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  • richardmitnick 9:41 am on January 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , Autism Risk May Arise From Sex-Specific Traits, , , SNP - single nucleotide polymorphism   

    From SA: “Autism Risk May Arise From Sex-Specific Traits” 

    Scientific American

    Scientific American

    January 16, 2017
    Ann Griswold

    Genetic sequences that code for physical features that differ between boys and girls also seem to contribute to risk for the disorder.

    1
    Alena Baranova, EyeEm, Getty Images

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    Basic biology: Different genetic variants contribute to autism risk in boys versus girls. Alfred Pasieka / Science Photo Library

    Genetic variants that shape physical features that vary with sex, such as waist-to-hip ratio, may also affect autism risk, according to a new study.

    Many of the genes involved in these features are not linked to autism or even the brain. Instead, they help establish basic physical differences between the sexes, says lead investigator Lauren Weiss, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

    “Whatever general biological sex differences cause a [variant] to have a different effect on things like height in males and females, those same mechanisms seem to be contributing to autism risk,” she says. The work appeared in November in PLOS Genetics.

    The results bolster the notion that mutations in some genes contribute to autism’s skewed sex ratio: The condition is diagnosed in about five boys for every girl. That may be because girls require a bigger genetic hit to show features of the condition, because sex hormones in the womb boost the risk in boys or because autism is easier to detect in boys than in girls.

    The new study is the first to look at sex differences in common genetic variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). It shows that the sexes differ in which autism-linked SNPs they have, but not in the overall number of such SNPs.

    Separate sets:

    Weiss and her team analyzed published genetic data from four databases and unpublished data from five others. Altogether, they reviewed information from 8,646 individuals with autism, including 1,468 girls and women. They also analyzed data from 15,028 controls, some of whom are related to people in the autism group.

    The researchers first identified SNPs that differ between males with autism and their unaffected family members and unrelated controls. They then repeated the procedure for girls and women with autism.

    These two analyses revealed distinct sets of SNPs associated with autism: a set of five SNPs in boys and men and a separate set of three SNPs in girls and women. None of the variants have previously been associated with autism.

    The researchers then compared males who have autism with females who have the condition. They found similar levels of genetic variation in the two groups, with equal numbers of autism risk genes affected. This result suggests that common variants do not contribute to a stronger genetic hit in girls with autism.

    Body of data:

    When the researchers compared people who have autism with controls, they did not find any differences in SNPs in genes that respond to sex hormones.

    The team then looked at 11 SNPs known to influence height, weight, body mass index, hip and waist measurements in women, and 15 variants that influence these physical traits in men. They found more of these sex-specific SNPs in people with autism than in controls. None of these SNPs have previously been associated with autism.

    The findings suggest that different SNPs contribute to autism risk in boys and girls.

    The fact that some of these SNPs also shape physical traits in a sex-specific way is particularly interesting, says Meng-Chuan Lai, assistant professor in psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the study. Scientists should examine whether sex differences in brain structure in people with autism track with the sex-specific SNPs, he says.

    Weiss says she hopes the findings will spur researchers to pay more attention to the influences of sex when sifting through genomic data. Outfitting genetic repositories with the option to sort data by sex would be the next step for that approach.

    See the full article here .

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    Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., has been bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology for more than 160 years.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:00 am on January 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , ,   

    From COSMOS: “Before the dinosaurs” Wow!! 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS

    1.15.17
    James Mitchell Crow

    Before the dinosaurs Credit: Julius Csotonyi

    Welcome to the dawn of the Permian, 290 million years ago. Reptiles with waterproof skin and eggs are colonising the land.

    They are not dinosaurs, but synapsids: a group defined by the single hole in the skull behind each eye where jaw muscles attach. Mammals are synapsids too, so these creatures are more closely related to us than to dinosaurs.

    Sail-backed synapsids, like the plant-eating Edaphosaurus on the right, are common. They can grow up to 3.5 metres long. The carnivorous Dimetrodon, at back left, is a little longer, reaching up to 4.6 metres. The sails on these species may have heated and cooled the body. Skulking in the left foreground is the massive-skulled Ophiacodon. These early synapsids are known as pelicosaurs.

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    The first therapsids

    By the mid-Permian, pelicosaurs are being displaced by therapsids. This group was becoming more mammal-like: their legs were positioned vertically under their body and they had three types of teeth – incisors, canines and molars. (A reptile’s teeth may be different sizes but they are all the same shape). Some were also thought to have fur and be warm- blooded.

    Dinocephalians, a sub-group distinguished by their interlocking incisors, dominated the mid-Permian. They weighed up to two tonnes. Dinocephalians included herbivores such as this herd of Estemmenosuchus or Ulemosaurus, represented by the fossil, and the carnivorous Eotitanosuchus, emerging from the water, which could reach a length of five metres. The whole group mysteriously disappeared around 270 million years ago.

    Credits: (artist impression) Julius Csotonyi / (fossil) Gondwana Studios

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    Gorgonopsids

    Gorgonopsids, a later group of therapsids, were fearsome carnivores. The name refers to the Greek monster the Gorgon. Some of the largest examples include the three-metre-long Inostrancevia (see fossil), and the similarly sized Dinogorgons, shown here fighting over a carcass.

