Monday, 31 October 2011

Freedom on the march, Egypt edition

A light sentence for the police killers of Khaled Said, another torture death in detention, and a prominent and blogger and activist arrested, all in the new Egypt.

It's been a bad week for Egypt's revolutionaries. First, two policemen who beat Khaled Said to death last year ? an event that spurred the online activism that set the stage for Egypt's popular uprising in January ? were given just seven-year sentences for the crime.

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The two junior policemen appeared to have attacked Said in retaliation for his posting video evidence of drug dealing at Alexandria's Sidi Gabr police station. Their superior at the station, which had been involved in other murder and torture incidents, was not tried.

Said ? handsome, idealistic, from a well-to-do family ? came to symbolize the excesses of former President Hosni Mubarak's unaccountable police state and galvanized the protests that drove him from power. But though Mr. Mubarak is gone, the police state, the powerful military hierarchy, and the Emergency Law that allows security officials a free hand in acting against citizens, all remain. To many activists and average Egyptians, the sentences were a reminder that little had changed.

Then last Thursday came news of a torture death at the hands of guards at Tora Prison ? notorious under Mubarak as a place where both political prisoners and common prisoners were subjected to torture and filthy conditions. The victim, Essam Atta, was serving a short sentence for squatting in an apartment, though the details of his alleged crime are murky. Egypt's Al Ahram reported he'd been given a two-year sentence by a military court on Feb. 25, shortly after Mubarak was ousted, and that guards had found him with a cell phone, against prison rules. They beat him, sodomized him with a hose, and also forced a hose down his throat, through which they poured soapy water.

On Friday, a public funeral was held at Tahrir Square ? the heart of the original uprising ? with thousands in attendance, among them Khaled Said's mother, who embraced Atta's family.

Then came the arrest of Alaa Abdel Fatah, a blogger and activist who's been on the front lines of efforts to oust Mubarak since their first tentative beginnings in 2005. He was one of the young pioneers of digital activism, using the Internet to spread news and videos that state-controlled media wouldn't touch. He helped organize overnight demonstrations and protests that attracted a few diehards that prefigured the mass protests that would erupt early this year, chipping away at the layers of fear that kept Egyptians from complaining about their military rulers.

In 2006, he was jailed for joining a protest complaining about the sacking of two judges (who had, accurately, described Egypt's parliamentary elections as riddled with fraud in favor of Mubarak's ruling party).

As of Sunday he's back in jail, under the authority of Mubarak's Emergency Law, on charges that go beyond spurious. That he was "inciting violence" against Egypt's military. How? He complained about the military's behavior earlier this month, when soldiers using rifles and their armored cars as weapons killed 17 Coptic Christians, at an angry protest in front of the State Media and Television building. The protest was over what Copts say is a lack of protection for churches from the country's armed forces.

That night included false claims on state television that armed Copts were attacking the military and even a call for Egyptians to come out and protect the army, further stirring Egypt's sectarian pot. The government blamed unspecified outsiders for the violence.

There have been more than 10,000 civilians tried in military courts since Mubarak fell, Egyptian rights groups say, and Mr. Abdel Fatah is just the latest. But his profile among activists and the prominence of his family (as well as the death of Mina Daniel, a well-known Coptic activist, at the hands of the military the night of the protest) is getting a high degree of attention. A protest march of at least a thousand was held demanding his release tonight.

All of this is a sobering reminder of how much power the military and security services retain, and how intolerant they are of public criticism. Tunisia may have just held a fairly clean post-Ben Ali election, but there are worrying signs in arrests like Abdel Fatah's that the Egyptian military is going to use its power to try to sway the outcome of Egyptian elections, with a parliamentary poll currently scheduled to begin on Nov. 28.

The regime that Egypt's activists fought to remove in January and February remains very much in place, absent the longstanding man at the top.

Follow Dan Murphy on Twitter.

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/csm/~3/eKFvQvuL_y8/Freedom-on-the-march-Egypt-edition

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Malaika to shake her belly in yet another item song

After knocking the audiences off their seats with her Munni act in ?Dabangg?, the sizzling beauty Malaika Arora Khan is yet again ready to revolutionize the theory of sensual item numbers. The starlet would be shaking her legs in ?Anarkali Disco Chali? item track in the Akshay Kumar starrer ?Housefull2?. The reports have it that [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/newslatest/~3/K6r2KJAAKp4/3778.html

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Scientists chart gene expression in the brain across lifespan

ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2011) ? The "switching on" or expression of specific genes in the human genome is what makes each human tissue and each human being unique. A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health found that many gene expression changes that occur during fetal development are reversed immediately after birth.

Reversals of fetal expression changes are also seen again much later in life during normal aging of the brain. Additionally, the team observed the reversal of fetal expression changes in Alzheimer's disease findings reported in other studies. The research team also found that gene expression change is fastest in human brain tissue during fetal development, slows down through childhood and adolescence, stabilizes in adulthood, and then speeds up again after age 50, with distinct redirection of expression changes prior to birth and in early adulthood.

Their findings are published in the October 27, 2011, edition of Nature. All of the data are available to the public as a web-based resource at: www.libd.org/braincloud.

Using a number of genomic analysis technologies, the research team conducted genome-wide genetic (DNA) and gene expression (RNA) analyses of brain tissue samples from the prefrontal cortex. Tissue represented the various stages of the human lifespan.

"We think that these coordinated changes in gene expression connecting fetal development with aging and neurodegeneration are central to how the genome constructs the human brain and how the brain ages," said Carlo Colantuoni, PhD, one of the lead authors of the study and a former research associate with the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Colantuoni recently joined the Lieber Institute for Brain Development on the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.

The research also showed that brain gene expression differences between genetically diverse individuals (of different races, for example) are no greater than the differences between individuals sharing many more genetic traits.

"Our findings highlight the fact that current technologies and analysis methods can address the effects of individual genetic traits in isolation, but we have virtually no understanding of how our many millions of genetic traits work in concert with one another," added Colantuoni.

Authors of "Temporal Dynamics and Genetic Control of Transcription in Human Prefontal Cortex" are Carlo Colantuoni, Barbara Lipska, Tianzhang Ye, Thomas M. Hyde, Ran Tao, Jeffrey T. Leek, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Mary M. Herman, Daniel R. Weinberger and Joel E. Kleinman.

