How a planet could survive a collision between its two suns

first_imgWhile searching for Earth-like planets, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has come across 10 that share one very un-Earth-like quality: They orbit two stars, instead of one. The worlds are aptly named “circumbinary planets” (“circum” meaning around, and “binary” referring to two objects), and in this type of binary system, the two stars orbit each other while the planet orbits the two stars (pictured above). But only the lucky binaries seem to have planets that orbit them; some stellar binaries that lack orbiting bodies have a different third party—a distant star that’s so massive, its gravitational fluxes actually change the orbit of the stellar binary, causing the two stars to shrink together in a process called orbital decay. If left uninterrupted, the stars will eventually collide together in a violent, calamitous explosion. Now, astronomers have asked a new question: What would happen if a circumbinary planet were in the mix? Naturally, one assumes its inevitable, fiery demise. But findings, published online 9 July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal that may not be the case. Using a combination of theoretical and numerical formulas, astronomers calculated that the planet may actually be able to survive the blast. The difference between life and death depends on that third, distant body. The researchers mathematically showed that the same mechanism that forces the binary together shifts the alignment of the circumbinary planet, potentially allowing it to sneak far enough away to escape incineration. Even so, surviving without a home base is a bit of a lonely swap.last_img read more

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How a young child fought off the AIDS virus

first_imgIn 1996, a baby infected with HIV at birth was started on anti-AIDS drugs. But at age 6, against the advice of doctors, her family stopped treatment. Twelve years later, the young French woman is still healthy, with no detectable virus in her blood. Her unusual case, reported today at an international AIDS conference in Vancouver, Canada, may hold clues that might help other HIV-infected people control their infections without antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and offer insights to AIDS vaccine developers.The case adds a new wrinkle to earlier reports of people who manage to control their HIV infections on their own: the so-called elite controllers, who never receive treatment yet suppress the virus to low levels, and posttreatment controllers like the “Mississippi baby,” who stopped taking ARVs at 18 months of age and remained virus free for more than 2 years. In 2013, many researchers thought that child might have been “cured,” but HIV came back strong after 27 months off treatment.This time, it’s clear that the French woman is not cured: Investigators have found strong signals of HIV DNA in her immune cells and can readily induce them to produce virus, says Asier Sáez-Cirión, a viral immunologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris who reported on her case. But she is the first documented HIV-infected child to go off treatment and remain in remission for this length of time. “We don’t know why this happened,” Sáez-Cirión says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Some clues may come from a group of people infected by HIV as adults, known as the VISCONTI cohort, who went off ARVs and did not have the virus return for many years. As Sáez-Cirión and colleagues described in the March 2013 issue of PLOS Pathogens, the adults were diagnosed shortly after they became infected, began ARVs immediately, and stayed on them for an average of 3 years. At the time of that publication, the average person had been off ARVs for 7 years. Sáez-Cirión and co-workers have added the new case to the VISCONTI group, which now has 20 members.The people in the VISCONTI cohort look strikingly different from elite controllers, the 1% of HIV-infected people who never have high virus levels, even in the first weeks of infection, despite never receiving treatment. Although no single factor explains the unusual ability of elite controllers to rein in HIV, many are genetically predisposed to have high levels of the CD8 lymphocytes that identify and eliminate cells infected with HIV. Posttreatment controllers, like the people in VISCONTI, have high virus levels shortly after infection and their immune systems rapidly deteriorate. Paradoxically, many have a genetic background that predisposes them to a weak adaptive immune response to the virus.Sáez-Cirión thinks they may be receiving help instead from the more primitive and less powerful “innate” immune system that serves as a frontline defense against invaders. The researchers suspect that the innate immune system may be strong enough to contain HIV if people have very small reservoirs of viral DNA. Members of the VISCONTI cohort began treatment so quickly after infection that those reservoirs never got a chance to fill.Another, somewhat counterintuitive, possibility is that the weak immune response in posttreatment controllers helps limit the size of the reservoir before the drugs are even started. HIV preferentially targets and infects the CD4 white blood cells that help fight infections. A weak CD4 response to the virus means fewer targets for it to infect.Sáez-Cirión also suggests a third possibility: that some posttreatment controllers happen to be infected with a weaker form of the virus—a mutant resulting from HIV’s error-prone replication.Anthony Fauci, who heads the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he’s intrigued by the new French case and how it fits together with the Mississippi child. “There’s something about the immune system of a very young person,” Fauci says. “The Mississippi child was a tickler for us, and I wouldn’t throw it out the window—27 months is a long time. Maybe, somehow, the way that child kept the virus under control is the same as the new case. I have an entirely open mind.”last_img read more

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Antisocial cave fish may hold clues to schizophrenia, autism

first_imgCave fish have long fascinated biologists because of their missing eyes and pale skin. Now, one researcher is studying them for another reason: Their behavior may provide clues to the genetic basis of some human psychiatric disorders. Last week at the 23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology in Fayetteville, Arkansas, he demonstrated how drugs that help people with schizophrenia and autism similarly affect the fish.“I think there is a lot of potential” for these fish to teach us about mental disorders, says David Culver, an evolutionary biologist at American University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study. Culver adds that—like other work on the cause of cave fish blindness—the new research may also have implications for human disease.A decade ago, the lead author on the new study, Masato Yoshizawa, wanted to understand brain evolution by investigating the effects of natural selection on behavior. The Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus), a cave fish with very close surface relatives, seemed an excellent prospect for that work. Because the two populations can interbreed, it’s easier to pin down genes that might be related to the neural defects underlying behavioral differences. Such breeding studies are not possible in humans.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The blind cave fish differ from their surface relatives in several notable ways. They don’t have a social structure and they don’t school. Instead, they lead solitary lives—a behavior that makes sense given their lack of natural predators. They also almost never sleep. They are hyperactive, and—unlike other fish—they are attracted to certain vibrations in the water. Finally, they tend to do the same behavior over and over again and seem to have higher anxiety than their surface relatives.Yoshizawa, now an evolutionary developmental biologist at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, has been testing whether these fish might be useful in understanding the genetic basis of schizophrenia or autism. Studies in typical model animals—mice—are rarely illuminating, because the rodents often still behave normally when researchers manipulate genes that should cause these disorders. But even without genetic tinkering, the fish already show certain “symptoms” of the diseases, such as sleeplessness, hyperactivity, and asocial behavior.What’s more, 90% of the 101 classic risk factor genes for human psychiatric diseases are also found in the cave fish genome, according to Yoshizawa’s comparison of genomes and transcriptomes—surveys of active genes—in cave fish and humans. Fully one-third of those genes are more or less active in the cave fish than they are in the surface fish.As a first step toward assessing this new model, Yoshizawa and others have treated cave fish with several psychiatric drugs. Three years ago, a French team showed that the antidepressant Fluoxetine (commonly known as Prozac) caused the fish to become more aggressive toward each other. Yoshizawa has now shown that Fluoxetine—along with the antipsychotic Clozapine—made the fish sleep more and swim around less. “Overall, these drug responses in cave fish are very similar to what you see in human patients,” he said last week at the meeting in Fayetteville. “These are strong evidence that cave fish could be a good model for human psychiatric disease.”Now, he and his colleagues are studying larger numbers of cave fish with variation in these behaviors, in the hopes that they can tease out which versions of which genes are associated with the extremes of these behaviors. From there, they plan to study how those genes interact with each other and the environment to alter fish behavior. Combined with insights into gene expression, nerve connections, and imaging the neural activity, the work could help prune the long list of genes implicated in autism and schizophrenia, Yoshizawa says.Of course, Yoshizawa faces a long road ahead. “As with any model system, cave fish has limitations,” says Houmam Araj, a program officer at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved with the work. Fish and humans are separated by 400 million years of evolution, so the control of these behaviors may not be the same in humans and fish. Still, Culver says, “I think this is really exciting stuff.”last_img read more

