Did rapid brain evolution make humans susceptible to Alzheimers?

first_imgOf the millions of animals on Earth, including the relativehandful that are considered the most intelligent — including apes, whales,crows, and owls — only humans experience the severe age-related decline inmental abilities marked by Alzheimer’sdisease.To BruceYankner, professor of pathology and neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS),it’s pretty clear that evolution is to blame.“Something has occurred in evolution that makes our brainsusceptible to age-related change,” Yankner said in a talk last nightsponsored by the HarvardMuseum of Natural History as part of its “EvolutionMatters” lecture series.Yankner, whose HMS lab studies brain aging and how gettingold gives rise to the pathology of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, said Alzheimer’s isone of the most rapidly emerging diseases of this century. As medical sciencelengthens human lifespan, the proportion of the population that is elderly isgrowing. Considering that as many as half of those over age 85 developAlzheimer’s, there is a growing urgency to understand the disease more fullyand to develop more effective interventions.“It is clear that cognitive impairment and decline is one ofthe emerging health threats of the 21st century,” Yankner said.Yankner said that scientific evidence shows that somecognitive decline — beginning in middle age and accelerating after age 70 — isnormal as we grow older. This decline is also seen in other animals, includingmice and monkeys. It is marked by wide variation among individuals, with someindividuals maintaining cognitive abilities similar to those much younger.The puzzling question, Yankner said, is why humans developthe severe disabilities of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies of other creatures showno sign of similar conditions even in our closest animal relatives. That meanssusceptibility to Alzheimer’s evolved recently, likely during a period markedby a rapid increase in our brain size. Size alone probably isn’t thedetermining factor, though, Yankner said, since other animals are known to haveeven larger brains, including whales, elephants, and even our extinct relativethe Neanderthal.Instead, he said, it is likely that brain complexity and thenew large number of cells in the human brain have something to do with it.Recent research, in Yankner’s lab and elsewhere, has usedgenetic tools to probe the differences between young and old brains in humans,monkeys, and mice. The work shows that gene function in the aging brain slows —dramatically in ones with Alzheimer’s — and that the genes that shut off themost are those that protect the brain against genetic damage from environmentaland other factors.Yankner said he believes that cognitive decline is due to aslow accumulation of genetic damage in the aging brain, with Alzheimer’sshowing the most severe form of this damage, called double strand breaks.Though the source of the damage is not yet clear, one culprit, he said, may bethe accumulation of metals in the brain over time, particularly iron.Neurons use more energy than most other cells, Yankner said.With the brain’s increase in complexity over time, its energy demands alsorose. Iron plays a key role in a cell’s energy-producing mitochondria, and soiron accumulation leading to genetic damage could be a byproduct of ourneuron-rich, energy-gobbling brains.“Aging is a balance between wear and tear and repair. Whereyou wind up in that balance determines how you do,” Yankner said.last_img read more

U.S. and Latin America Review Fight Against Trafficking in Weapons of Mass Destruction

first_imgBy Dialogo May 15, 2009 On Thursday military and defense experts from around the world concluded a three-day meeting in Miami in which they analyzed measures to combat illicit trafficking in weapons of mass destruction and their components, the U.S. Southern Command reports. The conference, organized by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Southern Command, brings together 34 countries. One of the topics of discussion was the traffic in weapons of mass destruction and related materials within the Americas. “Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States share a common interest in preventing the proliferation of WMD in our hemisphere,” said Paul Trivelli, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Southern Command, who considers it essential for countries to coordinate their efforts in the prevention of trafficking in weapons and combating networks that profit from it. For his part, Gary Moore, who coordinates the monitoring of the proliferation of armaments and weapons of mass destruction at the White House, said that President Obama “has promised to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” but that this goal cannot be achieved without international security initiatives to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Together with North American and Canadian experts, Latin American representatives of Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Paraguay also took part of the event.last_img read more

