Poised for progress

first_imgA new focus on the immune system’s ability to both unleash and restrain its attack on disease has led scientists at Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to identify cells in mice that prevent the immune system from attacking the animals’ own cells, protecting them from autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, and lupus.The discovery, recently reported by the journal Nature, may give scientists an effective way of operating the immune system’s internal “control panel,” leading to improved therapies for a variety of diseases — from vaccines that prompt the immune system to stage a sustained assault on cancers, to treatments that derail the biological onslaught associated with autoimmune diseases. The fact that human immune system cells share key features with those in mice makes the prospect of such advances quite realistic, the study authors say.“The traditional view of the immune system is of specialized groups of cells poised to attack foreign pathogens [disease-causing agents],” said senior author Harvey Cantor, the Baruj Benacerraf Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and chair of the Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS at Dana-Farber. “While that model is generally correct, we’ve come to appreciate that the immune system, like other complex biological information systems, includes a counterbalance mechanism — a set of cells programmed to suppress the immune response. Such cells are essential to preventing excessive reactions to pathogens and misguided attacks on the body’s own cells.”The search for cells involved in quieting the immune response has previously focused on immune system cells known as CD4+ T cells, some of which have been shown to prevent abnormal inflammation in response to disease or infection. In the new study, lead author Hye-Jung Kim and her colleagues found that CD8+ T cells (known as killer T cells because of their ability to kill diseased cells) also include a subset that helps dampen the immune response. Instead of reducing inflammation like their CD4 cousins, the CD8+ T regulatory (CD8+Treg) cells ensure that the immune system doesn’t produce antibodies that attack normal cells.The Dana-Farber team discovered how CD8+ Treg cells accomplish this feat. They mingle with cells known as follicular T-helper cells, which are intermediaries that prompt the immune system’s B cells to make disease-fighting antibodies. The meeting with CD8+ Treg cells essentially shuts off the follicular T-helper cells, preventing them from interacting with B cells. No interaction means no production of antibodies, which means no assault on an animal’s normal, healthy cells.The critical point of contact between CD8+ Treg cells and follicular T-helper cells is a protein on the helper cells called Qa-1. When Kim and her colleagues bred a strain of mouse with abnormal Qa-1, the animals developed a form of lupus. The reason: the CD8+ Treg cells couldn’t latch onto the defective protein, leaving the follicular cells free to order the B cells to produce antibodies, some of which targeted the animals’ own tissue.The significance of this work is that CD8+ Treg cells represent a new lever for raising or lowering the strength of the immune response. This class of cells, it turns out, depends for its survival on a cytokine (a regulatory compound) called interleukin 15. Increase the supply of CD8+ Treg cells and the immune response is suppressed — a potentially powerful way of dealing with autoimmune diseases. Decrease the amount of such cells and the immune response can be invigorated and extended — a useful complement to vaccines that unleash the immune system on cancer.“Experience has shown that vaccines that simply activate or expand the number of T and B cells are not likely to result in a prolonged, robust anti-tumor response,” Cantor explains. “The balancing mechanism within the immune system means that when more disease-fighting cells are generated, there’s a countervailing increase in the number of immune-suppressing cells that are generated. The key is to break that loop. This work brings that goal closer.”last_img read more

China considers tobacco tax

first_imgAdding a 50 percent excise tax onto tobacco products in China – which has the highest number of tobacco users in the world – could significantly reduce smoking-related deaths while generating substantial financial risk protection and poverty alleviation benefits to households, according to a study led by a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher. While tobacco taxes have been criticized as unfairly impacting poorer people, who spend a higher percentage of their income on taxes than wealthy people, the researchers wrote that only about 14% of the tax income would come from the lowest income group, while 24 percent would come from the wealthiest group.“Increased tobacco taxation can be a pro-poor policy instrument that brings substantial health and financial benefits to households in China,especially concentrated among the poorest socio-economic groups,” write the authors, led by Stéphane Verguet, assistant professor of global health, Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard Chan. “Since China’s economy has grown enormously, cigarettes have become cheaper to smokers, which means that more aggressive tobacco taxation is now needed.”The study was published March 5, 2015 in The Lancet Global Health. It accompanied a series of articles published in The Lancet in which researchers called for a world in which less than 5 percent of adults use tobacco by 2040. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Wisconsin Utilities Plan Midwest’s Largest Solar Farm