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Here’s what the likely new FDA director has in mind for the nation’s medicine cabinet

first_img By John Carroll, Endpoints NewsMar. 10, 2017 , 2:45 PM Read more… The U.S. Food and Drug Administration/FLICKR Here’s what the likely new FDA director has in mind for the nation’s medicine cabinetcenter_img Other potential reforms include the possible quick adoption of new devices that could be used to  improve the kind of medtech Apple, Verily and others have been working on.Gottlieb has also backed the publication of the FDA’s complete response letters, detailing the reasons why the agency rejects a drug. Over the years regulators have routinely complained that many companies have been less than honest in recounting the FDA’s position on a drug. The FDA is currently restricted by law in its public discussion about a new drug approval.The move could also spell relief for Amicus Therapeutics and CEO John Crowley, who personally lobbied the president on the FDA’s decision to delay any final decision on their drug for Fabry disease so they could see the results of a safety study in 2019.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Left out in the move: Jim O’Neill. The close associate of Peter Thiel, O’Neill famously suggested that drugs should be approved based on safety alone, letting consumers sort out what works. That left many fearing that Trump intended to toss out the regulatory framework for new drug approvals, raising fears that his idea of competition would allow de facto placebos to compete for market share.Trump has repeatedly criticized biopharma for outrageously high drug prices, vowing to simplify the drug development process as he also sought to dramatically lower the price of drugs.Reprinted from Endpoints News. Copyright 2017. Endpoints News reports and analyzes the top global biotech and pharmaceutical R&D news of the day. Sign up for its free reports at https://endpts.com Originally published by Endpoints NewsCiting sources, Reuters reported Friday afternoon that President Trump is close to naming Scott Gottlieb as the next FDA commissioner. The news could come any moment, according to the wire service, resolving an issue that has huge implications for biopharma.If the story holds up, Gottlieb’s nomination would be widely applauded by the biopharma industry, which would likely see the move as a commitment for continued reform without the kind of wholesale deregulation that would scuttle the agency’s gold standard for drug reviews.As I reported two weeks ago, Gottlieb has mapped out an aggressive reform agenda in anticipation of this appointment.According to his statements as well as comments to people familiar with his thinking on the FDA, Gottlieb intends to shoot for the rapid approval of complex generics, ushering in a wave of less expensive rivals to some of the biggest blockbusters on the market. He’s also likely to spur the FDA to follow the course laid out by agency cancer czar Richard Pazdur in speeding new approvals, possibly setting up a special unit aimed at orphan drugs to hasten OKs with smaller, better designed clinical trials.last_img read more

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‘This is amazing!’ African elephants may transport seeds farther than any other land animal

first_img 0 km 1 2 5 km 6 © Jonathan & Angela Scott/AWL Images Ltd/Aurora Photos 1 m 0 km 100 km 200 km 300 km By Erik StokstadApr. 10, 2017 , 2:30 PM Seedy competitionAmong seed dispersers on the savanna (black), elephants are the champs in how far they can move seeds, as measured and inferred by researchers. Globally, migratory birds top the list. 6 km 65 km Forest elephant (Graphic) A. Cuadra and G. Grullón/Science; (Data) K. Bunney Ants A bull elephant eats from a fig tree in Kenya. Savanna elephants can transport seeds many kilometers and likely help maintain the genetic diversity of trees.center_img Savanna elephant 2000 m 300 km 850 m Vervet monkey Migratorybirds Trumpeterhombill ‘This is amazing!’ African elephants may transport seeds farther than any other land animal The African savanna elephant holds the prize for largest living terrestrial animal, and now it apparently just set another land record: the longest distance mover of seeds. The pachyderms can transport seeds up to 65 kilometers, according to a study of elephant dung in South Africa. That’s 30 times farther than savanna birds take seeds, and it indicates that elephants play a significant role in maintaining the genetic diversity of trees on the savanna.“The scale of movement is really mind opening,” says Greg Adler, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh who was not involved in the study. “The implication is that elephants are absolutely critical to the integrity of these African savanna ecosystems.”Plants make fruit to encourage animals to eat and then move their seeds to new locations. Not only does this help expand the plant population, it also prevents seedlings from competing with their parents or suffering from any pathogens that may have accumulated in their home turf. Seeds lucky enough to be eaten by a large animal drop onto their new habitat encased in a big lump of nutrients. For some species, passing through the digestive tract of an animal increases the percentage of seeds that sprout. There seem to be other benefits as well; elephant dung, for example, somehow protects seeds from predation by beetles.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Katherine Bunney became interested in the role of elephants in moving seeds while a graduate student in ecology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She had read about large fruit in Central and South American forests that falls to the ground and rots because it evolved to be eaten by large herbivores now extinct. “I thought, ‘How lucky we are to still have ours,’” she says. “I wanted to start exploring what they do.” Studies in Asia and Africa have shown that forest elephants consume a large amount and diversity of fruit and spread the seeds, but little research had been done on seed dispersal by savanna elephants.The first thing that Bunney needed to know was how long seeds stay inside elephants while winding through their 20-meter-long intestines. For a week, she fed fruit to four elephants in a sanctuary near Kruger National Park in South Africa. She gave them honeydew melons because their smaller, softer seeds are relatively easy to distinguish from the seeds of the tree fruit the elephants were already eating.Keepers followed each elephant during the day, bagging the dung and bringing it back to Bunney, who sorted through hundreds of kilograms and counted the melon seeds. (It took a sharp eye, because the seeds were stained the same olive green as the rough, dry dung.) At night, Bunney fetched the dung herself from each elephant’s compound. “It was quite all-consuming and nonstop,” she says. The elephants, she found, defecated most of the seeds within 33 hours, while the last ones plopped out after 96 hours. The next step was to find out how far savanna elephants typically move. Bunney reached out to a conservation group called Elephants Alive that as part of its research has put collars with tracking devices on elephants in Greater Kruger National Park. With 8 years of data on 38 elephants, Bunney calculated the probability of seeds being moved various distances. For any given fruit, an elephant would move half the seeds 2.5 kilometers from where they were eaten, and 1% of seeds would move farther than 20 kilometers, Bunney and her colleagues report online in Biotropica. In extreme cases a seed could travel up to 65 kilometers, such as when male elephants take long treks searching for a mate.“This is amazing!” says Mauro Galetti, an ecologist at São Paulo State University in São Paulo, Brazil, who has studied seed dispersal by vertebrates for more than 20 years. Bunney suspects seeds travel even farther in Namibia, where elephants must roam to find water. In comparison, the likely maximum distance for seed transport by forest elephants has been calculated at just 5 to 6 kilometers. These animals probably have to walk less far than savanna elephants to find fruit, Bunney says.The world record for seed dispersal probably belongs to a bird (see chart). Most birds aren’t thought to be long-haul movers, because they tend to pass seeds through their guts quickly to shed the weight. However, some light, sticky seeds attach to feathers or legs and hitchhike long distances, and a study last year revealed seeds in the digestive tracts of migratory birds that had flown at least 300 kilometers.  On the savanna, elephants certainly trump the other known seed dispersers. Ants tend to move seeds about a meter, vervet monkeys less than 850 meters, and trumpeter hornbills as far as 2000 meters. In addition to their more expansive range, elephants can eat larger fruit than many other species, such as the meter-long seed pods of the sausage tree. And then there’s the sheer volume: Each elephant may deposit nearly 3200 seeds a day, estimates Joseph Dudley, an ecologist with Leidos, a science and engineering company in Germantown, Maryland, who studied savanna elephants in Zimbabwe in the 1990s.The genetic diversity of many tree species is maintained, and local inbreeding prevented, when their seeds are scattered widely by elephants. “They’re seeding genes—literally—across the landscape.” And it could provide insurance against climate change, he adds, by taking seeds into areas where the conditions may become suitable for the trees in the future.Elephants are doing well in South Africa, despite an uptick in illegal killings, but many populations elsewhere are declining because of poaching for ivory. If these creatures are lost, and their seeds no longer dispersed, Adler says, tree species in the savanna might have smaller ranges and perhaps eventually vanish. Bunney, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, is exploring the degree to which various savanna trees depend on elephants for seed dispersal, including the iconic baobab and marula. “The extinction of elephants would have a profound effect on plant survival and gene flow,” Galetti warns.last_img read more

