Fruit fly neurons hold the key to the molecular causes of mental diseases

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Facebook Share Email One of the genes identified encodes an RNA processing protein called B52 – a loss of B52 increases the growth of axon branches, long slender parts of a neuron that conduct electrical impulses. B52 is also important to the synthesis of acetylcholine, a very small molecule which acts as a messenger between neurons.The construction of the brains in human and flies are very similar and 70% of all genes expressed in fruit fly brains can also be found in human brains. Nowadays fruit flies are used to study the molecular causes of complicated human behaviour problems such as anxiety, aggression, alcohol and drug addiction.The human counterpart of the fly B52 is called SRSF5. Imbalances in SRSF5 and acetylcholine production have been found in the brains of patients with bipolar disease, indicating that a link between B52 and acetylcholine may also exist in human brains and that the disruption of the link may cause severe mental problems.This study shows for the first time that investigations of the fruit fly brain may lead to a better understanding of the origins of complicated mental problems in humans.By increasing the understanding of such causes it is hoped that drug therapies may be developed to mitigate or halt the progression of mental diseases such as bipolar disease.The study was led by Dr Torsten Bossing, Senior Research Fellow in Neurobiology at the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.He said: “Our findings are exciting and have the potential to form the basis of drug therapies to address mental diseases in humans.”center_img Pinterest New research involving the removal and analysis of single neurons from fruit fly (Drosophila) embryos has revealed insights into the causes of mental diseases such as bipolar disease.The findings are published today, 11th October 2016, in Scientific Reports by a team of scientists from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Biological Sciences at Bangor University.The research team removed single identified neurons from living fruit fly embryos in order to gain insight into the control mechanism for gene expression in developing networks of neurons. A neuron is a cell that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals in the brain. Share on Twitterlast_img read more

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PLOCAN to design marine area for wave energy prototypes

first_imgPLOCAN will aid in the design of a marine area for installing prototypes that harness wave energy to supply electricity to the desalination plants managed by the Gran Canaria Water Board as part of the DESAL+ project.The objective of the project is to create and consolidate a joint “Living Lab” platform, conceived as a research infrastructure of excellence in the field of water desalination and related areas, highlighting the connection between desalinated water and energy.The PLOCAN study will include an analysis of the oceanographic conditions of the marine environment in the pilot study area and a revision of the legislation governing the sector concerning harnessing marine energies for self-consumption.The DESAL+ consortium, led by the Canary Island Institute of Technology, consists of fifteen entities from the Canary Islands, Madeira, Cape Verde and Mauritania.The DESAL+ project is co-funded by the Regional Co-operation Programme INTERREG V A Spain-Portugal (MAC 2014-2020) / Cross-border Co-operation.last_img read more

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Small firms seek to consolidate

first_imgLeading consultants are predicting a ‘surge’ in mergers by small firms over the next 12 months. A six-monthly survey carried out by consultant Andrew Otterburn (pictured) on behalf of the Law Consultancy Network, seen exclusively by the Gazette, has revealed a 69% increase in the number of approaches made by, or to, firms in relation to mergers. While 45 approaches were made between July and December 2009, this rose to 76 approaches in the first six months of 2010. The survey, completed by 55 firms with a median size of eight partners, mostly outside London, showed that 82% had considered the possibility of merger, takeover or amalgamation in the first half of 2010 – up from 75% in the last six months of 2009. Of these, 28% said they had a good chance or definite plan to merge with or take over another firm in 2011, while 37% said it was possible. Otterburn said: ‘The survey confirms what I have seen in the market in recent months; that there has been a huge increase in activity with relatively few mergers actually taking place. The next two years, by contrast, will see a surge in the number of mergers and acquisitions actually taking place as the market consolidates following the Legal Services Act.’ Viv Williams, chief executive of law firm consultancy 360 Legal Group, said firms recognise the need to consolidate, either to remain financially viable or to become more competitive. He added that sole practitioners and two- to three-partner firms would have the greatest need to merge. Earlier this month, research by Winmark’s network for managing partners indicated a high level of consolidation to come among larger practices.last_img read more