CATACLYSMIC FLOODING: Forest loss blamed for fatal floods in N. Iloilo

first_imgWith this, Defensor plans to expand treeplanting activities in the mountains to reclaim secondary forest. This aerial shot of Balasan town in northern Iloilo shows rooftops of houses buried in murky floodwaters due to incessant heavy rains spawned by Typhoon “Ursula.” VENTURER ROVER 2019 Defensor stressed that trees that havebeen cut down especially in the mountains must be replaced to mitigate soilerosion and water gushing at high speed. One the northern municipalities that experiencedUrsula’s wrath was the town of Balasan. All its 23 barangays got flooded,according to Chinky Diolosa, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officeofficer. ILOILO – Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr.believes deforestation in the mountains of northern Iloilo has led to themassive flooding that submerged several towns in the province’s 5th District thatbore the impact of typhoon “Ursula.” That deluge saw unprepared peoplefleeing to the upper floors and rooftops of their homes, and vehicles beingswept away by torrents that rose rapidly. Six family members in Batad towndied while trying to escape the floods. According to Defensor, denuded mountainsin northern Iloilo are primarily due to unabated cutting of trees and massivecorn plantations. “Angplano naton amo ang i-upod sa programmingfor our expanded tree planting activities kay ang plano naton for 2020 nga i-expand ang treeplanting initiatives,” the governor said. Not even super typhoon “Yolanda” inNovember 2013 was able to do this, said Diolasa. “Isasa mga teorya naton nga isa sa nag-amot sang pagdasig sang panaog sang tubig amoang wala na sang sponge saibabaw sang aton bukid,” Defensor said. “Ang mga kahoy sa bukid serve as sponge kay pagtupa sang ulan it will delayinstead of rushing down.” “Of course that is a fact, pero whether nga isa na sia sang rason sang pagbaha; naga-speculate kita unless lang ifthere’s a way for me to say scientifically nga amo gid man na ina pero commonsense would tell you nga posible isa sina sa rason kon ngaa kayti kon wala unod ang bukid wala sia sang sponge – dasig manaog ang tubig,” Defensor explained in an interview withthe media on Saturday. He explained that secondaryforest is a woodland area which has re-grown after a timber harvest,until a long enough period has passed so that the effects of the disturbanceare no longer evident. Defensor on his part said he is looking atthe situation not only in the context of providing immediate intervention butalso long-term solution. “Angprograma nga gina-pursue is the recovery of the secondary forest, you canused fruit bearing trees, puedekita makatanum sang coffee and cacao and the hills and mountainof fifth district are just one of the among  the areas that we wantto recover sa pagtanum sang kahoy,” thegovernor said./PNlast_img read more