    Gorgonopsids were characterised by their large, powerful jaws and sabre-teeth. But their mighty incisors could not save them from the biggest mass extinction event in Earth’s history. Thought to have been triggered by a series of massive volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia, 80-90% of plant and animal species disappeared in what is known as The Great Dying. It marked the end of the Permian and the start of the Triassic.

    Credits: (artist impression) Julius Csotonyi / (fossil) Gondwana Studios

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    Cynodont survivors

    The therapsids were almost wiped out in the Great Dying, clearing the way for dinosaurs. They were diapsids – distinguishable by two holes in the skull behind each eye socket, like modern-day birds and lizards.

    A handful of therapsids survived. Among them were the herds of herbivorous Lystrosaurus, shown at the water’s edge and in fossilised form. And most importantly for us, the cynodonts: the ancestors of mammals. One is shown here edging out onto the finger of rock.

    Little holes in the fossilised snouts of cynodonts suggest they had whiskers, which means they probably had fur and were warm-blooded.

    The cynodonts lived in the dinosaurs’ shadow for 200 million years, until a mass extinction triggered by a crashing comet favoured this ancient lineage once again.

    Credits: (artist impression) Julius Csotonyi / (fossil) Ghedoghedo / Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 9:41 pm on January 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , , ELSI - Earth-Life Science Institute, EON - ELSI Origins Network, LUCA - the Last Universal Common Ancestor of Life on Earth, , Messy chemistry, Ribosomes,   

    From Many Worlds: “Messy Chemistry, Evolving Rocks, and the Origin of Life” 

    NASA NExSS bloc

    NASA NExSS

    Many Worlds

    Many Words icon

    2017-01-15
    Marc Kaufman

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    Ribosomes are life’s oldest and most universal assembly of molecules. Today’s ribosome converts genetic information (RNA) into proteins that carry out various functions in an organism. A growing number of scientists are exploring how earliest components of life such as the ribosome came to be. They’re making surprising progress, but the going remains tough. No image credit.

    Noted synthetic life researcher Steven Benner of Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution is fond of pointing out that gooey tars are the end product of too many experiments in his field. His widely-held view is that the tars, made out of chemicals known to be important in the origin of life, are nonetheless a dead end to be avoided when trying to work out how life began.

    But in the changing world of origins of life research, others are asking whether those messy tars might not be a breeding ground for the origin of life, rather than an obstacle to it.

    One of those is chemist and astrobiologist Irena Mamajanov of the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Tokyo. As she recently explained during an institute symposium, scientists know that tar-like substances were present on early Earth, and that she and her colleagues are now aggressively studying their potential role in the prebiotic chemical transformations that ultimately allowed life to emerge out of non-life.

    “We call what we do messy chemistry, and we think it can help shed light on some important processes that make life possible.”

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    Irena Mamajanov of the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Tokyo was the science lead for a just completed symposium on emerging approaches to the origin of life question.

    It stands to reason that the gunky tar played a role, she said, because tars allow some essential processes to occur: They can concentrate compounds, it can encapsulate them, and they could provide a kind of primitive (messy) scaffolding that could eventually evolve into the essential backbones of a living entity.

    “Scientists in the field have tended to think of the origin of life as a process going from simple to more complex, but we think it may have gone from very complex — messy — to more structured.”

    Mamajanov is part of an unusual group gathered at (ELSI), a relatively new site on the campus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology for origin of life study with a mandate to be interdisciplinary and to think big and outside the box.

    ELSI just completed its fifth annual symposium, and it brought together researchers from a wide range of fields to share their research on what might have led to the emergence of life. And being so interdisciplinary, the ELSI gathering was anything but straight and narrow itself.

    There was talk of the “evolution” of prebiotic compounds; of how the same universal 30 to 50 genes can be found in all living things from bacteria to us; of the possibility that the genomes of currently alive microbes surviving in extreme environments provide a window into the very earliest life; and even that evolutionary biology suggests that life on other Earth-like planets may well have evolved to form rather familiar creatures.

    Except for that last subject, the focus was very much on ways to identify the last universal common ancestor (LUCA), and what about Earth made life possible and what about life changed Earth.

    Scientific interest in the origin of life on Earth (and potentially elsewhere) tends to wax and wane, in large part because the problem is so endlessly complex. It’s one of the biggest questions in science, but some say that it will never be fully answered.

    But there has been a relatively recent upsurge in attention being paid and in funding for origin of life researchers.

    The Japanese government gave $100 million to start and operate ELSI, the Simons Foundation has donated another $100 million for an origins of life institute at Harvard, the Templeton Foundation has made numerous origin of life grants and, as it has for years, the NASA Astrobiology Institute has funded researchers. Some of the findings and theories are most intriguing and represent a break of sorts from the past.

    For some decades now, the origins of life field has been pretty sharply divided. One group holds that life began when metabolism (a small set of reactions able to harness and transform energy ) arose spontaneously; others maintain that it was the ability of a chemical system to replicate itself (the RNA world) that was the turning point. Metabolism First versus the RNA First, plus some lower-profile theories.

    In keeping with its goal of bringing scientists and disciplines together and to avoid as much origin-of-life dogma as possible, Mamajanov sees their “messy chemistry” approach as a third way and a more non-confrontational approach. It’s not a model for how life began per se, but one of many new approaches designed to shed light and collect data about those myriad processes.

    “This division in the field is hurting science because people are not talking to each other ,” she said. “By design we’re not in one camp or another.”

