yet in satellite data prior to 2011, the region is largely free of seaweed, says Chuanmin Hu, an oceanographer at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg and the senior author of a 2016 study that examined satellite data from 2000 to 2015. That sharpens the mystery of the sudden proliferation. “Nobody has a definite answer,” Hu says. Nutrient inputs from the Amazon River, which discharges into the ocean around where blooms were first spotted, may have stimulated Sargassum growth. But other factors, including changes in ocean currents and increased iron deposition from airborne dust, are equally plausible. It’s all “educated speculation,” Hu says. Jim Gower, a remote-sensing expert with Fisheries and Oceans Canada who is based in Sidney, British Columbia, and his colleagues looked for spots on the ocean’s surface that reflected unusual amounts of near-infrared light, a part of the spectrum that plants don’t harvest. Data from May 2011 showed a huge patch of floating plants, presumably Sargassum, off the coast of Brazil—far to the south of its normal habitat. By September, it stretched from the Caribbean all the way to the coast of Africa, the team reported in 2013.To confirm that the Sargassum fouling Caribbean beaches in 2011 came from the tropical Atlantic, east of Brazil, Franks and his colleagues traced the likely path of seaweed masses backward through time. First, they compiled records of locations where Sargassum came ashore. Then, using information about surface currents, they calculated its likely source. “Invariably, in all of those instances, it tracked back to the [tropical] region,” says Franks, who reported the findings in 2016. “None of it ever tracked northward into the Sargasso Sea.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe BARBADOScenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Sargassum ocean coverage in May 2018 >0.1% By Katie LanginJun. 11, 2018 , 5:20 PM Email Mysterious masses of seaweed assault Caribbean islands Some clues may come from the seaweed itself. Most of the Sargassum that’s blooming off the coast of Brazil has broader blades than the weed in the Sargasso Sea, says Amy Siuda, a biological oceanographer at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, who has examined hundreds of samples. Siuda is currently working with colleagues to figure out if the broad-blade form—which historically was rare in tropical areas—is a separate species. Figuring out the conditions that promote its growth could be key to explaining the proliferation, she says.In the meantime, the Caribbean is struggling to cope as yearly bouts of Sargassum become “the new normal,” says Iris Monnereau, a regional project coordinator for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Christ Church, Barbados. She’s particularly worried about this year, noting that the blooms visible in satellite imagery dwarf those of previous years. “You can’t solve the problem; you can’t put up a wall or anything,” she says. “It’s difficult to go forward.” Bilbao BRAZIL AtlanticOcean Deep drifts of Sargassum seaweed swept ashore on Guadeloupe in April.last_img read more

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Ancient grape seeds may link Sri Lankan trading port to Roman world

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Country Grape seeds found in ancient Sri Lanka may have been imported by Roman merchants. iStock.com/RinoCdZ Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Lizzie WadeDec. 12, 2018 , 7:00 AM Emailcenter_img Eleanor Kingwell-Banham, an archaeobotanist at University College London, joined the team to study the plant remains sifted from the excavated soil. She found an abundance of locally grown rice grains, but also more exotic products: charred black pepper dating to 600–700 C.E. and a single clove from 900–1100 C.E.—an exceptionally rare find, because ancient people were very careful with their spices, her team reports today in Antiquity. “Because [spices] are so valuable, people in the past really made sure they didn’t lose them or burn them,” Kingwell-Banham says. “These things were worth more than gold.” The clove, in particular, must have made quite a journey—about 7000 kilometers from its native home in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia.The team also found remains that could link the port city to the ancient Mediterranean world—processed wheat grains dated to 100 to 200 C.E. and grape seeds dated to 650 to 800 C.E. Neither crop can grow in Sri Lanka’s wet, tropical climate, so they had to be imported, possibly from as far as Arabia or the Roman world. Kingwell-Banham says her team is studying the chemical isotopes absorbed by the plants to determine where they were grown.But no matter their precise origin, the coexistence of rice and wheat is evidence of Mantai’s “cosmopolitan cuisine,” in which both local and foreign foods were eaten, she says. The discovery of wheat and grapes in Mantai “is entirely new,” and shifts the focus on goods transported from South Asia to the Roman world, to goods that went in the other direction,” Coningham says.So were there Roman merchants living in Mantai, importing and cooking the foods of their homeland? “It’s certainly a possibility,” says Matthew Cobb, a historian who studies ancient Indian Ocean trade networks at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter. But no one has yet clinched the case with Roman ceramics. So exactly who in Mantai had a taste for Mediterranean food remains to be seen.