Max Planck’s Marriage of Convenience

first_imgMUNICH–Germany’s top research organization, the Max Planck Society, took a leap in the dark this week when it inked a multimillion dollar deal to form a joint institute with one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. GlaxoSmithKline will establish a new Genetic Research Center on the campus of the Munich-based Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, dedicated to finding genetic links to common diseases.GlaxoSmithKline will buy and install the sequencing machines and computers needed to process genetic data from patients, will pay rent for the center’s lab space, and will employ the technical staff. The Max Planck Institute, in turn, will provide clinical data and scientific expertise on collaborative projects. Institute scientists will have access to 15% of the center’s sequencing and data-crunching capacity for independent projects. Such a close alliance with big pharma is a first for the organization, but it mirrors a trend in Germany. The Max Planck Society has been aggressively establishing new biotech spin-offs on or near its campuses.GlaxoSmithKline hopes to tap into the huge repository of patient tissue samples and clinical data available through the institute’s scientists and doctors, while Max Planck scientists hunger for the advanced sequencing and computing power to be installed by GlaxoSmithKline. Max Planck scientists will retain the right to patent any discoveries from projects they initiate, but GlaxoSmithKline will have first refusal on whether to license them from the Max Planck Society.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The center will focus on finding patterns of genetic variations in patients with a variety of common diseases. The first target will be unipolar depression. It’s a tall task, says Kenneth Kidd of Yale University School of Medicine, who is not involved in the project. Although having a family member with depression is a risk factor for the disorder, no one has been able to pin down any of the genes that play a role in this complex disorder.While Max Planck scientists will focus on central nervous system diseases, GlaxoSmithKline will also join up with scientists at other institutions–each of whom will have to negotiate their own deal regarding intellectual property rights–to investigate a range of diseases.Related sitesMax Planck Institute of PsychiatryGlaxoSmithKlinelast_img read more

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House: Nano-Managing The Government

first_imgThe U.S. House of Representatives today passed the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Amendments Act of 2009, renewing a push to overhaul nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research. Among other things, the bill requires NNI agencies develop a plan for EHS research, how much it would cost, and a road map for carrying it out. It also sets up an EHS Tsar in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to coordinate EHS research. “A well-designed, adequately-funded, and effectively-executed research program in this area is the essential first step to ensure that sound science guides the formulation of regulatory rules and requirements,” said House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D–TN).The bill, which has yet to be approved in the Senate, is another indication that nano overseers are growing impatient with the current pace of nano safety research and potential regulation.Regulators in countries around the globe have been scratching their heads about how best to ensure the safety of nanotechnology. Because the field is still in its infancy, the prevailing line of thinking has been to first ask companies to voluntarily tell regulators just what nanomaterials they are putting into products. Regulator then hope to get a sense of the scale of what they’re facing. The first such program, launched in September 2006 in the United Kingdom, got only 11 submissions. A U.S. version, launched in January 2008 by the Environmental Protection Agency, corralled another 21 in its first 7 months of operation. With more than 800 consumer products already sporting nanomaterials, it now appears governments are growing impatient with the meager participation in voluntary reporting programs. France, California, and now Canada are instituting mandatory nanomaterials reporting programs. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Stopping Stem Cell Snake Oil

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Clinics that peddle unproven stem-cell treatments are on warning from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). The society has been speaking out for several years against purveyors of dubious therapies that have little or no scientific basis. Now they are going a step further. This month, the society launched a new Web site for patients considering such treatments, which clinics around the world claim can treat dozens of conditions from paralysis to lupus. Clinics that don’t meet minimum standards for independent patient safety oversight will soon appear on a black list, warning potential patients away. At the society’s annual meeting here last week, ISSCR President Irving Weissman, a stem-cell scientist at Stanford University, said that such clinics prey on vulnerable—often terminally ill—patients, taking their savings as well as precious time from their family and loved ones. “And they use us,” he told the meeting delegates, when they try to profit from the legitimate excitement surrounding stem-cell research. He also issued a warning to the society’s members: “Some in this audience,” he said, have lent their names as scientific advisers to some of the clinics in question. Later at a press conference, he told journalists that the society has sent letters to several members, warning them to dissociate themselves from the clinics. Those who don’t comply will face sanctions or possible expulsion from the society, he said. The Web site, called “A Closer Look at Stem Cell Treatments,” features a thorough list of questions for patients and their caregivers to ask about potential treatments and a copy of the society’s Patient Handbook on Stem Cell Therapies in English, French, German, and Italian. It also lists the Top 10 Things to Know About Stem Cell Treatments, including why and how unproven treatments can be worse than no treatment at all. Patients are encouraged to submit the names of clinics, individuals, or organizations that offer treatments for society experts to review. ISSCR will ask the purveyor whether its treatments have been approved by an independent ethics-review board and whether it has authorization from the relevant legal authority, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the European Medicines Agency. Clinics that provide sufficient documentation within a few months will go on a list indicating that they have appropriate oversight and patient protections in place. Those that don’t will appear on a second list of clinics that failed the review. The society has received dozens of inquiries in the 2 weeks since the Web site launched, Weissman said. The reviews will take at least several months, he says, so the first clinic lists should appear this autumn. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Egyptian Fenugreek Seeds Blamed for Deadly E. coli Outbreak; European Authorities Issue Recall

