NSA reportedly recommends retiring phone surveillance program

first_imgThe National Security Agency has recommended the White House abandon a controversial program that collects and analyzes data on millions of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.The recommendation against renewing the program represents a dramatic reversal from the longstanding position of the agency, which had argued that the program was vital to identifying and disrupting terrorist activities. The program, which was put in place after the 2001 terrorist attacks, has legal and logistical burdens that outweigh its value to national security, sources told the Journal.The reported recommendation comes a little more than a month after a national security advisor revealed that the NSA hasn’t used the system in months. Luke Murray, an advisor for Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarty of California, also said at the time the White House might not seek to renew its legal authority to operate the program.The NSA had been collecting large amounts of metadata, the digital information that accompanies electronic communications, under a controversial national security policy put in place by the Patriot Act in 2001. That information included what phone numbers were on the call, when the call was placed and how long it lasted, which was then saved in a database.The already heated debate over the Patriot Act programs intensified in 2013 when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the ways in which the secretive US government agency was collecting data. A new system put in place by Congress in 2015 required federal agencies to seek a court order on a case-by-case basis to obtain call data from telephone companies.The USA Freedom Act of 2015, legislation designed to curtail the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone records, is set to expire at the end of year, if the Trump administration doesn’t ask Congress to renew its authority to continue the program.The NSA and White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 6 Now playing: Watch this: 4:25 NSA Security Tech Industrycenter_img Share your voice Comments Yes, Facebook is still tracking you (The 3:59, Ep. 541) Tagslast_img read more

Africa debt crisis looming

first_imgAfrica: debt crisis looming?2.6K viewsAfrica: debt crisis looming?2.6K views00:00 / 00:00- 00:00:0000:00Africa: debt crisis looming?2.6K viewsBusinessDebt crisis. It’s a phrase Europe has made its own in recent history. Could it be Africa’s turn next? SOUNDBITE (English) JUDITH TYSON, AUTHOR, OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE, SAYING: ”The riskVentuno Web Player 4.50Debt crisis. It’s a phrase Europe has made its own in recent history. Could it be Africa’s turn next? SOUNDBITE (English) JUDITH TYSON, AUTHOR, OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE, SAYING: ”The risklast_img

2 UPDF members detained in Khagrachhari

first_imgThe army detained two suspected members of hill tracts-based political party United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) with firearm – a M4A1 carbine – and bullets from Guimara Upazila in Khagrachhari on Tuesday, reports UNB.The army raided Rainnamachhara area after being tipped-off about plans to create unrest in the hills after the national election.”A Lakshmichhari zone army patrol detained Sumanta Chakma, 20, and Dipankar Chakma, 22,” local police station’s in-charge Abdul Jabbar said.They were handed over to Lakshmichhari police.A foreign-made firearm, a magazine, 53 rounds of bullets, a machete and several mobile phones were recovered from them.”Sumanta and Dipankar are active members of UPDF,” the police officer said. “They were involved with terrorist activities.”The UPDF has rejected claims that the arrestees were its activists.last_img

5000 Rohingya shelters destroyed in rains

first_imgAt least 10 people have died and thousands of shanty homes have been destroyed by monsoon rains in overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh’s southeast, officials said Sunday.Bangladesh’s meteorological department said the Cox’s Bazar district — home to nearly one million Rohingya Muslims who have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar — has seen at least 58.5 centimetres (nearly two feet) of rain since 2 July.An International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman said heavy rains triggered mudslides in the refugee camps — which are mostly built on hill-slopes — destroying some 4,889 tarpaulin and bamboo shacks in the first two weeks of July.More than 200 landslides have been reported since April in the camps, built near the border with Myanmar, and at least 10 people were killed, a UN report said, adding nearly 50,000 people have been affected.In the last week alone, two Rohingya minors died and another 6,000 people were left without shelter because of heavy rains.The UN said the schooling of some 60,000 children had been interrupted with over 750 learning centres partially damaged and five heavily damaged.Displaced refugees said they were suffering as rain disrupted logistics and daily activity in the camps.”It’s tough to go to food distribution centres by wading through a swamp of mud,” Nurun Jan, a Rohingya refugee, told AFP.”Rains and gusty wind have made our life miserable.”Refugees also described a shortage of drinking water and a looming health crisis due to flooded toilets, which foster disease outbreaks.World Food Programme (WFP) spokeswoman Gemma Snowdon said they had to significantly increase assistance in the camps to cope up with the monsoon.”So far 11,400 people have required the extra food assistance due to the heavy rains, compared to 7,000 during the whole of July 2018,” she said.Last year the UN refugee agency moved 30,000 Rohingya out of areas considered at high risk of landslides and floods.Heavy rains frequently trigger flooding and landslides in Bangladesh’s southeastern hill districts, and in 2017 at least 170 people were killed.Some 740,000 Rohingya fled a military crackdown in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, joining about 200,000 already living in camps in Bangladesh.Officials said landslides were increasing in the region because forests had been cleared to make way for the sprawling Rohingya camps. One of the settlements, Kutupalong, is now the world’s largest refugee centre.Refugee homes are particularly susceptible to damage or destruction because Bangladeshi authorities will only allow them to be built with tarpaulin, twine, bamboo, or other flimsy materials to maintain the “temporary” character of the camp, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).A senior Bangladesh official told AFP the government has barred permanent structures as they hope the refugees will eventually return home.Bangladesh wants to relocate up to 100,000 refugees to Bhashan Char, a remote island in the Bay of Bengal, but this is opposed by the Rohingya and international rights groups.Dhaka says any relocation to the island would be voluntary.last_img read more