*Update, 12 December, 9:33 a.m.: This story has been updated to include the date of the wheat grains found in Mantai. Ancient grape seeds may link Sri Lankan trading port to Roman world Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Visit Mantai, nestled into a bay in northwestern Sri Lanka, and today you’ll see nothing but a solitary Hindu temple overlooking the sea. But 1500 years ago, Mantai was a bustling port where merchants traded their era’s most valuable commodities. Now, a study of ancient plant remains reveals traders from all corners of the world—including the Roman Empire—may have visited or even lived there.Mantai was a hub on the ancient trade networks that crisscrossed the Indian Ocean and connected the distant corners of Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The port town flourished between 200 B.C.E. and 850 C.E. During that time, it would have been a nexus for the spice trade, which ferried Indonesian cloves and Indian peppercorns to Middle Eastern and Roman kitchens.But for such a potentially important site in the ancient world, Mantai has been difficult for archaeologists to study. After excavations in the early 1980s, research was halted in 1984 by Sri Lanka’s civil war. “Mantai was firmly in the red zone,” says Robin Coningham, an archaeologist who studies South Asia at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Only after the fighting ended in 2009 could a team led by Sri Lanka’s Department of Archaeology return to continue excavations.last_img read more

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Parents emotional trauma may change their childrens biology Studies in mice show

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Andrew CurryJul. 18, 2019 , 2:05 PM Trauma That idea would have been laughed at 20 years ago. But today the hypothesis that an individual’s experience might alter the cells and behavior of their children and grandchildren has become widely accepted. In animals, exposure to stress, cold, or high-fat diets has been shown to trigger metabolic changes in later generations. And small studies in humans exposed to traumatic conditions—among them the children of Holocaust survivors—suggest subtle biological and health changes in their children.The implications are profound. If our experiences can have consequences that reverberate to our children or our children’s children, that’s a powerful argument against everything from smoking to immigration policies that split families. “This is really scary stuff. If what your grandmother and grandfather were exposed to is going to change your disease risk, the things we’re doing today that we thought were erased are affecting our great-great-grandchildren,” says Michael Skinner, a biologist at Washington State University in Pullman.Skinner’s own research in animals suggests changes to the epigenome, a swirl of biological factors that affect how genes are expressed, can be passed down through multiple generations. If trauma can trigger such epigenetic changes in people, the alterations could serve as biomarkers to identify individuals at greater risk for mental illness or other health problems—and as targets for interventions that might reverse that legacy. PIOTR PIWOWARSKI PIOTR PIWOWARSKI But proving that emotional trauma, as distinct from physical stress, can be passed on to subsequent generations in people is a challenge. “The difficulty … is being able to disentangle what comes through social inheritance—which must be massive—and what doesn’t,” says neuroscientist Johannes Bohacek of ETH Zurich. “The jury is still out on humans.”Some of the field’s biggest names also worry that the idea could have dangerous consequences. Rachel Yehuda of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City studied the children of 40 Holocaust survivors and found lower baseline levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as a distinctive pattern of DNA methylation, an epigenetic marker. But in a paper last year, she said it would be “premature” to conclude that trauma causes heritable changes, adding that hyped media coverage could promote a misleading narrative of hopelessness, suggesting that one generation’s trauma permanently scars later generations.”There’s a lot of overinterpretation of initial results,” says Columbia University biologist Katherine Crocker, who studies nongenetic inheritance in crickets. “What is out there in the public mind about epigenetics probably can never be proved.”To investigate, Jawaid is collecting blood and saliva samples from the Pakistani orphans and from classmates who live with parents. As a researcher in the lab of Isabelle Mansuy of UZH and ETH Zurich, he hopes to learn whether the trauma of loss and forced separation has left identifiable marks at the cellular level. But to really prove transgenerational inheritance, he’d have to study the orphans for years—until they have children of their own. That’s why Mansuy herself has turned to mice.One recent afternoon, Mansuy donned a fresh lab coat and blue sanitary booties and gently cracked the door of a darkened room at her lab at UZH. A powerful smell—something like dog chow mixed with animal musk—wafted out on a gust of warm air. Inside were hundreds of mice in 40 breeding cages. “We keep it dark during the day to preserve their circadian rhythm