Link between proteins points to possibilities for future Alzheimer’s treatments

first_imgShare Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Email Researchers have found that the proteins that control the progression of Alzheimer’s are linked in a pathway, and that drugs targeting this pathway may be a way of treating the disease, which affects 40 million people worldwide. The findings are published today (23 April) in the journal Cell Reports.The scientists, from the University of Cambridge, found that as a protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP) is broken down into toxic protein fragments called amyloid-beta, it affects changes in the way that another key protein, tau, behaves. Though links between these proteins have been described in earlier work, this research has identified a new association between them, and found that manipulating the rate at which APP is broken down is directly connected to levels of tau.While it is not known exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, it is known that amyloid-beta and tau build up in the brain, forming ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ which disrupt the connections between neurons, eventually killing them. There are no treatments to stop or reverse the progression of the disease, although researchers are starting to understand the mechanisms which cause it to progress. Most people who develop Alzheimer’s will first start showing symptoms in later life, typically in their sixties or seventies. However, between one and five percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s have a genetic version of the disease which is passed down through families, with onset typically occurring in their thirties or forties.The Cambridge researchers used skin cells from individuals with the genetic form of Alzheimer’s and reprogrammed them to become induced pluripotent stem cells, which can become almost any type of cells in the body. The stem cells were then directed to become neurons with all the characteristics of Alzheimer’s.Working with these clusters of human neurons – in essence, ‘mini brains’ – the researchers used three classes of drugs to manipulate the rate at which APP is ‘chewed up’ by inhibiting the secretase enzymes which are responsible for breaking it into amyloid-beta fragments. By using drugs to increase or decrease the rate at which APP is broken down, they observed that levels of tau can be altered as well.Earlier research looking into the link between amyloid-beta and tau had found that once the APP gets broken down, a chunk of amyloid-beta gets outside the cell, which triggers increased production of tau. “What we’re seeing is that there’s a second pathway, and that the amyloid-beta doesn’t have to be outside the cell to change levels of tau – in essence, the cell does it to itself,” said Dr Rick Livesey of the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, who led the research.While the researchers identified this pathway in neurons with the far rarer familial form of Alzheimer’s, they found that the same pathway exists in healthy neurons as well, pointing to the possibility that targeting the same pathway in late-onset Alzheimer’s may be a way of treating the disease.Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We are pleased to see that our investment in this innovative research using stem cell technology is boosting our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms. Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to funding pioneering research and through our Stem Cell Research Centre at the University of Cambridge we hope to unpick the molecular changes that cause dementia, and crucially, to test new drugs that halt disease progression. With 850,000 people living with dementia in this country, investment in research to find new treatments is critical.”The research also points to the growing importance of human stem cells in medical research. “The question is why hasn’t this pathway been identified, given that Alzheimer’s is so well-studied?” said Livesey. “The answer is that mice don’t develop Alzheimer’s disease, and they don’t respond to these drugs the way human neurons do. It’s something we can only do by looking at real human neurons.”last_img read more

