Social challenges have negative effect on quality of primary care

first_img Source:http://www.annfammed.org/ May 14 2018Among more than 600,000 primary care patients, half live with some degree of social challenge, which has a negative effect on the quality of care they receive. Researchers in Manitoba, Canada identified 11 social complexities, such as low income, mental health diagnosis, and involvement with the justice system.Related Stories‘Climate grief’: Fears about the planet’s future weigh on Americans’ mental healthCombat veterans more likely to exhibit signs of depression, anxiety in later lifeGoing teetotal shown to improve women’s mental healthFifty-four percent of patients had at least one social complexity, and four percent had more five or more. Social complexity was strongly associated with poorer outcomes on primary care indicators for prevention, e.g., breast cancer screening (OR 0.77, 99% CI); managing chronic disease, e.g., diabetes (OR 0.86, 99% CI); care of older adults, e.g., benzodiazepine prescriptions (OR 1.63, 99% CI); and use of health services, e.g., ambulatory visits (OR 1.09, 99% CI). Patients with more social complexities were less likely to receive preventive services and more likely to seek ambulatory or emergency care. To achieve better health equity for vulnerable patient populations, the authors recommend expanding interdisciplinary team-based care tailored to individual practices’ patient populations and exploring alternative funding models that acknowledge the complexity of addressing social determinants of health in the primary care setting.last_img read more

Invasive cancers that are born to be bad show detectable differences from

first_imgMay 15 2018Do metastatic cancer tumors “break bad” or are they “born bad”?This question is an essential mystery in cancer early detection and treatment. Lacking a clear answer, patients are given the same aggressive therapies when small, abnormal clusters of cells are discovered early, even though they might well be harmless.In a study publishing the week of May 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a research team co-led by scientists at Duke and the University of Southern California has found that in the colorectal tumors they examined, invasive cancers are born to be bad, and this tendency can potentially be identified at early diagnosis.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsSugary drinks linked to cancer finds study”We found evidence that benign and malignant tumors start differently, and that cell movement — an important feature of malignancy — manifests itself very early on during tumor growth,” said lead author Marc D. Ryser, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in Duke’s departments of Surgery and Mathematics.”By testing screen-detected, small tumors for early cell movement as a sign of malignancy, it might be possible to identify which patients are likely to benefit from aggressive treatment,” Ryser said.Ryser and colleagues built on recent research showing that in a subset of human cancers, many key traits of the final tumor are already imprinted in the genome of the founding cell. As such, they reasoned, invasive tumors would start out with the ability to spread rather than developing that trait over time. That is, they are born to be bad.The researchers analyzed 19 human colorectal tumors with genome sequencing technology and mathematical simulation models. They found signatures of early abnormal cell movement in the majority of the invasive samples — nine of 15. This propensity is required for tumors to spread, causing them to become deadly. Early abnormal cell movement was not apparent in the four benign tumors the researchers studied.”The early growth of the final tumor largely depends on the drivers present in the founding cell,” the authors wrote.The study was small and the researchers acknowledged that verification in a larger sample is required, but the finding is a significant step toward establishing a test to distinguish between deadly and harmless growths.”Thanks to improved screening technologies, we diagnose more and more small tumors,” said senior author Darryl Shibata, M.D., professor in the Department of Pathology at Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Because treating a patient aggressively can cause them harm and side-effects, it is important to understand which of the small screen-detected tumors are relatively benign and slowly growing, and which ones are born to be bad.” Source:https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/deadly-cancers-show-early-detectable-differences-benign-tumors?h=nllast_img read more

Researchers reveal massive genome havoc in breast cancer

first_img Source:https://www.cshl.edu/ Jul 13 2018In cancer cells, genetic errors wreak havoc. Misspelled genes, as well as structural variations — larger-scale rearrangements of DNA that can encompass large chunks of chromosomes — disturb carefully balanced mechanisms that have evolved to regulate cell growth. Genes that are normally silent are massively activated and mutant proteins are formed. These and other disruptions cause a plethora of problems that cause cells to grow without restraint, cancer’s most infamous hallmark.This week, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have published in Genome Research one of the most detailed maps ever made of structural variations in a cancer cell’s genome. The map reveals about 20,000 structural variations, few of which have ever been noted due to technological limitations in a long-popular method of genome sequencing.Related StoriesUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryThe team, led by sequencing experts Michael C. Schatz and W. Richard McCombie, read genomes of the cancer cells with so-called long-read sequencing technology. This technology reads much lengthier segments of DNA than older short-read technology. When the results are interpreted with two sophisticated software packages recently published by the team, two advantages are evident: long-read sequencing is richer in terms of both information and context. It can, for instance, make better sense of repetitive stretches of DNA letters – which pervade the genome – in part by seeing them within a physically larger context.The team demonstrated the power of long-read technology by using it to read the genomes of cells derived from a cell line called SK-BR-3, an important model for breast cancer cells with variations in a gene called HER2 (sometimes also called ERBB2). About 20% of breast cancers are “HER2-positive,” meaning they overproduce the HER2 protein. These cancers tend to be among the most aggressive.”Most of the 20,000 variants we identified in this cell line were missed by short-read sequencing,” says Maria Nattestad, Ph.D., who performed the work with colleagues while still a member of the Schatz lab at CSHL and Johns Hopkins University. “Of particular interest, we found a highly complex set of DNA variations surrounding the HER2 gene.”In their analysis, the team combined the results of long-read sequencing with results of another kind of experiment that reads the messages, or transcripts, that are being generated by activated genes. This fuller picture yielded an extraordinarily detailed account of how structural variations disrupt the genome in cancer cells and sheds light on how cancer cells rapidly evolve.last_img read more