first_imgWisconsin Utilities Plan Midwest’s Largest Solar Farm FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wisconsin State Journal:Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Service, of Green Bay, say they will be partners in purchasing two solar energy projects that would be the biggest solar installations not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the Midwest.The Badger Hollow Solar Farm will be massive—with as many as 1.2 million solar panels over 3,500 acres, according to developer Invenergy. It will be in Iowa County, between the villages of Montfort and Cobb, about 60 miles west of Madison, and it could produce as much as 300 megawatts of electricity when the sun is shining.The Two Creeks solar project, proposed by NextEra Energy Resources, will be in northeastern Wisconsin in the town of Two Creeks and will generate up to 150 megawatts.MGE plans to buy 50 megawatts of each of the installations; WPS will buy 100 megawatts of each. Total cost for the two utilities will be about $390 million. MGE’s share of the cost will be $130 million.“This is another step forward as we move toward a more sustainable energy future and deep decarbonization,” said Jeff Keebler, MGE president and CEO.More: MGE to Buy Part of 2 Major Solar Farms Planned in Wisconsinlast_img read more

Modern luxury home impresses, despite land size

first_img19 Windsor Drive, Upper Kedron.This contemporary new home is in the heart of an exciting residential estate. The property at 19 Windsor Drive, Upper Kedron, is part of a new masterplanned community just 12km from Brisbane’s CBD. Owner Darryl Paine said the location was a big drawcard for him when he purchased the land off the plan. “Ellendale Estate is easily accessible from the city. It’s close to public transport, but there’s also this sense of disconnect,” he said. “There’s a great sense of community.” Inside 19 Windsor Drive, Upper Kedron.Mr Paine said the home is of the highest standard.“The developer has a brilliant eye for quality,” he said.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019On the ground floor, the property has a large open-plan living and dining area that opens out to a covered patio, kitchen, bathroom, and second living room. The home at 19 Windsor Drive, Upper Kedron.Upstairs, there is four bedrooms, including the master suite with a large walk-in-robe and ensuite, bathroom, separate toilet and third living room.The property sits on a 320sq m block. Mr Paine said that due to the smaller land size, the layout was a crucial component of the construction. “It’s a wonderful use of space for the size of the block,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we custom designed a double-level home that maximised every inch of the block, and I think we’ve done that really well.“It’s spacious, modern and functional.”center_img Inside 19 Windsor Drive, Upper Kedron.Mr Paine said the layout of the house would appeal to most buyers. “There is plenty of space for entertaining and relaxing,” he said. “I think most buyers will like how functional and low-maintenance the property is.“The developers have made this a very practical, enjoyable home.”last_img read more

Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association elects officers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Board of Directors elected officers for 2016 during their December meeting. Executive committee positions include the offices of president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. Those elected to an officer position are responsible for the implementation of board policies and procedures, as well as carrying out the roles for their respective office.Chad Kemp, a corn, soybean and wheat farmer from Preble County, was re-elected to serve a second term as the OCWGA president. He has held various leadership roles in the association including vice-president and secretary. Kemp is also a graduate of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)/Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Program. He farms with his family near Lewisburg, Ohio.Fifth generation Fayette County farmer Jed Bower was re-elected as OCWGA vice-president. In addition to growing corn and soybeans near Washington Court House, Bower is very involved in NCGA as a Public Policy Action Team member and is a former Fayette County Farm Bureau President.Patty Mann will continue her term as the OCWGA secretary. Mann farms with her family in Shelby County where they grow corn and soybeans. In addition to her work on the OCWGA board, she has been a part of the Shelby County FSA County Committee, the Jackson Center FFA Advisory committee and FFA Boosters. Mann also serves as the chair for the Grower Services Action Team for the NCGA.Fairfield County farmer, Jon Miller will serve a second year as OCWGA treasurer. Miller is a grain farmer from Pleasantville that currently has 3 generations of the Miller family involved in the day to day operations. He has completed the DuPont Leadership New Century Farmers program and the NCGA/Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Program. Miller is also a member of the NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.As the past president, Brent Hostetler will remain on the officer team as chairman. Hostetler is a corn, soybean and wheat farmer from Union County. He operates Hostetler farms with his father near Plain City, Ohio. In addition to his work with OCWGA, he is a chair of the NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team and a past Madison County Farm Bureau president.last_img read more

