New technique standardizes brightness of cosmology’s best standard candles

Washington, May 19 (ANI): Scientists have found a new technique that establishes the intrinsic brightness of Type Ia supernovae, which are considered the best standard candles for measuring cosmic distances, more accurately than ever before.
The technique has been found by members of the international Nearby Supernova Factory (SNfactory), a collaboration between the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a consortium of French laboratories, and Yale University.

SNfactory member Stephen Bailey, formerly at Berkeley Lab and now at the Laboratory of Nuclear and High-Energy Physics (LPNHE) in Paris, France, searched the spectra of 58 Type Ia supernovae in the SNfactory’s dataset and found a key spectroscopic ratio.

Simply by measuring the ratio of the flux (visible power, or brightness) between two specific regions in the spectrum of a Type Ia supernova taken on a single night, that supernova’s distance can be determined to better than 6 percent uncertainty.

The new brightness-ratio correction appears to hold no matter what the supernova’s age or metallicity (mix of elements), its type of host galaxy, or how much it has been dimmed by intervening dust.

Using classic methods, which are based on a supernova’s color and the shape of its light curve – the time it takes to reach maximum brightness and then fade away – the distance to Type Ia supernovae can be measured with a typical uncertainty of 8 to 10 percent.

But, obtaining a light curve takes up to two months of high-precision observations.

The new method provides better correction with a single night’s full spectrum, which can be scheduled based on a much less precise light curve.

According to Bailey, the Snfactory’s library of high-quality spectra is what made his successful results possible.

“Every supernova image the SNfactory takes is a full spectrum,” he said. “Our dataset is by far the world’s largest collection of excellent Type Ia time series, totaling some 2,500 spectra,” he added.

According to Saul Permutter, a cofounder of the SNfactory and leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project, “Our longstanding goal has been to make use of all the information a supernova gives us about its physical condition as it brightens and fades away, and we get to see deeper and deeper into its atmosphere.”

“Finally, we’ve built a dataset with the size and quality to allow us to do this. These spectra open the possibility of many kinds of new measurements from the ground and in space,” he said. (ANI)

Children of Shepherds have a special school in Jharkhand

Dumka (Jharkhand), May 18 (ANI): A man in Jharkhand’s Dumka district is running a small school for the children of shepherd community from a small shelter to enable them become literate.

By running a free school for five years, Balmukund Yadav, who is in his thirties, has instilled hope among villagers that their children can be literate.

Yadav felt driven to educate village children after he personally faced much hardship to educate himself due to poverty. Thus, he resolved to educate other children of the area.

“I belong to a family where no one has even matriculated. Our society is backward. After seeing the hardships here, I thought it wouldn’t be enough if only I am educated here. I had an option of working elsewhere but I decided that I would teach the youngsters in our society who are in dire need of education,” said Balmukund Yadav, founder of school, Dumarthar.

There are presently 80 students belonging to Dumarthar and adjoining villages at this school. But the space and facilities notwithstanding, the small school is an ultimate hope for children here.

Having noticed Balmukund Yadav showing deep interest to enable village kids to read and write, villagers joined hands and raised a structure for the school. It resembles a large hut.

Located in Dumarthar Village of the district, this small school despite lacking basic facilities of any normal school, has been educating many children here.

Students as well as their parents or guardians are delighted to have a teacher who is dedicated and is eager to make the children learned.

“I did not even know the alphabets. After coming here I have learnt to read in English,” said Karamveer Kumar, a student of school set up by Balmukund Yadav in Dumarthar

The first batch from the school is set take grade X exams this year.

Meanwhile, Yadav hopes that the government will provide a proper school building and a library, as these students cannot afford books on their own. By Girija Shankar Ojha (ANI)

Now, a motorbike, which runs on air-pressure!

Ludihana, May 13 (ANI): A group of engineering students in Ludhiana has developed an eco-friendly motorbike which runs on air-pressure and doesn’t require fuel.
The 100cc bike equipped with two compressed air cylinders, gives a mileage of 11 miles per hour, which the students have plans to increase with some changes in near future.

Students of Auto Engineering Department at the Guru Nanak Dev Polytechnic College in Ludhiana have invented this air-powered bike.

They claim that it is the world’s first 100cc motorcycle powered by air and can help eliminate pollution to a great extent.