first_imgBERLIN—European and German officials say they have identified fenugreek seeds from Egypt as the source of the deadly outbreak of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) that has sickened more than 4000 people and killed 49. In a report released today, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that a specific lot of seeds imported from Egypt to Germany is the most likely common link between the German outbreak, which was traced to sprouts produced on a farm in Lower Saxony, and a more recent one in France, in which home-grown fenugreek, mustard, and arugula sprouts seem to be the culprit. In both outbreaks, patients were sickened by the same E. coli strain, called EHEC O104:H4. (EHEC is also called STEC, for shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli.) In response, the European Union today ordered member states to recall all fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt between 2009 and 2011 and has banned the import of all Egyptian seeds and beans for sprouting until at least the end of October. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The lot in question consists of 15,000 kilograms of fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt to Germany in November 2009. So far, officials have determined that the seeds were distributed to at least 70 companies in 12 European countries. The effort to track where the seeds ended up “is becoming complex and widespread and may take weeks,” EFSA said in a statement. Microbiological tests of seeds from the lot in question have so far been negative, but officials emphasize that negative tests don’t mean that a lot is uncontaminated. Sampling techniques can easily miss the few seeds that can contaminate an entire batch of sprouts during the growing process, so scientists need some luck to find positive samples, says EFSA spokesperson Lucia De Luca. EFSA has warned European consumers to avoid eating uncooked sprouts of any kind, as seed mixtures could have caused cross-contamination. German authorities said today that they are also tracing fenugreek seeds used in tea, as a spice, and in other products, for possible contamination. The ultimate source of the bacteria is still an “open question,” the EFSA report says, although it points to the farm where the seeds were grown as the most likely culprit. The contamination “reflects a production or distribution process which allowed contamination with faecal material of human and/or animal origin,” says the report. “Typically such contamination could occur during production at the farm level.”last_img read more

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UPDATE: University of Texas to Review Fracking Study

first_imgA controversial study of hydraulic fracking will be reviewed by an independent panel of experts. The study, released in February, was criticized earlier this week when an advocacy group highlighted the financial ties of its lead author to an energy company. In a statement released yesterday, Steven Leslie, provost and executive vice president of the University of Texas, Austin, said he hoped to have a review of the study completed in a few weeks. “We believe that the research meets our standards, but it is important to let an outside group of experts take an independent look.” Charles Groat, the associate director of the university’s Energy Institute, coordinated the report while serving on the board of PXP, a company that uses fracking. Leslie said that report would have included that fact, if it had been known. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) In an e-mail to ScienceInsider, Groat said he thought his board membership wasn’t relevant to the project and he didn’t have an actual conflict of interest. “Free from apparent conflict of interest is in the eye of the beholder and tougher to deal with,” he admits. “My choice was to avoid actual conflict, but clearly many have perceptions of conflict that they feel are important even if there was no actual influence of my energy company relationship.” Groat added: “Others feel I should have disclosed my industry relationship and I respect their opinions which will likely lead to disclosures in the future.”last_img read more

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Asian-Americans Outraged Over Racist Google App

first_imgAsian-American groups in the US are demanding from Google to remove an application (app) from its Google Play store called “Make Me Asian” Related Itemslast_img