Amazon reportedly acquires startup to make Alexa smarter

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#AI#Alexa#Amazon#artificial intelligence#comparison#data analysis#featured#Graphiq#personal assistant#search engine#top#voice Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Amazon has reportedly acquired data analysis and search engine startup Graphiq for around $50 million, according to LA Times, citing four sources familiar with the deal.Launched in 2009 as FindTheBest, the startup offered online spreadsheets comparing vacations, technology, real estate, and more. It would pull data, like prices and ratings, from public sources, allowing them to create valued data for researchers.See Also: Could drone beehives solve delivery issues in tomorrow’s cities?In 2016, Graphiq launched a now unavailable Alexa app that let users ask questions, such as “What is the fastest 2016 sedan?” – Alexa would then pull data from Graphiq and supply an answer. Amazon supposedly let Graphiq test the app with its books database.Amazon recently began looking to hire software developers and data associates in the Santa Barbara area, where Graphiq is located. The startup ended its business license, stopped posting on social media, and apparently dropped a few key executives, all typical moves before an acquisition.While Amazon was late to the personal assistant party, the Echo propelled it ahead of competitors, by forcing users to interact with the device through voice. That said, it has struggled to make Alexa an all encompassing device, capable of answering every query.Third-party apps have helped, but some consumers are struggling to find everyday use. The online spreadsheets supplied by Graphiq may help some, especially if customers are able to ask plenty of follow-up questions to narrow the search.center_img Related Posts David Curry Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

Lanka’s Mendis gets six T20 wickets

first_imgSpinner Ajantha Mendis became the first bowler to take six wickets in a Twenty20 international on Monday to lead Sri Lanka to a sensational win against Australia in the second match and win the two-match series 2-0.Mendis had a spell of six for 16 to help Sri Lanka earn an eight-run win.Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 157-9 in 20 overs with Mahela Jayawardene hitting a crafty 86 at Pallekele International Stadium. In reply Australia managed just 149-9 in 20 overs.Australia appeared to be coasting having scored 71 runs by the sixth over, with Shane Watson hitting five sixes and six boundaries for 57 runs off just 24 balls, but Mendis pulled the hosts back into the game with three quick wickets.Mendis, who was dropped for this year’ tour of England, said he worked hard to win his place back. He said he tried to bowl line and length and do the variations right.”This is the result of that effort,” he said.Australia’s captain Cameron White was disappointed that the team let a likely win slip away.”It’s a shame that we got off to a flyer and let it off,” said White.Watson top-edged a ball for a high catch to Thisara Perera and David Warner (16) was dismissed in a spectacular fashion when Angelo Mathews threw back a ball into the field to stop himself from going over the line with the ball and conceding six runs . But Jayawardene was quick to catch the ball that deflected off Mathews’ hands.Shaun Marsh was out for a duck stumped by Kumar Sangakkara off Mendis. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath bowled David Hussey to leave the visitors 75-4.advertisementWhite resisted with 39 runs only to see his partners deserting him at crucial moments.Mendis also bagged the wickets of Steven Smith (12), Brad Haddin (0) and Mitchell Johnson (7) to record the best bowling figures ever in the shortest form of cricket – surpassing Pakistan seamer Umar Gul’s five wickets for six runs recorded against New Zealand in 2009.Earlier Jayawardene hit a six and 12 boundaries during a 64-ball innings to propel the hosts to a competitive score. It was his sixth Twenty20 half-century.Australian seamers John Hastings and Brett Lee took three wickets apiece.Lee dismissed Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 104 in the first match, for four runs. Dilshan was trapped lbw after he missed a straight delivery with the total on 23. Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal shared 43 runs before Chandimal (13) was caught and bowled by leg spinner Smith.Thisara Perera (9) one of the two changes in the team for the match, was caught by Watson at deep third-man off seamer Johnson.Jayawardene and Sangakkara combined for a useful 46-run stand for the fourth wicket. Sangakkara made 24 before being caught by White off Hastings.Hastings also bowled Jeevan Mendis (1) and Anjelo Mathews (5) to finish with best bowling figures 3-14. Lee returned 3-39.Sri Lanka made two changes to its side from the first match dropping seamers Dammika Prasad and Suranga Lakmal and replacing them with allrounder Perera and spinner Ajantha Mendis.Sri Lanka also won the first match by 35 runs on Saturday.last_img read more

12 days agoSalako: Chelsea better for Zaha than Arsenal

first_imgSalako: Chelsea better for Zaha than Arsenalby Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Crystal Palace star John Salako can see Wilfried Zaha succeeding with Chelsea.Salako, who coaches at Palace, says Chelsea’s game would suit the Ivory Coast star the best.”Of course (there is a concern that he may leave in January). I think Chelsea would probably be the best home for him after their ban,” he told Lovesport Radio.”They really have an exciting young team there and Wilf can come in and add to that. “He may well move there, but Arsenal can also come back with the money. Anything can happen.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Most Canadians cant name achievements of famous women poll