Pfizer announces FDA approval of biosimilar to Neupogen

first_imgWhat are possible side effects of NIVESTYM?NIVESTYM may cause serious side effects including: have a sickle cell disorder have kidney problems are receiving radiation therapy are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if NIVESTYM will harm your unborn baby are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if NIVESTYM passes into your breast milk NIVESTYM is expected to be available in the U.S. at a significant discount to the current wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of Neupogen. WAC is not inclusive of discounts to payers, providers, distributors and other purchasing organizations.NIVESTYM is Pfizer’s fourth biosimilar to be approved by the U.S. FDA. Pfizer’s biosimilars pipeline consists of 10 distinct biosimilar molecules with five assets in mid-to-late stage clinical development.3NIVESTYM™ IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATIONDo not take NIVESTYM if you have had a serious allergic reaction to human G-CSFs such as filgrastim or pegfilgrastim products.Before you take NIVESTYM, tell your healthcare provider all about your medical conditions, including if you: Call your healthcare provider or seek emergency medical help right away if you have: Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.How will I receive NIVESTYM? Spleen rupture. Your spleen may become enlarged and can rupture. A ruptured spleen can cause death. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a serious lung problem. Serious allergic reactions. These can occur anywhere in your body. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using NIVESTYM. Sickle cell crises. Serious sickle cell crises have happened in people with sickle cell disorders receiving NIVESTYM that have sometimes led to death. Kidney injury (glomerulonephritis). NIVESTYM can cause kidney injury. Capillary Leak Syndrome. NIVESTYM can cause fluid to leak from blood vessels into your body’s tissues. This condition is called “Capillary Leak Syndrome” (CLS). CLS can quickly cause you to have symptoms that may become life-threatening. Decreased platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Your healthcare provider will check your blood during treatment with NIVESTYM. Tell your healthcare provider if you have unusual bleeding or bruising during treatment with NIVESTYM. This could be a sign of decreased platelet counts, which may reduce the ability of your blood to clot. Increased white blood cell count (leukocytosis). Your healthcare provider will check your blood during treatment with NIVESTYM. Inflammation of your blood vessels (cutaneous vasculitis). Tell your healthcare provider if you develop purple spots or redness of your skin. The most common side effects of NIVESTYM include aching in the bones and muscles. To decrease the incidence of infection, as manifested by febrile neutropenia, in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies receiving myelosuppressive anti-cancer drugs associated with a significant incidence of severe neutropenia with fever. For reducing the time to neutrophil recovery and the duration of fever, following induction or consolidation chemotherapy treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To reduce the duration of neutropenia and neutropenia-related clinical sequelae, e.g., febrile neutropenia, in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies undergoing myeloablative chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation (BMT). For the mobilization of autologous hematopoietic progenitor cells into the peripheral blood for collection by leukapheresis. For chronic administration to reduce the incidence and duration of sequelae of severe neutropenia (e.g., fever, infections, oropharyngeal ulcers) in symptomatic patients with congenital neutropenia, cyclic neutropenia, or idiopathic neutropenia.center_img Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerWhat are the most common side effects of NIVESTYM? Jul 23 2018Pfizer Inc. today announced that the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved NIVESTYM™ (filgrastim-aafi), a biosimilar to Neupogen (filgrastim), for all eligible indications of the reference product.”The FDA approval of NIVESTYM marks an important step in helping expand access to critical treatment options for patients with neutropenia, many of whom have cancer and can be hospitalized for potentially life-threatening side effects stemming from chemotherapy,” said Berk Gurdogan, U.S. Institutions President, Pfizer Essential Health. “We believe biosimilars, like NIVESTYM, are essential in helping to address evolving healthcare needs and may provide more affordable medicines to patients.”The FDA approval was based on a review of a comprehensive data package and totality of evidence demonstrating a high degree of similarity of NIVESTYM compared to its reference product.In the U.S., NIVESTYM is indicated: pain in the left upper stomach area or left shoulder symptoms of sickle cell crisis such as pain or trouble breathing shortness of breath, with or without a fever, any trouble breathing, wheezing or a fast rate of breathing a rash over your whole body, swelling around your mouth or eyes, fast heart rate and sweating swelling or puffiness, especially swelling of your stomach-area and feeling of fullness swelling of your face and ankles blood in your urine or dark colored urine less than usual urination dizziness or are feeling faint a general feeling of tiredness NIVESTYM injections can be given by a healthcare provider by intravenous (IV) infusion or under your skin (subcutaneous injection). Your healthcare provider may decide that subcutaneous injections can be given at home by you or your caregiver. If NIVESTYM is given at home, see the detailed “Instructions for Use” that comes with your NIVESTYM prescription for information on how to prepare and inject a dose of NIVESTYM. You and your caregiver should be shown how to prepare and inject NIVESTYM, before you use it, by your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much NIVESTYM to inject and when to inject it. Do not change your dose or stop NIVESTYM unless your healthcare provider tells you to. If you are receiving NIVESTYM because you are also receiving chemotherapy, your dose of NIVESTYM should be injected at least 24 hours before or 24 hours after your dose of chemotherapy. If you miss a dose of NIVESTYM, talk to your healthcare provider about when you should give your next dose. These are not all the possible side effects of NIVESTYM. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.You are encouraged to report adverse events related to Pfizer products by calling 1-800-438-1985 (U.S. only). If you prefer, you may contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly. Visit http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Source:https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/u_s_fda_approves_pfizer_s_biosimilar_nivestym_filgrastim_aafilast_img read more

UVA researchers discover how obesity may trigger harmful inflammation

first_imgJul 24 2018Finding Points to 2 New Ways to Battle Diabetes, Other Chronic ConditionsNew research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine explains why obesity causes harmful inflammation that can lead to diabetes, clogged arteries, and other health problems. Doctors may be able to use this knowledge to battle these chronic diseases and others driven by damaging inflammation. UVA researchers Norbert Leitinger, left, and Vlad Serbulea believe they have identified how obesity may trigger damaging inflammation. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications) “All these diseases have a common denominator,” said researcher Vlad Serbulea, PhD. “It may well be that we’ve identified what starts off the whole cascade of inflammation and metabolic changes.”Effects of ObesityThe researchers, for the first time, were able to explain why resident immune cells in fat tissue – immune cells that are thought to be beneficial – turn harmful during obesity, causing unwanted and unhealthy inflammation.The research team, led by Norbert Leitinger, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Pharmacology, found that damaging “free radicals” produced within our bodies react with substances known as lipids inside fat tissue. This attack on the lipids prompts them to cause inflammation, a natural immune response.“Free radicals are so reactive that they want to hitch onto something,” Serbulea explained. “Lipids happen to be a very good sink for these radicals to combine with.”That results in a process called “lipid oxidation.” At first the scientists expected the oxidized lipids would prove harmful, but it wasn’t that simple. Some of the oxidized lipids were causing damaging inflammation – reprogramming immune cells to become hyperactive – but other oxidized lipids were present in healthy tissue. Specifically, shorter “truncated” ones are protective, while longer “full-length” ones were inflammatory.Related StoriesMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver diseaseNew anti-obesity drug trial set to launch at Alberta Diabetes InstituteResearchers find link between maternal obesity and childhood cancer in offspring“When we compare healthy and obese tissue, what seems to change is the ratio of full-length and truncated oxidized lipids,” Serbulea said. “Our studies show that the full-length, or longer, oxidized lipids are quite inflammatory. They promote inflammation within these immune cells, and we think that instigates and perpetuates the disease process within [fat] tissue during obesity.”A Drug to Combat the Inflammation of ObesityNow that scientists know which oxidized lipids are causing problems, and how, they can seek to block them to prevent inflammation. They may be able to develop a drug, for example, that would reduce the number of harmful, full-length oxidized lipids.“Now, knowing that some of these molecules are really bad guys, so to speak, eliminating them from the circulation may have a very beneficial effect on chronic diseases,” said Leitinger, of UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center and UVA’s Carter Immunology Center.Alternately, doctors might want to promote the number of beneficial, shorter phospholipids. “Inflammation is important for your body’s defenses, so you don’t want to eliminate it completely,” Leitinger said. “It’s a question of finding the right balance.”By restoring that balance, doctors may be able to make significant inroads against chronic diseases that now plague millions of people.“One thing we showed is that metabolism in the immune cells is an exploitable target,” Serbulea said. “It’s been a target in diseases like cancer, but now for obesity and atherosclerosis it becomes more and more of a focus.”center_img Source:https://news.virginia.edu/content/discovery-reveals-how-obesity-causes-disease-and-how-we-could-stop-itlast_img read more

