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DeVos struggles with school safety specifics

CNN - Mon, 2018-03-12 08:04
After the White House unveiled a proposal to establish a commission chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that will recommend policy and funding proposals for school violence prevention, DeVos struggled to outline any specific policies in an interview on NBC's "The Today Show."

Russia touts test of 'invincible' missile

CNN - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:57
Russia's Defense Ministry says it has successfully tested one of the "invincible" missiles that President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month could deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed and pierce US defenses.

Women Still Rule the Coyote Ugly Saloon, 25 Years Later

NY Times - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:52
The dive that inspired the 2000 cult film has stayed true to its founding principle: women can tend bar, too.

The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make

CNN - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:45
As tens of thousands of Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses each year, an exclusive analysis by CNN and researchers at Harvard University found that opioid manufacturers are paying physicians huge sums of money -- and the more opioids a doctor prescribes, the more money he or she makes.

What Steven Pinker gets wrong about economic inequality — and the Enlightenment

Washington Post - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:45
Enlightenment thinkers were much more concerned about inequality than Pinker is.

Flake calls for Trump to face 2020 primary challenge

Washington Post - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:45
The Arizona Republican, who isn't seeking reelection to his Senate seat, is an outspoken Trump critic.

Pittsburgh paper backs Republican in House race, warning of impeachment 'distraction' if Democrats win

Washington Post - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:45
Neither the Republican nor the Democrat in the race has talked about impeachment on the campaign trail.

Modified sugar molecules treat UTIs without antibiotics

Futurity.org - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:45

In a new study with mice, researchers have discovered a new way to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) without using antibiotics.

Half of all women will experience the pain and burning of a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives. Most such infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics, but antibiotic resistance—the ability of bacteria to withstand antibiotics—is a growing problem.

“Millions of women every year suffer UTIs, and they’re getting harder to treat,” says co-senior author Scott J. Hultgren, professor of molecular microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis. “We’ve shown that just by blocking the bacteria from adhering to the mice’s urinary tracts, we can treat the infection. This is a new way of approaching the problem of antibiotic resistance.”

Green marks the spots where a bacterial protein binds to human kidney tissues, a key step in urinary tract infections. Researchers have designed sugar molecules that block the bacteria from binding, allowing them to be washed out of the urinary tract. The compounds represent a step toward treating UTIs without antibiotics. (Credit: Vasilios Kalas/Wash. U. in St. Louis)

The bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) cause 80 percent of UTIs, leading to painful, burning urination. The bacteria then sometimes travel to the kidneys, causing back pain and fever. In rare cases, they spread to the blood, a potentially lethal complication.

Often, UTIs can be cleared up with antibiotics, but 10 to 20 percent of cases do not respond to current first-line drugs. Hultgren and his colleagues are working on an alternative that would prevent bacteria from causing disease, which may help reduce dependency on antibiotics.

Double whammy

E. coli‘s first step in causing UTIs is to latch onto sugars on the surface of the bladder with long, hairlike structures called pili. Hultgren and co-senior author James W. Janetka, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, previously created mannosides, modified forms of a sugar called mannose, that the bacteria favor over typical sugars on the bladder wall. When mice with UTIs were given the mannosides, the E. coli in their bladders grabbed hold of those molecules and were swept away.

Recently, Matthew Conover, a postdoctoral researcher in Hultgren’s lab, and colleagues showed that E. coli also can latch onto galactose, another sugar molecule found on urinary tissues.

Vasilios Kalas, an MD/PhD student in Hultgren’s lab, worked in collaboration with Janetka to design and screen modified forms of galactose known as galactosides to find versions that attach firmly to the adhesive proteins at the end of the bacteria’s pili. Using X-ray snapshots of galactosides bound to the adhesive protein as a guide, they synthesized even stickier versions of these molecules. Then, they pitted each new galactoside against galactose in a competition to see which attached best to the bacterial protein. Galactosides that outcompete galactose may be able to serve as decoys, they reasoned, tricking bacteria into catching hold of a floating galactoside instead of a urinary tract-anchored galactose.