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Rural Torment

first_imgIndia has been taking steps to address the high number of farmers in India who are killing themselves. The figures are shocking, but are they any higher than in India as a whole? Related Itemslast_img

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Failed Marriages with Pak Nationals Leave 226 Indian Women in the Lurch

first_imgCross-border marriages, especially between Indians and Pakistanis, are far from made in heaven. Related Itemslast_img

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Don’t see China as India’s Rival

first_imgThe US today said India does not need to choose between its ties with Washington and China and should avoid seeing Beijing as a rival. Related Itemslast_img

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Indians Flee Nepal

first_imgIndians flee earthquake-devastated Nepal, leaving behind jobs and savings Related Itemslast_img

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No UK Sikh Likes to be Called Asian

first_imghe Sikhs in UK are no longer seen as settlers but as citizens. Their spirit of charity and welfare has made them an integral part of the society. Related Itemslast_img

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A Bunch of Indian Startups Have Taken an Early Lead in Chatbots

first_imgIndian consumers are following in the footsteps of their American counterparts. “Bots will move beyond chat interfaces Related Itemslast_img

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Fired By New York Museum, Indian-American Is City’s Chief Digital Officer

first_imgWhen Sree Srinivasan was fired by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in June, he used Facebook to turn it into a sensational moment in his career, announcing to the world his plans for a speaking tour and a family vacation. Related Itemslast_img

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Crayfish create a new species of female ‘superclones’

first_imgWhat happened to the slough crayfish is every macho man’s nightmare. A genetic glitch allowed one female to begin cloning herself, and because these females are larger and more prolific, they started to take over. A new study argues that these clones constitute a new species—one where every individual is genetically identical. The all-female clones were first discovered in 1995 by German pet traders and quickly became a popular addition to home aquariums. Later, they escaped into the wild, where they have become a threat to native crayfish in several places, including Madagascar. Genetically, the clones—known as marbled crayfish because of their appearance (see image above)—are similar to slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax), which are found in Florida and Georgia, except they have three sets of chromosomes instead of the typical two. In the new study, published this month on the bioRxiv preprint server, researchers show that the slough crayfish males can’t fertilize marbled crayfish eggs, a hallmark of a species split, and that the clones contain enough genetic differences to justify designating them a separate species. Generally, new species arise gradually over long periods of time, but the genetic studies indicate that in this case speciation was virtually instantaneous, something that happens in plants but is very rare in animals. And the marbled crayfish is the only one among its 14,000 crustacean relatives able to clone itself. Differences in chemical modifications of the two species’ DNA seem to account for the superior size and fecundity, the group reports. The researchers are now analyzing these so-called epigenetic differences in more detail and are proposing this new species be called Procambarus virginalis—the virgin form of the genus Procambarus.last_img read more

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Congress to begin voting on sweeping biomedical innovation bill

