Garmin adds menstrual cycle tracking to its watches – heres what it

first_imgGarmin has added menstrual cycle tracking to a select number of its fitness trackers.The company announced the feature on Tuesday confirming it will initially launch on the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, Vívoactive 3, Vívoactive 3 Music and Fēnix 5 Plus Series.A wider roll out has been confirmed for the Fēnix 5 Series, Fēnix Chronos, Forerunner 935, Forerunner 945, Forerunner 645, Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music at an unspecified point in the future.The feature will be delivered via a software update in the Garmin Connect app and from what we’ve seen it works in a very similar way to Fitbit’s. Fitbit rolled out menstrual tracking to a select number of its wearables in 2018.Related: Best fitness trackerThe new Garmin feature will appear in the Connect app and let users log their cycle and report symptoms. From their the service will use biometric data logged on the device, plus the user info, to offer health advice and forecasting for everything from when their next period may be to early signs of menopause.Garmin has sponsored research from The University of Kansas Medical Center to find ways to improve is menstrual tracking services, so further updates are expected in the near-ish future.Related: Best running watchesSusan Lyman, Garmin vice president of global consumer marketing said the feature has been developed “for woman, by woman” and is part of a wider push to improve the company’s general health tracking services.“Garmin has leveraged our unparalleled fitness expertise into a feature that lets active women track their cycle in the same place they tracked their last run,” she said.“Cycle tracking was developed for women, by Garmin women – from the engineers, to the project managers, to the marketing team. In this way we could ensure that we were authentically addressing a woman’s actual wants and needs.”Garmin is one of many fitness tracking companies pushing into the healthcare and overall wellness space. Apple has been rolling out a steady stream of healthcare features to its Apple Watch devices over the last few years. The latest included an updated heart rate sensor designed to help spot early signs of heart disease and a fall alert feature that aims to help people with mobility issues call for help.Excited about the new functionality? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

Marvels Avengers Square Enix confirms E3 2019 reveal for the superhero project

first_img Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. First announced over two years ago, The Avengers Project by Square Enix remains one of the most exciting projects in the works right now. Sadly, beyond the initial trailer, we know almost nothing about it. With E3 2019 on the horizon, the publisher has confirmed that we will see a full reveal at the show!So, Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about The Avengers Project including all the latest news, trailers, release date and our very own wishlist. The Square Enix Avengers Project news – Get ready for the E3 2019 revealMarvel and Square Enix have confirmed that The Avengers Project will receive a full reveal at E3 2019! Check out all the important details below.Related: Final Fantasy 7 Remake  Tune into Square Enix Live E3 2019 for the worldwide reveal of “Marvel’s Avengers”! The event begins June 10th at 6pm PT: https://t.co/SCYMbJYt8j #SquareEnixE3 #Reassemble #PlayAvengers pic.twitter.com/2fWM6ekUue— The Avengers (@Avengers) May 29, 2019The Square Enix Avengers Project release date – when is it coming out?At the time of writing, nothing has been confirmed regarding the release of Square Enix’s Avengers project. Platforms are also unconfirmed, will this end up being something we play on PS5 and Xbox 2? However, with Infinity War and Endgame now behind us, it’s hard to imagine it being too far off. We’re hoping that the publisher’s event at E3 2019 will feature an abundance of exciting new info, including when we can play it.  The Avengers Square Enix Project trailer – How does it look?The aforementioned announcement trailer is the only snippet of footage we have, and we doubt it represents any form of actual gameplay.Despite its brevity, the trailer teases some exciting ideas, as well as the appearance of our favourite superheroes. Recognisable mementos of The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor all feature, and we’ll be damned if you didn’t get goosebumps.The Avengers Square Enix Project wishlist – What we’d like to seeDifferent playstylesThe debut trailer confirms the appearance of multiple heroes, all of which possess their own unique powers and abilities. So, does this mean each of them will handle differently, requiring a certain amount of tact and skill to master? Fingers crossed, as this sense of variety is something we rarely see in AAA action titles. Having the option to navigate the environment with Iron Man’s suit or Thor’s mythic hammer sounds thrilling, as does sprinting through the streets as Captain America while he chases after some bad guys. Now we’re getting flashbacks of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction on PS2.Related: Best PS4 GamesA gaming universeEver since the release of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man in 2008 we’ve seen Marvel craft a multi-faceted cinematic universe previously thought impossible. As far we know, this project will take place in the very same world, but imagine if it didn’t. Imagine if Marvel gave Square Enix the freedom to craft its own canonical setting using the foundations so many films have built. It’d make perfect sense to leave the staple of heroes untouched, yet we could certainly see the introduction of villains absent from the big screen, drawing from decades of comic history. It would also make it far easier for newcomers to follow along.Plenty of iconic locationsWe’re indifferent about the inclusion of an open-world, as we’d be just as happy riding through a linear blockbuster experience filled with wonderfully rendered environments. Think of it as Uncharted or Tomb Raider meets Batman: Arkham Asylum. Having the S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier acting as a base of operations before The Avengers set out on missions would be brilliant, especially if you had the option to converse with each character. Forming a deeper relationship that could always have important ramifications on your abilities or the wider narrative. Either way, we cannot wait to see the world of Marvel translated into gaming form once again.What would you like to see from The Avengers in gaming form? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews.center_img Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.last_img read more

Android Q could finally match Apple iOS in one major way

first_img Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Google’s Android Q operating system could finally have a built-in Face ID competitor worthy of the name, judging by the latest beta release.Yesterday we brought word of Android Q Beta 4‘s release and, now developers and interested observers have had chance to dig around, we’re hearing more about the headline features within.In a report on Thursday, 9to5Google says it found a “Face Authentication” area of the settings menu, which suggests native support for a new biometric security feature. It also found an icon referring to Face Authentication too. Neat.Related: How the Android Q beta on your smartphone right nowThe report cites evidence suggesting the feature will be used to unlock the phones, make payments via Google Pay and sign into apps. Basically everything people love about Apple’s Face ID.A string discovered within the code also reveals that Android users will also be able to permanently delete all face-related data from their handsets. Here’s the relevant sections from the code:Data recorded by face unlock will be permanently and securely deleted. After removal, you will need your PIN, pattern, or password to unlock your phone, sign in to apps, and confirm payments.Delete face data?A search within the settings for “Face”, which you can see below, also gives users the opportunity to customise about app sign-in and payments and unlocking the device. There’s also a section pertaining to users needing to have their eyes open for the feature to work.Image credit: 9to5GoogleWhile many manufacturers have added their own implementation of facial recognition tools, they haven’t always provided the best functionality and reliability when compared to Apple’s Face ID (which in itself isn’t perfect).By standardising the feature with a native version, Google would be able to ensure an acceptable level of security that wouldn’t be duped by a video like the face unlock feature on the Samsung Galaxy S10. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time.last_img read more

