A new diet provides hope for treating patients with drug resistant epilepsy

first_imgEmail Scientists from Royal Holloway, University of London and UCL have identified how a specific diet can be used to help treat patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.The findings, which reveal how the ketogenic diet acts to block seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, are published November 25 in the journal Brain.Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and approximately a third of people diagnosed with epilepsy do not have seizures adequately controlled by current treatments. Share Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img Share on Twitter LinkedIn The research team have identified a specific fatty acid, decanoic acid, provided in the MCT (medium chain triglyceride, a chemical containing three fatty acids) ketogenic diet that has potent anti-epileptic effects. The diet comprises of high levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrate-containing foods.“By examining the fats provided in the diet, we have identified a specific fatty acid that outperforms drugs currently used for controlling seizures, and that may have fewer side effects,” said Professor Robin Williams from the Centre for Biomedical Sciences at the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway.“This discovery will enable us to develop improved formulations that are now likely to significantly improve the treatment of epilepsy. It will offer a whole new approach to the management of epilepsies in children and adults,” added Professor Matthew Walker from UCL’s Institute of Neurology.“Finding that the therapeutic mechanism of the diet is likely to be through the fat, rather than widely accepted by generation of ketones, may enable us to develop improved diets, and suggests we should re-name the diet simply ‘the MCT diet’” said Professor Williams.Professor Walker is supported by the National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.The research is funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), who support projects with a potential to minimise the use of animals in research, and by Vitaflo international Ltd, who are committed to developing improved treatments for people with drug resistant epilepsy. The project builds on work in which most of the animal use in epilepsy research has been replaced by the simple amoeba to initially screen and identify improved treatments.last_img read more

Researchers use MRIs to predict which high-risk babies will develop autism as toddlers

first_imgShare LinkedIn Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in infants with older siblings with autism, researchers from around the country were able to correctly predict 80 percent of those infants who would later meet criteria for autism at two years of age.The study, published today in Nature, is the first to show it is possible to identify which infants – among those with older siblings with autism – will be diagnosed with autism at 24 months of age.“Our study shows that early brain development biomarkers could be very useful in identifying babies at the highest risk for autism before behavioral symptoms emerge,” said senior author Joseph Piven, MD, the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “Typically, the earliest an autism diagnosis can be made is between ages two and three. But for babies with older autistic siblings, our imaging approach may help predict during the first year of life which babies are most likely to receive an autism diagnosis at 24 months.” Email Share on Facebookcenter_img This research project included hundreds of children from across the country and was led by researchers at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina, where Piven is director. The project’s other clinical sites included the University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Other key collaborators are McGill University, the University of Alberta, the University of Minnesota, the College of Charleston, and New York University.“This study could not have been completed without a major commitment from these families, many of whom flew in to be part of this,” said first author Heather Hazlett, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine and a CIDD researcher. “We are still enrolling families for this study, and we hope to begin work on a similar project to replicate our findings.”People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) have characteristic social deficits and demonstrate a range of ritualistic, repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. It is estimated that one out of 68 children develop autism in the United States. For infants with older siblings with autism, the risk may be as high as 20 out of every 100 births. There are about 3 million people with autism in the United States and tens of millions around the world.Despite much research, it has been impossible to identify those at ultra-high risk for autism prior to 24 months of age, which is the earliest time when the hallmark behavioral characteristics of ASD can be observed and a diagnosis made in most children.For this Nature study, Piven, Hazlett, and researchers from around the country conducted MRI scans of infants at six, 12, and 24 months of age. They found that the babies who developed autism experienced a hyper-expansion of brain surface area from six to 12 months, as compared to babies who had an older sibling with autism but did not themselves show evidence of the condition at 24 months of age. Increased growth rate of surface area in the first year of life was linked to increased growth rate of overall brain volume in the second year of life. Brain overgrowth was tied to the emergence of autistic social deficits in the second year.Previous behavioral studies of infants who later developed autism – who had older siblings with autism -revealed that social behaviors typical of autism emerge during the second year of life.The researchers then took these data – MRIs of brain volume, surface area, cortical thickness at 6 and 12 months of age, and sex of the infants – and used a computer program to identify a way to classify babies most likely to meet criteria for autism at 24 months of age. The computer program developed the best algorithm to accomplish this, and the researchers applied the algorithm to a separate set of study participants.The researchers found that brain differences at 6 and 12 months of age in infants with older siblings with autism correctly predicted eight out of ten infants who would later meet criteria for autism at 24 months of age in comparison to those infants with older ASD siblings who did not meet criteria for autism at 24 months.“This means we potentially can identify infants who will later develop autism, before the symptoms of autism begin to consolidate into a diagnosis,” Piven said.If parents have a child with autism and then have a second child, such a test might be clinically useful in identifying infants at highest risk for developing this condition. The idea would be to then intervene ‘pre-symptomatically’ before the emergence of the defining symptoms of autism.Research could then begin to examine the effect of interventions on children during a period before the syndrome is present and when the brain is most malleable. Such interventions may have a greater chance of improving outcomes than treatments started after diagnosis.“Putting this into the larger context of neuroscience research and treatment, there is currently a big push within the field of neurodegenerative diseases to be able to detect the biomarkers of these conditions before patients are diagnosed, at a time when preventive efforts are possible,” Piven said. “In Parkinson’s for instance, we know that once a person is diagnosed, they’ve already lost a substantial portion of the dopamine receptors in their brain, making treatment less effective.”Piven said the idea with autism is similar; once autism is diagnosed at age 2-3 years, the brain has already begun to change substantially.“We haven’t had a way to detect the biomarkers of autism before the condition sets in and symptoms develop,” he said. “Now we have very promising leads that suggest this may in fact be possible.” Pinterest Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Flu Scan for Mar 18, 2015

