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Kashmir remains paralyzed by lockdown as resentment simmers

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:48
Eleven days after the Indian government suspended all communications in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the disputed region still has no contact with the outside world.

Why Jamie Dimon turned down an Amazon job

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:44
Jamie Dimon had recently been fired from Citigroup and had visions of living on a houseboat when he flew to Seattle after receiving a call from an Amazon headhunter in 1997.

Rashida Tlaib Says She Won’t Visit West Bank Under Israel’s Conditions

NY Times - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:41
Israel said on Friday that Ms. Tlaib could visit her grandmother in the West Bank if she agreed not to “promote boycotts.” Ms. Tlaib said she would cancel her trip.

Israel's ban on Omar and Tlaib is a big mistake

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:41
President Donald Trump is laying a trap and Israel is walking right into it. Breaking with accepted norms, Trump blatantly pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ban Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country. Now, Israel says it will do just that. Big mistake.

Madoff whistleblower calls GE a bigger fraud than Enron

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:34
Harry Markopolos is famous for blowing the whistle on Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, which blew up in 2008. Now the accounting investigator has his sights set on a new target: General Electric. He accuses the troubled company of orchestrating a massive fraud.

Team finds the ‘signature’ of guts that don’t get C. diff

Futurity.org - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:33

Researchers have found the molecular signature of a healthy gut microbiome—the kind of bacterial community that keeps Clostridium difficile in check even in the aftermath of antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotics can upset the balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract. In some cases, antibiotics can cause the bacterium C. difficile  to overgrow wildly, causing diarrhea and, in severe cases, life-threatening intestinal inflammation.

The research also identifies a specific molecule produced when C. difficile is not lying dormant but is active and making toxins. Together, the findings outline a set of molecular signs that indicate a person has—or is at risk for—diarrhea from C. difficile.

“Right now, we just accept that taking antibiotics raises the risk of C. diff infection,” says senior author Jeffrey P. Henderson, an associate professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“By analyzing the small molecules produced by the microbiome, we may be able to identify people at high risk for developing C. diff diarrhea. We also may be able to use this type of analysis to screen potential donors for fecal transplants and make sure they are donating the kind of microbiome that can help keep C. diff under control.”

The findings appear in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

A ‘molecular signature’ for C. diff

Every year, there are about 450,000 cases of C. difficile diarrhea in the United States, and 29,000 deaths.

The presence or absence of the fatty acid in stool identified people with C. difficile disease with 92.8% accuracy.

Henderson and colleagues at Washington University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied the microbiomes of people with and without C. difficile disease by analyzing their metabolomes, or the chemical compounds produced in the gut as human intestinal cells and microbes eat, breathe, and interact with each other. They were searching for a molecular signature that distinguishes a healthy gut from one prone to C. difficile disease.

The search was complicated by the fact that some people carry C. difficile in their gastrointestinal tracts with no ill effects. But the bacteria also can produce two toxins that cause diarrhea and inflammation. In the absence of these toxins, the bacteria are mostly harmless.

The researchers studied 186 hospitalized people with diarrhea, divided into three groups: a group with no C. difficile; a group with C. difficile but without toxins, which means they carried the bacteria but their symptoms were caused by something else; and a group with C. difficile and toxins, all of whom had C. difficile infections.

Using mass spectrometry, the researchers analyzed thousands of metabolic byproducts in stool samples from patients in all three groups. In particular, they found high levels of a fatty acid called 4-methylpentanoic acid in the stool of people with C. difficile disease. The fatty acid is produced when proteins are broken down for fuel using an unusual metabolic process. Human cells don’t produce the fatty acid, and neither do most of the bacteria in the normal microbiome—except for C. difficile. The presence or absence of the fatty acid in stool identified people with C. difficile disease with 92.8% accuracy.

Bile acids, too

Further, the researchers uncovered a pattern of molecules related to bile acid metabolism that was linked to protection against C. difficile disease. The liver produces bile acids to help with fat digestion. They are then absorbed into the intestine, where members of the microbiome chemically modify them. The researchers identified a set of modified bile acids in people who did not carry the bacterium, or who carried it harmlessly, that was absent from people with C. difficile infections.

“These unusual bile acids may be fingerprints of people who are more resistant to C. difficile infection,” Henderson says. “There seems to be a difference in the metabolism of bile acids by the microbiome that affects how likely people are to develop disease.”

The researchers now are working on identifying which bacteria in the microbiome are involved in producing the protective bile acids, and how a healthy microbiome keeps C. difficile restrained.

“We know that disruptions to the microbiome predispose some people to getting C. diff disease, but until now we haven’t known much about what these changes are and why they’re harmful,” Henderson says. “Small molecules give us a direct readout of what the microbiome is doing. This study provides some big clues as to how these antibiotic-resistant bacteria make people sick, and that could lead to better ways to identify, prevent, or treat C. diff infections.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences; and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health supported the work.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

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Here's what you should know about the gun safety rallies happening this weekend

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:32
After several mass shootings across the country this month -- El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Philadelphia and Chicago -- two gun safety groups are joining forces to host more than 100 rallies in all 50 US states.

Airline CEO resigns amid Hong Kong protests

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:31
Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg is resigning after a tumultuous week for Hong Kong's leading airline.

He bet his career on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.' He won big

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:28
That August 16, 1999 fell on a Monday is of little significance except in the world of television, which quite unexpectedly experienced a revolutionary moment that night.

QAnon supporters claim they were censored at Trump’s New Hampshire rally

Washington Post - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:22
While the claim isn't new, it comes at a tricky time for the conspiracy theory's adherents.