Shimul Biswas asked to surrender within two weeks

first_imgShamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas. UNB File PhotoThe High Court on Monday directed Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, special assistant to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, to surrender within the next two weeks before the lower court in a case filed for obstructing law enforcers from discharging their duties, reports UNB.The HC bench of justice Jahangir Hossain and justice Md Riaz Uddin Khan passed the order after Shimul Biswas sought bail in the case. He filed the bail application on 7 July.Senior lawyer Khandakar Mahbub Hossain and Masud Rana stood for Shimul Biswas and deputy attorney general Jahid Sarwar Kajal represented the state.The case was filed on 16 November, 2017 with Shahbagh police station on charge of obstructing the law enforcers from discharging their duties while the BNP chairperson was on her way to a Dhaka court in a case filed against her.Lawyer Masud Rana said the name of Shimul Biswas was included in the charge-sheet of the case on 20 November, 2018.last_img

New CEO Bringing Lone Star Flight Museum To Houston

first_img Share 00:00 /01:47 X Listen – / 6A new $35 million, 130,000-square-foot facility is under construction at Ellington.Retired Lt. General Douglas Owens is in charge of the logistics of that move, as well as the museum’s ongoing success.      “If you go out to Ellington Field today, you will see the walls of the first two hangars that are standing. You’ll see the iron going up for the roof. So it is looking like a museum,” Owens says. Owens says the new museum will highlight science and history for students and aviation enthusiasts. The Galveston location opened about 25 years ago, but technology for museums has improved significantly. “It’s going to be a 21st century state-of-the-art museum, with exhibits that are up-to-date and that are exciting to view and be part of. And it’s going to inspire the young people of Houston toward careers in aviation, and help them appreciate that they will stand on the very broad shoulders of the great Americans that pioneered aviation in Texas and America,” Owens says.       The collection at the Lone Star Flight Museum is rare because most of the aircraft are flyable. Their B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25 Mitchell, P-47 Thunderbolt and other vintage aircraft often participate in airshows across the country. Owens says when the time comes, they’ll be flown the 30 miles from Galveston to their new home. “It will be an orchestration and a ballet — an aerial ballet, if you will — as we bring everything in. It might not happen all at once because we will use our volunteer pilot force that will help ferry those aircraft from Galveston up. So it’ll be a short flight, but a momentous one, as we open the doors to the new museum,” Owens says.    The new Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington is scheduled to open by next summer. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