first_imgLow-pathogenic H7N3 virus found in California turkey flockA low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) virus of the H7N3 subtype has hit a commercial turkey farm in California’s Central Valley, causing only mild illness in the birds, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).The virus was found on a farm housing 61,000 18-week-old turkeys in Merced County, which is southeast of San Francisco, the USDA said in a report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday.H7N3 is a different strain from the highly pathogenic H5N2 and H5N8 viruses that have surfaced in wild birds, backyard poultry flocks, and some commercial poultry farms in the West and Midwest in recent weeks and months. LPAI H7 strains have the potential to mutate into highly pathogenic forms.The virus was identified after turkeys on the California farm showed coughing and a slight increase in deaths, the USDA reported. Partial sequencing of the virus’s hemagglutinin and neuraminidase components (the “H” and “N” in the strain name) indicated the virus is a North American LPAI strain. The numbers of infected and dead turkeys were not reported.The farm has been quarantined, and surveillance and testing on 10 other epidemiologically linked farms have not revealed any signs of the virus, the USDA said. The report did not mention any plans to euthanize the turkeys.A highly pathogenic H7N3 virus caused widespread poultry outbreaks in Mexico in 2012 and 2013, but CIDRAP News files don’t show any LPAI H7N3 outbreaks in the United States in the last few years. A low-pathogenic H7N3 virus was found in wild swans in Rhode Island in 2008. Mar 17 OIE report August 2008 CIDRAP News story on H7N3 in swans Researchers take broader approach to flu vaccine effectivenessCanadian researchers who used surveillance that linked genotypic, phenotypic, and epidemiologic measures to assess flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) in the 2013-14 season found that VE corresponded to antigenically conserved 2009 H1N1 and well-matched influenza B viruses.As noted yesterday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the authors analyzed data on 663 lab-confirmed flu cases and 1,037 controls. Among the cases, 415 (63%) tested positive for 2009 H1N1, 15 (2%) for H3N2, 191(29%) for B/Yamagata lineage, and 6 (1%) for B/Victoria lineage.VE for the 2009 H1N1 strain, which was well matched with the vaccine strain, was 71%. Likewise, B/Yamagata VE was 73% overall, but it was 63% for clade-mismatched strains, compared with 88% for clade-matched strains.The authors concluded, “VE corresponded with antigenically-conserved A(H1N1)pdm09 and lineage-matched B/Yamagata viruses with clade-level variation. Surveillance linking genotypic, phenotypic and epidemiologic measures of vaccine-virus relatedness and effectiveness could better inform predictions of vaccine performance and reformulation.”Mar 17 J Infect Dis abstract Intervention tool has little effect on HCW flu vaccination ratesA tool developed by experts to increase rates of flu vaccination in healthcare workers (HCWs) had little impact in Canadian hospitals, a study yesterday in PLoS One found.Canadian researchers randomly assigned 26 healthcare organizations in six provinces equally to implement a guide for hospital program planners or to conduct vaccination programs as usual (the controls). The guide was developed after expert consultation and review of multiple studies. Nine of the sites (35%) were acute-care hospitals, 5 (19%) were longer-term care facilities, and 12 (46%) were mixed or were regional health authorities.The median rates of flu immunization among HCWs for the intervention group were 43%, 44%, and 51% at three study points, respectively, which were the baseline year (2008-09) and 2010-11 and 2011-12. That compares with 62%, 57%, and 55%, respectively, in the control group.No significant differences were observed between the groups at the three points in time. The intervention group, however, saw an increase in the median vaccination rate from the baseline year to 2011-12 that was statistically significantly different from the decrease in the control group over that time.The authors also noted that the intervention group reported that making the changes recommended in the flu vaccination guide required substantial organizational changes.Mar 17 PLoS One studylast_img read more