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    Loren Williams of Georgia tech

    Another speaker who exemplified that approach was Loren Williams of Georgia Tech, a biochemist whose lab studies the genetic makeup of those universal 30 to 50 ribosomes (a complex molecule made of RNA molecules and proteins that form a factory for protein synthesis in cells.) He was principal investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Georgia Tech Center for Ribosome Adaptation and Evolution from 2009-2014.

    His goal is to collect hard data on these most common genes, with the inference that they are the oldest and closest to LUCA.

    “What becomes quickly clear is that the models of the origin of life don’t fit the data,” he said. “What the RNA model predicts, for instance, is totally disconnected from this data. So what happens with this disconnect? The modelers throw away the data. They say it doesn’t relate. Instead, I ignore the models.”

    A primary conclusion of his work is that early molecules — rather like many symbiotic relationships in nature today — need each other to survive. He gave the current day example of the fig wasp, which spends its larval stage in a fig, then serves as a pollinator for the tree, and then survives on the fruit that appears.

    He sees a parallel “mutualism” in the ribosomes he studies. “RNA is made by protein; all protein is made by RNA,” he said. It’s such a powerful concept for him that he wonders if “mutualism” doesn’t define a living system from the non-living.

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    These stromatolites, wavelike patterns created by bacteria embedded in sediment, are 3.7 billion years old and may represent the oldest life on the planet. Photo by Allen Nutman

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    Stromalites, sedimentary structures produced by microorganisms, today at Shark Bay, Australia. Remarkably, the lifeform has survived through billions of years of radical transformation on Earth, catastrophes and ever-changing ecologies.

    A consistent theme of the conference was that life emerged from the geochemistry present in early Earth. It’s an unavoidable truth that leads down some intriguing pathways.

    As planetary scientist Marc Hirschmann of the University of Minnesota reported at the gathering, the Earth actually has far less carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements essential for life than the sun, than most asteroids, than even intersellar space.

    Since Earth was initially formed with the same galactic chemistry as those other bodies and arenas, Hirschmann said, the story of how the Earth was formed is one of losing substantial amounts of those elements rather than, as is commonly thought, by gaining them.

    The logic of this dynamic raises the question of how much of those elements does a planet have to lose, or can lose, to be considered habitable. And that in turn requires examination of how the Earth lost so much of its primordial inheritance — most likely from the impact that formed the moon, the resulting destruction of the early Earth atmosphere, and the later movement of the elements into the depths of the planet via plate tectonics. It’s all now considered part of the origins story.

    And as argued by Charley Lineweaver, a cosmologist with the Planetary Science Institute and the Australian National University, it has become increasingly difficult to contend that life on other planets is anything but abundant, especially now that we know that virtually all stars have planets orbiting them and that many billions of those planets will be the size of Earth.

    Other planets will have similar geochemical regimes and some will have undergone events that make their distribution of elements favorable for life. And as described by Eric Smith, an expert in complex systems at ELSI and the Santa Fe Institute, the logic of physics says that if life can emerge then it will.

    Any particular planetary life may not evolve beyond single cell lifeforms for a variety of reasons, but it will have emerged. The concept of the “origin of life” has taken on some very new meanings.

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    ELSI was created in 2012 after its founders won a World Premier International Research Center Initiative grant from the Japanese government. The WPI grant is awarded to institutes with a research vision to become globally competitive centers that can attract the best scientists from around the world to come work in Japan.

    The nature and aims of ELSI and its companion group the ELSI Origins Network (EON) strike me as part of the story. They break many molds.

    The creators of ELSI, both Japanese and from elsewhere, say that the institute is highly unusual for its welcome of non-Japanese faculty and students. They stay for years or months or even weeks as visitors.

    While ELSI is an government-funded institute with buildings, professors, researchers and a mission (to greatly enhance origin of life study in Japan), EON is a far-flung collection of top international origins scientists of many disciplines. Their home bases are places like Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Caltech and the University of Minnesota, among others in the U.S., Europe and Asia. NASA officials also play a supporting, but not financial, role.

    ELSI postdocs and other students live in Tokyo, while the EON fellows spend six months at ELSI and six months at home institutions. All of this is in the pursuit of scientific collaboration, exposing young scientists in one field related to origins to those in another, and generally adding to global knowledge about the sprawling subject of origins of life.

    Jim Cleaves, of ELSI and the Institute for Advanced Study, is the director of EON and an ambassador of sorts for its unusual mission. He, and others at the ELSI symposium, are eager to share their science and want young scientists interested in the origins of life to know there are many opportunities with ELSI and EON for research, study and visitorships on the Tokyo campus.

    See the full article here .

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    About Many Worlds

    There are many worlds out there waiting to fire your imagination.

    Marc Kaufman is an experienced journalist, having spent three decades at The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and is the author of two books on searching for life and planetary habitability. While the “Many Worlds” column is supported by the Lunar Planetary Institute/USRA and informed by NASA’s NExSS initiative, any opinions expressed are the author’s alone.

    This site is for everyone interested in the burgeoning field of exoplanet detection and research, from the general public to scientists in the field. It will present columns, news stories and in-depth features, as well as the work of guest writers.