Funding for the research was provided by the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, Baltimore, Maryland USA and the Intramural Research Program in the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Carlo Colantuoni, Barbara K. Lipska, Tianzhang Ye, Thomas M. Hyde, Ran Tao, Jeffrey T. Leek, Elizabeth A. Colantuoni, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Mary M. Herman, Daniel R. Weinberger, Joel E. Kleinman. Temporal dynamics and genetic control of transcription in the human prefrontal cortex. Nature, 2011; 478 (7370): 519 DOI: 10.1038/nature10524

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/I1uBLeD1VgA/111028121759.htm

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Obama's Donilon Machine (Atlantic Politics Channel)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, News Feeds and News via Feedzilla.

Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/154391719?client_source=feed&format=rss

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Lung regeneration closer to reality with new discovery by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers

Lung regeneration closer to reality with new discovery by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 28-Oct-2011
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: John Rodgers
jdr2001@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

Study's authors show blood vessels support lung regeneration and their findings could potentially open the door to therapy for lung disorders

NEW YORK (Oct. 28, 2011) -- Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College say they have taken an important step forward in their quest to "turn on" lung regeneration -- an advance that could effectively treat millions of people suffering from respiratory disorders.

In the Oct. 28 issue of the journal Cell, the research team reports that they have uncovered the biochemical signals in mice that trigger generation of new lung alveoli, the numerous, tiny, grape-like sacs within the lung where oxygen exchange takes place. Specifically, the regenerative signals originate from the specialized endothelial cells that line the interior of blood vessels in the lung.

While it has long been known that mice can regenerate and expand the capacity of one lung if the other is missing, this study now identifies molecular triggers behind this process, and the researchers believe these findings are relevant to humans.

"Several adult human organs have the potential upon injury to regenerate to a degree, and while we can readily monitor the pathways involved in the regeneration of liver and bone marrow, it is much more cumbersome to study the regeneration of other adult organs, such as the lung and heart," says the study's lead investigator, Dr. Shahin Rafii, who is the Arthur B. Belfer Professor of Genetic Medicine and co-director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"It is speculated, but not proven, that humans have the potential to regenerate their lung alveoli until they can't anymore, due to smoking, cancer, or other extensive chronic damage," says Dr. Rafii, who is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Our hope is to take these findings into the clinic and see if we can induce lung regeneration in patients who need it, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)."

"There is no effective therapy for patients diagnosed with COPD. Based on this study, I envision a day when patients with COPD and other chronic lung diseases may benefit from treatment with factors derived from lung blood vessels that induce lung regeneration," states Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, who is a co-author of this study and professor of pulmonary and genetic medicine at Weill Cornell.

Dr. Rafii and his researchers had previously uncovered growth factors that control regeneration in the liver and bone marrow, and in both cases, they found that endothelial cells produce the key inductive growth factors, which they defined as "angiocrine factors." In the current lung study, they discovered the same phenomenon -- that blood vessel cells in the lungs jump-start regeneration of alveoli. "Blood vessels are not just the inert plumbing that carries blood. They actively instruct organ regeneration," says Dr. Rafii. "This is a critical finding. Each organ uses different growth factors within its local vascular system to promote regeneration."

To conduct this study, Dr. Bi-Sen Ding, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Rafii's lab and the first author of this paper, removed the left lungs of mice and studied the biochemical process of subsequent regeneration of the remaining right lung. Previous pioneering work by Dr. Crystal had shown that when the left lung of mice is removed, the right lung regenerates by 80 percent, effectively replacing most of the lost alveoli. "This regeneration process also restores the physiological respiratory function of the lungs, which is mediated by amplification of various epithelial progenitor cells and regeneration of the alveolar sacs," says Dr. Ding.

"This regenerative phenomenon, however, only occurs after a trauma that abruptly reduces lung mass. Then the specific subsets of blood vessels in the remaining lung receive a message to start to repopulate alveoli, and our job was to find that signal," says Dr. Daniel Nolan, a senior scientist in this project who developed methods to characterize the lung blood vessel cells.

The scientists found that removal of the left lung activates receptors on lung endothelial cells that respond to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2). Activation of these receptors promotes the rise of another protein, matrix metalloproteinase-14 (MMP14). The researchers discovered that MMP14, by releasing epidermal growth factors (EGF), initiates the generation of new lung tissue.

When the investigators disabled receptors of VEGF and FGF-2 specifically in the endothelial cells of the mice, the right lung would not regenerate. The defect in the lung regeneration was found to be due to the lack of MMP14 generation from the blood vessels. Remarkably, when these mice received an endothelial cell transplant from a normal mouse, the production of MMP14 was restored, triggering the regeneration of functional alveoli.

"The recovery of lung function and lung mechanics by transplantation of endothelial cells that stimulate MMP14 production may be valuable for designing novel therapies for respiratory disorders," says Dr. Stefan Worgall, who helped with the functional lung studies in this project. "This study will also help us understand mechanisms for repair in the growing lungs of infants and children," he adds. Dr. Worgall is associate professor of pediatrics and genetic medicine and distinguished associate professor of pediatric pulmonology.

Given MMP14's role, Dr. Rafii classifies it as a crucial "angiocrine" signal -- a lung endothelial specific growth factor responsible for alveolar regeneration. Dr. Rafii's team also seeks to reveal the initiation signals resulting in the activation of lung blood vessels. "Changes in local blood flow and biomechanical forces in the remaining lung after removal of the left lung could certainly be one of the initiation cues that induce endothelial activation," says Dr. Sina Rabbany, who is a co-senior author of this study and a professor of bioengineering at Hofstra University and adjunct associate professor of genetic medicine and bioengineering in medicine at Weill Cornell.

The researchers will next determine if MMP14 and other as-yet unrecognized angiocrine factors are responsible for lung regeneration in humans as well as mice. "We believe the same process goes on in humans, although we have no direct evidence yet," says Dr. Ding. The study's authors theorize that patients with COPD (a disorder most often caused by chronic smoking) have so much damage to their lung endothelial cells that they no longer produce the proper inductive signals. "We know smoking damages lungs, but lungs may continue to regenerate alveoli," says Dr. Koji Shido, a co-author of this study. "But at certain point, significant injury to the endothelial cells could impair their capacity to support lung regeneration."