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Blood from young people does little to reverse Alzheimer’s in first test

first_imgA company is testing whether plasma from young donors can help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Blood from young people does little to reverse Alzheimer’s in first test By Jocelyn KaiserNov. 1, 2017 , 12:40 PM Christian Charisius/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images The first rigorous clinical test of whether blood plasma donated by healthy young people can help reverse Alzheimer’s disease in older adults has found that the treatment produced minimal, if any, benefits.In the study of 18 people with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers reported that on average their charges performed slightly better at daily tasks after receiving weekly injections of young plasma, according to the abstract of a talk to be presented on Saturday at the 10th Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease meeting in Boston. But the patients did no better on cognitive tests administered by researchers—a crucial standard for whether the treatment had a significant impact. All the same, the sponsor of the trial—startup company Alkahest in San Carlos, California, is “encouraged” to run more trials, says CEO Karoly Nikolich.The notion that young blood may have antiaging or other beneficial properties comes from 150-year-old experiments that stitched together the skins of two still-living old and young mice, allowing their circulation to be shared. Researchers who recently revived the technique have reported that this so-called parabiosis revitalizes the liver, muscles, and brain of the old mice. They are now hunting for molecules within young blood that may explain these apparent antiaging effects.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Three years ago, neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray’s lab at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, found that injections of the plasma portion of blood from young mice could achieve the same antiaging effects as parabiosis in old mice. And his group reported last year that injections of young mouse plasma improved cognitive function in mice with a form of Alzheimer’s.To test whether young plasma could similarly help people with Alzheimer’s, Alkahest—which Wyss-Coray co-founded—sponsored a small trial led by Stanford neurologist Sharon Sha. Nine patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s got four once-weekly infusions of either saline (as a placebo) or plasma from 18- to 30-year-old male donors. After a 6-week break, the infusions were switched so that the patients who had gotten plasma got saline, and the patients who had gotten saline received plasma. Another nine patients received young plasma only, and no placebo. Several patients dropped out of the trial for various reasons, including one who developed a rash from an infusion and another who had an unrelated stroke.The remaining patients who completed the young plasma treatment performed no better overall on objective cognitive tests given by medical staff. However, on average their scores improved slightly—4.5 points on a 30-point scale—on a caregiver survey about whether they needed help with daily activities such as making a meal or traveling. The patients’ average scores also improved modestly on another survey that asks caregivers how well patients can perform simple tasks like getting dressed and shopping.Non–Alkahast affiliated Alzheimer’s researchers who have read the abstract are intrigued but cautious. Howard Feldman of the University of California, San Diego, calls the results “interesting,” but adds that the study raises many questions, such as what cellular process in the brain the treatment is targeting.That’s what neuroscientist Zaven Khachaturian, who retired from the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, and is now a scientific advisor to the Alzheimer’s Association, wants to know. “They need to explain the potential mode of action,” he says. He wants to keep an “open mind,” but adds that the positive effects reported by the caregivers could merely be a placebo effect: “[Patients] could feel better because somebody paid attention to them.”Wyss-Coray agrees that not much can be concluded from the small trial, but says, “It’s tempting to feel hopeful about the improvement in functional scores.” Because the treatment seemed safe, Alkahest now wants to launch another trial that will use just the fraction of the blood plasma that contains growth factors, but not coagulation factors and other components that may do more harm than good. In animals, this plasma fraction was more effective at improving cognition in the mice with an Alzheimer’s-like condition than whole plasma, Wyss-Coray says. Alkahest also wants to test a range of doses and include patients with more severe Alzheimer’s.Resolving whether young plasma works has recently taken on an increased urgency, as a private clinic in California is already offering plasma infusions for people, sick or healthy, willing to pay $8000 for a 2-day young plasma treatment. That treatment has been characterized by the company as a “clinical trial,” but researchers have criticized the effort as unscientific.*Correction, 8 November, 10:35 a.m.: The number of patients who completed the study has been corrected.last_img read more

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Meet the scientists running to transform Congress in 2018