FDA says food company shipped products despite Salmonella findings

first_img Structural problems within the plant were also troubling, the report noted. Cracks and crevices in the floors of some of the production rooms made it difficult to keep the areas clean. The company’s environmental sampling yielded Salmonella from and near these same floor areas. Inspectors observed standing water in trench drains alongside some of the production equipment, with adjacent employee and forklift traffic. As of Mar 8, the FDA’s HVP product recall database included 101 products. Since then, Proctor and Gamble has recalled two flavors of its Pringles potato chips, GNS Foods has recalled snack mixes containing honey-mustard pretzels, Herr Foods Inc. has recalled black pepper and sea-salt potato chips, and Nutritional Resources has recalled its cream of mushroom soup, according to notices posted on the FDA’s Web site. The FDA said it is reviewing the findings to determine the appropriate regulatory response. In a statement accompanying its inspection report, the FDA said the firm filed a report through the FDA’s new Reportable Food Registry after one of its customers found Salmonella in the company’s HVP, prompting an FDA investigation that began on Feb 12 and found Salmonella Tennessee on processing equipment. After discussions with the FDA, the company on Feb 26 announced that it was recalling all HVP it had produced since Sep 17. According to the inspection report, called form 483, on Feb 19 the company’s private lab reported finding Salmonella in a finished lot of product. Mar 10, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Federal inspectors concluded that a food company that produced hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) at the center of a series of food recalls continued to ship its products after it learned of Salmonella contamination in its processing facility, the FDA said yesterday. HVP is a flavor booster made from legumes that is used as an ingredient in other food products, and the Basic Food Flavors recall has sparked more than 100 product recalls, ranging from soups to potato chips to ready-to-eat beef taquitos. Though no illnesses have been linked to the potentially contaminated products, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it is watching for any potentially related illnesses in its Salmonella surveillance system. The FDA said its inspection also exposed several problems with the company’s building and its manufacturing procedures. See also: Mar 9 FDA statement The FDA said the company, Basic Food Flavors Inc., Las Vegas, continued to distribute its HVP paste and powder until Feb 15, despite the fact that its private lab found Salmonella in environmental samples collected at the plant on three different occasions, twice in January and once in early February. According to notices on the US Department of Agriculture Web site, Nestle recently recalled a ready-to-eat bacon base product, Ruiz Foods recalled its frozen beef and cheese tortilla snacks, and Windsor Foods recalled beef taquito and chicken quesadilla products. Basic Food Flavors failed to clean and sanitize utensils and equipment enough to prevent contamination of surfaces that came into contact with food, the FDA investigation found. For example, inspectors found residue on a hinge of a paste mixer and on and around a stainless steel filter screen. Improperly installed and maintained plumbing also hampered floor drainage, and the FDA’s inspectors noted standing odorous, gray-black liquid in a drain that collected water from the trench drains while the company was processing HVP paste into powder. Environmental samples from and near the same drain areas were also positive for Salmonella. FDA inspection report FDA recall page USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recall pagelast_img read more