first_imgBiomedical research groups are cautiously optimistic that Cures will finally cross the finish line. The bill includes a long list of largely uncontroversial provisions, including calls for NIH to produce a comprehensive strategic plan, set up a special initiative for young scientists, establish a prize to incentivize certain kinds of research, and take new steps to encourage data sharing and ensure the reproducibility of NIH-funded research. And research lobbyists are delighted with provisions that set aside $4.8 billion over the next 10 years for three NIH initiatives: $1.4 billion for Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, $1.8 billion for Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot, and $1.6 billion for the White House’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative. The bill also provides $30 million over 3 years for regenerative medicine research using adult stem cells.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Funding concernsThe NIH total is less than the $8.8 billion envisioned in earlier versions, but research advocates aren’t complaining. They say Cures would put Congress on record as supporting sustained funding for key research areas at NIH, which currently spends more than $30 billion annually, and specifies how the spending boost would be paid for. “We’re absolutely thrilled,” says Jon Retzlaff, director of science policy in the Washington, D.C., office of the American Association for Cancer Research, which has lobbied for Biden’s cancer moonshot.A 25 November Cures draft calls for raising the money by selling oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and redirecting funds from a public health fund established by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The money would flow into a new NIH Innovation Account that congressional appropriators would control. But that plan has drawn opposition from some Senators, including those concerned about the public health programs, and is a source of angst in the biomedical research community. The arrangement disappoints those who sought a dedicated stream of money for NIH not subject to the vagaries of the annual appropriations process, but satisfies some lawmakers’ desire to keep Congress in control of spending.“Our hope is that this fund will add a layer of security” for NIH’s budget, says Tannaz Rasouli, a policy specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C. But “there are no guarantees,” warns Howard Garrison, a policy expert at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Bethesda, Maryland. He and others want Congress to use the fund as a supplement to NIH’s regular budget, but fear it could become an excuse to curb spending in other parts of the agency. Garrison also worries about other provisions that could burden NIH. In a bid to boost accountability, for instance, Congress wants the director of each institute to personally review and sign off on grants. “It’s awkward, it’s unnecessary, and it’s burdensome,” Garrison says. And FASEB worries a plan to impose renewable, 5-year term limits on institute directors could make it harder for NIH to recruit talent.New Research Policy BoardGetting a warmer welcome are provisions aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on institutions that get federal research dollars. Reporting requirements on grants have grown over the past few decades, for instance, as have rules meant to safeguard research subjects. The bill creates a Research Policy Board within the White House Office of Management and Budget. The board, which would be made up of representatives from up to 10 federal agencies and a similar number of research institutions, would study emerging regulatory problems as well as recommend how to harmonize existing policies.(For more on the research board, read this ScienceInsider story.) The idea came from a 2015 report by a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Another provision calls for a review of 5-year-old rules that tightened conflict of interest reporting by NIH-funded researchers. Institutions complain the rules have imposed big costs with little benefit.The bill’s FDA provisions aim to accelerate the agency’s review of some new drugs and medical devices. In certain cases, FDA would allow companies to run smaller clinical trials or rely on evidence collected outside of trials to support approval. In an apparent bid to boost stem cell and other experimental therapies, the current draft also directs FDA to give special attention to treatments designated as “regenerative advanced therapy.” If a treatment meets the criteria—for example, if it is based on stem cells or other tissues and addresses an unmet medical need—regulators can offer a company faster review, or more flexibility in setting trial endpoints. A set of potentially controversial provisions would expand FDA’s priority review system, which attempts to create an incentive for companies to develop drugs for neglected tropical and pediatric diseases by doling out tradeable vouchers that entitle the companies to speedier agency reviews. Cures would add medical countermeasures—designed to respond to a chemical or biological attack, for example—to the treatments that would win vouchers for their developers. But critics say there is little evidence the vouchers have worked, and worry that creating even more of them will only reduce their potential value.If Cures stalls in the Senate, where critics have argued it gives too much leeway to the drug industry, backers fear it could be a lengthy wait for another chance to lock in NIH funding and tweak FDA rules. The bill, says Representative Fred Upton (R–MI), a leading sponsor, is a “once-in-a-generation, transformational opportunity to change the way we treat disease. Congress is poised to begin voting on a sweeping biomedical innovation bill that includes nearly $5 billion in dedicated funding for a trio of major research initiatives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill also includes measures to speed the approval of new drugs and medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it would create a mechanism for catalyzing efforts to streamline federal regulations that universities and academic researchers regard as burdensome.The bipartisan bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, is the culmination of more than 2 years of lobbying by research, patient, and industry groups, and extensive negotiations between members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House is expected to approve the bill Wednesday. Its fate in the Senate is unclear, with some Senators objecting to funding mechanisms and other provisions. But late on Tuesday lawmakers announced changes to the bill designed to win over skeptics. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) has said completing Cures and sending it to President Barack Obama for signing is one of his highest priorities before Congress adjourns for the year, and the White House has said it supports the bill.last_img read more

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Case weakens for antimatter sign of dark matter