Mount Sinai study could transform treatment for patients with retinal degenerative diseases

first_img Source:http://www.mountsinai.org/ Aug 16 2018Study Could Lead to Cures for Blinding Diseases Researchers at Mount Sinai have successfully restored vision in mice through activating retinal stem cells, something that has never been done before. Their study, published in the August 15 online issue of Nature, could transform treatment for patients with retinal degenerative diseases, which currently have no cure.”This study opens a new pathway for potentially treating blinding diseases by manipulating our own regenerative capability to self-repair,” explained lead investigator Bo Chen, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Ocular Stem Cell Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “This is the first step to finding promising cures for patients that involve self-repair as opposed to medicine or invasive procedures.”Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellIn zebrafish, Müller glial cells (MGs) are a source of retinal stem cells that can replenish damaged retinal neurons and restore vision. In mammals, MGs do not have regenerative capability after photoreceptors are lost, and therefore retina damage cannot fix itself. As a result, in patients with diseases like macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa that kill retinal cells, the disease progression is often irreversible. Researchers hypothesized if they could somehow reactivate MGs and bring back vision.A team of scientists did a two-step gene transfer to reprogram MGs into blind mice. First, they activated dormant stem cells to become active stem cells. The second step involved another gene transfer to help stem cells develop into rod photoreceptor cells. The rod photoreceptor cells are the most abundant cell type in the retina, and the first step to sensing light in the retina. They then transmit to other cells in the retina, which send signals to the brain allowing for actual sight.After this two-step reprogramming, investigators found that new rod photoreceptors were generated and integrated into the existing retinal structure, instead of floating around and being ineffective. They saw no difference between these new cells and real rod photoreceptor cells. These cells sensed light, which then triggered information to be sent to the visual cortex (brain) and restored function of the visual pathway. Between four and six weeks after the reprogramming, the blind mice were able to sense light and regained their vision.While vision was restored to some degree, researchers could not measure the degree of improvement, and must do further testing to find this out.”This could lead to extraordinary opportunities in the future where we can potentially use the same strategy to reactivate these stem cells in the diseased human eye,” said Dr. Chen. “If this works, this could transform the way we treat patients with retinal disease and possibly learn how to cure other types of eye disease like glaucoma.”last_img read more

Surgeon shows how magnetic surgery reduces number of incisions and resultant scars

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 30 2018Nearly two decades ago, Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu was watching TV when a lightbulb went off. The program showed teens using magnetic studs to avoid piercings in their lips, and Dr. Cadeddu, a surgeon, realized the same principal could be applied to his work, reducing the number of incisions and resultant scars.This summer Dr. Cadeddu performed the first of several magnet-assisted prostate cancer surgeries he has now done.”Every hole you create in a patient has a risk associated with it. Every incision means increased pain, increased risk of hitting a blood vessel,” said Dr. Cadeddu, Professor of Urology and Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.How magnetic surgery worksIn traditional laparoscopic surgery, tools are manipulated from inside slender tubes inserted through small incisions. In magnetic surgery, surgical tools are manipulated with a magnet on the skin, which eliminates the need for an incision and increases the field of motion.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyDr. Cadeddu and his colleagues spent years developing the concept of magnetic-assisted surgery, reporting on their work in The Annals of Surgery. Though another company subsequently took up the mantel, when the FDA approved the first commercial magnetic-assisted laparoscopic surgery system, Dr. Cadeddu was delighted to make UT Southwestern one of the few medical centers in the country – and the first in Texas – to put the magnetic surgery device to use.In magnetic surgery, multiple operative devices are inserted through an access point and then the magnetic device is controlled by a magnet on the skin over the abdomen. By contrast, conventional laparoscopic or robotic surgery requires an incision for each tool.Prostate cancer surgery is typically performed with a robotic system that requires six incisions for the various surgical instruments and camera. “Going forward, five incisions or likely even less may become standard for this procedure,” Dr. Cadeddu said.Last week, Dr. Cadeddu demonstrated the magnetic-assisted surgery technique for attendees at the Asia Pacific Prostate Cancer Conference in Brisbane, Australia. “My dream of doing magnetic surgery dates back to when I was a young faculty member, and it has finally come true,” said Dr. Cadeddu, who holds the Ralph C. Smith, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery.Source: https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/articles/year-2018/magnetic-surgery.htmllast_img read more

NIH launches clinical trial to test infusions of combination antibodies in people

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 20 2018A clinical trial testing infusions of combination antibodies in people living with HIV has begun at the National Institutes of Health. The early-phase clinical trial will evaluate whether periodic infusions of two highly potent, HIV-specific, broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs)–3BNC117 and 10-1074–are safe in people living with HIV. The study also will gather preliminary data on how effectively the bNAb infusions, delivered together every two to four weeks, suppress HIV following discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy (ART).”Antiretroviral therapy suppresses HIV to very low levels, normalizes life expectancy, and prevents sexual transmission of the virus. However, these benefits are lost if an individual stops taking the medications as prescribed,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH. “If proven safe and effective, periodic infusions of potent, broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies may be a potential alternative to daily antiretroviral therapy.”The new Phase 1 trial is being led by Michael C. Sneller, M.D., and Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D. Dr. Sneller is a medical officer in the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation (LIR), and Dr. Chun is chief of LIR’s HIV Immunovirology Unit.In 2016, Drs. Sneller and Chun and their collaborators found that the anti-HIV bNAb VRC01 could be safely delivered to people living with HIV, though it had only a modest effect on controlling HIV in the absence of ART. They found that the effect was modest because the virus quickly mutated in some individuals such that the antibody could no longer neutralize HIV. The two bNAbs used in the current study bind to distinct regions on an HIV surface protein, preventing the virus from entering and infecting cells. These regions are conserved, meaning they remain the same across most HIV strains. Targeting two conserved regions on the virus may reduce the risk of resistance.”When we first began developing antiretroviral medications more than two decades ago, we found that HIV mutated to escape the effect of any single drug acting alone,” said Dr. Sneller. “However, we had remarkable success treating people with combinations of drugs, which targeted different parts of the HIV replication cycle,” he added. “Our group hypothesized that a combination approach to infusions of broadly neutralizing antibodies might also help avoid the development of resistance that has been observed following treatment with individual bNAbs.”Related StoriesScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachHIV DNA persists in spinal fluid despite treatment, linked to cognitive impairmentPrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedThe 3BNC117 and 10-1074 bNAbs were developed by Michel Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at Rockefeller University, New York City, with support from NIH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The bNAbs have shown promise in nonhuman primates infected with the simian form of HIV.The NIH study will enroll two groups of volunteers: 30 people who began ART during early HIV infection and who are still taking ART, and about 15 individuals whose HIV infections seem to be advancing at an abnormally slow rate even though they have never taken ART. Among the first group, volunteers will stop taking ART a few days after being assigned at random to receive either infusions of the combination antibodies or a saline placebo. This group will receive a total of eight infusions of the combination antibodies or placebo over 24 weeks. Participants will be closely monitored and will be restarted on ART if HIV levels in their blood rise above 1,000 copies per milliliter, if there is a significant decline in levels of their protective immune cells called CD4+ T cells, or if they develop any HIV-related symptoms. All volunteers in the second group, known as “slow progressors,” will receive the combination antibody infusions on the same schedule but will remain without ART throughout the study unless they experience a significant decline in CD4+ T cells, sustained increase in HIV levels in their blood, or an opportunistic infection. Researchers will monitor both groups closely for any side effects or other adverse events. Results are expected in 2021.Drs. Nussenzweig and Marina Caskey, M.D., at Rockefeller University are conducting a related and ongoing NIAID-supported trial evaluating the safety of infusions of the same two bNAbs in people living with long-term HIV infection. Their study will enroll approximately 40 individuals, and results are expected in 2022.Source: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/nih-launches-study-test-combination-antibody-treatment-hiv-infectionlast_img read more

