Sesame Streets first autistic muppet is heading to Beaches Resorts

first_imgSesame Street’s first autistic muppet is heading to Beaches Resorts Tags: Beaches Resorts, Family Travel MONTEGO BAY — Following her historic television debut as Sesame Street’s first autistic muppet, Julia is now heading to Beaches Resorts’ properties in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos for a bit of fun and sun.Beginning this fall, the beloved character will be on site to launch a new activity, ‘Amazing Art with Julia’ during which she’ll greet children and highlight how people can express themselves through art. Using a range of materials, children will get the chance to create in this open-ended art activity and talk about how their artwork is a celebration of who they are.“We created Beaches Resorts as a concept for everyone and it’s our privilege, particularly during Autism Awareness Month, to announce the addition of Julia this fall as part of our exclusive relationship with Sesame Workshop,” said Adam Stewart, CEO of Beaches Resorts. “As a resort company that also celebrates that children have a remarkable ability to ‘see amazing’ in all people, we are excited to introduce more inclusive programming for families with children on the spectrum of which Julia will play a part in.”Credit: Beaches ResortsJulia’s debut continues Beaches Resorts’ partnership with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and expands the resort company’s exclusive ‘Beaches Resorts Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street’ program, now in its 13th year.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backSesame Workshop debuted ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children in 2015’ to help increase awareness and understanding of autism. As part of Beaches Resorts’ commitment to create memorable experiences for all families, staff underwent initial training with ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children’ resources. Continuing these efforts, Beaches Resorts has partnered with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), a global leader in training and certification programs, created to meet the training needs of professionals who work with individuals with special needs and cognitive disorders.Through this partnership, which is ongoing and provides intensive training for team members, each of the resorts’ Kids Camps and its early childcare staff have earned the distinction of Certified Austim Centers.“We launched our autism initiative, ‘See Amazing in All Children’ to promote awareness and acceptance and to combat the stigma and isolation so often experienced by children with autism and their families,” said Steve Youngwood, COO, Sesame Workshop. “Initially a digital character, Julia has come to life on Sesame Street, and now as a walkaround character who is sure to bring joy to children. We’re thrilled to work with our long-time partner, Beaches Resorts, to extend our work around diversity, acceptance, and kindness.” Posted by Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group Wednesday, April 12, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

RitzCarlton designing hotels for the future luxury traveller

first_imgRitz-Carlton designing hotels for the future luxury travellerOver the course of the last decade, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. has opened the doors to more than 50 new, renovated or refurbished luxury hotels in its growing global portfolio. Spectacular properties in Tianjin and Macau brought the luxury brand’s number of hotels in China to eleven; the opulent Ritz-Carlton hotels in Almaty, Herzliya and Bangalore marked the brand’s entry into Israel, Kazakhstan and India; and the barefoot luxury experiences in Dorado Beach and Bali were milestones in casually chic and elegant design execution, driven by extensive global customer research.Since 2004 The Ritz-Carlton design team has produced specifications for one individually designed and curated hotel after the next. High-style and contemporary design exudes in Kyoto,  Wolfsburg and Barcelona. Tasteful conversions of spectacular former palaces in Vienna, Muscat and Riyadh, and transformations of protected buildings in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Georgetown near Washington DC in a new era of converted and preserved heritage spaces.As The Ritz-Carlton embarks upon the development of an additional 30 hotels within the next three years, the brands design philosophy has evolved to now represent a diverse and varied collection of beautiful local and culturally relevant hotel and resort environments “Each new project gives us an opportunity to create the best hotel within its locale that provides a true sense of place. Consideration is given to the market needs and how we can best create a hotel that will be a signature property within the group” said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operations Officer, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.According to Humler, while most new builds tend to be more contemporary with modern interpretations of elegance, two recent hotel openings are in total contrast. “The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canalis classical in design. The hotel is situated adjacent to the statuesque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, so the façade and interiors have been designed to respect and complement the area. Inspired by 15th to early 17th century Renaissance architecture and the urban planning of the city of Venice, the hotel is located at the waterfront and consists of ten stately buildings arranged in a crescent formation.”Conversely, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is located on the cherished island of Puerto Rico. The resort is an intimate retreat offering a true sense of barefoot elegance, blending Laurance Rockefeller’s novel environmental design philosophies and modern yet minimal décor. Created as an open-air enclave, infused with references to the surrounding natural landscape and diverse culture, thepower of the great outdoors weaves its magic on interior comfort.Drawing on themes of local relevance, The Ritz-Carlton adopts design strategies to enhance the brand image in an increasingly global marketplace. The company philosophy is to design hotels that are casually elegant, with the occasional classical influence as appropriate. Where there are multiple hotels in one city, the preference is to provide diverse physical products and contrasting styles. “Our company design standards are the blueprint from which we establish engineering infrastructure, operational requirements, safety regulations and room sizes – however they do not drive the character of a hotel. We do not work to one design mold, but rather allow the process to be destination and customer focused as we grow into many new international locations.” Stay at The Ritz-CarltonSource = The Ritz-Carltonlast_img read more