Go knotty with scarves

first_imgScarves and stoles are absolute must haves for every girls wardrobe during winter. Use them to drape in a multitude of ways and look fashionable, says an expert.Shikul Narula, a stylist lists an array of stylish ways to adorn colourful scarves and stoles: * Vibrant scarves can be worn with almost everything. The basic scarf is a must have as it can add some drama and fun to any boring outfit. Simply wrap it around the neck. * Winter calls for a lot of partying and one doesn’t always want to wear heavy overcoats. Wrap a beautiful hand embroidered stole or crystal laden scarf over a black dress to stand out in the crowd. Pair this with stockings and boots to glam it up. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf* Wear scarves with fur, leather, suede or lace. All of these are surely going to make a few heads turn and are bound to bring you a ton of compliments. They will  not only add drama to any outfit but will ensure you are on point in your style game.* You can also use scarves to accessorise your hair. Make a messy bun then roll the scarf all over it and make a knot. This is surely going to come to your rescue on a bad hair day and add to a boho vibe. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive* Bow style: This is an extremely elegant way of draping a scarf. Make one side of the scarf longer than the other and make a loop in the upward direction hiding the end. Make a bow by holding the scarf in the centre. Now take the shorter side of scarf and wrap it around the bow. Once done, bring the end of the shorter side of the scarf around the bow and through the middle. When the scarf comes out on the other side pull it to make it a bit tighter and arrange the bow. * Belted scarves: Let the scarf fall in front of your dress and pair it with a skinny belt. This should be done with a relatively longer scarf which is rectangular in shape. Wear heels with this style as it works to give an illusion of height and makes one look taller.* If you are going for a professional or formal look this winter, you can enhance the look by draping the scarf around the neck and keep the loop under the collar of the blazer/jacket and keeping the rest of it in front. You can leave the buttons open as well. If your overall outfit is black go for a brighter scarf, as it will add colour to your overall outfit.* If you are going for traditional Indian wear, go for scarf necklaces in contrast colours for your attire. Make a basic loop, take one end and twist it several times around the loop, ending at the centre front. Repeat it on the other side and then arrange the ends at centre knot. Another way to drape a stole with your Indian wear it to use it as a dupatta and let it hang from one side. This style will make an outfit look unique and keep you cosy at the same time.* French knot: An extremely popular style which is stylish and super easy! Just fold the scarf in half and put it around your shoulders. Take one loose end and pull it over and under the scarf loop. Take the other end and go under and over the same loop.* Head scarf: If you want to keep your head warm but not use a boring cap/hat we have some ideas. Wrap a scarf on the back of your head and bring it in front. Make it a crisscross and then again take it back and make a knot.last_img read more

3 new border outposts to come up at Doklam

first_imgDarjeeling: Three new Border Outposts (BOPs) are all set to come up at Doklam, the trijunction between India, Bhutan and China. Along with this, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) will be creating 73 BOPs in border areas throughout the country in the next calendar year.”The army guards the Doklam trijunction. There is presence of the SSB as well. The army feels that there is need for three new BOPs. At present, there is joint patrolling by the army and SSB in the Doklam area. Meetings are being held between the two forces at the highest level, to decide on the location of these 3 BOPs,” stated Shrikumar Bandopadhyay, IG, SSB. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIncidentally, during the monsoon of 2017, the Chinese and Indian troops had locked horns during a 73 day standoff in the strategically located Doklam area, which is still seen as a sensitive issue. The SSB guards both the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders. The Indo-Nepal border, guarded by the SSB on all frontiers, boasts of 105 BOPs. Out of this, the Siliguri Frontier of the SSB guards 315 km and 6 battalions are deployed on this stretch. The Indo-Bhutan border under the SSB is a 655 km stretch, with 58 BOPs. The Siliguri Frontier guards 215 km of the Indo-Bhutan border and 5 battalions are deployed there. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedApart from guarding the borders, the SSB performs a number of key duties. As the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders are open and friendly, they are highly vulnerable to human trafficking and smuggling. 10 traffickers were arrested and 19 victims were rescued by the SSB this year. The SSB had also intensified drive against smugglers and was highly successful. They recovered Indian currency, foreign currency, fake Indian currency notes, antique idols, narcotics, timber, animals and their body parts and products like venom and cattle. “Contraband worth more than Rs 61,27,29,160 was seized and 629 smugglers were apprehended this year,” stated the IG. 7 arms, along with a large quantity of ammunition and explosives were also recovered. “Since Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders are open borders, it is very difficult to fully curb smuggling. However, with help of a strong intelligence network, Siliguri Frontier has been successful in minimising it. However, we have given a clarion call to the people living in border areas, to become more proactive in guarding their own borders,” said Bandopadhyay. The SSB has installed x-ray machines and cameras in Jaigaon on the Indo-Bhutan border and at Panitanki on the Indo-Nepal border, to keep track of the movement of vehicles and people across the borders. The SSB will be celebrating its 55th Raising Day on December 20 at the Teesta Stadium, SSB Campus, Ranidanga. The day will be marked by a parade and IG Bandopadhyay will take the salute. 5 officers from the Siliguri Frontier will be receiving the Director General’s Golden Disc award and 23 will be awarded the Silver Disc.last_img read more

Two lanes closed on M6 in Staffordshire after accident damages barrier

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailTwo lanes remain closed on the M6 motorway in Staffordshire following an accident in the early hours of this morning. Lanes two and three are closed on the northbound carriageway between junction 11 (Cannock) and junction 11a (the M6 Toll) according to Highways England. The collision, which took place at around 1.30am this morning, closed the northbound motorway for several hours, however just lanes remain shut as of 6am this morning (Wednesday February 27). One lane was also closed southbound, but reopened just after 6am. As of 7.37am Highways England confirmed there were around five miles of congestion. Highways England are continuing to work on the barrier this morning (Image: Highways England) Highways England said barrier repairs are continuing, with a HGV involved in the accident also knocking over a lamp column. At 7.45am a Highways England spokesman added:  “Lane 2 & 3 (of 3) remains closed on the M6 Northbound between J11 Cannock & J11A M6 Toll whilst our team are rehanging the barrier.” “The location of the incident means traffic joining the M6 northbound from the M6 Toll at J11a is unaffected by the closure. “Road users are advised to allow additional time for their journey. Read MorePlans for £40m development off M6 with M&S Simply Food, drive thru and 96 homes set to be THROWN OUT   Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us  @SOTLive or message us on  our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at  StokeonTrentLive .last_img read more