Women missing from USG ballot

first_imgThe eight candidates running for Undergraduate Student Government executive office come from diverse backgrounds, but there is one thing they all have in common: They’re all male.All the president’s men · A student casts his vote for Undergraduate Student Government president, vice president and senator at a voting station on Trousdale Parkway. Voting began Tuesday and ends Thursday. – Youli Zheng | Daily Trojan For the fifth year in a row, there are no female candidates on the ballot for USG president. In fact, this year, no women are in the running for either of USG’s top two positions.The gender imbalance is more striking than in the past — last year there were two female candidates for vice president, including current vice president Ashlie Chan. But it is not entirely out of the ordinary. Although women make up more than half of the current USG executive and program boards, female candidates for the top position are rare.Since spring 2006, none of the 18 candidates for USG president and only a third of the vice presidential candidates have been female. The last female candidate to run for president was Jessica Lall, who was elected in 2005.“Personally, I was very surprised to go to the first candidates’ meeting and see that there were no women running for president or vice president,” said presidential candidate Jonathan Munoz-Proulx, a junior majoring in theatre.Berit Elam,  executive director of the Women’s Student Assembly, said that, although women are well-represented in student government and other organizations, they tend to shy away from the top position.“I’m a little let down by some of the strong female leaders on campus that I know exist because I know they would be great,” Elam said. “Maybe ‘let down’ is too harsh, but it would be nice to see some of the amazing female leaders we have on campus step into that role.”It’s not that women aren’t involved in USG. Five of the eight members of this year’s executive cabinet are female. But for some reason, they are not pursuing the presidential position.“Women tend to be more involved in student government, so it’s kind of ironic,” said presidential candidate Dylan Dann, a junior majoring in international relations (global business).Both women and men involved in USG were quick to say they believed the lack of female executive candidates this year was coincidental and not the result of any sort of bias.“All you have to do is look at the legislative field and every residential senator that’s running is female, so I do think it’s really a coincidence,” said Andrew Matson, a junior presidential candidate majoring in political science and international relations. “I don’t think there’s any institutional bias.”Some said the barriers keeping female candidates from running for office might be more individual than institutional.Presidential candidate Chris Cheng, a junior majoring in international relations, said he had “no insight” into the disparity, adding that he considered female running mates when planning his ticket.“I could believe there’s a subconscious trend, just because it hasn’t been done [recently],” he said.The underrepresentation of women in student government is not limited to USC.In 2006, a study at American University in Washington, D.C. found that women made up 62 percent of the student body but less than a third of the student government.American University’s Women & Politics Institute created Campaign College, a program designed to encourage and train female college students to run for student government office.The institute also examined the reasons women don’t seek high political office. Some of those reasons, such as family responsibilities, don’t usually apply to college students, but Ava Lubell, the political director of the institute, said women of all ages are less likely to see themselves as good candidates.A study by the institute found that men are almost two-thirds more likely than women to see themselves as qualified to run, and a third more likely to consider entering politics.Lubell said women, unlike men,  often need to be encouraged to participate in the political process.“Women need to be asked to run,” she said. “They’re less likely to perceive themselves as being recruited, so you need to say explicitly, ‘We think you should run.’”Students involved with USG seemed wary of specifically recruiting women to run for top positions.“I’m not sure what USG could really do in terms of recruiting people. If someone wants to run, it’s their prerogative to run,” Matson said.Elam worried such efforts could do more harm than good.“I think it would have negative results if a female candidate won because she was recruited by USC,” she said.Some student voters said they were surprised there were no female candidates.“I think a girl should go for it,” said Rachel Porter, a sophomore majoring in piano performance.Branche Foston, a junior majoring in communication, hypothesized that women might be choosing not to run because they have other commitments.“Girls are involved with way more things than guys are,” Foston said.Some voters, however, did not notice that women were missing from the presidential ballot.“It didn’t even really occur to me,” said Julien Kacou, a junior majoring in political science and history.Elam said she is not sure why there isn’t at least one female candidate on any of this year’s tickets.“As far as running a smart campaign, I don’t know why more candidates didn’t pick women,” Bertram said. “I think it was really intelligent how the [Holden Slusher-Ashlie Chan] campaign was run because it appealed to a broader group of students.”Matson said the lack of women was “not for lack of trying.”“Without disclosing names, I can assure you that females were contacted,” he said.Munoz-Proulx said he thought part of the reason for the gender disparity might be that men choose other men as their running mates.“Most men, in our society, they’re closer friends with other men,” he said. “So it’s not too surprising that a lot of guys have chosen other guys to run with.”Matson said he thinks the composition of next year’s USG candidates will be more balanced.“Next year, it could be all female candidates,” he said. “I’d be willing to wager money that there will be at least one.”Though there is nothing stopping women from running, Maya Babla, a junior majoring in communication and public diplomacy who ran for vice president last year, said it could be a while before women are consistently running for president.“I don’t think there’s any barrier to pursuing whatever we want, but I do think it will take time to reach equality in numbers,” Babla said. “I would love to see more female candidates. I think that there is a difference in male and female candidates, in that a woman brings something different to the table.”last_img read more