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Aim for the head

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY 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 access 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 To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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Tales of a two-decade friendship

first_imgActors Shaun Smith, from Manenberg, and Shaundeon Afrika, from Brooklyn. Two young men are taking to the stage to tell the story of friendship found in their home town and life’s challenges, which could have a silver lining.The two-man play, Simpler Days, starring Shaun Smith and Shaundeon Afrika, both originally from Mitchell’s Plain, will be performed at the Nassau Theatre, at Groote Schuur High School, 77 Palmyra Road in Newlands, on FridayJuly 26 and Saturday July 27, at 8pm.Shaun from Manenberg, and Shaundeon, from Brooklyn, tell the story of an almost two-decade friendship, with each of them having walked different life paths.Jonathan Lewis, played by Shaundeon, is in a mental institution and his friend Jeffrey Witbooi is a successful lawyer.The two, who had been friends since primary school, meet again after having been estranged for several years.Shaundeon said they were tired of people in Mitchell’s Plain being portrayed as gangsters, being shot at and killed.“We wanted to tell the story of two friends, one who made it in this world and the other who had the odds stacked up against him,” he said.“The message is about friendship. These men have been through a lot in life and they try to make it work. “I always say a friendship is a workmanship – it takes work,” said Shaundeon.Their work together, along with stage manager and lighting designer Caleb “Sufodien”, from Eastridge, Mitchell’s Plain, comes a long way as they share in each other’s passion for performance and their love of theatre.The original play was written by Tatum-Lee Louw, from Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain, and was first performed last year during the Zabalaza Festival at the Baxter Theatre. The mission of the annual festival is to provide an ongoing skills programme in areas of theatre-making to upcoming artists.This weekend’s script has been revised, renewed with added scenes and new name was written by Lauren Snyders, from Lansdowne, as the play was previously called Perceptions. The play is directed by Mkonto Yanga, from Gugulethu. Tickets cost R120 via webtickets and Pick n Pay Stores. For more information call Rowan Haywood on 063 328 7926 or email miraclesquaredbookings@gmail.com.last_img read more

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BNSF announces $3·5bn 2011 capital programme

first_imgUSA: BNSF announced a $3·5bn capital programme for 2011 on February 7, with the largest element being $2bn allocated to investment in the core network and related assets.BNSF will spend $450m acquiring 227 locomotives and $350m on wagons and other equipment. The federally-mandated PTC programme will require $300m, and a similar sum will be spent on terminal, track and intermodal works. Expansion and efficiency projects will be focused on ‘mid-continent and coal routes to improve velocity and throughput’, the company said. ‘As we demonstrated with our capital commitments during one of the deepest recessions in US history, we remain committed to making the necessary investments to maintain and grow the value of our franchise’s capacity and to provide the nation’s supply chain with more efficient freight transportation’, said Chairman & CEO Matthew K Rose.last_img read more

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Egypt reports record 789 daily new COVID-19 cases, 18,756 in total

first_imgAn almost empty street is seen during curfew amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim festival marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Cairo, Egypt May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah DalshEgypt reported on Tuesday a record 789 daily new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number in the North African country to 18,756, said the health ministry.It is the eighth consecutive day for Egypt’s COVID-19 daily infections to exceed 700.Meanwhile, 14 patients died from the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll in Egypt to 797, while 127 more patients were completely cured and discharged from hospitals, raising the recoveries to 5,027, the ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.He highlighted Egypt’s close cooperation and coordination with the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19 case detection and necessary medical care.Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 infection on Feb. 14 and the first death from the pandemic on March 8, both foreigners.On Monday, Health Minister Hala Zayed said 291 Egyptian medics were infected with the coronavirus and 11 died from the disease.Responding to complaints from the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, the minister announced allocation of a 20-bed floor in each isolation hospital for infected medics.The Egyptian health ministry has recently prepared 320 public hospitals for receiving and treating COVID-19 cases, besides those hospitals of chest and fever diseases that have been working with full capacity since the beginning of the crisis.Starting May 24, the beginning of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, Egypt prolonged the curfew from nine hours to 13 hours for six days, to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings amid increasing COVID-19 infections.From May 30, the curfew will be reduced to 10 hours for two weeks, before the government will consider easing restrictions and gradually resuming several suspended activities.The most populous Arab country has already started gradually reopening services and offices that have been halted since mid-March, amid the government’s coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.Egypt and China have been cooperating closely in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through mutual provision of medical aid and sharing experiences in containing the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.China, after having largely controlled the pandemic, returned favor by sending three batches of medical aid to Egypt.On April 16, May 10 and May 16, Chinese doctors held video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in prevention and treatment of the virus.Related Egypt’s COVID-19 recoveries rises to 201 Egypt sees daily record of 28 COVID-19 fatalities, death toll hits 735center_img Egypt’s COVID-19 cases surpass 150last_img read more