The researchers studied whether a galactoside could help treat a UTI. They injected E. coli into the bladders of mice and then gave the mice either the galactoside or a placebo. The numbers of bacteria in the bladders and kidneys of mice given the galactoside dropped by up to a hundredfold.

When mice were simultaneously treated with a mannoside and the galactoside, the bacteria in their bladders dropped a thousandfold, and the bacteria in their kidneys were nearly eradicated.

“We showed that we can administer two different inhibitors and see a synergistic therapeutic effect,” says Kalas, the paper’s first author. “The data suggest that both types of pili play a role in attachment during infection.”

Can ‘scalpel’ for E. coli treat UTI without antibiotics?

The pilus that attaches to mannose plays a bigger role in the bladder, while the pilus that recognizes galactose seems to be more important in the kidneys. Foiling the bacteria’s attempts to grasp both sugars could target both uncomplicated and serious bladder and kidney infections.

‘Flush them out’

A drug that undermines the bacteria’s ability to stay in the body is less likely to drive resistance because, unlike antibiotics, it would not force bacteria to die or evolve resistance in order to survive, the researchers says.

“We’re not killing them, we’re just helping flush them out of certain environments where they can do damage,” Kalas says.

The researchers also demonstrated that the galactoside prevented the bacteria’s adhesive protein from sticking to human kidney tissue.

Before the galactoside can enter human trials, further work is needed to show that it is not toxic and can be absorbed into the circulation when taken by mouth. Nevertheless, the researchers are confident they have taken an important step toward developing alternatives to antibiotics.

“With this paper, we have now successfully targeted two different sugar-protein interactions with a proven strategy,” Janetka says. “The first step for many disease-causing bacteria is to bind a sugar on a body surface, so this same antibiotic-sparing approach could be applied to other pathogens besides E. coli. If we can identify other adhesive proteins that bacteria use to stick to specific sites in the human body, in many cases we should be able to design compounds to inhibit their binding.”

New drug for UTIs could be an alternative to antibiotics

The researchers report their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hultgren and Janetka co-founded a company, Fimbrion Therapeutics, with Thomas M. Hooton of the University of Miami School of Medicine, to develop mannosides and other drugs as potential therapies for UTI. Fimbrion is working with GlaxoSmithKline on the preclinical development of mannosides for use in combating UTIs in humans.

Support for the work came from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Medical Scientist Training Program.

Hultgren and Janetka have ownership interest in Fimbrion Therapeutics, which has licensed the mannoside technology, and may benefit if the company is successful in marketing mannosides.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

The post Modified sugar molecules treat UTIs without antibiotics appeared first on Futurity.

How barbershops could help lower blood pressure

CNN - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:25
Corey Thomas admitted to his pharmacist that he hated the blood pressure medications a previous doctor had prescribed for him. They came with "horrible" side effects, he said, and so he rarely took them.

Stormy Daniels turns controversy into bonanza

CNN - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:21
A propeller plane pulled an advertising banner across a darkening sky on Saturday afternoon.

Stormy Daniels' lawyer has 3 questions for Trump

CNN - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:18
Attorney to Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, explains why his client has decided to come forward now with her story about an alleged sexual relationship with Donald Trump.

Mattis, Pompeo dismiss Putin’s touting of Russian nuclear weapons

Washington Post - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:15
Mattis also again took aim at Russia's involvement in Syria.

East River Helicopter Crash Kills 5 in New York; Pilot Survives

NY Times - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:12
The helicopter crashed north of Roosevelt Island. The passengers were tightly harnessed and had to be cut out by emergency responders who dived into the chilly water.

Matthew Keys, now freed from prison, is ready to get back to journalism

Ars - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:00

Matthew Keys, as seen in March 2018. (credit: Matthew Keys)

It’s fairly common to hear that people who come out of prison are more self-reflective than when they went in.