BioWatch program faces GAO, congressional scrutiny

first_imgDisclosure: The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News, has produced training programs and materials for the BioWatch program. The news team has no involvement in the center’s BioWatch work. Sep 13, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – The federal BioWatch program came under heavy scrutiny in Congress today, as two subcommittees questioned officials in the wake of a report saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to fully analyze needs, costs, and benefits before moving forward with plans for costly new biosurveillance technology.The General Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’s auditing arm, in a report released yesterday, raised questions about the procedures DHS used in developing its “Generation 3” (Gen 3) technology for detecting dangerous airborne pathogens such as anthrax. The GAO said the agency did not thoroughly evaluate the need for Gen 3 or carefully assess other approaches.BioWatch currently has about 600 “Gen 2” air sampling stations in 30 large cities, with filters that trap airborne particles. The filters are manually collected daily and tested for pathogens that could suggest a bioterrorist attack.Gen 3 sampling equipment, if it works as intended, would test samples automatically and provide results every 4 to 6 hours, versus 12 to 36 hours for Gen 2 equipment. But the technology is expensive, and it still faces significant scientific and technical hurdles, the National Research Council said in a 2011 report. The full “life-cycle” cost of Gen 3 is currently estimated at $5.8 billion.”Our work showed that DHS does not have reasonable assurance that the solution it has been pursuing warrants investment of limited resources and that it represents an optimal solution,” the GAO said in its report. “We believe it is possible that an earnest effort to reconsider the Gen-3 mission needs and alternatives would result in a different plan and course of action than the current effort.”The GAO is recommending that DHS officials “reevaluate the mission need and systematically analyze alternatives based on cost-benefit and risk information,” and then revise its acquisition documents to reflect any changes in performance, cost, and scheduling data generated by the new evaluation.US House members echoed the GAO concerns at this afternoon’s hearing convened by two subcommittees that deal with security issues.”My concern is whether this very expensive acquisition will be properly handled,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications. He said DHS has already spent $100 million on Gen 3, the full deployment of which was originally set for 2016 but now is scheduled for 2022.DHS’s position, as described in the GAO report and stated by officials at the hearing, is that it agrees with the GAO recommendations, but that it can continue with its Gen 3 acquisition process while the reevaluation is being done.”DHS concurs with the GAO recommendations, and we’re moving forward in a way that ensures best practices compliance,” said Alexander Garza, MD, MPH, DHS’s chief medical officer, at the hearing.”We’re doing all the documentation for acquisition, cost-benefit [analysis], mission needs statement,” he said. “During that time we didn’t want to delay the technical development. So there’s not going to be any contracts let or performance testing done during that time period. At the end of the day, we’re going to be aligned with exactly what GAO is saying.”According to the GAO report, DHS officials informed the GAO that on Aug 16 (2012), they directed the BioWatch program to prepare an updated “Analysis of Alternatives and Concept of Operations,” but they did not explain how they would reevaluate the mission need.The DHS’s plan to pursue testing of Gen 3 while agreeing to reconsider whether it is an appropriate approach “raises questions about whether the department plans to systematically and objectively reevaluate the mission need and alternatives for fulfilling that need,” the GAO says at the end of the report.While agreeing that the need for Gen 3 and the feasibility of other approaches need reconsideration, Garza defended the proposed system, calling it a “game changer.””The true benefit it brings to the nation is decreasing the time to detection from 12 to 36 hours to 4 to 6 hours,” which would save lives in the case of an anthrax attack, he said. “Time is the currency we barter with when it comes to bioterrorism. The quicker we can get pills in mouths, the more lives we save.”Garza also reminded the subcommittees that Gen 3 technology can be used indoors, which is not true of Gen 2. “Not only are we improving timeliness, we’re also able to go inside, where we think some of the threat will be emanating from,” he said.He also defended the current monitoring system, which, according to the GAO report, has generated more than 100 pathogen detections, known as BioWatch actionable results (BARs), since 2003. Those incidents, which all were found to be triggered by naturally occurring microorganisms, have posed tough challenges for the state and local public health officials who have had to deal with them.BARs have been branded as “false alarms” in press reports. But Garza said today, “A BAR is a detection of targeted DNA. It’s never been promoted or described as a detection of a bioterrorist attack.” He said a BAR is “a piece of data,” and humans decide what it means.BioWatch got some support today from one state health official, Frances Phillips, RN, MHA, deputy secretary of public health services for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.Overall, she said, BioWatch has been beneficial for Maryland’s biosurveillance capabilities, and each BAR has led to improvements in response protocols.”Our state lab has been supported by DHS with regard to salaries, supplies, and administrative expenses,” she said. “BioWatch has helped Maryland enhance its ability to identify and respond to a wide range of threats.”The general thrust of the GAO report is that the decision to move toward Gen 3 was made years ago and that studies of the need and possible alternatives were done with an eye toward supporting that predetermined conclusion.At the hearing, William O. Jenkins, Jr, PhD, director of homeland security and justice issues at the GAO, said, “In general what we found is that there had been an assumption from very early on, before 2008, that automating Gen 2 was the way go to, and all the decisions sort of flowed from that assumption. So there was never a real refreshing new look at the mission needs statement.”The GAO estimates that the total annual cost of operating Gen 3 would be about four times as high as the cost of operating Gen 2 ($363.6 million versus $86.6 million), though that is partly because of a planned increase in the number of detectors and the number of cities covered.The GAO also says that the Gen 3 Analysis of Alternatives included no analysis of benefits, beyond the assumption that earlier detection will save lives and reduce economic losses. Further, DHS did not explore whether some approach other than wholesale installation of automated detectors might be more effective.”Given the uncertainty related to the costs, benefits, and risk mitigation potential of Gen-3, DHS does not have reasonable assurance that the strategy of expanding and completely replacing the existing Gen-2 technology with an autonomous detection technology provides the most cost-effective solution,” the report says.See also: GAO report (released Sep 12, but dated Sep 10)House subcommittee hearing pageHearing Webcast linkGarza’s prepared testimonyAug 17 CIDRAP News story “Public health officials respond to critique of BioWatch”last_img read more