DRC notes 14 more suspected Ebola cases, new death

first_imgOver the past few days, 14 more suspected cases have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak, and one more patient has died from the disease, according to one of the top World Health Organization (WHO) officials leading the response.Peter Salama, MD, the WHO’s deputy director-general of emergency response, said on Twitter today that, of the new suspected cases, 3 are from Jun 9 and 11 are from Jun 8. Samples from 12 earlier suspected patients were negative for Ebola virus, putting the overall outbreak total at 66, including 38 confirmed cases, 14 probable infections, and 14 suspected illnesses.He said the death occurred in a known confirmed case, which nudges the fatality total to 28.’Expeditionary surveillance’Over the weekend, Salama said the next phase of the response revolves around expeditionary surveillance, which the WHO has said will now target Iboko, a remote community in a heavily forested part of the DRC. On Twitter, he said teams of epidemiologists are fanning out over hundreds of kilometers through remote rainforests.Yesterday WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, arrived back in the DRC to assess the outbreak response progress, which has now been under way for 1 month. Tedros, who goes by his first name, will also visit the Central African Republic, a neighboring country that is especially vulnerable to the spread of Ebola.In a statement yesterday, he said, “It’s far too early to declare victory, but the signals are positive and we are cautiously optimistic.” He added that the battle has been waged with new weapons against Ebola, actions of the DRC government and its partners, and a sense of urgency to save lives.”We will remain vigilant until this outbreak is over.” Tedros said.See also:Peter Salama Twitter pageJun 9 WHO statementlast_img read more

US sees almost 90,000 COVID deaths from Memorial to Labor Day

first_imgInstead of a summer lull in novel coronavirus cases, the pandemic quadrupled in case counts and almost doubled in fatalities between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays in the United States. According to the Washington Post, the summer of 2020 saw the US fatality count go from just under 100,000 to 186,000.Per the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, there were 24,257 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 267 deaths, bringing the national total to 6,314,282 cases and 189,400 deaths.By summer’s end, New York, once the epicenter of the US outbreak, had an infection rate that had remained below 1% for 30 straight days, while North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri had the most cases per 100,000 people, according to the New York Times.”Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers, our state has now gone a full month with our COVID infection rate remaining below one percent,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday in a press release. “Our numbers have continued to remain stable even as we reach new milestones in our phased, data-driven reopening. As we close out this Labor Day Weekend, I urge everyone to remain smart so we can continue to celebrate our progress in the weeks and months ahead.”The cases in the upper Midwest are partly linked to the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held at the beginning of August in South Dakota. According to a new paper based on cell phone data, the rally could be responsible for 250,000 of the new COVID-19 cases seen in the past month.One of the authors of the paper said the 250,000 cases represent 19% of new cases seen in the United States between Aug 2 and Sep 2. The Sturgis rally was attended by 500,000 people in total, most of whom did not wear masks. The town of Sturgis also did not enforce any social distancing mandates.School starts across US, mostly virtuallyThe day after Labor Day marks the start of school for the majority of US students in grades kindergarten through 12th, and many across the country, including in cities such as Chicago, Houston, and Washington D.C., began the year virtually.Distance learning is expected by many education experts to widen the gap between children in high-income and low-income families, who may have differences in access to the internet and at-home caregivers. The Dallas Morning News published analysis over the weekend that showed more than 100,000 students in North Texas never completed assignments for distance learning when the model was adopted last spring, and almost 20,000 lost all contact with teachers.And as some schools in the South and Midwest begin or remain in in-person or hybrid models, parents are finding it difficult to get their children tested for the virus. Public testing sites across the country often do not offer tests for children under 6, 13, or 18, and many pediatrician’s offices do not offer testing.Senate to consider relief packageSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) announced today he and other lawmakers would return to Washington this week to vote on a proposed $500 billion relief package during an abbreviated pre-election session. Senate Democrats are expected to reject the bill, and demand more aid.McConnell’s bill does not include $1,200 direct payments to US families, but does include $258 billion for another round of paycheck protection programs subsidies for businesses affected by the pandemic. The bill also includes a $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit, and $105 billion to help schools reopen, the Associated Press said.Vaccine pledge; hard-hit farmworkersNine major American and European drug makers signed a pledge today promising to “uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work towards potential global regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines.” The pledge, signed by Merck, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and others, comes as many worry an expedited COVID-19 vaccine is being used as a political tool.A new Politico analysis shows COVID-19 rates are highest in US agricultural counties, as the virus is hitting the country’s 2.5 million farmworkers—many undocumented immigrants—hard. Six of California’s seven counties with the highest COVID-19 infection rates are in the state’s Central Valley, which grows a significant proportion of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.last_img read more