first_imgVery high-energy gamma rays from pulsars, detected by the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory in Mexico, are consistent with a mysterious antimatter signal. A long debate over a mysterious surplus of antimatter—and whether it’s a sign of dark matter—may be coming to an anticlimactic end. For more than a decade, multiple experiments have found an unexpected excess in the number of high-energy antielectrons, or positrons, in space, and some physicists suggested it could be due to particles of dark matter annihilating one another. Others countered with a more mundane explanation: The positrons come from rapidly rotating neutron stars, or pulsars. Now, a team of theorists has bolstered that more prosaic explanation, showing in detail that pulsars can indeed produce most or all of the excess.The new study relies on gamma-ray data from the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC) in Mexico. “Before the HAWC observations we didn’t know whether pulsars made up 0.1% of the excess or 100%,” says study leader Dan Hooper, a particle theorist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. “We now know they make up a very large fraction, and very plausibly all of it.”Positrons can be created when cosmic rays, charged particles such as protons or helium ions, strike other particles within interstellar space. Conventional astrophysical models show that the higher the positrons’ energy, the rarer they ought to be compared to the number of electrons arriving. But in the last decade, a number of space-based observatories, including the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a giant magnet attached to the International Space Station, have observed a curious rise in the ratio of positrons to electrons between energies of 10 giga-electron volts (GeV) and several hundred GeV.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In principle, those extra positrons could come from dark matter, the unknown stuff that makes up 85% of the matter of the universe. One dark matter candidate is the weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP). Occasionally, two WIMPs could collide, annihilating and creating an electron-positron pair with energies significantly greater than 10 GeV.In the latest work, Hooper and his colleagues instead consider whether pulsars could do the job. Pulsars have enormous, rotating magnetic fields that accelerate charged particles in their vicinity to immense energies, and when those energies get high enough the particles can generate pairs of electrons and positrons. Hooper says this mechanism is well known to astrophysicists, but no one had checked to see whether specific pulsars could produce enough high-energy positrons to explain the observed anomaly.To find out, Hooper’s team analyzed gamma rays emitted by the nearby Geminga pulsar and observed by HAWC. They found a halo around the pulsar, extending a few light-years across, that was emitting very high-energy gamma rays. Hooper says that the “only reasonable explanation” for this extended source is a fusillade of high-energy electrons and positrons slamming into photons on their way out from the pulsar, and boosting the photons’ energies into the gamma ray part of the spectrum.The energy of the positrons and electrons making these gamma rays would be far too high—at tens of thousands of GeV rather than a few hundred GeV—to explain the rise seen by the AMS. But Hooper and his colleagues also calculated how many lower energy positrons the pulsar would be expected to generate, based on models. They repeated the exercise for a second nearby pulsar known as B0656+14, and extended their analysis to work out the likely contribution of thousands of other pulsars in the Milky Way. Their conclusion: Pulsars are “very likely” responsible for “much, if not the entirety” of the observed positron excess.Stéphane Coutu, a cosmic ray physicist at Pennsylvania State University in State College, praises the researchers’ new work for “carefully assessing the astrophysical mechanisms of positron production,” work that he describes as “less sexy” than hunting for dark matter. He says the study is somewhat speculative in its modeling of the pulsars, such as how readily the lower energy positrons of interest diffuse through the halo. But, he adds, “The speculations are not far-fetched.”Hooper acknowledges that there is still enough uncertainty in their models that dark matter could account for roughly half the excess. Just how big the pulsar share is, he says, should become clearer with future observatories with greater sensitivity to lower energy gamma rays, such as the global €400 million Cherenkov Telescope Array, construction of which is due to begin in 2018. Henry Romero/Reuters/Newscom By Edwin CartlidgeMar. 6, 2017 , 4:00 PM Case weakens for antimatter sign of dark matter last_img read more

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This exoplanet is hotter than most stars

first_img By Daniel CleryJun. 5, 2017 , 11:00 AM This exoplanet is hotter than most stars While the search continues for hospitable, Earth-like planets around other stars, one team has just found what may be the most hostile world so far discovered. KELT-9b (imagined above) is so close to its star—a hot “A-type” named KELT-9—that its star-facing side reaches temperatures almost as hot as our own sun. Only six other planets are known to orbit A-type stars, which have surface temperatures of up to 10,000 K. Such hot stars are bad for planet hunting because their spectra have few landmarks for astronomers to monitor to detect the back-and-forth tug of orbiting worlds; they also tend to spin fast, further blurring the picture. But a team using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), an array with instruments in Arizona and South Africa, got lucky when it spied KELT-9, with a surface temperature of 10,200 K. Scientists saw the shadow of a planet, KELT-9b, pass in front of it every 1.5 days. From the shape of the brightness dip, the team estimated that KELT-9b is roughly Jupiter-sized. But to find out how hot it is, they took another measure: the brightness of the planet, which they calculated by measuring how much the brightness of the system dropped when KELT-9b passed behind its star. That number—0.1%—helped them peg the planet’s dayside temperature at about 4600 K, hotter than most stars, they report today in Nature. No molecules are likely to survive KELT-9b’s atmosphere, which the team guesses is made up of atomic metals. The atmosphere is probably also eroding under the barrage of extreme ultraviolet radiation from the hot star. Though KELT-9b will teach scientists a lot about planetary systems very different from our own, don’t expect it to deliver any insights on alien life.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Is it time to retire cholesterol tests?