Price offers testimony on House Bill 5560

first_img Categories: News 16May Price offers testimony on House Bill 5560 Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, testifies before the House Local Government Committee regarding House Bill 5560, which modernizes public notice laws and puts taxpayer dollars to more efficient use in Michigan. The bill remains before the committee for further consideration.last_img

The rise in the cost of English Premier League rig

first_imgThe rise in the cost of English Premier League rights as a result of BT’s entry into the market could have implications for BSkyB’s coverage of other sports, according to Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis.Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference held at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium, Francis said that the inflation in Premier League costs would be absorbed principally by cost savings elsewhere. However, in remarks reported by the Guardian newspaper website, he said that the company may have to “tighten our belts” on its coverage of some other sports.He said that Sky’s decision not to bid for Premiership Rugby, the rights to which are also held by BT, was one example of this.last_img

Emerging markets pay TV systems specialist Exset h

first_imgEmerging markets pay TV systems specialist Exset has named Andrew Pons as global director of sales and marketing.Pons, who has worked at Exset for two years, will be charged with helping push the company to its next growth phase. Exset deploys its flagship digital monetisation system (DMS) and conditional access technology to markets including Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Africa and eastern Europe.Exset’s technology is designed to enable broadcasters to make money from digital services in new ways, enabling digital switchover to be taken forward in markets where it faces challenges, including Africa.Pior to joining Exset, Pons was director of international marketing at Pace and has also held senior sales and marketing roles at SysMedia and Harris.last_img

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries There is still gro

first_imgLiberty Global CEO, Mike Fries.There is still growth potential in Europe, according to Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, claiming that consolidation in the European cable and telecoms markets will continue.Speaking to the Financial Times, Fries pointed to the opportunities in the competitive mobile sector in Europe, claiming that “the consumer wins when networks and infrastructure come together across borders.”Earlier this year Liberty was in early-stage deal negotiations with Vodafone, but the mobile operator said in September that talks about a possible exchange of “selected assets” had been terminated.However, hinting that deal talks could be revived, Fries told the FT that while there is nothing happening at the moment “we never say never.”The comments come a week after Liberty agreed to buy Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) for £3.5 billion (€5.0 billion) in what it described as a “watershed” move to expand its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America.Earlier this month Liberty Global and Discovery Communications each said they will take 3.4% stakes in production firm Lionsgate Entertainment.last_img read more

