Novel neurodegenerative disease and gene identified with the help of man’s best friend

first_imgShare LinkedIn Genetic analyses revealed a single nucleotide change in the ATG4D gene in affected dogs. The ATG4D gene functions as a part of an intracellular pathway called autophagy, which functions in normal cellular “cleaning” by degrading damaged cellular components and organelles. Autophagy plays also an important role in maintaining cellular functions under stressful conditions, such as nutrient deprivation. The affected Lagottos had signs of altered autophagy in the brain.The ATG4D gene has not been previously linked to inherited diseases and represents an excellent candidate for human neurodegenerative disorders. “Our genetic finding enables more detailed future studies to unravel the disease-causing mechanisms and to understand the role of autophagy in normal neuronal function. These results could also have a broader significance for understanding and treating neurodegenerative disorders”, says Professor Hannes Lohi. Dogs could also help to explore novel therapy options for neurodegeneration.Gene test helps breeding and veterinary diagnosticsThis gene discovery enabled the development of a gene test to identify mutation carriers and to improve the Lagotto Romagnolo breeding program. “The genetic test not only helps in breeding decisions but can also be used for veterinary diagnostics. There are other similar neurodegenerative diseases in the breed and the genetic test can be used to get a differential diagnosis. This will also help ongoing studies in rest of the neurological disorders in the breed”, tells the first author of the paper, PhD student Kaisa Kyöstilä. This study is a part of her doctoral thesis work.“The signs and the rate of progression of the neurological abnormalities in this newly identified neurodegenerative disease vary considerably. The first clinical sign noticed by the dog owners can be episodes of abnormal eye movements (nystagmus) but in some cases the main clinical sign is a slowly progressive ataxia. The rate of progression of clinical signs varies from month to years. The diagnosis cannot be confirmed with clinical examinations and thus, the definitive diagnosis can only be made with the gene test” highlights Tarja Jokinen, a board-certified neurologist who participated in the studies at the University of Helsinki.The study involved a team of geneticists, veterinary neurologists and pathologists from several different European countries and highlights the importance of collaboration between basic and clinical research in veterinary medicine. Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img Email Share on Twitter A breakthrough study performed in an international collaboration led by Professor Tosso Leeb from the University of Bern and Professor Hannes Lohi from the University of Helsinki together with the veterinary neurologists and neuropathologists at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Helsinki has identified a gene mutation that causes a novel type of neurodegenerative disease in dogs. The results of the study shed light into the function of neurons, provide a new gene for human neurodegenration, and may aid in developing better treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. The study was published in the prestigious journal PLoS Genetics on 15.4.2015.Finnish and Swiss investigators have made a genetic breakthrough in the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed. The breed originates from Italy and is known for its skills in truffle hunting. These dogs have interested genetic researchers due to the existence of several rare neurological conditions in the breed. The current study revealed a novel type of neurodegenerative disease, characterized by cerebellar dysfunction and movement incoordination. Some affected dogs also suffered from abnormal eye movements and developed behavioral changes, such as restlessness and aggression. The onset of the clinical signs varies from 4 months to 4 years.Gene discovery sheds light to a disease mechanismlast_img read more

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New research uncovers the psychological consequences of daily news exposure