first_img JUAN GAERTNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Is it time to retire cholesterol tests? In this illustration of a low-density lipoprotein particle, apolipoprotein B (blue) is surrounded by various forms of cholesterol (orange and yellow) and other lipids. The next time you go in for a medical checkup, your doctor will probably make a mistake that could endanger your life, contends cardiologist Allan Sniderman of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Most physicians order what he considers the wrong test to gauge heart disease risk: a standard cholesterol readout, which may indicate levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or non-high density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol. What they should request instead, Sniderman argues, is an inexpensive assay for a blood protein known as apolipoprotein B (apoB).ApoB indicates the number of cholesterol-laden particles circulating in the blood—a truer indicator of the threat to our arteries than absolute cholesterol levels, some researchers believe. Sniderman asserts that routine apoB tests, which he says cost as little as $20, would identify millions more patients who could benefit from cholesterol-cutting therapies and would spare many others from unnecessary treatment. “If I can diagnose [heart disease] more accurately using apoB, and if I can treat more effectively using apoB, it’s worth 20 bucks,” he says.Sniderman and a cadre of other scientists have been stumping for apoB for years, but recent reanalyses of clinical data, together with genetic studies, have boosted their confidence. At last month’s American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in Anaheim, California, for example, Sniderman presented a new take on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a famous census of the U.S. population’s health. The reexamination, which compared people with different apoB levels but the same non-HDL cholesterol readings, crystallizes the importance of measuring the protein, he says. Across the United States, patients who have the highest apoB readings will suffer nearly 3 million more heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events in the next 15 years than will people with the lowest levels, Sniderman reported. As lipidologist Daniel Rader of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine puts it, the question of whether LDL cholesterol is the best measure of cardiovascular risk now has a clear answer: “No.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)center_img But plenty of scientists disagree. “Many lines of evidence say there’s not a lot more predictive power of apoB over LDL cholesterol,” says cholesterol researcher Scott Grundy of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who has helped craft several sets of cardiology care guidelines. And changing clinical practice would be disruptive. Standard heart disease risk guidelines downplay or omit apoB, and the algorithms that help doctors decide which patients to treat don’t incorporate it.ApoB backers have a new opportunity to make their case. A committee of researchers and doctors is reworking the most influential U.S. recommendations for cholesterol treatment, published by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and AHA, and should issue an update next year. The European equivalents are also being revamped, although a new version won’t be ready for 2 to 3 years, says cardiologist and genetic epidemiologist Brian Ference of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who is taking part in the rewrite.Nobody expects these latest revisions to jilt cholesterol for apoB, but its advocates say there’s increasing science on their side. Cholesterol cruises through our blood in several kinds of protein-containing particles, including HDLs, LDLs, and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs). When certain particles, such as LDLs and VLDLs, depart the bloodstream and get stuck in the lining of our arteries, atherosclerosis can result. Total cholesterol level was the first widely used indicator of this risk, but after researchers discovered that one form of cholesterol, HDL, may be protective, LDL cholesterol became the benchmark. Now, some physicians favor non-HDL cholesterol, which encompasses multiple cholesterol types, including LDL and VLDL.All of these measures, however, reveal the amount of lipid in the blood, rather than the number of cholesterol-hauling particles. ApoB, in contrast, provides a direct measure of their abundance because each LDL or VLDL particle contains a single copy of the protein.Still, even apoB advocates admit that LDL cholesterol’s track record is pretty good. About 85% of the time, it provides an accurate indication of a patient’s likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, Ference says. But that means it’s wrong 15% of the time, he adds.A 2009 