WatchShaken to their cores Small firms in Canada pivot away from US

first_img‘Shaken to their cores’: Small firms in Canada pivot away from U.S. amid imploding NAFTA talks, tariffs Small companies are rethinking their heavy dependence on the U.S. as trade disruptions escalate Email Clearpath’s decision is partly in response to Trump’s “America First” strategy, which has compelled more U.S. companies to buy from local suppliers. In early April, Trump proposed tariffs on roughly 1,300 tech products, mainly to stem cheap imports from China. The move sent ripples across the wider tech-based supply chain in North America, prompting companies to increasingly rethink their supply chains and look outside the U.S.Clearpath depends on the U.S. for roughly 90 per cent of its sales, mostly to behemoths such as General Electric Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co., which manufactures John Deere equipment. It is now looking to expand its reach into Japan and Germany, where it already sells some products, as well as other markets overseas.“We need a plan B, plan C and plan D,” Wicklum said.According to Statistics Canada, Canadian companies exported $483-billion worth of goods in 2017, up $30 billion from 2016. Small and medium-sized companies accounted for 54 per cent of the increase, led by energy companies. The number of exporting firms in 2017 grew by 191 to 43,480.EDC’s Hall said Canada’s exports remain healthy overall, despite trade worries, but they are still largely driven by a U.S. economy that has finally emerged fully from the economic recession 10 years ago.Hall said companies, particularly large U.S. ones, are finally beginning to put real capital towards growth after a decade of chronic underinvestment. The U.S. Institute for Supply Management now expects capital spending by U.S. factory firms to rise 10 per cent in 2018, up from its earlier forecast of two per cent, largely due to U.S. tax reforms.But companies in Canada and elsewhere have remained more hesitant to invest given that ongoing trade disputes have tempered growth.“Regular businesses are just sitting on that money,” Hall said. “That’s economic activity that we’ve kissed goodbye, for now.”There are some signs of improvement. In an interview with Bloomberg News on June 4, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said trade worries had already restricted business investment, but it is still “making a significant contribution to growth.”Meanwhile, companies are recalibrating their relationship with Canada’s largest trading partner as NAFTA talks pass the one-year marker.“It concerns me greatly,” said Stan Gorzalczynski, president of Wabi Iron & Steel Corp., a small manufacturer in New Liskeard, Ont., that designs and manufactures conveyor and elevator systems, mainly for the mining sector.He said the U.S. market is “almost like a lifeline” for his company, accounting for about 40 per cent of sales and 50 per cent of its supply chain. The firm buys chromium, nickel and other minerals from U.S. suppliers. Replacing them could prove a challenge.“U.S. suppliers are very competitive, even with the currency exchange,” he said.Gorzalczynski said Wabi’s bottom line has not been influenced by the trade disputes, and said it will manage to reorient itself if NAFTA talks implode.To that end, the company has already begun looking for new markets, particularly on the sales side, and recently found a new buyer in a Canadian steel producer. Gorzalczynski said the company has made inroads into new markets such as Australia, Chile, Peru and the European Union.Louisbourg’s Hansen also sees little reason to fret, saying the company would find a way forward even if NAFTA was shredded outright. He said the Canadian seafood industry is unlikely to be targeted in a Canada-U.S. trade dispute.“We’re not panicking over these little spats,” he said.Email: jsnyder@nationalpost.com | Twitter: jesse_snyder Steve Wadden for National Post Comment Share this story’Shaken to their cores’: Small firms in Canada pivot away from U.S. amid imploding NAFTA talks, tariffs Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Most of the fresh fish exported by Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd. makes its way to the United States, which has long been the company’s largest buyer of halibut, haddock, sole and other groundfish. But like many smaller Canadian companies, Louisbourg’s dependence on the U.S. is beginning to shift.The company, named after the Cape Breton Island town it is based in, currently generates roughly $65 million in revenue, but it has begun to find new potential buyers for its groundfish in markets such as the U.K. and South Korea where it once only sold shellfish products. It has also discovered demand in Asia for products it hadn’t previously sold like sea cucumber and whelk.“There is a whole variety of markets that we’ve never had before here in North America,” said Dannie Hansen, a vice-president at the company, which produces far more than 15 million tons of lobster, shrimp, crab and groundfish products every year.‘I just want to scream’: Trump’s metal tariffs send corporate Canada reeling in disbeliefPoloz encouraged by strong business investment data amid NAFTA uncertaintyPhilip Cross: Canada’s losing jobs when we should be booming economically. Guess whyThe reason for the company’s increasingly global expansion efforts: the uncertainty surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to rip up, and his increasingly hostile attitude toward trade with Canada and other allies.Hansen said the company has always looked for new markets, but has increased those efforts ever since Trump began proposing tariffs on various imported products. On June 1, the U.S. escalated matters by levelling import tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Europe and Mexico, citing security concerns, in a move Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “frankly insulting.”Louisbourg has boosted its marketing budget in recent years to around $2.6 million, Hansen said, much of which would have been previously spent on domestic lobbying activities. The company has begun gradually expanding its reach into Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, the U.K., Belgium and other markets.“When you have all that uncertainty, it’s never good for anybody,” Hansen said. “We had to accelerate a little faster our research into new places.”Louisbourg’s efforts to branch out are emblematic of a wider attempt to shift away from the U.S., said Peter Hall, chief economist at Economic Development Canada. Companies have been “shaken to their cores” by trade disruptions during Trump’s tenure, he said, causing them to rethink their heavy dependence on the U.S.Louisbourg Seafoods vice-president Dannie Hansen says the Cape Breton Island company is looking beyond the U.S. to the U.K. and South Korean to sell its groundfish. June 15, 201812:45 PM EDT Filed under News Economy Join the conversation → Twitter More “I’ve heard the word ‘diversification’ more in the last year than in a long while,” Hall said. “They have been thinking about their China strategy, their East Asia strategy, their Europe strategy.”The growing trade spat between Canada and the U.S. is also causing companies to look elsewhere when securing supplies.Waterloo, Ont.-based Clearpath Robotics Inc., which builds autonomous robot systems for multinational enterprises, is looking more closely at dealing with domestic companies, both when buying and selling products.Around 10 months ago, the company began buying its wheel hubs from Demtool Inc., an Ontario-based manufacturer, instead of its previous supplier based in Mississippi, after costs for the parts doubled. It has also begun buying steel brackets from a Canadian company rather than the Illinois one that used to to supply them, largely as a result of increased anti-dumping tariffs between Canada and the U.S. Tariffs on the brackets have been as high as 150 per cent in recent years.“We buy a lot more local than we used to,” said Ryan Wicklum, former head of supply chain management. “It just doesn’t make financial sense to buy from the States anymore, for metals specifically.”I’ve heard the word ‘diversification’ more in the last year than in a long whilePeter Hall, chief economist at Economic Development Canada Facebook Jesse Snyder 0 Comments Reddit Recommended For YouCitigroup Declares Common Stock Dividend; Citigroup Declares Preferred DividendsTitan Medical Completes Preclinical Good Laboratory Practice Procedures With Its Single-Port Robotic Surgical SystemSouthwest joins U.S. rivals in removing Boeing 737 MAX till early NovemberU.S. weekly jobless claims rise as expectedHalo Labs Announces Inclusion in the OTC Markets Cannabis Index Under the Ticker Symbol OTCQX: .OTCQXMJ last_img read more

CES News Lexus LS 500h Hybrid Is New SelfDriving Test Car

first_imgSleeker Looking, More Responsive, Latest Electronic GearYesterday, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Toyota Research Institute (TRI) unveiled its latest autonomous driving development car at the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES). Called TRI-P4, the new Lexus LS 500h hybrid-based vehicle will join TRI’s autonomous test fleet this spring.Toyota’s next-generation autonomous carFrom its beginning three years ago, Toyota’s autonomous research and development focused on two systems, called Guardian and Chauffeur. Guardian is designed “to amplify human performance behind the wheel, not replace it,” Ryan Eustice, TRI’s senior vice president of automated driving, said in a statement. Chauffeur development, meanwhile, “is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” Eustice said.TRI-P4 is a huge upgrade over the Platform 3.0 test vehicle, which introduced a number of updates at CES 2018, but was still based on a two-generation-old Lexus LS 600hL. The P4 car “benefits from Lexus’s new generation of chassis and steering control technology, which provides for greater agility and allows for more responsive and smoother maneuvers during automated driving,” according to Toyota.The Hybrid AdvantageEngineers chose the LS 500h hybrid version because its onboard battery pack can be used to power the sensors and computers needed for autonomous driving. This is why other automakers and tech companies tend to choose hybrids or electric cars as test platforms for their autonomous-driving tech.Toyota’s new AV gains trunk spaceToyota says the P4 has two additional cameras on the sides of the body, and two new imaging sensors — one facing forward, one facing rearward. The imaging sensors also feature new chip technology, and the onboard radar has been tweaked to allow a better field of view, according to Toyota. The lidar system, which includes eight scanners, carries over from the previous-generation test car.It may be a prototype, but the P4 was designed to function like a normal car. As with its previous test cars, Toyota tried to integrate the sensors with the P4’s bodywork rather than just tacking them on. But what looks like a roof top cargo carrier and cutouts in the front fenders are dead giveaways.The P4 has greater computing power and the capability for faster learning. It can process sensor inputs faster, and therefore react more quickly to the outside world. The LS 500h’s hybrid battery, which is situated in the trunk, is arranged vertically against the rear seat. This means there’s actual usable trunk space, unlike with the P3 car.Toyota tries to integrate the advanced technologyA significant TRI breakthrough in 2018 called “blended envelope control” is incorporated into the new P4. This is where Guardian combines and coordinates the skills and strengths of the human and the machine. The system was inspired and informed by the way modern fighter jets are flown, where you have a pilot that flies the stick, but actually they don’t fly the plane directly. Instead, their intent is translated by the low-level flight control system, thousands of times a second to stabilize the aircraft and stay within a specific safety envelope.Toyota’s Prototype Development Center in York Township, Michigan, will transform stock Lexus LS 500h sedans into P4 test cars.Side sensors help the car be aware of its surroundings Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicleslast_img read more

Audi Q4 etron Debuts See The Livestream Broadcast

first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 4, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Audi Teases Q4 e-tron Concept Ahead Of Geneva Debut SUVs these days are the thing. This is especially true in the U.S., where buyers are flocking to the segment due to increased versatility and extra room for cargo. Let’s keep in mind that today’s SUVs aren’t that in the traditional sense, but rather raised cars/wagons that are marketed a different way. While the 2019 Audi e-tron is more of a “true” SUV in some ways, this new entrant is slated to be more of the subcompact or at least compact SUV variety.The details surrounding the Q4 e-tron are still a mystery. But, hopefully, that won’t be that case after Audi’s livestream debut. Once you have a chance to watch it, send us a note in the comment section below..embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Audi will officially reveal its new, smaller Q4 e-tron SUV ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.The Audi Q4 e-tron livestream will begin on March 5, 2019 at 2:00 AM Eastern time. While many of our hardcore readers may be sleeping, this is a solid debut to chime into. Audi hasn’t shared details about the upcoming compact crossover, aside from its potential launch in 2020 or 2021. It’s assumed it will ride on the same underpinnings associated with VW group’s new MEB platform.More Audi All-Electric Content: Audi Q4 E-Tron SUV Concept Rendered Source: Electric Vehicle News New Smaller Audi e-Tron SUV Expected To Be Unveiled in Genevalast_img read more

