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Science
Tue, 12 Nov 2019 03:24
Yahoo News - Latest News &Headlines
Brain scans show the minds of girls and boys are similar in mathAs more and more advocates and organizations work to dispel the myths that boys are better at math than girls or that women don't belong in STEM fields, new data is supporting their case. Boys and girls show the same brain activity when it comes to math, according to a new study published Friday in the journal Science of Learning. The seven-year study, conducted in Rochester, New York, tested the brain activity of more than 100 children ages three to 10.
Brain scans show the minds of girls and boys are similar in math
SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink internet satellites — and hits reusability milestonesSpaceX sent its second set of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit today, atop a Falcon 9 rocket that featured the fourth go-round for the first-stage booster and the first reuse of a nose cone. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came on time at 9:56 a.m. ET (6:56 a.m. PT). One of SpaceX's launch commentators gave a nod to Veterans Day as the rocket rose: "With gratitude to our veterans, today and always, go USA!" Minutes afterward, the rocket's first stage flew itself back to what has now become a routine touchdown on a drone ship in… Read More
SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink internet satellites — and hits reusability milestones
Yelling at your dog causes long-term damage, says scienceA new study from Portugal found evidence that training dogs with negative commands could cause them long-term stress.
Yelling at your dog causes long-term damage, says science
Rare transit of Mercury: How to watch safely as the planet passes in front of the Sun"You cannot use a regular telescope or binoculars in conjunction with solar viewing glasses,” according to NASA. If you can’t make it to your local astronomy club, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory will be posting close-up images of the transit, and Slooh is livestreaming the event.
Rare transit of Mercury: How to watch safely as the planet passes in front of the Sun
Hurricanes on the scale of Katrina and Harvey are now 3 times more likely than a century ago: 'We cannot hope to combat storms'A new study reveals that extremely damaging hurricanes are becoming more frequent relative to moderate storms, likely due to climate change.
Hurricanes on the scale of Katrina and Harvey are now 3 times more likely than a century ago: 'We cannot hope to combat storms'
Mercury is traveling across the sun for the last time until 2032. Here's how to watch the rare transit.The Mercury transit won't appear in space again until 2032. But if you want to watch the event, don't look at the sun without protection.
Mercury is traveling across the sun for the last time until 2032. Here's how to watch the rare transit.
Officials believe vitamin E oil is playing a pivotal role in the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses, after 39 deathsInvestigators said vitamin E acetate, an ingredient found in canola, soy, and corn oil, appears to be playing a pivotal role in the spate of vaping-related lung illnesses during a call with reporters on Friday.
Officials believe vitamin E oil is playing a pivotal role in the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses, after 39 deaths
When the Andromeda galaxy crashes into the Milky Way, this is what it could look like from EarthThe Milky Way is on track to collide with the Andromeda galaxy in about 4 billion years. NASA images reveal what the night sky might look like.
When the Andromeda galaxy crashes into the Milky Way, this is what it could look like from Earth
Boeing traces problem with Starliner parachute system to an unsecured pinFor want of a pin, the use of a spaceship's parachute was lost. That may be a simplistic way to explain why one of the three parachutes on Boeing's CST-100 Starliner space taxi failed to open. It does, however, serve as a cautionary tale about the one obvious glitch in Monday's pad abort test of the Starliner, a craft that's due to start transporting NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station next year. Overall, the test was judged a success: The uncrewed Starliner fired the rocket engines on its launch abort system, slowed its descent with the aid… Read More
Boeing traces problem with Starliner parachute system to an unsecured pin
Photos from space reveal what climate change looks like, from melting Arctic ice to rampant California firesExtreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires are linked to climate change. Such phenomena can be seen from space.