An Advocacy Model Community Pressure Staves Off Cuts to Local Nonprofits

first_imgShare8Tweet1Share15Email24 Shares“Listen.” Credit: kyApril 24, 2017; BethesdaWhen community-based nonprofits organize their stakeholders and clients, they can put pressure on government policymakers and protect their public funding. That’s what happened in a suburb of Washington, D.C.Bethesda Magazine reports that over a hundred employees and supporters of local nonprofits descended upon the Rockville council office building in Montgomery County, Maryland to oppose a proposed $600,000 budget cut in health-related grants to nonprofits offering after-school programs to at-risk kids, community meals for the hungry, and workforce training—a cut of one percent of the grant program’s annual budget.“So many people were trying to enter [the building] for a Monday morning rally that it was difficult to get through the main entrance,” the article lead says. Many of the rally participants were clients of the nonprofits facing cuts, all with compelling stories to tell.The county executive had proposed the cuts in his fiscal 2018 budget, but council members told the rally participants that they planned to reject the cuts and even slightly increase the program’s funding. Seven of the nine council members promised to restore the funding.It’s not quite what the nonprofits’ supporters were asking for—a three percent increase in total grant funding. But two council members told Bethesda Magazine that they were looking for ways to keep the funding at a consistent level in future budget years, as well.—Larry KaplanCorrection: This article has been changed from its initial form. Rockville, Maryland, is in Montgomery County, not Rockville County. This was an editorial goof, and NPQ regrets the error.Share8Tweet1Share15Email24 Shareslast_img read more

Interactive social TV applications need to be base

first_imgInteractive social TV applications need to be based on simple-to-understand concepts  and deliver an immediate reward, according to Josh Atkins, senior design director, Soho Productions, part of Microsoft Studios, speaking at the MIPCube event in Cannes at the end of last week.Atkins was part of the team that developed a new interactive concept for Sesame Street, Kinect Sesame Street TV. Kinect provides a camera that can see in 3D and can provide voice and facial recognition. Animated shows can be programmed to react to human movements recorded by the Kinect camera. It can also show viewers in picture-in-picture on the screen. In the example shown at MIPCube by Atkins, two children’s reflection was shown in a mirror on TV held up by an animated character from Sesame Street, the Cookie Monster, giving the children instructions on what to do in order to see themselves in the ‘morror’.According to Atkins, participation on the part of viewers needs to be optional, instructions on interaction need to be simple and the reward needs to be instantaneous and fun.Atkins said that the same interactions could be applied to exercise shows for adults as well as kids animation. Kinect has had over 200 children through its lab over the last 11 months testing concepts .“The future of TV is inherently interactive,” said Atkins, who has a games background. “Useability is absolutely required for it.”Atkins said Soho had developed other applications that could appeal to older kids, such as a game where they had to find a hidden object on screen.last_img read more

Vdio the video rental service for movies and TV s

first_imgVdio, the video rental service for movies and TV shows from Skype co-founder Janus Friis, has shut down after less than a year.The video site said in a statement that it had discontinued the service as it was “not able to deliver the differentiated customer experience we had hoped for.”Vdio added that it was unable to deliver a “business model which was attractive to shareholders.”The site shut down on December 27, with site users unable to access their account information from that date. Vdio said that customers who had purchased videos or had unused rentals will be offered Amazon gift cards in an amount equal to the total cost of their transactions on the site.Vdio launched in the UK and US in April and moved into Canada in August.The service was developed by the same team behind the 2010-launched music subscription service Rdio, and was designed to let users buy, rent and share content with friends on a pay-per view basis.News of the shut-down comes less than a month after Amazon’s global head of digital video Anthony Bay moved to Rdio to take up the CEO role.He took over from Drew Larner was previously CEO of both Rdio and Vdio, prior to which he worked at firms including Twentieth Century Fox.last_img read more