    About NExSS

    The Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) is a NASA research coordination network dedicated to the study of planetary habitability. The goals of NExSS are to investigate the diversity of exoplanets and to learn how their history, geology, and climate interact to create the conditions for life. NExSS investigators also strive to put planets into an architectural context — as solar systems built over the eons through dynamical processes and sculpted by stars. Based on our understanding of our own solar system and habitable planet Earth, researchers in the network aim to identify where habitable niches are most likely to occur, which planets are most likely to be habitable. Leveraging current NASA investments in research and missions, NExSS will accelerate the discovery and characterization of other potentially life-bearing worlds in the galaxy, using a systems science approach.
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:23 am on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , , , Sugar stands accused   

    From Harvard: “Sugar stands accused” This Is Important for All 

    Harvard University

    Harvard University

    Sugar was in the dock at Harvard Law School this week, accused of a prime role in the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes sweeping the country.

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    Gary Taubes signs copies of his book “The Case Against Sugar” following his talk for the Food Law and Policy Clinic. The acclaimed science writer hypothesizes that sugar “has deleterious effects on the human body that lead to obesity and diabetes, and that it should be considered a prime suspect [in the national dietary epidemic].” Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

    Science journalist and author Gary Taubes ’77 made his case that sugar consumption — which has risen dramatically over the last century — drives metabolic dysfunction that makes people sick. The hour-long talk was sponsored by the Food Law and Policy Clinic and drawn from Taubes’ new book, The Case Against Sugar.

    A reputation for “empty calories” — devoid of vitamins and nutrients but otherwise no different from other foods containing an equal number of calories — has allowed sugar to maintain a prominent place in the U.S. diet. Taubes is dubious. First, all calories are not equal because the body metabolizes different foods in different ways. More specifically, there may be something about eating too much sugar — in particular fructose, which is metabolized in the liver — that implicates it in metabolic disease.

    “I’m making an argument that sugar is uniquely toxic,” said Taubes. “It has deleterious effects on the human body that lead to obesity and diabetes.”

    Taubes laid out a case that he admitted was “largely circumstantial,” though one he considers compelling enough that it would gain at least an indictment from an impartial jury. The problem with the evidence, he said, is that public health researchers haven’t focused enough attention on sugar.

    “The research doesn’t exist beyond reasonable doubt that sugar is to blame,” Taubes said.

    Diabetes, Taubes noted, was once a rare disease. He traced its rise through the 1800s and 1900s from just a fraction of 1 percent of the cases seen at Massachusetts General Hospital to a condition that afflicts nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That increase, he said, coincides with an increase in sugar in the American diet.

    He tied today’s problems to both the sugar industry and some of the scientists responsible for informing the public about diet. Two researchers prominent in Harvard’s history didn’t escape blame: Elliott Joslin, the founder of the Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center, and Frederick Stare, the founder of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Nutrition Department.

    See the full article here .

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    Harvard University campus

    Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:12 am on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, Could affect future treatments for some types of infertility, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, , , Metabolic proteins relocate to jump-start an embryo’s genome, UCLA study finds   

    From UCLA: “Metabolic proteins relocate to jump-start an embryo’s genome, UCLA study finds” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    January 12, 2017
    Sarah C.P. Williams

    FINDINGS

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    No image caption. No image credit.

    To turn on its genome — the full set of genes inherited from each parent — a mammalian embryo needs to relocate a group of proteins, researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have discovered. The metabolic proteins, normally found in the energy-generating mitochondria of cells, move to the DNA-containing nuclei about two days after a mouse embryo is fertilized, according to the new study, led by senior author Utpal Banerjee.

    BACKGROUND

    Early in development, a mammalian embryo — or zygote — has all the materials it needs to grow and divide from genes and proteins that were contained in the egg cell. But after a few cell divisions, the zygote needs to activate its own genome. Researchers have never fully understood how this shift is made. They knew that certain metabolic compounds, such a pyruvate, were required, but had also observed that the mitochondria — which normally process pyruvate into energy — were small and inactive during this stage of development.

    METHOD

    Banerjee, a professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology and co-director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, and colleagues confirmed that pyruvate was required for zygotes to activate their genomes by growing mouse zygotes in a culture dish lacking pyruvate. Then, in both mouse and human embryos, researchers used a number of methods to determine the location of proteins that process pyruvate through a metabolic program called the TCA cycle. Just before the embryos activated their genomes, the two-cell stage in mice, the TCA cycle proteins moved from the mitochondria to the nuclei of cells, the researchers discovered. While mouse cells grown in dishes lacking pyruvate normally stopped growing at the two-cell stage, the researchers could rescue these cells by adding a metabolic compound that’s produced by the TCA cycle. Repeating some of the experiments in human embryos, they confirmed that the metabolic proteins move from the mitochondria to the nucleus just as the genome is activated — at the six- to eight-cell stage for humans.

    IMPACT

    The importance of metabolic proteins to early embryonic development could affect future treatments for some types of infertility. In addition, the researchers hypothesize that some stem cells that have similar metabolic properties to early zygotes — including cancer stem cells — may relocate the TCA cycle proteins. Better understanding of the relocation could shed light on stem cell biology and alter cancer treatments.

    AUTHORS

    In addition to Banerjee, the first authors of the study are Raghavendra Nagaraj and Mark Sharpley; the co-authors are Daniel Braas, Fangtao Chi, Amander Clark, Rachel Kim and Yonggang Zhou, all of UCLA.

    JOURNAL

    The study was published in the journal Cell.

    FUNDING

    The study was funded by an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (DP1DK098059-04) and by the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center.

    See the full article here .