first_imgBiochemist and congressional candidate Randy Wadkins meets voters in Columbus, Mississippi. The science candidates: races to watch in 2018 By Jeffrey MervisFeb. 22, 2018 , 2:00 PM For the moment, however, Wadkins is focused on getting his message out: Kelly has been all too willing to fall in line behind Trump and Republican leaders, and voters need someone who will fight for their interests. Doing so takes money—a precious commodity in his district.”I’m a Democrat running in one of the poorest districts in the poorest state in the nation,” he says. So, Wadkins has cast a wider net, with a fundraiser last fall in Silicon Valley—organized by a colleague who spent a year at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California—as well as the January event in the nation’s capital.Wadkins is no stranger to Washington, D.C. In 2015, he took a sabbatical year to work as a congressional science fellow for Representative Steve Cohen (D–TN) on health care issues. (The program is managed by AAAS, which publishes Science.)Although there were no high rollers in the crowd, which included several other former fellows, Wadkins was pleased to net $3000. That amount, added to the $55,000 he’d raised by that point, has been enough to fuel a campaign that competes for attention with his academic duties. But it is an order of magnitude less than many other candidates around the country have amassed.The lawyers, executives, and career politicians who typically seek federal office often enjoy long-cultivated and extensive networks of wealthy donors who fuel their campaigns. Scientists generally lack such networks. And once they reach out to their natural constituency, they quickly discover that the average scientist isn’t rich, isn’t used to contributing to a candidate, and isn’t politically active.”Most academics don’t make a lot of money,” says Molly Sheehan, a bioengineering postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s running as a Democrat in the seventh congressional district of Pennsylvania, an open seat in suburban Philadelphia. “They also aren’t like lawyers, who view their political donations as a business expense and are willing to shell out $1000,” adds Sheehan, who as of 31 December 2017 had raised about $35,000 and loaned herself $170,000. “Academic scientists think that $100 is a big deal.” TENOLA PLAXICO Geologist Jess Phoenix, who is running for a House of Representatives seat in California, is running a bare bones campaign that emphasizes outreach on social media. Wadkins, who studies biomolecular structures to better understand cancer and how to treat it, is part of what some commentators are calling a historic groundswell of candidates with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). At the federal level, at least 60 science candidates are bidding for seats in Congress, according to 314 Action, a D.C.- based nonprofit advocacy group formed 2 years ago to encourage scientists to engage in politics. The candidates—mostly firsttimers running for House seats—include a physicist who spent 2 decades at a prominent national laboratory, a clinical oncologist at a top-rated cancer center, a former chemistry professor at a 4-year state college, a geologist trying to document every aspect of a tiny piece of the Mojave Desert, and a postdoctoral bioengineering fellow. Some 200 people with STEM backgrounds are also running for state legislative seats, 314 Action estimates, with a similar number vying for school board and other local- and county-level positions.Almost all are Democrats energized by what they regard as a rising antiscience sentiment pervading Washington, D.C. “I’m afraid we’re entering a dark era, with science, reason, and education under attack,” Wadkins told his supporters. “And I think members with scientific training can help prevent that.” Chemist Phil Janowicz, who is running for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in a district near Los Angeles, California, says raising money has been a major task. MATT GUSH KAREN CURTISS JESS PHOENIX CAMPAIGN Phil Janowicz, a former chemistry professor at California State University in Fullerton who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 39th congressional district in southern California, typically spends mornings with political activists, in hopes of winning their backing. In the evenings and on weekends he’s knocking on doors and attending small gatherings to introduce himself to voters in a district that leans Republican, but went for Clinton in 2016. But the rest of his time is devoted to fundraising. “I wake up thinking about raising money, and I go to sleep thinking about raising money,” says Janowicz, who runs an education consulting business with his wife out of his home. “I will spend about 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, raising money.”Those efforts had generated $160,000 by the end of December 2017, and Janowicz has loaned his campaign an equal amount. That has allowed him to hire a full-time campaign manager and even open a small office—a luxury for some candidates.One science candidate who appears to have mastered the art of fundraising is Joseph Kopser, a 20-year Army veteran and entrepreneur with an engineering degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York. He is running as a Democrat in Texas’s 21st congressional district, a Republican stronghold in the central part of the state.Kopser had amassed $678,000 by the end of December 2017, far outpacing any of his three primary opponents. In fact, Kopser claims that his fundraising prowess pushed the Republican incumbent, Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House science committee, into deciding last fall not to seek a 17th term. (Smith’s official statement said simply that “this seems like a good time” to retire.)The size of a candidate’s war chest is an imperfect metric of their viability, notes election pundit Kondik. That’s especially true for primary elections, he says, which attract voters who are likely to be paying attention already. Instead of expensive ads aimed at swaying undecided voters, primaries require an army of volunteers trying to boost turnout among those already on your side. Still, Kondik notes dryly, “Every candidate would rather have more money than less.”Beyond money, candidates need a message that, ideally, both distinguishes them from their primary opponents and positions them for the general election. For those with science backgrounds, that message usually includes references to their training in analyzing large amounts of data, their adherence to evidence in weighing the issues, and their conviction that science and technology are essential to the country’s future.”I’m a father of three, a cancer doctor, and an award-winning researcher from MD Anderson [Cancer Center], and I deal with facts every day in my job” is how Jason Westin recently introduced himself at a candidates’ forum on climate change in Houston, Texas. Westin, who until recently ran clinical trials testing treatments for lymphoma, is running in a crowded field for the Democratic nomination in a House district—the seventh—that includes Houston’s affluent west side. The winner will challenge the veteran Republican incumbent, John Culberson.That potential matchup gives Westin another rhetorical target. “My first commercial describes how I will stand up to Trump and the Republican Congress against their attacks on science,” he says. “When I’m in Congress I’ll use facts and science to fight back for us.” I’m afraid we’re entering a dark era, with science, reason, and education under attack.center_img Meet the scientists running to transform Congress in 2018 Last month, Randy Wadkins prepared for the spring semester at the University of Mississippi by reviewing his notes for the advanced chemistry course he has taught for many years. Then the professor of biochemistry, who grew up near the university’s Oxford campus and received his Ph.D. there, forced himself to step outside his comfort zone: He flew to Washington, D.C., where he asked strangers for money.Wadkins is running for U.S. Congress, and his fundraiser took place in a neighborhood restaurant just a few kilometers from where he would like to be working come January 2019. Wadkins warmed up his small but enthusiastic audience with a story about picking peas as a child every Saturday on his grandparents’ farm to supplement his family’s meager pantry. It reflects his “I’m just an ordinary person like you” message to Democrats in Mississippi’s first congressional district, who on 5 June will choose a standard bearer to oppose the Republican incumbent in November.The candidate voiced his anger about the state of U.S. politics with the young professionals, who shared his distaste for the policies of President Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress. A dysfunctional and hyperpartisan House of Representatives, he told them, might work better if more of its 435 members were scientists like himself. Then came his pitch: “I’m here to help make that happen, and the first step is by taking your money.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The science vote Follow our rolling coverage of 2018’s science candidates. But first, science candidates must win their races. Most face long odds. For starters, voters may be impressed by a candidate’s scientific credentials, but such background is rarely a decisive factor when they go to the polls. In addition, most of this year’s STEM candidates are political novices who are starting out far behind their opponents when it comes to knowing how to run a professional campaign.The demographics of the district can also be a huge barrier. Even a well-funded and well-run campaign probably won’t be enough for a first-time Democratic candidate to win in a traditionally Republican district.Initially, the biggest challenge for most science candidates is raising money. Those running for a House seat should expect to spend at least $4 million in the general election, experts say, and that figure could be much higher in urban areas with costly media markets. A primary race traditionally costs much less, although this year some candidates have already raised more than $1 million with their primaries still months away.But politicos say the usual rules might not apply this year. Democratic leaders are hoping for a wave election, one in which they can flip enough Republican seats to gain control of the House and, if things go especially well, the Senate. And scientific expertise may be more important than usual, muses Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a widely read election tip sheet run by Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.”Voters are often looking for something that they don’t have now,” says Kondik, who is based in Washington, D.C. “And to the extent that the Trump administration is seen as anti-intellectual, a candidate with a scientific or medical background may seem like an attractive alternative.”The first big test for this cohort of science candidates comes on 6 March, when Texas holds the nation’s first primary elections. Several candidates are running to become Democratic nominees in that Lone Star state’s House districts. Primaries in other states stretch into September, and then there are only 2 months before the nationwide general election on 6 November.Wadkins likes his chances in his Mississippi primary, where to date only one other person has thrown their hat into the ring. (The filing deadline is 1 March.) But Wadkins knows that even if he wins his party’s nomination, he’ll face a steep climb in trying to unseat Representative Trent Kelly (R). Trump won the district by 33 points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, and Kelly beat his Democratic challenger by an even bigger margin. First up: Texas primaries on 6 March Randy Wadkins, U.S. House of Representatives candidate Physicist Elaine DiMasi hopes to represent Long Island, New York. Last summer, for example, physicist Elaine DiMasi gave up a tenured position at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, to run in the first congressional district of New York on Long Island. (As a federal employee she couldn’t do both.) That was a gamble, as election handicappers say she is a long shot in her bid to win the Democratic nomination and take on two-term incumbent Representative Lee Zeldin (R).DiMasi works on deciphering the structures of biological materials using Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source. It requires persistence and attention to detail, traits that have also proved useful as a candidate. “Politics is about showing up,” DiMasi says. “I would go into a room of influential people, and the first three times I showed up they didn’t care. But on the fourth time, they’d say, ‘Oh good, Elaine’s here.’ A scientist might well wonder: ‘What did I do differently?’ I simply offered myself.”Such persistent networking is part of the interpersonal skills—she calls them the “politics part of a campaign”—that are separate from the nuts and bolts of running for office. And it doesn’t come naturally. “You can only learn it from experience,” she says.In Texas, cancer researcher Westin hasn’t totally quit his state-funded job. Instead, he handed off his clinical trials to colleagues and reduced his clinical hours to 1 day a week. He did so, he says, to make sure that nobody could argue that “the state of Texas was paying me to run for office.” The schedule has left him 6 days a week to campaign.On 6 March, Westin will find out whether that was enough. Regardless of whether he and others succeed, however, those who want the science community to become more active in politics see this year’s campaigns as a wonderful opportunity for scientists to apply their skills and experience in a new realm. “We’re part of a profound experiment,” DiMasi says, “and I love that.” First up: Texas primaries on 6 MarchLone Star state holds nation’s first tests Such words are sure to resonate with the research community. But there is little evidence that a candidate’s views on science influence how people vote. Savvy candidates must find a way to apply their scientific knowledge to issues—the economy, health care, immigration, national security, and such social issues as abortion and same-sex marriage—that voters do care about, says political scientist Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Along the way, he adds, they need to avoid talking down to voters and coming across as know-it-alls.Kopser, for one, appears to be taking such advice to heart. In remarks and campaign materials, he emphasizes his military and business experience and focuses on top-tier issues such as health care and jobs. Kopser, who founded and sold a transit company focused on optimizing urban commuting, also calls himself a “clean energy warrior” and highlights the need to address climate change. But the campaign is careful to talk about climate in ways it hopes will resonate with different blocs of voters, says Ian Rivera, Kopser’s campaign manager.”When we’re in downtown Austin, we talk about rising sea levels … and other broad environmental impacts,” he explains—a topic important to urban, liberal audiences. With veterans, climate becomes “a question of national security. … We talk about how changing climate patterns dried up crops in eastern Syria,” helping fuel the rise of the Islamic State group. In rural Gillespie County, climate is “a pocketbook issue” because peach farmers there “are selling North Carolina peaches at their farmers’ markets because the [Texas] winter never got cold enough to kill the pests.”Money does allow a candidate to use paid advertising to amplify key talking points. Westin, for example, is using excerpts from a short campaign video for 30-second ads on CNN. “It’s not possible to knock on 700,000 doors,” he explains. “And CNN is a rich target. Our polling shows that most voters don’t really know any of us.”Candidates with fewer resources, however, are pursuing less expensive ways of getting out their message. Their efforts include large doses of door knocking and community events, and heavy use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.”I think I can reach people through social media,” says Jess Phoenix, a geologist running in a strong Democratic field for the chance to oust Republican Steve Knight from the 25th congressional district in California, which covers the northern suburbs of Los Angeles. Political groups gave her a lot of advice on how to structure her campaign, she says, but “it wasn’t working for me because it all relies on having an extensive donor network of rich people. … I want to have my campaign funded by regular people. If that means I have to do things on a shoestring budget, I will.”Phoenix has already applied that barebones approach to a research project she and her husband launched 5 years ago. Dubbed Blueprint Earth, its goal is to catalog everything from soil microbes to clouds in a 1-square-kilometer patch of the Mojave Desert. But she acknowledges that running for Congress has required a whole new level of social media presence.Patrick Madden, a professor of computer science at the State University of New York in Binghamton, thinks he has found a way to help Phoenix and other scientists amplify their reach on social media. Madden, a Democrat, found himself with some unexpected free time last fall after he dropped his bid to represent New York’s 22nd congressional district to make way for another candidate backed by the party. He’s used it to develop a website, activeresist.com, that allows science-based candidates to promote two or three news stories each day.In essence, Madden says, his software is a twist on the same techniques that Russian operatives and others have used to spread fake news and try to influence elections through social media. But instead of bots pushing content into users’ newsfeeds, the retweets and likes will come from real people, including voters in their districts.No matter how effective social media might be at reaching voters, it can’t replace the blood, sweat, tears, and face time that a candidate must put in. And for many science candidates, that has meant abandoning or dramatically reducing their professional activities to take up politics. By Jeffrey MervisThis year’s race to control the U.S. Congress kicks off with a 6 March primary election in Texas, and scientists are among the contenders.In the seventh congressional district on Houston’s affluent west side, clinical oncologist Jason Westin is one of four candidates seen as having a good shot at the Democratic nomination for a seat in the House of Representatives. In November, the winner will oppose Republican incumbent John Culberson, who heads a House subcommittee that sets budgets for science agencies including NASA and the National Science Foundation. Culberson has coasted to victory since his first race in 2000. But the district’s voters preferred Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, and Democrats believe a strong candidate could beat him.In the 21st congressional district in central Texas, the retirement of Representative Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House science committee, has set off a feeding frenzy. Eighteen candidates are vying for a chance to retain Republican control of a district that stretches from southern Austin to northern San Antonio.Four Democrats are hoping an antiRepublican wave election could allow one of them to capture the open seat. In the mix are Joseph Kopser, an Army veteran and entrepreneur with an engineering degree, and Mary Wilson, a former mathematics professor turned minister.In a third contest, Jon Powell, a retired geologist, is seeking the Democratic nomination in southeastern Texas’s 36th district, now represented by Republican Brian Babin. But Powell is a decided underdog: He badly trails his Democratic challenger in raising money, and the eventual nominee will face long odds, as the district is one of the most Republican in the nation.last_img read more