Yokogawa and GasSecure sign distribution agreement for gas detectors

first_imgYokogawa Electric Corporation signed an agreement with GasSecure on the distribution of GasSecure’s ISA100 Wireless based gas detectors through Yokogawa’s global sales network.With this agreement, Yokogawa gains access to GasSecure’s wireless gas detectors and thereby strengthens its lineup of plant field wireless solutions and enhances its support of health, safety, security, and environment (HSSE) management applications. This agreement will also allow GasSecure to gain access to Yokogawa’s global sales and service network and thereby boost the sales of its wireless gas detectors.With a field wireless system, the field devices at a plant are able to communicate wirelessly with host systems that perform functions such as monitoring and control. Wireless communications offer many advantages, including the ability to install field devices in difficult-to-wire locations and reduced cabling costs.Under this agreement, Yokogawa will distribute GasSecure’s ISA100 Wireless gas detectors through its global sales and service network. The growing need to improve plant safety by installing more gas detectors and replacing out of date detection systems is driving the demand for wireless gas detectors, which have the added advantage of eliminating the need for wiring and thus are easier to install and cost less. As such, Yokogawa will be better able to satisfy its customers’ needs by incorporating wireless gas detectors in its field wireless system solutions. At the same time, GasSecure will be able to utilize Yokogawa’s global sales and service network to expand its wireless gas detector business.Also, under the terms of a separate sales agreement that was reached in February of this year, GasSecure will sell Yokogawa’s field wireless system devices together with its own gas detection systems.GasSecure’s wireless gas detectors detect leaks of hydrocarbon gas that can cause explosions. Utilizing ultra-low power infrared sensors, they perform measurements and send that information wirelessly to the host monitoring system.Commenting on this agreement, Masatoshi Nakahara, director and senior vice president of Yokogawa’s Industrial Automation Platform Business Headquarters, said, “We selected GasSecure,  and believe that their best-in-class ISA100 Wireless solution will allow us to broaden the use of our field wireless systems.”GasSecure’s CEO, Knut Sandven, also commented, “GasSecure selected Yokogawa for their reliable and high-quality wireless infrastructure. We are very excited about entering into this agreement as it will give us access to Yokogawa’s extensive global sales and service network.”[mappress]Press Release, July 4, 2014last_img read more

Gunfight at the EU Corral?