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    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:09 am on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2016 in review, Applied Research & Technology, ,   

    From Science Node: “2016 in review: A big first year for Science Node” 

    Science Node bloc
    Science Node

    20 Dec, 2016
    Sarah Engel

    Science Node celebrated its first full year in September. As we look back on these last 12 months, we noticed a few patterns worth highlighting.

    By December, we were also celebrating over 24,000 connections across our newsletter and social media platforms.

    This growth is due in no small part to partners like XSEDE, Internet2, Open Science Grid, ESnet, and, of course, Indiana University. We’re also grateful for past support from the US National Science Foundation, CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), and the European Commission (via the e-Science Talk project, as well as others).

    Our growth is about more than connections, though. It’s due in large part to the persistence of Managing Editor Lance Farrell – and behind the scenes help from Indiana University’s Greg Moore. In late 2016, we also welcomed two new writers, Alisa Alering and Tristan Fitzpatrick. You’ve seen some of their work already, and you can expect even more in the coming months.

    Science gets personal

    Citizen science and personalized medicine are two examples of how science now reaches into our daily lives – and promises to, on the one hand, hold us close to discovery and, on the other hand, improve our ability to avoid and manage disease.

    Check out Alisa’s take on how science is closer to us than ever before.

    For the history books

    2016 was also a year of amazing discoveries. Scientists confirmed Albert Einstein’s 100-year-old prediction of gravitational waves when LIGO heard the echo of a massive merger of black holes. Science Node was there to cover the computational collaboration that made the discovery possible.

    We also cheered when astrophysicists revved up galactic-sized supercomputer simulations and discovered evidence of a dark planet lurking at the distant edge of our solar system. All that remains is for Konstantin Batygin to actually locate this planet that the models say must be there!

    Find these stories and more in Tristan’s article about the big science news of the year.

    An international focus

    We’re very proud of our global science community – like the German scientist who used a Swiss supercomputer to spot a lake of lava under an island in the Sea of Japan, and the Australian scientists who adapted a firefighting technique to a supercomputing environment and found a smart way to combat invasive species.

    Explore these examples in Lance’s around the world article.

    See the full article here .

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    Science Node is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, Science Node is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read Science Node via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:47 am on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , NASA's Earth science activities   

    From JPL-Caltech: “NASA Plans Another Busy Year for Earth Science Fieldwork” 

    NASA JPL Banner

    JPL-Caltech

    THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO JLT FOR HIS INTEREST IN JPL. GOOD LUCK NEXT MONTH.

    January 12, 2017
    Alan Buis
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-354-0474
    alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

    Steve Cole
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-0918
    stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

    Patrick Lynch
    Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    301-286-2102
    patrick.lynch@nasa.gov

    1
    Three new NASA field research campaigns get underway around the world this year and nine continue fieldwork to give scientists a deeper understanding of how our home planet works. Credit: NASA

    NASA scientists, including many from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are crisscrossing the globe in 2017 — from a Hawaiian volcano to Colorado mountaintops and west Pacific islands — to investigate critical scientific questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.

    Field experiments are an important part of NASA’s Earth science research. Scientists worldwide use the agency’s field data, together with satellite observations and computer models, to tackle environmental challenges and advance our knowledge of how Earth works as a complex, integrated system.

    “At NASA we are always pushing the boundaries of what can be done from space to advance science and improve lives around the world,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “These field campaigns help us build better tools to address such issues as managing scarce water resources and alerting the public to natural disasters.”

    New Investigations

    Three new field campaigns kick off this month. Scientists preparing for a future Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) mission will take to the skies above Hawaii to collect airborne data on coral reef health and volcanic emissions and eruptions.

    NASA HyspIRI spacecraft
    NASA HyspIRI spacecraft

    This airborne experiment supports a potential HyspIRI satellite mission to study the world’s ecosystems and provide information on natural disasters.

    Scientists working on another future satellite — the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission — set sail in January from Hawaii.

    NASA PACE spacecraft
    NASA PACE spacecraft

    The month-long sea campaign across the Pacific on the research vessel Falkor will monitor the diversity of oceanic phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms, and their impact on the marine carbon cycle. Novel measurements will be compared to existing satellite observations and used in preparation for the PACE mission.

    In February, the SnowEx airborne campaign begins flights over the snow-covered forests of Colorado for the first of a multiyear effort to determine how much water is stored in Earth’s terrestrial snow-covered regions.

    Continuing Investigations

    In addition to the new field campaigns, eight Earth science projects will continue this year. The second deployment of NASA’s Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission begins in January with a 28-day flight around the world.

    nasa-atom-mission

    ATom will gather measurements of more than 200 different gases, as well as aerosols from the air near the ocean surface to approximately 7 miles (11 kilometers) altitude. The goal is to understand the sources, movement and transformation of short-lived greenhouse gases, such as ozone and methane, which are important contributors to climate change.