Tesla Vehicles Other Stock EVs Compete In Eco Grand Prix

first_imgAbove: Tesla Model S races past a Hyundai Ioniq (Source: eco Grand Prix)The eco Grand Prix is an inclusive and egalitarian racing series that has a mission to highlight the fun electric cars can deliver without damaging the environment. Adrian Smith, writing in Auto Futures, explains that, unlike Formula E, the eco Grand Prix is open to all drivers, not only professional racing teams. Since its inception in 2013, the series has conducted a dozen competitions. In 2018, it held events in Spain, Germany and the Pyrenean principality of Andorra, where several Model S drivers took part in a race on a snow-covered track. Source: Electric Vehicle News Above: Electric cars battle it out in the snow during the eco Grand Prix (Instagram: ecograndprix)The most recent eco Grand Prix event was an EV drag race that took place in Abu Dhabi in January, part of the Electric Vehicle Road Trip Middle East. As always, the race was designed to test and promote EV technology.“Every event is an endurance challenge,” says Luc Perraudin, ecoGP’s Event Manager. “Every team, private or [company-sponsored], will make as much distance within the provided time (at least 6 hours at present) based on CEE 32 amps 22 kW maximum – so every EV has the same potential chance to make it. EcoGP is only for 100% [stock EVs] – products that everybody can buy. They are not allowed to be manipulated for the challenge.” Watch Tesla Model 3 Tackle Pikes Peak *This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs. Above: Getting ready for the race (Instagram: ecograndprix)“Our aim is to show the multiple aspects of the existing serial EVs,” Perraudin adds, “during heat and wind (Spain), snow and ice (Andorra) and extreme endurance challenge (24 hours in Germany).” Electric GT Delays Tesla-Based Racing Series Launch TESLAS AND OTHER STOCK EVS COMPETE IN THE ECO GRAND PRIXThe world of auto racing is getting electrified. The international Formula E series, now in its fifth season, brings world-class electric racing to cities around the world. Later this year, Tesla vehicles will begin competing in the FIA-sanctioned Electric Production Car Series. Electric vehicles have also distinguished themselves at the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb, on the autocross circuit, and on the world’s shadowy street racing scene.Check Out These Stories: Tesla Model S Will Officially Participate In FIA-Sanctioned Racing Series Above: Model 3 crossing the finish line (Source: eco Grand Prix)Series Organizer Rafael de Mestre is a long-time booster of EV racing – in 2012, he set a world record by driving around the world in 80 days in a Tesla Roadster. He explains that ecoGP was created “to show the state-of-the-art endurance of electric cars under real conditions driven by normal drivers.”===Written by: Charles Morris*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 30, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Tesla vandal arrested after footage of incident was captured on Sentry Mode

first_imgTesla’s new Sentry Mode is quickly proving useful as a woman who vandalized a Tesla vehicle was arrested after the footage of the incident was captured through Sentry Mode and reported to the police by the owner. more…The post Tesla vandal arrested after footage of incident was captured on Sentry Mode appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img

Infiniti Announces Qs Inspiration Production Version Expected In 2021

first_imgFirst electric Infiniti scheduled for 2021, will be produced in ChinaAt the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, Infiniti will unveil its new Qs Inspiration concept, described as an “electrified sports sedan for the future”.The car will be based on an all-new flexible architecture developed specifically to accommodate electrified powertrains, which we guess will be used by the entire Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.“The concept offers a new perspective on the sports sedan format for the coming era of electrification, and previews a forthcoming INFINITI production model.Drawing on INFINITI’s DNA, the Qs Inspiration confirms INFINITI’s new form language for its future electrified vehicles, inspired by the art and modern architecture of Japan. Inside, the minimalist cabin combines striking artistry and craftsmanship, and features two distinct zones – a clutter-free cockpit designed to engage the driver, and a relaxed passenger zone that make the most of the generous interior space.INFINITI revealed the technology-laden Q45 sedan in 1989 with groundbreaking design, engine and customer experience. Thirty years forward, the brand is delivering another groundbreaking sedan.” Infiniti QX Inspiration Electric SUV At NAIAS: Photos & Videos Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 10, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Nissan & Infiniti Concept Cars Hint at Future EVscenter_img Christian Meunier, Chairman of INFINITI, comments:“Electrification creates a range of new possibilities for sedans, with new powertrains and vehicle architectures letting us imagine how this type of car could be reinvigorated and adapted to fit the changing needs and tastes of drivers.”The production version is expected to hit the market within three years, in 2021. According to Reuters, it will be produced in China, the world’s biggest EV market.Earlier this year, Infiniti announced that it will retire from Europe in 2020, focusing on Asia and North America. Nissan‘s luxury brand will stay in Russia and the Middle East. The move will be especially painful for the UK, where production of the Q30 and QX30 will end in mid-2019.Source: Infiniti, Reuters Infiniti news Infiniti Prototype 10: Mega Gallery, Plus Videos From Pebble Beach Debutlast_img read more

Chevron starts deploying EV charging stations at its gas stations

first_imgSource: Charge Forward Oil and gas station companies are increasingly looking at adding electric vehicle charging stations at their locations in order to stay relevant as the industry moves to electric.Chevron is the latest example as it partners with EVgo to bring EV charging stations to its gas stations. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://youtu.be/ee5nKd7zjWoThe post Chevron starts deploying EV charging stations at its gas stations appeared first on Electrek.last_img read more

Villa pounce to agree £78m deal for Rangers defender Cuéllar

first_imgAston Villa Villa pounce to agree £7.8m deal for Rangers defender Cuéllar Share via Email @mrewanmurray Topics First published on Mon 11 Aug 2008 20.03 EDT Shares11 Premier League Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Scottish Premier League 2008-09 Premier League 2008-09 Share on LinkedIn Aston Villa are poised to sign Carlos Cuéllar from Rangers after the Scottish club accepted a £7.8m offer for their Spanish central defender yesterday.Cuéllar, who had an outstanding debut season in Scotland following his £2.4m arrival from Osasuna 13 months ago, has a clause in his Rangers contract which allows him to talk to any club if a €10m (£7.8m) bid is lodged and he will now join Martin O’Neill’s team if he passes a medical and agrees personal terms.”My ambition has always been to play for my national team and I believe that playing in the biggest league in the world for Aston Villa will help me realise that,” Cuéllar said last night. “The Rangers supporters have been fantastic but I am young and want to play at the highest level and I hope they will always welcome me back. I want to thank them for everything.”The Rangers manager, Walter Smith, said he had reluctantly admitted defeat in his attempts to keep the player. “This has come as a surprise and I am disappointed. Carlos Cuéllar has been a great player for this football club,” he said.Amid reported interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United O’Neill moved swiftly after Rangers’ exit from European competition last week. Cuéllar, 26, is expected to travel to the Midlands today to complete the move. O’Neill has been seeking to strengthen at centre-back with only Zat Knight, Martin Laursen and Curtis Davies currently in place. Villa had targeted Younes Kaboul but the 22-year-old yesterday completed a move from Tottenham to Portsmouth. The manager does have options across the backline, though, as Cuéllar will become the third defender to sign this summer, following the full-backs Nicky Shorey and Luke Young to the club.The Spaniard did not feature in Rangers’ Champions League qualifying defeat to FBK Kaunas because of injury and could make his Villa debut in Thursday’s Uefa Cup tie against FH Hafnarfjordur. Villa open their domestic campaign at home to Manchester City three days later.The sale of Cuéllar will cause further problems for Smith, who is already under intense pressure to reclaim the Scottish Premier League title from Celtic. The manager had admitted on Friday that, as was the case when Alan Hutton joined Spurs in January, Rangers are powerless to prevent players moving to England. Smith is likely to use the funds to attempt to sign Steven Davis from Fulham. Davis spent the latter part of last season on loan at Ibrox but the two clubs have so far been unable to negotiate a permanent transfer with Fulham seeking up to £2.5m for the player. Share on Messenger Carlos Cuellar was named the Scottish Football Writers’ Player of the Year in May. Photograph: Lynne Cameron/Empics/Rangers FC Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Scottish Premiership Aston Villa Share via Email Ewan Murray and Stuart James Share on Facebook Mon 11 Aug 2008 20.03 EDT Rangers Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Second Wind A New Book and Tour by Dr Bill Thomas

first_imgby, Marti Weston, AsOurParentsAge.netTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesLeave it to Dr. Bill Thomas to write a new book, in this case Second Wind, and then use the book tour, not just to publicize its release by joining radio personalities and attending book signings, but instead to educate in a big way. Dr. Bill, some of his Eden Alternative and Green House Project colleagues, and […]Related PostsWhen Aging is a Good ThingThat headline, “When Aging is a Good Thing,” turned up earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal but hardly in a positive sense. Since the story is about aged beef at a certain Manhattan restaurant, the headline is a near perfect example of the subtle type of elder bias…Jacksonville Business Journal: Telling a new story about aging“There’s a guy on stilts, in costume, at a theater talking about the process — the journey, really — of aging? Why?” Dr. Bill Thomas asks rhetorically, aware of how ridiculous the proposition must sound out of context. The post Jacksonville Business Journal: Telling a new story about aging appeared…Bill Thomas in Active Over 50“How did we arrive at this moment?” Dr. Bill Thomas asked journalist Marsha Felton for a cover story profile in the magazine Active Over 50.TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Aging ChangingAging Dr Bill Thomas Second Wind senior living wisdomlast_img read more