Lockheed looks for partners on its proposed fusion reactor

first_imgThe leader of a proposed compact fusion reactor project says that Lockheed Martin’s decision to lift the lid on its secret effort is an attempt to build a scientific team and find partners.Speaking yesterday at a press conference at the company’s facility in Palmdale, California, Tom McGuire defended the project’s scientific merits: “We think we’ve invented something that is inherently stable,” McGuire told reporters. But he acknowledged that “we are very early in the scientific process.” He said he has been working with a team of five to 10 people for the past 4 years and hopes to expand the team now that the project is in the open.He said that their magnetic confinement concept combined elements from several earlier approaches. The core of the device uses cusp confinement, a sort of magnetic trap in which particles that try to escape are pushed back by rounded, pillowlike magnetic fields. Cusp devices were investigated in the 1960s and 1970s but were largely abandoned because particles leak out through gaps between the various magnetic fields leading to a loss of temperature. McGuire says they get around this problem by encapsulating the cusp device inside a magnetic mirror device, a different sort of confinement technique. Cylindrical in shape, it uses a magnetic field to restrict particles to movement along its axis. Extra-strong fields at the ends of the machine—magnetic mirrors—prevent the particles from escaping. Mirror devices were also extensively studied last century, culminating in the 54-meter-long Mirror Fusion Test Facility B (MFTF-B) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. In 1986, MFTF-B was completed at a cost of $372 million but, for budgetary reasons, was never turned on. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Another technique the team is using to counter particle losses from cusp confinement is recirculation. “We recapture the flow of particles and route it back into the device,” McGuire said. The team has built its first machine and has carried out 200 shots during commissioning and applied up to 1 kilowatt of heating, but McGuire declined to detail any measurements of plasma temperature, density, or confinement time—the key parameters for a fusion plasma—but said the plasma appeared very stable. He said they would be ramping up heating over the coming months and would publish results next year.McGuire acknowledged the need for shielding against neutrons for the magnet coils positioned inside the reactor vessel. He estimates that between 80 and 150 centimeters of shielding would be needed, but this can be accommodated in their compact design. Researchers contacted by ScienceInsider say that it is difficult to estimate the final size of the machine without more knowledge of its design. Lockheed has said its goal is a machine 7 meters across, but some estimates had suggested that the required shielding would make it considerably larger. 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Getting lessons in leadership from hungry fish

first_imgScores of people take expensive management training to learn how to guide colleagues toward a common goal, but maybe they could get less costly lessons by watching how certain fish take the lead in their schools. After training about 90 golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas, seen above) to find a dish of fish food, scientists tagged these potential leaders, released them back in the tank individually with eight untrained fish, and then waited to see what would happen. In some cases, a veteran fish swam around as if it had never been in the tank before, leaving its schoolmates equally confused. Others made a beeline for the soggy fare and were more likely to reach it, but in their haste failed to communicate with fellow fish and left them in their wake. Most of the trained shiners, however, were effective leaders; just assertive enough to indicate which direction the school should travel but not so assertive that they lost the group and the protection it provided, the scientists report online before print in The American Naturalist. The study is the first to show experimentally that such a tradeoff—between achieving a goal as quickly as possible and keeping followers—exists in animals other than humans, possibly revealing some fundamental component of good leadership, the researchers say. So, the next time you need to get your colleagues to meet a deadline, why not give channeling your inner golden shiner a try?last_img read more