Several years ago when 15 power companies proposed

first_imgSeveral years ago when 15 power companies proposed as many as 29 new reactors, many assumed that the US nuclear industry was staging a comeback. Then the shale gas boom happened, and natural gas came roaring back in a big way. Now, only two nuclear reactor projects are moving off the drawing board, while US utilities plan to build 258 natural-gas-powered plants by 2015.The shale gas boom, Fukishima disaster, and the fact that it now costs $978 per kilowatt of capacity to build and fuel a gas-fired power plant (as opposed to $5,339 per kilowatt for a nuclear plant) are a few reasons why nuclear projects are being put on the back burner.But US utilities could be eyeing the expiration of a government program that has kept uranium – a vital component of nuclear energy – in check since the early 1990s as a reason to avoid investing in nuclear plants.(Click on image to enlarge)Taken out of the “swords to ploughshares” playbook of old (a concept whereby military weapons are converted into peaceful civilian applications), the Megatons to Megawatts Program is a 1993 US-Russia nonproliferation agreement under which the two former enemies agreed to convert high-enriched uranium (HEU) taken from disassembled Russian nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be used for nuclear fuel.The agreement came to fruition in the early 1990s as a result of an alarming lack of security at post-Soviet nuclear-weapons installations. After the collapse of the USSR, there were insufficient funds to pay military guards, even at sites that housed nuclear materials. To prevent nuclear weapons from making their way onto the black market – and joining the 50-odd nuclear warheads that have gone missing in the last 50 years – the US and Russia embarked on an unheard-of joint venture to disarm much of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.The system worked as follows: the US government established the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) (NYSE:USU), while the Russians designated Tekhsnabeksport (“Tenex”) to implement the program in the former Soviet Union. Although subject to political bickering during its onset, the program was mutually beneficial, as the US was flooded with cheap uranium while the Russians were compensated to the tune of $8 billion.In the last 15 years, this program has converted 400 metric tons of HEU from 16,000 Russian nuclear warheads into uranium fuel for US nuclear power plants. Currently, one in every ten American homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals receives electricity generated by Megatons to Megawatts fuel.And, encouragingly, USEC and Tenex signed an agreement in 2011 to extend the exchange of cash for LEU after the Megatons for Megawatts program expires in 2013. Although the US will receive about half of its current uranium shipments, it’s better than nothing.Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled that the world has 16,000 fewer nuclear warheads as a result of this program. But the ensuing shortage of uranium and the impact it will have on the US nuclear market is troubling.LEU fuel purchased by USEC through the Megatons for Megawatts program currently generates roughly 50% of the electricity produced by the US’s nuclear power plants, while nuclear power as a whole accounts for about 20% of the total US electricity production. For the 103 nuclear plants currently operating – many of which are owned by nuclear powerhouses Exelon Corp. (NYSE:EXC) and Entergy Corp. (NYSE:ETR) – a shortage of uranium could squeeze margins as suppliers like USEC jack up prices to match dwindling supply.Some proponents of the program, including US Department of Energy consultant Edgar Berkey, assert that the US should try to persuade the 32 or so countries possessing nuclear materials to embark on a program similar to Megatons for Megawatts.But – taking the perspective of one of those 32 nations – why would I want to disarm myself while the US still holds nearly 10,000 warheads of its own?That leaves only one other option: domestic disarmament. Considering the US’s history of flexing its military might, I would say this is highly unlikely, and that – once the de facto subsidy runs out – we’re in for an interesting ride with respect to domestic uranium supplies.last_img read more

Googleorg Donates 115 Million to Fight for Racial Justice

first_img Angela Moscaritolo Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Reporter The fight for racial justice just got an infusion of cash from Google.The web giant’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has already committed more than $5 million to nonprofits advancing racial justice since 2015, but this week it more than doubled its previous pledge. Google.org is investing $11.5 million in new grants to organizations working to reform the criminal justice system. The funds will go to 10 organizations Google.org believes “can create meaningful change around racial, social and criminal justice in the U.S.,” Google.org Principal Justin Steele wrote in a Thursday blog post.”Mass incarceration is a huge issue in the United States, and a major area of focus for our grants,” Steele wrote. “The U.S. penal population has exploded, growing by 400 percent since 1984 to more than 2 million today, with Black men sentenced at over five times the rate of white men.”The largest sum, $5 million, will go to the Center for Policing Equity, a New York-based organization working with police agencies and communities to create a database to track national statistics on police behavior. Meanwhile, a $1.5 million grant will go to Measures for Justice, which is building a web platform that lets people see how their local justice system treats people based on different factors, such as race, sex, status and age.Google.org is also giving $1 million to support Impact Justice’s national Restorative Justice Project, which aims to keep youth of color out of the juvenile justice system. Other new organizations getting funding are working to train formerly incarcerated individuals (JustLeadershipUSA) and make data more accessible to criminal justice reform organizations (W. Haywood Burns Institute).”A person’s race should not determine how they are treated by the law,” Steele wrote. “We’re proud to support these organizations, and we hope that their focus on data and community-driven solutions to will bring us closer to a more just society.”Google has also sponsored community screenings of the Netflix documentary 13th in 12 Google offices across the country; Netflix has announced it will also allow the film to be screened for educational purposes. 13th, from Selma director Ava DuVernay, was up for Best Documentary at this weekend’s Academy Awards. 2 min read Add to Queue February 27, 2017 Image credit: via PC Mag The funds will go to 10 organizations working to foster racial, social and criminal justice.center_img –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business This story originally appeared on PCMag Google.org Donates $11.5 Million to Fight for Racial Justice Next Article Google Register Now »last_img read more