Theres no doubt that surgically implanted medical

first_imgThere’s no doubt that surgically implanted medical devices can improve lives.Hip and knee replacements can help people regain their mobility. Drug pumps can deliver doses of pain-relieving medicine on demand. And metal rods can stabilize spines and broken bones.But implanted devices can also do serious damage, as happened to Mechel Keel, who lives in Owosso, Mich.To fix her leaky bladder, an OB-GYN stitched a flexible mesh strap inside her pelvis in 2004. But within months the mesh hardened and started cutting her insides.The pain kept her from returning to her job as a hairdresser. The injuries and scar tissue that developed required multiple surgeries to correct and also resulted in chronic infections.Keel says she understands why her doctor in Tennessee thought the high-tech mesh would help. But she also now feels like she was “a guinea pig.””We were the testers,” she says. “There was no animal testing done. We were the animals.”Thousands of cases of complications from surgical mesh have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration. More and more ailments are being treated these days with medical devices, including implants. And most of these medical devices, unlike pills in a medicine cabinet, don’t go through human testing before being offered to patients.But some devices break down or malfunction in people’s bodies, and reports about sometimes debilitating injuries have led the FDA to rethink how it assesses medical devices before allowing them to be sold.For devices in which failure is obviously life-threatening, regulators have required some sort of human testing as part of the most stringent path — known as premarket approval. But most medical devices enter the market after manufacturers provide technical information and show that the devices are similar to others that have been legally sold previously.The FDA has acknowledged that some seemingly safe devices have caused major problems, and the agency has elevated the risk level of those products following reports of injuries, as it did with urogynecologic surgical mesh for some uses in 2016. “Unfortunately, the FDA cannot always know the full extent of the benefits and risks of a device before it reaches the market,” the agency said in a recent statement.”We have things like metal-on-metal hips,” says health journalist Jeanne Lenzer about a kind of orthopedic implant. “Outside the body, [they] seem to function just fine. They put them in little machines, rack them back and forth — they don’t break. [But] put them inside people, and something very different happens.”There have been massive recalls of hip implants, for example, due to devices causing swelling and pain. And there have been problems with weakened bones in patients who received hip implants that contained plastic.Lenzer wrote a scathing book titled The Danger Within Us about the device industry and says she was “dumbfounded” to find out how many devices never went through human testing the way drugs do.That’s in part because of a regulatory review process known as 510(k) for a section of the FDA law covering medical devices. Manufacturers typically show their product has “substantial equivalence” to a “predicate device” that has already been legally marketed.That standard can perpetuate problems. “You just say your device is like an old device, and the old device was never tested nor was your device,” Lenzer says.In practice, sometimes the basis for a whole family tree of devices turns out to be defective. Pelvic mesh is a relevant example, with much of what’s on the market being based on mesh that was around prior to implementation of FDA regulations for medical devices in 1976. One study found that 16 percent of mesh on the market was designed like products that had been pulled from the market because of safety concerns.Thousands of women, including Keel, have filed suit — or reached settlements — with medical device companies that manufacture pelvic mesh.”I would want nothing if you could just give me my life back,” says Gloria Jones of Hillsdale, Mich., who is one of thousands who’ve settled with device manufacturers over faulty mesh. “They could have given me millions, but all I needed was my life back.”Jones, who has struggled to continue working through crippling abdominal pain as a middle school special education teaching assistant, has had four surgeries to remove pieces and continues to require intravenous drugs to control infections.”It seems like I get off one antibiotic, and three days later, I have another one,” she says. “I would beg anybody who is even thinking of putting mesh in their bodies to stop and get a second opinion.”In response to problems reported with mesh, the FDA started requiring human testing for some of these products in recent years. The agency held an advisory committee meeting on Feb. 12 to discuss the safety and effectiveness of mesh and how it should be regulated.Manufacturers by and large have said they don’t oppose what the FDA is trying to do, calling the changes reasonable. But they have pushed back against calls to bring regulation of medical devices in line with that of pharmaceuticals.”If you’re treating someone for high cholesterol, the testing that you go through to ensure safety and effectiveness on a chemical that’s going to be used in your body to control your cholesterol is just very different than it would be for the implantation of a heart valve,” says Scott Whitaker, CEO of AdvaMed, a trade association for medical device companies. “Honestly, it’s apples and oranges.”Whitaker dismisses the idea that devices, which range from tongue depressors to surgical robots, should all go through human trials.”Testing should be as complete and as thorough and as ethical and as appropriate as possible. But it doesn’t all fit the same and can’t all fit the same standard,” Whitaker says. “And while we always strive for 100 percent, there are times when something might not go according to plan. It could also be because the surgery didn’t go as was planned.”The FDA declined NPR’s request for an interview. But the agency has released some written justification for the regulatory revamp.”We believe firmly in the merits of the 510(k) process,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a November statement, noting that applications have more than doubled in size to an average of 1,185 pages. “But we also believe that framework needs to be modernized to reflect advances in technology, safety and the capabilities of a new generation of medical devices.”In the same statement, the agency addressed some specific shortcomings and charted plans to make changes to the process over the next few months:Pushing back on manufacturers that base any new device’s marketing application on one that’s more than 10 years oldMore actively watching how devices perform once they’re on the market, rather than relying on patients to report problemsScrapping the 510(k) name for something more descriptive, the “Safety and Performance Based Pathway”Dr. Michael Matheny, a Vanderbilt University professor who tracks medical devices, approves of the FDA’s incremental approach and calls it thoughtful.”It would really be unfortunate if patients wouldn’t consider any medical devices at all to be used in their bodies,” Matheny says. “But I do think being aware that there’s nothing without risk is also important.”Matheny notes, though, that in some ways the risks can be more profound for devices than medication. If the FDA recalls pills, a patient can at least stop taking them immediately, he says. With implanted devices, patients are sort of stuck, at least for a while — and that’s if surgeons can even safely remove them.This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes Nashville Public Radio, NPR and Kaiser Health News. You can follow Blake Farmer on Twitter: @flakebarmer. Copyright 2019 WPLN. To see more, visit WPLN.last_img read more