“There are bikes that run on batteries, but a lot of time is spent in charging them. In an air bike, you just need to fill air through a compressor. If we develop its air tank and reprocess the exhaust air, the capacity of this air bike can be increased, ” said Akashdeep Singh, one of the innovative students.

“The main advantage is that it is pollution-free as its exhaust is cold air. The Defence personnel can also use the bike, as thermal radiation cameras cannot detect it. Also, the engine of this bike can work underwater and breathes air from its storage tank, which in turn sucks it from the atmosphere,” said Balbir Singh, another student.

Having created the environment-friendly bike, the college students opine that it might not look very hi-tech and sophisticated for now, but it is a step in the right direction for a greener Earth.

“The idea of an air bike was conceived as our energy resources are being depleted day-by-day and pollution level is rising. Keeping all this in mind we have designed a 100cc bike which runs on air pressure technique,” said Jagraj Singh Kaul, Head of the Department, Auto Engineering Department.

Established in 1953, Guru Nanak Dev Polytechnic College (GNDPC) is one of the oldest engineering institutions in north India and is a pioneer in technical education.

An ISO-certified institution, the GNDPC is committed to improve technical excellence to achieve global standards.

The polytechnic has set up its own Electrical and Electronics Laboratories Library and Computer Center under World Bank assisted projects.

And the air-powered bike is an innovation that makes the college proud.

In future, Motor companies can perfect this technology and produce air-powered vehicles. By Karan Kapoor (ANI)

Bill and Melinda Gates pour thousands into unconventional health research

London, May 5 (ANI): Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has thrown a lifeline to number of projects like creating an anti-viral tomato, a flu-resistant chicken and a magnet that can detect malaria, awarding 81 grants of one lakh dollar each in a bid to support innovative, unconventional global health research.

The five-year health research grants are designed to encourage scientists to pursue bold ideas that could lead to breakthroughs, focusing on ways to prevent and treat infectious diseases, such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases.
Among the grant recipients is Eric Lam at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who is exploring tomatoes as an antiviral drug delivery system, The Telegraph reported.

Three British scientific teams, pursuing novel approaches to preventing and treating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia, have been chosen.

One team, led by researchers at the University of Exeter in Devon, England, will seek to build an inexpensive instrument to diagnose malaria by using magnets to detect the waste products of the malaria parasite in human blood.

Scientists from Royal Holloway University, London, are attempting to compile a library of all possible mutations of HIV with the ultimate goal of a vaccine that can protect against many variant forms of the virus.

Each grant recipient will also get the chance of follow-on grants of one million dollar if their projects show success.

Applicants were selected from more than 3,000 proposals, with all levels of scientists represented – from veteran researchers to postgraduates – and a range of disciplines, such as neurobiology, immunology and polymer science. (ANI)

How to keep audio books out of your iTunes music menu

Hannover – Audiobooks often show up under the music menu on iTunes which can be irritating if you find chapters cropping up under a party music playlist.

Now Germany’s c’t medien – Audio digital magazine has come up with a way around this problem: With a right mouse click on the appropriate library entry Windows users can select the heading “audio book” and the files will be stored under that heading.

Mac users should press the Apple button and “i” and select “audio book” under “options.”

By using the “bookmarking” function, listeners can also stop a spoken file at a given point and resume listening from the bookmarked spot. This works even when other files have been played in the meantime. (dpa)

French Embassy to donate 234 films to NFAI

New Delhi, Apr.29 (ANI): India and France are poised to raise the level of their efforts towards preservation in the fields of film and television.

The Embassy of France in India has decided to donate as many as 234 films from its library in New Delhi to the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), Pune, this month.

All these films are produced in France and are of high cinematic quality and excellence.

An agreement to this effect will be signed on April 30 at NFAI at 5.30 in the evening, which will be followed by a three-day film festival.

Philippe Martinet, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of France and Vijay Jadhav, Director, NFAI will sign the agreement.

The donation of these 234 films, under the international archive regulations, marks the continuation of cooperation between the Embassy of France and the NFAI.

The Embassy of France in New Delhi is dedicated to promoting film and television preservation and heritage. In 2003, as many as 88 films were handed over to the NFAI. Earlier, in 1998, the Embassy of France donated 29 films to the National Film Archives of India.