When the Tail Wags the Dog

first_imgby, Margit Novack, GuestBloggerTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesLast week, I met a woman and her dog walking along a nature trail. As dog lovers do, we started to talk. She said she and her dog walk the two-mile nature trail daily. Recently, she had tried to adopt a second senior dog, to keep her 8-year-old dog company. The rescue organization said that since she was 76, it was likely that something would happen to her during the dog’s lifetime, and the dog would need to be re-homed. Rather than take this risk, they rejected her application. This is what I call the tail wagging the dog.The numerous benefits that accrue to elder pet owners are well documented. Pets reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase interaction and physical activity. They provide companionship, reduce depression and decrease loneliness. Senior pet owners visit the doctor less often than seniors who don’t have pets. They tend to have fewer minor health problems, lower medical costs, better psychological well-being, and even higher survival rates following surgery for coronary heart disease!!Pets don’t just bring us joy; they depend on us. For older adults who increasingly depend on others for help — with transportation, medication management, meal preparation and more — having someone who depends on them helps preserve self esteem. As my mother-in-law said of her parakeet, Pookie “I depend on you and Bill for many things, but Pookie depends on me. It feels good to be needed.”Pets benefit, too, particularly when older folks adopt older pets. “These lucky pets go from the pound to paradise. Since most of the adopters are retired, they have lots of time to devote to a previously unwanted pet,” says Chicago veterinarian Tony Kremer. All these benefits — for both seniors and pets — are understood by some organizations. Purina’s Pets for Seniors program, for example, works with 150 shelters nationwide to reduce the cost of pet adoption for senior citizens. (Go to www.purina.com/petsfor55+ for a list of participating shelters). Another organization, SeniorsforPets.org, helps fund basic medical care for needy Senior pet owners.All this benefit does come with risk. People of all ages trip on their pets, but older adults are more likely to be seriously injured from a fall. In fact, for older adults, falls can be deadly.But why does risk only mean “bad”? Risk is usually associated with the downside of risk – when things turn out worse than expected. Geriatrician Bill Thomas urges people and organizations to look at the upside of risk — when things turn out better than anticipated — as well. Yes, pets can be a trip hazard for older adults. They also increase exercise and help their elderly pet owners stay in shape, decreasing the likelihood of falls. For most elderly pet owners, pets represent the upside of risk. When we remove the downside of risk, says Thomas, we remove the upside of risk as well. When did 70, 80 and 90-year-olds lose the right to accept risk?The 76-year-old I met on the trail was rejected sight unseen, on the basis of her age alone — as if every 76-year-old is the same. Of course, people are not all the same, at 76 or at any age. People far younger than 76 can be less able-bodied, and people much older than 76 can be physically fit. Rescue organizations try to control what will happen to the animals they adopt out. In some organizations, it seems that a fenced yard and the age of the adoptive parent are given higher priority than how the loved the pet will be or how it will enhance the life of the person who adopts it.If there is an essence to a dog’s soul, I think at its core is being needed, having a purpose, making a difference in its owner’s life. That is what dogs do for elder owners — they make a difference. Perhaps dogs adopted by elder owners do have a higher than normal risk of needing to be re-homed at an advanced age, but that is a risk I think most dogs would gladly accept in exchange for a life filled with love and purpose.I think animals have a right to the upside of risk, just as human do. Let’s have the dog wag the tail, and not vice versa.Originally published by MovingSolutions.comRelated PostsNo Kittens for Old MenKavan pointed me to this extraordinary example of ageism… Stanley Coren recounts an e-mail which he found to be quite disturbing. The writer had recently heard him give a talk to the Canadian Association of Retired People in Toronto. In that presentation he had spoke about the benefits of pet…The Healing Power of DogsPets Can Cause FallsI watched it happen almost in slow motion. An elderly woman climbed out of her golf cart, and her medium-sized dog bounded out beside her. But then the dog saw another dog and without looking back, tried to take off, jerking on the leash. The woman hel…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Ageism petslast_img read more

Study highlights inadequate effort of health care insurers to combat opioid epidemic

first_imgJun 22 2018Health care insurers including Medicare, Medicaid and major private insurers have not done enough to combat the opioid epidemic, suggests a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.The Bloomberg School researchers examined major insurers’ 2017 coverage policies for drugs to treat chronic lower-back pain, and concluded that these policies missed important opportunities to steer patients towards safer and more effective treatments than prescription opioids.”Our findings suggest that both public and private insurers, at least unwittingly, have contributed importantly to the epidemic,” says study senior author G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness.The study, which will be published online on Friday, June 22, in the journal JAMA Network Open, provides one of the most comprehensive looks ever at insurers’ pain coverage policies, and comes as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across the country. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has estimated that in 2016, the most recent year for which complete data are available, over 42,249 Americans died from opioid overdoses, the most of any year on record. More than 2.1 million Americans had an opioid use disorder (addiction) in 2016, with economic costs from the epidemic estimated to be as high as $504 billion dollars.Alexander and colleagues, with funding and technical assistance from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) (DHHS), the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analyzed the coverage policies of 15 Medicaid plans, 15 Medicare Advantage plans and 20 commercial insurers in 2017. The team focused on common plan types within 16 states that together comprise about one-half of the U.S. population. Many of the states examined have been hit especially hard by the epidemic.In addition to analyzing plan details, the researchers also conducted in-depth interviews with over 43 senior health care executives that administered representative plans. The investigators focused on 62 prescription drugs used to treat chronic lower back pain, one of the most common types of chronic, non-cancer pain for which prescription opioids have been overused. Their analysis included 30 prescription opioids and 32 other drugs including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants and topical analgesics.The analysis revealed that many insurers failed to apply evidence-based “utilization management” rules to discourage opioid overuse and encourage safer and more effective alternatives. What’s more, many of the utilization management rules in place were applied as often to non-opioids as opioids.”Opioids are just one tool in the pain management tool box, and unfortunately, many of the plans that we examined didn’t have well-developed policies in place to limit their overuse,” Alexander says.There are three types of common “utilization management”–quantity limits, step therapy and prior authorization.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskLiving with advanced breast cancerNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerWhile “quantity limits”–which restrict the number of pills that can be dispensed–were commonly used for opioids, they were generally for a 30-day supply, rather than a shorter supply as is recommended in the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. This is important since the duration of early prescriptions for opioids is associated with the likelihood that a patient will convert to chronic use. Since the study was initiated, several major insurers have begun implementing more stringent quantity limits on first prescriptions.”Step therapy”–which requires that treatment start with a less risky drug such as an NSAID, an over-the counter, anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and allows a riskier opioid only if the first drug fails to work–is another strategy to reduce inappropriate opioid use. But the researchers found that the plans they studied rarely required step therapy for opioids. Among the Medicaid plans, for example, a median of only 9 percent of covered opioids required step therapy. For commercial plans, the median figure was just 4 percent. Among the Medicare plans there were virtually no step therapy requirements for opioids.Similarly, the practice of “prior authorization,” in which the prescriber must contact the insurer for pre-approval before writing a prescription the insurer will cover, was applied to only a minority of covered opioids. Although, here too, some insurers have begun implementing policies such as requiring prior authorization for individuals with chronic, non-cancer pain, initiating treatment with extended release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioids.The researchers found too that both public and commercial plans tended to make covered opioids available relatively cheaply to patients. The median commercial plan, for example, placed 74 percent of opioid painkillers in Tier 1, the lowest cost category, and the median commercial co-pay for Tier 1 opioids was just $10 for a month’s supply.”To their credit, while every health plan we examined was actively trying to combat the epidemic, their focus was generally on utilization management and identifying high-volume prescribers and patients, rather than on comprehensive strategies to improve the treatment of chronic pain,” Alexander says. On the whole, these coverage policies “help explain why the opioid epidemic has taken root,” he adds.In 2016, the CDC issued recommendations for stricter limits on opioid prescribing, noting among other things that “Non-opioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.” These guidelines, as well as soaring rates of injuries and deaths from opioids, continue to shape changes in clinical practice.”Insurers can either be part of the problem, or part of the solution,” says Alexander. “The good news is that an increasing number of health plans are recognizing their contribution to the epidemic and developing new policies to address it. The bad news is that we have a very long way to go.”Source: https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2018/health-insurance-plans-may-be-fueling-opioid-epidemic.htmllast_img read more