Liver immune cells contain inert HIV and are unlikely to reproduce infection

first_img Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/hiv-in-liver-cells-found-to-be-inactive-narrowing-potential-treatment-targets Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 30 2018In a proof-of-principle study, researchers at Johns Hopkins revealed that certain immune system cells found in the human liver, called liver macrophages, contain only inert HIV and aren’t likely to reproduce infection on their own in HIV-infected people on long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is a regimen containing combinations of HIV-targeting drugs that prevents the growth of the virus but does not eradicate it.The report on the findings, published in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, revealed that although inactive, HIV can remain in liver immune cells after more than 10 years of ART. However, the researchers say there is no evidence that it can be considered an HIV reservoir in this state because the virus can’t replicate at high levels.This revelation supports the idea that when developing HIV treatments, liver macrophages can be ruled out as a cell type that may act as a reservoir of the virus. The researchers argue that it may not be important to address curing liver macrophage infection, thereby narrowing targets for treatment.”Our study was the first, to our knowledge, that looked at whether liver macrophages also served as reservoirs, similar to CD4+ T cells, in ART-suppressed, HIV-infected people,” says Ashwin Balagopal, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the study. “We zeroed in on the liver since liver macrophages comprise 80 to 90 percent of all macrophages in the body,” notes Balagopal.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36.7 million people worldwide and 1.1 million people in the United States are infected with HIV. Commonly, ART is used to suppress the replication of HIV and control the progression of AIDS in humans. The virus infects the body’s immune system–the white blood cells also referred to as T cells and macrophages.The most common reservoirs in humans are in immune cells called resting memory CD4+ T cells. Even when ART suppresses HIV, the virus can remain hidden in cellular reservoirs. The interruption or discontinuation of ART can spread HIV to new cells because the virus becomes active and begins replicating again.”Although it is well-established that macrophages are a natural target for HIV infection, for many years researchers have not known whether macrophages also harbor HIV in a reservoir during long-term ART, similar to the resting memory CD4+ T cells,” adds Balagopal.The inability to wipe out reservoirs of infectious HIV has for decades frustrated efforts to completely cure the infection. In addition, it means that the interruption or discontinuation of ART at any time reactivates HIV replication, spreading the virus to new cells.Balagopal and his team examined if any HIV reservoirs remained in populations of tissue macrophages that reside in livers; specifically, he looked for latent HIV-1, the most common strain of the virus, in liver macrophages.”The other organs we could have examined that contain macrophages include the brain, heart, lungs and skin,” says Abraham Kandathil, Ph.D., research associate in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who performed all key experiments. “Macrophages can be scarce in these organs in comparison to the liver, and therefore are even more difficult to obtain than liver macrophages in sufficiently large numbers,” concludes Kandathil.Related StoriesMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver diseaseReprogramming cells to control HIV infectionEven when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatmentTo determine if liver macrophages serve as a reservoir of infection-capable HIV-1 after ART, liver tissue samples were taken from nine HIV-1 infected persons, seven of whom underwent liver transplantation at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and otherwise would have had their livers discarded because they were no longer functional and/or cancerous.Eight of the nine persons were on ART for periods ranging from eight months to approximately 12 years.Using lab techniques that separate out the liver macrophages, the researchers found HIV-1 to be present in the macrophages even after exposure to longstanding virus-suppressing ART.”However, when we tried to simulate virus “rebound” by activating liver macrophages to see if the virus was infectious or noninfectious, we found HIV-1 at low levels, without the ability to replicate at high levels needed to re-establish infection,” says Kandathil.By examining the virus in these liver samples and separating out the liver macrophages, the researchers found HIV-1 to be present in the macrophages of one person among the group who took suppressive ART for almost 12 years. However, the virus was still determined to be inert, otherwise unable to replicate itself and spread.The researchers conclude that while liver macrophages might harbor HIV-1 for a long time, it’s unlikely these viruses could continue an infection on their own, and they are unlikely to function as a reservoir because the viruses were not able to replicate.In the future, Balagopal says, more research is needed to determine if the inert HIV-1 infected liver macrophages have any functional significance in people taking ART because expression of defective HIV-1 proteins can confuse the immune system and cause tissue inflammation.”While we have potentially ruled out the liver as an infectious reservoir, it’s important to identify all of the relevant virus reservoirs in the body, such as the brain, since it’s likely that the virus hides in the DNA of different cell types and will require different strategies to cure,” says Balagopal. “Then we can move forward to finding a ‘functional’ HIV-1 cure that’s comprehensive.”The researchers caution that their study is limited because of the small number of liver macrophages and human samples studied. In addition, the small number of CD4+ T cells (less than or equal to 1 percent) in the liver macrophage cultures may affect the researchers’ ability to detect them, although they say it is virtually impossible for contamination of 1 percent or less to have confounded the findings.last_img read more

Researchers identify link between mucus in the small airways and pulmonary fibrosis