Dougherty: The Syracuse zone is keeping the madness at bay

first_img Related Stories Schneidman: 4 days in St. Louis define the madness of MarchSyracuse-Gonzaga game time set for 9:40 p.m. on FridaySyracuse basketball keeps dancing to Sweet 16 with 75-50 win over Middle Tennessee StateTyler Roberson is putting all the pieces together at the right timeTyler Lydon’s complete performance helps Syracuse to the Sweet 16 ST. LOUIS — If you’ve mostly been following the NCAA Tournament through highlights and your six social media accounts, the casual way, I can probably guess what you’ve seen.Bronson Koenig’s game-winning corner 3 for Wisconsin. Rex Pflueger’s game-winning tip-in for Notre Dame. Paul Jesperson’s game-winning half-court heave for Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa’s historic collapse on Sunday. A good amount of Buddy Hield. An excessive amount of Charles Barkley.But I can probably also guess something you haven’t seen too much of: Syracuse.“Sometimes our games aren’t the most fun to watch maybe,” said SU guard Frank Howard. “But we have fun no matter what. Winning’s fun.”You can thank the Orange’s 2-3 zone for that, even if Dayton and Middle Tennessee State would much sooner try and get Jim Boeheim’s signature defense outlawed from the game altogether. You can also bet that SU prefers it this way — its wins being boring, nondescript — as its zone smothered the Flyers and Blue Raiders this past weekend and helped it comfortably avoid the madness that’s filled much of the bracket.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith a 19-point win over Dayton on Friday and a 25-point win over MTSU on Sunday, 10th-seeded Syracuse (21-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) has averaged the fewest opponent points per game (50.5) of any Sweet 16 team and is tied for second in highest average margin of victory (22). It’s not the first time the 2-3 zone has anchored an unlikely Tournament run — start with 2013 — and it certainly won’t be the last. The quick scouting turnarounds for opposing coaches, Boeheim’s ability to modify it on the fly and the Orange’s sheer length make the zone an ideal formula for Tournament success.MORE COVERAGE: Schneidman: 4 days in St. Louis define the madness of MarchSyracuse-Gonzaga game time set for 9:40 p.m. on FridayTyler Roberson is putting all the pieces together at the right timeTyler Lydon’s complete performance helps Syracuse to the Sweet 16Syracuse basketball keeps dancing to Sweet 16 with 75-50 win over Middle Tennessee State Published on March 21, 2016 at 10:19 pm Forget surviving, the zone has Syracuse contending as it prepares for its matchup with 11th-seeded Gonzaga in Chicago on Friday night. Somehow the facet of SU that everyone sees coming makes it hard to prepare for and even harder to beat.“We knew the zone was good but playing live out there against it, they do a good job denying the wings, playing up on wings, they play the middle, their wings are long, their bigs are athletic,” MTSU forward Darnell Harris said after his team shot 29.7 percent from the field Sunday.“It’s like we just couldn’t score over their length and we couldn’t make shots, so it bothered us a lot today.”That is the dilemma that teams, starting with the Bulldogs, have to overcome: the difference between preparing for the zone and then actually playing against it.This seems like a simple concept that could be applied to any facet of the game, but Boeheim and the SU coaching staff tweaks the zone throughout a given game like they’re playing chess with a child. Effortlessly. At will.Dayton wanted to play inside-out through 6-foot-11 center Steve McElvene, and SU denied McElvene the ball to make that near impossible on its way to allowing only 50 points. Middle Tennessee State runs its zone offense from the wing to the corner, and the wings of the zone fanned out to defend passes to the corner and forced the Blue Raiders to consistently drive the ball on its way to 51 points. At times it was Tyler Lydon waiting in the paint, and at others it was Dajuan Coleman. Lydon finished with a career-high six blocks. Coleman finished one below a season-high with two.“Our zone is a little bit different and people aren’t used to seeing our zone,” Boeheim said after Syracuse’s win over Middle Tennessee State. “They see zone, but they don’t see the zone the way these guys play it. So that’s always a little bit of an advantage for us when there’s just a one-day turnaround.”To this point, I’ve consciously avoided all the lame zone wordplays and now need to get them out of my system. Syracuse is forcing its opponents to zone out. Syracuse’s opponents are out of their comfort zones. Syracuse’s opponents can’t escape the O-zone. Man, that last one is bad.And, not to be forgotten, Syracuse is in a zone. Literally, figuratively and at the perfect time.Jesse Dougherty is a Senior Staff Writer at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or @dougherty_jesse. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