Weed use is taking off as more states move to lega

first_imgWeed use is taking off as more states move to legalize it. And with all the buzz over medical marijuana, it’s starting to gain an aura of healthfulness. But there are some serious health risks associated with frequent use. One of the more troubling ones is the risk of having a psychotic episode. Several past studies have found that more frequent use of pot is associated with a higher risk of psychosis, that is, when someone loses touch with reality. Now a new study published Tuesday in the The Lancet Psychiatry shows that consuming pot on a daily basis and especially using high potency cannabis increases the odds of having a psychotic episode later. “This is more evidence that the link between cannabis and psychosis matters,” says Krista M. Lisdahl, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, who wasn’t involved in the study.The study authors consider “high potency cannabis” to be products with more than 10 percent tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the compound responsible for the drug’s psychoactive effects. The fact that consuming high THC cannabis products has a greater risk is concerning, Lisdahl says, because these products are more common in the market now.The study also shows that three European cities — London, Paris and Amsterdam — where high potency weed is most commonly available actually have higher rates of new cases of psychosis than the other cities in the study. The researchers identified 901 people aged 18 to 64 who were diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis between May 2010 and April 2015, at a mental health facility anywhere in 11 cities, including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, other cities across Europe, and one site in Brazil.The researchers then asked these individuals and a control group of 1,200-plus other healthy people about their habits, including their use of weed. “We asked people if they used cannabis, when did they start using it and what kind of cannabis,” explains study author Marta Di Forti, a psychiatrist and clinician scientist at King’s College London. People reported the names of weed strains they used, like skunk in the U.K., or the Dutch Nederwiet, which allowed the researchers to identify the THC content in each product through data gathered by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction and national data from the different countries. The study found that those who used pot daily were three times more likely to have a psychotic episode compared to someone who never used the drug. Those who started using cannabis at the age of 15 or less had a slightly more elevated risk than those who started using in later years. Use of high potency weed almost doubled the odds of having psychosis compared to someone who had never smoked weed, explains Di Forti. And for those who used high potency pot on a daily basis, the risk of psychosis was even greater — four times greater than those who had never used. The easy availability of high-THC weed is a recent phenomenon, she notes. “Almost twenty years ago, there wasn’t much high potency cannabis available [in the market].” One recent study showed that high potency cannabis is increasingly dominating markets. It found that the average potency of weed in Europe and the U.S. in 2017 was 17.1 percent, up from 8.9 percent in 2008. And some products can be even more potent. For example, in the Netherlands, the THC content of one product that’s gained popularity, locally produced Dutch resin Nederhasj, can be as high as 67 percent. “What this paper has done that’s really nice is they look at rates of psychosis and cannabis use in lots of different places where underlying rates of psychosis are different,” says Suzanne Gage, a psychologist and epidemiologist at the University of Liverpool, who wrote a commentary linked to the study in The Lancet Psychiatry. This allowed the researchers to compare incidence of psychosis with the availability and use of high THC cannabis in the different cities, she says. The study found that the three European cities — London, Paris and Amsterdam — had the highest rates of new diagnoses of psychosis — 45.7 per 100,000 person-years in London, 46.1 in Paris and 37.9 in Amsterdam. These are also cities where high potency weed is most easily available and commonly used.Other European cities in Spain, Italy and France on the other hand have less than 10 percent THC content in most popular cannabis products on the market. These cities also have lower rates of new psychosis diagnosis, according to the study. “One of the things that’s really novel is that they could show that variation of use and potency of cannabis was related to rates of first-episode psychosis,” says Lisdahl. One critique of the theory that weed contributes to psychosis risk has been that while more people are using weed worldwide, there hasn’t been a corresponding rise in rates of psychosis, explains Gage. But the new study shows that cities with more easily available high THC weed do have a higher rate of new diagnoses of psychosis. “That’s a really interesting finding and that’s not something anyone has done before,” she adds. However, the study doesn’t prove causality, cautions Dr. Diana Martinez, a psychiatrist and addiction researcher at Columbia University. “You can’t say that cannabis causes psychosis,” she says. “It’s simply not supported by the data,” she says. Lisdahl agrees. In order to show causality, one would have to follow people over time — before they started using weed to years later when they have their psychotic episodes, she says. “You need twins in the studies, you need genetic information,” among all other kinds of data, she says. Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar are complicated, “multi-faceted disorders,” notes Gage. “In all psychotic disorders, there is this multiple hit hypothesis,” says Martinez. Many factors influence whether and how these disorders manifest. Genetics is known to play a major role, as are a host of environmental factors. “Children who have risk of schizophrenia but grow up in stable homes…they may not go on to develop schizophrenia,” she adds. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, which is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health is attempting to tease out the various influences, says Lisdahl. “The NIH has now invested in that question.” In the meantime, the new findings should be of interest to anyone using cannabis, says study author Di Forti. “There are people across the world who use cannabis for a variety of reasons,” she says. “Some of them recreationally, some of them for medicinal purposes.” They should be aware that using high potency cannabis comes with a risk, she says. “They need to know what to look for and ask for help, if they come across characteristics of a psychotic disorder,” she adds. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