Under the agreement, all these films will be preserved at the NFAI premises in standard conditions and will be permitted for use for non-commercial screenings, research and studies. From motion pictures to television, the mushrooming of visual communications counts among the most significant cultural evolutions of the 20th century.

Everywhere in the world people are seizing the possibilities opened up by the visual media to create a vast cultural and documentary heritage.

An embassy press release said that the Embassy of France in India is committed to strengthening the relations between cultural institutions of our two countries towards achieving this goal. (ANI)

Gustave Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’ makes online debut

London Apr 28 (ANI): The final manuscript and multiple rough drafts of Madame Bovary, one of French author Gustave Flaubert’s influential novels, has been made available for general public on the Internet.

Published in 1857, Madame Bovary is a story of a doctor’s wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape a mediocre husband and the dross of provincial life.

The international team including 130 volunteers from 12 countries including high school students contributed and all their work was proof read.

Madame Bovary also got embroiled in a controversy before becoming a bestseller.

In 1914, Flaubert’s niece donated the manuscript and myriad notes to the library of Rouen, in Normandy where the novel was set.

In all, some 4546 pages were scanned in high definition and painstakingly transcribed by the team.

“Nobody in a single life could have completed such a task,” the Telegraph quoted Yvan Leclerc, professor of modern languages at Rouen University, which co-ran the project with the town’s library as saying. (ANI)

Nicotine chewing gums ‘raise cancer risk’

London, April 22 (ANI): A team of British scientists has found that nicotine chewing gum, lozenges and inhalers designed to help people to give up smoking may have the potential to cause cancer.

The research team, led by Muy-Teck Teh, of Queen Mary, University of London, has found a link between mouth cancer and exposure to nicotine, which may indicate that using oral nicotine replacement therapies for long periods could contribute to a raised risk of the disease.

In the study, researchers found that the effects of a genetic mutation that is common in mouth cancer can be worsened by nicotine in the levels that are typically found in smoking cessation products.

The results raise the prospect that nicotine, the addictive chemical in tobacco, may be more carcinogenic than had previously been appreciated.

“Although we acknowledge the importance of encouraging people to quit smoking, our research suggests nicotine found in lozenges and chewing gums may increase the risk of mouth cancer,” Times Online quoted Dr Teh as saying.

“Smoking is of course far more dangerous, and people who are using nicotine replacement to give up should continue to use it and consult their GPs if they are concerned. The important message is not to overuse it, and to follow advice on the packet,” Dr Teh added.

In the study, Dr Teh’s team investigated the role of a gene called FOXM1 in mouth cancer.

A mutation that raises the activity of this gene is commonly found in many tumours, and is also present in pre-cancerous cells in the mouth, the scientists found.

According to Dr Teh, this raised expression can then be worsened by exposure to nicotine.

“If you already have a mouth lesion that is expressing high levels of FOXM1 and you expose it to nicotine, it may add to the risk of converting it into cancer. Neither the raised FOXM1 nor nicotine is alone sufficient to trigger cancer, but together they may have an effect,” he said.

“The concern is that with smokers, you are looking at people who are already at risk of oral cancer. I’m worried that some may already have lesions they don’t know about in the mouth, and if they keep on taking nicotine replacement when they stop smoking products they will not be doing themselves any good,” he added.

The study is published in the journal Public Library of Science One. (ANI)

Two Indian-Americans get key posts in Obama team

United States President Barack Obama on Saturday announced the appointment of two more Indian-Americans – Raj Shah and Aneesh Paul Chopra – to his key administration posts.

While Shah has been nominated as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics in the Department of Agriculture, Chopra will be the Chief Performance Officer, Obama announced on Saturday morning in his weekly radio address.

“As Chief Technology Officer, Chopra will promote technological innovation to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland,” the president said.

In his current position as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, Chopra leads the strategy to effectively leverage technology in government reform, to promote Virginia’s innovation agenda and to foster technology-related economic development.

He has earlier worked as Managing Director with the Advisory Board Company, leading the firm’s Financial Leadership Council and the Working Council for Health Plan Executives.

On the other hand, another Indian-American Shah is currently the Director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Programme for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Said to be Gates Foundation’s sharpest executives, Shah, 36, lives in Seattle.