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Scientists may be closer to understanding a mysterious but common cause of female infertility

first_img Professors Pietro M. Motta & Sayoko Makabe/Science Source Scientists may be closer to understanding a mysterious but common cause of female infertility Cysts bulge from the wall of an ovary, a hallmark of polycystic ovary syndrome that may be driven by the fetal environment. By Jennifer Couzin-FrankelMay. 14, 2018 , 12:20 PM For a condition that affects up to 10% of reproductive-age women worldwide, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) remains mysterious. It’s a leading cause of female infertility and often boosts the risk of metabolic problems such as type 2 diabetes. It’s also highly heritable: The sister of an affected woman has at least a 20% chance of developing it herself, and the risk for identical twins is even higher.Yet although there are many symptoms of PCOS—including lack of ovulation, ovarian cysts, and excess hair growth on the face and body—no one seems to know how it starts. Is it driven by genes? A woman’s environment? Increasingly, researchers are considering a third category: life in the womb. There’s more and more evidence that when a mom has PCOS, her female baby-to-be experiences shifts in hormones while in utero that can cause the syndrome many years later. In particular, several studies in pregnant animals have shown that exposing them to hormones like testosterone, which women with PCOS produce at higher levels, leads to lack of ovulation and other PCOS-like symptoms in female offspring.Now, a paper published today in Nature Medicine builds on that evidence. Based primarily on findings in mice, it suggests that interactions between a hormone produced by the ovaries and a set of neurons in mom’s brain can have a cascade effect, disrupting enzymes in the placenta and ultimately causing PCOS-like symptoms in her offspring.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Still, it’s not clear whether the hormonal effects recorded in the rodents happen in pregnant women. And for now, the work doesn’t offer an immediate avenue to preventing PCOS in utero.Seeking insight into the condition, Paolo Giacobini, a neuroendocrinologist at the University of Lille in France, focused on antimüllerian hormone (AMH), which is produced by small follicles on the ovary. Women with PCOS have an excess of those follicles, and therefore they make more AMH. Giacobini’s group had previously found that AMH could act on a set of neurons in the brain, which then triggers the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) by part of the pituitary gland. In healthy women, a surge in LH triggers ovulation, but in women with PCOS, the hormone is constantly at a high level, which in turn suppresses ovulation and boosts the release of testosterone—two hallmarks of the syndrome.Giacobini and colleagues initially gathered blood samples from four groups of pregnant women in their second trimester: obese and nonobese women without PCOS, and obese and nonobese women with PCOS. Normally, AMH levels fall in pregnancy because the ovaries aren’t active. In the lean PCOS group, AMH levels were about two to three times as high as in the other three groups. It’s not known why the obese women with PCOS didn’t have higher levels, too.Giacobini’s group then turned to mice. They injected some pregnant rodents with AMH late in pregnancy to mimic the high levels of the hormone in the women they’d studied. The female offspring developed symptoms resembling PCOS, such as rare ovulation and high testosterone levels. Additional studies suggested excess testosterone from the mothers was crossing the placenta and affecting the fetuses. This happened, the group theorized, because AMH damped down levels of aromatase, an enzyme in the placenta that usually converts testosterone to a form of estrogen. With aromatase activity curtailed, extra testosterone snuck through and bathed the mouse fetuses in a PCOS-conducive environment.Although PCOS researchers agree the mouse work is strong, they’re mixed on whether it could be true of PCOS in women. “Whether all these things happen in humans, we don’t know,” says Jeffrey Chang, a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of California (UC), San Diego. Human placentas contain a lot more aromatase than mouse placentas do, for example, suggesting it would be harder to overwhelm aromatase activity in people. “You would have to just have gobs and gobs of testosterone being produced” for that to happen, even if some of the placenta’s aromatase was blunted, says Jerome Strauss, a reproductive endocrinologist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The model’s “transportability to human biology is very difficult,” he says.Still, one theme that makes the work intriguing to some is that it focused on lean animals and women with PCOS, who are a sizable subgroup of those with the syndrome. Previous work on the fetal environment had focused on metabolic abnormalities that are much more obvious in overweight women with PCOS, who have an increased risk of developing diabetes in pregnancy. This shows that it’s possible that “even a lean person can program” the fetus, says Daniel Dumesic, a reproductive endocrinologist at UC Los Angeles. That finding is supported, he says, by the blood tests that showed high AMH levels in lean pregnant women with PCOS.Ultimately, though, most agree that testosterone, which AMH also boosts via a cascade, is probably a key culprit behind the malady. This new work is “another brick in the wall” suggesting that hormones such as testosterone—perhaps fueled by extra AMH—could be paving the way for PCOS in fetuses, says Sue Moenter, a physiologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Giacobini and others are studying whether interventions to head off the syndrome might work at different ages in the mouse—a strategy much more likely to lead somewhere than one given in pregnancy, where modulating hormones in a developing fetus, and pregnant woman, can be riskier.last_img read more

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Farmers, tourists, and cattle threaten to wipe out some of the world’s last hunter-gatherers