iHeartMedia Doubles Down on Radio Attribution with Agreement to Support Nielsen Media

first_img Continuous Diary MeasurementiHeartMediaMarketing Technology NewsNewsNielsenNielsen Media Impact Previous ArticleSellozo Releases Campaign Studio: Drag-and-Drop Ad Management and Optimization Tool for Businesses Selling on AmazonNext ArticleSisense Brings Power to the Builders With New Cloud-Native Linux Platform, Insights to Everyone With Predictive AI Technology iHeartMedia Doubles Down on Radio Attribution with Agreement to Support Nielsen Media Impact and Continuous Diary Measurement PRNewswireJune 13, 2019, 3:02 pmJune 13, 2019 Nielsen Moves Ahead with Continuous Diary Measurement in Four Book MarketsNielsen announced that iHeartMedia, Inc., the number one audio company in the US, will advance radio attribution by supporting Nielsen Media Impact (NMI) and Continuous Diary Measurement (CDM) in Nielsen Audio’s four book markets.With this agreement, Nielsen moves forward with its decision to implement Continuous Diary Measurement as planned in radio markets currently measured four times a year.  In addition, iHeartMedia’s support boosts the momentum of Nielsen’s national cross-media planning tool, Nielsen Media Impact.“Nielsen Audio is thrilled to be collaborating with iHeartMedia on these important, forward-looking industry level initiatives,” said Brad Kelly, Managing Director, Nielsen Audio. “Billion dollar advertisers are telling us with absolute clarity that fresh data and cross-platform media analytics are of paramount importance. These are critical inputs which fuel the marketing mix models — the same models that guide vast marketing and ad spend budgets.”Marketing Technology News: Live Data Is Now The Lifeblood For Telco Value Creation“The advertising ecosystem is evolving quickly,” continued Kelly.  “Nielsen Audio and the radio industry must keep pace. The advancement of Continuous Diary Measurement in combination with Nielsen Media Impact will allow both buyers and sellers of radio to better evaluate, react, and adapt to marketplace changes. We are confident these tools will help level the playing field and bring radio’s attribution metrics on par with other media.”“Marketing Mix Models need fresh data to get a full understanding of how radio drives sales results and Continuous Diary Measurement enables better attribution with more current data in the larger diary markets,” said Greg Ashlock, President, iHeartMedia Markets Group. “We also look forward to using Nielsen Media Impact to show clients how iHeartMedia substantially improves advertising results in optimized cross media campaigns.”Marketing Technology News: IBM Infuses Db2 with AI to Bring Data Science and Database Management Under One PlatformContinuous Diary Measurement will start with the July 2019 survey in the 46 Nielsen Audio markets that are currently measured four times a year. The survey period covers April 25 to July 17 and the reports will be delivered between August 14th and August 23rd. Effective with the launch of CDM, 94 metros will have monthly reporting (48 PPM markets and 46 CDM markets) representing ~80% of radio’s ad spend and population in Nielsen Audio markets. Nielsen will pause its plans to introduce CDM in two book markets while it continues to work with clients to determine the best path forward to evolve radio measurement and establish attribution metrics in the small and mid-size markets.Nielsen Media Impact is a cross-platform media planning and optimization solution that helps clients understand total campaign reach, frequency and duplication using advanced audience segments. NMI will enable iHeartMedia to demonstrate the value that its broad audience brings to an advertiser’s media plan and illustrate their substantial incremental reach.Marketing Technology News: Actifio Announces Global Alliance with Tata Consultancy Services to Provide Multi-Cloud Copy Data Management Solutions for Data-Driven Enterpriseslast_img read more