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Below average 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season predicted

first_img 174 Views   no discussions Share Tweet Sharing is caring! Sharecenter_img LocalNewsRegional Below average 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season predicted by: By: Cecil P ShillingfordDisaster Risk Management Specialist/Consultant – April 10, 2015 Share The Caribbean Region can breathe a little easier as we approach the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season.The Hurricane Season starts on June 1 and ends on November 30.The 2015 predictions released on April 9 by Drs. William Gray and Phillip Klotzbach indicates that we can expect a below average season with seven (7) named storms, three (3) Hurricanes and one (1) major Hurricane of Categories 3, 4 or 5.The release from the renowned scientists states, “We anticipate that the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be one of the least active seasons since the middle of the 20th century”.It continued, “It appears quite likely that an El Niño of at least moderate strength will develop this summer and fall and the tropical and subtropical Atlantic are also quite cool at present”. According to the Gray/Klotzbach prediction, we can anticipate a below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean. Despite the forecast for below-average activity, residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. Residents are therefore advised to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.The 2015 Hurricane names are Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, WandaThe team did not release their predictions at the Hurricane Conference indicating that they wanted to factor in data obtained during the month of March in their analysis.The 2015 Hurricane Conference can be described as having been very successful. The 2016 National Hurricane Conference will be held in the Florida city of Orlando in March.last_img read more

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Relatives of TS Erika survivors advised to observe behavioral patterns

first_imgDr. Griffin Benjamin, Head Psychiatrist of the Mental Health Team, is calling on persons with families who survived tropical storm Erika to pay special attention to their behavioral patterns.Benjamin told an interview with Dominica Vibes on Tuesday 22 September 2015 that it must be recognized that some of the survivors of the storm are going to experience long term effects of depression and post traumatic stress disorder. These individuals he said must seek professional help the same way they would if they received a burst toe or burst head. He noted that, we are moving to a dangerous post disaster stage, that of dissolution. According to Benjamin the survivors who cannot return to their houses, and have lost their animals and materials for work, may feel a sense of dissolution and even resentment.He explained that with the decline of volunteers, the people no longer have the level of support which will cause a shift from the “sense of community” and togetherness which was created and to a sense of individualism. This he said will in fact create “a high sense of dissolution”.Benjamin added that while government has made commitments, it is important that these trauma individuals pay attention to their mental health.“Even if government give them back the tools they need to get their lives back to normal and their minds are still in Petite Savanne and on their farms … they may not be ready to utilize the equipment that government has given them to function in concrete environment”.The Mental Health Team he said has held activities across the island to help victims deal with their lost. “We have had community meetings. Where we would go to the main church in the communities and invites the people to come in and we would address them and allow them to speak to us and share their experiences of how there escaped and how they worked together as a community and as families to support each other.”“The need for trauma specialist might decrease after a month but the need for normal mental services will continue for a while,” Benjamin said. 522 Views   no discussions Tweet LocalNews Relatives of TS Erika survivors advised to observe behavioral patterns by: Dominica Vibes News – September 22, 2015 Sharecenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Sharelast_img read more