In this capacity, he manages the Foundation’s Agricultural Development programme — including grant-making portfolios in science and technology, farmer productivity, market access, and policy and statistics — with the goal of helping the world’s poor lead healthy and productive lives.

Having joined the Foundation in 2001, he has served as the Foundation’s Director of Strategic Opportunities and Deputy Director of Policy and Finance for Global Health.

In these roles, he helped develop and launch the Foundation’s Global Development Programme and International Finance Facility for Immunisation — an effort that raised more than USD 5 billion for child immunisation and hopes to save more than five million lives around the world.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Shah was the health care policy advisor on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and a member of Governor Ed Rendell’s transition committee on

Co-founder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans, he has served as a policy aide in British Parliament and worked at World Health Organisation.

Currently, Shah serves on the boards of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the Seattle Public Library, and the Seattle Community College District. Shah earned his MD from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Master of Science in health economics at Wharton School of Business.

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and London School of Economics and has published articles on health policy and global development. In 2007, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Lounge culture goes popular in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, April 20 (ANI): People fond of liquor can now enjoy their stay in Punjab as a dream destination. Anyone feeling like having a swig of his or her favorite brew, to simply drive down to his favourite Lounge bar in Chandigarh.

Of late, nightlife in Chandigarh has started getting popular.

The nightlife entertainment service providers have introduced theme lounges.
`Rock In Rio’ is Chandigarh’s first music lounge, which offers an innovative, unexplored and a thrilling experience for rock lovers.
This theme-based lounge has provision for people to enjoy food, drinks and a quality music. Besides, it offers a wide range of drinks and loads of snacks.
“Music is something that people of all age groups appreciate. However, what I am trying to target with the soft rock and rocks from the 60′s and 70′s, the people who can relate to it; the ones in 30 and above. They are the ones who want to do clubbing on Saturdays, they are the ones who want to listen jazz or some again some soft rock on Sunday brunch, so that’s my permanent target,” said Atul Grover, owner of the Rock In Rio.

`Rock In Rio’ has come up as a treat for the rock music lovers in the city. Atul says that he is inspired by the Hard Rock café in Mumbai.
Those, looking forward to rock concerts in the city or enjoying this genre of music on music systems, Rock In Rio is the place to visit. Apart from having live rock performances, the lounge also has a library of 40 rock concerts videos including those of Guns n Roses, Korn and Eagles.
“The vibe of the live music going, a drummer playing, percussion, a guitarist, a DJ, what we are trying to do is a very unique thing. Mix hip-hops, psychedelic trance make one flavour and give them a taste of that because that’s what happening everywhere in the world now, why should Chandigarh be left out of it,” said Sahil Sareen, Solo Rock artiste.

Like the music, the menu too is also western. It offers basic Indian dishes, but is heavy on Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.

The ambience helps the visitors’ mood. The lounge’s interiors do deserve a mention, which are swank and contemporary. The walls have been decorated with posters of rock music legends and guitars are hung all over. Not to be missed is the 40 feet long guitar at the entrance to welcome music buffs.
“It’s very nice, very different actually. You are just getting European stuff here. It’s nice. It’s really upcoming and people like it,” said Anjali Thapar, lounge culture enthusiast.
“It’s good that new things are coming in Punjab. Things in Bombay are coming here. Things are changing basically. It’s pretty good. Culture is changing. People are coming out of the houses. It’s great,” said Chanakya Thapar, another enthusiast. By Sunil Sharma (ANI)

Listening To Music Is Good For Heart Patients

A new study has disclosed that listening to some types of music could help patients suffering from heart disease to lessen their stress levels.

The study was conducted by scientists at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The researchers looked at over 1,400 patients and found that listening to certain kinds of music lowered blood pressure levels, pulse rate and anxiousness in patients having heart troubles.

The report, published in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, said that the soothing effects were largest when the heart patients picked tunes of their choice.

Researcher Joke Bradt, assistant director of the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center at Temple University, said, “So we do know from clinical experience that if people select music they like, and the music has sedative qualities such as slow tempo, predictable harmonies and absence of sudden changes, they will be better able to relax to the music.”