first_imgTORONTO – A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.The survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Historica Canada found the majority of Canadians couldn’t name the achievements of such famous women as Emily Carr and Lucy Maud Montgomery.Only 37 per cent of respondents to the poll could identify Carr’s accomplishments as a painter, while only 27 per cent knew that Montgomery’s fame sprang from her authorship of such Canadian literary classics as “Anne of Green Gables.”Knowledge levels were next to non-existent when respondents were asked about the accomplishments of some notable Indigenous women, such as painter Daphne Odjig, who co-founded what’s known as the Indian Group of Seven. Only two per cent of respondents could account for Odjig’s fame.The other two Indigenous women on the list, 18th-century Mohawk diplomat Molly Brant and Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak, were recognized by three per cent and one per cent of participants respectively.But the survey suggests Canadians are aware of the knowledge gap, with just 30 per cent of respondents saying the country is doing well at teaching youth about female accomplishment.Historica Canada says the organization is seeing increasing demand to shine a light on women’s issues and successes.Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wilson-Smith said Historica staff got a clear message from teachers and school boards who were asked where the organization needed to help fill in some key blanks from Canada’s past.“People are saying, ‘look, yeah, tell us more about women’s history,’” Wilson-Smith said in a telephone interview. “‘Tell us more about who are the great Canadian women? What have they done?’”The poll presented respondents with a list of 15 women drawn largely from the ranks of Canadian artists, politicians and civil rights activists and asked if survey participants were familiar with their achievements.Wilson-Smith said respondents were not asked to name individual works or recognize specific career milestones, only indicate whether they had a basic understanding of why the women were famous.The number of poll participants who had never heard of any of the notable women surpassed the number who were familiar with one of Canada’s most famous artists.The survey found 40 per cent of respondents were unfamiliar with any of the women compared to 37 per cent who had heard of Carr, a British Columbia-based painter celebrated for her depictions of Indigenous culture and Canadian nature scenes.Montgomery, whose books about red-haired orphan Anne Shirley are globally renowned, received the second-highest recognition score of 27 per cent among respondents. Only 16 per cent had heard of suffragette Nellie McClung, who came third in the poll rankings.Wilson-Smith said he’s encouraged by the finding suggesting people want to see more concerted efforts to step up education on women’s issues, saying the survey results should not be mistaken for lack of interest in Canada’s female icons.“It’s not as though these are deliberate slights by people,” he said. “It just shows that … we have a lot of heroes and just a lot of very accomplished people whose work deserves to be known. We and other places have to continue to do everything we can to put them forward.”The survey also explored Canadian responses to the #Metoo movement, finding that roughly half of respondents feel Canadians are succeeding at making women feel safe from sexual harassment on the job and in society at large. The survey found 51 per cent of male respondents felt Canada was making good progress on this issue, while 45 per cent of women surveyed held that view.The poll of 1,001 Canadians was conducted online between Feb. 23 and 26. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.Here’s the list of notable Canadian women used in the survey and the percentage of respondents familiar with their achievements:Emily Carr 37 per centLucy Maud Montgomery 27 per centNellie McClung 16 per centGabrielle Roy 14 per centViola Desmond 13 per centTherese Casgrain 10 per centRosemary Brown 8 per centAgnes Macphail 7 per centEmily Stowe 7 per centMary (Molly) Brant, or Konwatsi’tsiaiénni 3 per centBertha Wilson 3 per centDaphne Odjig 2 per centMary Ann Shadd Cary 2 per centKenojuak Ashevak 1 per centBobbie Rosenfeld 1 per centNone of the above 40 per centlast_img read more

Bill Nighy And Alison Balsom Attend Nordoff Robbins Carol Service

first_imgEarlier this week, music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins hosted their 19th annual Carol Service with readings from supporters Bill Nighy, Anneka Rice and Tara Fitzgerald, and a special performance from 2014 X-Factor winner Ben Haenow and British trumpet soloist Alison Balsom.Bill Nighy at Nordoff Robbins Carol ServiceThe event at St Luke’s and Christ Church Chlesea, which is sponsored by Coutts, was attended by around 900 people and raised vital funds for Nordoff Robbins.To accompany their mince pies and mulled wine, guests were treated to carols by candlelight, with festive readings from supporters Bill Nighy, Anneka Rice, actress Tara Fitzgerald, Dougray Scott, Tom Hughes and Katherine Parkinson.Trumpeter, arranger and producer Alison Balsam stunned guests with a sparkling performance of Giuseppe Tartini’s Trumpet Concerto in D major before 2014 X-Factor winner Ben Haenow closed the night with an exclusive set from who recently released his first album, accompanied by his brother Alex on guitar.Ben recently took time out of his busy schedule to visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Nordoff Robbins Therapy Centre in Croydon where joined in a music therapy session. Ben said “It was a real pleasure to be part of the Carol service. Nordoff Robbins bring together such a wide demographic of people, and with music you don’t even need to speak the same language.”last_img read more