first_imgShare Pinterest After being exposed to negative news, people report more negative affect and less positive affect. This is true even of everyday news, according to a study published in The British Psychological Society.In today’s world, news is everywhere. The authors explain, “People can be updated about the latest developments in the world during the entire day and seven days a week”. Not only is news almost inescapable, but it is predominantly negative. This is concerning since numerous studies have found evidence that negative news leads to unfavorable emotional states.Much of the previous research has looked at reactions to extraordinary news events like terrorist attacks and natural disasters. The recent study wanted to look at whether the same effects would be found for everyday news. Furthermore, researchers wanted to examine why some people appear to be less affected by negative news. They questioned whether personal relevance or the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion could explain this difference. Share on Twitter LinkedIncenter_img A longitudinal study took place where 63 Dutch adults (aged 18-82) recorded their responses to daily news reports in real-time using an app on their mobile phones. At the start of the study, subjects answered questions designed to measure the traits of extraversion and neuroticism. Participants were then prompted by notifications on their mobile phones at random moments throughout the day and questioned about whether they had seen any recent news reports. Subjects had to record these responses 5 times a day over 10 days.The questionnaire measured positive affect and negative affect using the Maastricht Momentary Mood Questionnaire and cognitive appraisal using an adapted version of the Geneva Appraisal Questionnaire. The cognitive appraisal section included a dimension on personal relevance.As expected, results showed that when everyday news was perceived as more negative, subjects experienced more negative affect and less positive affect. Researchers took this as evidence that news items don’t need to be extreme or shocking to affect people on an emotional level. Next, it was found that people reported more negative affect when negative news items were personally relevant.Those who scored high in neuroticism reported more negative emotions and less positive emotions in response to news. This was not surprising since neuroticism is typically associated with anxiety and negativity in response to everyday stressors. Extraversion, on the other hand, is a trait associated with more positive emotion and less negative emotion across a range of experiences. Interestingly, those scoring high in extraversion reported more positive affect but not less negative affect. This suggests that extraverts experience the same negative emotions in response to negative news as everyone else, but that they don’t allow it to affect their positive emotions.It is clear that news can negatively affect people’s emotions. Future research needs to look more at why some people are more affected by negative news than others. Researchers conclude, “We need to look more carefully at the way (negative) news is presented in the media, as well as the frequency of exposure to the news, in order to prevent people from being negatively affected by it”.The study, “Is the news making us unhappy? The influence of daily news exposure on emotional states”, was authored by Natascha de Hoog and Peter Verboon. Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

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Masks plus hand hygiene reduced ILI in college dorm study