"Perhaps replacement of angiocrine factors, or transplantation of normal lung endothelial cells derived from pluripotent stem cells, could restore lung regeneration" speculates Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, who is the director of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell, and a co-author of this study. "Currently, we are generating pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with genetic pulmonary disorders to identify potential pathways, which may ultimately enhance our understanding of how lung endothelial cells may improve lung function in these patients."

###

Weill Cornell Medical College researchers who worked with Dr. Rafii in this study were Bi-Sen Ding, Daniel J. Nolan, Peipei Guo, Alexander O. Babazadeh, Zhongwei Cao, Zev Rosenwaks, Ronald G. Crystal, Stefan Worgall and Koji Shido. Other co-authors are Michael Simons from Yale University School of Medicine; Thomas N. Sato from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Nara, Japan; and Sina Y. Rabbany from Hofstra University.

The study was funded by the Ansary Stem Cell Institute, New York Stem Cell Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Empire State Stem Cell Board and New York State Department of Health, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the Qatar National Priorities Research Foundation, Anbinder Foundation, Newman's Own Foundation, the Takeda Science Foundation, and the Uehara Memorial Foundation.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria, and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with The Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.


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Lung regeneration closer to reality with new discovery by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 28-Oct-2011
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: John Rodgers
jdr2001@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

Study's authors show blood vessels support lung regeneration and their findings could potentially open the door to therapy for lung disorders

NEW YORK (Oct. 28, 2011) -- Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College say they have taken an important step forward in their quest to "turn on" lung regeneration -- an advance that could effectively treat millions of people suffering from respiratory disorders.

In the Oct. 28 issue of the journal Cell, the research team reports that they have uncovered the biochemical signals in mice that trigger generation of new lung alveoli, the numerous, tiny, grape-like sacs within the lung where oxygen exchange takes place. Specifically, the regenerative signals originate from the specialized endothelial cells that line the interior of blood vessels in the lung.

While it has long been known that mice can regenerate and expand the capacity of one lung if the other is missing, this study now identifies molecular triggers behind this process, and the researchers believe these findings are relevant to humans.

"Several adult human organs have the potential upon injury to regenerate to a degree, and while we can readily monitor the pathways involved in the regeneration of liver and bone marrow, it is much more cumbersome to study the regeneration of other adult organs, such as the lung and heart," says the study's lead investigator, Dr. Shahin Rafii, who is the Arthur B. Belfer Professor of Genetic Medicine and co-director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"It is speculated, but not proven, that humans have the potential to regenerate their lung alveoli until they can't anymore, due to smoking, cancer, or other extensive chronic damage," says Dr. Rafii, who is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Our hope is to take these findings into the clinic and see if we can induce lung regeneration in patients who need it, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)."

"There is no effective therapy for patients diagnosed with COPD. Based on this study, I envision a day when patients with COPD and other chronic lung diseases may benefit from treatment with factors derived from lung blood vessels that induce lung regeneration," states Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, who is a co-author of this study and professor of pulmonary and genetic medicine at Weill Cornell.

Dr. Rafii and his researchers had previously uncovered growth factors that control regeneration in the liver and bone marrow, and in both cases, they found that endothelial cells produce the key inductive growth factors, which they defined as "angiocrine factors." In the current lung study, they discovered the same phenomenon -- that blood vessel cells in the lungs jump-start regeneration of alveoli. "Blood vessels are not just the inert plumbing that carries blood. They actively instruct organ regeneration," says Dr. Rafii. "This is a critical finding. Each organ uses different growth factors within its local vascular system to promote regeneration."

To conduct this study, Dr. Bi-Sen Ding, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Rafii's lab and the first author of this paper, removed the left lungs of mice and studied the biochemical process of subsequent regeneration of the remaining right lung. Previous pioneering work by Dr. Crystal had shown that when the left lung of mice is removed, the right lung regenerates by 80 percent, effectively replacing most of the lost alveoli. "This regeneration process also restores the physiological respiratory function of the lungs, which is mediated by amplification of various epithelial progenitor cells and regeneration of the alveolar sacs," says Dr. Ding.

"This regenerative phenomenon, however, only occurs after a trauma that abruptly reduces lung mass. Then the specific subsets of blood vessels in the remaining lung receive a message to start to repopulate alveoli, and our job was to find that signal," says Dr. Daniel Nolan, a senior scientist in this project who developed methods to characterize the lung blood vessel cells.

The scientists found that removal of the left lung activates receptors on lung endothelial cells that respond to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2). Activation of these receptors promotes the rise of another protein, matrix metalloproteinase-14 (MMP14). The researchers discovered that MMP14, by releasing epidermal growth factors (EGF), initiates the generation of new lung tissue.

When the investigators disabled receptors of VEGF and FGF-2 specifically in the endothelial cells of the mice, the right lung would not regenerate. The defect in the lung regeneration was found to be due to the lack of MMP14 generation from the blood vessels. Remarkably, when these mice received an endothelial cell transplant from a normal mouse, the production of MMP14 was restored, triggering the regeneration of functional alveoli.

"The recovery of lung function and lung mechanics by transplantation of endothelial cells that stimulate MMP14 production may be valuable for designing novel therapies for respiratory disorders," says Dr. Stefan Worgall, who helped with the functional lung studies in this project. "This study will also help us understand mechanisms for repair in the growing lungs of infants and children," he adds. Dr. Worgall is associate professor of pediatrics and genetic medicine and distinguished associate professor of pediatric pulmonology.

Given MMP14's role, Dr. Rafii classifies it as a crucial "angiocrine" signal -- a lung endothelial specific growth factor responsible for alveolar regeneration. Dr. Rafii's team also seeks to reveal the initiation signals resulting in the activation of lung blood vessels. "Changes in local blood flow and biomechanical forces in the remaining lung after removal of the left lung could certainly be one of the initiation cues that induce endothelial activation," says Dr. Sina Rabbany, who is a co-senior author of this study and a professor of bioengineering at Hofstra University and adjunct associate professor of genetic medicine and bioengineering in medicine at Weill Cornell.