Bulldogs screw tails linked to rare inherited syndrome in humans

first_img Source:https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/bulldogs%E2%80%99-screw-tails-linked-human-genetic-disease Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 3 2019With their small size, stubby faces and wide-set eyes, bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers are among the most popular of domestic dog breeds. Now researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine have found the genetic basis for these dogs’ appearance, and linked it to a rare inherited syndrome in humans.Bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers aren’t the only dogs with short, wide heads, but they do share another feature not found in other breeds: a short, kinked tail or “screwtail,” said Professor Danika Bannasch, Department of Population Health and Reproduction in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. These three breeds all lack the vertebrae that make up the tail bone, she said.The researchers sequenced the whole genome — the entire DNA sequence — of 100 dogs, including 10 from screwtail breeds. All the participating dogs were privately owned pets seen at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, whose owners agreed to participate. Graduate students Tamer Mansour and Katherine Lucot, with C. Titus Brown, associate professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Genome Center, searched through the DNA sequences to find changes associated with screwtail breeds.From more than 12 million individual differences they were able to identify one mutation, in a gene called DISHEVELLED 2 or DVL2. This variant was found in 100 percent of the bulldogs and French bulldogs sampled, and was very common in Boston terriers.This kind of whole genome comparison is relatively new, Bannasch said.”Normally, we would have first had to identify a region DNA and work from there,” she said. “We could look at breed-specific traits, but not as well as we can now.”Link to Robinow syndromeRelated StoriesFungal infection study identifies specific genetic vulnerability among Hmong peopleNew study identifies eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosaDoes genetic testing affect psychosocial health?Professor Henry Ho at the UC Davis School of Medicine studies similar genes in humans. Mutations in the related DVL1 and DVL3 genes are known to cause Robinow syndrome, a rare inherited disorder in humans characterized by strikingly similar anatomical changes — a short, wide “babyface,” short limbs and spinal deformities. In addition, Robinow patients and the screwtail breeds also share other disease traits, such as cleft palate. In both humans and dogs, DVL genes are part of a signaling pathway called WNT involved in development of the skeleton and nervous system, among other things, said Peter Dickinson, professor of surgical and radiological sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine. By characterizing the screwtail DVL2 protein product, Sara Konopelski, a graduate student the Ho lab, pinpointed a key biochemical step in the WNT pathway that is disrupted by the mutation. This finding further suggests that a common molecular defect is responsible for the distinct appearances of both Robinow patients and screwtail dog breeds.The DVL2 screwtail mutation is so common in these breeds, and so closely tied to the breed appearance, that it would be difficult to remove it by breeding, Dickinson said. Other genes are known to contribute to short, wide “brachycephalic” heads in dogs, and there are likely multiple genes that contribute both to appearance and to chronic health problems in these breeds.Understanding a common mutation in popular dog breeds may, however, give more insight into the rare Robinow syndrome in humans. Only a few hundred cases have been documented since the syndrome was identified in 1969.”It’s a very rare human disease but very common in dogs, so that could be a model for the human syndrome,” Bannasch said.last_img read more