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Weekly Digest: June 2020 Class I base dips below $11.45 per cwt

first_imgDave NatzkeEditorProgressive DairyEmail Dave Natzkedave@progressivepublish.com June 2020 Class I base dips below $11.45 per cwtAt $11.42 per hundredweight (cwt), the June Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Class I base price has now fallen more than 40% from the latest peak in December 2019. The June Class I base price declined $1.53 from May and $5.65 from June 2019. It’s the lowest since September 2009.advertisementadvertisementDairy leaders urge U.S. dairy product aid to other nationsMajor dairy organization leaders urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make abundant U.S. supplies of dairy products available around the world.In a letter, the heads of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) jointly urged Perdue to use all tools at his disposal to “ensure high-quality, nutritious U.S. dairy products are made available to our international neighbors in need.”“As a nation, we are blessed to have an abundance of dairy available, even during this difficult time. Taking steps to share that abundance with the world will provide a lifeline for regions where food is needed, while supplying an additional outlet for American farmers to share their abundance of dairy products,” wrote NMPF’s Jim Mulhern, USDEC’s Tom Vilsack and IDFA’s Michael Dykes. “We encourage a focus in particular on countries that have indicated a food or nutrition deficit in their country during these times and that lack the infrastructure or resources to reliably deliver dairy supplies through robust commercial channels.”Dairy farmers are facing some of the steepest losses of all major U.S. agricultural producers – potentially $8.2 billion based on a comparison of current USDA projections with pre-crisis estimates. U.S. dairy supplies available for international distribution remain ample, making targeted food aid shipped worldwide a promising avenue for helping populations struggling with localized hunger and the coronavirus crisis.Global Dairy Trade index risesThere was some good news: The index of Global Dairy Trade (GDT) dairy product prices rose 1% in the latest auction held May 19, with an increase in the price of skim milk powder offsetting small declines in other products. A price summary of individual product categories follows:advertisementSkim milk powder was up 6.7% to $2,454 per metric ton (MT).Butter was down 1.9% to $3,803 per MT.Whole milk powder was down 0.5% to $2,677 per MT.Cheddar cheese was down 6% to $3,864 per MT.The next GDT auction is June 2.Dairy margins improved in first half of MayThe outlook for dairy farmer income margins improved significantly over the first half of May following a strong recovery in milk prices, according to Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC. Much of the optimism stems from government intervention to aid the dairy sector, including purchases of dairy products for distribution in federal food assistance programs.The government purchases, combined with painful production cuts producers have had to make following widespread milk dumping due to COVID-19-related market disruptions, is beginning to fuel optimism further out on the futures curve as many states begin to relax social distancing measures and slowly reopen their local economies.Despite this, the USDA offered a dismal price forecast in their May World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report, pegging the U.S. average 2020 all-milk price at $14.55 per cwt and 2021 to only increase to about $15 per cwt.Wisconsin temporarily lifts checkoff on dumped milkThe Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and checkoff-funded Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) announced that the state milk assessment will be lifted for disposed milk during the COVID-19 public health emergency.The temporary assessment covers only milk dumped beginning May 14 and remains in effect until President Donald Trump ends the federal disaster declaration. The state order is not retroactive, so it does not apply to milk that had been dumped prior to May 14.advertisementWisconsin’s portion of the dairy checkoff is 10 cents per cwt. The funding generated by the state assessment is used for advertising and promotion, market research and development, industrial research, educational programs and administrative costs.U.S. patent office guide helps protect generic cheese, meat namesThe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a new examination guide designed to ensure generic names of some cheeses and processed meats are given adequate consideration and protection.The guide outlines examination procedures to be used by USPTO attorneys when reviewing trademark applications. According to U.S. dairy and meat organization leaders, the revision significantly clarifies and improves review procedures, creating a more consistent process that will protect the interests of manufacturers, farmers and consumers of common food terms such as parmesan and bologna.The guide earned praise from the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), USDEC, NMPF, North American Meat Institute (NAMI), National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).