Factual Friday: January 17, 2014

first_imgSource: 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness ReportThis post is part of a series of Factual Friday posts published on the Military Families Learning Network blog.last_img

New review points to statistically small link between childrens screen media use

first_img Source:http://www.uva.nl/en/content/news/press-releases/2018/10/much-still-unclear-about-relationship-between-screen-media-use-and-adhd-in-children.html?origin=kUP%2Byx6UTZqvuJiCJKnnEQ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 4 2018There is a statistically small relationship between children’s screen media use and ADHD-related behaviors. This is the finding of an extensive literature review on this subject carried out by researchers from the UvA’s Center for research on Children, Adolescents and the Media (CcaM). The review also reveals several shortcomings. For example, the effects of program pacing and violent content on ADHD-related behaviour is still not clearly understood, and much remains unknown about how individual differences in temperament, development and social factors influence such behaviours. As a result, the researchers call for a systematic series of empirical studies on the relationship between screen media use and ADHD. Their results were recently published in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. Over the last four decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This has led scholars and healthcare professionals alike to repeatedly attribute the increase to the violent, arousing and fast-paced nature of screen media entertainment. However, the degree to which screen media use and ADHD are linked remains a point of debate.Four decades of researchTo throw light on the current body of knowledge and to open the way for future research, UvA researchers Ine Beyens, Patti Valkenburg and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski decided to do a systematic review of four decades of scientific research on the relationship between children’s screen media use and ADHD-related behaviour such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention problems. The researchers used the so-called Differential Susceptibility to Media effects Model (DSMM) to systematically organize the literature, identify possible shortcomings and to point the way for future research.Related StoriesNew curriculum to improve soft skills in schools boosts children’s health and behaviorRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeThe scientific literature revealed evidence that points to a statistically small relationship between screen media use and ADHD-related behavior. It also showed that individual differences such as gender or aggressive traits can influence this relationship. On the basis of their findings, the researchers therefore recommend that future research on the relationship between screen media use and ADHD-related behavior focus on causality, underlying mechanisms and individual differences in susceptibility.Cause or consequence?’Up till now little attention has been paid to causality in the relationship between screen media use and ADHD. This makes it difficult to determine whether media use is the cause or consequence of children’s ADHD-related behaviors, or both’, says Beyens. ‘We also need to take a closer look at the role of violent media content and pacing (the tempo of media content) in the emergence of ADHD-related behaviour and examine associations of different types of media use with executive functioning skills, including working memory, inhibitory control and attention, that have been linked to ADHD-related behaviours.’ In addition, the researchers believe it is important to seek further evidence for possible differences in susceptibility to media-effects on ADHD by examining age differences, dispositional susceptibility and social sensitivity. The development of a child, his or her temperament, character and the social context in which the child is raised all have an influence on the type of media (and media content) the child uses and how he or she responds to it. Beyens: ‘Studying individual differences is crucial for determining who is or isn’t susceptible to screen media effects. Only by carrying out more empirical research will it be possible to better understand the relationship between screen media use and ADHD.’last_img read more

Researchers find potential therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimers

first_img Source:https://www.ub.edu/web/ub/en/menu_eines/noticies/2019/02/038.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 20 2019Researchers from the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona (UBNeuro) have identified a potential therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimer’s, according to a study published in Journal of Neuroscience. The study shows, in a model of the illness in mice, that astrocytes -a type of cells in the brain- are able to release proteins that favour survival of neurons. According to the researchers, these results are a step forward in the understanding of the physiology of astrocytes, and they bring the chance to use this type of cells in therapeutic ways to treat Alzheimer’s.The study is led by Albert Giralt, Ramon y Cajal researcher at the UB, and also signed by the experts Jordi Alberch, Laura López Molina, Anna Sancho-Balsells, Ana López and Silvia Ginés, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and UBNeuro, and members of the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and the Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED).Other participants in the study are José María Delgado García and Angès Gruart, from Universidad Pablo de Olavide, and other experts from Inserm (France) and Institut du Fer à Moulin (France).A promising strategy with important challengesAlzheimer’s disease is the most common dementia among people. Neurodegeneration in patients with this disease causes damage in memory and in other cognitive skills, sometimes combined with symptoms such as mood swings and personality changes. One of the most promising therapies against Alzheimer’s is the use of neurotrophic factors -a family of proteins favouring neuron survival- such as the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, BDNF administration has important challenges, such as the lack of control of its release, which does not allow leading it specifically to the sick tissue nor releasing the proper amount of levels, mainly considering high doses can be neurotoxic.In this study, researchers studied BDNF generated by astrocytes, a type of star-shaped glial cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Astrocytes are affected by one of the neuroinflammation processes of Alzheimer’s, the astrogliosis, in which the glial fibrillary astrocytic protein (GFAP) and its coding gene are the most altered ones. In this context, researchers designed an experiment in which genetically modified mice suffer from Alzheimer’s and produce the BDNF protein depending on the GFAP levels. “With this design, from the moment neuroinflammation and pathology came up, the astrocytes could generate BDNF in the most affected areas of the sick brain. Therefore, the endogen reactions of the brain would regulate BDNF administration depending on the severity of the disease”, says Albert Giralt, member of the Consolidated Research Group on Physiopathology of Neurodegenerative Diseases of the UB.Effects of neuron formation and plasticityRelated StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairMother calls for protein shake regulation after daughter diesThe study shows this method restores the production and release of the neurotrophin in the sick neuronal tissue when the pathology starts. Then, the BDNF generated by astrocytes regulates neuron formation in samples of in vitro neuronal cultures and has cognitive effects in transgenic mice models. “These results show for the first time that astrocytes, so far regarded as neuronal, can produce BDNF and have the necessary molecular mechanisms to release it in the areas of the diseased tissue which requires activity to favour neuronal survival”, says Albert Giralt.Researchers also note that “the singularity of the design of the experiment enabled the astroglial cells to ‘decide’ when, where and what amount to produce and give BDNF to altered brain tissues”. Therefore, “traits of the patient can mark endogenously and self-regulated the dose and other necessary therapeutic dynamics for a customized treatment”.Although the use of this therapy in humans is still far from taking place, researchers note the use of astrocytes out of induced pluripotent stem cells as a promising therapeutic strategy to be explored. “One possibility would be to derive induced stem cells from the skin of the patients, and then modify them genetically in vitro to express the BDNF under the GFAP promoter. Last, the last step would be to differentiate them and move them to the most altered brain regions of patients to boost survival and proper functioning of the existing neurons”, notes Albert Giralt.Viability in other neurodegenerative diseasesThis study using neuroinflammation processes makes it possible to apply them to other neurodegenerative diseases. “Our objective is, on the one hand, making this therapeutic approach plausible for the use in humans, and on the other, present similar approaches for neurodegenerative diseases in which neuroinflammation is a main symptom”, concludes the researcher.​ last_img read more

Specific brain activity patterns in people with autism may be used as

first_img Source:http://www.fz-juelich.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/UK/EN/2019/2019-03-06-autism-brain-activity-as-a-biomarker.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 7 2019Researchers from Jülich, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and the UK have discovered specific activity patterns in the brains of people with autism. These consistent patterns of functional connectivity might be used in the long term as therapeutic biomarkers. The idea behind this is that in future, doctors would be able to investigate whether certain treatments can shift brain patterns in the direction of healthy patterns, potentially achieving an improved state of health. The results of the study, which included more than 800 patients with autism in four cohorts, were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.Autism still poses many mysteries to science: The disease, which is defined by profound developmental disorders, is neither curable nor are its causes fully understood. The general term “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) is used to cover the entire spectrum of autistic disorders. “In our study, we were able to identify a common pattern of brain connectivity for ASD,” explains Dr. Juergen Dukart from Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-7), the last author of the study. The results might help in optimizing existing treatments or evaluating new treatment options.If neuronal activity changes simultaneously in two or more brain regions, scientists assume that they form networks and communicate with each other. The scientists refer to this as functional connectivity, which they can measure using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Against this backdrop, scientists have repeatedly investigated the functional brain activity of people with autism over the last ten years. “The problem is that each study used its own methods. This has led to very different results with little agreement,” explains Dukart.The current study evaluated data from a total of over 800 patients with autism from four independent cohorts: “We used an identical analysis and pre-processing method for all four test groups,” explains Dukart.The researchers were thus able to replicate their results from the largest cohort in the other groups: “Certain effects appear consistently in all four groups and differ from the patterns of healthy control subjects,” the scientist adds. This would make it possible to use these connectivity patterns as therapeutic biomarkers, i.e. as measurable biological parameters for brain connectivity: “In therapeutic treatment, one might want to influence the connectivity patterns in such a way that they are drawn closer to the healthy control pattern,” explains Dukart. However, further studies are required for a more in-depth investigation of this biomarker for altered functional connectivity in patients with autism.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryThe researchers found that functional connectivity in the autistic brain is no more or less strong than in healthy control subjects, but that it shifts from one place to another. These shifts cause local under- and over-connectivity in the brain, which, according to the study, is associated with ASD symptoms such as speech disorders and limitations in everyday life. “This can be illustrated using the analogy of air traffic: If a large airport like Frankfurt grinds to a halt, flights are diverted to other, smaller airports. Although the total number of flights remains the same, the activity of the individual airports changes: certain airports become less important. This reflects the state of local under-connectivity of patients with autism. On the other hand, other airports become more important. These airports represent local over-connectivity,” says Dukart. For example, the study shows that certain brain regions, which are strongly linked in healthy subjects, exhibit lower connectivity in patients with autism at the expense of other regions, which, in turn, are more strongly linked. “This is what we refer to in the publication as shifts in connectivity,” explains Dukart. The Jülich researchers want to investigate more extensively the exact relationship between these shifts in connectivity and the symptoms of ASD in further studies.last_img read more