when we work with them,” Mansuy says in a hushed voice. “This is our 31st cohort.”The idea Mansuy is exploring—that not all inherited characteristics are rooted in DNA—dates back more than half a century. Tantalizing early results came from maize, in which plants with identical DNA had variations in traits such as kernel color that persisted for hundreds of generations. The work was initially controversial, as geneticists saw it as a revival of the non-Darwinian ideas of 19th century scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.But experiments in many organisms suggested epigenetic inheritance was real. In simple creatures like Caenorhabditis elegans worms, researchers found that genes turned off once by altering the RNA they produced remained silenced for 80 generations or more. Some examples were even more dramatic: Water fleas exposed to the scent of a predator have offspring with spiky, armored heads. And in mice, researchers including Skinner found that parents exposed to altered diets, low temperatures, or toxins had descendants with behavioral changes and weight gain. Still, mouse data in hand, Mansuy has been looking for similar epigenetic changes in people. She analyzed blood samples from Dutch soldiers, collected before and after deployment to Afghanistan between 2005 and 2008. And she’s working with clinicians in Nice, France, to examine blood samples from survivors of a horrific 2015 terror attack.Other researchers had found altered sncRNAs in the blood of the soldiers. In 2017, for example, Dutch researchers showed soldiers exposed to combat trauma had recognizable differences in dozens of sncRNA groups, some of them correlated with PTSD. But Mansuy couldn’t find the same kinds of RNA changes that appeared in her lab’s mice. That could be because the soldiers’ samples were years old, or simply because mice and people are different, showing the limits of mouse models. But Mansuy hopes it means epigenetic changes are sensitive to the type of trauma and when it occurs in the life course. Mice can never perfectly replicate human suffering, but, she says, “the best approach” for research “is to select a population of humans who have gone through conditions which are as similar as possible to our model.”That’s where the Pakistani orphans come in. The children’s chaotic early years may have some similarities to what the mice in Mansuy’s lab experience, she says, including unpredictable separation from their mothers.Early results are promising. “We have overlapping findings with the mouse model,” Jawaid says. In a preprint uploaded last month to bioRxiv, Mansuy and Jawaid documented changes in the levels of fatty acids in the orphans’ blood and saliva that mimicked changes in the traumatized mice—as well as similar sncRNA alterations. The presence of similar biomarkers “suggests that comparable pathways are operating after trauma in mice and children,” Mansuy says.In a conceptually similar effort to go from mice to people, biologist Larry Feig at Tufts University in Boston exposed male mice to social stress by routinely changing their cage mates. Their sperm had altered levels of specific sncRNA groups—albeit different ones from those altered in Mansuy’s mice—and their offspring were more anxious and less sociable than the offspring of unstressed parents.Working with a sperm bank, Feig then looked for the same sncRNAs in human sperm. He also asked donors to fill out the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) questionnaire, which asks about abusive or dysfunctional family history. The higher the men’s ACE score, the more likely they were to have sperm sncRNA profiles matching what Feig had seen in mice.But this body of research hasn’t convinced everyone. Geneticist John Greally at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City has been a vocal critic of the evidence for epigenetic inheritance of trauma, pointing at small sample sizes and an overreliance on epidemiological studies. For now, he says, “Mouse models are the way to go.” He’s not yet seen definitive experiments even in mice, he says. “I’d like to see us be more bold and brave and move from preliminary association studies to definitive studies—and be open to the idea that there may be nothing there.”In a darkened room down the hall from Mansuy’s office, just outside the mouse breeding area, two cages stand side by side on a table. One is a standard lab mouse enclosure, not much bigger than a shoebox. Wood chip–strewn cages like this are where most lab mice, including most of Mansuy’s animals, spend their lives.Next to it, black-furred, pink-tailed mice scurry up and down in a luxury two-story mouse house, equipped with three running wheels and a miniature maze. Their environment is designed to stimulate their senses and engage more of their brains in play and exploration.In 2016, Mansuy published evidence that traumatized mice raised in this enriched environment didn’t pass the symptoms of trauma to their offspring. The limited data—Mansuy says her lab is now working on an expanded study—suggest life experience can be healing as well as hurtful at the molecular level. “Environmental enrichment at the right time could eventually help correct some of the alterations which are induced by trauma,” Mansuy says.This and a few other studies suggesting epigenetic change is reversible have the potential to change the narrative of doom around the