The researchers will next determine if MMP14 and other as-yet unrecognized angiocrine factors are responsible for lung regeneration in humans as well as mice. "We believe the same process goes on in humans, although we have no direct evidence yet," says Dr. Ding. The study's authors theorize that patients with COPD (a disorder most often caused by chronic smoking) have so much damage to their lung endothelial cells that they no longer produce the proper inductive signals. "We know smoking damages lungs, but lungs may continue to regenerate alveoli," says Dr. Koji Shido, a co-author of this study. "But at certain point, significant injury to the endothelial cells could impair their capacity to support lung regeneration."

"Perhaps replacement of angiocrine factors, or transplantation of normal lung endothelial cells derived from pluripotent stem cells, could restore lung regeneration" speculates Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, who is the director of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell, and a co-author of this study. "Currently, we are generating pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with genetic pulmonary disorders to identify potential pathways, which may ultimately enhance our understanding of how lung endothelial cells may improve lung function in these patients."

###

Weill Cornell Medical College researchers who worked with Dr. Rafii in this study were Bi-Sen Ding, Daniel J. Nolan, Peipei Guo, Alexander O. Babazadeh, Zhongwei Cao, Zev Rosenwaks, Ronald G. Crystal, Stefan Worgall and Koji Shido. Other co-authors are Michael Simons from Yale University School of Medicine; Thomas N. Sato from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Nara, Japan; and Sina Y. Rabbany from Hofstra University.

The study was funded by the Ansary Stem Cell Institute, New York Stem Cell Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Empire State Stem Cell Board and New York State Department of Health, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the Qatar National Priorities Research Foundation, Anbinder Foundation, Newman's Own Foundation, the Takeda Science Foundation, and the Uehara Memorial Foundation.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria, and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with The Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.


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AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.


Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-10/nyph-lrc102811.php

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Friday, 28 October 2011

Eurozone wins respite, but it could be brief

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. A European Union official says the currency union's leaders have reached a deal with banks to take losses of 50 percent of their Greek bonds in a key move to solve the eurozone's debt crisis. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. A European Union official says the currency union's leaders have reached a deal with banks to take losses of 50 percent of their Greek bonds in a key move to solve the eurozone's debt crisis. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. A European Union official says the currency union's leaders have reached a deal with banks to take losses of 50 percent of their Greek bonds in a key move to solve the eurozone's debt crisis. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

(AP) ? With their late-night deal to cut Greece's debt and support other wobbly countries, European leaders bought time to work out more lasting solutions to the crisis plaguing the euro currency bloc.

How much time the markets will give them will depend, in part, on their speed and skill in filling in financial complexities of the debt swap and bond insurance plan they outlined.

Along with that, countries with sluggish economies, particularly Italy, will have to show that they are becoming better places to do business and improving growth ? the key to paying down debt in the long run.

So the debt crisis is still far from over. But with luck the eurozone's 17 governments just might get a chance to work on it for a while without fear that a single misstep will take the shared currency over the edge.

That respite could be short, however, if they return to the fudges and procrastination that have so far marked their response to the crisis, which broke out two years and five days ago, on Oct. 21, 2009. That's when Greece admitted to the EU statistics agency that its finances were much worse than reported.

Since then, more than a dozen late-night summits and carefully negotiated and crafted statements have failed to get ahead of market fears that Greece would default on its debts and sink the banking system and the wider economy. The crisis also took down Ireland and Portugal, which like Greece were forced to take a bailout because they couldn't borrow affordably and faced default on maturing bonds.

Thursday's deal at long last appears to have met or beaten expectations for some kind of decisive action.

"The summit is likely to be the corner from where the odds start to change in the right direction," said Erik Nielsen, global chief economist at Unicredit.

The most difficult part of the plan was persuading banks to take 50 percent losses on their Greek bonds to help shrink the country's debt pile to where it can be repaid. European leaders then agreed to push Europe's banks to raise euro106 billion in new capital by June, to protect against losses from the Greek debt writedown. The money will come from governments if it can't be raised from investors or by selling assets.

Critically, the debt deal also beefed up the eurozone's underpowered bailout fund so it can convincingly prop up the bonds of bigger countries such as Italy. Supporting the bond prices will keep the countries' borrowing costs from rising, which is what sank smaller Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

The hope now is that the trio of measures will give European countries some breathing space within which to focus on getting their economies growing again. That would help reduce debt and boost confidence in the region's financial markets and banking sectors, reversing what had threatened to be a downward spiral.

It is clear, however, that such a virtuous cycle of events will prove difficult to get going.

To begin with, there are doubts on how the leverage of the eurozone bailout fund's limited resources will work. The European Financial Stability Facility would guarantee part of the value of bonds issued by countries such as Italy and Spain. The idea is to relieve fears of default and lower the interest rate investors want to help the countries roll over their debts.

Joerg Kraemer, the chief economist at Commerzbank, said it was not at all clear that such a guarantee ? which essentially admits there are fears of default ? will appeal to government bond investors, who typically want safe investments.

And the "voluntary" Greek writedown pushed on banks might convince some potential bond buyers that if there's more trouble, they'll be asked to pony up instead of being compensated through the insurance program.

If the insurance isn't enough to magnify the EFSF's power, governments may face having to kick in more financing for the EFSF. With publics annoyed at bailouts, governments will resist unless the fate of the euro appears once again at stake ? meaning back to the brink.

"This alone suggests that the sovereign debt crisis will continue to become exacerbated before ebbing off," said Kraemer.

It's also not clear how long the European Central Bank will continue key purchases of government bonds, keeping borrowing costs down. The EFSF has the power to do that, but skimpy resources, economists say.

Others questioned whether Greece was getting enough debt relief to eventually get back on its feet.

The deal will cut debt to 120 percent of economic output by 2020, from 180 percent otherwise. Yet debt of over 100 percent of GDP is still breathtakingly high ? high enough to make investors wonder about Italy, which is at 120 percent.

Longer-term, large trade imbalances remain between eurozone members, meaning big surpluses in countries like Germany will create deficits in importing countries like Greece. Without the safety valve of shifting exchange rates, that is unlikely to change soon.

And there is always the danger that governments will not properly implement the reforms they have promised. That has been a sticking point with Greece, which has been reluctant to cut jobs in the public sector, and promises to be an issue in other countries, like Italy, where labor unions are powerful.

Despite the host of questions, markets cheered the European leaders' plan. Stocks surged 5 percent in France and 4.7 percent Germany, the euro's core where banks are heavily exposed. Indexes in London and New York rose more modestly.