Coolest science ever headed to the space station

first_img Email 2. The atom chip takes overAfter the atoms are chilled to about 100 microkelvins, they’re transferred to a purely magnetic trap created by electric currents in the atom chip. Atomic physicists tend to tinker away on their own, preferably in dark, hushed labs. When Eric Cornell started as a postdoc with Carl Wieman at JILA, an institute run jointly by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado in Boulder, in 1990 he did his best to transform their second-floor lab into a basement. “We had these beautiful windows that looked out over the mountains,” Cornell says, “and we bought 3-inch-thick Styrofoam and cut it into squares and taped it over them.” The quiet and darkness made it easier to fiddle with the homemade lasers they were using to coax atoms into a new state of matter. Cornell and Wieman were trying to cool a puff of rubidium gas to within a few billionths of a degree of absolute zero—colder than any place in nature, even the 2.73 kelvins of space. They hoped to produce a long-predicted state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), in which the atoms shed their individual identities and crowd en masse into a single quantum wave. In 1995, they succeeded—a triumph that earned them a share of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics. “We finally unplugged that experiment just 2 years ago,” Cornell says.Now, Cornell and other physicists are taking their atomic wisps out of seclusion and into space. Early next year, NASA will launch its $70 million Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) to the International Space Station (ISS). Once in orbit, the fully automated rig will create BECs and do other cold atom experiments, taking advantage of weightlessness to attain record-low temperatures and break ground for ambitious studies of quantum mechanics and gravity. Miniaturization is the key: Experiments that once required a room full of lasers, optical elements, and vacuum systems can now fit in a device the size of an ice chest, with the atoms trapped on the surface of a microchip. The effort will stretch the culture of atomic physicists, forcing them to share a single remote facility, like users of a space telescope. Probing the frontiers of particle physics with tabletop-scale experiments 4. A chilling expansionTo push temperatures lower, the magnetic trap is weakened. The cloud of atoms expands and cools while remaining a BEC. Cold molecules: Progress in quantum engineering of chemistry and quantum matter A 146-meter-tall drop tower in Bremen, Germany, offers nearly 5 seconds of free fall, enough to cool a Bose-Einstein condensate to a record 50 picokelvins. Special issue: Ultracold matter Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Atoms transfer to atom chip. Radiowaves 3. Evaporative coolingLike blowing on hot soup, radio waves from the chip nudge the hottest atoms out of the trap, leaving behind cooler ones. A BEC can form at this stage. Magnetizedatom chip Coldatoms Lasers Energizedmagnetics Final BEC InitialBEC Atom chip Atoms Magnetcoil Vacuumchamber Atom chip Laser CAL science module ISS U.S. Destinymodule/CAL Vacuumchamber Birth of the cool It has been nearly a century since Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) were first predicted, and more than 20 years since they were first made. Now, scientists are taking the clouds of ultracold atoms into space. ZARM, University of Bremen In another experiment, Nathan Lundblad, a physicist at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and colleagues hope to make hollow shells of BECs, something that gravity squashes on Earth. The bubbles can be fashioned by applying radio waves of the right frequency to a BEC, Lundblad explains, and at first, researchers hope to simply jiggle the bubbles and see how they react.But the shells might also enable them to probe the wave nature of the BEC in a new way. Mathematical consistency demands that the undulating quantum wave in the BEC wrap around the sphere and merge smoothly with itself. As it does so, it might generate tiny whirlpools called vortices. Physicists have already produced vortices by spinning a BEC. In Lundblad’s experiment, however, vortices would emerge in a new way—through the interplay of the quantum wave and the geometry of the bubble.Others on the CAL team plan to probe an odd bit of quantum mechanics known as the Efimov effect that enables certain atoms to form weakly bound three-atom molecules, even though no two atoms will stick together. The molecules are the atomic equivalent of the Borromean rings, a topological curiosity in which three rings intertwine so that removing any one ring causes the other two to fall apart. To create the molecules, JILA’s Cornell and Peter Engels and Maren Mossman of Washington State University in Pullman will apply a magnetic field to ultracold atoms of potassium-39. The gas won’t be dense enough to form a BEC, but at certain magnetic field strengths, the isolated atoms should be coaxed into forming three-atom molecules.The effect has been seen on Earth, but theory predicts that the molecules will form, break up, and reform at successively stronger magnetic fields. The size of molecules should grow each time by a factor of 22.7. Cornell and colleagues aim to spot the second Efimov state, in which the molecules become giants, about the size of bacteria. To do that will require letting the gas expand until it is 1/1000 as dense as in earlier experiments—something that would be difficult on Earth. “It’s going to be doubly hard because we don’t get to hover around [the experiment] with an army of graduate students,” Cornell says. Four steps to frigid temperaturesTo chill a gas nearly to absolute zero, CAL employs a multistep process within a vacuum chamber about the size of a stick of butter. A microchip known as an “atom chip” drives the final cooling steps. “I’ve certainly been pitching this for 20 years, really from the beginning of BECs, when doing something like this in space seemed crazy,” says Robert Thompson, a physicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and CAL’s project scientist. By Adrian ChoSep. 7, 2017 , 2:00 PM V. Altounian/Science C. Bickel/Science 1. Magneto-optical trappingWithin a magnetic trap, lasers in six directions counteract the motion of the atoms, slowing and cooling them. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Coolest science ever headed to the space station The complete packageThe size of an ice chest,CAL will contain the lasers,magnetic coils, pumps, andvacuum chamber needed forthe experiments. Physicistswill run the lab remotely,doing their experimentsin turns, like the users of aspace telescope. Quantum simulations with ultracold atoms in optical lattices There is one main reason to do atomic physics in space. “It’s all about getting away from gravity,” says Charles Sackett, a physicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and a CAL experimenter. Here’s the problem: To make a BEC, physicists use magnets and lasers to trap and chill atoms so that their speeds drop from thousands of meters per second to centimeters per second—slower than a walk. But to probe a BEC, they must release it from its trap and shine laser light on it, creating a shadow that reveals the atoms’ distribution.On Earth, gravity pulls at the atoms the moment they are released, typically giving physicists just 10 to 20 milliseconds to make their measurements before the BEC crashes to the bottom of the vacuum chamber. In the weightlessness of orbit, a BEC should hover for up to 10 seconds before lingering gas in the vacuum chamber warms it up, Sackett says, allowing time for measurements that can’t be made on Earth.Working in orbit should also push atoms to lower temperatures. In making a BEC, the final step begins with the atoms trapped in a magnetic field. Physicists ramp down the magnetic field so that the trap becomes weaker and wider, allowing the gas to expand and cool—just as a can of spray paint gets cold when the gas inside decompresses. In orbit, the trap can get weaker and bigger without losing the atoms, enabling the gases to attain even lower temperatures.Such weightlessness has been mimicked, fleetingly, on the ground. Since 2007, a multi-institutional team working at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity in Bremen, Germany, has dropped its reusable cold atom experiments down a 146-meter tower into a bed of polystyrene pellets. The plunge produces nearly 5 seconds of weightless free fall in which to work—and twice as long if researchers catapult the experiment up the tower and allow it to fall back to Earth.Those few seconds enabled the team to reach temperatures of 50 picokelvins, the coldest ever attained, says Ernst Rasel, a physicist at the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hanover in Germany and leader of the QUANTUS collaboration. (The acronym comes from the German for “quantum gases under weightlessness.”) Earlier this year, QUANTUS researchers launched their apparatus on a sounding rocket from Kiruna, Sweden. Rising to an altitude of more than 240 kilometers, the rocket flight offered 6 minutes of free fall. During that time, the automated machinery performed 85 distinct experiments, Rasel says, including producing the first BEC in space. The ISS, however, will give CAL far more time—a year or longer—letting users do even more.For starters, CAL physicists aim simply to try to reach the lowest temperatures possible, which might allow delicate new quantum effects to emerge. Researchers are confident they can dip down to 100 picokelvins and possibly lower, Sackett says. That may not be quite as low as the QUANTUS team claims in its drop-tower result. But the QUANTUS team can perform just three runs a day, whereas CAL can perform experiments continuously. Out in the coldIn 2018, NASA’s Cold AtomLaboratory (CAL) will rocket tothe International Space Station(ISS). There, the $70 milliondevice will chill clouds of atomsto less than a billionth of adegree above absolute zero andcreate Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), in which the atoms behave like a single quantum wave of matter and can flow without any resistance. In orbit, the atoms will hover weightlessly, giving physicists more time to perform experiments. Perhaps CAL’s biggest goal is a type of experiment called atom interferometry. Laser light can split the quantum wave of a BEC into two halves that move apart and recombine. Thanks to the weirdness of quantum theory, that splitting means that each atom in the BEC literally takes both paths at once. If the split paths are separated vertically, one path will be infinitesimally farther from Earth, giving it slightly more gravitational energy than the other path and causing the quantum wave to undulate slightly faster along that path. As a result, when the waves merge, they will interfere with each other to create a rippled density distribution in the BEC. The pattern should reveal exactly how much the atoms accelerate under gravity as they orbit Earth.If precise enough, an orbiting atom interferometer could have many scientific applications. Atom interferometers might be used in spacecraft as inertial navigation systems that would be more accurate than current devices, which rely on laser gyroscopes. And by testing the effect of gravity on BECs of two different types of atoms, an atom interferometer could test the principle that all objects, no matter their weight or composition, accelerate at the exact same rate under gravity’s pull—as Galileo Galilei supposedly demonstrated by dropping balls of different materials off the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. That “equivalence principle” now serves as the cornerstone of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, general relativity, and physicists are keen to test it in as many ways as they can.Because of equipment problems, however, CAL won’t be able to do atom interferometry right away. To produce BECs, CAL’s developers at JPL are using a system made by ColdQuanta, Inc., in Boulder. Its heart is a vacuum chamber about the size of a stick of butter. At one end of the chamber, a microchip helps trap and cool the atoms. In both the original device and its backup, the chip leaked, Thompson says. To keep the project on schedule, researchers switched to a simpler design, also made by ColdQuanta, without the tiny mirrors needed for atom interferometry. In a year or so, they plan to send up an upgrade package capable of atom interferometry. “It’s very clear to me that this problem is absolutely solvable,” says Dana Anderson, ColdQuanta’s CEO and co-founder.CAL is only the beginning of cold atoms in space. The CAL and QUANTUS teams plan to join forces on a second space station mission, called BECAL, which would launch in 2020 or 2021. It would focus on atom interferometry, and achieving the sensitivity to surpass the best tests of the equivalence principle. “I’m really happy about the collaboration,” Rasel says, because even the sounding rocket flights are much too short to reach his group’s goals. “For me, it’s an opportunity to realize dreams.”The merger highlights the groups’ different technological approaches. To whip CAL together in just 5 years, NASA relied on commercial, off-the-shelf technology. “A lot the things they bought they had to rejigger for themselves,” says Dan Stamper-Kurn, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley. “It wasn’t headache-free.” In contrast, German physicists built their own equipment, which even CAL researchers say works better. So BECAL will put the guts of the German system inside JPL’s space station package.To fulfill the true promise of cold atoms in space, physicists eventually hope to launch a dedicated satellite mission. Although the space station offers weightlessness, it’s also relatively noisy, shaken by the rattle of pumps and other machinery. A quieter satellite might allow cold atom experiments to reach higher precisions and sensitivities. That might open the door to using an atom interferometer to measure tiny variations in Earth’s gravity with far greater precision than current satellites, providing a new tool to map the flows of mass around the globe due to processes such as the draining of subsurface aquifers and the melting of ice sheets.But first, scientists have to learn how to do atomic physics in space. CAL aims to teach them just that. Nobody is sure what they’ll find along the way. “I’m convinced that we’re going to come up with a couple of cool thing that nobody thought about,” Sackett says, “once we get it up and running.”last_img read more