The review viewed earlier studies on how music therapy has an effect on patients with heart disease, either during a cardiac procedure or within two days of hospitalization.

According to physicians, less strain decreases the likelihood of other symptoms produced by strain in heart patients.

However, researchers said that the topic needs further research.

YouTube signs deal with Hollywood studios to show TV episodes, movies

New York, Apr.17 (ANI): In another step in its transformation from an online jumble of amateur videos to a destination for mainstream TV programs and movies, YouTube said Thursday that it had signed deals with Hollywood studios to showcase thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies on its Web site.

Google, which owns YouTube, said it might eventually bring another innovation to the site: payment for some premium content.

According to the New York Times, the agreements with the studios, which include Sony, Lions Gate, MGM and others, are significant because YouTube dominates online video.

Nearly two-thirds of all video views in the United States occur on YouTube, according to the measurement firm Nielsen. Last month the site had more than 90 million visitors, 10 times as many as the next biggest site, comScore said.

But while YouTube, along with other new media properties like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, is seen as leading the challenge against traditional media companies, the company itself is struggling to profit from its digital popularity.

This month, Credit Suisse published a detailed analysis of YouTube’s business, estimating that the site will lose approximately 470 million dollars in 2009, as the costs of bandwidth and storage to stream more than 5 billion clips a month far exceed the revenue YouTube earns from advertising.

To attract more advertising, YouTube is striving to add more professionally produced video. The pacts with media companies allow YouTube to place ads before, during and alongside the videos and split the revenue with its partners.

YouTube probably won’t be adding videos from NBC or Fox anytime soon. With its new partners, it will feature full episodes of one current CBS show (the drama “Harper’s Island”) and will offer a large library of classic content, including the series “The Addams Family” and the film “Carrie.” While the selections may seem meager, YouTube says it believes the new section will lay a foundation for more content partners. (ANI)

Ronald Reagan Statue to Be Unveiled in U.S. Capitol June 3, 2009

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is working alongside
congressional leaders to plan the June 3, 2009 unveiling of a statue of
President Ronald Reagan in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Speaker Nancy
Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch
McConnell and House Republican Leader John Boehner have announced that
they will join former first lady Nancy Reagan for this unveiling.

“As we prepare to honor President Reagan on the anniversary of his 100th
birthday in 2011,” said Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., Chairman of the Board of
Trustees of the Reagan Foundation. “I can think of no better starting
point than the unveiling of President Reagan’s statue in the U.S. Capitol
to honor his service as Governor of California and President of the United

The Reagan statue will become part of the National Statuary Hall
Collection, which is comprised of two statues donated by individual states
to honor persons notable in each state’s history. The Ronald Reagan
Presidential Foundation led the efforts to donate the statue of our
nation’s fortieth president after the California State and Assembly
unanimously approved a resolution to send a statue to the Capitol in
August of 2006, a request initiated by Congressmen Ken Calvert (44th
District – California).

The statue, sculpted by American artist Chas Fagan of North Carolina,
measures seven feet high and is cast in an everdur silicon bronze,
weighing 500 pounds. It is mounted on a three foot high marble pedestal
which contains the Great Seal of the Governor of California on one side
and the Great Seal of the President of the United States on the other.

More details concerning this ceremony will be announced at a later date.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan
organization dedicated to the promotion of the legacy of Ronald Reagan and
his timeless principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity,
global democracy, and national pride. It sustains the Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library and Museum, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs,
the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Learning Center and The Air
Force One Pavilion. Located in Simi Valley, California the Library houses
over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers
and over 40,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and
Nancy Reagan. It now also serves as the final resting place of America’s
40th President.

Media Contact:
Melissa Giller

Copyright 2009, Market Wire, All rights reserved.


New imaging tool could improve cancer diagnosis

Technique designed to give better look inside a cell

* Could help determine how to treat cancers

* Researchers used dye-containing nanoparticle probes

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, April 14 (Reuters) – A new imaging technique that uses tiny, dye-containing particles to “fingerprint” proteins within a single cell may lead to better ways to diagnose and treat cancer, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

If the technique succeeds on a larger scale, it could improve the ability not only to diagnose cancers, but to determine how aggressive a tumor is and how likely it is to respond to therapy.