“The U.S. remains the pre-eminent leader on intellectual property (IP) rights and, given the critical importance of safeguarding the rights of consumers and other stakeholders in a balanced IP system, sets a global example for a system that fairly protects truly distinctive products and common name goods alike. This recent step further deepens U.S. leadership in this arena,” said CCFN Director Jaime Castaneda.HEROES Act approved in House but Senate action uncertainAnother COVID-19 relief bill, this one proposed by Democrats and approved in the House on a 208-100 vote, May 15, contains several provisions directly impacting the nation’s dairy producers, processors and marketers. The bill, known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, contains about $3 trillion in spending.While the House passed the bill on May 15, the timetable and content of additional COVID-19 financial assistance is far less certain in the Senate.NMPF has been advocating for several provisions contained in the bill.The proposal includes another $16.5 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers, with dairy producers again receiving a portion of the payments. Under the HEROES Act, eligible dairy producers can receive a payment covering 85% of the losses for the first month designated under the program. For each subsequent 30-day period, the payment rate will decline by 10% of the value of the losses. There would be no limit on the payment level under this second round of direct payments. The adjusted gross income limitation of $900,000 would be waived if 75% of a producer’s activity is engaged in operating a farm or ranch.The proposal allocates $500 million for a direct dairy donation program. This is in addition to the $120 million already allocated to dairy donations. In part to avoid milk dumping, it would reimburse dairy cooperatives and other businesses at Class I FMMO prices multiplied by the needed volume to make the donated product to reimburse some expenses of milk processed and donated to non-profit entities. Already donated beverage milk products would be eligible for a retroactive payment equal to the Class IV milk price plus 5% of the Class I milk price – a substantial expansion of the 2018 Farm Bill’s authority that reimbursed only the difference between the Class I value and the Class IV price.Under the bill, small- and medium-sized dairy farmers currently participating in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program could increase their production history up to 5 million pounds per year if they have grown since the original program was enacted. The DMC program would not be reopened to producers who did not sign up for it in 2020. However, all producers could sign up for 2021, and producers enrolling for the remainder of the program (through 2023) could receive a 15% discount on their annual DMC premiums.The proposal would create a $500 million recourse loan program, administered by the USDA, for dairy processors, packagers, merchants, marketers, wholesalers and distributors. Dairy cooperatives would be eligible. The program would make working capital loans to companies forced to carry heavier inventories and cope with growing accounts receivable burdens as customers defer deliveries and payments due to the demand destruction caused by the coronavirus.LMA eyes livestock dealer trust fundOfficials with the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) said they support the creation of the Dealer Statutory Trust to improve recovery in payment defaults and additional funds for producer payments to compensate cattle price losses. The proposal is part of the HEROES Act, approved in the House on May 15.According to proponents, the Dealer Statutory Trust would improve recovery when a producer or livestock auction market is not paid for livestock sold to a dealer. When these defaults occur, a Dealer Statutory Trust would give unpaid sellers (markets and livestock producers) first priority to get livestock back. If the defaulting dealer resells the livestock, priority in the proceeds and/or receivables for livestock would belong to the unpaid seller.The Dealer Trust was previously introduced in the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act in both the House and Senate (H.R. 6067 / S. 3419) in 2017-18, but was not included in the final 2018 Farm Bill. Instead, Congress directed the USDA to conduct a feasibility study of establishing the program.Foremost Farms to close Wisconsin cheese plantForemost Farms USA plans to close a cheese manufacturing facility in Chilton, Wisconsin, in July. In announcing the closure, Foremost President and CEO Greg Schlafer said the facility was the victim of age and changing consumer buying patterns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.Built in the 1940s, the plant makes Italian cheeses including provolone, which is sold into the food service market for sandwiches.“Closing the facility is difficult for us,” Schlafer said. “But in looking at our operations holistically, we don’t think making long-term investments in the plant make strategic sense for our network. We have other plants with upgraded technology and optimized logistics that will drive significant cost efficiencies.”Declines in food service cheese order volumes have created excess product to meet demand. “We don’t see an immediate bounce back in cheese orders from food service clients serviced by the location,” said Schlafer.Progressive Dairy COVID-19 resourcesProgressive Dairy frequently provides updates on COVID-19 news and resources on a special webpage.Updates for May 20 include information of Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness, additional analysis of the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) direct payments, details on strong retail sales in grocery stores and more.There’s also information on event changes and cancellations; a list of recent dairy organization podcasts related to COVID-19; a comprehensive list of other state, regional and national resources; and helpful articles previously appearing on the Progressive Dairy website.   Digest HighlightsJune 2020 Class I base dips below $11.45 per cwtDairy leaders urge U.S. dairy product aid to other nationsGlobal Dairy Trade index risesDairy margins improved in first half of MayWisconsin temporarily lifts checkoff on dumped milkU.S. patent office guide helps protect generic cheese, meat namesHEROES Act approved in House but Senate action uncertainLMA eyes livestock dealer trust fundForemost Farms to close Wisconsin cheese plantProgressive Dairy COVID-19 resourceslast_img read more

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