first_imgJan 22, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – College students living in dorms reduced their risk of influenza-like illness (ILI) at the peak of the flu season by wearing surgical masks a few hours a day and practicing good hand hygiene, say researchers from the University of Michigan.In the last 3 weeks of a 6-week intervention in 2007, students who wore masks and had hand hygiene training lowered their rate of ILI by a significant 35% to 51% compared with a control group, says the report, published online by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.A second group that used face masks alone also had a lower rate of ILI than the controls in the last few weeks of the study, but the difference was not significant. And neither group had a significant reduction in the cumulative ILI rate for the entire 6 weeks of the intervention.The study was authored by Allison E. Aiello of the University of Michigan along with colleagues from Michigan, the University of South Alabama, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”Our results indicate that interventions to reduce the transmission of ILI during a winter season may have substantial effects among individuals who share crowded living conditions,” their report says.Surgical masks have been widely used for protection against flu and ILI, but evidence for their effectiveness in protecting wearers from infection (as opposed to reducing virus shedding by sick people) from flu has been sparse. The authors of the Michigan study say they know of no previous studies of the use of face masks in “open, noninstitutionalized populations” to protect healthy people from respiratory infections.Seven dorms participatedThe researchers used a cluster randomized design in which seven dorms were randomly assigned to one of three arms of the trial: face masks and hand hygiene (FMHH), face masks only, or control. The largest dorm became a mask and hand hygiene test site; four smaller dorms became mask-only sites, and the other two dorms served as the control group.All the participants received basic online education on hand hygiene. The FMHH group also received written materials and a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The two mask-wearing groups received standard medical procedure masks and were asked to wear them as much as possible while in the dorm and encouraged to use them elsewhere as well. The intervention was started after the first flu case was identified on campus; it ran from Jan 22 to Mar 16, 2007, with 1 week excluded for spring break at the end of February.Participants were asked to complete baseline and weekly online surveys about any respiratory illness symptoms and their use of interventions during the study. Study staff members were stationed in residence hall common areas to observe the students’ compliance with the interventions.The three groups totaled 1,297 participants, with 367 in the FMHH group, 378 in the mask-only group, and 552 controls. At baseline, the groups did not differ in variables such as stress level, smoking, alcohol use, exercise, and flu vaccination; but the control and mask-only groups reported better hand washing practices than the FMHH group.During the intervention, 368 students had an ILI as defined either by self-report or a clinical report. The 94 students who were medically evaluated were tested for flu, and 10 tested positive, including 2 from the FMHH group, 5 from the mask-only group, and 3 from the controls.Ten percent overall reduction in ILIWithout adjustments for other variables, the two intervention groups had about a 10% reduction in overall ILI incidence over the 6 weeks compared with the control group, but this was not statistically significant.However, when the researchers analyzed the ILI rates for each week of the study and adjusted for other variables (age, sex, ethnicity, baseline hand washing practices, sleep quality, alcohol use, flu vaccination), they found that the FMHH group had significantly lower rates than the controls in weeks 4, 5, and 6 (35%, 44%, and 51%, respectively).The adjusted rates for the mask-only group also were lower than those of the control group in weeks 4, 5, and 6, with reductions ranging from 28% to 42%, but this did not meet the authors’ significance criterion of P<.025.The authors say several factors may explain why a significant reduction in ILI was found only during the second half of the intervention period. One is that recruitment of students continued through the first 2 weeks of the intervention, increasing the sample size by 11%. Also, the proportion of FMHH participants who wore their masks more than the average 3.5 hours a day increased in the later weeks of the study, and confirmed flu cases on campus peaked in weeks 4 and 5.Although only the FMHH group had a significant reduction in ILI in the later weeks of the study, the authors say the ILI rates didn't differ much between the two intervention groups. This suggests that the hand hygiene component didn't contribute appreciably to the reduction, they write. But they add that their study lacked the statistical power to detect small differences between the groups.As for other limitations of the study, the researchers say most ILI cases probably were not flu, as 2006-07 was a mild flu season. Also, self-reporting might have introduced a bias, and direct observation of the participants' use of the interventions was limited.Study wins praise, stirs debateThe study won praise from other experts for careful design and execution. And although it did not deal with respiratory protection for healthcare workers, some observers said the findings support the view that face masks offer sufficient protection for healthcare workers caring for H1N1 flu patients—contrary to the current CDC recommendation that such workers should wear N-95 respirators. But others said that conclusion goes too far.In the accompanying JID editorial, Titus L. Daniels and Thomas R. Talbot of Vanderbilt University praised the study as "a well-designed cluster randomized study demonstrating that the use of a face mask combined with hand hygiene in a crowded community setting is helpful in preventing ILI."Daniels and Talbot write further that the Michigan findings, combined with the difficulties associated with N-95 respirators (including fit-testing, cost, and the need to conserve them for use in other settings such as tuberculosis), "support a recommendation for face mask use, and not N95 respirators, to prevent transmission of influenza and ILI."Neil Fishman, MD, president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, expressed similar views. "This was a wonderful, excellently designed and executed investigation, and I think the results are very significant," he said, commenting that randomized cluster studies are very difficult to execute.One limitation is that the study does not address the effect of hand hygiene alone in preventing flu transmission, an area where there is little evidence, said Fishman, who is director of the Department of Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control for the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia. Hence, he said he is unsure whether he would recommend, as a matter of policy, using the combination of face masks and hand hygiene in group settings such as college dorms.Also, the results shouldn't be generalized to the community at large, Fishman added. "I don't think people should be reading this study and deciding we should be walking around with face masks on during flu season."But while the study didn't deal with N-95 respirators, he said, "I think it did demonstrate that face masks work. So it does provide adjunct data that N-95s are not necessary, at least for seasonal influenza."Cautionary adviceRaymond Tellier, MD, MSc, a leading expert on flu transmission and a microbiologist with the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health in Calgary, Alta., also had praise for the study, but he cautioned against concluding too much from it."This work convincingly supports the contention that simultaneously practicing frequent hand hygiene and constantly wearing a surgical mask result in a significant reduction in the incidence of influenza-like illness," he commented by e-mail.But because only 10 participants tested positive for flu, "it is not possible to conclude anything specific about influenza transmission as such," said Tellier, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary.He also took issue with the view that the study serves as evidence that surgical masks are as good as N-95 respirators for protecting healthcare workers from flu viruses.He said participants in the study were supposed to wear the masks most of the time, a practice that helps protect other people from flu viruses spreading either by large droplets or aerosolized particles if the wearer is infected."In contrast, healthcare workers entering the room of a patient with influenza would encounter already aerosolized influenza virus, a very different scenario," he said. "To use the study of Aiello et al as an argument against the use of N-95 for influenza protection by healthcare workers, as done by Daniels and Talbot in their editorial comment, does not appear convincing."Another infectious disease expert, Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, also cautioned against taking the findings as evidence that masks work just as well as N-95 respirators for protecting wearers from flu. He is director of the University of Minnesota Center for infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News.Noting that the intervention groups had no significant cumulative reduction in ILI for the overall study period, Osterholm said Daniels and Talbot's editorial comments go well beyond what the study actually showed.He acknowledged that N-95 respirators, while they theoretically should work better than masks, pose practical problems. But he said the debate over masks versus respirators has generated strong feelings that lead to distorted views."The emotions have far outstripped the data. I've seen it in both studies and editorials, and I don't think this is any different," he said. "And to date there's limited and conflicting data that enlightens us on this issue. We just need better studies."Editor's note: CIDRAP has received unrestricted funds from 3M Co. as part of its higher education giving. 3M manufactures both respirators and surgical masks.Aiello AE, Murray GF, Perez V, et al. Mask use, hand hygiene, and seasonal influenza-like illness among young adults: a randomized intervention trial. J Infect Dis 2010 Feb 15 (early online publication) [Full text]Daniels TL, Talbot TR. Unmasking the confusion of respiratory protecton to prevent influenza-like illness in crowded community settings (Editorial). J Infect Dis 2010 Feb 15 (early online publication) [Full text]See also: Nov 5, 2009, CIDRAP News story "Reanalysis changes findings in respiratory protection study"Oct 2, 2009, CIDRAP News story "Study suggests masks rival respirators for flu protection"Sep 3, 2009, CIDRAP News story "IOM affirms CDC guidance on N95 use in H1N1 setting"Aug 12, 2009, CIDRAP News story "IOM hears diverse findings on PPE for flu"last_img read more