topic, researchers say. “If it’s epigenetic, it’s responsive to the environment,” says Feig, who more than a decade ago found similar effects on brain function across generations by giving mice play tubes, running wheels, toys, and larger cages. “That means negative environmental effects are likely reversible.”In public talks and interviews, Mansuy says she’s careful not to promise too much. As confident as she is in her mouse model, she says, there’s lots more work to be done. “I don’t think the field is moving too fast,” Mansuy says. “I think it’s moving too slow.” Troubled offspring To explore how trauma affects generations of mice, such as the grandfather, father, and son below, researchers stressed mother mice. Their pups then exhibited both molecular and behavioral changes, such as taking more risks on an elevated maze. These changes persisted for up to five generations. ALI JAWAID ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—The children living in SOS Children’s Villages orphanages in Pakistan have had a rough start in life. Many have lost their fathers, which in conservative Pakistani society can effectively mean losing their mothers, too: Destitute widows often struggle to find enough work to support their families and may have to give up their children.The orphanages, in Multan, Lahore, and Islamabad, provide shelter and health care and send kids to local schools, trying to provide “the best possible support,” says University of Zurich (UZH) physician and neuroscientist Ali Jawaid. “But despite that, these children experience symptoms similar to PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],” including anxiety and depression.Beyond these psychological burdens, Jawaid wonders about a potential hidden consequence of the children’s experience. He has set up a study with the orphanages to probe the disturbing possibility that the emotional trauma of separation from their parents also triggers subtle biological alterations—changes so lasting that the children might even pass them to their own offspring. Epidemiological studies of people have revealed similar patterns. One of the best-known cases is the Dutch hunger winter, a famine that gripped the Netherlands in the closing months of World War II. The children of women pregnant during the food shortages died earlier than peers born just before, and had higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and schizophrenia. Studies of other groups suggested the children of parents who had starved early in life—even in the womb—had more heart disease. And a look last year at historical records showed the sons of Civil War soldiers who had spent time as prisoners of war (POWs) were more likely to die early than the sons of their fellow veterans. (The researchers controlled for socioeconomic status and maternal health.)But the human studies faced an obvious objection: The trauma could have been transmitted through parenting rather than epigenetics. Something about the POW experience, for example, might have made those veterans poor fathers, to the detriment of their sons’ lives. The psychological impact of growing up with a parent who starved as a child or survived the Holocaust could itself be enough to shape a child’s behavior. Answering that objection is where mouse models come in.Mansuy began in 2001 by designing a mouse intervention that re-creates some aspects of childhood trauma. She separates mouse mothers from their pups at unpredictable intervals and further disrupts parenting by confining the mothers in tubes or dropping them in water, both stressful experiences for mice. When the mothers return to the cage and their pups, they’re frantic and distracted. They often ignore the pups, compounding the stress of the separation on their offspring.Mansuy says the mice’s suffering has a purpose. “We’re applying a paradigm that is inspired by human conditions,” she says. “We’re doing it to gain understanding for better child health.”Unsurprisingly, the pups of stressed mothers displayed altered behavior as adults. But to Mansuy’s surprise, the behavioral changes persisted in the offspring’s offspring. Initially, she thought this could be a result of the offspring’s own behavior: Mice traumatized as pups could have been bad parents, replicating the neglect they experienced in childhood. Thus they might simply be passing on a behavioral legacy—the same lasting psychological effect that might explain such findings in humans.To rule out that possibility, Mansuy studied only the male line, breeding untraumatized, “naïve” female mice with traumatized males, and then removing males from the mother’s cage so that their behavior did not impact their offspring. After weaning, she raised the mice in mixed groups to prevent litter mates from reinforcing each other’s behaviors.Her lab repeated the procedure, sometimes going out six generations. “It worked immediately,” she says of the protocol. “We could see that there were symptoms [in descendants] that were similar to the animals that were themselves separated.” Descendants of stressed fathers displayed more risk-taking behavior, like exploring exposed areas of a platform suspended off the ground. When dropped in water, they “gave up” and stopped swimming sooner than control mice, an indicator of depressivelike behavior in mice.Mansuy is “definitely a pioneer,” says Romain Barrès, a molecular biologist at the University of Copenhagen. Other researchers have developed conceptually similar models, for example giving male mice altered diets or exposing them to nicotine and tracing metabolic and behavioral changes out for generations.”If you’re asking, ‘Does the experience of the parent influence the process of development?’ the answer is yes,” says epigenetics researcher Michael Meaney at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, whose own studies have shown that differences in maternal care can have epigenetic effects on brain development. “Isabelle and others have documented the degree to which the experience of the parent can be passed on. The question [is] how.”Three massive freezers down the hall from Mansuy’s office are filled with samples of mouse blood, liver, milk, microbiome, and other tissues. These serve as a −80°C archive of more than 10 years of data. Mansuy estimates she’s collected behavioral data and tissue samples from thousands of mice altogether. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Trauma experiencedBehavioral changesMotherOffspring Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE Trauma to a mother mouse can alter the behavior of her descendants over multiple generations, like this father, son, and grandson. (…) Isabelle Mansuy is searching for molecular changes that could explain how trauma in mice affects their offspring. Ali Jawaid (back right) works with children in a Pakistani orphanage. One boy has just given a blood sample for an epigenetics study. She hopes the biological markers of trauma are hidden in those freezers, waiting to be revealed. Many of the early mammalian epigenetics studies focused on DNA methylation, which “tags” DNA with methyl groups that switch genes off. But those changes seemed unlikely to be directly inherited: In mammals, methylation is mostly erased when egg and sperm come together to form an embryo.Mansuy and others still think methylation could have some role. But they are also zeroing in on tiny information-rich molecules called small noncoding RNAs (sncRNAs). Most RNA is copied from DNA, and then acts as a messenger to instruct the cell’s ribosomes to produce specific proteins. But cells also contain short strands of RNA that don’t produce proteins. Instead, these noncoding RNAs piggyback on the messenger RNAs, interfering with or amplifying their function, thus causing more or less of certain proteins to be produced.Mansuy and others think stress may influence sncRNAs, along with the many other biochemical changes it causes, from higher levels of hormones like cortisol to inflammation. They have focused on the sncRNAs in sperm, which may be especially vulnerable to stress during the weeks that newly formed sperm spend maturing in a twisting tube on top of the testes. Later, when sperm and egg come together, altered sncRNAs could modify the production of proteins at the very beginning of development in a way that ripples through the millions and millions of cell divisions that follow. “Hosts of signals happen as those cells become a zygote,” says epigeneticist Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. “If dad brings small noncoding RNAs that have an effect on mom’s RNAs, that can change the trajectory of embryo development.”Bale found evidence that trauma can affect sncRNAs in sperm—and that the effects might be transmitted to offspring. She stressed mice during adolescence by barraging them for weeks at unpredictable intervals, with things like fox odors, loud noises, and bright light. Then, she examined the sncRNAs in their sperm and offspring. She found differences in nine types of sncRNAs, including one that regulates SIRT1, a gene that affects metabolism and cell growth.She then created RNA molecules with similar alterations and injected them into early-stage embryos. When those embryos grew to adults, they carried RNA alterations like those seen in the sperm. This second generation also had lower levels of corticosterone, the mouse equivalent of cortisol, after a stressful spell inside a tight tube. “If you do the same RNA changes, you produce offspring with the same phenotype,” Bale says.Mansuy found similar RNA changes in her male mice traumatized as pups. They had higher levels of specific sncRNAs, including miR-375, which plays a role in stress response. Mansuy is convinced those molecular changes account for some of the inherited behavioral traits she documented. In one experiment, her team injected RNA from traumatized male sperm into the fertilized eggs of untraumatized parents and saw the same behavioral changes in the resulting mice.But although the cause, in the form of altered RNA, and the effect, in the form of altered behavior and physiology, are identifiable in mouse experiments, everything else remains maddeningly difficult to untangle, especially in people. “The field has come a long way in the last 5 years,” Bale says. “But we don’t know what’s going on in humans because we don’t have a controlled environment.” Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how Epigenetic changes, such as methylation of DNA and alteration of RNA Mother separatedfrom pups andtraumatized.Mother oftenignores pups.Three-month-oldmale offspring mated with untraumatized females.Offspring showepigenetic andbehavioral changeswithout havingexperienced trauma.Breeding carried outfor six generations.last_img read more

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