This strange marine creature has an immune system remarkably similar to ours

first_imgUnless both colonies carry the same version of a particular protein, they fight. Cells from the two colonies attack and destroy one another in battles akin to what happens when the human immune system rejects a transplanted organ.To probe how the golden star tunicate’s immune system works, a team led by Rosental and bioinformatician Mark Kowarsky of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, isolated 34 types of cells from the animal. They found some cells switched on the same genes that are active in our hematopoietic stem cells, the blood-forming cells that spawn all the cells of our immune system. Like vertebrate hematopoietic stem cells, the tunicate versions can divide and specialize into different cell types, the scientists determined.The researchers identified other parallels between the tunicate and vertebrate immune systems. Cells such as macrophages that devour invaders are a key part of vertebrate defenses. The animals harbored three kinds of these protectors. One type had never been detected before in the tunicates, and it shared a similar gene activity pattern with macrophages.Another way in which the tunicates’ immune system mirrors the vertebrate version involves cells that are specialized to kill other cells. In our bodies, these assassins include natural killer cells, which target tumor cells or cells infected by viruses. As the scientists report online today in Nature, tunicates also deploy such cell executioners. When the researchers staged fights in the lab dish between cells from different tunicates, they found that the bodies piled up. Analyzing the genes that are active in these killer cells may help researchers pin down the crucial genes that spur organ rejection, Rosental says, and could suggest new ways to eliminate cancer cells.The body of a tunicate seems simple, Dishaw says, but the new study shows “this simple system has incredible complexity” in its immune system. The overlap with humans indicates some features of the vertebrate immune system originated in our invertebrate ancestors. Rosental and colleagues are now studying other invertebrates such as sea urchins to determine how much further back in evolutionary history these features extend. By Mitch LeslieDec. 5, 2018 , 1:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email This strange marine creature has an immune system remarkably similar to ours Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img The golden star tunicate may look like a flower, but this marine invertebrate is a brawler, attacking its tunicate neighbors in melees that feature ferocious cell-to-cell combat. Now, scientists have discovered that the immune system of this pugnacious animal shows some unexpected similarities to our own. The finding could help uncover new approaches for preventing rejection of transplanted organs or treating cancer.“It’s pretty exciting,” says comparative immunologist Larry Dishaw of the University of South Florida College of Medicine in St. Petersburg, who wasn’t connected to the research. “They’ve laid out a nice, convincing story here.”Tunicates are the closest living relatives of vertebrates—the group that includes humans, sharks, mice, and turtles—but the two evolutionary lines separated about 500 million years ago. The 3-millimeter-long, tube-shaped animals cluster in colonies on rocks and other hard underwater surfaces, fanning out like petals. When one growing colony contacts another, they have to decide “are they going to fight or are they going to fuse,” says study co-author Benyamin Rosental, a cellular immunologist now at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country These golden star tunicates use their immune cells to fight each other. Christophe Courteau/Minden Pictures last_img read more

Australia continues to see steady drop in new HIV infections

first_imgAggressive promotion of condom use has helped curb HIV infections in Australia. This giant condom in Sydney was part of a 2014 awareness campaign. By Dennis NormileJul. 2, 2019 , 11:20 AM This arsenal of tools got a big boost in April 2018, when the federal government added pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that protects HIV-negative people from infection, to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that subsidizes the medicines. This cut the cost of PrEP from AU$10,000 per year to just AU$480 per year, according to the government-funded healthdirect website. Those qualifying for greater subsidies pay even less.The number of individuals taking advantage of subsidized PrEP soared from just 1980 in April 2018 to 18,530 that December. The Kirby Institute figures that 41% of at-risk Australian men were on PrEP in 2017, says Andrew Grulich, a Kirby Institute medical epidemiologist. Coverage needs to be up to 75% “if we want to keep moving toward HIV elimination,” Grulich says. PrEP uptake is lagging among MSM not born in Australia. “Gay and bisexual men from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds really need to be a target for further PrEP rollout,” he says.It will be particularly challenging to drive down infections in Indigenous groups that suffer high infection rates among those who inject drugs. And diagnoses are typically made at a later stage of infection. This “very different picture” of HIV infection requires “targeted interventions to make sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not left behind,” says James Ward, an infectious disease specialist at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide.Still, “the decline we’re seeing nationwide in Australia is being seen in very few other places in the world,” Grulich says. The combination of preventions—condom promotion, treatment as prevention, and PrEP—all “act together to decrease HIV infections,” he says. He is convinced that the critical component in the progress is Australia’s universal health care system, which provides “free or easily affordable access to testing, to treatment, and to PrEP.” SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images Australia continues to see steady drop in new HIV infections Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Australia continues to be at the forefront of reversing the increase in HIV infections, with a study released today showing that the number of new diagnoses in 2018 dropped 13% year-on-year, to 835 cases. The pace of the decline more than doubled from the previous year, according to the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. New infections are at the lowest level in 18 years and the decline is seen across the country, says Rebecca Guy, a Kirby Institute epidemiologist.The decline in new infections is concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly those born in Australia. But that good news is tempered by a modest drop in heterosexually acquired infections, from 238 to 189, and stubbornly persistent levels of new infections in Indigenous peoples, particularly those in remote areas. “Australia is tracking toward elimination of the transmission of HIV,” Guy says, though she and others emphasize there is still much work to be done.The downward trend in new infections among MSM has been gathering steam for several years, thanks to aggressive promotion of condom use, widely available testing, and successful efforts to get those infected quickly started on antiretroviral drugs, which drive down viral loads, making the host unlikely to pass HIV on to partners. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

These orangutan moms scratch to get their kids attention

first_img By Kelly MayesJul. 16, 2019 , 7:01 PM It is not uncommon to see Sumatran orangutans scratching, but now, it appears these primates may be doing more than satisfying an itch. A new study shows loud scratching sounds from Sumatran orangutan mothers serve as a call to their young.Researchers observed 17 individuals—four mothers and their offspring—in their natural habitat, Gunung Leuser National Park in Aceh in Indonesia. They recorded the behavior of the different mothers and their young before, during, and after the mother made a loud scratching sound by itching the leathery skin on their head, limbs, or body. In most cases the mothers looked at their offspring while scratching, and afterward the two would leave the area together, the team reports today in Biology Letters. After documenting this action nearly 1500 times, the researchers came to believe it was the mother’s way of telling the child it was time to leave.Female orangutans usually communicate with their offspring through silent gestures to avoid attracting predators. This makes the loud scratching noise even more unusual, the team says. The scientists suggest the orangutans use the scratching sound because it is loud enough and urgent enough to get the child’s attention without being so loud as to alert predators. The researchers say more studies are needed to fully understand whether orangutans evolved to communicate this way, or whether this signal is specific to just this group of orangutans. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email These orangutan moms scratch to get their kid’s attention SUAQ/Caroline Schuppli last_img read more