Photos from space reveal what climate change looks like, from melting Arctic ice to rampant California fires
NASA cracks open a sample of moon soil that’s been shut away for four decadesFor the first time in more than 40 years, NASA has opened up a pristine sample of moon dirt and rocks that was collected during the Apollo missions. Scientists hope that a close analysis of the material from a 2-foot-long, nearly 2-inch-wide core sample will help astronauts get ready for a new series of Artemis moon missions in the 2020s. When Apollo's moonwalkers collected samples of lunar soil and rock, also known as regolith, some of those samples were tucked away at NASA's Johnson Space Center with the expectation that analytical tools would improve over the course of the decades… Read More
NASA cracks open a sample of moon soil that’s been shut away for four decades
2019’s Allen Distinguished Investigators will focus on the mysteries of our cellsThe Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of Seattle's Allen Institute, is making a total of $7.5 million in awards to its latest class of five biomedical researchers. The themes for this year's Allen Distinguished Investigators focus on stem cell therapies and single-cell interactions in their native environments. “The field of stem cell biology has the potential to change how we treat diseases by helping precision medicine, and there’s so much we still don’t understand about the interplay between cells in living tissues or organs,” Kathy Richmond, director of the Frontiers Group, said today in a newsrelease. "Our… Read More
2019’s Allen Distinguished Investigators will focus on the mysteries of our cells
Spaceflight and Rocket Lab will put a Japanese shooting-star satellite into orbitSeattle-based Spaceflight says it's handling the pre-launch logistics for a Japanese satellite that's designed to spray artificial shooting stars into the sky. Tokyo-based ALE's spacecraft is just one of seven satellites due to be sent into orbit from New Zealand as early as Nov. 25, aboard a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle. It'll be the 10th Electron launch, earning the nickname "Running Out of Fingers." It'll also be the first launch to test the guidance and navigation hardware as well as the sensors that Rocket Lab will eventually use to help make the Electron's first stage recoverable. No recovery will… Read More
Spaceflight and Rocket Lab will put a Japanese shooting-star satellite into orbit
Boeing proposes lunar lander for NASA crews, rivaling Blue Origin (and SpaceX?)Boeing says it has submitted its proposal for a lunar lander capable of putting astronauts on the moon by as early as 2024, joining a competition that includes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture and most likely SpaceX as well. Today marked the deadline for submissions. NASA says it's aiming to select at least two proposed landing systems by January for further development. Two separate teams could be selected to build landers for moon missions in 2024 and 2025. NASA envisions a system that includes a transfer vehicle to ferry a lander from a lunar-orbiting Gateway outpost to… Read More
Boeing proposes lunar lander for NASA crews, rivaling Blue Origin (and SpaceX?)
Why Didn't She Get Alzheimer's? The Answer Could Hold a Key to Fighting the DiseaseThe woman's genetic profile showed she would develop Alzheimer's by the time she turned 50.A member of the world's largest family to suffer from Alzheimer's, she, like generations of her relatives, was born with a gene mutation that causes people to begin having memory and thinking problems in their 40s and deteriorate rapidly toward death around age 60.But remarkably, she experienced no cognitive decline at all until her 70s, nearly three decades later than expected.How did that happen? New research provides an answer, one that experts say could change the scientific understanding of Alzheimer's disease and inspire new ideas about how to prevent and treat it.In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers say the woman, whose name they withheld to protect her privacy, has another mutation that has protected her from dementia even though her brain has developed a major neurological feature of Alzheimer's disease.This ultra rare mutation appears to help stave off the disease by minimizing the binding of a particular sugar compound to an important gene. That finding suggests that treatments could be developed to give other people that same protective mechanism."I'm very excited to see this new study come out -- the impact is dramatic," said Dr. Yadong Huang, a senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes, who was not involved in the research. "For both research and therapeutic development, this new finding is very important."A drug or gene therapy would not be available any time soon because scientists first need to replicate the protective mechanism found in this one patient by testing it in laboratory animals and human brain cells.Still, this case comes at a time when the Alzheimer's field is craving new approaches after billions of dollars have been spent on developing and testing treatments and some 200 drug trials have failed. It has been more than 15 years since the last treatment for dementia was approved, and the few drugs available do not work very well for very long.The woman is entering her late 70s now and lives in Medellin, the epicenter for an extended Colombian family of about 6,000 people whose members have been plagued with dementia for centuries, a condition they called "La Bobera" -- "the foolishness" -- and attributed to superstitious causes.Decades ago, a Colombian neurologist, Dr. Francisco Lopera, began painstakingly collecting the family's birth and death records in Medellin and remote Andes mountain villages. He documented the sprawling family tree and took dangerous risks in guerrilla and drug-trafficking territory to cajole relatives of people who died with dementia into giving him their brains for analysis.Through this work, Lopera, whose brain bank at the University of Antioquia now contains 300 brains, helped discover that their Alzheimer's was caused by a mutation on a gene called Presenilin 1.While this type of hereditary early-onset dementia accounts for only a small proportion of the roughly 30 million people worldwide with Alzheimer's, it is important because unlike most forms of