first_img Post-1950 settlements The Hadza are just a touchstone for so much. Mangola By Ann GibbonsMay. 17, 2018 , 10:00 AM (TOP TO BOTTOM) CARBON TANZANIA; MATTHIEU PALEY (2) The Hadza’s hunting and gathering lifestyle fosters a diverse microbiome that researchers study with oral swabs and by sampling fecal matter. 25 Hadza men hunt on a ridge above the Yaeda Valley in Tanzania. A shrinking homeland The Hadza hold deeds to a Brooklyn-size territory where they can hunt and gather, but this is only a fraction of their historic homeland. Today, farmers and pastoralists seeking grazing rights press in on all sides. It is a tragic story that has played out many times before as hunter-gatherers around the world have been displaced by more politically powerful settlers. Although the Hadza have proved resilient in the past, researchers warn that they now face a daunting convergence of threats.Their Brooklyn-size territory is being encroached on by pastoralists whose cattle drink their water and graze on their grasslands, farmers clearing woodlands to grow crops, and climate change that dries up rivers and stunts grass. All those pressures drive away the antelope, buffalo, and other wildlife the Hadza hunt. “If there are no animals, how are we going to feed our people?” asks Shani Msafir Sigwazi, a Hadza who is a law student at Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, Tanzania. “How are we going to protect our life in the bush?””The last 5 years have drastically altered the landscape politically, socially, and ecologically,” says human behavioral ecologist Alyssa Crittenden of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, who has studied the Hadza since 2004. “It’s clear to anyone who goes out to see the Hadza that we’re dealing with small populations being pinched on all sides.”Worried about the Hadza’s plight, researchers wonder about their responsibilities to the people they have studied intensively for decades. Many researchers are seeking ways to help, even as they vie to study the few Hadza who still hunt and gather full time. But some researchers have stopped fieldwork altogether, saying the Hadza lifestyle has changed too much. “The narrative that they are perfect hunter-gatherers has been eroding since the first researchers have worked with them,” says paleobiologist Amanda Henry of Leiden University in the Netherlands, who has studied Hadza gut bacteria and diet; her team is not returning.From the very first, researchers who studied the Hadza realized they were walking a tightrope—studying a traditional way of life that their very presence risked altering. James Woodburn was a 23-year-old graduate student in 1957, when he became the first anthropologist to study the Hadza. He quickly realized that the tire tracks of his Land Rover created new paths for the Hadza, so he sold it and walked everywhere with them instead. “I was most anxious not to affect their nomadic movements,” says Woodburn, now retired from the London School of Economics.All the Hadza he saw then were nomadic hunter-gatherers who ranged across 1000 square kilometers of bush, an area 20% larger than New York City. Yet even then, they were losing their traditional lands at a great rate, Woodburn says, and had less than half the 2500 square kilometers they inhabited when German geographer Erich Obst met them in 1911. Lake Eyasi MATTHIEU PALEY YAEDA VALLEY IN TANZANIA—As we hike down a rocky slope, through thorny acacias that snag our clothes and past the emaciated carcass of a cow, we hear people singing. We are approaching a small camp of Hadza hunter-gatherers, and our Tanzanian guide thinks they must be celebrating something.But as we near a few huts made of branches and draped with mosquito netting, a slender woman in a worn T-shirt and sari totters toward us. “She is drunk,” says Killerai Munka, our guide.The woman calls her children, and as she puts their small hands inside ours we get a sour whiff of diarrhea. That’s when she tells Munka that her youngest child—a baby boy—died the night before. “He wanted to sleep some more and didn’t wake up,” Munka translates from Swahili.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A couple of pastoralist men, probably members of the local Datoga tribe, are also visiting. They carry wooden staffs, wear brass hoop earrings, and have brought a bottle of homemade alcohol. They have traded that bottle, and likely others, for honey gathered by the Hadza, who by now have had too much to drink.Times are hard for the Hadza, who include some of the last people on the planet to live as nomadic hunter-gatherers.Their way of life has been a magnet for researchers for 60 years, and the subject of hundreds of scholarly papers, because it may offer the closest analog to the way our African ancestors lived. The iconic lifestyle persists: Just that morning in another Hadza camp called Sengele, an hour’s walk away, women and children were digging tuberous roots for food. Men were gathering honey by smoking out bees from baobab trees. But that lifestyle is quickly disappearing.Today, of roughly 1000 Hadza living in the dry hills here between salty Lake Eyasi and the Rift Valley highlands, only about 100 to 300 still hunt and gather most of their food. Most of the others do forage—but they also buy, trade, or are given food, and sometimes alcohol and marijuana. Many live part of the year in larger semipermanent camps in the sprawling settlement of Mangola, where they depend on income from tourism and occasional jobs on farms or as guards.Most Hadza now go to school for a few years, speak Swahili in addition to their own click language, and wear donated Western clothes. Some carry cellphones. But, “They are not integrating into a normal rural Tanzanian life,” says evolutionary anthropologist Colette Berbesque of the University of Roehampton in London, who has studied the Hadza since 2007. Instead, she says, they are “transitioning to a life where they’re at the absolute bottom of the barrel.” A few signs of cooperation have emerged. Three Datoga are working with seven Hadza youth to patrol grazing on Hadza land. “They are cooperating in a peaceful way to make sure there isn’t another fight between the Hadza and Datoga,” Meitaya says.But the threat from cattle is not the only force driving the Hadza from their ancestral land. Marina Butovskaya, a physical anthropologist from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, is stunned at how quickly woodland is being cleared for farming at the edges of Hadza land. “When we arrived there, in 2003, there was only bush, and there were plenty of wild animals,” she recalls. “Now, along the road to Mangola, it’s fields, fields, fields.”In her 5 months in the Mangola area, between September 2017 and February 2018, new power lines (which allow irrigation equipment) attracted an influx of farmers. They used tractors to clear a swath of land 10 kilometers closer to Hadza land. “You cannot imagine how fast it’s going,” Butovskaya says.When the land is cleared, wild animals lose habitat, leaving fewer to hunt. The farmers also cut down wild fruit trees on which the Hadza depend, they told Wood recently. To survive, some Hadza take handouts of maize flour from missionaries or trade meat and honey for flour to make porridge. Or they head to one of a dozen “tourist camps” in the Mangola region, where they earn money by re-enacting their traditional ways. Thanks to a newly improved road, tourists from Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which draws 400,000 people a year, can “bomb down” to see the Hadza in Mangola in 1.5 hours, Peterson says.Researchers are well aware of the irony that their research, which made the Hadza famous, also draws tourists, which in turn encourages the Tanzanian government to build roads. “If we never studied the Hadza, would they have been better off?” Hawkes wonders.The tourism has a toxic impact. In the roughly 3 weeks that ecological anthropologist Haruna Yatsuka of Nihon University in Mishima, Japan, was in a tourist camp in Mangola in 2013, 40 tourist parties came from 19 nations. The tourists began arriving at 6 a.m. and watched the Hadza hunt (for show—they seldom got meat when with tourists), dig up tubers, or perform dances. In one camp, Hadza wore baboon skins, which is not their traditional dress but fits tourist expectations, Leach says. The Hadza also got money by selling souvenirs such as bead bracelets, or from tips. “Tourism now brings income to the Hadza and has had a tremendous effect on their livelihood, diet, residence, and nomadic patterns,” Yatsuka says.She observed the most destructive impact as soon as the tourists left in midafternoon, when the Hadza used their earnings to buy alcohol. “Everybody drinks: pregnant women, breastfeeding women, the men,” says Monika Abels, a developmental psychologist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who compared child development between a tourist camp and Hadza bush camps. Sometimes the drinking starts early in the day, the children don’t get fed, and drunk men beat women, Abels says.Blurton-Jones has noted higher rates of alcoholism, disease, and early death for Hadza living in Mangola than in the bush. The Hadza themselves recognize that trend, and complain about being “tired” in camp, Yatsuka says. Turnover is high, as Hadza go into the bush to recover. Yatsuka is now studying how competition to sell souvenirs affects the Hadza’s egalitarian culture. What happens when one Hadza woman makes money but another doesn’t?All those changes also affect research. Leach and others must stop data collection when missionaries give Hadza grain or antibiotics. “I think the way some of the recent papers report the situation they’re studying is bordering on not very honest,” Blurton-Jones says. “They need to tell us how much maize they get, how often do they get alcohol, how often do tourists come.”Others agree: “In my tenure, I’ve seen dramatic, dramatic change,” Berbesque says. “There are Hadza keeping chickens; they have cellphones. It’s not necessarily bad … but they are not pristine hunter-gatherers anymore.” She has cut back her study of dietary preferences and will not take new students to study the Hadza until more protections are in place. Abels, too, probably will not return. ANNETTE WAGNER FROM FILMING OF TINDIGA—THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING AND HADZABE MEANS: US PEOPLE The outside world encroaches on Hadza land in many ways: A Hadza scout records cattle intruding on their lands using a GPS camera (top); Hadza put on baboon skins to impress a Lithuanian tourist in a camp in Mangola (bottom right); and a Hadza atop a truck watches a Maasai herder on a track through Hadza country (bottom left). Grazing agreements with Datoga Expanding farmlandcenter_img Ngorongoro crater LakeEyasi Still, Woodburn recalls an “exceptional abundance of game” in the 1960s, including “a herd of 400 elephants, also lots of rhino, hyenas, lions, and many, many other animals.” At the time, he found, the Hadza were healthier than farmers and herders, as he reported at the famous “Man the Hunter” symposium in Chicago, Illinois, in 1966. And although the Hadza traded with their agricultural neighbors, exchanging meat and skins for beads, pots, and iron knives, few people from other tribes had settled on their land. They did not intermarry much and kept to themselves.The Hadza also resisted many attempts by governments and missionaries to move them into settlements to become farmers. So many Hadza died of infectious diseases in camps in the 1960s that Woodburn worried they would be wiped out. But survivors always left the camps to return to the bush.Woodburn realized that farming was antithetical to the Hadza’s egalitarian values, as he described in a landmark paper in 1982 in the journal Man. He noted that they were vigilant in preventing any single person from acquiring assets or wealth, or asserting power or status over others. They shared the food they hunted and gathered the same day or soon after in an “immediate return” system. Woodburn contrasted that approach with “delayed return” societies, in which individuals invest in building personal assets that pay off later—for example, spending perhaps weeks crafting a boat and then storing caught fish for many months. Such societies, he argued, more readily adopt farming or herding, which allow individuals to acquire power, rank, and wealth.The Hadza are not living fossils “lost at the bottom of the Rift Valley for thousands of years,” says Nicholas Blurton-Jones, professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who did fieldwork with the Hadza from 1982 to 2000. They also have evolved over the millennia and long ago adopted new tools, such as metal arrowheads and cooking pots. But in their rich and relatively undisturbed savanna home, the Hadza have offered a steady stream of researchers a unique view of the way of life and selection pressures that “many have suggested brought our species into being,” he says. Grazing land Km (GRAPHIC) N. DESAI/SCIENCE; (DATA) DAUDI PETERSON/DOROBO FUND; CARBON TANZANIA Hadza-controlled land Kristen Hawkes, The University of Utah Tanzania Over the years, studies of the Hadza have revealed that grandmothers’ food production boosts child survival so mothers can bear more children; that men prefer to hunt large game because having reputations as good meat providers makes them desirable mates and allies; and that hunter-gatherer children forage for enough food that they are “cheap” to raise, boosting fertility and population. “The Hadza are just a touchstone for so much,” says anthropologist Kristen Hawkes of The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who did fieldwork with the Hadza from 1984 to the early 1990s.Today, at least a dozen research groups from around the world have permits to study the Hadza. One is led by Jeff Leach, a visiting research fellow at King’s College London, who helped show that the Hadza have more diverse gut bacteria than people on a Western diet do. “East Africa is ground zero for the human microbiome,” he says. “With the Hadza, who are exposed to the urine, blood, and feces of every animal they hunt, you can get a picture of all the microbes on that landscape.”Other studies focus on their lifestyle. Crittenden recently found that Hadza men who switched to an agricultural diet suffered less dental decay (probably because they ate less honey), but that women and children ended up with more cavities. A team led by UCLA biological anthropologist Brian Wood, who has studied the Hadza since 2004, learned that they use only as much energy every day as sedentary Westerners, suggesting that hunting and gathering can be remarkably efficient; and that the Hadza sleep less than recommended in Western guidelines.Even as studies proceed, the Hadza’s future is darkening. The biggest threat comes from farmers and pastoralists and their cattle encroaching on Hadza land. In 2011, after years of negotiation between a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) and government officials, the Tanzanian commissioner for lands gave the Hadza rights to a 230-square-kilometer area. That was a major victory, but the egalitarian Hadza have lacked the leadership or organization to protect their land.”When you look at the Hadza, we have no leaders to represent us in government,” Sigwazi says. Local governments enforce land and grazing rights, and the Hadza have far fewer representatives on village councils than the Datoga or Iraqw farmers who live nearby. As a result, the Hadza have had to agree to give away grazing rights on their land in the dry season. The laws do prevent the free-for-all hunting on Hadza land that happened in the mid-1980s when many elephants were poached, says Daudi Peterson, co-founder of Dorobo Safaris and the Dorobo Fund, which uses fees from research and sustainable tourism to protect wildlife and fund health care and education for the Hadza and other groups. (Science paid fees to the fund to visit Hadza land.) However, he adds, “Flagrant abuse of the laws” by herders has taken place.The Hadza are particularly concerned about Datoga pastoralists who let their cattle graze on grass and drink from water holes on Hadza land year-round. In one Hadza camp, a woman named Tutu pointed to her people’s huts. Their tree-branch frames were draped with clothes and bark instead of the traditional grass thatch. “The cows eat all the grass,” she explained.The Datoga are also moving in, building bomas—mud-walled huts encircled by acacia-thorn fences that contain livestock at night—near water sources. The settlements keep the nonconfrontational Hadza and their prey away from the water. “You can see from Google Earth where Datoga bomas are and how the Hadza—especially the women—adjust their spatial behavior to avoid them,” Wood says.”The Datoga come here and take over the area—they put in their permanent houses,” said a Hadza man named Shakwa. “Our land is getting smaller and smaller. It is not like a human being that gets pregnant and can give us more and more land.”The incursions, with cattle grazing deep in the bush, have worsened in the past 3 years because of climate change, which has displaced the Datoga and other herders from lands outside the district, says Partala Dismas Meitaya, who works for the Ujamaa Community Resource Team in Arusha, the local NGO that negotiated the land rights. Half the Datoga’s cattle died on their own grazing lands during the last rainy season from November 2017 to mid-January, which was unseasonably hot and dry. Their hardship makes them resent the rights deeded to the Hadza. “People ask, ‘Why are the Hadza—a small number of people—taking a big part of the land?’” Meitaya says. “‘Why don’t they share the land?’” Hadza region in the late 1950s 0 HUMAN FOOD PROJECT Nick Blurton-Jones (right) learns about the extensive support Hadza grandmothers give grandchildren as he interviews a great-grandmother (second from left) and her younger kinswoman (second from right) in 1999. Farmers, tourists, and cattle threaten to wipe out some of the world’s last hunter-gatherers Some researchers think scientists have asked too much of the Hadza. “A woman said to me, ‘My body is tired,’” Crittenden says. “‘I’m tired giving my hair, my poop, my spit, my urine.’” Crittenden believes researchers now have a duty to their longtime subjects. “The Hadza have been desperately asking researchers to help them,” she says, noting that Hadza have approached her at least a dozen times in the past few years for help with political advocacy, land rights, health care, and education.Most researchers do step up. “You end up doing humanitarian work,” Leach says. “I’m buying school clothes for 100 kids.”The top priority is to stop incursions on Hadza land so people who want to hunt and gather can continue to do so. One approach is to engage with local government and others on the Hadza’s behalf. For example, Wood spoke with missionaries in 2014 who wanted to drill a well in an area that was “basically the last stand for the Hadza” who live in the bush. He told them a well would draw Datoga to water their cattle and thus harm the Hadza. But intervening carries risks, Wood warns: Evicting the Datoga and others from Hadza land could trigger a backlash.Wood and other researchers are taking steps to respond to Hadza who increasingly want more say in who studies them and what kinds of studies are done. “What advantage do we get from your study?” Sigwazi asks. “I want to know the results of my poo. Tell us your important results.”Crittenden and Berbesque hope to help the Hadza develop a code of ethics like one unveiled last year by the San people of southern Africa, another intensively studied group. That code requires that the San Council approve and manage research protocols, says Bob Hitchcock, an anthropologist at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, who helped the San draft it. But Hitchcock foresees a challenge with the Hadza, who “don’t have the same level of representation, the coordinated body” to do this, he says.Researchers are sharply divided over a code, in part because many think scientists do more good than harm. They note that in 2007, scientists helped organize protests when the Tanzanian government evicted the Hadza from some of their land, proposing to turn it into a private hunting park for the United Arab Emirates’s royal family. They also disagree that the Hadza are overstudied, arguing that many teams are there only for a month or so and don’t overlap much. “I’m the only researcher in the field right now,” Wood says.As researchers, Hadza, and others consider how best to move forward, they agree on one thing: “It is important that every Hadza individual has the opportunity to choose a lifestyle for themselves,” says Woodburn, who at age 84 still returns to camp with Hadza friends every few years. Sigwazi says: “I want to protect the culture of my people so the Hadza can enjoy their life—so they can wake up in the morning and hunt in the bush. It’s a simple life, but a kind of wonderful life.”last_img read more