“We will suffer” – Enmore workers

first_imgClosure of sugar estatesBy Shemuel FanfairSugar workers attached to the soon-to-be-closed Enmore Estate have registered their distress for the financial challenges that they stand to face in the coming months.On Tuesday, Guyana Times met with a group of community members at a small market at Enterprise, East Coast Demerara (ECD), who highlighted their worry over the entity’s closure. In fact, a few sellers in the area noted that community members have already begun to reduce their spending, which is having early far-reaching effects to them. This scenario mirrors that of Wales, West BankRampersaud PrashadDemerara last year when residents there had also reduced their purchasing of goods upon the announcement that the Wales Sugar Estate would shut down.Speaking with this publication, Rampersaud Prashad, the Estate’s Field Secretary, noted that he built his home from his earnings as a cane cutter. He has worked with the Estate for 33 years.“Everybody was sad, hearing about closure; everybody depend on sugar, from Ogle to Cane Grove. We have 2300 persons working at East Demerara Estate (Enmore). When the Estate closes, where [can] people get jobs – families are going to break up; market people will not get sales; a lot of people at the Estate owe mortgage,” highlighted the Estate’s Field Secretary.“This announcement which Agriculture Minister Noel Holder made is not a wise decision. I think he should pack up and go, and the President needs to intervene in this matter,” Prashad further stressed.Fellow worker and father of two, Mayaram Sundar also noted the hardships his family would face. The harvester, who has been employed for 19 years, told“Tolly” has four children attending schoolGuyana Times that without a job, his son’s education may be held up if he could not find the means to support him. He also suggested that severance pay was a temporary benefit.“If you say you will pay severance, how long will the severance last?” Sundar stressed.“Tolly”, a greens and provisions vendor and mother of six, stressed that she was already facing challenges. She stated that four of her children were in school, with a daughter writing her CXC exam and a son writing his in 2018, months after the Estate will close.“I have six children to maintain and [buying and selling greens] is the only thing I does do here. I got children going to school; books very expensive and passage for them to go to school, so I would like if the Estate could not close down,” she appealed.“I got bills to pay and the things not selling, because the Estate closing…people stop buying, since Saturday the stand is there…if the estate close, the [workers] can’t buy, so we [wouldn’t] have no income to come from here… [Minister Holder] shouldn’t close down the Estate ‘cause it’s a lot of workers who’re supporting we out here,” “Tolly” posited.”Nandanie Deosurran, another vendor, called on the President to look into her plight, saying that the Estate should not be closed.Speaking on behalf of young people in the community, a self-identified youth leader in Enterprise and a union secretary, Romel Putulall, also noted the hardships which would befall wide cross-sections of residents in variousRomel Putulallcommunities in the Estate’s environs.“We got workers from Victoria, Bachelor’s Adventure; Golden Grove workers; Plaisance workers will be affected, BV workers and other Afro-Guyanese communities where workers are from, so if the Government and other people feel it’s victimising Indian people, it’s not that,” Putulall claimed.“We need to oppose the closure of Enmore Estate; sugar has a future…I think President Granger, who some say is a good man…should look back at his Ministers and think about removing them, because they are the ones who will make him fall and right now in terms of sugar, Minister [Noel] Holder [should be removed],” expressed Putulall.He also noted that many young persons who were not fortunate to garner an education were able to gain employment from the Estate.“If you close the Estate, where would you put these young people who have no education and no other sort of job training,” he saidHe further highlighted that the majority of workers at the Estate were above the age of 45 and suggested that they would find great difficulty in altering the course of their employment.“What would happen to the minibus men, the school sellers, DVD and greens sellers…every single thing will be affected in our community?” he questioned.Much akin to the events leading up to the end of sugar operations at Wales last year, a number of activities have been planned to voice opposition against Enmore’s closure. These include vigils, afternoon marches, and public meetings.ClosureThe announcement of closure was made by Agriculture Minister Noel Holder on Monday when he presented the white paper on the future of the industry to Parliament. Holder told the National Assembly by the end of 2017, the Corporation will have three estates: Blairmont on the West Bank Berbice, Albion-Rose Hall in East Berbice and the Uitvlugt-Wales estate in West Demerara. “…the Enmore Factory will be closed at the end of 2017 when all cane would be harvested. The East Coast Estates would be earmarked for diversification,” the Minister had stated.last_img read more

Barcelona sign Yerry Mina, Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin to join Valencia

first_imgLa Liga leaders Barcelona have signed centre-back Yerry Mina from Palmeiras for a fee of 11.8 million euros ($14 million), the club confirmed on Thursday.The Colombia international will sign a 5-1/2 year contract with the Spanish side. The 23-year-old made made 33 appearances for Palmeiras over the last two seasons, helping them win the league title in 2016. He also won the Copa Sudamericana with former club Santa Fe.”Yerry Mina now comes to Barca with the opportunity to continue developing as a footballer following his move to Europe. Without a doubt the Colombian has the potential to make it,” Barcelona said in a statement on their website. (www.fcbarcelona.com)WATCHThe addition will provide some respite to the Catalan side as Spanish media reports suggest that veteran Javier Mascherano is close to leaving to join Chinese side Hebei China Fortune.Mina’s contract at Barcelona has a termination clause worth 100 million euros.WENGER SANCTIONS COQUELIN SALE Francis Coquelin is leaving Arsenal to join Spanish side Valencia, the Premier League club’s manager Arsene Wenger has said.The midfielder, who has scored three goals in 160 appearances for Arsenal since his senior debut in 2008, has struggled to get games this campaign and featured in just seven league matches, coming on as a substitute in six of them.”He goes to Valencia. He didn’t get enough games with us this season. He had an opportunity. I let him go,” Wenger said after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea.British media reports say that the La Liga side have agreed a deal worth around 12 million pounds ($16.20 million) for the 26-year-old Frenchman.(With inputs from Reuters)ALSO WATCH: advertisementlast_img read more