Source:http://www.ucdenver.edu/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 18 2018Experimental findings support a connection between mucins in the lung and pulmonary fibrosisA team of investigators led by members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty at CU Anschutz Medical Campus has identified a connection between mucus in the small airways and pulmonary fibrosis.The findings are published in Nature Communications.”The overproduction of a lung mucin (MUC5B) has consistently been shown to be the strongest risk for the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and most recently rheumatoid arthritis-interstitial lung disease,” said senior and corresponding author David Schwartz, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the CU School of Medicine.Dr. Schwartz adds, “The findings in this manuscript provide a critical breakthrough in understanding the cause and potentially the treatment of IPF by demonstrating that excess mucus in the small airways can cause lung fibrosis, in part, by impairing the mechanism of lung clearance. In aggregate, these discoveries have provided the means to identify an at-risk population, diagnose the disease prior to the development of irreversible scarring, focus on a unique therapeutic target (MUC5B) and a specific location in the lung (distal airway), and create a novel pathway for therapeutic intervention for a disease that is currently incurable.”Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most common type of progressive lung fibrosis. Over time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes hard to take in a deep breath and the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen. The average length of survival of patients with IPF is three to five years, and a critical unmet need is to identify patients before the lung is scarred irreversibly.Related StoriesNew study identifies eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosaAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsMucociliary dysfunction is an emerging paradigm in lung diseases [3, 4]. Previously considered a characteristic specific to obstructive diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and genetic diseases such as primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis, the importance of mucins, mucus, and mucociliary interactions has surfaced in diseases of the lung periphery, such as adenocarcinoma and IPF [1, 2].The investigators on the current study in Nature Communications hypothesized that the potential role for mucociliary dysfunction as a driver of IPF pathology is supported by unique gene expression signatures in IPF. The investigators found that a specific genetic characteristic, known as the MUC5B promoter variant rs35705950, which results in a marked increase production of mucus in the lung is the strongest genetic risk factor for IPF. They also found this is the strongest risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis-interstitial lung disease.The findings suggest that targeting MUC5B in the terminal airways of patients with preclinical stages of interstitial lung disease represents a strategy to prevent the progression of preclinical pulmonary fibrosis.”This study shows how genetic findings in human diseases can generate new hypotheses, such as those related to impaired mucociliary clearance, that may lead to the discovery of novel molecular mechanisms and the development of early diagnostics and more accurate treatments for pulmonary fibrosis,” said James P. Kiley, PhD, Director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. read more

New guidelines to make swallowing safer for people in Australian nursing homes

first_img Source:https://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/ Jan 18 2019The ability to eat and drink are things most Australians take for granted. That’s why Speech Pathology Australia is an active participant in an international initiative that is working to make swallowing safer for people in Australian hospitals and nursing homes.On the eve of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Australia is set to adopt new international standardized terminology and definitions for texture modified food and drink. The quality of meals and the appropriateness of food served have already been identified as an important matter for investigation by the Royal Commission.From 1 May 2019 new guidelines about standardized names and descriptions of food and drink used in medical and community settings to reduce choking risk will be introduced in Australia.An analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics population and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare nursing home data on deaths reported to coroners, found that after falls, choking was the second largest cause of death in aged care.Around 15‐30 per cent of people aged 65 and over living in the community have a swallowing difficulty, this figure rises to over 50 per cent for older Australians living in nursing homes. People who suffer from age-related conditions such as stroke, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease are also likely to have a swallowing difficulty and are at risk of choking on food or developing pneumonia.People over the age of 65 years have 7x the risk of choking on food as children aged 1-4 years.The new IDDSI framework includes easily accessible testing methods that allow consumers, health professionals, nursing homes and hospitals to check that the food or drink they are serving is correct for older Australians with swallowing difficulties.For producers of thick drinks and food specially prepared to reduce choking risk (texture modified food), the IDDSI standards mean a single set of labeling for packaging, including standardized color and number codes, which can be used and recognized around the globe.Related StoriesWVU researcher investigates how nursing homes can best meet obese residents’ healthcare needsSecurity cameras installed in nursing homes may do more harm than goodNursing home care prices rise faster than other medical care and consumer pricesSpeech pathologists are the professionals who provide swallowing assessments and develop mealtime management plans, including advising on changes to the texture of food and drinks to enable safe and effective eating and drinking.“The sad reality is,” said Dr Julie Cichero, “that the most common factors in choking deaths is a lack of clear personalized information about safe eating and drinking for older Australians, and inadequate supervision.”“The texture of food and drink is important the older we get. In nursing homes especially it is critically important that the texture of food and drink is appropriate for each individual person. One size fits all is not appropriate.”Speech Pathology Australia, as the peak body for the speech pathology profession in Australia, is actively supporting The International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI). IDDSI promotes safety for people with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), through a common standardized international terminology for food and drinks that reduce choking risk.The IDDSI draws its membership from around the world and a diverse range of professions, including: speech pathology, nutrition and dietetics, medicine, occupational therapy, nursing, patient safety, engineering, and food science and technology. In 2019, IDDSI will formally be adopted in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA, with another 18 countries in progress. IDDSI has support from health professional associations around the world, and the international food and beverage industry.last_img read more