Scientists discover new way to predict healthy individuals at risk of developing

first_imgJul 10 2018An international team of leukemia scientists has discovered how to predict healthy individuals at risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive and often deadly blood cancer.The findings, published today in Nature, illuminate the ‘black box of leukemia’ and answer the question of where, when and how the disease begins, says co-principal investigator Dr. John Dick, Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network.”We have been able to identify people in the general population who have traces of mutations in their blood that represent the first steps in how normal blood cells begin on a pathway of becoming increasingly abnormal and puts them at risk of progressing to AML. We can find these traces up to 10 years before AML actually develops,” says Dr. Dick. “This long time window gives us the first opportunity to think about how to prevent AML.”Dr. Dick is also a Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, holds the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology, and is Co-Leader of the Acute Leukemia Translational Research Initiative at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.Study author Dr. Sagi Abelson, a post-doctoral fellow in the Dick lab, says: “AML is a devastating disease diagnosed too late, with a 90 per cent mortality rate after the age of 65. Our findings show it is possible to identify individuals in the general population who are at high risk of developing AML through a genetic test on a blood sample.”The ultimate goal is to identify these individuals and study how we can target the mutated blood cells long before the disease actually begins.”The study builds on Dr. Dick’s 2014 discovery that a pre-leukemic stem cell could be found lurking amongst all the leukemia cells that are present in the blood sample taken when a person is first diagnosed with AML. The pre-leukemic stem cell still functions normally but it has taken the first step in generating pathway of cells that became more and more abnormal resulting in AML (Nature, February 12, 2014), and continues his quest to trace every step in the evolution of AML, starting with blood cells from healthy people.Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionMolecular switches may control lifespan and healthspan separately, genetic discovery suggestsStudy: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutation”Our 2014 study predicted that people with early mutations in their blood stem cells, long before the disease appears and makes them sick, should be able to be detected within the general population by testing a blood sample for the presence of the mutation.” says Dr. Dick.Co-principal investigator Dr. Liran Shlush, a former fellow in the Dick lab, and now Senior Scientist at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, led the approach to use data from a large European population health and lifestyle study that tracked 550,000 people over 20 years to determine correlations to cancer.The leukemia team extracted the data from more than 100 participants who developed AML six to 10 years after joining the study, plus the data from an age-matched cohort of more than 400 who did not develop the disease.Dr. Dick says: “We wanted to know if there was any difference between these two groups in the genetics of their ‘normal’ blood samples taken at enrollment. To find out, we developed a gene sequencing tool that captured the most common genes that get altered in AML and sequenced all the 500 blood samples.”The answer was “Yes”. The seeds of the blood system started picking up mutations years before an individual was diagnosed with AML, a finding that enabled the team to predict accurately who had been at risk of disease progression.Furthermore, the team used advanced computational technology to assay the information obtained from routinely collected blood tests taken over 15 years in Israel and housed in a massive database of 3.4 million electronic health records.The study has deepened our understanding of the distinction between AML and a common feature of aging called ARCH–age-related clonal hematopoiesis–whereby blood stem cells acquire mutations and become a little more proliferative. For the vast majority of people this is just a completely benign feature of aging.”Every AML patient has ARCH but not everyone with ARCH gets AML,” explains Dr. Dick. Source:https://www.uhn.ca/corporate/News/PressReleases/Pages/Leukemia_researchers_discover_genetic_screening_tool_to_predict_healthy_people_at_risk_for_developing_AML.aspxlast_img read more

Scientists identify pathways that reveal insights into mechanism of lung cancer etiology

first_img Source:https://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/ Aug 17 2018Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable cancer death. A disease of complex origin, lung cancer is usually considered to result from effects of smoking and from multiple genetic variants. One of these genetic components, a chromosome named 15q25.1, has been previously identified as a leading influencer of susceptibility to lung cancer, smoking behavior, and nicotine addiction. However, no previous study has investigated the mechanisms of this lead agent, or documented the susceptibility pathways that allow this chromosome to modify development of disease.A research team led by Xuemie Ji, MD, PhD, Research Associate in Department of Biomedical Data Science at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, helped solve this central problem. The team identified two main pathways involving the mechanism by which the chromosome 15q25.1 locus influences lung cancer risk. The first pathway is an interaction pathway in the nervous system that is implicated in nicotine dependence. The other pathway can control key components in many biological processes, such as transport of nutrients and ions, and the human immune system.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerThe results have been newly published in Nature Communications. “Our findings in pathways uncover insights into the mechanism of lung cancer etiology and development, which will potentially shorten the interval between increasing biological knowledge and translation to patient care,” says Ji. “Blocking genes downstream or in parallel pathways might provide a strategy to treat such cancer.”The study used two independent cohorts of 42,901 individuals with a genome-wide set of genetic variants, as well as an expression dataset with lung tissue from 409 lung cancer patients to validate findings. Two different methods were used to analyze data, and confirm that the findings are reliable and can be repeated with different methods. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the pathogenic pathways related to the mechanisms of chromosome 15q25.1 and the first to use a novel analysis approach to analyze data and to validate the findings,” says Ji. “The ability to block the damaging genetic variants downstream or in parallel pathways might improve lung cancer prognosis and survival, and therefore provide alternative strategies to treat such cancer.”The team is working to identify more mechanisms contributing to the increased risk of lung cancer. They aim to provide more explanation for the large unexplainable division of lung cancer occurrences.last_img read more

Star statistician Hans Rosling takes on Ebola

first_imgMONROVIA—Hans Rosling is a global health celebrity, a former head of the Division of Global Health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm whose riveting lectures have made him a star of TED talks, and a fixture of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But since 20 October, he has occupied room 319 of Liberia’s Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, a large yellow building not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Working alongside the country’s head of Ebola surveillance, Luke Bawo, he is helping the ministry make sense of the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded.Rosling has come without any affiliation, which he says helps him stay independent. “He just walked into the office and introduced himself,” Bawo says.He feels bad about not coming earlier. Ebola arrived in Liberia from Guinea in March, then spread south to Monrovia, where it exploded in August. Hospitals were closed and Ebola treatment units were overwhelmed. “I thought the Ebola outbreak could be stopped locally,” Rosling says. “I just wasn’t smart enough.” (He also felt he was too old to work in a treatment unit.) Click to view the privacy policy. 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Country When he saw the epidemic curve go up in Sierra Leone and down in Liberia in October, he was skeptical, and he decided to find out firsthand what was happening. He canceled his lectures and contacted the Liberian government. “I’m not a virologist and I’m not a clinician, but I have considerable experience investigating messy epidemics in poor parts of Africa,” he says.A quarter-century ago, he faced a threat that seemed even more terrifying than Ebola. In August 1981, Rosling was working as a district medical officer in northern Mozambique when he sat in front of a line of 30 women and children whose legs had become paralyzed over the past month. “I had this big neurology book, and their disease did not exist in that book,” Rosling says. A South African submarine had been spotted in a nearby bay a few weeks earlier. “It was fully possible that it was biological warfare.”When he came home that evening, he told his wife to take their kids and drive them to a safer place a few hours away. He didn’t sleep the next 48 hours. “When you face a disease that may be infectious, 98% of your intellectual capacity becomes blocked. You become so scared, thinking you will die, thinking you may be crippled, thinking about your children.” It took 2 weeks before it became clear the affliction wasn’t contagious. (Now called konzo, it’s caused at least in part by toxic compounds in cassava roots.) A group of Italian nuns helped Rosling overcome his fears. “I don’t think I could have done this without them,” he says.The experience left Rosling with a cool approach to health crises and a keen sense of what it takes to fight a disease in one of the poorest parts of the world. Soon after he arrived in Monrovia, he became convinced that the Liberian decline is real, driven in large part by changes in behavior that reduce the risk of infection. Liberia now reports only some 10 new cases a day. That’s good news, but it also presents big new challenges. While Ebola was the main cause of death, safe burials were essential. Now that new infections are less common, people could in principle resume traditional funeral practices, which include contact with the body, for deaths not due to Ebola. But spreading that message could cause people to drop their guard with Ebola victims, too, leading to new infections. “Any decision will have many complicated consequences,” Rosling says.Rosling learned that lesson, too, in the konzo outbreak. Because he was initially unable to rule out an infectious disease, the Mozambican government set up a roadblock to stop the disease from spreading. A group of people took a boat along the coast to evade the blockade, and it sank. “I have stood there and seen the bodies of 18 women and children who drowned because of that roadblock,” he says. “That stays with you. Eighteen bodies of people you killed.”After he arrived in Monrovia, Rosling started by doing simple things, such as proofreading the ministry’s epidemiological reports, which he says nobody had time for. He changed an important detail in the updates: Rather than listing “0 cases” for counties that had not reported any numbers—which could be misleading—he left them blank. Next, he tackled the problem behind the missing data. Some health care workers couldn’t afford to call in their reports, because they were paying the phone charges themselves; Rosling set up a small fund to pay for scratch cards that gave them airtime.One of Hans Rosling’s recent “Factpods” on YouTube discussed the spread of Ebola in West Africa.Now, he’s focusing on how to get the number of new cases down to zero. That means finding every single case, tracing that patient’s contacts, and isolating all of those who show symptoms—a huge challenge in a country where many villages are hours away from a road, Ebola symptoms like diarrhea and fever are common, and the fear of the deadly virus drives some contacts to skip town and seek out a traditional healer. “We have to make a meticulously perfect system work in a country where such a system cannot exist,” he says. “This is the biggest intellectual challenge I have participated in in my life.”On a whiteboard in his office, Rosling has drawn a complicated flow chart to show how the information about patients and their contacts moves through the system. Data are lost at several steps. Some people die on the way to the hospital; others give different ages or names at different points. Rosling’s aim is to know how many of the newly discovered Ebola patients are already on one of the contact lists. But so far he has been struggling even to find out what county every patient is from.Others on the front lines welcome Rosling’s help. Kevin De Cock, who leads the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) field team in Liberia, calls him “an eminent epidemiologist with immense African experience. He provides strong technical and intellectual input.” Bawo says he admires Rosling’s commitment but worries that he’s overstretching himself. “He is welcome to stay, but I make it my business that he takes one day off a week,” Bawo says. “Every Sunday I don’t call him, he does not call me, and I do not want him to send me an e-mail.”Rosling says he’s tired of the portrayal of Africa as a continent of incompetence, superstition, and rampant corruption. “I am astonished how good people are that I work with here, how dedicated, how serious,” he says. When The New York Times reported that governmental infighting was hampering the Ebola response, Rosling tweeted: “Don McNeil misrepresents Liberia’s EBOLA-response to win the MOST INCORRECT ARTICLE ABOUT EBOLA AWARD.” His self-assurance and impatience with opinions he disagrees with can grate on others. “I find him quite irritating,” says one Western colleague. “Mostly because he turns out to be right about most things.”Rosling is critical of Western nations’ response to the crisis. Whereas experts from elsewhere in Africa have come as colleagues and stayed for long periods of time, for instance, agencies like CDC replace their staff every few weeks, which Rosling says hampers continuity. (CDC is like Cuba, Rosling says: “Amazing people, bad system.”) The U.S. military won’t transport patients or even blood samples in their helicopters, he adds: “Welcome to the continent of less superstition.”Rosling eventually wrote his Ph.D. thesis about the konzo outbreak, helped set up the Swedish chapter of Doctors Without Borders, and became a professor of global health at the Karolinska Institute, where he retired in 2012. His talks still garner “obscene fees,” he says—some $600,000 annually—which he uses to finance the Gapminder Foundation, a nonprofit he set up to bring development statistics to a broad audience. His talks have been viewed by millions, 200,000 people follow him on Twitter, and he has rich and powerful fans. “Mark Zuckerberg called me yesterday,” he says at one point, to ask how his money could help fight Ebola.Rosling’s 2006 TED talk debunked myths about the developing world.In his talks, which feature dazzling graphics, Rosling is fond of emphasizing that most people’s view of the world is wrong. He often asks how many children get the standard childhood vaccinations—20%, 50%, or 80%? Most people answer 20%, but it’s 80%. “The problem is that the education systems in North America and Europe and the media have not conveyed a fact-based view of the world.”Similarly, many people lump everything from Turkey to Somalia together as the developing world, blurring the differences between middle-income countries and those dominated by extreme poverty. He likes to say that 1.5 billion people have a light bulb and a washing machine, 4 billion have only the light bulb, and about 1.5 billion have neither. The populations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone mostly fall into the last category, he says. “And that is one reason we can have such a huge Ebola outbreak here.”Eradicating extreme poverty should be a top priority, says Rosling, who has been critical of programs that focus on a single disease, such as the multibillion-dollar initiative to eradicate polio. That has put him at odds with Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization (WHO), who heads the campaign. Now, Aylward is also in charge of WHO’s Ebola response, but in this case, there’s no disagreement: “Ebola is different,” Rosling says, adding that Aylward gave him important guidance. Aylward praises Rosling as “great added value.”                Although he does not come into contact with Ebola patients, Rosling had one moment when his fear of infectious diseases returned. One night in his Monrovia hotel, he developed diarrhea. He skipped dinner and locked himself up in his room. “I had to plan. Should I tell my family? Should I not?” he says. He decided to take his temperature every 2 hours and monitor himself for additional symptoms. “But I did finish my report before I went to bed.” He felt fine the next morning, and he’s not planning to return to Sweden anytime soon. “I canceled Christmas with the family,” he says. “But I hope to be home for Midsummer’s Eve.”*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