Experts Suggest Compulsory Measles Vaccination in Children Could Prevent Epidemic

first_imgMandatory immunization is certainly one way to try and increase coverage but it’s far from clear how well it works or whether it would work at all in many places.“If the reasons that the vaccine is not getting into the children relate to easy access, vaccine supply or clarity of information available to parents, then making it compulsory will do nothing to alleviate such obstacles.“If there is widespread mistrust of authority or of the motivation behind any such requirements, it could actually make things worse.”Professor Adam Finn, University of Bristol By Lois Zoppi, BAMay 17 2019Experts from an Italian study have suggested that compulsory measles vaccines before children start attending school may be necessary to prevent increasing disease incidence rates worldwide. However, not everyone agrees that compulsory vaccination would be an effective tactic to combat a resurgence of the disease. Professor Adam Finn of the University of Bristol explains that this approach may not be effective for everybody. Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionCo-author of the study Dr. Stefano Merler is confident about the conclusions made by his study.“Our results suggest that most of the countries we have studied would strongly benefit from the introduction of compulsory vaccination at school entry in addition to current immunization programmes.“In particular, we found that this strategy would allow the UK, Ireland and the US to reach stable herd immunity levels in the next decades, which means that a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease to avoid future outbreaks.“To be effective, mandatory vaccination at school entry would need to cover more than 40 percent of the population.”Smitha Mundasad, a BBC health correspondent said that vaccines “may have become a victim of their own success. Because they’re working so well and doing what they’re supposed to do, maybe people aren’t seeing the serious complications of […] measles anymore.”This may lead to people underestimating the seriousness of the disease and not believing vaccines are necessary.The fall in vaccination is also due to a study that was based on just 12 children drawing links between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, leading many people to be wary of vaccinating their children, despite this research being extremely flawed and later disproven and removed by the Lancet where it was first published.Social media is also helping to fuel anti vaccine debates through sharing low quality or inflammatory information.Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated that he was open to considering “all options” to help England raise its vaccination levels, which included bringing in compulsory vaccinations, although he said he did not necessarily want to reach that pointSources In recent years, we’ve witnessed a resurgence of measles cases even in countries where, according to World Health Organization guidelines, elimination should already have been achieved. This resurgence is due to suboptimal vaccination coverage levels.“In Italy, where measles incidence rates were among the highest, the government has made measles vaccination compulsory for children before they enter primary school.“We investigated the potential of this and other policies to reinforce immunization rates in seven high-income countries.”Dr. Filippo Trentini, First Author of the Studycenter_img Shutterstock | Kaspars GrinvaldsWhat is Measles?Measles is a viral disease that is highly contagious and is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of people infected with the disease. Symptoms of measles progress from fevers, white spots inside the mouth, and bloodshot eyes, to a rash on the face and neck that spreads across the body.Although the infection can clear within 7 to 10 days, it can cause life-threatening complications including blindness, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and pneumonia. Severe cases of measles are more likely to develop in malnourished, young children, or in people with suppressed immune systems like those living with HIV/AIDS or other diseases that compromise the immune system.Why is Measles an Issue?Despite the NHS stating that measles is now “uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination”, there has been a sharp increase in measles cases worldwide in recent years.Preliminary measles surveillance data for 2019 published by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed a “clear trend” in measles outbreaks, with outbreaks currently occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand, and Ukraine.It also states that in 2017, an estimated 110,000 deaths were caused by measles, and mostly affected children under the age of 5. This is despite approximately 85 percent of the world’s children having one dose of the measles vaccine by the age of one.Researchers in Italy have suggested that vaccines for measles should be made compulsory to combat the fall in vaccination rates in several countries, from the US, Ireland, Australia, but particularly in the UK. Researchers from the Bruno Kessler Foundation and Bocconi University expressed concern about the fall in vaccination rates worldwide. Using computer modelling, they have predicted how many measles cases could occur between 2018 and 2050, detailed in a study published in BMC Medicine.The projections made in the study suggest that by 2050, if vaccination policies remain the same, the proportion of the population susceptible to measles would range from 3.7 percent in the UK to 9.3 percent in Italy. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p06jns28/the-news-explained-why-is-there-a-measles-outbreak-in-europe https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6817e1.htm https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/ https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/measles/en/ https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measleslast_img read more