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China COVID-19 cases rise, as do worries over Diamond Princess risk

first_imgChina today reported 1,886 new COVID-19 cases, as Japanese health officials reported that 88 more people on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus.Meanwhile, South Korea recently detected two illnesses in people with no links to earlier cases, a sign that transmission may be expanding there.And research news includes evidence of person-to-person spread before symptoms were evident and data demonstrating that screening incoming evacuees in Germany was ineffective.Hospital director among new deathsIn China, the 1,886 new cases today are down from 2,048 reported yesterday, and they raise the overall outbreak total to 72,436 cases, according to the daily update from the National Health Commission. The country also reported 1,097 new serious cases and 98 more deaths, raising those respective totals to 11,741 and 1,868.Also in China today, state media reported that a hospital director in Wuhan has died from his COVID-19 infection, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.Liu Zhiming, MD, 51, director of Wuchang Hospital, died this morning despite intensive medical efforts. Health workers have told AFP that there are shortages of personal protective equipment and that some continue to work despite having respiratory symptoms.Yesterday, a large epidemiologic investigation from China revealed that at least 1,716 healthcare workers have been infected in the outbreak, 5 of them fatally.CDC bars entry for Diamond Princess passengersJapan’s health ministry today reported that 88 more people from the Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total to 542. Of the most recently confirmed cases, 65 people are asymptomatic.The ship has been quarantined in Yokohama port since Feb 3.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in a media statement that passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess are restricted from entering the United States for at least 14 days after they leave the ship, because of the ongoing risk.The CDC cited the rate of new infections, including in those without symptoms. The travel ban includes 100 Americans who are still on the ship or in hotels in Japan. It commended Japan’s actions, but said they might not have been enough to prevent transmission among people on the ship.Meanwhile, 300 more passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship have been cleared to fly to Dubai from Cambodia, which allowed it to dock after four other countries turned it away, Reuters reported today. So far, 255 guests and 747 crew are still on the boat, and testing is under way in that group.So far the only passenger identified as having the virus is an American woman who tested positive after she disembarked and traveled to Malaysia.South Korea probes transmission routesSouth Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) today warned that the country is entering a new phase of the outbreak, based on the confirmation of some recent cases that weren’t linked to known transmission chains, Yonhap News reported.At a media briefing, KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong, MD, PhD, said South Korea now has 31 cases and that infection routes for the last 3 are uncertain, and she warned that there’s a chance that more similar cases will be found.South Korean Health Minister Park Neung-hoo, PhD, said there seemed to be a lull in new confirmed cases last week, which may mark a transition to a second peak stage, according to the report.Of the 31 cases in South Korea, 12 involved Wuhan visitors and 5 patients visited Singapore, Thailand, or Japan. The other 14 presumably involve human-to-human transmission, health officials said.Elsewhere, Singapore—where officials have also reported a few unlinked cases—today reported 4 more cases, 3 linked to a known church cluster and 1 a contact of an earlier case. Singapore has now reported 81 cases, the most of any country outside China, except for the Diamond Princess cluster in Japan.The World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its latest daily situation report that it received reports of 10 more cases outside of China over the past 24 hours raising the total to 804 in 25 countries. However, 454 of those are related to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.At a media briefing today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said 92 cases in 12 countries outside of China are due to human-to-human transmission, and so far there aren’t enough data on illnesses outside of China to make meaningful comparison with cases inside China regarding disease severity or case-fatality rate.He said the WHO is following up with countries to get more information. “However, we have not yet seen the sustained local transmission, except in specific circumstances like the Diamond Princess cruise ship.”Autopsy results, spread during incubation, screening failureIn the latest medical literature developments:Person-to-person transmission during the incubation period likely occurred in a four-person family cluster, a team reported today in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The investigators describe an illness in an 88-year-old man from Shanghai with mobility issues who had been exposed only to asymptomatic family members whose symptoms began later.Symptom-based screening was ineffective for detecting COVID-19 in a group of 126 Germans evacuated from Hubei province earlier this month, researchers reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers described their screening and testing process and noted that two people were later found to have the virus on throat swab and that shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in people who no symptoms or minor symptoms.Biopsy samples from a 50-year-old Beijing man who died from his infection found that lung, liver, and heart tissue showed pathologic features similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, a team from China reported today in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. It wasn’t clear if the changes in liver tissue were drug-induced or from the COVID-19 virus. Overactivation of T cells may have accounted for severe immune injury, the authors noted. And they didn’t observe any obvious histologic changes in heart tissue.last_img read more