RNA world inches closer to explaining origins of life

first_imgThe molecular dance that led to the origin of life billions of years ago remains one of the deepest mysteries in modern science. Though the exact choreography is forever lost to time, scientists now say they may have identified one of the key steps. Chemists in Germany today report a plausible way in which basic chemicals available on early Earth may have given rise to compounds called purines—chemicals that are a key ingredient of DNA, RNA, and energy metabolism in all cells.The new work is “very pretty chemistry,” says Gerald Joyce, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, who specializes in the chemistry that may have given rise to life.Joyce and others have long suggested that one of the key early events in this process was the formation of RNA—a long chainlike molecule that conveys genetic information and speeds up other chemical reactions. Both of those functions were necessary for life to evolve. But sorting out how RNA itself may have arisen—and led to an “RNA world”—has been a struggle. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country RNA is made up of four different chemical building blocks: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and uracil (U). Seven years ago, researchers led by the U.K. chemist John Sutherland showed a plausible series of steps by which chemical reactions on early Earth could have synthesized cytosine and uracil, also known as pyrimidines. But this route hasn’t been shown to give rise to adenine or guanine, RNA’s purine building blocks. Others partially succeeded in the purine quest. In 1972, the U.K. chemist Leslie Orgel and colleagues suggested one possible route for purine formation on early Earth. But it never seemed all that plausible, says Thomas Carell, a chemist at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. That’s in part because the process produced only tiny amounts of the purines so vital for life.“People have been looking for synthetic routes to making purines for 40 years,” Carell says.Carell and colleagues stumbled on a new lead several years ago, when they were studying how DNA is damaged. DNA is very similar to RNA, except that uracil is replaced with thymine. They were studying how a molecule called formamidopyrimidine (FaPy) reacts with DNA, and found it also readily reacts to form purines. So they decided to look into whether early Earth conditions could have given rise to FaPys, and thus purines.The first step was easy. It requires only hydrogen, cyanide, and water. Hydrogen cyanide, a simple molecule containing only three atoms—hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon—is widely believed to have been abundant on early Earth. It readily reacts in water—also thought to be plentiful at the time—to form one of a class of molecules called aminopyrimidines, which contain several chemical groups called amines. Normally, these amines react indiscriminately to form a wide mix of different compounds. That’s a bad thing in this case, Carell explains, because most of those products wouldn’t be purines.Carell needed to find a way to stop all but one critical amine from reacting. “Initially I thought this would never work,” Carell says. But the solution, he says, was far simpler than he expected. When Carell’s team spiked their solution with just a bit of an acid—also widely considered abundant on early Earth—a reaction caused an extra proton from the acid to attach to the aminopyrimidine. That extra proton killed the reactivity of all but one of the amine groups on the molecule. And much to Carell’s delight, the lone amine that stayed reactive was precisely the one that reacts to form a purine.That’s not all. Further lab results presented today in Science show that the reactive amine on the aminopyrimidine readily bonds with either formic acid or formamide. Last year, the Rosetta space probe detected both of those chemicals on a comet, so scientists think they also probably rained down on early Earth. Once the bonds have formed, products of those reactions then eagerly react with sugars to create large quantities of purines. “It’s like a domino cascade,” Carell says.Mic drop? Not so fast, says Steven Benner, a chemist and origin of life expert at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida. Benner agrees that the newly suggested purine synthesis is a “major step forward” for the field. But even if it’s correct, he says, the chemical conditions that gave rise to the purines still don’t match those that Sutherland’s group suggests may have led to the pyrimidines. So just how As, Gs, Cs, and Us would have ended up together isn’t yet clear. And even if all the RNA bases were in the same place at the same time, it’s still not obvious what drove the bases to link up to form full-fledged RNAs, Benner says.We’re here, so it must have happened somehow. But RNA-world researchers still need to line up a few more dominoes before one of the greatest mysteries of life will be truly solved.last_img read more