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These dolphins enjoy watching SpongeBob SquarePants—and it could be good for them

first_img To keep captive dolphins entertained, marine facilities typically give them pool noodles and rings to play with. But a new study suggests these ocean mammals also enjoy a more human pastime: TV.Researchers at Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder in Key Largo, Florida, positioned large TV screens at underwater windows and played videos for groups of 11 bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and five rough-toothed (Steno bredanensis) dolphins. These included ocean or jungle scenes from the nature documentary Planet Earth and episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants (to test whether the dolphins preferred shows with more naturalistic ocean settings). Then they monitored the dolphins’ behavior for signs of interest, such as pressing their heads against the glass or nodding their heads, or signs of aggression, such as clamping their jaws or swimming with jerky movements.The dolphins didn’t have a favorite show: They were interested in the TV regardless of what was on, according to results the team will publish in Zoo Biology. Even hearing-impaired dolphins paid attention, indicating that moving pictures alone might captivate dolphins. Some animals—particularly the males—reacted more aggressively than others, the researchers noted.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The team suggests dolphin keepers interested in trying this approach with the animals in their care should conduct trial sessions first. For dolphins that are unfit for release, TV could be another way to stimulate their brains. The researchers also cite another potential benefit: Monitoring how dolphins respond to different videos could provide new ways to study how they think. These dolphins enjoy watching SpongeBob SquarePants—and it could be good for them By Sofie BatesDec. 3, 2018 , 12:05 PMlast_img read more