New method improves detection of atrial fibrillation in stroke survivors

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 14 2019A new method of evaluating irregular heartbeats outperformed the approach that’s currently used widely in stroke units to detect instances of atrial fibrillation.The technology, called electrocardiomatrix, goes further than standard cardiac telemetry by examining large amounts of telemetry data in a way that’s so detailed it’s impractical for individual clinicians to attempt.Co-inventor Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D., recently published the latest results from her electrocardiomatrix technology in Stroke. Among stroke patients with usable data (260 of 265), electrocardiomatrix was highly accurate in identifying those with Afib.”We validated the use of our technology in a clinical setting, finding the electrocardiomatrix was an accurate method to determine whether a stroke survivor had an Afib,” says Borjigin, an associate professor of neurology and molecular and integrative physiology at Michigan Medicine.A crucial metricAfter a stroke, neurologists are tasked with identifying which risk factors may have contributed in order to do everything possible to prevent another event.That makes detecting irregular heartbeat an urgent concern for these patients, explains first author Devin Brown, M.D., professor of neurology and a stroke neurologist at Michigan Medicine.”Atrial fibrillation is a very important and modifiable risk factor for stroke,” Brown says.Importantly, the electrocardiomatrix identification method was highly accurate for the 212 patients who did not have a history of Afib, Borjigin says. She says this group is most clinically relevant, because of the importance of determining whether stroke patients have previously undetected Afib.When a patient has Afib, their irregular heartbeat can lead to blood collecting in their heart, which can form a stroke-causing clot. Many different blood thinners are on the market today, making it easier for clinicians to get their patients on an anticoagulant they’ll take as directed.The most important part is determining Afib’s presence in the first place.Related StoriesNew discovery may explain some forms of strokeNew promising approach repairs system of blood vessels following strokeMeasuring blood protein levels in diabetic patients to predict risk of strokeMuch-needed improvementBrown says challenges persist in detecting intermittent Afib during stroke hospitalization.”More accurate identification of Afib should translate into more strokes prevented,” she says.Once hospitalized in the stroke unit, patients are typically placed on continuous heart rhythm monitoring. Stroke neurologists want to detect possible intermittent Afib that initial monitoring like an electrocardiogram, or ECG, would have missed.Because a physician can’t reasonably review every single heartbeat, current monitoring technology flags heart rates that are too high, Brown says. The neurologist then reviews these flagged events, which researchers say could lead to some missed Afib occurrences, or false positives in patients with different heart rhythm issues.In contrast, Borjigin’s electrocardiomatrix converts two-dimensional signals from the ECG into a three-dimensional heatmap that allows for rapid inspection of all collected heartbeats. Borjigin says this method permits fast, accurate and intuitive detection of cardiac arrhythmias. It also minimizes false positive as well as false negative detection of arrhythmias.”We originally noted five false positives and five false negatives in the study,” Borjigin says, “but expert review actually found the electrocardiomatrix was correct instead of the clinical documentation we were comparing it to.”More applicationsThe Borjigin lab also recently demonstrated the usefulness of the electrocardiomatrix to differentiate between Afib and atrial flutter. In addition, the lab has shown the ability of electrocardiomatrix to capture reduced heart-rate variability in critical care patients.Borjigin says she envisions electrocardiomatrix technology will one day be used to assist the detection of all cardiac arrhythmias online or offline and side-by-side with the use of ECG.”I believe that sooner or later, electrocardiomatrix will be used in clinical practice to benefit patients,” she says. Source:Michigan Medicine – University of MichiganJournal reference:Brown, D.L. et al. (2019) Electrocardiomatrix Facilitates Accurate Detection of Atrial Fibrillation in Stroke Patients. Stroke. doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.025361.last_img read more