Wild boar genes recreated domestic pigs

Futurity.org - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:22

Pigs have the genetic makeup of European wild boars, and have mostly lost the original identity they had roughly 10,000 years ago, according to a new study.

When researchers sequenced DNA from hundreds of pigs collected from the Middle East and Europe, they found that the first pigs to arrive in Europe and live alongside farmers 8,000 to 10,000 years ago had a definite Middle Eastern genetic history.

But over the next 3,000 years or so, almost all the pigs mingled with European wild boars, so much so that they lost all the original identity.

The pigs became more genetically like the Europeans boars, but kept typical domesticated signals which showed in their coats and colors, ranging from black to brown and eventually spotted.

“Having access to ancient genomes over such a large space and time has allowed us to see the slow-motion replacement of the entire genome of domestic pigs,” the research team writes.

“This suggests that pig management in Europe over millennia was extensive, and that though swine herders maintained selection for some coat colors, domestic pigs interacted with wild boar frequently enough that they lost the ancestral signature of the wild boar from which they were derived.

“We are all taught that the big change was the initial process of domestication, but our data suggests that almost none of the human-selection over the first 2,500 years of pig domestication has been important in the development of modern European commercial pigs.”

Figuring out what really happened with pigs over the last 10,000 years took some detective work, says Anna Linderholm, director of the BiG (bioarchaeology and genomics) Laboratory and an archaeologist at Texas A&M University.

“We could not have seen this by looking at the modern DNA because the real truth of what happened in prehistory lies buried in the ancient DNA. This means that when we look at modern European pigs, they look like they were domesticated in Europe even though we now know that is not true.”

As a next step, the researchers will work to precisely identify the few genes that modern pigs have retained from their original Middle Eastern ancestry. That will allow them to determine whether the artificial selection applied by early farmers over 10,000 years ago left any further legacy in modern pigs beyond coat color.

The work appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Texas A&M University

The post Wild boar genes recreated domestic pigs appeared first on Futurity.

It's hard to tell just one story about Amazon's first 25 years. Here are 4 things to know

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:20
It's hard to tell just one story about the first 25 years of Amazon.

'Woke' news platform is actually a secret UK counter-terror program

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:19
The Facebook page of "Woke" looks like any other millennial-focused online news platform, pumping out slick videos of young British Muslims tackling hot button issues like Islamophobia, bullying, depression and workplace diversity.

Tiny ‘glass’ bottles deliver drugs at right temp and place

Futurity.org - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:14

Nanoscale silica bottles filled with medicine and a temperature-sensitive material could one day deliver drugs to kill malignant cells only in certain parts of the body, according to a new study.

Researchers devised a way to create silica-based hollow spheres around 200 nanometers in size, each with one small hole in the surface that could allow them to encapsulate a wide range of payloads they could release later at certain temperatures only.

In the paper in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, researchers describe packing the spheres with a mixture of fatty acids, a near-infrared dye, and an anticancer drug. The fatty acids remain solid at human body temperature but melt a few degrees above. When a dye absorbs the infrared laser, the fatty acids quickly melt to release the therapeutic drug.

“This new method could allow infusion therapies to target specific parts of the body and potentially negating certain side effects because the medicine is released only where there’s an elevated temperature,” says Younan Xia, a professor in the biomedical engineering department at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “The rest of the drug remains encapsulated by the solid fatty acids inside the bottles, which are biocompatible and biodegradable.”

The researchers also showed they can change the size of the hole, enabling nanocapsules that release their payloads at different rates.

“This approach holds great promise for medical applications that require drugs to be released in a controlled fashion and has advantages over other methods of controlled drug release,” Xia says.

An earlier method for achieving controlled drug release involves loading the temperature-sensitive material into low-density lipoproteins, often referred to as “bad cholesterol.” Another method involves loading the mixture into gold nanocages. Both have disadvantages in how the material used to encapsulate the drugs interact with the body, according to the study.

To make the silica-based bottles, the researchers started by fabricating spheres out of polystyrene with a small gold nanoparticle embedded in its surface. They then coated the spheres with a silica-based material everywhere except where the gold nanoparticle embeds.

Once researchers remove the gold and polystyrene, only a hollow silica sphere with a small opening remains. To adjust the size of the opening, the researchers simply changed the size of the gold nanoparticle.

The process to load the bottles with their payload involves soaking the spheres in a solution containing the mixture, removing the trapped air, then washing away the excess material and payload with water. The resulting nanocapsules contain an even mixture of the temperature-sensitive material, the therapeutic drug, and the dye.

To test the release mechanism, the researchers put the nanocapsules in water and used a near-infrared laser to heat the dye while tracking the concentration of the released therapeutic. The test confirmed that without the use of the laser, the medicine remains encapsulated. After several minutes of heating, concentrations of the therapeutic rose in the water.

“This controlled release system enables us to deal with the adverse impacts associated with most chemotherapeutics by only releasing the drug at a dosage above the toxic level inside the diseased site,” says Jichuan Qiu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Xia group.

The National Science Foundation and the China Scholarship Council funded the work. The content is the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsoring agencies.

Source: Georgia Tech

The post Tiny ‘glass’ bottles deliver drugs at right temp and place appeared first on Futurity.

Rashida Tlaib, Gamergate, Greenland: Your Friday Briefing

NY Times - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:14
Here’s what you need to know.

‘Greenland Is Not for Sale’: Trump’s Talk of a Purchase Draws Derision

NY Times - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:13
Residents of the semiautonomous Danish territory were apoplectic, and Denmark gave a chilly reception to the president’s idea.

Family of man shot in the back by police in Colorado call for independent investigation

CNN - Fri, 2019-08-16 09:05
The attorney for the family of a man shot in the back and killed by police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is calling for an independent investigation into the shooting.
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