American adults assume boys to be in more pain than girls

first_img Source:https://news.yale.edu/2019/01/24/yale-psychologists-find-adults-take-girls-pain-less-seriously Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 28 2019Gender stereotypes can hurt children — quite literally. When asked to assess how much pain a child is experiencing based on the observation of identical reactions to a finger-stick, American adults believe boys to be in more pain than girls, according to a new Yale study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. The researchers attribute this downgrading of the pain of girls and/or upgrading of the pain of boys to culturally ingrained, and scientifically unproven, myths like “boys are more stoic” or “girls are more emotive.”Related StoriesHow a simple MRI scan can help patients with anginaNew computational model explores daily pain sensitivity rhythmsSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyA diverse sample of American adults watched the same video of a 5-year-old receiving a finger-stick at a pre-Kindergarten doctor’s visit, and afterwards were asked to rate how much pain they thought the child was actually experiencing. While all participants watched an identical video of an identical child exhibiting identical pain-display behaviors, the group who knew the child as “Samuel” said he was in more pain than the group who knew her as “Samantha.” This new research backs up studies done on gender stereotyping and biased clinical assessment of pain in adult patient populations but is only the second of its kind to take these questions to the pediatric level.”We really hope that these findings will lead to further investigation into the potential role of biases in pain assessment and health care more generally,” said Joshua Monrad ’20, second author on the study. “If the phenomena that we observed in our studies generalize to other contexts, it would have important implications for diagnosis and treatment. Any biases in judgments about pain would be hugely important because they can exacerbate inequitable health care provision.”last_img read more

Study shows link between maternal diet during pregnancy and risk of ADHD

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 28 2019The results of a study led by a team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a center supported by “la Caixa”, suggest that the risk of a child developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be modulated by the mother’s diet during pregnancy. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, analyzed samples of umbilical cord plasma to quantify the levels of omega-6 and omega-3 that reach the foetus. The statistical analysis showed a higher omega-6:omega-3 ratio to be associated with a higher risk of ADHD symptoms at seven years of age.Omega-6 and omega-3 are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that play a crucial role in the function and architecture of the central nervous system, particularly during the later stages of gestation. These two fatty acids compete for incorporation into cell membranes and are primarily obtained through diet. Since omega-6 and omega-3 have opposing physiological functions–the former promotes systemic pro-inflammatory states, while the latter promotes anti-inflammatory states–a balanced intake of these two fatty acids is important. Previous research had shown that children with ADHD symptoms have a higher omega-6:omega-3 ratio.The authors studied data from 600 children living in four Spanish regions (Asturias, Basque Country, Catalonia and Valencia) who are participating in the INMA Project. They analyzed umbilical cord plasma samples and data from questionnaires completed by the children’s mothers. ADHD symptoms were assessed using two standard questionnaires: the first completed by the children’s teachers at age four years, and the second by their parents at age seven years.The results showed that, at age seven years, the number of ADHD symptoms increased by 13% per each unit increase in the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in umbilical cord plasma. The study analyzed the number of symptoms in the children who met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD (minimum six symptoms) and also in the children with a smaller number of ADHD symptoms. The ratio of the two fatty acids was associated with the number of ADHD symptoms present but not with diagnosis of the disorder, and only in the assessment carried out at seven years of age. The authors suggest that the assessment carried out at four years of age may have been affected by a measurement error because ADHD symptoms reported at early ages may be caused by a neurodevelopmental delay falling within the normal range.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping Children”Our findings are in line with previous studies that established a relationship between the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in mothers and various early neurodevelopmental outcomes,” commented Mónica López-Vicente, ISGlobal researcher and lead author of the study.”Although the association was not clinically significant, our findings are important at the level of the population as a whole,” noted López-Vicente. “If a large proportion of the population is exposed to a high omega-6:omega-3 ratio, the distribution for ADHD symptom scores would likely move to the right and the prevalence of extreme values would increase, leading to a negative impact on the community’s health costs and productivity.””This study adds more evidence to the growing body of research on the importance of maternal diet during pregnancy,” commented ISGlobal researcher Jordi Júlvez, a co-author of the study. “The nutrient supply during the earliest stages of life is essential in that it programs the structure and function of the organs, and this programming, in turn, has an impact on health at every stage of life. As the brain takes a long time to develop, it is particularly vulnerable to misprogramming. Alterations of this sort could therefore lead to neurodevelopmental disorders.” Source:https://www.isglobal.org/en/-/la-dieta-materna-durante-el-embarazo-podria-modular-el-riesgo-de-desarrollar-sintomas-de-tdah-durante-la-infancialast_img read more