"Market participants in the U.S. and London are weary of eurozone problems," wrote Stephen Lewis at Monument Securities in London. "They would have been satisfied with any statement on debt that had enough substance to allow them to move on to fresh themes."

"Today's agreement fits that bill and buys eurozone leaders more time."

How they use that time is now very much the question.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/f70471f764144b2fab526d39972d37b3/Article_2011-10-27-EU-Europe-Buying-Time/id-81856cf3542a41bd8e0c26574fc3c44a

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Maximizing Intranets for Corporate Communications ? Slaw

October 25, 2011

Heather Colman

Maximizing Intranets for Corporate Communications


by Heather Colman ? October 25, 2011

In September, I attended the 18th ?Intranets for Corporate Communications? conference hosted by Federated Press. Attendees and speakers were an interesting mix of marketing, corporate communications and knowledge management experts as well as intranet consultants. The focus of the two day course was on using intranets to better maximize internal communications, breakdown silos, motivate employees, promote organizational change and firm branding. The three themes that really stood out for me were the importance of an intranet?s usability, content and role in helping to communicate change through out an organization.

Don Hameluck, a usability expert, talked about the winning formula for a successful intranet, which includes providing value and a satisfying and engaging user experience that keeps users coming back. He also talked about the importance of having an intranet that is aligned with business strategy and goals

Don then discussed the different ways to assess usability which include:

  • asking a usability expert to review the design;
  • conducting task-based or contextual inquiry tests with actual users;
  • gathering staff feedback through surveys or polls; and
  • analyzing operational data such as support logs, analytics and other metrics.

Content is key to the success of any intranet and should be reviewed on a regular basis to determine if it is relevant, current and continues to meet the needs of employees. Loris Parekh, Director of Digital Communications for Revera, provided useful tips in considering content management, including determining ownership of content, intranet roles and responsibilities, centralized or decentralized publishing, delivery tools and internal/external sources of content.

Loris shared her motivational techniques for content owners. They included giving them the latitude, tools and training to add content. Promoting the business value of their content and publishing a list of the top ten pages visited by employees are other great motivational techniques for content owners.

Finally, Loris talked about content applications that help drive employees to the intranet which include: company news, blogs, wikis, forms, HR information, self-service tools, policies and procedures, phone directory, organizational charts, document repositories and contact information. This list certainly made me consider what could be added to our intranet.

Other presentations discussed using intranets as change vehicles for communications regarding company reorganizations, office moves, business transformations, and so on. Madeline Long-Duke, Vice President Corporate Sector for Weber Shandwick, discussed leveraging corporate intranets for change management initiatives.

According to Madeline, 70% of all change projects fail due to poor communication regarding the purpose, goal and benefits of the change. They also fail because the infrastructure, processes, incentives, skills and feedback mechanisms are not in place to support the change.

Results can be improved through better stakeholder management and a communications strategy. An intranet should be part of that communications strategy because it is an optimum platform to increase awareness and ?buy-in?, connect all strategic initiatives in one place, send a unified message to stakeholders across business, functional and geographical units and validate the messaging. Intranets can also be used to motivate and engage employees by providing a forum where they can ask questions, brainstorm ideas, provide feedback and comments on the change project.

Along with other case studies presented at the conference, these three presentations help illustrate that intranets are never static and need to be continually assessed for usability, content and communication delivery. They rely on the expertise of IT, Marketing, Communications and Knowledge Management and can be effectively utilized for internal communications and change management initiatives.

?

In September, I attended the 18th ?Intranets for Corporate Communications? conference hosted by Federated Press. Attendees and speakers were an interesting mix of marketing, corporate communications and knowledge management experts as well as intranet consultants. The focus of the two day course was on using intranets to better maximize internal communications, breakdown silos, motivate employees, promote organizational change and firm branding. The three themes that really stood out for me were the importance of an intranet?s usability, content and role in helping to communicate change through out an organization.

Don Hameluck, a usability expert, talked about the winning formula for a successful intranet, which includes providing value and a satisfying and engaging user experience that keeps users coming back. He also talked about the importance of having an intranet that is aligned with business strategy and goals

Don then discussed the different ways to assess usability which include:

  • asking a usability expert to review the design;
  • conducting task-based or contextual inquiry tests with actual users;
  • gathering staff feedback through surveys or polls; and
  • analyzing operational data such as support logs, analytics and other metrics.

Content is key to the success of any intranet and should be reviewed on a regular basis to determine if it is relevant, current and continues to meet the needs of employees. Loris Parekh, Director of Digital Communications for Revera, provided useful tips in considering content management, including determining ownership of content, intranet roles and responsibilities, centralized or decentralized publishing, delivery tools and internal/external sources of content.

Loris shared her motivational techniques for content owners. They included giving them the latitude, tools and training to add content. Promoting the business value of their content and publishing a list of the top ten pages visited by employees are other great motivational techniques for content owners.

Finally, Loris talked about content applications that help drive employees to the intranet which include: company news, blogs, wikis, forms, HR information, self-service tools, policies and procedures, phone directory, organizational charts, document repositories and contact information. This list certainly made me consider what could be added to our intranet.

Other presentations discussed using intranets as change vehicles for communications regarding company reorganizations, office moves, business transformations, and so on. Madeline Long-Duke, Vice President Corporate Sector for Weber Shandwick, discussed leveraging corporate intranets for change management initiatives.

According to Madeline, 70% of all change projects fail due to poor communication regarding the purpose, goal and benefits of the change. They also fail because the infrastructure, processes, incentives, skills and feedback mechanisms are not in place to support the change.

Results can be improved through better stakeholder management and a communications strategy. An intranet should be part of that communications strategy because it is an optimum platform to increase awareness and ?buy-in?, connect all strategic initiatives in one place, send a unified message to stakeholders across business, functional and geographical units and validate the messaging. Intranets can also be used to motivate and engage employees by providing a forum where they can ask questions, brainstorm ideas, provide feedback and comments on the change project.

Along with other case studies presented at the conference, these three presentations help illustrate that intranets are never static and need to be continually assessed for usability, content and communication delivery. They rely on the expertise of IT, Marketing, Communications and Knowledge Management and can be effectively utilized for internal communications and change management initiatives.

?

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  • Bill C-10, now before a House of Commons committee, would impose a minimum sentence of six months in jail for anyone growing between six and 200 marijuana plants. Minimum terms increase in steps to two years for higher quantities, with even more severe terms for using rented premises.