first_img Jonathan Goldsmith is the secretary general of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, which represents around a million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies interpretation will have to be provided for communication between client and lawyer, as well as during investigations – such as police questioning – and at trial; the proposal covers written translation of all essential documents such as the detention order, the charge sheet or indictment or vital pieces of evidence, and so citizens will not have to rely on an oral translation that only summarises the evidence; and citizens have the right to legal advice before waiving the right to interpretation and translation, so that people are not pressured into giving up their rights unless they have spoken to a lawyer. What does this tell us? First, it looks as if commissioner Reding is going to play a tough game, and the split between justice and home affairs that she represents may ensure that justice gains. Second, the member states have lost power as a result of the Lisbon Treaty, with the commission now able to turn to the parliament for support in the justice field, which was not possible before. And third, the EU’s signing up to the ECHR, about which I wrote recently, is having some early positive effects on policy. As commissioner Reding mounted her horse and rode out of town, she was heard to say: ‘That’s what’s important, to feel useful in this old world, to hit a lick against what’s wrong for what’s right even though you get walloped for saying that word. ‘Now I may sound like a Bible beater yelling up a revival at a river crossing camp meeting, but that don’t change the truth none. There’s right and there’s wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you’re living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you’re dead as a beaver hat.’ We had a glimpse of the future this week. There was a shoot-out at the EU Corral involving the new justice commissioner and the member states. The weapon used was the Lisbon Treaty, and the quarrel broke out, beyond the tumbleweed and swinging saloon doors, over the need for minimum procedural safeguards for suspects and defendants around the EU. When the smoke cleared, the member states were all lying dead, and the commissioner was cleaning the barrel of her gun, with a satisfied smile on her face. The back story is this. The EU has been trying for 10 years to balance the enhanced rights of the prosecution, as provided in instruments like the European Arrest Warrant, with better rights for the defence, mainly through ensuring common rights for defendants around Europe. And for 10 years, some member states – including the big, bad UK – have been resisting. All right, said its supporters in desperation last year, you won’t give us this package of rights as a whole, and so we will take them one by one, starting with the first right (or Measure A as it is called): the right to interpretation and translation. This is the simple and basic right to have a criminal case interpreted and translated for you as a suspect or defendant if you do not speak the local language. The member states which supported going ahead with their own measure on this subject found it difficult to resist such a virtuous right altogether, but they watered it down considerably and nearly got away with it. But, in the manner of the most thrilling western, their time to decide on their own ran out on 1 December of last year when the Lisbon Treaty came into force, giving the European Parliament (which has backed the commission in this matter) co-decision powers. Suddenly, the member states can no longer do exactly as they wish. Enter Viviane Reding, the new justice commissioner, wearing a Stetson, holster, bandanna and chaps bought in her native Luxembourg. She hollers over to the member states huddled by their rustled horses (the actual words are my own): ‘Your watered down version of Measure A is below the level of the standard required by the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).’ She waves a copy of an opinion received from the Council of Europe which says this. ‘I do not want the first case against the European Union, now that we shall be subject to the ECHR, to be as a result of introducing a sub-standard right on my watch. Improve your offer or I will re-introduce a commission draft which meets the ECHR standard. Then my good friends in the parliament can decide which version they prefer.’ There is mayhem with gunshots before the smoke clears, revealing the victor. And so the commissioner introduced a new draft this week. It has all the things which we at the CCBE have been asking for (and which was missing from the member states’ watered down version), such as: last_img read more

In the detail

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

Victim of construction’s mass redundancies?

first_imgHere’s a story: A woman called Amy Betts-Priddy was made redundant by Turner & Townsend last year. Rather than just accept it, she took the firm to an employment tribunal last week, claiming unfair dismissal, racial discrimination and sex discrimination. At the hearing she told the tribunal panel:- She was forced to work in a “degrading, humiliating and hostile” environment because she was a black woman.- Stuart Hardy, a director in the contract services department, told her he hated Africa, where she was born (Hardy said he couldn’t deny the allegation because he couldn’t remember the event).- She was forced to work without a desk (Hardy said everyone at the London office ‘hot-desked’)- Hardy once asked why she wasn’t “married off at home”.Unfortunately I found out about the tribunal the day after Turner & Townsend decided to settle, presumably thinking a further three days of evidence wasn’t going to do them any favours. As part of the settlement Betts-Priddy and Turner & Townsend both agreed to keep their mouths shut, so I’ve had “no comment” from both. Instead I have to rely on a hushed phonecall and reporting by Josie Hinton of the Camden New Journal.  So I’m writing this blog to find out more about the industry’s redundancies. I’m asking you to get in touch if you’ve been made redundant, if you’ve got a tribunal coming up, if you’re struggling to find a job, or if you’ve just received an email from your boss warning of  ‘restructuring’.My email address is Andrew.hankinson@ubm.com and my telephone number is 0207 921 8711.last_img read more

Public procurement: Turning Point vs Norfolk council

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more