study found that nearly half of patients admitted to hospitals because of heart attacks had normal or low LDL levels. So by measuring LDL alone, doctors risk overlooking people who need treatment or, if they are already taking drugs to trim their cholesterol levels, a more intensive regimen.At the same time, some people taking drugs for what seem to be dangerously high LDL cholesterol levels may not need treatment, Sniderman says. A more discriminating test for cardiovascular risk could spare these people from potential side effects and save money. Although cholesterol-lowering statins are cheap, Sniderman notes that newer drugs given when statins aren’t enough, such as the PCSK9 inhibitors, can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year.Switching to measuring apoB would improve diagnoses because it better reflects the mechanism of cardiovascular disease, according to Sniderman. “The data support that it’s the LDL particles themselves that are the bad actors,” rather than the cholesterol they contain, Rader says. The more of these particles that course through a patient’s blood, the more get stuck in the arterial walls and the higher the probability of cardiovascular disease. Because LDL cholesterol and apoB are intertwined, both measures give the same result for many patients. However, the amount of cholesterol a particle contains can vary. So LDL cholesterol levels can be misleading for patients who have few large particles or many small ones.No current drugs drive down just apoB, making its impact difficult to untangle from the effect of lowering cholesterol overall. But in a 2015 paper, Sniderman and colleagues reanalyzed data from the famous Framingham Heart Study, which has been probing the causes of cardiovascular disease for nearly 70 years. The patients with the best odds of surviving for at least 20 years had low levels of apoB and non-HDL cholesterol, the team found. But the patients with the worst chances had high levels of apoB, even though their non-HDL cholesterol was low. Similarly, the reassessment of the NHANES data that Sniderman presented at the AHA meeting suggests that apoB is a better predictor of risk.Also pointing to apoB’s importance is a type of analysis in which researchers comb through genetic data from large numbers of patients to identify gene variants that influence a particular trait. Scientists then track the variants’ sway on health, a method called Mendelian randomization because it relies on accidents of heredity to create comparison groups. “It’s essentially nature’s randomized trial,” Ference says. In a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association in September, he and his colleagues dissected the impact of variants of two genes involved in cholesterol metabolism: CETP and HMGCR.Using data from more than 100,000 patients, the researchers found that people with sluggish versions of the enzyme encoded by CETP showed equivalent reductions in apoB and LDL cholesterol levels and were less likely than people with vigorous versions of the enzyme to suffer cardiovascular crises such as heart attacks or strokes. But the scientists saw a telling difference when they analyzed patients who also produced underactive versions of HMGCR’s enzyme. Although these people showed further decreases in LDL cholesterol, their apoB levels—and their cardiovascular risk—didn’t decline by as much. That discrepancy suggests that reducing apoB has a bigger protective effect than lowering LDL, Ference says.The picture is clear, says preventive cardiologist Seth Martin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. “The totality of evidence is in favor of apoB being an important marker that can identify risk even when LDL is controlled.”But would the gains be worth the disruption? “The poor frontline primary care doctor doesn’t want to have to think about apoB and non-HDL cholesterol,” says preventive cardiologist and epidemiologist Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was vice chair of the committee that drafted the most recent ACC/AHA recommendations in 2013. “It’s too much information—and when you give people too much information they ignore it.”Cardiologist Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, who was also on the ACC/AHA committee, agrees. “I don’t see apoB changing the playing field very much,” he says.Many apoB advocates reluctantly concur. LDL cholesterol is deeply entrenched in medical routines, and “it’s not going to change any time soon,” Rader says. “I go from depression to worse depression,” Sniderman says.But if future guidelines start to emphasize apoB’s diagnostic value and drug companies begin to target it, Ference thinks physicians will eventually pay heed to the protein. “The argument is that LDL cholesterol is good enough,” he says. “But as we move toward more personalized medicine, it’s not.” By Mitch LeslieDec. 6, 2017 , 2:45 PMlast_img read more