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Ancelotti: Ref attacked my character

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Carlo Ancelotti slammed referee Piero Giacomelli after Napoli’s 2-2 draw with Atalanta for sending him off without just cause. “I feel under attack…” Ancelotti was sent straight down the tunnel by Giacomelli as tempers frayed towards the end of the match, when Napoli controversially had a penalty denied by VAR and Atalanta in turn were able to equalise. “Do you have any doubts as to whether it was a penalty or not?” the Coach asked in his post-game interview with Sky Sport Italia. “Here, there’s a clear disinterest of the player for the ball. I don’t even want to stay here and discuss whether it’s a penalty or not. “It seems self-evident to me. The VAR speaks of an elbow, but which elbow? It was a decision made by the VAR. We’re officiated by VAR. “Giacomelli told me, ‘help me sort this out.’ I told him, ‘but you have no doubt that it could be a penalty?’ After that he sent me to the dressing rooms, that’s it. “The team played very well, with good intensity and everything else. They deserved a different result. “We’re very sorry about all this, but we have to move on. I feel a little disappointed, I feel that my sincerity, professionalism, team and club have been a little under attack. “I’d rather talk as little as possible. Tonight we played very well. It was a game of sacrifice and we used up a lot of energy. “We pressed very well, we stopped them building from the back. We had good control of the game in the second half.” For all the heartache, Arkadiusz Milik continued his recent resurgence with another goal. “He’s an important asset for the club, he’s renewing his contract and we’re focusing on him. Now he’s playing consistently.”last_img read more

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Mancini: ‘Continue into Euro 2020’

first_imgRoberto Mancini hopes Italy can “continue like this” into Euro 2020 after a 9-1 victory over Armenia. “You don’t score nine in an international nowadays.” The Azzurri secured their 100 per cent qualifying record in Group J, winning all 10 matches with a goal difference of +33. “It was a lovely evening, the last game in qualifying and we did it well. You don’t score nine goals in an international match nowadays, we gave our all to achieve that,” the CT told Rai Sport. “The records only count when we have won silverware.” Nicolò Zaniolo got a brace, while Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa also scored their first Italy goals. “These are all young lads who are improving game by game. Playing at international level brings experience, they’ve got the quality, it’s just a matter of time. “We’ll see what happens at Euro 2020. We’d never won all 10 games in a qualifying group, we’ve got six months to prepare for the championship and unfortunately I will have to leave some behind, as I can only bring 23 players. “If we can continue like this, that would be great!” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

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Laxman practising on gravel pitch to prepare for Lanka tour

first_imgLeaving no stone unturned in his preparation for next month’s Sri Lanka tour, stylish batsman VVS Laxman is practising on gravel wickets to finetune his technique against spinners.The elegant stroke player said playing spinners well would be crucial to the team’s success in Sri Lanka and he was not taking any chance.”For the last two weeks, I am practising hard for the coming Sri Lanka tour. I am playing on the gravel pitches to finetune my technique as Sri Lanka has some quality spinners in Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan,” said the middle order batsman today.”They also have some other good slow bowlers like Rangana Herath. I want to do well and start the season on a high,” he said.”Two years back when we toured Sri Lanka we lost the series 1-2. This time we want to turn the things on them,” said the right-hander, who was in the city on a promotional tour.India will tour Sri Lanka in July-August for a three-match Test series and a triangular one-day series with New Zealand as the third team.The first Test match will begin on July 10 at Galle while the remaining two are scheduled in Colombo and Dambulla on July 18-22 and July 26-30 respectively.It is, however, Australia which brings out the best in Laxman and the elegant right-hander said he was waiting to strut his stuff against the old enemies when the Aussies tour India later this year.”Australia will tour India in winter and it’s always a great pleasure to host them,” Laxman said.advertisement”Australia is a highly competitive side in the Test cricket and I hope to present a tough challenge to them. We want to repeat our earlier performances on home soil where we have always won against them,” he said.Dwelling on the second-string Indian team playing a tri-series in Zimbabwe, Laxman said these are the players who would take over from the seniors.”The team in Zimbabwe is a very talented one and the boys have that killer instinct in them. The match against Sri Lanka was testimony of this fact where they crushed them in a comprehensive manner. These youngsters are the future of the country,” Laxman said.Football World Cup fever is fast catching on Laxman and he predicted Brazil would lift the trophy in South Africa.”Brazil is my favourite side as they have a flamboyant bunch of hugely talented players. I am a big fan of all the players and hope they will lift the cup,” Laxman said.last_img read more

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BCCI set to sack Modi

first_imgThe BCCI is all set to deliver the final blow to suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.Sources have told Headlines Today that BCCI is planning to call a special AGM and move a proposal to remove Modi.Acoording to sources, Lalit Modi has not much support left within the BCCI.The top BCCI bosses are angry over the mud-slinging campaign being run by Modi through the media.The BCCI constitution states that no member can use the media to fight their battles.A decision to remove Modi can be taken after it is passed by two-thirds majority.BCCI sources told Headlines Today that Modi can continue to fight the board from court, once he was sacked.last_img

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Youngster drowns in swimming pool in city

first_imgA 12-year-old girl drowned under mysterious circumstances while swimming at the Khazan Singh Swimming Academy in New Delhi on Tuesday night.A Class VII student of Bloom Public School in Vasant Kunj, Amrita had gone for swimming classes with her mother Kiran and younger brother Jasraj.According to the police, relatives of the deceased said Amrita had gone into the pool around 8.30 pm and had drowned within 15 minutes. Sources said the girl seemed to have some medical problems and she suffered an attack while she was under water.A resident of C-II Vasant Kunj, Amrita lived with her father Gurdeep Singh, a manager with a multinational company in Gurgaon, her mother Kiran, and two brothers.Maneet, Amrita’s elder brother, said the family did not suspect foul play.”We have told the police it is a case of natural death. Contrary to reports in the media, my mother told us there were life guards and the coach was present inside the pool. The staff tried their best to save my sister but failed,” he said.Maneet refused to comment on how his sister drowned. “We have given our statement to the police and do not want to say anything more,” he said.Police sources said preliminary interrogation of the staff at the sports complex revealed Amrita had an attack while she was swimming and required medical attention.”One of the lifeguards saw the girl floating in the pool. The lifeguard and the others rescued her and gave her first aid. After that, she was taken to a nearby private hospital where she was declared brought-dead. We have conducted the postmortem and are investigating the case. Once the autopsy reports are out we will be able to tell the cause of her death clearly,” said a senior police officer.advertisementThe Khazan Singh Swimming Academy remained shut on Wednesday with the authorities posting a notice at the main gate.According to the officials of the academy, Amrita had joined their facility a few months ago.”At the time of the incident, there were around 10-12 girls in the swimming pool. There was no foul play and our staff tried their best to revive her. She did not die because of drowning but because of an attack,” said an official at the swimming pool.last_img read more

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John Abraham to play a nerd

first_imgJohn Abraham is set to surprise his fans with his new avatar. Forget the itsy-bitsy swimming trunks from Dostana, the actor actually slouches and shuffles his way through Jhootha Hi Sahi and will even be seen sporting a paunch.The film is directed by Abbas Tyrewala and John says his look in the film is “very different and not something anyone has seen me in before”. “From a Greek to a geek, long journey I think,” said John.Said Tyrewala: “This is a side to John that no one has seen. He’s painfully ordinary in speech, body language and clothes. He wears thick glasses and can’t look straight into anyone’s eyes.”The clothes for John’s character were bought off the rack from departmental stores. “Yup, no designer clothes for John in Jhootha Hi Sahi. We shopped for his clothes in retail outlets, actually purchased working class labels like Arrow and Raymonds,” said the director.Naturally, stripping for the camera would seem like the last thing on the character’s mind. But hang on! John’s nerdy character does take off his clothes in Jhootha Hi Sahi. “And when he does strip, boy does it come as a shock,” laughed the director. When John disrobes, fans would be shocked to see a little paunch peeping out.”John wanted to put on a lot more weight. I decided against overdoing it. Those who are used to seeing his chiselled body would be shocked by the absence of contours when he strips,” said Tyrewala.last_img read more

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