The type of saturated fats we eat can affect our cardiovascular heath

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 29 2019The type of saturated fats we eat can affect our risk of a heart attack, according to a study published in the International Journal of Cardiology. People whose diets contain relatively little palmitic and stearic acid – saturated fats composed of 16 or more carbon atoms (longer-chain saturated fats) that are typically found in meats – and eat plant-based proteins instead have decreased chances of myocardial infarction. Moreover, individuals who eat more saturated fats with 14 or fewer carbon atoms (shorter-chain saturated fats) that are typically found in dairy products have lower risk of myocardial infarction.”Our analysis of the diets of large groups of individuals in two countries over time shows that the type of saturated fats we could affect our cardiovascular heath,” consume explained lead investigator Ivonne Sluijs, PhD, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.The study investigated whether saturated fats with chains varying in length from 4 to 18 carbon atoms are associated with the risk of developing a myocardial infarction. Data from approximately 75,000 people in the UK and Denmark were analyzed. Of these two groups, nearly 3,500 people experienced myocardial infarction in the period between the study’s initial outreach and follow-up 13 years later (in Denmark) and 18 years later (in the UK).”We found that eating relatively little of the longer chained saturated fatty acids and consuming plant-based proteins instead was associated with a lowered risk. Substitution of those saturated fats with other energy sources such as carbohydrates did not affect the risk to develop myocardial infarction,” said Dr. Sluijs. Although diets vary by nationality and other factors, the most frequently consumed saturated fat is palmitic acid, with 16 carbon atoms, followed by stearic acid, with 18 carbon atoms, both of which are found in meat products. Consumption of saturated fats that have shorter carbon atom chains and are present in dairy products is less prevalent.Since the 1960s, when diets high in saturated fat were linked to elevated “bad” LDL cholesterol and coronary heart disease, dietary guidelines recommended restricting saturated fatty acids across the board. In recent years, research studies have raised some questions about what was considered established evidence. Inconsistent findings have pointed to the possibility that different types of saturated fats have different effects on cholesterol levels and the development of coronary heart disease. Despite the fact that their study’s findings support this hypothesis, Dr. Sluijs and her fellow investigators recommend proceeding with caution before changing dietary guidelines:Related StoriesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesCancer incidence among children and young adults with congenital heart diseaseCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adults”Our study only allowed us to draw conclusions on the level of associations between saturated fatty acids and the development of myocardial infarction. We do not know whether those fatty acids are actually the cause of differences between the occurrences of myocardial infarction we observed. To further explore this, we need experiments in which the consumption of saturated fatty acids is more controlled and, for instance, compared with consumption of unsaturated fatty acids,” she noted.”The study is applaudable for its large size, prospective cohort study design, and detailed assessment of diet and lifestyle factors. In addition, it is among the few studies that specifically examined individual saturated fatty acids in relation to coronary heart disease risk and compared with different macronutrients,” commented Jun Li, MD, PhD, and Qi Sun, MD, ScD, both at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA, in an accompanying editorial. They also noted a few limitations of the study and thus called for cautious interpretation of the overall null results for the primary saturated fatty acids.Dr. Li and Dr. Sun advise that shifts in fat intake should align with the recommended healthy dietary patterns, which emphasize limited intakes of red and processed meat and added sugars, lower salt intake, replacement of refined grains with whole grains, and higher consumption of fruits and vegetables.Source: https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/not-all-saturated-fats-are-equal-when-it-comes-to-heart-healthlast_img read more

Vitamin D deficiency at birth increases risk of high blood pressure in

first_img Children born with low levels of vitamin D had an approximately 60% higher risk of elevated systolic blood pressure between ages 6 and 18; Children who had persistently low levels of vitamin D through early childhood had double the risk of elevated systolic blood pressure between ages 3 and 18. Systolic refers to the first or top number in a blood pressure reading. It indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats. High systolic blood pressure readings increase the risk of cardiovascular disease even when diastolic blood pressure, the second number in a blood pressure reading, is controlled. Currently, there are no recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to screen all pregnant women and young children for vitamin D levels. Our findings raise the possibility that screening and treatment of vitamin D deficiency with supplementation during pregnancy and early childhood might be an effective approach to reduce high blood pressure later in life.”Guoying Wang, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead author and an assistant scientist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland Related StoriesVitamin D supplementation may not reduce the risk of heart diseaseStudy reveals how habitual smoking may contribute to development of hypertensionGenetic variants may be linked with high blood pressure among blacksWang added that what constitutes optimal circulating vitamin D levels during pregnancy and early childhood remains an active research question, and that their study results need to be replicated in other large populations.Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium for strong bones. It is made by our bodies when we are exposed to sunlight and found in a few foods, such as eggs, salmon and fortified milk products. It is also available as a vitamin supplement.High blood pressure is a leading, preventable cause of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Along with an increase in obesity among children, the prevalence of high blood pressure in children has been on the rise in recent years, especially among African American children. High blood pressure in childhood is an important risk factor for having high blood pressure and developing cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Source:American Heart AssociationJournal reference:Wang, G. et al. (2019) Vitamin D Trajectories From Birth to Early Childhood and Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure During Childhood and Adolescence. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.13120.center_img Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 1 2019Vitamin D deficiency from birth to early childhood was associated with an increased risk of elevated blood pressure in later childhood and adolescence, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.Researchers followed 775 children from birth to age 18 at the Boston Medical Center. Most lived in a low-income, urban area and 68% of the children were African American. Low vitamin D levels were defined as less than 11 ng/ml (nanograms per millimeter) in cord blood at birth and less than 25 ng/ml in a child’s blood during early childhood.Compared to children who were born with adequate vitamin D levels:last_img read more