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Ken Uher Wins White Rock Car Show Competition

first_imgWhite Rock Car Show competition winner Ken Uher, right, poses Saturday with his family and White Rock Senior Center Coordinator Annie Bard, second from right. Uher and the other half of his team, his 1939 Buick, which he named Lucille, were selected for the People’s Choice Award from the majority of 108 votes cast Saturday at the event. The People’s Choice Award winner graciously donated his $50 prize money back to the White Rock Senior Center. Chef Mike Mason, with the help of Aliki and Romaine, fed 60 guests homemade cat fish, cornbread and coleslaw as an end to the White Rock Senior Center 24th birthday celebration. Courtesy photolast_img read more

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President Patrick Yoes: With Great Regret And First Time In History National Peace Officers Memorial Service To Honor Sacrifices Of Fallen Heroes Canceled

first_imgThe 2020 National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy image NATIONAL PEACE OFFICERS’ MEMORIAL SERVICE News:By President Patrick Yoes  National Fraternal Order of PoliceIt is with great regret that, for the first time in the event’s history, the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary will be unable to host the Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in Washington, D.C. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision was a difficult one, but we believe it is the right one. We are consulting with the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) and other stakeholder groups to develop a fitting tribute to honor the families of the fallen for the 2019 calendar year and will determine the best path forward after this crisis subsides. The National FOP and the Memorial Committee will undertake an effort to have a meaningful and respectful media tribute to our fallen heroes May 15, National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. I am saddened that we cannot come together this year to grieve with our survivor families and draw strength from one another on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, but given the national crisis we must, as we always have, put the safety of the public first. When our nation recovers from this pandemic, we are committed to working with the various stakeholders to determine how to best provide families and colleagues who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty the opportunity to honor the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes in the way we have done over the last 39 years.last_img read more

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Barclays burned

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Ghorbani – ‘Iran has a unique LNG opportunity’

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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New photovoltaics report issued by NanoMarkets

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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Dispute resolution: Ask an expert

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

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