Arctic science at risk as University of Alaska braces for draconian budget

first_imgA graduate student from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks takes an Arctic ice core earlier this year. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country University of Alaska Fairbanks Email “I’m extremely frustrated,” says UAF geophysicist Nettie LaBelle-Hamer. “It’s not just about climate, it’s also about the socioeconomics, politics … we need to be part of that.”Paul Layer, UA’s vice president for academics, students, and research in Fairbanks, says one of his highest priorities “is to maintain our status in Arctic research. It’s the one thing we do better than anybody.”UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, which partners with scientists across the United States and Japan to study weather, ocean acidification, and other topics, is funded largely by grants from nonstate sources. But it relies on state funding to pay for support staff and operations, as well as work requested by state agencies. And at UAF’s Center for Alaska Native Health Research, state funds often pay for sending researchers to remote villages, says Deputy Director Diane O’Brien. “Even when we are bringing in millions of dollars of [nonstate] support, these are research services that we depend on the university to provide from their state allocation,” she says.Others fear the uncertainty will prompt scientists to leave the university—or top candidates to reject job offers. Ironically, the cuts could make it harder to win funds from other sources. That’s because faculty can often only use state or university funds to pay for the time they spend drafting grant proposals. “In [the governor’s] view, all we need to do is get more federal funding and we’ll be fine,” LaBelle-Hamer says. “He doesn’t understand the research model.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img By Michael PriceJul. 16, 2019 , 3:25 PM University of Alaska (UA) administrators are scrambling to decide how to impose deep mandatory spending cuts that could hobble research programs at one of the world’s premier Arctic science institutions. The UA Board of Regents this week began to consider declaring a “financial exigency” that would allow officials to take extraordinary cost-cutting measures, which are expected to include laying off some tenured faculty and unionized staff, as well as eliminating or downsizing campuses and departments. The discussion followed a 28 June decision by Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) to reject a proposed $8.7 billion state operating budget and insist on a reduction of $444 million, including a $136 million cut to the UA system.The cut, which applies to the fiscal year that began 1 July, amounts to a 40% decrease in UA’s state funding, and a 17% reduction overall. Officials at the university, which operates three flagship and 13 community campuses, has some 1200 full-time faculty, and serves about 26,000 students, say they will decide how to proceed later this month.Dunleavy has said the cut is needed to balance the state’s budget and boost annual payments to residents from oil drilling revenue. But researchers are worried about the impact on UA, a prominent player in studying climate change in the Arctic, the planet’s fastest-warming region. UA in Fairbanks (UAF) is among the world’s top Arctic science institutions in terms of funding and publications, according to an analysis by the University of the Arctic in Rovaniemi, Finland. 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25 Years Later – 5 Surprising Facts About Schindlers List

first_imgSteven Spielberg’s multi-award-winning Schindler’s List turns 25 this month. A limited re-release is currently underway to celebrate this movie milestone. The film was based on the book Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally. Oskar Schindler was an industrialist in Germany who defied the will of the Nazi Party by employing Jewish labor in his European factories.This powerful figure was a card-carrying Nazi himself, yet his humanitarian act reportedly saved over 1,000 people from extermination.Here are some eye-opening facts about the making of Schindler’s List…The movie was nearly made in the SixtiesSteven Spielberg speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 3.0Long before Spielberg and Keneally heard about Oskar Schindler’s contribution to history, the legacy was being kept alive in the unlikely location of a Beverly Hills leather goods store.Looking back for The Guardian in 2004, Keneally revealed how in 1980 he was shopping for a new briefcase. Leopold Page, proprietor of the “Handbag Studio”, invited him in to browse. On hearing he was a writer, he began talking about Schindler, who was his savior.This exchange planted the seed of Schindler’s Ark in Keneally’s mind, though he was only one of many showbusiness people Page had spoken to. In the early 1960s he had approached a customer of his, the wife of film producer Marvin Gosch, about a possible meeting with her husband.Oskar Schindler.According to Keneally, Leopold (real name Poldek Pfefferberg) “told me that when Marvin Gosch invited him to the MGM Studios for an interview, the producer at first chided him for being so importunate with his wife. ‘You must forgive me,’ said Poldek, ‘but I am bringing you the greatest story of humanity man to man.’”Gosch teamed up with Casablanca writer Howard Koch to make a Schindler movie, but the project didn’t work out.Two years after Keneally met Page, MCA/Universal President Sid Sheinberg handed Spielberg the book, and from there Schindler’s cinematic destiny was set. At the time the director famously wondered if the story was true or not. Spielberg put off directing Schindler’s ListSteven Spielberg and Chandran Rutnam on a location during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Photo by Chandran Rutnam (Asian Film Location Services PVT Ltd.) CC BY-SA 3.0Spielberg was too intimidated by the subject matter, asking others to direct. He didn’t feel mature enough to tackle a subject so close to his heritage.A recent piece in The Independent says that “Spielberg fretted for years that he was too flashy – too much a creature of Hollywood – to do justice to a real story about real suffering.”Sydney Pollack was among those he tried to persuade. Eventually, the story landed on Martin Scorsese’s desk. At that point Spielberg, who’d hit middle age and was concerned about media interest in Holocaust deniers, decided to helm the movie himself. And to tempt “Marty” away he had another film in mind, one he was lined up to work on.The iconic Italian American wound up “swapping Schindler’s List for Cape Fear – the carrot being that he could cast Robert De Niro as the villain played in the original.” Almost a decade after reading Keneally’s tome, Spielberg was ready to get to work. Jurassic Park was produced at the same timePhoto by Getty ImagesSchindler’s List was a success at the box office. However Universal were worried about its harrowing subject matter. They wanted Spielberg to adapt Michael Crichton’s dino-extravaganza as a guaranteed money spinner first.The director juggled the horrors of the concentration camp with rampaging raptors, and the effect took its toll.Jurassic Park’s ground-breaking CGI effects were enough of a mountain to climb in themselves, albeit of lesser importance than the other film’s historical events.Montreal Comiccon 2016 – Steven Spielberg and ET cosplay. Photo by Pikawil CC BY-SA 2.0As quoted in an article on the Cinema Blend website this year, Spielberg said “I had to go home about two or three times a week and get on a very crude satellite feed to Northern California…to be able to approve T-Rex shots… And it built a tremendous amount of resentment and anger that I had to do this… all I could express was how angry that made me at the time.”Mixing commercial considerations with what was a deeply personal experience for Spielberg was a challenge, but it yielded critically-acclaimed results.There was a real girl in a red coatRoma Ligocka at The Krakow Book Fair in 2004. Photo by Mgieuka CC BY-SA 3.0The most striking image of the movie was more than an artistic decision. Schindler’s List was shot in black and white but one character, a little girl in a red coat, had her garment presented in color.Roma Ligocka, artist, model and author of The Girl In The Red Coat (2002), was a true life version of the child. She and her mother fled the Krakow ghetto and hid from the Nazis in the home of a sympathetic family.Ligocka said in a Guardian interview that “the girl in the red coat in the film is a symbol of all the children killed during the Nazi regime. In Poland alone, 1.5 million were murdered. The experiences of the film character and mine are identical, with one important difference — I survived.”There’s an echo of the movie in her explanation of how color helped her in the ensuing years: “She used bright colours and clothing — as bold as the red coat — to keep the darker memories at bay. ‘Because I never had toys as a child, I needed to paint a grey and hopeless world [into something] more beautiful in my mind,’ she says. ‘When times were bad, I felt clothing to be a kind of protection.’”Spielberg directed the movie for freeSteven Spielberg promoting The BFG at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.Ultimately Steven Spielberg saw Schindler’s List as an opportunity to educate and inform. With this in mind, he opted not to be paid.Speaking to Today in 2004, he didn’t shy away from describing a fee in the bluntest terms… “blood money.”“Let’s call it what it is,” he said. “I didn’t take a single dollar from the profits I received… When I first decided to make ‘Schindler’s List’ I said, if this movie makes any profit, it can’t go to me or my family, it has to go out into the world.”Instead he established the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in 1994. This created a vast video archive of testimonies from over 50,000 survivors.Spielberg was determined to show people’s real experiences alongside the fictional representation. Schindler’s List ends with those he rescued (the “Schindlerjuden”) visiting his grave in Jerusalem with members of the cast.The film wasn’t a big budget production — it was made for $22 million, tiny by Hollywood standards — but went on to generate over $300 million. Spielberg took home the Oscar for Best Director, one of seven it won that night.Read another story from us: The Weird Oscar Record Steven Spielberg Holds25 years on, after the attention died down, Schindler’s List sits in America’s National Film Registry. The film remains a shocking history lesson, one whose power will never be diminished.last_img read more