“We could use it for diagnosis and maybe to help plan an appropriate treatment for a specific indication,” said Cathy Shachaf, a researcher at Stanford University whose study appears in the Public Library of Science Journal PLoS One.

Shachaf said the effort is designed to give doctors a better look at the machinery inside a cell.

“Different types of cells are active in cancer,” Shachaf said. “What we tried to do is develop technology to be able to look at the proteins active in a single cell to able to define and distinguish different types of cancer cells from each other.”

She said current cell imaging technology known as flow cytometry uses antibodies tagged with fluorescent dye to detect proteins, which light up as they flow through a beam of light.

But the images can become muddy if there are too many overlapping colors, limiting the number of proteins that can be imaged simultaneously to about 20.

Rather than simple fluorescent dyes, the Stanford team used special nanoparticle probes created by Intel Corp (INTC.O) that give off distinct signals.

“Instead of giving us a very broad, smooth spectrum they give us sharp fingerprints,” Shachaf said.

Shachaf’s team used the technology to detect two distinct cancer proteins simultaneously, but she said they have imaged as many as nine in the lab.

“What we’ve done is shown we can use these particles to detect specific proteins in a single cell,” She said.

Shachaf said the team hopes eventually to be able to image as many as 100 distinct features inside a cell.

“The goal of this is to outdo current technology,” she said.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Eric Beech)

New imaging tool could improve cancer diagnosis

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A new imaging technique that uses tiny, dye-containing particles to “fingerprint” proteins within a single cell may lead to better ways to diagnose and treat cancer, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

If the technique succeeds on a larger scale, it could improve the ability not only to diagnose cancers, but to determine how aggressive a tumor is and how likely it is to respond to therapy.

“We could use it for diagnosis and maybe to help plan an appropriate treatment for a specific indication,” said Cathy Shachaf, a researcher at Stanford University whose study appears in the Public Library of Science Journal PLoS One.

Shachaf said the effort is designed to give doctors a better look at the machinery inside a cell.

“Different types of cells are active in cancer,” Shachaf said. “What we tried to do is develop technology to be able to look at the proteins active in a single cell to able to define and distinguish different types of cancer cells from each other.”

She said current cell imaging technology known as flow cytometry uses antibodies tagged with fluorescent dye to detect proteins, which light up as they flow through a beam of light.

But the images can become muddy if there are too many overlapping colors, limiting the number of proteins that can be imaged simultaneously to about 20.

Rather than simple fluorescent dyes, the Stanford team used special nanoparticle probes created by Intel Corp that give off distinct signals.

“Instead of giving us a very broad, smooth spectrum they give us sharp fingerprints,” Shachaf said.

Shachaf’s team used the technology to detect two distinct cancer proteins simultaneously, but she said they have imaged as many as nine in the lab.

“What we’ve done is shown we can use these particles to detect specific proteins in a single cell,” She said.

Shachaf said the team hopes eventually to be able to image as many as 100 distinct features inside a cell.

“The goal of this is to outdo current technology,” she said.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Eric Beech)

Wrist acupuncture can prevent nausea from anesthesia

Washington, Apr 15 (ANI): A new study has found that wrist acupunture or acupressure can significantly reduce vomiting and nausea symptoms, which are generally experienced after surgery.

The researchers have found that by stimulating an acupoint called the Pericardium (P6) point in the patients’ wrists can help reduce these symptoms.

Lead researcher Anna Lee of the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at The Chinese University of Hong Kong revealed that stimulating the P6 point can occur by several methods such as acupuncture or acupressure.

Acupuncture involves penetrating the skin with thin, metallic needles at defined points. One type of acupressure involves wearing a wristband that presses down on the P6 point.

“After a stimulation on the acupuncture point, the nerve system is then activated and signals the brain to release certain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine or endorphins,” said Lixing Lao, a licensed acupuncturist and director at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“These then block the other chemicals that cause the sickness, nausea and vomiting, in this case, in the central nerve system. Therefore, the patient won’t feel that sick or nauseated,” Lao added.

Lee and her colleague reviewed 40 studies comprising 4,858 patients. Most of the studies involved healthy adults undergoing elective surgery with general anesthesia.

The studies compared the stimulation of the P6 acupoint with sham (placebo) treatment or anti-nausea or antiemetics drug

“Of the 40 trials included, the most common method of stimulation was wristband alone, in 17 studies,” said Lee.