Patnaik announces monetary relief for people hit by Cyclone Titli floodsPatnaik announces

first_imgSHARE COMMENT Orissa Published on cyclones October 13, 2018 Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a monetary relief on Saturday to be paid for 15 days to people affected by Cyclone Titli and the resultant flooding in Ganjam and Gajapati districts and Gunupur sub-division of Rayagada district.Patnaik made the announcement after an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts earlier on Saturday.“On an average a family of four will be assisted with more than Rs 3,000 as relief,” Patnaik told reporters in Bhubaneswar.He said the relief amount will be provided at the rate of Rs 60 per adult and Rs 45 per child per day for 15 days.He said the cyclone did the maximum damage to agriculture crops, roads and trees, adding a damage assessment will begin after immediate relief and restoration measures are completed.The Chief Minister said road connectivity and power supply to 90 per cent of cyclone-hit areas will be restored within 48 hours. Power supply to rest of the affected-areas will be ensured in four-five days, he added.He said safe drinking water will be provided in all block areas within two days and all tube wells will be repaired by Sunday.“In next 24 hours water supply will be restored in all urban areas. Generator sets will be used wherever required,” Patnaik said SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTSlast_img read more

Supreme Court orders commencement of work for Phase 4 of Delhi Metro

first_img Press Trust of India New DelhiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 15:44 IST The EPCA report said that there was a “stalemate” in discussions between the central government and Delhi government on certain financial aspects of the project. (File Photo)The Supreme Court Friday ordered implementation of the 103.94 km, Phase 4 of the Delhi metro and directed the authorities concerned to commence construction work on the project.A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was told by the counsel appearing for the Delhi government that they have agreed to give a go ahead to the Phase 4 of the Delhi metro.The apex court was hearing a matter in which the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had recently filed a report stating that the approval for the project was held up since 2014.The EPCA report said that there was a “stalemate” in discussions between the central government and Delhi government on certain financial aspects of the project.”There is a stalemate in the discussions between the Union Government and the Delhi government on different financial aspects of the project. The Delhi government has on April 10, 2019 communicated its direction that DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) would not start work of Delhi Metro phase-IV till these issues are resolved,” it said.The stalemate came under the apex court’s scanner which said it would pass order in the matter as the “project cannot wait”.The court was also told by the apex court that the project was “critical” and the pending issue should be resolved soon.The Centre had told the court that project financing has been done in consonance with the Metro Rail Policy of August 2017 and metro projects of other cities like Bhopal, Indore, Kanpur, Patna and Agra have been sanctioned on the same financial pattern as of Delhi metro phase-IV.The EPCA report had said that the project is “critical as it will add another 104 km to the network” and “it is designed to join the current network and will densify it and make the system more viable and attractive to commuters”.ALSO READ | Delhi Metro snag: Thousands stranded, traffic chokes Delhi-Gurgaon highway as Yellow Line collapsesALSO WATCH | Arvind Kejriwal announces free travel for women in Delhi Metro, busesFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySnigdha Choudhury Supreme Court orders commencement of work for Phase 4 of Delhi MetroA bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was told by the counsel appearing for the Delhi government that they have agreed to give a go ahead to the Phase 4 of the Delhi metro. The apex court was hearing a matter in which the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had recently filed a report stating that the approval for the project was held up since 2014.advertisement Nextlast_img read more