Dominica establishes diplomatic relations with Armenia

first_imgShareTweetSharePinMher Margaryan and Loreen Bannis-Roberts. Photo courtesy of Public Radio of ArmeniaThe Commonwealth of Dominica and the Republic of Armenia and have established diplomatic relations.Public Radio of Armenia is reporting in an article on its website that “a protocol on establishment of relations between the two countries was signed by the Permanent Representatives of Armenia and the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations Mher Margaryan and Loreen Ruth Bannis-Roberts.”The article further states, “During the meeting that followed, the signing ceremony held at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the UN, the Permanent Representatives expressed confidence that the establishment of diplomatic relations would promote partnership between the two countries, as well as enhance the cooperation within the UN and in the framework of other international organisations.”Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus and is the smallest of the former Soviet republics. It is bounded by Georgia on the north, Azerbaijan on the east, Iran on the south, and Turkey on the west. Contemporary Armenia is a fraction of the size of ancient Armenia.A land of rugged mountains and extinct volcanoes, its highest point is Mount Aragats, 13,435 ft (4,095 m). One of the world’s oldest civilizations, Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah’s ark rested on after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion (c. A.D. 300).last_img read more

Arizona Cardinals hold draft day in Winslow

first_imgMay 1, 2018 Arizona Cardinals hold draft day in Winslow By L. Parsons People showed up in droves last Saturday to support the Arizona Cardinals football team’s draft day held in Winslow. Members of the organization, along with alumni players and cheerleaders made the tripSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adcenter_img Photo by L. ParsonsArizona Cardinal’s fans of all ages were excited to receive autographs from alumni, cheerleaders and Big Red. The mascot signed jerseys and other Cardinal’s memorabilia and even Zach Bortz’s (right) scooter as his friend Julien Davis (center) looks on.last_img read more

Winslow celebrates A Midsummers Day

first_imgAugust 13, 2018 Winslow celebrates A Midsummer’s Day Winslow’s A Midsummer Day featured many events including garden tours, a tour of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, presentations of Winslow’s history and activities at the Eagle Pavilion. This annual event was an opportunity for notSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Air Marshal R Nambiar We were very innovative in Kargil War we

first_img LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Written by Sushant Singh | New Delhi | Updated: July 8, 2019 7:36:42 am Kargil, Kargil war, Vijay Diwas, R Nambiar, Air Marshal Nambiar, Air Marshal Nambiar Kargil war, Kargil war 1999, 1999 Kargil war, India Pakistan Kargil, Kargil India Pakista, R Nambiar Kargil, Indian Air force Kargil war, India Pakistan war, Kargil war IAF, IAF Kargil war, Indian Express Air Marshal R Nambiar, AOC-in-C of Western Command.Air Marshal R Nambiar is the AOC-in-C of Western Command, and was the first fighter pilot in IAF to hit the Pakistani infiltrators at Tiger Hill during the Kargil War with a precision-guided bomb. A test-pilot, who flew the Mirage 2000, dropped five of the eight Laser Guided Bombs (LGB) during the Kargil War and was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry). Weeks ahead of Kargil Diwas, he spoke to Sushant Singh about his experience during the war. 20th year of Kargil war: IAF turns Gwalior Air Base into ‘war theatre’, reenacts milestones What has changed for the IAF between Kargil War and now?Precision targeting, day and night, has improved dramatically. What we achieved in Kargil was short-range, 10 km, 15 km using the LGB. Today we have the capability to hit 300-400 km with the Brahmos…Another major jump has been our communication network; that boggles my mind. We were then using unsecure BSNL lines to communicate between Adampur and Srinagar. We had to fall back on Army ASCON lines or SecTel to communicate securely. All that was cumbersome and in short supply. Today, we are a fully networked force and that is a major jump. In addition to that, 20 years later, we have had the induction of Sukhoi 30. We have ordered 272 of them, and they are about to be fully delivered, the LCA has come on the scene and is being inducted, the Mig 29 and Mirage 2000 have been upgraded.Technology is seen as one of the key areas for IAF, as was seen at Balakot recently. Is that the biggest challenge for the IAF in the future?Technology will always be a major key area for the IAF. It is what differentiates IAF from the other two services: it is popularly said that one may march and one may even swim but one cannot fly without technology. As we have progressed, we have had quantum jumps in technology, we are now at the cusp of a new generation, the advent of the fifth generation and, therefore, technology is getting us more capabilities. But our enemies are doing the same exercise and we are having more challenges in the air domain. We have to operate within the restrictions of the technology that the enemy possesses. 9 Comment(s) Advertising Kargil hero twin pays homage at Batra Top Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach center_img The first thing was apprehension: whether it will work or not, something will go wrong. We were proving something on the fly, actually doing a trial in war and, therefore, a whole bunch of uncertainties were weighing on our mind. It was a privilege to be selected for such a mission but there was a worry that you would make a faux pas and probably underachieve what you set out to do.At the end of the mission, we used to feel so thrilled that it worked. Our mission launch success rate was very high. I must admit that in peacetime, we do not achieve such sort of capability. It was a team effort, my people on the ground, each one of them, contributed tremendously, countless sacrifices were made in terms of time, focus and energy.What were the big lessons drawn by the IAF from the Kargil War?One of the biggest lessons we learnt was that we need additional capabilities for day and night fighting. We had the capabilities by day but night capabilities were found wanting. War is a 24X7 activity and precision night targeting is something we acquired in the nick of time to get the attack through in Kargil. This happened because of very good support from Israel. They had sent in a team from Tel Aviv to operate out of Gwalior and they were working round the clock to fix many bugs in the software which existed due to the complexity of the task. We had a direct liaison with our defence attache there at that time, Group Captain Charlie Brown, who later retired as Air Chief. Advertising Related News Two decades on, what is your abiding memory of the Kargil War in which you were an active participant?What I vividly recollect about those times is how we were very innovative, we fought with what we had, we had no choice. Given the circumstances of what we did not have, we pooled in all our resources, the IAF put its thinking caps on. We managed to achieve a level of capability which never existed before that date. Mirage 2000 was procured way back in 1985; however, in 1999, it had no ground attack capability other than what had been bought along with the aircraft and even that was not suitable for mountain warfare. Given the circumstances and the target, and the new requirements for targeting with precision at altitude, what we achieved is actually stupendous.READ | Kargil hero twin pays homage at Batra TopYou were the pilot who got the first LGB on Tiger Hill, with an untested system which had been rigged at short notice. What was it like when you went for that bombing? Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi writes to Amit Shah seeking relief for war veteran Best Of Express After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan last_img read more