The same is true of Matthew Keys—the journalist who was convicted in 2016 on three counts of conspiracy and criminal hacking. He’s now ready to better himself.

Earlier this month, Keys was released from the Satellite Prison Camp Atwater, in Atwater, California, after serving out his two-year sentence (he got out a few months early).

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Fact Check: Six Claims Trump Made at His Weekend Rally That Were False or Lacked Context

NY Times - Mon, 2018-03-12 07:00
The president repeated some falsehoods and facts in need of context.

Roundworms shed light on how biological sex shapes behavior

Futurity.org - Mon, 2018-03-12 06:59

New research demonstrates how biological sex can modify communication between nerve cells and generate different responses to the same stimulus in males and females.

The findings, which appear in the journal Current Biology, could shed new light on the genetic underpinnings of sex differences in neural development, behavior, and susceptibility to diseases.

“While the nervous systems of males and females are virtually identical, we know that there is a sex bias in how many neurological diseases manifest themselves, that biological sex can influence behavior in animals, and that some of these differences are likely to be biologically driven,” says lead author Douglas Portman, an associate professor in the biomedical genetics and neuroscience departments and the Center for Neurotherapeutics Discovery at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“This study demonstrates a connection between biological sex and the control and function of neural circuits and that these different sex-dependent configurations can modify behavior.”

What worms reveal

The findings were made in experiments involving the nematode C. elegans, a microscopic roundworm that has long been used by researchers to understand fundamental mechanisms in biology. Many of the discoveries made using these worms apply throughout the animal kingdom and this research has led to a broader understanding of human biology.

The study focuses on the different behaviors of male and female worms. There are two sexes of C. elegans, males and hermaphrodites. Although the hermaphrodites are able to self-fertilize, they are also mating partners for males, and are considered to be modified females.

The behavior of C. elegans is driven by sensory cues, primarily smell and taste, which are used by the worms to navigate their environment and communicate with each other. Female worms secrete a pheromone that is known to attract males who are drawn by this signal in search of a mate. Other females, however, are repelled by the same pheromone. It is not entirely understood why, but scientists speculate that that the pheromone signals to females to avoid areas where there may be too much competition.

The question that scientists sought to answer is why the same stimulus can elicit a different behavioral response based on the sex of the animal. C. elegans are particularly suited to this type of study because scientists understand in great detail the development, function, and multiple connections of its entire neural network.

C. elegans also provides the ideal platform to isolate biological mechanisms of behavior because the results can be observed absent the social influences found in more complex animals.

Same cue, different responses

In the experiment, the scientists are able to manipulate genetic sex of each of the worm’s neurons, essentially switching each individual nerve cell from male to female and vice versa. In doing this, the researchers were able to isolate the sex-specific behavioral differences to a pair of sensory neurons called ADF.

In males, these neurons appear to be “tuned” in a manner that triggers the expression of a gene called mab-3 which signals the worm to follow the pheromone to its source, while in females it generates a different response which instructs the worm to keep its distance. When the biological sex of this single pair of neurons was altered, the males and females flipped their responses to the pheromone.

“These findings demonstrate that the animal’s biological sex instructs the behavioral response,” says Portman. “In this instance, the tuning of a single pair of neurons generates different behaviors in response to a cue that is relevant for both sexes, but one that generates opposite beneficial responses.

“More broadly, this demonstrates mechanisms by which biological sex tweaks and tunes neural networks and could ultimately help us understand why males and females are predisposed to or protected from neurological or neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Additional coauthors are from URMC, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Boyce Thompson Institute, and Cornell University. Funding for the study came from the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Source: University of Rochester

The post Roundworms shed light on how biological sex shapes behavior appeared first on Futurity.

North Korea, East River, N.C.A.A. Tournament: Your Monday Briefing

NY Times - Mon, 2018-03-12 06:52
Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

Elizabeth Warren rejects DNA test to settle Native American heritage claim

Washington Post - Mon, 2018-03-12 06:45
The Democratic senator has faced public questions and President Trump's attacks over her claim.
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