  • Yikes. This is not a hoax. Gizmodo tells you how to fix it. ?until Apple does.

  • The CIA turns down a researcher who requested "any studies? produced by the CIA Center on Climate Change? concerning the impacts of global warming." [PDF] (via Scientific American: http://goo.gl/2V7rC)

  • "Find America" - A great chart showing all countries' income inequality and ranking them.

  • Le texte intitul? ??Ce que Quebecor ne vous dit pas quand elle attaque le radiodiffuseur public?? et le document ??Examen des arguments de Quebecor Media en faveur du libre march? sont vis?s par la requ?te.

  • "Republican governors and state legislators in such states of Texas, South Carolina, and Ohio are repealing mandatory minimum sentences, increasing opportunities for effective community supervision, and funding drug treatment because they know it will improve public safety and reduce taxpayer costs," said Tracy Vel?zquez, executive director of the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute. "If passed, C-10 will take Canadian justice policies 180 degrees in the wrong direction, and Canadian citizens will bear the costs."

  • ?its implementation could lead to potentially substantial costs for Canadian businesses because our anti-spam law will be much more onerous than similar legislation in any other country?

  • Is it possible to infringe copyright by "copying" a dance? Bob Tarantino answers.

These summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book.
More information.

  • Criminal Law - Sexual offences - Particular offences - Internet luring (by means of computer system)

    The accused was convicted of (1) luring a child under the age of 14 for the purpose of facilitating the offence of sexual interference (Criminal Code, s. 172.1(1)(c)); (2) ...

  • Civil Rights - Language - Right to use French or English in dealings with or within the public service or institutions, etc.

    Two Air Canada passengers filed eight complaints with the Commissioner of Official Languages respecting the lack of services in French for two round ...

  • Contracts - Interpretation - Ambiguity - Admissibility of extrinsic evidence

    SeaWorld owned a male killer whale named Ikaika which was loaned to Marineland of Canada Inc. pursuant to a Breeding Loan Agreement signed on November 16, 2006. When SeaWorld gave written notice to Marineland of ...

  • Criminal Law - Sentencing - Considerations on imposing sentence - Where a conviction substituted for another conviction (e.g., manslaughter for murder)

    The accused was convicted of conspiracy to commit arson and second degree murder (see [2007] O.T.C. Uned 691). The trial judge sentenced the accused ...

  • Criminal Law - Appeals - Indictable offences - Grounds of appeal - Question of law or error of law

    The accused was acquitted of two counts of sexual assault. The Crown appealed.?

    The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 256?O.A.C. 246, allowed the ...

  • Civil Rights - Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Exclusion of evidence

    The accused called 911 to report that her husband was injured. At the hospital, the police learned that the husband had been shot. He died. Hours ...

  • Banks and Banking - Duties of banks - Fiduciary relationships - Debtor?s reliance on bank

    The applicant financed the purchase of an aircraft with the Royal Bank of Canada. The applicant leased the aircraft to the Moncton Flight College (Moncton Flying Club (MFC)), which was ...


This is a listing of a few upcoming events in Canada of interest to lawyers, law students, legal librarians, and others involved in the practice of law.

Clicking on any event in the list below will give you access to more information and to links allowing you to see the full entry and to add the event to your own calendar.

Click this link for a fuller version of the TalkLaw/ParLoi calendar of events and for instructions as to how to add events and calendars to your own calendar.

Source: http://www.slaw.ca/2011/10/25/maximizing-intranets-for-corporate-communications/

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Japan MP urges Olympus probe as ex-CEO contacts FBI (Reuters)

TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) ? A senior Japanese lawmaker demanded a probe of "outlandish" advisory payments at Olympus and its ousted chief executive said he was in contact with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), piling pressure on the embattled company.

Olympus Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa sought to defuse the corporate governance scandal that has enraged investors and halved the venerable camera and endoscope group's share price by pledging to restore trust. He said no fraud had been committed.

But Tsutomu Okubo, deputy policy chief of the Democratic Party of Japan, called for probes by financial and securities watchdogs and urged Olympus to explain fees that could risk shareholders losing confidence in Japan.

The row hinges on fees that include a $687 million payment linked to a $2.2 billion acquisition of British medical equipment maker Gyrus in 2008. At about 30 percent of the acquisition price, it sets a record in M&A fees.

"At least the fees were outlandish. The company must explain the whole circumstances behind the incident," said Okubo, who is tasked with policy-making negotiations with opposition parties.

"Unless the management takes responsibility and at least makes explanations that would convince investors, confidence in Japan and its share prices would be lost. And parliament cannot overlook that."

Former CEO Michael Woodford, an Olympus veteran of three decades who says he was fired on October 14 after querying odd-looking deals in Britain and Japan, said he was now talking to the U.S. criminal investigative agency as well as Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

"I'm in contact with the FBI, but I'm not prepared to elaborate further than that," he told Reuters in an interview.

Woodford also said he had made contact with the original Olympus whistleblower, whose tip-off to Japanese monthly magazine Facta originally prompted his own investigations.

"I made contact at the weekend through an intermediary," he said. "I don't know his name as it was blanked out. He was very scared. He expressed sadness that he didn't know me well enough to have come to me directly."

OLYMPIAN WORRIES

Olympus, meanwhile, said it hoped to restore trust as soon as possible by settling the confusion, which has dogged the payments as well as a string of non-core acquisitions around 2008.

"The acquisitions of the past were conducted through proper valuations and procedures, and there were by no means fraudulent practices. We are preparing to be investigated fairly while launching a third-party committee," Kikukawa said in a statement on the company's website.

"We will strive to conduct our daily business sincerely so as to return to normal circumstances, restore social trust and put customers, business partners and shareholders at ease."

Olympus, which has failed to name the Gyrus advisers and has said it does not know their whereabouts, says it forced Woodford out over management issues.

Woodford has identified the advisory firms involved in the Gyrus takeover as New York-based AXES America LLC and AXAM Investment Ltd in the Cayman Islands.

The 51-year-old, who has sought police advice about his security in Britain, has already sent a dossier to Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) as well as Britain's SFO.

Okubo added his voice to calls for regulatory action.