“The wristbands used to prevent both postoperative nausea and vomiting are the same sold for seasickness, travel sickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting,” she added.

Lee said “for 100 people, of whom 80 would vomit or feel sick after surgery if given sham treatment, about 25 people would benefit from P6 stimulation and 75 would not.”

She said that reducing nausea and vomiting for surgery patients through P6 point stimulation could reduce costs, such as the cost of antiemetic medication and length of hospital stays, and improve the quality of patient care.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library. (ANI)

Obama to approve release of Reagan records on Monday

Washington, Apr 11 (ANI): President Barack Obama is ordering the release of nearly 250,000 pages of records from the Reagan White House years that were kept away from the public eye during a lengthy review by former President George W. Bush.

The Reagan documents, which include presidential briefing papers, speechwriting research materials and declassified foreign policy records, are expected to be released on Monday.

Officials said that the Obama Administration’s quick verdict on the documents was prompted by an executive order that Obama signed in January that gives the incumbent president 30 days to make such a decision, unless he sets out a longer period.

By contrast, Bush’s executive order on presidential records set no time limit on the White House’s review, Politico reports.

“With regard to the Reagan Administration records, I am writing to inform you that the President has not asserted executive privilege over any of this material,” White House Counsel Greg Craig told Politico.

A smaller batch of 797 pages from President George H.W. Bush’s presidential library on the topic of Saudi Arabia also has been cleared for release on Monday.

In recent years, historians and open-government groups complained bitterly that the review process President George W. Bush instituted was causing a backlog that was stalling the release of tens of thousands of pages of presidential records.

“The cynical view is that the process is deliberately inefficient,” Thomas Blanton of the National Security Archive testified at a Congressional hearing on the issue in 2007. (ANI)

Pakistani student recounts horror of being under anti-terror arrest in UK

London, Apr. 10 (ANI): A Pakistani student, who was mistaken for an al-Qaeda suspect and taken into a custody briefly on Thursday in northern England, has recounted the horror of being arrested.

Peshawar-based Muhammad Adi, 27, is in his final year of an MBA at Liverpool’s John Moores University.

Adil told The Guardian that he spent most of Thursday in the library working on a dissertation that he has to submit by April 30.

He agreed to meet a friend because he owed him 100 pounds. They were sitting on benches outside the building eating peanuts and talking when the anti-terror officers arrived.

“Special forces with telescopes on their machine guns came and said ‘hands up’. I thought maybe they are students playing with me. My friend was sitting on the bench. They grabbed my wrists and pushed my friend and he fell down on the other side of the wall,” Adil said.

He told the officers that he was a student and was told to “shut up”. The police made him lie down, and tied his hands behind his back.

“I kept saying ‘I’m normal’. I couldn’t see my friend but the officers were on him. They said ‘don’t move’. They asked me if I knew why I was being arrested – as a suspect of terrorism, I was laughing in shock at that point and the officer told me it’s not the time to laugh,” he said.

Adil said he was kept lying face down on the floor with his hands tied behind his back for an hour with the officers pointing guns at him. After about an hour of being held on the floor, the police took the two men to a police station in separate cars.

Several hours later, Adil said the officers’ attitude towards him changed. Adil believes this is because they had confirmed he was a legitimate student.

Adil, whose friend he believes is still being held by the police, feels insulted as a Muslim student in the UK, and hopes to return to his home country as soon as possible.

“They are clearly identifying Muslim students. It’s a big insult. The first thing I will do is leaving this country as soon as possible. The police officer said your country is not secure but I still prefer to live there. I love my country.” (ANI)

Terror Raids Based On ‘Very Real’ Threat


Greater Manchester Police have told Sky News the on-going series of raids across the North West are prompted by a “very real” terror threat. Skip related content
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Police have arrested 12 men in parallel raids in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

Witnesses in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, described what they saw.

One woman who lives next door to a terraced house where two men were arrested said she saw a man being hauled down the street by officers.

Bushra Majid, 33, a housewife, said: “I opened the door and four or five policemen were on top of a man. They were dragging him along the street and he had no shoes on.