Nord Stream to Conduct Maintenance Works on Both Pipelines

first_imgFrom June 3, 2013 onwards, Nord Stream AG will be conducting routine maintenance works on both pipelines. These long-planned works will be ongoing for about two weeks and require first each line separately, followed by both lines at once to be temporarily shut down during that time.The works include maintenance of mechanical components and software updates.The schedule for the shutdown phase has been agreed with Nord Stream’s upstream and downstream partners and shipper. After the completion of all activities, Nord Stream will continue to transport to its downstream European partners all the gas nominated and supplied by the shipper.[mappress]LNG World News Staff, June 03, 2013; Image: Nord Streamlast_img read more

Picture of the day: FSRU Independence in Klaipeda

first_imgHöegh LNG’s 170,000 cbm FSRU “Independence” has arrived at the Klaipeda port in Lithuania in October this year.The second of the five FSRUs that Höegh LNG has ordered from Hyundai Heavy Industries serves as Lithuania’s first import terminal under a long-term charter to Klaipedos Nafta.Until now, Lithuania has been completely dependent on gas imports from Russian gas giant Gazprom. The Independence FSRU now represents an opportunity to diversify Lithuania’s import sources providing increased security to the Baltic states. If necessary, the FSRU is able to cover 90% of the three Baltic State’s gas supply needs.[mappress mapid=”16254″]LNG World News Staff; Image: Höegh LNGlast_img read more

Top news, October 24 – 28, 2016

first_imgTidal Energy Today has compiled the top news from tidal and wave energy industry from October 24 – 28, 2016.Tidal Energy Ltd enters administrationTidal Energy Ltd, a Welsh-based tidal energy developer and a producer of DeltaStream device, has entered administration. The administrators, named on October 17, 2016, said that the buyer is being sought for the company, which operates out of offices in Cardiff and Pembroke Dock.Neptune jack-up wraps up MeyGen foundations installationAtlantis Resources informed that the installation of four Turbine Support Structures (TSS) has been completed at the MeyGen project site in the Pentland Firth, Scotland. All foundations were installed using the Neptune jack-up vessel owned by Geosea. The project remains on track to have all turbines installed and connected to the grid in time for first power delivery by the end of the year.Bay of Fundy turbines deployment moves onBay of Fundy tidal turbines installation will continue until the next February, following the decision of Justice Jamie Campbell of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court not to halt the turbines deployment. The decision was made after the local fishermen association complained about the potential impacts of the turbines on the fish and Bay of Fundy’s ecosystem. Cape Sharp Tidal pans to begin with the turbines deployment in November.MRECo gets FERC permit for tidal test siteMarine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) has secured a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to set up the Bourne Tidal Test Site in the Cape Cod Canal. MRECo will now move forward with additional environmental studies as required by the various town, state and federal agencies.Japan and The Netherlands strengthen marine energy tiesDutch Marine Energy Centre (DMEC), Dutch Energy from Water Association (EWA) and the Ocean Energy Association Japan (OEAJ) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) in Amsterdam. The signing of the MoU forms a declaration of intent for collaboration between the Netherlands and Japan in the further development of marine energy technologies.Tidal Energy Todaylast_img read more

The snobs’ barricade

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

How diabetes diagnosis made Martin take note

first_imgMartin van Gee has been living with diabetes for 36 years. When Martin van Gee was diagnosed with diabetes, it didn’t come as a shock.“I used to consume six to seven 500ml bottles of Coke a day. I was always trying to quench my excessive thirst,” says Martin, a Grassy Park resident, who visits the Lady Michaelis Hospital in Plumstead once a month for his chronic medication.Martin has been living with diabetes for 36 years.World Diabetes Day on November 14 creates awareness about the disease that Martin and millions of others like him have learnt to live with and manage. Diabetes is a chronic disease caused when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, the hormone regulating blood sugar, or when the body can’t effectively use available insulin.According to the World Health Organisation, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.“After my diagnosis,” says Martin, “I had to change many things, and I firmly believe that it is an illness you can control. This includes cutting out smoking and drinking. I was very positive about it.” It was hard to stop drinking, but he realised his health was more important. He was also able to kick a 15-year-long drug addiction, he says, thanks to his faith in God and his mother’s prayers.“When you drink alcohol and smoke, it makes the condition worse and therefore becomes more challenging to control your diabetes. I used to smoke 50 cigarettes a day but cut it out. I can’t tell any diabetic what to do, but I speak from my heart.”Martin says he enjoys motivating others with diabetes. “I visit the centre every six months to see the doctor, and once a month to collect my medication. During these visits, we sit as patients while waiting, and we share our stories with one another. Through these experiences, we each can take away something new and meaningful. We are like a family. The staff treat us well and as patients we learn from them and one another.”Martin says he also had to change his diet after his diabetes diagnosis.“I used to love meat. I spoke to my doctor, and expressed how much I love meat. He recommended I speak to the dietitian which I did. I was advised how to cut down on the amount of meat I would usually eat.” As a little boy, Martin had a great fear of doctors, and especially injections, so much so that he would stay home when the district nurse visited his school. “When I became a diabetic, I had to adapt. They taught me at Victoria Hospital how to inject myself. I caught the hang of it, and now it’s so easy to do.” Martin says although he’s diabetic he is still a happy person living a normal life. “Live life to the fullest. Make the changes needed. Do it for yourself. Don’t do it for someone else.”last_img read more