Alzheimer's, the Colombian version has been traced to a specific cause and a consistent pattern. So Lopera and a team of American scientists have spent years studying the family, searching for answers both to help the Colombians and to address the mounting epidemic of the more typical old-age Alzheimer's disease.When they found that the woman had the Presenilin 1 mutation, but had not yet even developed a pre-Alzheimer's condition called mild cognitive impairment, the scientists were mystified."We have a single person who is resilient to Alzheimer's disease when she should be at high risk," said Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix and a leader of the research team.The woman was flown to Boston, where some of the researchers are based, for brain scans and other tests. Those results were puzzling, said Yakeel Quiroz, a Colombian neuropsychologist who directs the familial dementia neuroimaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.The woman's brain was laden with the foremost hallmark of Alzheimer's: plaques of amyloid protein."The highest levels of amyloid that we have seen so far," said Quiroz, adding that the excessive amyloid probably accumulated because the woman has lived much longer than other family members with the Alzheimer's-causing mutation.But the woman had few other neurological signs of the disease -- not much of a protein called tau, which forms tangles in Alzheimer's brains, and little neurodegeneration or brain atrophy."Her brain was functioning really well," said Quiroz, who, like Reiman, is a senior author of the study. "Compared to people who are 45 or 50, she's actually better."She said the woman, who raised four children, had only one year of formal education and could barely read or write, so it was unlikely her cognitive protection came from educational stimulation."She has a secret in her biology," Lopera said. "This case is a big window to discover new approaches."Quiroz consulted Dr. Joseph Arboleda-Velasquez, who, like her, is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School (he is also Quiroz's husband). Arboleda-Velasquez, a cell biologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, conducted extensive genetic testing and sequencing, determining that the woman has an extremely rare mutation on a gene called APOE.APOE is important in general-population Alzheimer's. One variant, APOE4, present in about 14% of people, greatly increases risk and is present in 40% of people with Alzheimer's. People with another variant, APOE2, occurring in about 7% of the population, are less likely to develop Alzheimer's, while those with the most common variant, APOE3, are in the middle.The Colombian woman has two copies of APOE3, but both copies have a mutation called Christchurch (for the New Zealand city where it was discovered). The Christchurch mutation is extremely rare, but several years ago, Reiman's daughter Rebecca, a technologist, helped determine that a handful of Colombian family members have that mutation on one of their APOE genes. They developed Alzheimer's as early as their relatives, though -- unlike the woman with mutations on both APOE genes."The fact that she had two copies, not just one, really kind of sealed the deal," Arboleda-Velasquez said.The woman's mutation is in an area of the APOE gene that binds with a sugar-protein compound called heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG), which is involved in spreading tau in Alzheimer's disease.In laboratory experiments, the researchers found that the less a variant of APOE binds to HSPG, the less it is linked to Alzheimer's. With the Christchurch mutation, there was barely any binding.That, said Arboleda-Velasquez, "was the piece that completed the puzzle because, 'Oh, this is how the mutation has such a strong effect.'"Researchers were also able to develop a compound that, in laboratory dish experiments, mimicked the action of the mutation, suggesting it's possible to make drugs that prevent APOE from binding to HSPG.Dr. Guojun Bu, who studies APOE, said that while the findings involved a single case and more research is needed, the implications could be profound."When you have delayed onset of Alzheimer's by three decades, you say wow," said Bu, chairman of the neuroscience department at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, who was not involved in the study.He said the research suggests that instead of drugs attacking amyloid or tau, which have failed in many clinical trials, a medication or gene therapy targeting APOE could be promising.Reiman, who led another newly published study showing that APOE has a bigger impact on a person's risk of getting Alzheimer's than previously thought, said potential treatments could try to reduce or even silence APOE activity in the brain. People born without APOE appear to have no cognitive problems, but they do have very high cholesterol that requires treatment.Huang, who wrote a commentary about the study and is affiliated with two companies focusing on potential APOE-related treatments, said the findings also challenge a leading Alzheimer's theory about the role of amyloid.Since the woman had huge amounts of amyloid but few other Alzheimer's indicators, "it actually illustrates, to my knowledge for the first time, a very clear dissociation of amyloid accumulation from tau pathology, neurodegeneration and even cognitive decline," he said.Lopera said the woman is just beginning to develop dementia, and he recently disclosed her genetic profile to her four adult children, who each have only one copy of the Christchurch mutation.The researchers are also evaluating a few other members of the Colombian family, who appear to also have some resistance to Alzheimer's. They are not as old as the woman, and they do not have the Christchurch mutation, but the team hopes to find other genetic factors from studying them and examine whether those factors operate along the same or different biological pathways, Reiman said."We've learned that at least one individual can live for very long having the cause of Alzheimer's, and she's resistant to it," Arboleda-Velasquez said. "What this patient is teaching is there could be a pathway for correcting the disease."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
Why Didn't She Get Alzheimer's? The Answer Could Hold a Key to Fighting the Disease

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