Inside the global campaign to get rid of rabies

first_imgInside the global campaign to get rid of rabies Zipline Taking aim at a global scourge The World Health Organization and other groups have announced the goal of eliminating rabies as a public health problem. The key to fighting it: vaccinating dogs. © Felix Lankester During a campaign in Siaya County in Kenya, vets vaccinated 15,000 dogs against rabies in 10 days. In theory, nobody should die from rabies. It’s one of the few viral diseases where administering a vaccine after exposure can still save your life. Developing countries try to provide enough doses to hospitals and clinics. Unfortunately, supplies often run out. People who can’t afford to buy the jabs from private pharmacies, or don’t get them in time, are doomed. Untreated rabies is the deadliest of all diseases, fatal almost without exception. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country (Graphic) V. Altounian/Science; (Data) M. C. Schneider et al., Cadernos de Saude Publica, Rio de Janeiro, 23 (9): 2049–2063, Set, 2007; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 2013 368, 20120143 (24 June 2013) Email By Erik StokstadJan. 19, 2017 , 9:00 AM Katie Hampson, veterinary epidemiologist, University of Glasgow A campaign pays off Some developing countries have succeeded in eliminating rabies. Others have made great progress. As Sri Lanka ramped up dog vaccinations, for example, human deaths declined. The country has also spent heavily on postexposure vaccines, further cutting deaths. Sarah Cleaveland (left) came to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to study rabies in wildlife. Concerned about human deaths, she now advocates for rabies elimination in dogs. ‹› On its way out Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have made steady progress toward eliminating canine rabies. With help from the Pan American Health Organization, they jointly purchase and share vaccines, use standardized surveillance, and coordinate vaccination along borders. A cat brought in a bag to a vaccination campaign in Kenya. Cats, too, can transmit rabies to humans. That’s why the global plan calls for cheaper and faster treatment for people. But its long-term bet is on vaccinating domestic dogs, which pose the biggest threat to people in the developing world. “It’s the only way you’re going to eliminate the problem,” says Louise Taylor, scientific director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, an advocacy group based in Manhattan, Kansas. To rid a canine population of the virus, vets aim to immunize at least 70% of dogs for several years. After that, a lower coverage level suffices to keep outbreaks at bay. In Mugumu, a dusty town on the northwestern side of the park, researchers are trying to quantify the benefits of dog vaccination. Ahmed Lugalo, a veterinary epidemiologist affiliated with Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania, follows up on dog bites and rabies cases recorded in logbooks from clinics and hospitals. He also has a network of dozens of paraveterinary assistants in surrounding villages who keep an ear out for reports of rabid dogs, conduct interviews, and, when possible, take brain samples of dogs suspected to have died of rabies. The effort, directed by veterinary epidemiologist Katie Hampson of the University of Glasgow and funded by the Wellcome Trust, provides data that allow researchers to create and test models of rabies transmission and the effects of vaccination.On a recent afternoon, Lugalo and a paravet drive to the outskirts of Mugumu to interview Ghati Muhingira about a serious dog bite. Her children play nearby, as scrawny chickens peck in the dirt yard. A breeze rustles corn fields. This past August, Muhingira’s oldest daughter, Asha, was bitten on her leg by a dog as she walked to school. Gazing vacantly into the distance, Muhingira says that after she saw the deep wound, she called a motorbike taxi and rushed 7-year-old Asha to the hospital. The staff only gave her a tetanus injection, because the dog’s owner said it had been protected against rabies.In early October, Asha told her mother that her healed leg was aching. Two days later, when she became feverish and had trouble swallowing, her mother took her to the hospital. It was rabies. The owner of the dog had lied about its vaccination. A few hours before she died, Asha, delirious, thought she saw her school teacher and called out: “I’m healed. I want to go home.”Later in the day, Lugalo says that such stories take an emotional toll—he recently became a father himself. During the interview, however, he’s all business. He asks how much Muhingira spent on the hospital visit. Then he asks about the dog. It had bitten another child, Muhingira says. Lugalo advises her to get her own dog immunized, and the team leaves to interview the mother of the other victim. Not taking any chances, she had already gotten her daughter vaccinated. The dog owner, who lived next door, boarded up his house after the police started an investigation. “He has run away, like his mad dog,” says Lugalo’s co-worker Matthias Magoto, shaking his head. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img J. You/Science; (Data) Public Health Veterinary Services, Sri Lanka Ministry of Health © Natalia Jidovanu © Natalia Jidovanu This strategy has stopped rabies as a killer in developed nations. Elsewhere, the challenges are enormous, and nowhere bigger than in sub-Saharan Africa. Poor countries can hardly pay for millions of dogs to be vaccinated, and their governments often have trouble organizing vaccination campaigns across vast rural areas—even if they have the political will. Big donors, for their part, prefer to work on diseases with a higher death toll or believe that reaching enough dogs is too complicated.In fact, dog campaigns are relatively straightforward, but they often face obstacles. The veterinary teams that typically run them don’t work together with public health authorities and tend to prioritize cattle and other valuable livestock, which usually die of other diseases. “In Africa, what’s a dog? It’s worth nothing,” says Jens Fissenebert, who runs Mbwa Wa Africa, an animal welfare charity near Arusha, Tanzania. “The connection with saving human lives is not there.”Now, in pilot projects underway in Tanzania, Kenya, and a few other African countries, scientists are testing strategies for reaching and vaccinating dogs more efficiently. They are also collecting data to pin down the toll of rabies, demonstrate the connection between dog vaccination and human health in poorer countries, and quantify the economic benefits of national campaigns.Although the 2030 target seems improbable, if not impossible, proponents point to a few successful efforts—including the brief defeat of dog rabies in N’Djamena, the capital of dirt-poor Chad—to show that the disease can be beaten back even in Africa. “It’s not going to be fast, easy, or inexpensive,” says Charles Rupprecht, a rabies expert and consultant near Atlanta. “But it can be done.”THE RABIES VIRUS IS A MARVEL of biological ingenuity, cruelly manipulating its host’s behavior to further its own reproduction. After a dog becomes infected, usually through a bite by another dog, the virus travels to the brain and renders the animal hyper-aggressive and excitable, with a hoarse howl. The virus also spreads to the salivary glands, which start producing saliva laden with billions of viral copies. By interfering with the pharyngeal nerves, the virus makes it hard for the dog to swallow, leading to more saliva and increased chances of transmission.The disease is similarly gruesome in humans. In what’s known as paralytic rabies, about one in five patients slips into a coma and dies of respiratory and heart failure. Furious rabies is even worse, with symptoms including fear of water—even to drink—spasms, terror, and aggression. Human-to-human transmission of rabies is believed to be extremely rare, and has only been documented from a few organ or cornea transplants. Only 15 people are known to have survived rabies, and almost all had been at least partially immunized.Louis Pasteur developed the first rabies vaccine, made from the dried spinal cords of infected rabbits, and famously used it to save the life of a 9-year-old Parisian boy in 1885. Today’s versions are produced from virus grown in cultures of human cells, then chemically sterilized; they are more effective, far less painful, and have fewer side effects. Three to five jabs over several weeks will prevent the virus from reaching the brain if given quickly enough. A dose of rabies antibodies is also recommended for people not previously inoculated.Dog vaccines were first developed in the 1920s. Still, it took decades to eliminate rabid dogs as a public health threat in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere. Now, Latin America is on the verge of replicating the success (see timeline, below), following a concerted and coordinated campaign that reaches 40 million to 50 million dogs each year. Delivery of postexposure rabies vaccines to remote clinics can be delayed by bad roads, especially in the rainy season. In October 2016, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health began an experiment with drones to transport vaccines and supplies of rare blood types. Delivery of postexposure rabies vaccines to remote clinics can be delayed by bad roads, especially in the rainy season. In October 2016, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health began an experiment with drones to transport vaccines and supplies of rare blood types. Rabies can never be wiped off the face of the planet, as smallpox was, because so many mammal species harbor it. These reservoirs pose a continuing, albeit minor risk for humans: In the United States, one or two people still die each year after being bitten by rabies-infected bats. In Eastern Europe, rabid foxes are a concern.As with other neglected diseases, it is difficult to know the exact human toll. Asia currently suffers the highest number of deaths, an estimated 35,000. Africa has fewer, but the individual risk of dying of rabies is particularly high in sub-Saharan countries (see map, p. 241) because of the many unvaccinated dogs—they’re widely used for guarding livestock and homes—and underfunded health systems.”DANGER! DANGER! RABIES KILLS” says the poster on the mud-brick building. A makeshift clinic has been unloaded from a battered Land Rover in Ligamba, a small village in the Mara region here, to offer free shots for dogs. In the shade of a tree, Imam Mzimbiri wields a hypodermic needle. He tells a middle-aged man to grasp the neck of his large dog. The man digs his sandals into the sand, but the dog leaps away and nearly breaks his rope leash. Mzimbiri, a veterinarian with the Serengeti Health Initiative run by the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, casually walks off and then circles back behind the dog. He darts in and jabs the needle into its thigh. “This one was hard to handle,” he says.Mostly, the animals cooperate. Over several hours, the team vaccinates 145 dogs. Traveling to all the villages within 10 kilometers of Serengeti National Park, Mzimbiri and his team notch up 45,000 dogs a year. They also vaccinate the occasional cat; although cats are uncommon pets in Africa and not a reservoir of the virus, they can transmit rabies to people.The work has helped make this part of Tanzania an exemplar of progress in the fight against rabies. The campaign started out of concern for endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), which had died out in Serengeti National Park from rabies. In 2002, the U.S. National Science Foundation provided $1.5 million for a study of carnivore disease ecology in the park. As part of the work, veterinary epidemiologist Sarah Cleaveland of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom and colleagues started vaccinating dogs around the borders, hoping to keep rabies from spreading to other wildlife in the Serengeti.Cleaveland quickly became equally concerned about rabies’s impact on people. “As soon as you start studying rabies in wildlife, you’re confronted by the human tragedy,” she says. Fortunately, the dog campaign helped bring down human cases and alleviated other hardships. Villagers bitten by a rabid dog can spend 25% of their annual income on inoculations, which cost an average of $60 for a full five shots. (Most people get three.) And rabid dogs can infect cattle, driving annual livestock losses across Africa that cost some $280 million a year. Zipline A cat brought in a bag to a vaccination campaign in Kenya. Cats, too, can transmit rabies to humans. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) (Graphic) J. You/Science; (Data) K. Hampson et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9 (16 APRIL 2015) ©PLOS One © Natalia Jidovanu Africa’s rabies researchers see things that policymakers will never see. They are able to give a voice that otherwise won’t be heard. Vaccination events are often held at primary schools or during holidays to boost the turnout of children and their puppies. On a Sunday evening last July, Flora Gichonge was walking with her friends to church near the village of Gesarya, Tanzania. Suddenly, they were attacked by something hellish: A rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, charged out of the dense bushes lining the dirt road. “We tried to run away, in fear,” the 25-year-old recalls. But she tripped and fell. The dog lunged and bit her in the backside before her friends drove it away by throwing stones.After Gichonge limped home, a relative urged her to travel the 16 kilometers to the nearest hospital to get immunized against rabies. Her husband, a businessman, had the $40 to buy three doses of the life-saving vaccine from a pharmacy. A few days later, she was back at work, gathering and selling nuts. She knows she was lucky, although now she’s afraid of strange dogs.Many others are less fortunate. An estimated 59,000 people die from rabies worldwide each year, almost all infected by dogs. Malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis take much higher tolls. But the horrible suffering caused by rabies—some patients have convulsions and become aggressive, just like rabid dogs—and the fact that many victims are children led the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups in 2015 to announce a goal to eliminate rabies deaths worldwide by 2030. © Natalia Jidovanu IT’S PAINSTAKING WORK like this that helps clarify the true burden of rabies. Cleaveland has developed a now widely used method to estimate the death toll, using the numbers of bites by dogs thought to be rabid, as well as records of postexposure vaccine use. The best estimate for the current toll in Africa, 21,000 deaths, comes from a 2015 paper by Hampson and colleagues; it’s 100 times higher than official figures.The initial numbers from the Serengeti were enough to turn Cleaveland into an advocate for better control of rabies and, ultimately, its elimination. She helped WHO win what became $12 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for pilot projects in Tanzania, South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, and the Philippines.Starting in 2010, government workers began to vaccinate 150,000 dogs across Tanzania’s southeast, covering about 18% of the country, and on the island of Pemba in the north. Health and veterinary workers used text message questionnaires to report dog bites and use of human vaccine, which led to better, faster, and cheaper surveillance, researchers reported in PLOS Medicine last April. By the third year, 65% of dogs in the target villages had been vaccinated, on average. The coverage was lower in remote villages.The effort halved the number of reported dog bites overall, and rabies appears to be almost gone from about a third of the 28 districts in the program. For 2 years the dog population on Pemba was free of the virus. Unfortunately, this past August, an infected dog brought in from the mainland caused a small outbreak. “It was really disappointing,” Hampson says.The main lesson of the pilot: Eliminating rabies in Tanzania, although feasible, may be a logistical challenge, and surprisingly expensive. An audit by Rupprecht and colleagues found that costs ranged from $7.30 to $11.27 per dog, much more than the $1 to $1.50 they had expected. Higher startup costs, such as vehicles and other equipment, contributed, but the bulk of the bill was due to per diem payments that Tanzania charged WHO for the services of government vets.The government is now drawing up a strategy to expand the scheme to the entire country. Tanzania will have to do the job without support from the Gates Foundation, however, which funded only pilot projects, hoping that governments and other donors would then take over. The test of Tanzania’s resolve will come in September, when the next vaccination round is due to start.A FEW OTHER CAMPAIGNS have emboldened rabies fighters in sub-Saharan Africa. A team led by Jakob Zinsstag, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, eliminated canine-transmitted rabies for 2 years in N’Djamena, although one rabid dog was detected in 2014, apparently an invader from the countryside. KwaZulu-Natal has seen success at a bigger scale. In 2007, rabies cases in dogs and humans were at their highest recorded levels; they have declined dramatically thanks to vaccination efforts supported by another Gates Foundation–funded program. Kenya is the latest country to get on board, with growing political support. It released a national strategy for rabies elimination in 2014 and has started two pilot projects.Even national success won’t be enough in the long run, says Thumbi Mwangi, a veterinary epidemiologist at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman and an adviser to Kenya’s Zoonotic Disease Unit. “The day we have fully eliminated rabies in Kenya, we will start to get incursions” from neighboring countries, he says. Ultimately, Africa will need to develop the kind of regional cooperation that has worked well in Latin America.For Africa as a whole, rabies elimination would cost between $800 million to $1.55 billion, says François-Xavier Meslin, a former director of neglected tropical diseases at WHO in Geneva, Switzerland. The price could come down, however. In 2012, the World Organisation for Animal Health started a “virtual” dog vaccine bank, which lowers prices by allowing buyers to purchase collectively. Another potential saver emerged just 2 months ago. Until now, the dog vaccine has always had to be kept below 8°C—impossible in far-flung villages without electricity. In November 2016, scientists reported that the vaccine works just as well if it has been kept for 3 months at 30°C or for 6 months at 25°C, potentially enabling remote communities to keep vaccines on hand and immunize their dogs by themselves. “It could be transformative,” says WSU’s Felix Lankester, director of the Serengeti Health Initiative, who led the study.There may even be a way to free up millions of dollars for dog vaccinations. GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, will consider rabies when it reviews its $1.6 billion investment strategy in 2018. GAVI does not pay for animal vaccines, yet it would save many lives by providing human postexposure vaccines to developing countries, advocates say; governments could then use some of their health budget for dog vaccines instead. Some experts worry, however, that the availability of more human vaccine could actually lower the pressure to eliminate rabies in dogs and thus perpetuate the problem.Slow-moving governments and hesitant donors have left some advocates frustrated. “I just have this anger bubbling up about why we think it is OK to let this go on,” Cleaveland says. But Hampson is hopeful that the stories collected in the field—including those of Asha’s death and Flora’s survival—will ultimately make a difference. Africa’s rabies researchers, she says, “see things that policymakers will never see. They are able to give a voice that otherwise won’t be heard.”last_img read more