"I have told them (regulators) that the Financial Services Agency should thoroughly look into the matter, and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission should be interested as well," Okubo said.

Okubo said he was considering summoning the head of the Tokyo Stock Exchange to appear before parliament, if necessary, for a public discussion of the matter with the banking minister.

Japan also needs to re-examine its governance structures, including the Financial Services Agency, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, auditors and outside directors, he said.

"There's a possibility that Japanese companies will be perceived as lacking corporate governance, so to prevent that from happening we need to re-examine our systems."

Olympus shares climbed more than 8 percent on Tuesday after falling for seven straight sessions. But the value of the company has still fallen by around $4.6 billion since Woodford was sacked.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Sumio Ito in Japan, Kirstin Ridley and Alexander Smith in London; Editing by Erica Billingham)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/japan/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111025/tc_nm/us_olympus_parliament

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

NICT, JVC Kenwood team up for wall-sized 3D HD display, lets in your face advertising get literal (video)

Been holding out hope for a real-life holodeck? Well, looks like Japan's got wall number one out of four already covered. We kid, we kid. That Trekkie tech future's still a ways off, but recent prototypes like this 200-inch auto-stereoscopic 3D screen are bringing that illusive reality one step closer to our living rooms. Exhibited during CEATEC 2011, this 1920 x 1080 full HD display plays images at 60fps using an array of 57 projectors, and offers up viewing angles of 13 degrees. What does all of that mean for you? Well, the setup gives viewers a limited ability to peer around projected objects, so long as they stay within a 1.3m (about 4ft) area. It's yet another fruit of the collaboration between the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and JVC Kenwood, except this one's headed for the realm of outdoor digital advertising. Home theater aficionados looking for a virtual entertainment solution can always opt for Sony's HMD, but that kind of defeats the glasses-free allure.

Continue reading NICT, JVC Kenwood team up for wall-sized 3D HD display, lets in your face advertising get literal (video)

NICT, JVC Kenwood team up for wall-sized 3D HD display, lets in your face advertising get literal (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 16:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink DigInfo TV  |  sourceCEATEC (Translated)  | Email this | Comments

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/24/nict-jvc-kenwood-team-up-for-wall-sized-3d-hd-display-lets-in/

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Obama mingles with the stars as he raises cash (AP)

LOS ANGELES ? Actor Will Smith and basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson for dinner and Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas for post-meal canapes. President Barack Obama waded into the domain of the stars Monday as he hit the California fundraising circuit in one of his busiest donor outreach trips of the season.

Smith, in an elegant three-piece suit, and Johnson, the standout former point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, were guests at the home of producer James Lassiter and his wife, Mai. About 40 contributors, including actress Hilary Duff, contributed $35,800 each for a cozy dinner and a chance to chat with the president. Obama, eager to reinvigorate his supporters, ticked off his administration's accomplishments.

"Sometimes I think people forget how much has gotten done," the president said as he urged his backers to rally once again, at the same time joking, as he often does, that he is older and grayer now. "This election won't be as sexy as the first one."

The Lassiter dinner, followed by a larger affair at the home of Griffith and Banderas, were part of a three-day, fundraising-rich swing through Nevada, California and Colorado. California, however, is his biggest donor state and he raised about $1 million in the Los Angeles area alone during the past two fundraising quarters, according to an Associated Press review of contributions above $200.

At Banderas' and Griffith's house, its entrance path lined with rose petals and votive candles, Obama told about 120 mostly Latino contributors that he has kept a list of his campaign promises and that, by his count, he has accomplished about 60 percent of them.

"I'm pretty confident we can get the other 40 percent done in the next five years," he said to loud applause.

The Griffith-Banderas event was the first Latino fundraiser for Obama's candidacy, with donors giving at least $5,000 per person to attend. It featured guests such as actress Eva Longoria, comedian George Lopez, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and mayors Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles and Julian Castro of San Antonio.

Obama drew the loudest applause when he vowed to tackle an overhaul of immigration laws, a promise from 2008 that has gone unfulfilled in the face of Republican opposition.

Testing a re-election theme, Obama is also telling donors that the country is suffering from an economic crisis and political crisis. "People are crying out for action," he says.

Pointing to elements of his $447 billion jobs plan that was rejected by Republican lawmakers, Obama said they likely would linger as campaign issues in 2012.

"This is the fight that we're going to have right now, and I suspect this is the fight that we're going to have to have over the next year," Obama told about 240 donors at a fundraising event earlier Monday at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas. "The Republicans in Congress and the Republican candidates for president have made their agenda very clear."

The Las Vegas fundraiser attracted about 240 people who paid from $1,000 to $35,800 toward Obama's re-election campaign and to the Democratic National Committee. The bigger donors met the president personally.

Others at Lassiter's Hancock Park home included Troy Carter, the manager of Grammy award winner Lady Gaga. The singer herself was a guest at a fundraiser last month at the Atherton home of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

While in Las Vegas, Obama spelled out a plan to help homeowners refinance their homes even if their home values had dropped dramatically below what they owed on their mortgages. Obama ventured into a working class development in the Las Vegas suburbs that benefitted from a community revitalization program like one he is pushing Congress to approve now.

But the president displayed campaign-style vigor, wading into the neighborhood crowd to shake hands and even lift a baby. His handlers reminded him it was time to leave, but Obama strode to yet another group of residents for one last handshake, autograph and photograph.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Obama headed to a diverse neighborhood minutes from Lassiter's home south of Hollywood and stopped at Roscoe's, a popular Los Angeles chicken restaurant chain. Obama roved through the dining booths greeting customers, leaving at least one awestruck young boy holding his hand aloft after shaking the president's hand. One man gave him a hug and a Hispanic man told his daughter that if she studied hard "you'll be like him."

Most of his remaining time during this three-day Western swing is being spent raising money. On Tuesday he will tape an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," his second as president and fourth appearance overall. He also will attend fundraisers in San Francisco and Denver.

_____

Associated Press writer Jack Gillum contributed to this article.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/politics/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111025/ap_on_en_mo/us_obama_fundraiser

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mechanical stress can help or hinder wound healing depending on time of application

Mechanical stress can help or hinder wound healing depending on time of application

Monday, October 24, 2011

A new study demonstrates that mechanical forces affect the growth and remodeling of blood vessels during tissue regeneration and wound healing. The forces diminish or enhance the vascularization process and tissue regeneration depending on when they are applied during the healing process.