    The Atmospheric Carbon and Transport — America (ACT-America) research team returns to the skies over the eastern half of the United States in January to continue tracking the movement of atmospheric carbon, the objective being to better understand the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. Flights will originate from Louisiana, Nebraska and Virginia.

    nasa-act-america-mission

    Three field campaigns are heading to the Arctic. In March, Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) will conduct its second set of airborne surveys of glacier heights around the edge of Greenland and coastal ocean conditions. The mission is providing the first comprehensive look at how glaciers and oceans change year to year.

    nasa-omg-mission

    Operation IceBridge returns in March to the Arctic for the ninth straight year to measure changes in the elevation of the Greenland ice sheet and sea ice extent. In the fall, the team also will begin its yearly measurements of land and sea ice in Antarctica.

    nasa-operation-icebridge

    This summer, the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will start the airborne component of its decade-long campaign that began last year to study the ecology of the fast-changing northern reaches of Alaska and Canada. A diverse suite of instruments will be flown to investigate the region’s permafrost, carbon cycle, vegetation and water bodies and inform future satellite missions. Scientists will also go into the field to support the airborne measurements.

    nasa-above-mission

    Two experiments head back to the Pacific Ocean this year. In February, the Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) project team will continue its airborne and in-water investigations in the Hawaiian Islands to assess the condition of threatened coral-based ecosystems.

    nasa-coral-mission

    In the spring, CORAL will target the waters off Palau and Guam and the rest of the Mariana Islands. In October, NASA’s second Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS-2) returns to the eastern tropical Pacific to recover instruments installed in September to investigate the oceanic and atmospheric processes that control changes in salinity.

    On the other side of the world, two field campaigns are returning to the Atlantic Ocean. From its base in Namibia, the Observations of Clouds above Aerosols and their Interactions (ORACLES) study will use airborne instruments this fall to probe the impact on climate and rainfall of the interaction between clouds over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean and smoke from vegetation burning in southern Africa.

    nasa-oracles-mission

    The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) will take to the sea and air, for the third year, to study how the world’s largest plankton bloom gives rise to small organic particles that influence clouds and climate.

    nasa-naames-mission

    To follow all of NASA’s 2017 Earth science field campaigns, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/earthexpeditions

    NASA collects data from space, air, land and sea to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

    For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/earth

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL Campus

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge [1], on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

    Caltech Logo

    NASA image

     
  • richardmitnick 9:02 am on January 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, Fethya Ibrahim, ,   

    From U Washington: Women in STEM – “Passion never rests: Fethya Ibrahim’s journey through mechanical engineering” 

    U Washington

    University of Washington

    January 10, 2017
    Chelsea Yates

    First in her family to attend college, senior Fethya Ibrahim is making the most of her time at the UW.

    1
    ME senior Fethya Ibrahim in the Machine Shop. Photo credit: Mark Stone / University of Washington.

    Fethya has been a research assistant in ME’s Cell Biomechanics lab, a 2015-16 McNair Scholar, and she has held multiple mechanical engineering internships at Physio-Control, Inc. Since 2013, she has worked as a tutor in the Engineering Academic Center, and this year she is serving as President of the UW Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

    We recently sat down with Fethya to talk about her involvement and volunteerism on and off campus and why — thanks in part to her experiences in ME’s Machine Shop — she decided to pursue a degree in ME.

    ME: Why did you decide to attend UW and study ME?
    FI: The “Why UW?” part is easy! In the sixth grade, my teacher arranged a class field trip to the UW. As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew I wanted to come to school here. Being at the UW has been a pretty big deal for me; I’m the first in my family to attend college, and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do so.

    But the “Why study ME?” part is a little more complicated. I loved math and science, so engineering made perfect sense. I explored a few programs before settling into mechanical engineering. The turning point happened the summer I worked in Nathan Sniadecki’s Cell Biomechanics lab. The design and prototyping work I did there — along with the encouragement I received from Professor Sniadecki — is what helped me decide that ME was what I wanted to do. But I wasn’t sure that I’d succeed in the department. One class in particular that I was extremely hesitant about was ME 355, “Introduction to Manufacturing Processes.” It’s a very “hands on” class that involves learning how to use all of the major machines in the Machine Shop, and every ME student has to take it to graduate.

    2
    Photo credit: Mark Stone / University of Washington.

    ME: Tell us more about your experience in the Machine Shop.
    FI: I was incredibly nervous — I found the Shop to be an intimidating space. I had no prior experience with hand tools, let alone machinery. And all of the equipment seemed to be designed and built for users who were taller than me, with bigger hands than mine, and certainly more upper body strength. I wanted to do well in the Shop but feared it just wasn’t for me. I was also worried that my attire would present a safety concern and that I wouldn’t be able to use the machinery and would fail the class.

    ME: So what happened?
    FI: I met Eamon and Reggie, the Shop instructors. And suddenly the Shop became a very different space — full of possibility, and fun! The instructors made sure everyone in class knew how to safely use the equipment. They worked with me to ensure that my clothing would not present a safety issue (I wear a jacket or my favorite UW sweatshirt over my dress to keep my scarf, sleeves and fabric draping tucked in and tight). And then they encouraged me to, well, just start machining.

    Over time, I became more comfortable with tooling and machining. I discovered that I really liked to operate the lathe. The amount of work it can do is incredible — shaping, cutting, polishing, finishing. Once I found my rhythm for running it, the lathe began to feel quite intuitive.

    ME: What other skills did you develop while working in the Machine Shop?
    FI: I had to learn how to be patient with the machines, and with myself. I’m the type of person who likes to “get” things immediately — and do them well — and with the equipment in the Machine Shop, that just wasn’t going to happen right away. I often had to ask for help reaching things, lifting things, and getting the machines to work. But there’s a lot of help around if you just ask. And people really like to help! It’s funny that this idea was so novel to me as helping others means a lot to me personally. So, it was good for me to learn how to ask.