Lawmakers move closer to funding Trumps border wall worrying biologists trying to

first_img Email UA/USFWS/Flickr (Public domain) Lawmakers move closer to funding Trump’s border wall, worrying biologists trying to save endangered species An automated camera captured this male jaguar in Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains in 2015. The House of Representatives yesterday approved a spending bill that includes $1.6 billion to start building the “contiguous and impassable wall” along the U.S. border with Mexico that President Donald Trump made a centerpiece promise of his campaign for the White House. The wall funding is expected to encounter stiff resistance from Democrats in the Senate, who have vowed to block the project. But the House’s move is worrying some researchers who are closely following the funding battle: conservation biologists who are concerned a wall could further complicate efforts to save species that routinely move between the two nations.“[As conservation researchers,] we see beyond borders. The way we see conservation does not stop at a political border just because our interests stop there,” says Sergio Avila, a conservation scientist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.One of those species is the jaguar (Panthera onca), a species sometimes described as a “reluctant warrior” for its powerful jaws but shyness around humans. The jaguar once ranged as far north as the Grand Canyon in Arizona and as far south as Argentina. These days, however, jaguars occupy 60% of that historic range, and are mostly absent from the United States, where the cat is classified as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Efforts to restore U.S. populations had been mired in a multidecade struggle to develop a workable strategy. But last year that effort reached a landmark of sorts: the release of a 508-page draft recovery plan developed by a multinational team of experts. It lays out a 50-year roadmap for rebuilding jaguar populations that could cost some $600 million to fully implement. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, the plan faces formidable obstacles. It is still at least a year away from being finalized, and it is not a legally binding document—so it will be up to Congress and the Secretary of the Interior to request and provide the needed funding.Wall uncertaintyNow, Trump’s proposed wall is presenting another challenge to the jaguar’s future. Biologists say the barrier could block paths the cats have historically used to move across the border, and could be key to allowing it to recolonize in the United States.Jaguar enthusiasts note that, ironically, the battle over the wall comes just as U.S. researchers have had one of their best years for jaguar sightings in a long time. Three different animals were spotted in the United States in 2016, including one cat never seen before. It was photographed in the Dos Cabezas Mountains, 96 kilometers north of the U.S.–Mexico border. That’s the farthest north of Mexico a jaguar has been seen in decades, the Arizona Republic reported. “That’s a pretty big deal,” says Howard Quigley, executive director of the jaguar program at Panthera, a group based in New York City with researchers spread across the continent, who co-led the science team that helped write the jaguar recovery plan.There is still no clear plan for what Trump’s wall might look like, or exactly where along the border it would be built. More than 1050 kilometers of fencing already exist along the 3201-kilometer frontier between the two nations, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). And earlier this year, designers submitted more than 200 possible configurations for filling the gaps,  including plans for solid concrete barriers dozens of meters high as well as more permeable structures, in response to a DHS request. (Trump has suggested it could be a clear barrier adorned with solar panels, which would produce electricity that could be sold to help pay for the wall’s construction.)Normally, such a massive federal construction project would have to go through environmental reviews that can take years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for example, would have to weigh in on how the wall might affect any species listed under the ESA, such as the jaguar. But earlier this year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suggested the White House might invoke a provision of a 2005 immigration law that could allow federal officials to sidestep those reviews. Such moves would likely draw lawsuits from environmental groups and others.Recovering the “reluctant warrior”All of the jaguars seen in the United States—about one every 3 years—are believed to have originated from a population located about 210 kilometers south of the border. That’s why one major focus of the draft recovery plan is maintaining “connectivity” between the two nations, by protecting cross-border corridors that connect Arizona, New Mexico, and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua. In particular, biologists want to enable Mexican jaguars to use some of the 309,263 hectares of land in the Southwestern United States that biologists have identified as “critical habitat.”Maintaining such an expansive range is especially crucial for the jaguar, biologists say, because unlike other large carnivores that occur over large landscapes, jaguars do not have genetically distinct subpopulations. That means “whether you take the DNA of a jaguar from northern Argentina or from northern Mexico, they are essentially genetically the same,” Quigley says. The best way to maintain a diverse, healthy population is to allow cats from various regions to intermingle, enabling genes to flow throughout the population.Biologists warn that when species lose large swaths of habitat and get cut off from other populations, they face the devastating health effects associated with inbreeding.  Compared to their South American relatives, jaguars living in Mexico have the lowest genetic diversity of the species, Quigley and colleagues concluded in a 2016 study appearing in PLOS ONE.“Eventually, they’re so unhealthy that they can’t survive and they’re their own worst enemy,” says Melanie Culver, a conservation geneticist at the University of Arizona in Tucson who worked on the recovery plan.Fences and walls complicate that intermingling, notes the recovery plan, which received “well over 200 emailed comments and a handful of written letters” during a public comment period, according to the Arizona Daily Star. And biologists fear a border wall—if ever funded by Congress and built—could entirely block the cat from the northern United States end of its historic range.But any wall is unlikely to prevent humans from moving across the border, say wall critics. To underline that point, some cite a quote from Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama: “Show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder,” Napolitano said in 2005.“Humans will always be able to get across—they’ll find a way,” Culver says. “But the wildlife eventually will lose their ability. They can’t go out and buy a ladder.”The Congressional battle over funding the wall is likely to continue for months, or even years.Rachael Lallensack is an intern with Nature in Washington, D.C. She reported and wrote this story while an intern at Science.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. 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