The study found that applying mechanical forces to an injury site immediately after healing began disrupted vascular growth into the site and prevented bone healing. However, applying mechanical forces later in the healing process enhanced functional bone regeneration. The study's findings could influence treatment of tissue injuries and recommendations for rehabilitation.

"Our finding that mechanical stresses caused by movement can disrupt the initial formation and growth of new blood vessels supports the advice doctors have been giving their patients for years to limit activity early in the healing process," Robert Guldberg, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "However, our findings also suggest applying mechanical stresses to the wound later on can significantly improve healing through a process called adaptive remodeling."

The study was published last month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Because blood vessel growth is required for the regeneration of many different tissues, including bone, Guldberg and former Georgia Tech graduate student Joel Boerckel used healing of a bone defect in rats for their study. Following removal of eight millimeters of femur bone, they treated the gap with a polymer scaffold seeded with a growth factor called recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), a potent inducer of bone regeneration. The scaffold was designed in collaboration with Nathaniel Huebsch and David Mooney from Harvard University.

In one group of animals, plates screwed onto the bones to maintain limb stability prevented mechanical forces from being applied to the affected bone. In another group, plates allowed compressive loads along the bone axis to be transferred, but prevented twisting and bending of the limbs. The researchers used contrast-enhanced micro-computed tomography imaging and histology to quantify new bone and blood vessel formation.

The experiments showed that exerting mechanical forces on the injury site immediately after healing began significantly inhibited vascular growth into the bone defect region. The volume of blood vessels and their connectivity were reduced by 66 and 91 percent, respectively, compared to the group for which no force was applied. The lack of vascular growth into the defect produced a 75 percent reduction in bone formation and failure to heal the defect.

But the study found that the same mechanical force that hindered repair early in the healing process became helpful later on.

When the injury site experienced no mechanical force until four weeks after the injury, blood vessels grew into the defect and vascular remodeling began. With delayed loading, the researchers observed a reduction in quantity and connectivity of blood vessels, but the average vessel thickness increased. In addition, bone formation improved by 20 percent compared to when no force was applied, and strong tissue biomaterial integration was evident.

"We found that having a very stable environment initially is very important because mechanical stresses applied early on disrupted very small vessels that were forming," said Guldberg, who is also the director of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech. "If you wait until those vessels have grown in and they're a little more mature, applying a mechanical stimulus then induces remodeling so that you end up with a more robust vascular network."

The study's results may help researchers optimize the mechanical properties of tissue regeneration scaffolds in the future.

"Our study shows that one might want to implant a material that is stiff at the very beginning to stabilize the injury site but becomes more compliant with time, to improve vascularization and tissue regeneration," added Guldberg.

###

Georgia Institute of Technology Research News: http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu

Thanks to Georgia Institute of Technology Research News for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

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Source: http://www.labspaces.net/114558/Mechanical_stress_can_help_or_hinder_wound_healing_depending_on_time_of_application

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Monday, 24 October 2011

APNewsBreak: Conn. cuts casinos' security costs (Providence Journal)

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Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/152652108?client_source=feed&format=rss

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Breakthrough in the production of flood-tolerant crops

ScienceDaily (Oct. 23, 2011) ? Not long ago, thousands of families lost their homes and crops as flood waters swept across Central America. In Thailand huge tracts of farmland were submerged as the country faced its worst flooding in 50 years. Across the globe agricultural production is at risk as catastrophic flooding becomes a world-wide problem.

Prolonged flooding drastically reduces yields by cutting off the supply of oxygen crops need to survive. Now experts at The University of Nottingham, working in collaboration with the University of California, Riverside, have identified the molecular mechanism plants use to sense low oxygen levels. The discovery could lead, eventually, to the production of high-yielding, flood-tolerant crops, benefiting farmers, markets and consumers across the globe.

The mechanism controls key proteins in plants causing them to be unstable when oxygen levels are normal. When roots or shoots are flooded and oxygen levels drop these proteins become stable. The research is published on October 23 in the journal Nature.

Michael Holdsworth, Professor of Crop Science in the School of Biosciences at Nottingham said: "We have identified the mechanism through which reduced oxygen levels are sensed. The mechanism controls key regulatory proteins called transcription factors that can turn other genes on and off. It is the unusual structure of these proteins that destines them for destruction under normal oxygen levels, but when oxygen levels decline, they become stable. Their stability results in changes in gene expression and metabolism that enhance survival in the low oxygen conditions brought on by flooding. When the plants return to normal oxygen levels, the proteins are again degraded, providing a feedback control mechanism."

As Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Australia, the UK and America have all fallen victim to catastrophic flooding in recent years tolerance of crops to partial or complete submergence is a key target for global food security. Starved of oxygen, crops cannot survive a flood for long periods of time, leading to drastic reductions in yields for farmers.

Professor Holdsworth's work, in collaboration with Professor Julia Bailey-Serres, a geneticist and expert in plant responses to flooding at the University of California, Riverside, is just the beginning.

The team expects that over the next decade scientists will be able to manipulate the protein turnover mechanism in a wide range of crops prone to damage by flooding.

Professor Bailey-Serres said: "At this time, we do not know for sure the level of conservation across plants of the turnover mechanism in response to flooding. We have quite a bit of assurance from our preliminary studies, however, that there is cross-species conservation. Our experiments on Arabidopsis show that manipulation of the pathway affects low oxygen stress tolerance. There is no reason why these results cannot be extrapolated to other plants and crops. Still, we have many research questions to answer on the turnover mechanism. What we plan to do next is to nail down this mechanism more clearly."

Professor Holdsworth, an international expert in seed biology had the first hint of the discovery while investigating the regulation of gene expression during seed germination. He connected the mechanism of degradation of key regulatory proteins with changes in the expression of genes associated with low oxygen stress that Bailey-Serres has studied extensively.

Professor Holdsworth said: "The puzzle pieces fell quickly into place when the expertise of the two teams was combined."

The work was carried out by Professor Holdsworth and his team in the School of Biosciences in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Riverside in the United States, Rothamsted Research in the United Kingdom and University Pierre and Marie Curie, France.

The work was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Malaysian government through MARA, the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), and the US National Science Foundation.

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Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/awfMWneglqg/111023135638.htm

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