“They shouted at me, ‘Get inside. Get inside’. There was a policeman on each corner of the street. They were dressed in black and had machine guns.

“I heard lots of noise inside the house, like people running up and down the stairs.”

The mother-of-four said the house next door was rented and there were always people coming and going.

“There were about six or seven men living there for the last six months.

“Some were aged 45 to 50, others were aged in their 20s. They used to go to the local al Falah mosque daily.”

Witnesses at Liverpool John Moores University said two Asian men in their mid to late-20s were held by armed police outside the main library on Maryland Street.

They described how the suspects were stopped as they walked past the main entrance and ordered to lie on the ground.

Students were held inside the library for up to 30 minutes as the two men were searched by officers before being taken away.

Craig Ahmed, 24, a business student from Maghull, Merseyside, said: “Suddenly there was all shouting and commotion outside so I went to the window and saw about eight police officers.

“One of them was armed and was pointing his gun at two men who were ordered to lie face down on the ground. “For about half an hour they held the men on the floor. The police were shouting things at them but I couldn’t hear what was being said.

“They looked like students, one was wearing tracksuit bottoms and a hooded top and the other had a Puffa-style jacket on.

“The library Tannoy came on telling everybody inside to stay away from the windows and not to go outside.

“They said it was for our own safety and people inside were getting quite stressed about it. There was talk that they had a bomb and it spread like wildfire around the building.

“After some time the police then searched a satchel belonging to one of the men and a carrier bag belonging to the other one. The two men were then searched as they were on the ground and cuffed and taken away.”

In Clitheroe, Lancashire, up to 100 officers swooped on the Homebase store and arrested two security guards as stunned work colleagues looked on.

Police simultaneously raided the nearby Brooklyn Guest House in Pimlico Road where the two men were staying.

An eyewitness said: “About 50 vehicles filled the car park and the police stormed in and quickly brought the two men out.

“They seemed to know who they were looking for. It looked a well planned operation.”

Adam Howard, who lives opposite the guest house in Pimlico Road, said he was shocked at the arrests.

He said: “I saw about 15 officers go in the front and the back of the house. It was a bit of a shock. You don’t expect this to happen in a market town.”

Retina works like a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of receptive fields

Washington, April 7 (ANI): Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that the retina works like a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of jagged windows called receptive fields, through which about 1.25 million neurons view the world.

The researchers have revealed that these receptive fields fit together like pieces of a puzzle, preventing “blind spots” and excessive overlap that could blur our perception of the world.

They say that their findings suggest that the nervous system operates with higher precision than previously appreciated, and that apparent irregularities in individual cells may actually be coordinated and finely tuned to make the most of the world around us.

The irregularities of individual receptive fields observed previously suggested that the collective visual coverage might be uneven and irregular, potentially posing a problem for high-resolution vision.

“The striking coordination we found when we examined a whole population indicated that neuronal circuits in the retina may sample the visual scene with high precision, perhaps in a manner that approaches the optimum for high-resolution vision,” says senior author Dr. E.J. Chichilnisky, an associate professor in the Systems Neurobiology Laboratories.

The researchers point out that all visual information reaching the brain is transmitted by retinal ganglion cells.

They say that each of the 20 or so distinct ganglion cell types is thought to transmit a complete visual image to the brain, because the receptive fields of each type form a regular lattice covering visual space.

They, however, add that within each regular lattice, the individual cells’ receptive fields have irregular and inconsistent shapes, which could potentially result in patchy coverage of the visual field.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Gauthier, the first author of the study, wanted to understand how the visual system overcomes this problem.

He used a microscopic electrode array to record the activity of ganglion cells in isolated patches of retina, the tissue lining the back of the eye.

The researcher monitored hundreds of ganglion cells over several hours, and then distinguished between different cell types based on their light response properties.

“Often people record from many cells simultaneously but they don’t know which cell belongs to which type,” says Gauthier.

He says that it was this information due to which he could observe that the receptive fields of neighbouring cells of a specific type interlock, complementing each others’ irregular shapes.

“The receptive fields of all four cell types we examined were precisely coordinated, but we saw no coordination between cells of different types, emphasizing the importance of clearly distinguishing one cell type from another when studying sensory encoding by a population of neurons,” he says.

The study has been published in the journal Public Library of Science, Biology. (ANI)