    I also started watching the instructors’ hands during demos. They were always so still, so quiet. For them it was all about sensing the flow of the machine, and once I relaxed into this idea, things started to come a little more easily. By the end of the quarter, I was surprised by how much I could do, how quickly I could work the machines, and how much self-confidence I’d developed.

    ME: Tell us about your experiences tutoring in the Engineering Academic Center (EAC).
    FI: I started tutoring at the EAC through the Minority Scholars Engineering Program when I was a sophomore. I just love it! I help students with calculus-based physics and math courses in one-on-one sessions and workshops. Tutoring has been a wonderful way for me to contribute to the UW community and also to sharpen my skills! I’m constantly practicing my math, science and communications skills.

    3
    Photo credit: Mark Stone / University of Washington.

    ME: In addition to tutoring students on campus, you also go home on weekends to mentor students at your community center. Why?
    FI: I’m thankful that my community has been supportive of my educational pursuits and for the opportunities I’ve had at the UW, and it’s important to me to give back. I come from an immigrant community here in Seattle; our older generations didn’t have the resources to pursue education due to war and conflict in their home countries. As a result, most older men and women in our community are not college-educated, and very few have a high school education.

    On the weekends, I’m a youth mentor and teach Arabic at our community center, where we host a range of college readiness workshops. I also facilitate discussions about current events, social issues and try to help the younger generations understand why they should be proud of who they are. If I can be a mentor for young women in particular — to show them that it’s possible for women to earn engineering degrees and have professional careers — then that’s just as important to me as earning the degree itself.

    ME: This year you’re also serving as President of the UW chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), correct?
    FI: Yes! NSBE is a student-led organization that’s fun, supportive and inspiring. It provides professional development and networking opportunities on campus and outreach to high school students, which I find very meaningful. I’m eager to take NSBE to the next level. As President, I’m focusing on the organization’s growth. I want to establish a sustainable administrative structure that future leaders can build from.

    ME: You’ll be graduating this spring. What’s next?
    FI: I hope to get a job doing design work at Boeing. That would be ideal. I’ll also continue advocating for and mentoring the girls in my community. I want to help them break the glass ceiling and know that they have a place in STEM fields and professions.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us — the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on January 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , We Must Learn How to Talk about Science--Fast   

    From SA: “We Must Learn How to Talk about Science–Fast” 

    Scientific American

    Scientific American

    January 10, 2017
    Paul A. Hanle

    1
    Global warming is just one area where public ignorance about science is extremely dangerous. Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio,Goddard Space Flight Center Wikimedia

    Today in Washington, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are convening a public discussion of their December report on communicating science effectively. It could not come at a more relevant moment, the day confirmation hearings begin for the President-Elect’s cabinet choices. Arguably it should have happened long before, as we find astonishing disdain for evidence-based thinking among many of the leaders and their advisors who are now taking the reins of government.

    The report identifies “cross-cutting themes” common to the range of issues that were addressed, from climate change to genetically modified organisms. One major finding is about the “deficit model”—the idea that non-scientists, if only informed of the facts of science, will think and act more in line with scientific evidence—which the authors say is widespread among scientists and science communicators. As those of us whose mission is to reach wide and diverse audiences know, and the Academies state unequivocally, this deficit model is wrong. Not always wrong, but mostly wrong, especially where the science communication bears on issues that are contentious like climate change. In such a context, people rely on their own values and beliefs, knowledge and skills, goals and needs—and on those in their communities and peer groups–more than on expert opinion. Not surprising, really, but quite clear and useful.

    In climate change, that finding translates to this: there is no use in just beating those who doubt climate change—the vast majority of whom are conservative in politics—over the head with the facts.

    But it does not translate, either, to the scientific community doing nothing to convey those facts and what they imply for action to address the climate problem. On the contrary, confronting falsehoods and lies about climate change is critically important in this moment when misrepresentations threaten to recur like cancer after years of remission. As more than one leading climate scientist has noted in the wake of the election, it falls to the expert scientific community—with virtual unanimity in accepting the reality, human cause, and urgency of addressing the climate problem—to communicate these facts to the people about to take power and to the public who are their constituency.

    The question is, how do we do that in the face of disdain for evidence and attacks on evidence-based thinking that have permeated so much of recent politics? The report contains gems for scientists—indeed for anyone—practicing science communication, and a call for better and more work to understand the huge amount we still don’t know about how to do this. And we need to do this right now, with real threats, based on falsehoods already evident, to potentially dismantle and discard the edifice of Federal science funding at such agencies as NASA, NOAA, DOE, and the NSF, which has been a foundation of U.S. greatness in science.

    One of these gems is the Academy’s reiteration (in this newly charged context) of the conclusion of many researchers that “science as an institution possesses norms and practices that restrain scientists and offer means for policing and sanctioning those who violate its standards,” while “those who are not bound by scientific norms have at times intentionally mischaracterized scientific information to serve their financial or political interests.” It’s an asymmetrical game we must play. Science in contention needs social and behavioral science to help it determine how authoritative voices from science can be heard when authority is important and in question.

    Not everyone is qualified to judge scientific truth, but everyone must know how to grasp what’s needed to make informed judgments about science that affects their lives in issues like climate change. Alas, explaining how exactly to make that happen is not in the purview of the report because it is a research agenda, and no doubt also aims to stay above the fray of politics. This would be too bad, if it weren’t for the commitment of researchers and organizations that communicate about climate to undertake the research that the report recommends. The Academy calls for a pragmatic, systems approach, developing explanatory models with predictive value at the outset—with practitioners and researchers working in partnership across multiple disciplines.

    Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Science communicators need to act now and learn quickly, with proper deliberation but real urgency. One idea is to do practical research about what works in science communication with different audiences, building on the existing body of knowledge, in real time. There are at least three strong reasons to take this “build the airplane while flying” approach. First, as President Kennedy said, because it is hard. In this case, because it lends real-world tempering that is measurable in effectiveness.

    Second, a key measure of the robustness of a scientific explanation is its capacity to predict—essentially the same requirement as that which guides practice, and which bears fruit as soon as it is recognized. With no lag time required to translate an academic insight into a point of practice, we will benefit immediately from research on communication while communicating the scientific truth. Third, and most important, science communicators must use these tools as soon as possible in the face of what appears to be an historic turn against science in key places. Apparently, we have failed to impress a massive swath of the American public, and this failure threatens the very foundations of science through denial of facts, falsehoods, and elevation of ideological thinking above facts. This is the wolf at the door…and if science doesn’t figure out how to counter it quickly, we might just as well throw the door open.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., has been bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology for more than 160 years.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:34 am on January 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A healthy lifestyle may help you sidestep Alzheimer’s, , Applied Research & Technology, ,   

    From HMS: “A healthy lifestyle may help you sidestep Alzheimer’s” 

    Harvard University

    Harvard University

    Harvard Medical School

    Harvard Medical School

    January 09, 2017
    Heidi Godman

    1
    No image caption. No image credit

    January is an inspiring time to make resolutions about eating a healthy diet and exercising more, maybe because you want to look or feel better. Personally, those reasons aren’t always enough to keep me from skipping a workout if I have too much on my schedule. I guess I’m a typical mom, putting my family and my job first.

    But this year, I have plenty of renewed inspiration to put my health first, and it’s the kind that will keep me up at night if I don’t stick to it: evidence suggests that adopting healthier lifestyle habits may help you thwart or even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia runs in my family.

    About Alzheimer’s

    Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is characterized by the accumulation of two types of protein in the brain: tangles (tau) and plaques (amyloid-beta). Eventually, Alzheimer’s kills brain cells and takes people’s lives.

    What causes Alzheimer’s? We still aren’t sure. “For 1% of all cases, there are three genes that determine definitively whether you will have Alzheimer’s, and all three relate to amyloid-beta production, which in these cases is likely the cause of Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, associate medical director of clinical trials at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “For the other 99%, amyloid and tau are closely associated with Alzheimer’s, but many things may contribute to the development of symptoms, such as inflammation in the brain, vascular risk factors, and lifestyle.”

    Promising evidence

    So far, evidence suggests that several healthy habits may help ward off Alzheimer’s. Consider the following steps.

    Exercise. “The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”

    Eat a Mediterranean diet. “This has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer’s or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet,” says Dr. Marshall. The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; olive oil; nuts; legumes; fish; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy; moderate amounts of red wine; and red meat only sparingly.

    Get enough sleep. “Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s and is linked to greater amyloid clearance from the brain,” says Dr. Marshall. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.

    Not as certain

    We have some — but not enough — evidence that the following lifestyle choices help prevent Alzheimer’s.

    Learn new things. “We think that cognitively stimulating activities may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s, but the evidence for their benefit is often limited to improvement in a learned task, such as a thinking skills test, that does not generalize to overall improvement in thinking skills and activities of daily living,” says Dr. Marshall.

    Connect socially. “We think that greater social contact helps prevent Alzheimer’s,” explains Dr. Marshall, but so far, “there is only information from observational studies.”

    Drink — but just a little. There is conflicting evidence about the benefit of moderate alcohol intake (one drink per day for women, one or two for men) and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. “It is thought that wine in particular, and not other forms of alcohol, may be helpful, but this has not been proved,” says Dr. Marshall.

    What you should do

    Even though we don’t have enough evidence that all healthy lifestyle choices prevent Alzheimer’s, we do know they can prevent other chronic problems. For example, limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer. So it’s wise to make as many healthy lifestyle choices as you can. “They’re all beneficial, and if they wind up helping you avoid Alzheimer’s, all the better,” says Dr. Marshall.

    But don’t feel like you need to rush into a ramped-up routine of living a healthier lifestyle. All it takes if one small change at a time, such as:

    exercising an extra day per week.
    getting rid of one unhealthy food from your diet.
    going to bed half an hour earlier, or shutting off electronic gadgets half an hour earlier than normal, to help you wind down.
    listening to a new kind of music, or listening to a podcast about a topic you’re unfamiliar with.
    or having lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

    Once you make one small change, try making another. Over time, they will add up. My change is that I’m going to add 15 more minutes to my exercise routine; that way, I’ll rack up more exercise minutes per week, and I won’t feel bad if I have to skip a workout now and then. By putting my health first, I’ll be in better shape for my family and my job, and hopefully, I’ll be better off in older age.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    HMS campus

    Established in 1782, Harvard Medical School began with a handful of students and a faculty of three. The first classes were held in Harvard Hall in Cambridge, long before the school’s iconic quadrangle was built in Boston. With each passing decade, the school’s faculty and trainees amassed knowledge and influence, shaping medicine in the United States and beyond. Some community members—and their accomplishments—have assumed the status of legend. We invite you to access the following resources to explore Harvard Medical School’s rich history.

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

     
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