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U.S. government shutdown starts to take a bite out of science

first_img U.S. shutdown begins: ‘It’s disheartening, … discouraging, … deflating’ Congress has refused to give President Donald Trump the funding he wants for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Mark Wilson/Getty Images U.S. government shutdown starts to take a bite out of science *Update, 9 January, 1:30 p.m.: Shenandoah National Park today informed ecologist Jeff Atkins, featured below, that he will be allowed to enter the park for stream sampling despite the shutdown.Rattlesnakes, bears, hurricanes, and freezing weather haven’t stopped ecologist Jeff Atkins from taking weekly hikes into Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park for the past 8 years to collect water samples from remote streams. But Atkins is now facing an insurmountable obstacle: the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, in its third week.Park managers have barred Atkins from entering since 22 December 2018, when Congress and President Donald Trump failed to agree on a deal to fund about one-quarter of the federal government, including the National Park Service. That has shut down the sampling, part of a 40-year-old effort to monitor how the streams are recovering from the acid rain that poisoned them in past decades.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Related “It’s very frustrating to have this needless disruption” in what is one of the park system’s longest continuous data sets, says Atkins, a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “This is the biggest [sampling] gap we’ve had. … Now, there is always going to be this hole.”Atkins is one of tens of thousands of U.S. scientists feeling the pain caused by the shutdown, which resulted after Congress refused to give Trump the $5.7 billion he wants for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The impasse has all but halted work at more than a half-dozen agencies that fund or conduct research, including NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and parts of the Smithsonian Institution.Many of the scientists at those shuttered agencies have been furloughed without pay, barred from working at home, and prohibited from checking their government email. A travel ban has hurt attendance at several major conferences and caused organizers to cancel other events.The shutdown is also creating chaos for university researchers, private contractors, and others who collaborate with idled federal scientists, or depend on affected agencies for funding, facilities, and data. Besides doing lasting damage to some research projects, the standstill is threatening livelihoods. “In a moment’s notice, I went from believing I had secure income to not knowing when I would be paid,” says Marshall McMunn, an ecologist at the University of California (UC), Davis, on an NSF postdoctoral fellowship. He can’t even find out whether it’s OK to take a part-time job to help pay his bills. By David MalakoffJan. 7, 2019 , 6:00 PM Amy Freitag, a social scientist who does contract work for NOAA at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Maryland, says the shutdown has “made it very hard to make progress on any research that involves my [NOAA] colleagues … or do any kind of planning.” Freitag has been able to continue working—from home and coffee shops—because her private employer is paid in advance. To stay on the job, however, she’ll need new assignments. But key NOAA managers have been furloughed.Atmospheric scientist Rachel Storer, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, but is employed by Colorado State University in Fort Collins, says, “My paycheck isn’t in immediate danger.” But Storer has suspended work on building digital simulations of cloud formation because she can’t get access to NASA supercomputers. (JPL is open because it is operated by the California Institute of Technology, a contractor.) “I have other work to fill my time … but it’s a setback,” she says.The shutdown has also stung entomologist Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University in East Lansing. Some endangered bumble bees he has collected are now “sitting in a fridge in my lab” and can’t be shipped to USDA laboratories until they reopen. He notes that a few months’ delay in agricultural research “can mean a whole year of progress is lost, because if we don’t have the answers from the recent experiments, we don’t know how to prepare for the coming growing season.”Marine biologist Mykle Hoban, a doctoral student at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in Kaneohe, was to begin a 10-week project on fish taxonomy this week at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The museum is closed, and he can’t reach the researcher he’s supposed to work with, but Hoban still plans to take the trip “and hope for the best.”Even researchers funded by agencies not affected by the shutdown are feeling the pinch. Rita Hamad, a health policy researcher at UC San Francisco, is supported by the National Institutes of Health, which is open. But she relies on data handled by staffers at the U.S. Census Bureau, which is closed. The result, she says: “I can’t publish timely evidence on policies that I study.”Other scientists have been forced to cancel long-planned trips and meetings. USDA’s Forest Service pulled the plug on what would have been the 30th annual Interagency Forum on Invasive Species, scheduled for this week in Annapolis. “It’s just a very sad day for science,” says retired federal entomologist Michael McManus, who organized the forum and was expecting 200 attendees.The travel ban forced hundreds of federal scientists to drop trips to major meetings held by the American Meteorological Society and the American Astronomical Society—in Phoenix and Seattle, Washington, respectively—where they had planned to present work. U.S. scientists will also be absent from a technical meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scheduled for this week in Vancouver, Canada.On Twitter, astrophysicist Jane Rigby of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, mused about the implications of being furloughed. “Can’t work. Can’t travel for work. … Can’t use work laptop,” she wrote. “Can I think about the universe? Unclear.”With reporting by Daniel Clery, Kelly Servick, and Paul Voosen.last_img read more

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Gotti convinces Udinese?

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