Bar gets into shape for ABSs

first_imgThe Bar Standards Board is simplifying criteria for approving new business entities, ahead of an application to become a licensing authority for alternative business structures. Several compulsory rules are to be made discretionary to make the authorisation regime more ‘agile’. These currently oblige entities to have: at least one practising barrister who is a manager and owner; an owner that is also a manager; and to conduct only ‘legal activities’. The revised criteria will be included in a policy statement to be published with a new Handbook due to go live in January 2014. Board vice-chair Patricia Robertson QC said: ‘The legal services profession is rapidly changing. We want to ensure that barristers can adapt to meet consumers’ needs in an increasingly competitive and innovative market and that our regulatory procedures respond to a changing market.’ Robertson said the change, together with amended public access rules and allowing self-employed barristers to conduct litigation, will ‘empower barristers to broaden their business base to better meet consumers’ needs’. Entities are likely to be companies or partnerships and the Legal Services Act 2007 requires them to be authorised before they can undertake reserved legal activities. The BSB’s initial proposals concern entities that are entirely owned and managed by lawyers. The BSB will apply to the Legal Services Board to be a licensing authority for alternative business structures, once its ‘non-ABS’ entity regulation regime has been approved. Barristers can already set up ABSs, but they currently need to be regulated by another approved regulator such as the SRA.last_img read more

Cameron promises youth justice overhaul

first_imgThe youth justice system could be overhauled as part of David Cameron’s vision for a ‘smarter state’, the prime minister and justice secretary announced today.David Cameron has asked Charlie Taylor, former chief executive of the National College of Teaching and Leadership, to lead a review into the system, in which the prime minister said he ‘especially’ wanted to see improvement.Announcing further details of the review, justice secretary Michael Gove said Taylor will look at the evidence and current practice in preventing youth crime and rehabilitating young offenders, how the system can interact more effectively with wider services for children and young people, and whether current arrangements are fit for purpose.The review will report back next summer.Charity Just for Kids Law welcomed the review, which it hoped would be ‘meaningful’ and ‘innovative’.Director Shauneen Lambe (pictured) said the organisation had ‘long maintained’ the way the system dealt with troubled young people in England and Wales was not working.‘We believe that as well as looking at how to reintegrate young people into society after they have been in custody, it is important, and cost-effective, to look at how we can prevent children from being entered into the system’.Charities wanting to work with specific types of offenders could bid for new prisons under government proposals to sell off ‘old, dark and overcrowded’ inner-city prisons and build ‘new, effective’ prisons ‘which are not just safe and secure, but contain facilities that will lower reoffending rates’.Cameron used his speech – billed as a trailer to November’s spending review but timed to coincide with the announcement of the new Labour party leader – to set out three principles of a ‘smarter’ state: reform, devolution and efficiency.He said the government’s priorities included ringfencing NHS and school budgets.‘These are the priorities we have chosen,’ he said. ‘And whatever difficult decisions we face, we will keep these promises, because they are fundamental to delivering the “one nation” [on the side of the working people] vision.’last_img read more