New Dark Energy Data Emerges from Misshapen Distorted Ancient Voids

first_img Originally published on Live Science. There are voids in the universe, and we can’t see them properly. And that’s a good thing. These voids — giant, irregular gaps in space that are empty of galaxies — are all over the cosmos. But, because they are empty, astronomers can’t directly observe them. Instead, they spot them by mapping galaxies across space, and then marking the areas in between these areas. However, from our perspective on Earth, all those voids look distorted. These areas appear stretched in some places and squished in others. That’s a consequence of “redshifting” of galaxies at their borders, a visual distortion caused by the movement of these systems: As they move away from the viewer (Earthlings, in this case), the galaxies’ wavelengths appear to stretch, becoming more red; those moving toward us would look more blue as their wavelengths get shorter. Dark energy is the name astronomers have given to an invisible force stretching our universe and causing galaxies to move away from one another.These Sharks Were Too Busy to Notice a Bigger Predator Watching ThemThe unexpected twist at the end of this feeding frenzy delighted scientists.Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really Loud00:35关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65928-stare-into-the-fuzzy-dark-void.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0002:2802:28  That distortion turns out to be a good thing, according to a paper published July 9 in the journal Physical Review D. Until now, researchers have relied on precise measurements of the redshifts of individual galaxies to figure out how fast the universe is expanding, and in turn, how much dark energy is present to drive that expansion. But measuring the distortions of voids turns out to be a much more precise technique, allowing the researchers to narrow down that expansion even further. [From Big Bang to Present: Snapshots of Our Universe Through Time] “What we are actually measuring is the distortion in the positions of galaxies around void regions,” said Seshadri Nadathur, a researcher at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, and lead author of the paper. “The cool thing about voids is that they are regions of space around which we can very accurately model galaxy motions.” That’s because the math needed to precisely determine the motions of galaxies becomes a lot simpler inside these voids, Nadathur told Live Science. (In this case, the research team studied voids about 5.5 billion light-years from Earth.) “Galaxies move because of gravity pulling them toward regions of excess matter, and the problem generally is that our theory of gravity — Einstein’s general relativity — is very complex, and the equations are hard to solve exactly,” he said. “So most of the time in cosmology we use approximations — known as ‘perturbation theory’ — to help make the problem tractable. This perturbation theory works a lot better in void regions than it does in regions where there is lots of matter, so our predictions are simpler to make and a lot more accurate in voids.” The upshot of that added accuracy is that, using the technique pioneered in this paper, scientists can make much more precise estimates of the expansion rate of the universe, and better confirm that observed expansion rates line up with astronomers’ preferred theories for why the expansion is happening . The new result also further limits the scope of some alternative theories that are floating around out there. The previous best measurements of galactic motion did all this too, but about four times less well, according to Nadathur. Those previous best measurements of the redshifts of galactic voids came from a study of the sky called the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). This void-distortion measurement also relied on BOSS data, but vastly improved on its conclusions applying this new analysis technique to the data from BOSS. The improved measurement of the universe’s expansion conformed to existing theories of how dark energy works in the universe, the researchers wrote in the paper: that we live in a “flat” universe with constant dark energy driving its expansion. “By putting our results together with those from the BAO [Baryon Acoustic Oscillation] technique, we are able to get a much better measurement of the cosmic expansion rate 5.5 billion years or so ago,” Nadathur said. “And this in turn is very important because it tells us what dark energy has been doing during that time, as well as other things like the curvature of space — which is what gets us cosmologists excited.” The researchers also pointed out in the paper that there are several upcoming efforts to scan the sky more precisely than BOSS, in order to understand dark energy even better. This same technique, the researchers wrote, should vastly improve the precision of those surveys as well. Far-Out Discoveries About the Universe’s Beginnings The 11 Biggest Unanswered Questions About Dark Matter The Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physicslast_img read more